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Motorcycle Helmet Recommendations

1180 Views 45 Replies 22 Participants Last post by  TecRsq
Hey All,

Wondering if I could get some recommendations on full face motorcycle helmets? I've been looking at Arai's and Shoei's, but they are crazy pricey. If I can get some confirmation that they're worth it I'll buy one in a heartbeat (my head is worth a good bit to me), but does anyone know of any less expensive brands that perform as well?

I'm getting a Suzuki Intruder (cruiser), I've got about 2.5 yrs riding experience, but I've been out of the saddle for about 2 years now.
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Re: Motorcycle Helmet Retrogradations ... -Gear.aspx

Read the reviews and then choose which one you like the best and give it a shot. All should be DOT approved.
Re: Motorcycle Helmet Retrogradations

HJC Helmets are good for the money. So long as the helmet you choose is both DOT and SNELL approved it will protect you well enough. Beyond that fit, ventilation and wind noise are the only other serious issues to consider.

I have found that the HJC helmets I have fit my head shape well, ventilate well and are not terrible with wind noise.

Price, fit and aesthetics are about all you will be able to tell in the shop tho. Best bet is to go to a well stocked dealer and try several brands and models on. This is not a product you want to buy online. Proper fitment is the biggest safety and comfort factor and you will not be able to tell any of that when purchasing online.

Also if the more expensive helmet is the only one that fits you well then it is worth the price. Your helmet is not something you want to skimp on.

HJC has some snazzy carbon fiber models also.
Re: Motorcycle Helmet Retrogradations

dcannon, Different brands of helments fit different type of heads. Lean over and have your wife look at your head. Is it round, long oval, egg? I can't remember which fit which, but that info is on the web. It's best to try them on especially if you are buying a pricey one. I'll say one thing the Arai I have now fits my head 100 times better than my first helment. I have the long oval shape. The DOT sticker is just that a sticker. The helments are supposed to meet the DOT requirements, but they don't have to prove it with a test. The Snell certification means the helment did get tested to met that requirement, not that it is the end all be all. I'll look around for reading material....
A lot can be learned here. I ended up buying the ZR1 after reading it. But it didn't fit my long head all that well(forehead), it would probably do well if your head is round.
Other than fit it was a nice helment for $80. But try one on first. ... index.html

Edit: Here is a good overview of helments site: ... elmets.htm
Enjoy it, but don't 'use' it.... What I know about helmets has changed since I was a punk rocketing around above 160+ circa 1984. SHOEI was always my choice. Like you, I did not have a $50 head....
As far as how safe a helmet is, you are good to go with any of the mainstream brands. With a Shoei or an Arai, you are paying for fit, finish, and features. If an HJC or Scorpion helmet fits you well and is comfortable to wear all day, there's not much need to spend more.

Unfortunately for me (and my wallet) the Arai, the Shoei, and the Suomy helmets were the only ones to fit me properly. It's also been my experience that the Shoei helmets tend to be a little lighter and have more airflow inside the helmet. Because of this, there will be more wind noise too.
Here is the helmet I have.

It is a modular full-face, which means the entire face-front can be flipped up. Makes putting it on / taking it off much easier.

It also has an integrated sun shade that can be flipped down / up. Don't have to worry about wearing sunglasses with this one!

Also was only $109 plus shipping.

Had it over a year now. LOVE it.
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I've had/used helmets from Nolan, HJC, Vega, Scorpion and Shoei. By far, the fit, finish and weight categories were won by Shoei. For my head shape as well, my Shoei X-11 fits the best. Fit is first and foremost in my book, as even the highest protection rated helmet will only protect your melon if it fits right. As for the standards mention (Snell and DOT), don't forget the European standard, ECE, which is close, if not exceeding Snell ratings in most cases. The WebBikeWorld website linked to above is good to get a general idea of what might and might not work for you, but I've always found I'm better off trying on a helmet before buying it. Personally, I stay away from the "bargain basement" type helmets as much as possible (my one exception being the Vega--what a POS that helmet was, received it in the mail and sold it the next day)....HJC and Scorpion are about as "low" on the food chain as I'll go, and I still personally think they're good quality (again, assuming they fit right). Just my .02....
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I have had two Shoei Rf-1000's and I love them. Yes they are expensive, but I went and tried brands several on. For the features and weight it came down to Shoei and Arai. The only Arai that was comfortable for me was the $900 one. The RF-1000 was still very comfortable.

Cycle Gear will let you come in and try several on, and they carry all the major brands. Make sure to put them on, shake your head back and forth, if flops around try a different size or brand. Any noticeable "tight spot" during the test fit will become a major headache after an hour or two of riding.

If you've got a cheap head, get a cheap helmet.
Forgot to add, I'm not a fan of the sayings regarding cheap heads and helmets (again, ignoring the "bargain basement" brands)--never have really understood that. Not everyone has it in their means to spend $500-800 on a helmet, and not everyone necessarily needs or could benefit from that level of cost. When you get to that level, and lot of what you're paying for is better fit/finish/paint, etc...basic overall quality of the helmet and its construction, how the parts fit together, etc. That doesn't always translate into better protection, as many helmets available for $150-200 also get the same safety ratings. Again, I think a lot more depends on how it fits your head. As for how much one should spend on a helmet--as much as they can afford to get what fits well, and offers the protection they want and features they need. A helmet isn't a place to skimp, but you also don't need to go broke or spend a mortgage payment on one. Again, just my .02...
Dcannon1, in case you are still looking, check this thread. I still have these for sale.

In my opinion Shoei are the best. But for the money, HJC are very very good. I have one Yamaha Shoei made half face and those listed for sale.
Buy what FITS! I roadraced for 7 years and have been through my share of helmets. I personally have a "Shoei head", so that's what I used. You don't have to drop $1k on a lid just because it has some artist's graphics on it. A solid color is very reasonable in price.

And afterall, this is your HEAD we're talking about. Shoei & Arai have great reputations because they are great helmets. Fit, finish, durability and standing up to impact is fantastic in them. The big problem I have with cheaper helmets is that the fitment sucks for me, the vents will break, and the windscreen closures don't hold up right. - Talk to Patrick, he's the owner & tell him Jeff from the CCS Forum sent you over. He's a great guy and will steer you right.

Also, I've always kept my helmets within 2 years of manufacture date. After that, if they weren't trashed, I hung them up and bought new. Many race organizations won't even allow you to race with something over 2 years old. Buying an off-beat brand can get you a 5 year old lid pretty easily & cheap. And on a final note, personally (just me, anyone else is free to do whatever they choose) I would never buy a used helmet... Ever...
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JeF4y said:
Also, I've always kept my helmets within 2 years of manufacture date. After that, if they weren't trashed, I hung them up and bought new. Many race organizations won't even allow you to race with something over 2 years old. Buying an off-beat brand can get you a 5 year old lid pretty easily & cheap. And on a final note, personally (just me, anyone else is free to do whatever they choose) I would never buy a used helmet... Ever...
To be clear on this issue, these are rules used by race organizations to cover themselves, not necessarily based on a helmets ability to perform its job after a certain amount of time (if I am not mistaken, there is no good research on this issue). WERA is 5 years, and even AMA (professional racing in the US) has no time limit specifically, just specific standards which have to be met.
+1 on buying what fits. Make sure it has a Snell sticker.

Arai happens to fit my melon like a glove.
:( @ $$$
:woohoo: @ lack of wind noise

Other than that, it is like shopping for holsters. Figure out what options and features you want then go with it.
Thanks for the opinions all. I went with a Scorpion EXO-900. Fit me well and I really like the modular design that allows the whole front face to flip up (anyone who has ridden in traffic in a GA summer knows how claustrophobic it can get in a full face helmet). The built in flip down sun visor is also a nice feature.

The helmet is ECE and DOT approved (no Snell approval, as I understand it Snell won't certify modular designs) and everything I've read about the Scorpions say they do pretty well in crashes (hopefully I'll never do any first hand testing).

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Congrats on the new lid! I've been considering one of those as well, haven't been able to wear one for more than a few minutes yet. Need to spend a little more time with one on before buying. I'm also considering one of Nolans new N43 Trilogy helmets. Really thinking I might go to 3/4 in the summer--I sweat easily as it is, more airflow would obviously be even better.
martin_j001 said:
Really thinking I might go to 3/4 in the summer
Oh yeah, that's the other awesome part of this helmet.

Comes with an extra visor attachment so you can get this configuration:
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Scorpions are decent helmets. I had a buddy who was a regional distributor for them. Congrats!
I am not a super fan of the modular type helmets basically for the lack of Snell certification but the Scorpion EXO-900 is the same model I purchased for my son. It fit him properly, was ECE certified and was affordable. I find the internal visor a bit gimmicky but still a fine enough helmet.
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