Guide to Motorcycle Helmets

Motorcycle Helmet Guide

Riding a motorcycle is an amazing experience. Some people do it just to say that they can, most people thoroughly enjoy riding. It can get you where you want or need to be a lot faster than almost all other means of transportation, it’s easy on gas and lets face it… you definitely get a thrill from riding and it’s fun.

One very important thing to remember is safety. The best motorcycle riders are those that choose safety first above everything else. If you aren’t wearing protective gear, especially your helmet then you aren’t safe.

Why Wear A Motorbike Helmet

Icon and Arai Motorcycle Helmets

Icon and Arai Motorcycle Helmets. Photo by pwkpwkpwk

When you look at different areas of life, anything dangerous requires safety equipment. Football players wear pads of all different types as well as a helmet, construction workers wear hard hats, fire fighters wear a lot of protective gear, some of which included are: steel toed insulate boots, insulated pants… and most importantly a helmet.

Some of the most dangerous sports and occupations require a helmet, so being a motorcycle rider there is no difference or reason why you shouldn’t wear your protective gear as well. Motorcycle helmets aren’t designed to keep you from having fun but they are designed to keep you safe and possibly save your life.

While there is other protective gear for you to use while riding a motorcycle, the helmet is the most important protective gear for you. If you happen to crash or get into an accident it can save your life.

You wouldn’t think that such a small item can make a big difference but it does. It can be the difference of a small check-up from an EMT on the roadside to having severe and life altering (and in some cases life ending) head trauma.

Of course you hope that you never crash or happen to be in a accident while riding your motorcycle but you never know. You want to have your helmet on while riding and not need it, than to need your helmet on while riding and not have it.

Comfort While Riding… For Yourself and Others

AGV Full Face  Motorcycle Helmet

AGV Full Face Helmet. Photo by Rich

Although you may not think so, motorcycle helmets can be very comfortable… and the more comfortable you are, the more you can enjoy riding your motorcycle.

Think of what it can help out with… you won’t have so much wind in your face, bothering your eyes or in your ears. It can keep away any flying objects, especially insects… because let’s face it, you don’t want any bugs in your mouth or on your face.

It can also help you from being tired or gaining fatigue. You definitely don’t want to be on your motorcycle riding and then suddenly get extremely tired. It’s not good for you or other drivers to be tired and riding, and then imagine riding tired with no helmet! That’s just no good.

Wearing a helmet also lets others know you’re a responsible rider. Being on a motorcycle is no joke and should be taken seriously. When other pedestrians and other riders see that you have on a helmet they know you didn’t just hop on a bike and start going.

This let’s anyone who sees you know, you have a positive attitude towards riding and are serious about what you’re doing.

Choosing A Motorcycle Helmet

There are some key things that make up a good helmet:

  • the outer shell
  • a liner that is impact-absorbent
  • comfort padding
  • a good retention system

The outer shell is generally made of thermoplastics like polycarbonate or fiber-reinforced composites. It is tough for sure, but it’s designed to compress if it hits anything hard; doing so lessens the force before it reaches your head. Of course it acts with the other components of the helmet.

Bell Half Face Helmet

Bell Pit Boss Half Helmet

The impact-absorbing liner is made of a Styrofoam like material, this will help cushion and absorb shock as the helmet stops and your head automatically wants to keep moving.

The comfort padding is a layer that is made of cloth and foam that is obviously soft. It aids in the helmet fitting snugly as well as being comfortable for you.

Lastly the retention system is commonly known as the chin strap. It as well as the rest of the helmet is very important; think of it like you would the seat belt in a car… it’s the one piece that keeps the helmet on your head in the instance of a crash.

There are a variety of things you want to look for when you are going shopping for a motorcycle helmet. The first things you want to consider are comfort and protection. It’s not about what it looks like on the outside.

When it comes to comfort and protection there are definitely key attributes the motorcycle helmet can offer. The helmet can cut out wind noises and refine your hearing, it protects your head by the shell dispersing energy and the liner absorbing impact, it protects your eyes and face from windblast and debris which in turns allows you to be able to see the road and your surroundings with no problems, and it provides you with comfort from environmental conditions.

Types of Motorcycle Helmets

Shoei J-Cruise Open Face Helmet

Shoei J-Cruise Open Face Helmet

Now that you know what you’re looking for you have to decide what type of helmet you what and which one is best for you.

You can choose from

  • a full-face helmet,
  • an open-face helmet, or
  • a half helmet.

The full-face helmet usually has a movable face shield and definitely gives the most protection seeing that it covers your whole face.

The open-face motorcycle helmet has basic components but doesn’t give chin and face protection like the full-face helmet.

If you choose this helmet it may be best to get a snap on shield or wear protective goggles that can withstand impact in case of a crash.

The half helmet protects even less than the open face helmet… and ultimately they’re not recommended for riders at all.

When it comes to choosing your helmet it’s good to make sure that your helmet meets the safety standards. The U.S.. Department of Transportation (DOT) has a set of guidelines and standards that the helmet must meet for it to be deemed effective.

To check if the helmet you’ve chosen meets the standards of the DOT all you simply have to do is make sure your helmet has the DOT sticker on the inside and you’re set to go. This sticker lets you know the following things have been tested: impact, penetration, retention, and peripheral vision.

Your Helmet Is Helpful

Choosing a helmet may seem as if it’s a daunting task… you never know how much taking a little time to choose a helmet can be effective and life altering. Take the time and spend the money on your helmet, hopefully you never get in a crash, but if you just happen to, you’ll be happy you had the helmet on.

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