Investing in a motorcycle is one of the most exhilarating achievements that most people admit to. There’s a unique sense of control and power that comes with sitting on a bike, going against the wind and becoming one with the road. However, you’ve got to remember something while at it; there are a million miles ahead, hours to enjoy the ride but you’ve got only one head.
As much as you want to enjoy your new bike, you need to familiarize yourself with the dangers involved. Unlike other means of transportation, a motorcycle does not have a seat belt. There’s barely anything standing between you and the road. This is the main reason as to why it is advisable for one to take precaution and wear their safety gear.
When asked about helmets, motorcycle dealers advise buyers to equate the value of their heads to determine the value of a suitable helmet. It is easy to go for the cheapest or trendiest helmet. However, an informed choice when shopping for one is called for. If you’re clueless when it comes to selecting motorcycle helmets, it is best that you seek the professional advice of a motorcycle dealer. Always remember the bikers code; Dress for a fall, not for the ride.
Table of Contents
- 1. What Is a helmet used for?
- 2. What Features Do You Want?
- 3. Helmet Safety Ratings
- 4. Helmet Size and Head Shape
- 5. Conclusion
1. What Is a helmet used for?
Motorcycle helmets are basically meant to protect your head from hard surfaces in case of an accident. An exposed head coming into contact with the unforgiving road may lead to serious head injuries. If you’re wearing the right helmet, it will compress during a fall hence reducing the severity of the impact. It will disperse and absorb force hence protecting your head.
Prevent serious damage to your brain
Before hopping onto that monster of a motorcycle, see to it that your bike helmet is secure and in place. Remember that a helmet is purposely designed to keep you safe in case of a fall. Always keep in mind that a helmet is a safety equipment that may enable you to see another day.
Studies show that most motorcycle riders go for years without any serious falls. However, accidents are just that. Accidents! They happen when you least expect them. You may be a careful rider but not everyone out there is as careful. The smallest mistake from another rider may land you in a hospital. A minor accident is enough to earn you scars on your head and face but not if you’re wearing your helmet.
If you want to enjoy your ride without worrying about prying eyes, wear a helmet. This is the same reason as to why motor vehicle owners tint their car windows. You can enjoy the same luxury on two wheels.
Protection from Debris and the wind
Unlike cars, bikes do not have a windscreen big enough to keep wind and particles from your eyes. Riding without a helmet will force you to squint and sometimes close your eyes due to the discomfort. Wearing a helmet enables you to enjoy the ride without worrying about these factors.
Protection from the sun
The bright rays of the sun in your eyes will not only damage your eyes but may also interfere with your adventure. Helmets are designed to counter this hence enabling you to peacefully ride your bike even on the brightest and sunniest of days.
2. What Features Do You Want?
Did you know that there are many types of motorcycle helmets? Each is designed for specific purposes and different users. This explains why it is advisable to personally shop for one until you find a suitable helmet. A person riding a sports bike or a cruiser will require a different helmet from a person riding a dirt bike or a motocross bike. A dirt bike rider will require a helmet that has an extended chin protection.
2.1. Type of Helmet
Just as there are different types of motorcycles, there just as many helmets to choose from. These include:
Full Face Helmets
A full face helmet is highly recommended as far as safety is concerned. Not only is it discreet, it protects your head, chin, and neck. The all round housing facilitates a quiet ride hence ample opportunity to concentrate on the road.
This helmet is designed to protect the skull only as it leaves the other parts of the head: neck, jaw and face, open. They are not as popular with motorcycle riders as they are with cruisers and scooter owners. The half helmets are extremely light in weight compared to the others types of helmets hence portability. They offer superior visibility while on the road due to the open design. Their design also leaves your face open to all weather elements.
These are specially designed for riders who are into racing and motocross sports. They are designed with features that facilitate this sport such as a sun visor, a chin protection, and special vents that allow heat to escape freely hence regulating temperature and humidity levels within the helmet. This type of helmet does not feature a face shield. This means that the rider does not have to worry about the screen fogging up during the cold seasons which also facilitates better visibility.
This is a helmet that offers a truce between a full face and an open face helmet. It features a chin bar that comes in handy at protecting the jaw. If you want versatility with your modular helmet, go for one that has a mobile chin bar that folds up to the top of the helmet out of the way when the need arises.
Open Face Helmets
This type of helmet is designed for riders who prefer to feel the wind on their faces. It is designed to protect everything else but your face. It offers great visibility but also leaves your face prone to dust and debris. Communication is much easier when wearing this type of helmet compared to the full face helmet. It is advisable that one invests in suitable eye gear with the open face helmet.
Your visual capability is most important when riding a motorcycle. Inability to clearly see the road and the surroundings may easily lead to an accident. If you feel uncomfortable or are unable to clearly seeing the road in a tinted helmet visor, go for a clear one.
A helmet that has a wide eye visor may appear to facilitate visibility but it may trigger discomfort as dirt and other debris will get into your eyes. Some helmets are weather friendly hence great visibility even in harsh weather. Some have an anti-fog feature, a tinted sun protector that pulls down when it’s too bright to clearly see the road.
2.3. A Secure Strap
In the case of a serious accident or fall, a helmet can easily fly off your head hence exposing it to danger. This is why a secure strap comes in handy. Ensure that it is securely fitted into place. An adjustable strap is best as it allows you to adjust the strap to your level of comfort. Ensure that you adjust the strap to a comfortable fit. If it’s too tight, the strap will choke you. If too loose, it stands the risk of falling off.
2.4. Weight of the Helmet
Most helmets weight between 1400 and 1800 grams. However, the ideal weight is determined by the size of your head. The weight of your helmet should be evenly distributed around your head, neck and shoulders. If too heavy, your neck will be strained. You will notice that modular helmets weight more than full face helmets.
You will also learn that the weight of the helmet is determined by the materials used in its construction.
2.5. Use of the Helmet
Different people use their bikes for different purposes. Some use them as a mode of transport while others use them for leisure. However, one thing is standard, safety.
If you are new to motorcycle riding, it is highly advisable that you steer clear of high-tech helmets that are loaded with fancy features. Aim at familiarizing yourself with the bike. Avoid all forms of distractions so as to remain focused on the road. You can advance to features such as microphones, speakers, and music when you become a pro.
If you intend to use your bike on a daily or weekly basis, it is best that you invest in a helmet that offers utmost comfort. In this case, a higher end helmet may provide you with advanced features such as noise reduction, anti-fog, sun shield and more features of comfort.
Everything comes at a price and so do helmets. In this case, your safety is of vital importance so the cheapest helmet is not an option. It is important to note that the price of the helmet does not determine its efficacy. A high price tag does not necessarily translate to a superior quality. The price of a helmet is mostly determined by the materials used and the additional features installed. For instance, a motorcycle helmet that’s made using carbon fiber is more costly than one made using poly-carbonate. You will also notice that an open face helmet that features a face shield is more expensive compared to one without a face shield. This proves that the best motorcycle helmet isn’t determined by the price but by its safety features.[amazon-related-products keywords=”Motorcycle Helmet”]
3. Helmet Safety Ratings
Getting your hands on the best motorcycle helmet is one thing but seeing to it that it passes the safety standards set by the Department of Transport (DOT) in your country is ultimate.
The initials that you should be looking out for include; DOT, SNELL or ECE. DOT is the minimum standard that your helmet must possess while SNELL is independent and its regulations are a bit more strict in regards to a helmet’s safety standards. This means that a helmet that has the SNELL initials is much safer and superior.
Different motorcycle helmets are put to different independent crash tests before being declared safe for use. In this case, the higher the star rating the helmet has, the better its quality. Aim to go for the highest star rating.
4. Helmet Size and Head Shape
A motorcycle helmet consists of three parts:
- A thin layer – This is soft and thick and usually made of polypropylene foam (EPS) or expanded polystyrene
- A hard layer – This part sits between the inner and the outer layer
- An outer shell – This part is either made using fiberglass, Poly-carbonate plastic or Kevlar
It only considered the best motorcycle helmet if it is a perfect fit. Before settling for a particular one, take your time to ensure that it fits you. Measure the circumference of your head using a tape measure. See to it that the tape measure goes around the largest part of your head and about half an inch above your ears and eyebrows. You can ask for assistance for accuracy.
The measurements should be in centimeters. The result is the helmet size that you should always use when purchasing helmets. You will notice that manufacturers prefer putting up size charts on each helmet. It makes it easier for you to find the right size.
Once you’ve spotted the right size for you, fit it. The helmet should sit squarely on your head. If your fingers can comfortably fit in between the helmet and your head then you need a smaller helmet. The best motorcycle helmet should snugly fit but not too tightly.
Most motorcycle helmet manufacturers make different helmets to for different head shapes. Some of the common head shapes considered include:
- Long & oval shape – This oblong shape is wider from the front to the back and narrow from top to bottom
- Intermediate oval – This head shape resembles a round head but is shorter from the front to back and wider from the top to the bottom
- Round Oval – This head shape is longer from one side to the other but not front to back
Motorcycle Helmet Sizing Guide from RevZilla.com
It is in our nature to want to challenge ourselves. We want the next road trip to be more challenging and fun than the previous. The pulsating motion and Adrenalin rush should never be at the expense of ours and other road users safety. It is advisable to perform thorough research on motorcycle helmets before settling for a particular one. If shopping online, take your time to read through the reviews of other users to get a glimpse of what the helmet will be like for you.