Purchasing and maintaining the proper safety gear is one of the most important things a motorcycle owner can do. Refer to our guide below for how to select the proper helmet for you, based on general state requirements, price, size, and riding needs.
While laws vary by state, almost every state has a law in place where one has to wear a helmet while on a motorcycle. These required helmets need to be approved by the department of transportation (DOT), so make sure the helmet you buy is DOT approved.
It’s always a good idea to check with your individual state in order to make sure your helmet is legal, but some of the general aspects of a DOT approved helmet are that they cover your head and face and will protect you if you fall or if some debris flies at you during a ride.
So, how much should a motorcycle helmet cost? When it comes to safety, it’s not controversial to say that it is a good idea to spend a little extra. While hopefully you will never need it, you surely want your helmet to protect you if the unthinkable ever does occur.
While prices can obviously vary widely, the cheapest DOT approved helmet you are likely to find will run you about $100. You can spend much more, but generally, expect to spend somewhere in the 150.00-250.00 dollar range for a good, protective helmet.
If it's style you are after, expect to pay a bit more, as high tear and customized helmets are sometimes triple the price.
The best way to figure out your size for a motorcycle helmet, is just to try a few on and see what feels best for you. Everyone has slightly different shaped heads and will need a different style of helmet.
There are general sizing guides, which range from XXsmall to 5xlarge. The main thing to look for is that the helmet is comfortable enough that you can wear it for long periods on longer rides and that it is not too loose where it won’t protect you in an accident.
Individual Riding Needs
There are six general types of motorcycle helmet, and each comes with its own unique benefits. They are as follows:
- Full face - Fixed structure with full face coverage.
- Modular - Provides the same full-face protection but designed for comfortable opening and exposure of the mouth and chin area.
- ¾ helmet - With exposed chin area these helmets are lighter both in weight and protection.
- Half helmet - These helmets cover only the top of your head leaving everything below eye-level exposed. Make sure to equip yourself with added proper eye protection. While being light and comfortable, the overall protection provided is the lowest.
- Off-road - Designed especially for dirt-bikes and motocross these helmets have a larger visor and extended chin protector with better air flow. These helmets are usually DOT approved so you can use them when riding streets as well.
- Dual sport - A full-face and off-road hybrid, providing the same large visor as the off-road and the comfort of a padded full face helmet.
It is worth taking the time to think about how you are mostly going to be using your motorcycle, as you will get the most benefit if your helmet is suited to your own unique needs. For example: an off-road helmet works well for someone who does a lot of dirt biking, but is not recommended for use on highways.
No one wants to think about having an accident on a motorcycle, but unfortunately, these things do happen. Having a proper protection significantly reduces your risk.
Many states also have requirements for eye protection. This may require you to purchase an extra attachment for your helmet to protect your eyes and ensure that you are riding legally, or you may need to buy a helmet where all of your state’s requirements are incorporated into the helmet itself.
The helmet is one of the most important pieces of your motorcycle experience. It is worth spending extra time researching the right helmet for you, and often worth it to spend a little extra money than you may ordinarily want to. Check with your state to make sure you are within the legal guidelines and to ensure that you are safe while you ride.