Helmets are a legal requirement for all riders and passengers on two-wheelers. This is equipment that is supposed to protect the head in case of accidents and it must be carefully selected. Among the best known brands such as HJC, Cabering, Shoe, AGV, Arai, or Bell, is there a better helmet? Of course, we will try to answer the question.
Is a certified helmet the best helmet?
First of all, the helmet must be approved, which means that it complies with the safety standards in force, especially ECE-22-05. However, several tests carried out by credible bodies such as the Institut national de la consommation in France (INC) or the “SHARP” body in England (safety helmet evaluation and rating programme) have shown quite considerable differences between the protection levels of these various approved helmets.
What you need to know about these tests is that they are periodic, which means that this month’s best helmet may well be downgraded by another one in the next test. So, a better helmet is always related to a test period. To better answer the question “what is the best motorcycle helmet?” we prefer to define selection criteria that will always be valid, and that will allow us to select the best available helmet at any time.
The SHARP notation system
SHARP evaluates the level of protection of the helmet, purchased anonymously in stores, through a multitude of linear and oblique shock tests. The helmet is mounted on a platform adapted to its size and weight to simulate the impact of the shock on the brain. These tests are performed on the different parts of the helmet: front, rear, and lateral (see animation)
At the end of these various tests, a score is assigned to the helmet which allows it to be classified among the various other helmets that have also undergone the same tests. According to SHARP, a helmet with 5 stars would protect better than one with 4…and so on. For example, it can be seen in the November 2016 ranking that the HJC FG-ST helmet has the highest rating.
So how can you get the best motorcycle helmet?
To summarize, the level of protection is essential to select the best motorcycle helmet. Thanks to the results of the various tests carried out, it is possible to know which of all helmets has the best level of protection in a given period of time. However, other secondary criteria are also important such as comfort level, sound insulation, price, weather resistance, and field of vision. These criteria are sometimes subjective and differ from one person to another. Finally, to get the best helmet, you can pre-select, for example, the first 5 helmets with the best protection ratings, then test them to choose the one that best meets the secondary criteria and is the most comfortable.