As you all know by now, motorcycle helmets are a critical aspect of riding both for legal and safety reasons. All helmets are intended to protect riders from injury if a fall occurs and improve the overall riding experience. There are several different motorcycle helmet styles and types on the market today which we discuss below. The different helmet types are generally interchangeable but typically best matched depending on which type of motorcycle you are riding and what type of rider you are. Without doubt, as motorcycles have become more powerful over the years the need for a well performing helmet has increased dramatically. So, before you discover the best motorcycle helmets our guide below will help you understand the different styles.
There’s no disputing that full-face motorcycle helmets are the safest helmet type available. They are considered the safest due to the amount of protection they provide. These helmets cover the entire head as well as the majority of the face. The hard shell of the helmet, which is heavily padded for both comfort and protection, extends from the brow over the head and ends at the base of the skull. Full-face helmets also cover the cheekbones, jaw and chin area.
Full-face helmets include a clear acrylic visor to protected the eye area which slides over the viewport to block out the elements such as rain and wind as well as dust, debris and any other vision obstructions. The visor is also helpful at preventing eye fatigue while riding. Full-face motorcycle helmets also include a chinstrap to secure during use and usually come with a venting system to allow for adequate airflow. Full-face helmets are popular with those who ride sports bikes or simply those wanting the maximum amount of protection.
Although full-face helmets are the safest helmet type they do have their disadvantages. The main disadvantage is that they are heavy and due to this weight neck fatigue can occur. Full-face helmets are also quite limiting on your vision and other senses given the enclosed design. Fortunately with today’s technology full-face helmets are becoming lighter to improve comfort without compromising safety.
Flip-Up or Modular Helmets
The flip-up or modular helmet is similar in appearance to a full-face helmet but have a moveable face protection shield or chin-bar which slides up to the top of the helmet as desired at the push of a button. They are designed to allow for riders to communicate, have a drink or bite to eat without removing the helmet fully. This can be a tremendous advantage for certain typed of riders and they are particularly popular these days with police officers. Note that in most cases the chin-bar is meant to be in the closed position while riding and should only be moved when stationary. Only certain ‘dual-certified’ helmets may be worn with the chin bar up when riding.
While these helmets are greatly convenient you should take note that they will never be as protective as a solid full-face helmet. In addition they tend to be the heaviest of all the helmets.
Three Quarter Shell or Open Face Helmets
Three quarter shell or open face motorcycle helmets are very similar in construction to the full-face helmet but do not extend fully around the face. This helmet extends from the brow, over the head and stops at the base of the skull. It also covers the ears and features a chinstrap to secure.
One of the great aspects of this type of motorcycle helmet is that they can be quickly removed. It is also very easy to communicate with other riders while the helmet is in place. Overall you’ll find these types of helmets are better suited to Harley-type riders and even law enforcement. The level of protection is enough to pass DOT standards in most cases but again you won’t get the type of protection afforded by the full-face cousin.