The first thing you need to know about riding a motorcycle is the fact that, aside from being incredibly fun, this is also quite dangerous. In fact, according to one statistic, there are 26 times more deaths caused by motorcycles than those caused by cars. This is even more fascinating due to the fact that, as of today, there are about 276.1 million vehicles in the US, 44 percent of which are cars, and there are only about 8.4 million registered motorcycles.
Now, one of the main reasons why this is the case lies in the fact that a car, due to its design, simply does a better job of protecting you than a motorcycle does. In a car, you have more than several safety mechanisms like a seatbelt or an airbag, while there’s no such thing on a motorcycle. The closest thing you come to this on a motorcycle is the personal gear, most important of which is definitely a helmet.
Your head and your brain tend to be the most vulnerable parts during the motorcycle accident. This is why the very act of wearing a helmet may increase your chance of not sustaining grave injuries. Nonetheless, the quality of the helmet, the materials that it’s made from and its design affect more than your survival. The way the helmet fits may impact your field of vision and your level of comfort. So, with that in mind and without further ado, here’s a brief motorcycle helmets guide to help you choose the one that fits your needs (and your head) the best.
1. The structure of a motorcycle helmet
On the surface, a motorcycle helmet may look like a simple thing, yet, you would be surprised at how much effort, precision and design goes into the making of a quality helmet. What you see on the outside is a rigid outer shell and (most commonly) a face shield. On the inside, nonetheless, there’s an impact absorbing liner that could make a difference between life and death, in certain situations, additional face protection and a comfort/fit padding. Other than this, most helmets also have a retention system, that’s meant to attach your helmet to the rest of your gear so that it doesn’t fall off. Speaking in simpler terms, there’s an outer shell, a crushable layer, a padded comfort layer and a chin strap.
2. Weather protection and visibility
Aside from saving your life, helmets are also there to protect you from various atmospheric and climate occurrences. For instance, a helmet can protect you from the rain and wind, as well as reduce the glare of the sun. Most importantly, it can keep your face warm in frigid temperatures, thus enabling you to drive your motorcycle even in temperatures in which you would be unable to do so. Even more importantly, helmet somewhat dampens the noise, thus enabling you to be more focused on the road, same as it gives you protection from insects and dirt. Still, this also depends on whether you have an open- or a closed-face helmet, which is a topic that we will address shortly.
3. Open- or closed-face visor
As we already stated, one of the greatest choices that you’ll have to make is the one of getting an open- or a closed-face visor. Now, a strong argument can be made that an open visor doesn’t protect you from the majority of hazardous factors that we’ve discussed in the previous section. Nevertheless, it definitely has its benefits. Visibility, face space, price and overall rider enjoyment (depending on the circumstances) tend to go in favour of the open-visor helmet. For some people, closed-visor helmets seem just outright claustrophobic, which should make an open-visor into an obvious choice. Nonetheless, closed-visor offers more protection (by the majority of metrics).
4. How much is your safety worth?
No matter what kind of purchase we’re talking about, it’s inevitable to consider the cost of an item as a major factor, sometimes even a determining factor. Of course, you can look at this topic from a different standpoint and try to make an estimate of how much you really care about your health. One interesting statistic even claims that people who regularly wear helmets more often have health insurance than those who don’t. In other words, there’s a clear correlation, which means that setting a discourse on this plain may not be a preposterous idea.
As always, depending on the manufacturer and the quality of the helmet, there are different price-ranges that you’re about to encounter. Even when it comes to the same manufacturer, prices are vastly different. For instance, if you were to go to the motorcycle equipment retailer platform MX Store and look at Airoh helmets, you’ll find models ranging from $200 to $1,000. So, make up your mind, consult your budget and, most importantly, do your research before buying.
5. The looks
At the end of the day, let’s be realistic, driving a motorcycle is an incredibly cool noting. It’s also the one that gets progressively cooler if you have the right additional gear. Make no mistake, regardless of what kind of jacket, gloves and boots you wear, once you hop off your motorcycle, the first thing that people are going to look at is your helmet. This is why it’s important that you choose the model that you like in the mirror. For this very reason, it might sometimes be worth your while to pay a bit extra for a helmet that has similar or same performances, if you like it better visually.
The last thing you need to understand is the fact that the choice of the helmet may now seem like a minor thing, yet, it’s something that’s going to impact you every time you sit on a motorcycle. Due to the fact that this is not an investment that you’re likely to repeat in the nearest future, this might impact you in the long-run. Otherwise, you risk making an unnecessary repeat purchase. Therefore, choose wisely in order to avoid this potential ordeal.