The construction of a motorcycle helmet

  1. The Outer layer

is also called the hard shell. This part is the most important and visible part of a helmet, so it must be structured carefully.

Some requirements for a standard helmet shell are the shape, abrasion resistance, hardness, and visibility. Now we will talk about each requirement.

First is the shape. Basically, helmets are round-shaped as round shape do not have sharp edges which cause compound injuries.

Some helmets are non-round due to a lot of vents or spoilers protruding, but they are still safe because those protrusions are made from soft plastic which can snap when there is impact. 

Next is the abrasion resistance system. Usually, the helmet shell is made from fiberglass or polycarbonates which is hard to break.

motorcycle helmet construction

In case of an accident when your helmet touch down the road, a lot of energy from a massive impact will be spent on breaking the shell so the inner shell and your head just need to deal with the least crash energy. 

The third requirement is the visibility. It is very important to make yourself more visible to other drivers on the road.

Bright colored and reflective helmets are better than dark matte colored ones. Darth Vader style is cool but you should go with the Stormtrooper to ensure your safety.

Remember my first helmet was black and I had to make it more reflective by using retroreflective tape to tape around the helmet rubber beading.

It took me a lot of time to do but not very effective, so I decided not to buy plain black helmets again. I like to use retroreflective on my visor as I can be more visible at night and in poor visibility conditions. 

You may wonder why shouldn’t we use stickers on the shell? Actually, there are not many shells that support extra stickers or paint.

This may have been stated on the helmet packaging by the manufacturers. If you insist on stickering your helmet, you’d better use the rubber beading than the entire shell. 

Helmet shell caring tip: Although the shell is hard, you still need to be gentle with it. If you want to wash it, it’s better to use mild cleansers.

To avoid scratches during the cleaning process, use a piece of soft cloth to wet and soften any accumulated grime or dried bugs first then you can clean it more easily.

If you have to use soap, then use the gentlest one you have with a very diluted solution. Proper cleaning tools such as a soft toothbrush is needed when you wash tricky areas like the edges of the visor or vents.

Be careful when you hang your helmet. The best way is to have a backpack dedicated to storing your helmet.

  1. The middle layer

Unlike the outer layer, the middle layer is not exposed to the environment. The material used to make this layer is either EPS or expanded polystyrene which can be found in disposable cutlery. 

helmet-construction

High-end helmets have more than one variable density EPS layers in order to absorb impact and protect your brain. 

If your helmet has the thermocol middle layer, then you could know that it is not a very robust material.

Some habits that can ruin the thermocol layer are storing things like water bottles in the helmet or dangling your helmet off the motorcycle mirror. 

Standard helmets will have black EPS liner because when the EPS is damaged, the natural white color will expose and easily be seen. 

  1. The foam lining

is also called the comfort layer. This is the last layer in a helmet that contact with your head. It covers ¾ your head from the front hairline to the back of your neck.

Usually, a helmet will have two cheek pads. These pads are also in the comfort layer terms.

The foam lining is really helpful to wearers. It offers comfort and fitment. Although known as the softest layer, the foam must be strong, though.

motorcycle-helmet-construction

Otherwise, a strong wind can blow the helmet backward and compress your nose. The foam can absorb the moisture fast and quickly evaporate the wetness.

In most motorcycle helmets, the comfort layer is removable so it is convenient to wash when it gets dirty.

Plus, you can replace the old layer to have a new and thoroughly clean foam after a year of use. Sometimes, a new comfort layer will make you feel like you are wearing a brand new helmet. Pretty economical, right?

  1. The retention system

This is a critical thing that all standard helmets must have. It is so important that many safety standards include it in their testing process.

This system is to see how strong and durable your helmet is in the event of a crash. The helmet must stay on during the crash to protect your head. 

The main part that helps your helmet secured on your head is the chinstrap. Typical models will have two webbing straps.

motorcycle helmet retention system

Each strap will have one end attached to the helmet and the other end connected to a mechanism.

Quick-release mechanisms are usually found more in cheaper helmets which is the same as car seat belt mechanism.

Some helmets will have one to two buckles that allow you to adjust the length of the webbing until you have the perfect fitment.

Higher-end helmets tend to use double D-ring as the two additional metal rings are lighter and simpler than the release mechanisms.

The double D-ring has no buckles; it simply can be fastened tightly. However, this kind of strap is fiddly to use either with gloved hands or naked hands, so you will need some time to get used to operating it.

  1. The visor

is also called the face shield. This is the front part that covers the face area, especially your eyes and protects them from strong wind or flying objects while riding. 

Cheaper helmet visors are usually made from acrylic which picks up scratches. Acrylic visors also turn a yellowish shade or hazy after a certain time of use, so you will need to replace it regularly.

Higher-priced helmets tend to use polycarbonate. Polycarbonate visors have a few more prominent features than acrylic visors such as better hardness or better distortion. 

motorcycle helmet visor

Visor caring tip: It is advisable that you should wash your visor as you wash your shell to have a clear vision. Try not to scratch it while cleaning. Steps to clean the visor are similar to cleaning the shell.

It is wise to have two types of visors to use in the day and at night. While the tinted visor is used at night, the clear visors can be used during the day. 

In this way, you don’t need to wear extra sunglasses inside the helmet which usually causes discomfort during the ride.     

  1. Ventilation system

Why must a motorcycle helmet have a ventilation system? It is because these vents are responsible for inhaling and exhaling air from the helmet.

motorcycle helmet ventilation system

This ensures the wearer is not breathless while they are riding, thus having the best comfort. 

While expensive helmets have two-way ventilation holes, cheaper helmets use only intake vents.  If a helmet has two-way vents, the fresh air is supplied continuously to the wearer, and the air inside can be expelled.

So HelmetsZone just listed out some parts that build up a complete motorcycle helmet. Hope this can help you get to know more about this important safety gear. 

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