A helmet is probably the most important piece of safety equipment that you’ll buy when riding a motorcycle. There is a wide range of helmets available today both in terms of style and perhaps more importantly cost. What style helmet you decide to buy and how much money you decide to spend is very much a personal choice, however depending on how much you value your head you should aim to spend as much as you can comfortably afford. As with everything these days, you get what you pay for!
Rule number one when buying a motorcycle helmet is never buy a second hand helmet. There a few very good reasons for this. Most importantly you can never be one hundred percent certain of it’s history. It may look clean shiny and new but serious structural damage is often not visible to the eye. As you wear your properly fitting helmet it gradually moulds to the shape of your head to ensure a perfect fit for you. A second hand helmet will have moulded to somebody else’s head.
If you are tempted to buy your helmet from an auction site, make sure the helmet is brand new and has never been used. When you come to replace your helmet, don’t sell your old one on, for the same reasons.
If you are thinking about buying a helmet, time spend on a bit of research is definitely time well spent. You need to make sure you are getting the best helmet for your budget and also ensure you get the right type of helmet for your needs. There are a number of different types of helmet available today, the main ones being:
Open Face; these are most popular with scooter riders these days. They offer much less protection than other types of helmets however many manufacturers are producing some very fashionable designs, The designer helmet market is growing rapidly as more and more people in towns and cities are swapping for cars for more economical and environmentally friends forms of transport. Open face helmets are also popular with riders of cruiser style bikes – Harleys etc, and with classic bike riders. There are many retro styled helmets around today to compliment classic bikes. Most open faced helmets do not provide any eye protection (some do come with a handy flip down visor) so you should consider buying a decent pair of motorcycle sunglasses to protect your eyes from the elements.
Full Face; This type of helmet offers the most protection of all the other types. As the name suggests, these helmets provide protection for your face, not just your head. Popular with all types of motorcyclists there are all kinds of colours and paint jobs to suit all tastes. Current favourites are the moto gp replica helmets from the likes of shoei, aria and agv.
Flip Front ; These helmets are great for touring. Effectively two helmets in one, they offer the flexibility of being able to wear them as an open face helmet or full face. Used widely by motorcycle instructors and police motorcyclists. Shoei and Caberg currently have a good range of flip front helmets.
Off Road; Originally designed to motorcross and enduro riders, more and more of these helmets are coming on to the market with the rising popularity of super moto bikes. Most off road helmets provide no eye protection to you should look for a decent pair of off road goggles to go with your helmet.
Another important factor to consider is safety rating and approval. All helmets sold today must have safety approval…
Other things to look out for to get the most out of your riding:
Noise – make sure the helmet provides good sound proofing. Wind noise can increase tiredness and make it more difficult to concentrate on the road. It could also leave you with permanent hearing damage. Whatever helmet you buy, the use of earplugs is always recommended to reduce potential damage to your hearing.
Ventilation – look out for big fins and bits poking out. While they look cool and futuristic they often disrupt the airflow around the helmet, increasing wind noise inside.
Anti fog visor – shoei pinlock
Easy to change visor – some visors are incredibly fiddly to change