Photo of Alan Dowds

Alan Dowds

Professional Motorcycle Expert

Best Biker Helmets & Motorcycle Helmet

A good helmet is the most important piece of safety equipment for any motorcycle rider – fact! Sure, you need a nice pair of boots, some smart leathers, and flashy gloves – and these are all vital to keep you in one piece should the worst happen. But, to put it simply, your head is your brain is you. Serious head injuries are the number one killer in motorcycle accidents – you can break a leg or an arm and survive, even major damage to your body can be fixed up in the ER. But damage your brain, even slightly, and that can be the end of you. But a well-chosen, high-quality helmet can protect you from injury in many crashes. Helmets are generally made from a tough outer shell, usually of fibreglass, carbon fibre or Kevlar weave, with a softer liner. This liner – usually expanded polystyrene – protects your skull by absorbing the energy of an impact, slowing down the deceleration of your head inside the outer shell, and preventing the bruising, swelling, and skull fractures which are so often fatal. The outer shell also serves to prevent penetration injuries from such items as motorcycle footpegs and roadside fence poles.

A helmet’s primary purpose is protection, but they also have a number of secondary functions. A movable visor is essential, to provide eye protection, while many helmets have quick-release systems to allow a dark visor to be swapped in for riding in bright sunshine. Vents are important to allow cooling airflow into the helmet, and there are a variety of fastening systems available, including ‘seatbelt-type’ buckles for easy fastening.

The most important part of a helmet though, is the fit. It’s essential that the user tries the helmet on and makes sure it is the right size – not too large or too tight. A helmet that’s too big can come off your head in a crash, leaving you totally unprotected, while a too-tight lid can cause discomfort and headaches. It’s not just size either – different helmet models can suit different head shapes. If your head is long and narrow, you may find one model will suit you better than another that will better suit a rounder head shape.

This is one purchase that you really shouldn’t just make online – you have to go to a dealer and try on the helmet you fancy before you buy.

Choose the best biker helmets for superior protection of your most valuable asset: your brain. The right motorcycle helmet also provides eye protection with the visor, vents for airflow and easy fastening.

Best Motorcycle Helmets by Alan Dowds

The Best You Can Get

  • Arai RX-7RR Corsair

    Alan says: The Corsair is Japanese firm Arai’s top-of-the-range racing helmet, and it’s used by such racing stars as Nicky Hayden, Colin Edwards, and John Hopkins. The Corsair uses Arai’s Structural Net Composite construction, which incorporates a tough ‘net’ of fibres within the outer section, spreads the force of an impact through the whole shell. There’s an extra-tough ring-shaped strengthening section around the base, and the inner shell has a triple-density construction for optimal shock absorption.

    Helmets for the racetrack need a lot of venting to keep riders cool, and the Corsair has a massive external diffuser which, together with side exhaust vents and the patented visor brow flaps can move up to fifteen litres of air per minute through the lid. This does lead to the only real criticism of the Corsair though – it’s not a particularly quiet helmet, and earplugs are essential for riding at speed.

    The inner lining is made of Coolmax smart material, and is removable for washing, while the cheekpads can be tailored for an individual, perfect fit.

    Arai’s tried-and-true quick-release visor system lets the user swap out visors in seconds without needing any tools, and the Corsair has a double-‘D’ ring strap which ensures a perfectly tight fastening every time.

    The Corsair is an expensive item, but is, perhaps, the ultimate motorcycle track helmet.

    • Possibly the ultimate motorcycle track helmet
    • Great venting system cools riders
    • Strong outer and inner shell
    • Quick-release visor system
    • Cheekpads can be tailored for perfect fit
  • Shoei X-Spirit

    Alan says: Like Arai, Shoei is a Japanese helmet manufacturer with an impressive reputation for quality and high-tech construction. The X-Spirit is its premium model, and features a shell made from multi-layered fibreglass and carbon-fibre composite materials. That construction means the X-Spirit is a very light helmet – Shoei claims a mass of 1,330 grams for the medium size. The shell has a special aerodynamic shape to reduce drag and a rear spoiler to cut lift at high track speeds. The spoiler also integrates the X-Spirit’s ventilation and air exhaust system. There’s a fully detachable washable inner liner for easy maintenance, and a removable breath guard and air curtain.

    Shoei uses four different outer shell sizes to ensure a perfect fit and compact external dimensions. Using smaller shells for small head sizes (rather than using thicker linings on a large shell) reduces weight, and makes a more compact design.

    Shoei is the sponsor of choice for many top-class racers, including Australian MotoGP rider Chris Vermeulen, WSB contender Yukio Kagayama, and BSB champion Ryuichi Kiyonari.

    • Shell is made from multi-layered fibreglass and carbon-fibre composite materials
    • Very light helmet at 1,330 grams (medium size)
    • Ventilation and air exhaust system
    • Removable breath guard and air curtain
    • Special aerodynamic shape
  • AGV GP-Tech

    Alan says: Together with Japan, Italy has long been the traditional home of high-end motorcycle helmet manufacture, and Italian firm AGV has been at the forefront since the firm began making bike helmets in 1947. Over the years, AGV has been the lid of choice for many legendary racers, including Giacomo Agostini, Barry Sheene, Kenny Roberts and Randy Mamola. But the firm’s most high-profile racer is seven-time world champion Valentino Rossi, whose flashy helmet designs are instantly recognisable from his trademark ‘46’ logo.

    The GP-Tech is the latest top-end design from AGV, and it incorporates all the design cues and technology you’d expect. The shell uses an ‘SSL’ (Super-Super-Light) carbon/Kevlar fibre composite mix to protect against high-speed impacts. The visor is located with a very fast quick-release system, allowing a rapid swap from clear to dark visor, and there’s a removable, washable liner made from smart ‘Coolmax’ material. Vents abound on the GP-Tech’s outer shell, letting you fine-tune the airflow through the helmet, and the strap is fastened by a double-‘D’ ring.

    • Super-Super-Light carbon/Kevlar fibre composite mix shell
    • Quick-release visor system
    • Removable, washable liner made of Coolmax
    • Adjustable airflow vents for cooling
    • Double-‘D’ ring strap fastener
  • Schuberth S1 Carbon

    Alan says: Schuberth helmets are made in Germany, and that country’s reputation for intensive engineering effort is shown throughout its helmet range. The firm also makes F1 car racing helmets, as well as fire/rescue, police and military helmets, giving it an impressive breadth of design experience.

    The S1 Carbon is the firm’s most advanced motorcycle helmet design, and its price reflects its high specification. Made from lightweight carbon fibre, it weighs in under 1.3kg, and its super-smooth aerodynamic design helps reduce wind noise compared with other helmets. Comprehensive ventilation channels offer adjustable airflow through the chin and top vents, and the lining is easily removed for washing. The fastening strap comes with a push-button ‘seatbelt’-style buckle, but an optional double-‘D’ ring fastener can be specified by the customer.

    Schuberth also incorporates a clever ‘flip-down’ integral sun visor into the S1. An external lever allows the rider to slide a dark sunshield down behind the main visor, protecting his eyes from bright sunshine without needing to stop and change from clear to dark visor.

    Schuberth’s design isn’t to everyone’s taste – the German firm doesn’t quite have the styling panache of many Italian or Japanese helmet firms. But its designs are unquestionably high-spec, and for the less fashion-conscious rider, the S1 may be the ideal sport-riding helmet.

    • Weighs under 1.3 kg.
    • Adjustable airflow through chin and top vents
    • Super-smooth aerodynamic design helps reduce wind noise
    • ‘Flip-down’ integral sun visor
    • May be the ideal sport-riding helmet
  • Nolan N-94 Replica

    Alan says: Another Italian brand, the Nolan group is Europe’s largest helmet manufacturer, making over 800,000 helmets annually in its Italian factory. And Nolan’s the choice of the 2007 MotoGP world champion, Australian Casey Stoner, as well as fellow Ducati GP racer Marco Melandri.

    The N94 is Nolan’s premium helmet, and its construction reflects that. The outer shell is a composite fibre design, made in three sizes across the range, the liner padding is triple-density for comfort, and different cheekpads are available to customise the helmet’s fit. A Lexan injection-moulded visor is curved to fit the N94’s aerodynamic shape, and has a push-button quick-release change mechanism.

    Top and bottom ventilation systems use a rear spoiler and a chin aperture to prevent visor fogging and give ample cooling airflow through the helmet.
    The lining is easily removed and washable, and is made from Unitherm ‘smart’ material, which quickly disperses body moisture. Fastening is via a double-‘D’ ring strap, and an optional breath deflector further increases comfort and reduces misting.

    The N94 is a mid-priced helmet, and costs about two-thirds of a premium Japanese competitor design. Nolan also offers a five-year warranty with the helmet.

    • Nolan’s the choice of the 2007 MotoGP world champion
    • Top and bottom ventilation systems cool and prevent visor fogging
    • Push-button quick-release change mechanism
    • Optional breath deflector
    • Five-year warranty with the helmet

You will be happy with any of these

  • Arai Chaser

    Alan says: The Chaser is Arai’s mid-priced road-riding helmet, and it offers the same quality, safety, and comfort as the firm’s top-spec lids, in a less expensive package. The outer shell uses Arai’s Super Fibre Construction, and has a stiff ring-shaped strengthening band around the base of the helmet. The inner shock absorption liner has triple-density material, while the comfort padding is fully washable and removable.

    The Chaser has a wide range of ventilation adjustment, with closable vents in the chin, brow, top and both side and rear exhaust vents. Fastening is by a double-‘D’ ring strap, and the visor uses Arai’s well-established lever-assisted quick-release system for fast, easy shield changes.

    Compared with the top-spec Corsair, the Chaser is a little bit heavier, and it lacks the Corsair’s retractable chin spoiler. But the thicker road-biased padding actually makes the Chaser more comfortable and quieter for most riders on the road. Finally, the Chaser is available in a wide range of graphics to suit most tastes.

    • Mid-priced road-riding helmet
    • Offers the same quality, safety, and comfort as the firm’s top-spec lids
    • Adjustable cooling vents
    • Lever-assisted quick-release system for fast, easy shield changes
    • Available in a wide range of graphics
  • Nolan N84

    Alan says: Nolan’s top-spec street helmet is the N84, which incorporates a variety of novel design touches to the basic helmet design. It’s based around a polycarbonate shell, which is cheaper to produce than a composite construction, with a built-in spoiler, seatbelt-type fastening buckle, and a sanitized hypoallergenic lining. The tool-less quick-release visor system allows fast visor changes, but the N84 also incorporates the ‘Vision Protection System’ – a short dark sun visor on the outside of the main shield that can be moved to three positions to block blinding sunlight. The 84’s vents are integrated inside the helmet outer shell, reducing wind noise and drag caused by external venting systems.

    But perhaps the most interesting feature of the N84 is Nolan’s optional N-Com communication system. This add-on headset and transmitter kit allows a Bluetooth phone to integrate with your helmet, and can also add intercom and multimedia sound functionality to the helmet.

    • Optional intercom and multimedia sound
    • Optional N-Com communication system (Bluetooth)
    • Seatbelt-type fastening buckle
    • Quick-release visor system for fast visor changes
    • Built-in spoiler
  • Shark RSX

    Alan says: French company Shark is one of the youngest helmet makers, but it has quickly established a reputation for unique designs and advanced technical innovations. The RSX is the firm’s latest street riding helmet, and boasts a very high level of specification, while being priced less than premium Japanese or Italian competition. Its outer shell is made from carbon/Kevlar composites, giving a very tough, yet light construction, and comes in two sizes. Differential-density internal shock-absorbing padding gives excellent impact absorption, and the comfort lining is made from Coolmax ‘smart’ material that is removable and washable. Chin and top vents are easily closed, and give decent ventilation.

    Shark helmets use a very thick, secure visor design, and the RSX’s 3mm visor offers extra safety. The visor is secured by a very simple push-button quick-release mechanism, and features an anti-scratch/anti-fog coating. Fastening is by double-‘D’ ring strap, and the RSX comes with an anti-fog face mask and chin cover.

    The RSX is a light helmet, weighing a claimed 1,350g, and its radical styling makes it a favourite choice for urban ‘streetfighter’ fans.

    • Very tough, yet light
    • 3mm visor offers extra safety
    • Chin and top vents
    • Anti-scratch/anti-fog coating
    • Radical styling
  • HJC HQ-1, AC-12

    Alan says: While HJC helmets are made in China, the firm claims the number-one spot in US helmet sales, and also takes much of the market in Europe. Its helmets are generally aimed at those on a budget, and some of its cheaper designs are probably best suited to scooter riders. But its top-spec HQ-1 (dubbed the AC-12 in America) is a pretty well-put-together design. With an outer shell made from carbon fibre composite materials, it’s a light, yet tough design. Comprehensive vents provide ample air-flow through the helmet, keeping you cool and dry, and the interior is well-padded and comfortable on a long ride. The ‘Rapidfire’ visor change system is quick and easy to use, and the removable breath guard and chin curtain help reduce visor misting.

    HJC sponsors top AMA racer Ben Spies, and the HQ-1 is available in his replica paintwork.

    • Great for those on a budget
    • Comprehensive coolong vents
    • ‘Rapidfire’ visor change system
    • Removable breath guard and chin curtain
    • Top AMA racer Ben Spies replica paintwork available (HQ-1)
  • KBC VR2R

    Alan says: KBC is another relative newcomer to the motorcycle helmet market, but its sharp, trendy designs and radical paint schemes have earned it a strong toehold in the European and American markets. The VR2R is its flagship street/track helmet design, and its construction, design, and feature list bely its modest price ticket. A ‘Tri-Comp’ laminated shell construction saves weight, while the dual-intake ventilation system helps circulate cooling airflow through the helmet interior. The anti-fog scratch-resistant visor is located by a fast, easy, tool-less changing mechanism, and the retaining strap is a double-‘D’ ring design. The Ultralux/suede comfort liner is removable and washable, and the padding can be customised for a perfect fit.

    • Sharp, trendy designs, and radical paint schemes
    • Dual-intake ventilation system
    • Anti-fog scratch-resistant visor
    • Double-‘D’ ring retaining strap
    • Ultralux/suede comfort liner is removable and washable

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Find the best biker helmets that have the perfect fit, essential for superior protection. Too big of a motorcycle helmet and it can come off easily in a crash, and too tight of a helmet will cause headaches. Always the best price, our motorbike helmets recommendations feature the safest selections to protect your head and brain, just in case. Our helmet for motorcycle choices also have great visors to shield your eyes and vents for superior airflow.