Shopping for a motorcycle helmet can be overwhelming. Are you looking for ECE certified dirt bike helmets or a DOT certified riding helmets? If you’re riding on the road, you need Department of Transportation certification, which is the most common in the United States. You may also see SNELL or SHARP certification. Here’s what to know about helmet ratings, sizing and cleaning.
Measure Your Head For a Good Fit
Motorcycle helmets need to fit your head correctly. Your helmet should be tight on your head, but not uncomfortably so. Measure your head circumference with a tape measure. It’s good to have a friend help you to get a more accurate reading. Run the tape above your eyebrows and around the back of the head, making sure you get the widest part of the head. You’ll want to try the helmet on for comfort and fit, but knowing your size is a good step.
What is the Difference Between ECE, Snell, & DOT Certifications?
DOT helmet standards are federally-mandated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Helmets must meet certain standards for impact and other regulations to be labeled with COT certification. Helmets for use on the road in the U.S. must be DOT certified. However, manufacturers get to declare that a helmet is DOT certified without any oversight. Most do conduct their own testing.
Snell is a private company that certifies motorcycle helmets to its standards. Snell has higher standards than DOT, so this certification is considered the superior certification in the United States. Snell certification is voluntary. The company tests the helmets themselves. No manufacturer can buy or say they have Snell certification without going through Snell’s process.
The ECE (Economic Commission for Europe) certification is the European version of the DOT certification. ECE testing is probably the most rigorous in the world. It combines elements from both DOT and Snell testing. Every major racing organization recognizes the ECE standards. Over 50 countries use the ECE certification.
Helmets can have all three certifications, or just one or two. Any helmet with DOT and Snell certifications is a good choice.
How to Clean Your Motorcycle Helmet
The best way to clean a motorcycle helmet is to be gentle and to use the right products. Don’t use harsh chemicals or soaps that can damage the integrity of the materials. Use a mild soap and soft microfiber towel to wash the exterior and interior. If your helmet is covered in bug guts, loosen up the corpses by placing a damp towel on the helmet for a few minutes. Don’t use a lot of pressure to clean the helmet, because you could scratch the visor or shell. Cotton swabs can be used to clean out the vents or joints. Air dry the liner. Don’t put it in the dryer. A fan can help speed up the process.
Take care of your helmet by wiping it down after each ride with a cleaning wipe. After a day of riding, don’t stuff your helmet into a storage bag without letting it air out overnight. This will prevent those sweaty, musky aromas.
Shop for a helmet to protect your head while you are riding.