Picking the Best Motorcycle Helmet - A Buying Guide to Helmets

Picking the Right Motorcycle Helmet Can Be Easy

Welcome to one of life's greatest adventures. Whether you ride a sportbike or a cruiser as a pleasure seeker or commuter, riding on two wheels is a phenomenal experience designed to give you years of enjoyment and satisfaction.

Before you fight traffic with cars or plan that weekend excursion on backcountry roads you'll need to invest in some very important equipment - namely riding gear. Body protection is a must when riding your sportbike or cruiser and nothing could be more important than a helmet. You likely did some research before deciding on a sportbike or cruiser so you're going to want to do the same before grabbing any 'ole helmet.

You'll notice a sportbike helmet looks much different from a dirt bike or motocross helmet. Helmets designed for sportbikes and cruisers are more round without the extended chin protection needed for dirt bike riding. Plus, you have a variety of choices depending on your preference:

  • Full Face
  • Dual Sport
  • Half Shell
  • Modular
  • Open Face

Whether you are a seasoned rider looking to replace or upgrade an existing helmet or you?re just starting off - MotoSport's Sportbike Helmet Buying Guide is designed to take some of the heavy lifting out of finding the right helmet for you. In this guide we cover the following:

Besides, if you?re busy doing research that means you're not on your bike enjoying the freedom of an open road and beautiful countryside.

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What will the helmet be used for?

  1. Are you a beginner?

If you're new to sportbikes or cruisers, a high-end, high-priced helmet loaded with features may not be the best purchase. Getting your feet off the ground and adapting to the bike is important in order to decide whether riding on two wheels is the hobby and transportation method for you.

  1. Do you plan to ride a lot or commute to work?

If riding is your everyday transportation or you take weekly road trips, higher end helmets may prove to be more comfortable and offer better dynamics and reduced wind noise.

  1. Are you riding with a group?

Many bikers join riding groups and if you haven't already done so eventually you'll pal around with others and find group riding enhances the overall experience. One key element to group riding is communication and you'll want a helmet with built in communication provisions.

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What Features Do You Want?

  1. Helmet Weight

Helmets typically range in weight from 1400 to 1800 grams. The key to weight is a properly fitting helmet so the weight is distributed evenly around your head and shoulders. If the center of gravity is off a lighter helmet can feel heavier and strain your neck. Modular helmets often weigh more than a Full Face because of the apparatus installed to flip up the visor.

  1. Helmet Construction

What the helmet is made of influences a number of factors including weight, comfort and safety rating. Polycarbonate, Fiberglass composite and Carbon Fiber compose most helmets.

  1. Optional features

Today's helmets offer numerous technological advances. Features like integrated sunshade, wind reduction measures and communication provisions all serve to enhance the riding experience.

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Consider Helmet Safety Ratings

  1. DOT - The United States Department of Transportation sets a minimum standard level of protection for helmets.
  2. ECE22.02 - The U.N. Economic Commission for Europe sets a standard level of protection for helmets in Europe.
  3. Snell2010 - A non-profit in the United States founded after the death of Pete Snell, a sports car racer who died from head injuries.

You can find myriad of articles debating the merits of Snell's stringent standards over the government's guidelines and whether or not a helmet with Snell certification is better than DOT or ECE. The bottom line is every helmet MotoSport sells meets or exceeds the standards set by DOT. We also carry helmets certified by ECE as well as helmets manufactured to meet Snell Standards.

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Helmet Size and Head Shape

How to Measure Your Helmet Size

A properly fitted helmet can play a major role in the outcome of an accident. The first step in finding a motorcycle helmet is determining your head size. Follow these steps:

  • Wrap a soft measuring tape around your head about a half inch above your eyebrows, above your ears and around the back of your head at the largest point. It's best to have assistance when measuring.
  • Compare your head size with the specific motorcycle helmet manufacture?s size to find a match. Each motorcycle helmet manufacture provides different sizing charts for their helmets so you will need to compare your helmet size to each brand's sizing.
  • Try the helmet on before using it. The helmet should sit squarely on your head with the top of the helmet's eye port just above your eyebrows. A properly fitted motorcycle helmet will not go on easy at first but loosen slightly as it is broken in.
  • If the helmet moves or your fingers fit easily between your head and the helmet you'll likely need a smaller size.The helmet should fit snug around your head and face with no pressure points. If desired, the check pads can then be adjusted for better fitting.

Additionally, you MUST determine your head shape. A perfectly sized helmet may fit snuggly on one rider but loose or uncomfortable on another. Head shape is just as important as head size. Some manufacturers factor in the following shapes when making their helmets:

  • Long Oval - This shape resembles a more oblong head that is longer front to back and narrow side-to-side
  • Intermediate Oval - This shape closely resembles a round head with a shorter front-to-back and wider side-to-side than the Long Oval. Most companies make their helmets Intermediate Oval.
  • Round Oval - This shape resembles an oblong head that is longer side-to-side rather than front-to-back like the Long Oval.

Helmet shape contributes to overall comfort and safety. A correctly-sized helmet that doesn't fit right is cumbersome and does not offer the same protection as a correctly sized and fitted helmet.

*MotoSport's return policy is easy and hassle free. Click here for instructions on all returns and exchanges.

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What Type of Bike Do You Ride?

Adventure Touring

Riders on these bikes typically prefer Modular helmets which allow you to raise the face shield and some incorporate elements to raise the entire front of the helmet.


Cruiser riders generally enjoy the breezy style in the Half Shell helmet. This is a minimalist helmet for the casual rider.

Old School/Caf Bike

These riders hearken back to yesteryear for the old days of motorcycle riding using an Open Face helmet. It offers more protection than a half-shell and provides a big nostalgia factor.


A full face helmet is the norm for sportbikers. Full face helmets offer elite all-around protection with a solid chin bar and flip-up shield. These are the safest helmets.

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Price is likely one of the first things you?ll consider especially if you are a beginner. Price does not necessarily mean a better helmet or even a safer helmet. Price is often reflected in the materials used and the number of features. For example, a helmet constructed of carbon fiber will typically cost more than a polycarbonate helmet. An Open Face Helmet with a face shield option costs more than an Open Face without a shield option and so on.

Full Face Helmets

Full Face Helmets

Full Face Helmets

Speed & Strength SS1100
Icon Airmada Helmet
Arai Corsair V Helmet

Price: $109.99-$119.00

Price: $190.00-$280.00

Price: $719.99-$839.99


  • A.T.P.A. advanced thermo-poly alloy shell
  • All Clear! Sight System? optically correct, anti-scratch, anti-fog and UV-resistant face shield.
  • Cool Core removable, washable and moisture wicking liner
  • Meets or exceeds DOT and ECE 22-05 standards


  • Fog-free Icon Optics shield
  • Injection-molded polycarbonate shell
  • Easy-adjust ergo vent switch
  • Meets or exceeds: DOT FMVSS 218, ECE 22-05, SAI AS1698 and SG (JAPAN.


  • Arai "SAI" shield with Super AdSis shield system
  • Dry-Cool liner
  • Cheek pads have Emergency Release Tab
  • Exclusive Airwing provides unprecedented aerodynamic performance

Modular Helmets

Modular Helmets

Modular Helmetsn

HJC IS-MAX Bluetooth Helmet
Scorpion EXO-900 Helmet
Shoei Neotec Modular

Price: $179.99 - $199.99

Price: $269.99 - $279.99

Price: $589.99 - $599.99


  • Advanced Polycarbonate Composite Shell
  • One-touch Integrated SunShield
  • Advanced Channeling Ventilation System
  • Ready for Bluetooth Communications


  • Converts to an open face 3/4 helmet
  • KwikWick moisture-wicking breathable helmet liner and cheek pads
  • Adjustable front and rear vents
  • DOT Certified


  • Flip-Up Chin Bar and Face Shield
  • Internal Sun Shield
  • Pinlock Anti-Fog System
  • Noise Reduction Design

Half Shell Helmets

Half Shell Helmets

Skid Lid Original

Bell Drifter DLX Helmet

Price: $44.99 - $49.99

Price: $99.99


  • Contoured helmet with a low-profile fit
  • Thermoplastic alloy injected shell
  • Retention straps with D-rings
  • Meets or exceeds D.O.T. standards


  • Lightweight composite shell
  • Innovative Speed Dial adjustable fit system
  • Removable ear pads for cold weather riding
  • Certifications: DOT

Open Face Helmets

Open Face Helmets

Bell Custom 500 Helmet

AGV RP60 Helmet

Price: $99.77-$139.99

Price: $179.99-$219.99


  • Fiberglass shell
  • Custom-quilted liner
  • Padded chin strap with D-ring closure
  • Certification: DOT


  • Advanced Composite Fiber fiberglass outer shell
  • Dry-Comfort fabric with sanitizing treatment
  • Double-D fastening system
  • DOT certified

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Written By: AndrewT

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