Things You Should Know Before Buying A Motorcycle Helmet

Things You Should Know Before Buying A Motorcycle Helmet

Choosing the perfect motorcycle helmet is a daunting task, especially if you don’t know what you are looking for. There is a huge variation in the styling and features of each helmet, but if you don’t know what you are looking for, you’ll just be picking out the coolest graphic design. Unfortunately, looking cool isn’t everything and you might find that helmet lacking where it matters most: safety. Here at Dennis Kirk, we know a thing or two about motorcycle helmets. We’ve compiled our vast wealth of knowledge right here in a neat little blog, so that you can decide what you want in a helmet before beginning your search. 



You can begin your motorcycle helmet search by choosing a helmet style. The most popular options on the market are full face, open face, and modular helmets. Full face helmets are the most common. They can be specialized for racing or touring, and they tend to be safer and quieter than open face or modular helmets, making them perfect for long rides and road trips. 

Black full face motorcycle helmet

Bell Full Faced Helmet


Open face helmets are not as safe as full face or modular helmets. It’s not hard to see why; your chin and nose are fully exposed, an issue you wouldn’t see with a full face helmet. But, for some of you, safety isn’t the only concern, and these helmets do offer some unique benefits. For example, they offer a wider scope of vision, and ventilation is the equivalent to the entirety of nature and the elements blowing in your face. (Because it actually is.)

Open face motorcycle helmet

Daytona Open Faced Helmet


Modular helmets offer you the best of both worlds. They look just like a full face helmet, until you flip up the visor. When the visor and chin bar go up, you are left with a helmet that fits just like an open face helmet. These helmets have been growing in popularity due to their diverse abilities, but they also have their pitfalls. They are generally heavier than other options, and they are generally louder than a full face helmet. Of course, when dealing with generalizations, there are always outliers. You’ll need to do a little extra research on a specific helmet to be certain of its attributes.

Modular motorcycle helmet

Castle X Modular Helmet



Everyone knows their t-shirt size. You buy shirts all the time, and picking a size when adding to your cart is likely closer to reflex than anything else. But, when prompted to pick a helmet size, you are likely left scratching your head. But, don’t worry! Finding your helmet size is easy. Simply grab a measuring tape, and wrap it around the widest part of your melon. (right above your eyebrows). Take that measurement, and look at the helmet’s sizing chart. Your cranium’s circumference should be listed on a chart, next to a helmet size.  



Ventilation in full face helmets is one of those things that most riders won’t think of until it becomes a problem. The stifling heat that builds up in your helmet can feel like a sauna, and sweating in your helmet too much will leave it smelling like a high school locker room and will leave you dehydrated and fatigued.  Finding a helmet with a good ventilation system is important. When you are shopping, it’s likely that you’ll see helmets that are labelled “sport” or “racing” helmets. This name might mean that the ventilation system has been optimized for riders in the aggressive riding position that sport bikes facilitate. In the same way, touring helmets have been optimized for the upright position that touring bike riders employ. Keep this in mind, and remember that more vents does not necessarily mean better ventilation, even though it seems like it should. Check the product reviews to find out what real users think of their ventilation system. 



Aerodynamics are also important, especially when you find yourself on particularly long or fast rides. The same premise with ventilation applies here. Sport helmet aerodynamics are optimized for aggressive riding positions, and touring helmets are optimized for the upright position. Shop accordingly.  The more aerodynamic your helmet is, the less buffeting you will experience as well.  With less buffeting, you will experience less fatigue and the road noise will be far less.


Safety Ratings

DOT is the american standard, and any motorcycle helmet with a DOT sticker should be in compliance with federal standard FMVSS 218.  ECE is the standard used in Europe, and it accomplishes basically the same thing as its American counterpart. Either of these standards should serve you well. Any helmet that also bears the SNELL insignia has gone a step further and will be considered certified for certain races! The SNELL Memorial Foundation is known for their thorough testing, and if it’s SNELL certified, you can feel confident that your head is in good hands. 


So, there you have it. All of the cold, hard facts and professional opinions that you need to make the right choice in your motorcycle helmet search.  Keeping these ideas and tips in mind will go a long way towards keeping you satisfied with your purchase and safe on your ride. If you find that you still have questions, don’t be afraid to ask! You can ask us questions in the comments section below.  If you’re questions have been answered, then all we can do now is wish you luck. Good luck in your search for a helmet, ride safe.

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1 comment

Another factor with fit is it’s always best to try the helmet on before you invest. I have the unfortunate problem of needing a 5X helmet. I have yet to find a full face helmet that will even go on my head! The modular helmet is by necessity the only choice I have and only from one or two manufacturers that bother to make a helmet larger than 2X.

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