Even if long hair flows out the back of the helmet you often can't tell who rides the motorcycle beside you. Use the statistics and make your best guess that a man has saddled up. But recent polls indicate more and more women riders have taken control and now out on the open road with throttle in hand.
Unlike regular clothing that manufacturers design and style towards men or women, little difference exists between women's motorcycle helmets from men's helmets. Sure, sometimes the outer design gives it away but from a showroom perspective you don't have men's helmets over there and women's helmets over here.
Women can wear any motorcycle helmet available - granted it fits, does not hinder their ability to ride and of course they like it. Sure, some manufacturers indeed have created helmets geared towards women but take a look inside and all the technological innovations and safety features remain the same.
Therefore, how does the female motorcycle rider find a helmet that fits? First, let's narrow your choices by posing some questions and based on your answers zero in on a few that probably work for you.
What type of helmet do you want? Big differences lie here in terms of look and functionality so you have some choices to make:
Most popular for street bike riders, provides best all-around protection, built in shield.
Resembles a dirt bike helmet but used for dual sport machines.
Popular with cruiser crowd, has basic protection for state helmet laws.
Flip-up visor allows you to cool off or take a drink when stopped without needing to remove your helmet.
A throwback to the classic days of motorcycle riding, these helmets offer better protection than half shell helmets, less restriction than full face but require goggles or other sturdy eyewear.
Women's Motorcycle Helmet Features
When deciding on a helmet you have a variety of features to consider. Though we stand-by the notion that more expensive doesn't necessarily mean better safety, higher-priced helmets have bigger and better features that help with overall comfort and ride-ability.
1. Helmet Shell Construction
Motorcycle helmet weight varies based on the type of material used on constructing the outer shell. Most if not all motorcycle helmets use the following:
- Polycarbonate - flexes as it absorbs energy (less expensive material)
- Fiberglass composite - flexes, crushes and splits as it absorbs energy (more expensive)
- Carbon fiber - distributes energy upon impact (most expensive and lightest)
- EPS - foam material densely compressed into a shock absorbing inner shell
2. Helmet Weight
Motorcycle helmets weigh between 1400 and 1800 grams. The heavier the helmet the more energy used when riding. Some helmets like a modular helmet naturally weigh more than, for example, or full face or half shell because of the flip-up visor.
Intake and exhaust vents keep you cool and some helmets have more than others. You also can find a helmet with better wind resistance than another while some offer an integrated sunshade.
4. Safety Features
You may have heard of the Multi-directional Impact Protection System or MIPS the latest in helmet technology designed to reduce rotational forces from certain impacts. Some helmets also incorporate an emergency check-pad removal system making it easier for medical personal to remove your helmet, if needed. You need to factor all these in your motorcycle helmet buying decision.
Type of Riding
1. Do you plan to commute for work and/or take long excursions?
A higher end helmet features lighter composition and other features that make wearing one more comfortable for long periods of time. You probably want a versatile helmet in this case so you're not exhausted by the time you get where you want to go.
2. Riding with a group?
Group riding almost always requires some type of ability to communicate so a helmet with built in communication devices greatly enhances the group riding experience. No need for hand signals or worrying about getting lost in traffic.
3. Track Riding or Racing
High performance helmets have additional features for high speeds and undergo a more stringent safety testing. This leads us to Safety Ratings...
Motorcycle Helmet Safety Ratings
Department of Transportation (DOT)
All helmets we sell have the Department of Transportation stamp of approval meaning the helmet has met the minimum standard level of protection set forth by DOT. You will even see a DOT sticker on the helmet indicating it has passed.
Snell and ECE
Snell is a non-profit organization founded after the death of Pete Snell, a sports car racer who died from head injuries. Snell pushes more stringent standards than DOT and you can get lost in the debate over whether a helmet with Snell certification is better than DOT. You will also find helmets with ECE certification which is the standard level of protection for helmets in Europe.
Don't let all this confuse you. Find a helmet you like that fits well and as long as it has DOT certification you can legally wear it for riding in the United States.
So, how do you find a helmet that fits?
Helmet Size and Head Shape
If you ride with a helmet that does not fit properly you might as well ride without one. A helmet that fits well, feels comfortable and doesn't hinder your ability to ride goes a long way towards walking away from an accident. First, determine your head size:
- 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. You might need 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 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 cheek pads can then be adjusted for better fitting.
Now determine your head shape.
- 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.
Customizing a Women's Motorcycle Helmet for Size
You might be thinking "Women generally have much different head shapes and sizes then men." Correct! Now we can tackle the big difference between men and women when it comes to choosing a helmet. Yes, women often have smaller heads and often have a hard time finding a helmet that fits even when choosing the smallest available size. Because everyone's head is not the same shape, two heads can have the same circumference measurement but will not necessarily fit the same size helmet identically.
So, if you have tried on helmet after helmet after helmet we have a trick for you. And this might even help narrow your choice. Most motorcycle helmets have removable comfort liners and cheek-pads. These pads and liners contribute to the form and fit of a helmet. You can customize a motorcycle helmet by installing a thicker headliners and/or thicker cheek-pads thereby making a helmet smaller.
Is it time to replace your Motorcycle Helmet?We recommend replacing your helmet after five years regardless of condition because of the speed technological improvement move. Of course, replace after a crash or if you drop your helmet.
Best Motorcycle Helmets for Women
It is now time to make a decision. In light of all the above we have made it a little easier and put aside some suggestions. In light of any customization needs and easily switching out thinner headliners or cheek pads with thicker versions we suggest sticking with the following brands: