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Motorcycle Helmet Basics

Find the motorcycle helmet that’s right for you.

Wearing the right motorcycle helmet can be the difference between life and death in a crash. When you’re looking for the right motorcycle helmet, you’ll need to think about the fit and shape of the helmet. Find out which type of motorcycle helmet is the best for you.

The Fit

Finding the right fit will not only keep your head secure, but it will also make for a comfortable ride. Fit depends on the size and shape of your head. When you try on a helmet, you should be able to shake your head up and down and side-to-side without shaking the helmet. You want the helmet to fit snug, but you also don’t want it too tight. If the helmet is too tight, you’re going to be in for an uncomfortable ride.

It’s a good idea to wear the helmet for about half an hour before you take it on the road for the first time. Check for pressure points, especially on your forehead and crown of your head. Most helmets come with cheek padding that can be added or removed, depending on what you need to do to maximize comfort. Your helmet size may vary, depending on the brand and shape. Always try on a motorcycle helmet before taking it on the road.

The Shape

Motorcycle Helmet Basics
Choosing the right motorcycle helmet will help keep you safe and provide the most comfort. Learn the basics of how to choose the best motorcycle helmet.

There are different types of motorcycle helmets to choose from. Depending on what type of riding you’re doing, you’ll need the right shape motorcycle helmet.

Full Face Motorcycle Helmets

A full face helmet provides the most protection. It covers the entire head, going from the chin to the base of the skull. It gives you the most isolation from the elements and reduces noise, which is great for the open road. These helmets can be heavier than others, and some riders don’t like the added heat from the fully enclosed helmet.

Open Face/Three Quarter Motorcycle Helmets

The open face, or three quarter, helmet covers the back of your head, but not your face. While these helmets may seem more comfortable to most riders, the downfall is the lack of face protection. Obviously you want to protect your face in a crash, but it’s also important to protect your face while riding. Bugs, dust, debris and wind can all make for an uncomfortable, and even dangerous, ride. If you’re going to wear an open face helmet, you should at least wear sunglasses or motorcycle goggles to protect your eyes. You can also attach a face shield to help with sun glare and flying debris.

Modular Motorcycle Helmets

Modular motorcycle helmets are like a hybrid of open face and full face helmets. The lower half of the helmet can flip up over the top of the helmet, transforming from a full face to an open face helmet. They provide the safety of a full face helmet, with the convenience of an open face. With the chin bar flipped up, you can easily communicate with other riders. When you’re riding, it’s important to keep the chin bar flipped down. Riding with the chin bar flipped up can cause increased risk of neck injuries in a crash. These helmets can also weigh more because of the chin bar latches. They’re also not fully sealed like a full face helmet, so the wind and rain can still affect your ride.

Half Motorcycle Helmets

Half helmets aren’t really recommended for motorcycle use. They only cover the top of your head, leaving your face, chin, ears and neck totally exposed. They offer the least amount of coverage allowed by law. However, they are quite comfortable because they’re lightweight and have good visibility. If you do choose a half helmet, we recommend wearing goggles or sunglasses to protect your eyes from debris.

Off Road/Motocross Helmets

Motocross helmets provide the same protection as a full face helmet, when combined with motocross goggles. They feature a long visor to protect the rider from sun glare and debris on a rough course. They also feature an angled chin bar to help with facial impact from debris or in a crash. They typically have an open face area around the nose and eyes. Goggles are worn to cover this open area, providing more protection.

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