Choosing and buying a motorcycle helmet

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Tips and tricks that you should know when buying a helmet

When it comes to motorcycling today there’s so much protective equipment involved that one can’t help but think: do I really need all this? Well one thing is for sure – you most certainly need a good helmet. Here we’ll discuss about most important things you should consider when buying a helmet that will do the job for you. What type of helmet should you buy? What to be careful about when choosing the right one? Does it need to look good? Let’s get some useful information and make our motorcycle touring safer.

Some people, including many salesmen, say that buying the most expensive is the best choice. Well guess what – not true! You want to go with a helmet that you’ll wear every time you ride a bike. These tips will make us all smarter when it comes to choosing and buying a new helmet.

First of all let’s bust the myth of buying the most expensive helmet. By all means we’re not suggesting that the expensive stuff is not quality stuff, but the first thing that you should look into when buying a motorcycle helmet for yourself is that it fits perfectly. Chances are that you will have to try at least a couple of helmets until you find the one that supports the anatomy of your head and it probably won’t be the most expensive one. Many folks don’t aim for the higher price range from the start, which is totally OK but don’t go too cheap because you’re buying a life saver here.

Meet the perfect helmet fit for pleasant motorcycle touring

Before buying a helmet you’ll probably want to do some research to see what you really need. Most of us have some brands that we prefer, color styles that we like, and the type of helmet that we think is best for us. But once again, how it fits you is really the most important thing. So how will you know that you’ve found a good one? Wear it for a couple of minutes while in the shop and make sure that the strap is pretty much loose (this way it will be easier for you to feel the inside of the helmet and to see if there are some unnecessary movements). You might look weird but the salesperson will understand what you’re doing. Now let’s see how it fits:

  • Try moving your head up and down and sideways. You should feel comfortable and the helmet shouldn’t be too snug.
  • If you feel too much pressure in certain positions that is not good. Also when you shake your head, there shouldn’t be any movements.
  • Motorcycle helmets come in a variety of different internal shapes and sizes, so make sure you try out a few of them until you find the one that fits perfectly.
  • If it fits it will absorb the impact more effectively.
  • If the helmet feels fairly snug on your ears, cheeks and forehead than you’ve probably found the right one.
  • Also, if you wear glasses don’t forget to try them on while wearing the helmet.
  • The final thing you should do is to try and pull of the helmet grabbing it from the rear. Do this with the strap normally tightened (and check if the strap is comfortable for you). The helmet shouldn’t go off. If it does than it’s too big.

Motorcycle touring

Do looks really matter?

Oh yes they do. You wouldn’t believe how much. And that is so due to the fact that if you don’t like the style of the helmet you’ve bought it’s likely that you won’t wear it that much. So choose the one that fits and looks good to you and you’ll have a friendly passenger when on a motorcycle tour across the Adriatic perhaps. Some people like simple styled one color helmets, some prefer air brush, some insist that it goes with the color way of their bike, etc. Just make sure that you really like it.

You’re probably already familiar with the basic types of helmets but let’s just quickly go through them because it’s an important factor. There are for types of helmets: full-face helmet, open-face helmet, flip-up helmet, shorty helmet and a motocross helmet. The full-face motorcycle helmet with a chin bar is the one that is proven to give most protection.

Flip-up helmets are especially good if you’re a fan of motorcycle touring because it’s easy to free your face at any time in a second. This proved to be very useful for quick stop on tour such as stops on border crossings, having a quick snack or a sip of water, or being able to recognize yourself on the tour photos. Flip-up helmets tend to be a little heavier but they have their benefits on the other side.

Motorcycle touring

What about visors, vents and safety standards?

Next thing you should look into is the type of visor. You can’t go wrong with a helmet visor that has anti-scratch and anti-fog systems. The latter is more important and it’s practical when you don’t have to use an anti-fog spray or an anti-fog film strip. Next thing is ventilation. You want a helmet that has enough quality vents that will allow you to breathe easily and not to sweat too much.

Sometimes if there are too many vents there might be a little more noise going on then you’ve expected. The down side is that the efficacy of a helmet’s ventilation system can only be judged during a ride, not in the motorcycle shop. But you can check if the opening (and closing) mechanisms are built good enough to be opened and closed thousands of times. The most common ventilation systems are variations on chin bar vents, top vents and exhaust vents in the back of the helmet.

The last but not the least thing is safety certification. There are two best known US safety certificates called DOT and SNELL. We won’t go into detail over here and you’re probably already familiar with these standards. If the helmet you’ve chosen has a label of at least one of these two then you’re good to go. There are a lot of discussions going on about this subject of matter and if you’re interested you can do some research to find out more.

There are also a lot of brands out there and it’s all up to you. Do your homework and don’t buy a helmet online. We strongly suggest going into a store by yourself because it’s really important to try the helmet. You probably can’t go wrong with brands like Arai, Shoei, HJC and Nolan. Get the best out of your motorcycle vacations, ride safely and choose carefully! Cheers.

3 Responses to Choosing and buying a motorcycle helmet

  1. Motorradbekleidung says:

    Thanks a lot for sharing such a informative post which is full of great tips and tricks. Your tips will surely help me find a perfect motorradhelme for me. But unfortunately I am not 100% sure about my head shape. Is there any easy way to measure my head shape by myself?

    • Hello there! You can measure your head with a plain ‘tailor ruler'; just make a circle in eyebrows level. But have in mind that not all helmets are the same and sizes can vary- so we definitely recommend trying them on in a store for good fit. Cheers!

  2. Ryder White says:

    Wow! It is really a great blog for me ,about tips and tricks that you should know when buying a helmet.Thanks a lot!

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