After spending hours of research in choosing a motorcycle, you're now faced with the daunting task of what gear to choose. The most important is the helmet you choose as it protects the most vital part of you: Your head. It often baffles me to see people riding on a sport motorcycle but "in order to save money" they go with a cheap brand helmet not realizing that the difference could save their life.
Before you go out and purchase the coolest looking helmet with a bunch of flashy designs, here are 8 tips to choosing a motorcycle helmet.
1. Size Does Matter
The old adage "bigger is better" is not necessarily true in this case. When choosing a helmet, you want to make sure that it is comfortable and snug. Fasten the straps and grab the helmet chin bar and begin moving the helmet side to side. If it feels like the helmet is sliding on your skin and hair, then the helmet is too loose. Move the helmet up and down and if it feels like you can pull off the helmet, then it's still too loose. Keep in mind, you're going to be spending hours in your new helmet so you want to make sure that it fits you comfortably. Keep trying on different sizes until you find one that fits you comfortably.
2. Safety First
Turn over the helmet and almost always you'll see a DOT and maybe even a SNELL sticker. DOT and SNELL certifications are motorcycle safety standards which put numerous helmets through rigorous testing to ensure that the helmet protects a person the way they are supposed to. DOT operates through an honor system and relies on the integrity of a company whereas SNELL does more further testing. It's always a good idea to get helmets that are both DOT and SNELL approved just to be certain that you are dealing with an approved helmet. You'll find that more and more manufacturers are increasingly offering their helmets with these options.
3. Type of Helmet
Another important factor is the actual type of helmet whether the helmet is a full face helmet, an open face helmet, a shorty helmet or a moto cross helmet. It should be pretty obvious that the full face helmet offers the most safety in regards to type of helmet as it protects the face and back of the head. If you choose an open face or shorty helmet, keep in mind that you expose yourself to increased risk should an accident ever happen.
4. Anti-Scratch and Anti-Fog
More and more manufacturers are increasingly building their helmets to include visors that are both anti-scratch and anti-fog. If they don't, you might want to find a different helmet that has these or purchase an aftermarket visor that is equipped with anti-fog. The last thing you want is to be unable to see while riding due to a fogged up visor. In addition, you can always purchase an anti-fog spray or an anti-fog film strip.
You're probably thinking to yourself that you want a motorcycle helmet with a lot of vents so that you're not baking in your own sweat in your helmet. The problem with a lot of vents is that you're going to have an extremely noisy helmet. The more aerodynamic the helmet and the better the vents, the less noise there will be when you are riding. Of course, you can always use earplugs to tone down the noise and there are helmets with vents that can be opened and closed at will.
You want to consider your chinstraps as you are fitting your helmet on. How easily is it to tighten the helmet using the chinstrap? Also, if you plan on locking your helmet to your bike, then you'll want to make sure that you can easily lock your helmet on your rear trunk using the chinstrap.
7. Inner Liner
As you are fitting on a helmet, you want to make sure that the inner liner is comfortable for you. Keep in mind also that the inner liner will "break in" as you wear it more often so that it will be more comfortable as you wear it. Be sure to start with a helmet that is snug and comfortable.
Lastly is the design of the helmet. How you choose what design and pattern you want on your helmet depends entirely on you. There are numerous top motorcycle helmet brands like AGV, Icon, Joe Rocket, Scorpion and Shoei so you're bound to find something that suits your style.
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