When you are out buying a helmet, it is just like buying anything else and thus, there are things that you will have to consider. If you are a person who enjoys the latest technological trends, then you will tend to go for a helmet which has some aspects of technology including integrated communication system. If you are a traditional biker, then you want to concentrate on getting a helmet with basic features.
Here are some of the things that I think you should consider:
This is a part which most inexperienced motorcyclists will get it wrong. You might end up spending a lot of money on a helmet with the necessary features that you want to have, but at the end of the day, choose one which is either too large or too small. If a helmet is small, it will be extremely uncomfortable and will give you a lot of headaches while those which are larger will move around on your head, not giving you the protection that you so much require.
A helmet manufacturer who is considerate will give you instructions on choosing the right size for yourself and you will need to follow the instructions well. A brand new helmet should be a bit tight and if that is what you feel with your helmet, don’t panic and go for a size which is larger. This is normally due to the fact that the liners on the inside are going to compress and with time, the helmet will fit snugly.
If you end up with a larger helmet, then it will be able to fit comfortably at the beginning but with time, it will become loose. The shape of your head is also very important and you will find it documented by the major helmet manufacturers and thus, you will need to adhere to it.
2. Helmet Weight:
If you are a rider, you might want to place great emphasis on the weight of your helmet. When a helmet is light, the less power it will transfer in case of an impact. It is also more comfortable and enjoyable to wear especially if you are going for long rides.
The weight of the helmets ranges from 1400 grams to 1800 grams. The important key to weight is a helmet which is well fitting so that its burden is sent lightly around your shoulders and head. You need to have a helmet which is able to suit your body type and your neck’s ability. Since if you have the wrong weight on the helmet, it might end up causing neck pain and even seriously, neck injury when you have longer rides.
If gravity center is off a helmet which is lighter, can feel stress and heavier on your neck. Compared with a full face helmet, the modular helmet tends to weigh more due to the equipment established to be able to ensure that the visor is flipped up.
3. Materials used in the shell:
The helmet is affected by a lot of things due to the helmet shell materials which is not limited to weight. It is likely going to affect the level of protection rating and comfort. Most helmets are made of one or more of the material below: Fiberglass composite, polycarbonate, and carbon fiber. They combine with a layer of polystyrene foam which expands.
EPS: It is densely compressed fabric foam into an absorbing internal shell
Polycarbonate: It is less expensive and it flexes as it absorbs electricity
Fiberglass composite: Crushes, flexes and splits due to the fact that it absorbs electricity. This type can be expensive at times.
Carbon fiber: It is expensive and lighter and normally upon impact, distributes power
4. Innovative technologies:
When it comes to innovation and technology, it is easy for you to think about helmets which have Bluetooth or any other wireless speaker interfaces. But there is one innovation which you will need to keep in mind when thinking of technologies which are, MIPS. It is a synonym for multidirectional impact protection system.
This is a system which is designed to ensure that your brain is protected against any impact which might be caused by rotational motion. It will help in reducing the risk of severe or minor brain damage by redirecting and absorbing impact force which can be risky to the brain during an accident.
5. Safety rating:
This should be the main concern when you are purchasing a helmet. Ensure that the helmet is certified by DOT. If you get one which has a Snell certification, then that will be an added advantage. This will mean that your helmet will be in a position to withstand the forces that you will encounter in case of a crash and ensure that you are well protected. The following are the standard ratings for helmets on different aspects:
DOT: Denoting the department of transportation, which has strict requirements about the safety of the helmets for motorcyclists and requires intense testing done on helmets for it to earn the sticker.
SNELL: It has been an aggressive tester when it comes to helmets, with many riders taking it to be the golden certification for helmets.
ECE: Denotes, economic commission for Europe standards, which is used in more than 50 countries in Europe, requiring that helmets have to go through thorough tests in order to be approved.
SHARP: It is a new rating which is built off the rating of ECE, giving more star system that is precise that range between 1 to 4 stars, instead of the blanket rating of fail/pass which is normally employed by ECE.
6. Value for money:
There is no need for you to use a lot of money purchasing a helmet unless you are going for professional racing. After a crash, you will need to replace your helmet and thus, it will be important to get a helmet which will offer you a good value for the money you pay for it.
Decent airflow in the helmet is a factor which is important when it comes to your comfort. When the clean air enters, it helps to cool you when you are riding in weather which is hot and makes sure that, the inside stays fresh. You should look for an inlet and outlet vent at the side, top and the back of the helmet which can easily be opened and closed using your hands.
A good system of ventilation should be able to provide direct paths for air to be able to flow on your head and face and at the same time, be capable of being able to shut off the air completely when you don’t need it. Getting one with vents on the chin can come in handy as it will be able to prevent the visor from being able to mist up.
8. Protective features:
A helmet is supposed to protect you against potential falls and crashes. For motorcycle helmets, they will also protect you from elements which include snow, rain, pollution and road noise. For it to do all that, it has been made from a certain type of materials and engineered in a certain way.If you are a person who is into racing, you will want to go for maximum protection meaning, durable helmet with full face covering which is made from shock and energy absorbing materials. They should be SNELL certified.
But in case you are just a regular user of ATV/UTV, and on safe roads always, you can go for half helmets which are more comfortable. But ensure that they are able to protect your head against potential crashes and falls and thus, should have the necessary certifications.
Never purchase a non-certified helmet. Helmets that offer protection need to go through a certain test and pass local regulations. They should have ECE, DOT, AUS, or SNELL certification.
For the helmet to give you maximum comfort, it needs to be well fitting, not too light, and not too loose. If it is not, then it might become a safety hazard. It is important that you get the right sized helmet for your specific head.
When you have a helmet which is uncomfortable, it will likely take your focus away from the road and this could lead to a crash. The ventilation has to be good and you need to have a good field vision. There are some helmets which have options which are customized where you can remove or add certain parts to ensure that it is custom to you as a rider.
10. Looks and Aesthetics:
While it is not very important as compared to the other factors on this list, you will have to take it into consideration. This is due to the fact that the design and color of the helmet need to match well with the rest of what you are wearing and also of the motorcycle.
While price should not be the determining factor for quality, when you are purchasing a helmet, it is important that you understand that, the price might be influenced by things which are important and thus, there is no need to buy a cheap helmet which will not do the work of protecting you. Price of a helmet might differ due to:
o Materials used
o Name or brand
o Integrated technology
So if you are not interested in technology, and you just require a helmet that is no-nonsense, then there is a possibility that you will pay less as compared to someone who wants a technological savvy helmet. The same applies to the brand. If you don’t care about the brand name, then you are likely going to pay less than someone who wants to put on a helmet with the famous brand name. But I would recommend that you get a helmet that has been manufactured by a reputable company.
In terms of certification and materials, you don’t have to gamble. If you are going for a race, you will have to prepare yourself to pay more in order to get a good quality helmet which will be able to protect you against potential crashes or falls, meaning, it will be more expensive. As regarding certification, it has to be a helmet that has passed certain regulations. If you want maximum protection, then you will go for one that is SNELL certified.