Buying guide for choosing the right motorcycle helmet

How to choose a good Motorcycle / Scooter Helmet?

The helmet is the only obligatory equipment in 2 motorized wheels (Scooter and Motorcycle). Follow our tips to choose the right helmet and ride a motorcycle or scooter safely according to your profile.

Did you know that the human skull is so fragile that a kinetic energy of about 4.5 Kg/m is enough to fracture it? Do you still know that more than 70% of individuals who suffer traffic accidents have head injuries, and that the majority of deaths caused by motorcycle accidents are essentially related to not wearing a protective helmet?

Obviously, the head is the element of the human body most exposed to the risks of trauma linked to road accidents, but fortunately, with technical progress, we can leave intact, or at the limit with minimal damage, accidents as violent as the most dramatic collisions, provided we reduce the force and gravity of the impact, and distribute its impact by modifying the structure and surface of the contact. That’s why it’s important to wear an effective helmet every time you ride a motorcycle.

In addition to its legal obligation, subject to fine and withdrawal of license points in the event of non-compliance, wearing a motorcycle helmet is vital for every motorcyclist – man, woman, or child – as well as for the passenger to protect his skull in the event of an accident. It is therefore essential to opt for high-performance equipment that is certified and offers all the necessary protection guarantees.

How to choose your motorcycle helmet? This is the question we will try to answer in this mini-guide.

 

What are the different types of motorcycle helmets?

Whether you need a helmet for high-end motorcycle brands like Harley, BMW, or for others like Honda, Aprilia, Benelli, Kawasaki, Yamaha, or KTM…etc, your main concern must be safety and compliance with legal approvals.

Indeed, the store is full of models and types specifically designed to meet the needs of the most experienced bikers as well as beginners men, women and children!

Indeed, we distinguish 4 main families of helmets with several variants and mergers of which each certainly presents advantages but also disadvantages !

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The full face helmet

Undoubtedly, it is the equipment that best protects the head and neck. Especially since it is completely hermetic. This type of helmet is ideal for long journeys and for fans of sports bikes with medium and large capacities known for reaching very high speeds. Especially since it is the most effective means of skull protection known today.

Advantages :
  • Complete head and face coverage including the forehead, jaws, and chin, and a considerable reduction in the risk of trauma.
  • Very good sound insulation even at very high speeds.
  • Very stable and protects well against wind, cold and rain. It also protects against gravel and insects.
  • Very aerodynamic, it reduces air resistance and then offers a more comfortable ride while relieving the neck.
  • Very practical on straight roads, such as motorways.

Disadvantages :
  • Poor ventilation.
  • Painful to wear during hot periods.
  • Too heavy and cumbersome compared to other types.
  • Limited peripheral fields of view.
  • Provides a sensation of claustration.
  • Less practical in urban areas.

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The Jet helmet

He’s a basic, cheap entry level guy. This open front classic is very popular with motorcyclists, and ideally designed for urban use when riding scooters or small to medium sized motorcycles. There are several variants such as the half jet, the bowl helmet, and the micro jet.

Advantages :
  • Light and comfortable.
  • Perfect in urban areas and at low speeds.
  • Pleasant to wear especially in summer, it offers a better ventilation thanks to its opening in front (absence of chin strap).
  • Available in a wide range of choices.
  • Economical at the entry level.
  • Very wide fields of vision.
  • Protects the upper part of the head well.
  • User-friendly, provides a feeling of freedom and open space.
  • Offers the possibility to communicate freely with other individuals without being obliged to remove it.

Disadvantages :
  • Poor protection of the face and jaws in the event of a fall or frontal impact.
  • Poorly protects against wind, rain, insects, and gravel spray.
  • Not practical to wear on long trips and at high speeds.
  • Poor sound insulation.

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The modular helmet

Also called”flip up” or modular helmet, it is in fact a system with removable chin strap that tilts back to allow to discover the face. This type perfectly combines the advantages of the integral and the Jet. Especially since it is versatile and allows mixed use in town and on long journeys. However, you must check if this equipment has a double”P/J” approval to be able to drive in accordance with the law in a raised chin strap.

Advantages :
  • Very practical and comfortable.
  • Multifunctional, allows dual use in town and on motorways.
  • Easier to put on and handle especially for bikers who wear glasses.
  • Aesthetic, gives a real pilot look!

Disadvantages :
  • Too bulky and heavy to carry because of the tilting mechanism of the removable chin strap.
  • Reduced protection in open position.
  • Poor sound insulation
  • Tiring on long journeys.
  • More expensive than the other guys.

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The off-road helmet

With its extravagant look and visibly advanced compact chin strap, this equipment is perfectly suited for extreme driving conditions on the slopes. Also called cross helmet, it is a system with vocation of endurance and sportsmanship, which limits its use in the extra-urban environments. Note that some brands like Lazer, Shoei and Arai offer variants adapted and approved for specific use on roads.

Advantages :
  • Light and protects the entire skull well.
  • Provides a very good level of ventilation.
  • Very wide fields of vision.

Disadvantages :
  • Poor protection against cold, wind, and rain.
  • Requires the use of additional glasses.
  • Poor sound insulation.

 

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What is the structure of a motorcycle helmet?

A motorcycle helmet is mainly composed of an outer shell and an inner shell.

The outer shell is the first safety element, and its main mission is to prevent any external object from penetrating inside the helmet while attenuating and dispersing the intensity of the impact before reaching the inner part. The manufacturers make hulls with several materials which largely defines the quality, the weight, and consequently the price of the equipment. So for the entry of ranges they use resistant synthetic plastic for cheap and cheap motorcycle helmets. On the other hand, for high-end products, they introduce lighter and stronger materials such as composite materials and carbon or glass fibres combined with special resins.

The inner shell contains a protective padding and provides most of the shock absorption and head support. Made mainly of polystyrene, this foam is the centerpiece that protects the head in the event of accidents and helps prevent, or even reduce, head injuries.

Note that the locking systems are grouped into 3 categories:

  • The D loop: offers maximum locking security and avoids pull-out despite the relative complexity of its use.
  • The micrometric loop: this type of closure is very practical and simple to use, it is in fact a matter of introducing a notched tongue into a suitable locking system.
  • The clip buckle: simple to use, adjustable and adjustable, however it presents a risk of loosening, which means that its use is limited for entry-level helmets.

 

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What are the characteristics of a good motorcycle helmet?

A good motorcycle helmet is above all a helmet that protects well and is compatible with current safety standards and approvals. To summarize, here are the main features of a good helmet :

  • The outer shell must be compact and hard.
  • The helmet must contain an earmuff, neckmuff, visor and screen.
  • It must be comfortable to wear and contain an adequate ventilation system.
  • It must not affect hearing and must allow a 180° field of vision.
  • The interior must not have any sharp bodies that could injure the head in the event of an impact.
  • The assembly shall be rigid enough to prevent detachment of components in the event of impact.
  • The locking system must be supported under the lower jaw.
  • The chinstrap must be adjustable.
  • The materials used in the helmet must resist not only shocks but also natural conditions such as sunlight, bad weather and high temperatures.
  • It shall bear a white label sewn inside displaying the letter E followed by a country code number of the country in which the approval operation has taken place. This label must also mention the standard in force attesting to its certification.

 

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Practical advice

  • Before you buy, try the helmet to make sure it fits snugly around your head and is big enough to wear comfortably. Avoid choosing a helmet that is too large because the foam will shrink after a few months of use to leave additional space between the head and the helmet that may cause instability of the equipment on the road. In addition, visually check the assembly for any signs of denting or scratches.
  • Choose a new helmet and avoid buying worn equipment, you cannot know if the equipment has suffered a major shock that will reduce its protective capacity. Remember that it is virtually impossible to detect internal deformation of the cap and protective padding components with the naked eye.
  • Choose brands that are recognized in the market for their reliability and compliance with safety standards. For example, for high-end brands, manufacturers generally offer their own motorcycle helmet brands such as BMW, Kawasaki, or Harley-Davidson. For other mid-range and entry-level brands, helmet equipment manufacturers offer a wide range of models and styles to suit all tastes! Some examples are: Shoei, AGV, Airoh, Arai, Shark, Viper, Bell, Caberg, Lazer…Etc.
  • Be sure to affix retro-reflective stickers with a minimum surface area of 18 cm2 each on the 4 sides of the helmet, namely the front, rear, left and right sides. This is a legal obligation punishable by fines and the withdrawal of licence points.
  • Check the date of manufacture of the helmet and make sure it is a recent date. As you well know, standards change frequently and by buying very old equipment you risk not only being overtaken by standards and driving illegally but also you risk not being reimbursed by insurance in case of accidents. Especially since the older the caque is, the less efficient it is, this is due to the natural compaction of the anti-shock components.
  • Be sure to change your helmet at least once every 5 years or possibly after a shock or fall. Indeed, the inner part composed of the foam collapses and deforms, consequently, it becomes less effective to ensure its quality of shock absorbing support. Also, buying a new helmet allows you to anticipate changes in standards and be up to date with new protection technologies.
  • Wear the helmet properly and fasten it securely to ensure the highest level of safety. Remember that with a loose helmet you run the same risk of punishment as not wearing the helmet!
  • Avoid using alcohol to clean your helmet, it may alter certain materials that make up the visors.
  • Remember to equip your helmet with practical accessories such as the nose cover and bib to prevent fogging and ensure better driving quality. With technological progress, it is now possible to put and configure a Bluetooth installation to stay connected while enjoying the pleasure of driving!
  • Finally, here is a very interesting English website from the British government http://sharp.direct.gov.uk . It presents a relevant rating and scoring system based on the results of a series of 32 different tests to better help you choose the right helmet by focusing on the most important side that should define a motorcycle helmet, namely safety and protection!