An important decision made by every motorbike and scooter rider, be they beginner or veteran, is which helmet is the right one for them ? Faced with an abundance of different models and prices, this can be trickier than it sounds. Therefore, to save you a headache on the inside, we’ve created a little guide to help you choose the right head protection for the outside. Different Types of Motorcycle Helmet
We have broken down the wide range of helmets into 5 general categories to make things easier : : Open-Face or 3/4 Helmets, Full-Face Helmets, Modular or Flip-up Helmets, Off-road or Motocross Helmets and finally Children's Helmets.
The open-face or 3/4 helmet is the urban option par excellence. Allowing a feeling of freedom as well as looking great, the open-face is the most popular choice among riders with a choice of finishes and a reasonable starting price. Lighter and so a more pleasant choice for the summer months, it does on the other hand offer less protection than its heavier counterparts. It is therefore an option recommended for generally easier riding and for inner-city journeys. > Our Open-Face Helmets
Lighter Open-Face Helmets
Again an option suited to the inner-city rider, the lighter open-face models are an attractive proposition owing to their reduced weight, the sense of freedom that they offer and the practicality of often being small enough to fit under the seat. Compact, however offering less protection to the face in the case of a frontal collision, this helmet is well-suited to riders making shorter, around-town trips. > Our Open-Face Helmets
The Ironman of the motorbike helmet family, this style of helmet protects the entirety of the face and ensures optimal protection for the wearer. Although some users may find the helmet restrictive, the full-face helmet is more aerodynamic and better sound-insulated, perfect when riding at higher speeds. In regards to winter options, the full-face helmet is without a doubt the number one, better sheltering the rider from the cold. On the other hand, despite the inbuilt ventilation system, this kind of headgear is not as aerated as the open-face options, and is therefore less comfortable in the summer.
Advice for riders wearing goggles or glasses : check that the eyewear you opt for fit comfortably inside the helmet, and that they can be put on and taken off easily. Some full-face helmets accommodate glasses more easily, the foam inside being shaped especially for this purpose. > Our Full-Face Helmets
An excellent compromise between the full-face and open-face options, flip-up helmets come with an adjustable chin-piece, allowing the rider to choose between the visibility of the one and the added protection of the other. A word of advice : not all flip-ups are the same, and only Double-Homologation helmets (which are marked : (P/J)) allow usage of the helmet with or without the chin guard lowered. The downside to this extra-versatility, is the extra weight of the helmet as a result of the mechanism required. Our Flip-up Helmets
The most innovative of our 5 categories, modular helmets have become best-sellers thanks to their versatility. In effect, the modular offers the protection of a full-face helmet and the visibility of an open-face thanks to the removable chin-piece, making this style great for both the summer and winter months. It is important when purchasing to note whether or not your helmet is tagged (P/J). This mark, meaning Double-Homologation, means that the helmet is road-legal in both configurations. > Our Modular Helmets
Motocross and Enduro Helmets
Although these helmets were originally created for off-road biking, the Supermoto boom has led to their frequently being found in a new arena; on city streets. With compact chin-guard, protruding visor and a fierce look, this style does usually require that the rider also wear goggles. However, some helmets are ready-sold with a protective eye-shield. > Our Motocross and Enduro Helmets
A fusion between a motocross and an open-face helmet, trials helmets are specially designed for indoor and outdoor trials. Very lightweight and very open, this style provides a large field of vision and therefore a feeling of freedom. It's distinctive form makes it easily recognisable even to non-initiates of the sport. > Our Trials Helmets
Perfectly conceived for little ones, children's helmets are not necessarily as technical as their adult counterparts, instead prioritising weighing as little as possible while remaining sturdy and safe. Open-face, full-face or off-road styles, children's helmets are often decorated with patterns or beloved popstars, film or cartoon characters. > Our Children's Helmets
If choosing a helmet style carries a lot of importance, the same can be said for the retention system. Here we've detailed the three variations of helmet-buckles: Visors
Quick-release clips, Micro Metrics and Double-D straps.
This seatbelt style buckle, though being easy to use thanks to the simple mechanism, is in the process of being phased out. This style of buckle has been known on occasion to unclip itself, rendering it less reliable than other clips. Thus, the major manufacturers are tending more towards Micro Metric buckles.
Micro Metric Buckles
Easy to use with one hand as well as with gloves, this retention system which is also commonly used for skis, works by inserting the toothed strap into the buckle. To tighten the strap, simply push further.
This style is often considered to be the real biker's choice. Furthermore, it is the retention system that most efficiently resists being removed in the case of an accident, and is for that reason the only buckle style permitted on the racetrack. The two-ringed buckle does require a bit of practice to get used to, but is without doubt worth it. The strap is passed through the two rings and then back through the first and is adjusted as necessary. This ingenious, time-honoured system is both robust and efficient.
Another important factor to take into consideration when choosing a helmet is the visor. When going at speed, the force of impact from small stones is hugely increased, thus it is essential that any visor or goggles worn while riding are specially designed for motorbike riders. The Composition of Your Helmet
Whether it be an aviator visor for use with an open-face helmet, or a long visor (preferable to protect against insects, dust and adverse weather), visors included with helmets are always clear and uncoloured, conforming to strict European standards.
One of the upsides of having so many different styles of visor on the market means that each rider is able to customise their helmet to their needs and tastes.
Which Type of Tint is Right for Me?
At iCasque, all of our helmets come with a colourless screen. However, the option to have a tinted screen is often available :
For bright, sunny days, there is the option of fitting a darkened screen. It is important to take into consideration, that visors may not be tinted to more than 50% to be roadworthy. These screens also may not be used at night.
A good option designed for snowy weather is the orange screen, allowing the rider to be more easily spotted by other motorists.
A veritable innovation in visor technology is the photo-chromatic screen, which lightens and darkens automatically according to outside light conditions.
As for iridium visors, lauded by professional riders, this style is designed solely for track riding.
Flat Visor ?
If you are looking for a racing helmet, you may benefit from having a flat-profiled visor. This style allows the rider to be able to perform tear-offs. These transparent films cover the screen and are easily torn off giving the cyclist a fresh view.
On the other hand, with the current popularity of retro gear in the motorbike universe, many riders have been turning to using Bubble visors.
Anti-mist Coating or Pinlock Anti-fog ?
To avoid condensation on the screen of your helmet, manufacturers have developed an anti-mist solution which is applied to the inside of the visor, or better still, equipped the majority of full-face helmets with Pinlock-style anti-fog films. If this is not the case, visors are generally designed to accommodate this anyway. In a configuration of this sort, two small wedges are built into the inside of the helmet especially. Be aware before purchasing, that each style of helmet takes a different-sized pinlock. Finally, it is recommended that Pinlock lenses be changed every two years maximum.
Anti-scratch Products to Prolong the Life Expectancy of Your Visor
Being fragile, motorbike helmet screens are often treated with anti-scratch products to toughen their surface and increase their resistance to the various bumps they will undergo. Despite these treatments, your visor remains sensitive to aggressive cleaning products. It is therefore important to use only lukewarm water with a soft cloth or leather rag to clean, thereafter letting the visor dry naturally.
A major deciding factor for many when choosing a helmet, is the material composition. Whether the helmet is injection-moulded with thermoplastic or polycarbonate, or whether it is fibreglass, multi-fibre (composite materials) or carbon-fibre. Whichever the material, all are subject to stringent testing and accreditation according to ECE Rule 22.05. Other Deciding Factors : Law, Ventilation, Accessories, Other Comfort Features
The principal materials are worth noting, as this affects the weight of the helmet, and the price. The production costs for polycarbonate and carbon-fibre headgear vary considerably.
Two Elements : Outer Shell and Inner Lining
A helmet is composed of an outer shell and an inner lining. The outer shell constitutes the first line of defence ; absorbing shock, reducing the pressure on a single point by compressing and thereby dispersing the energy from an impact, as well as protecting the head from piercing and scraping.
Polystyrene Inner Lining
Next, the inner lining is also charged with the task of shock absorption, coupled with assuring your comfort and support. Made of polystyrene or expanded polystyrene, today there are a number of multi-density liners that offer different grades of shock absorption depending on the part of the head each pad cushions. The inner lining is specially shaped to permit ventilation.
What About Materials : Polycarbonate, Carbon, Kevlar.. ?
The outer shell of your helmet can be constructed from a variety of different materials ; synthetic plastics or a blend of composite fibres.
As for polycarbonate, this material offers excellent mechanical properties. The process of fabrication consists of injecting the material into a mould, which is thereafter varnished. Owing to this production technique, these helmets are often able to accommodate only one particular size of inner-liner. This material is reasonably-priced, but is a little bit heavier than the others.
On the next level up, are shells constructed with composite fibres. Lighter than the polycarbonate shells, and coming in at a slightly higher price, optimal efficiency is achieved by fusing carbonfibre, fibreglass, kevlar and /or Dyneema with resins.
Finally for extreme lightness, nothing beats the carbonfibre shell. Top of the range material in the past reserved for the ‘elite’, i.e. helmets for professional competition. As for all top of the line materials, the fabrication of a carbonfibre helmet demands time and specialised equipment, which therefore elevates the cost somewhat.
So each material has its’ advantages ; carbonfibre lightens the load on your head but can prove to be more fragile in an accident, whereas fibreglass will be more resistant but a little heavier. Kevlar has a high elongation at break but is less resistant to compression. It’s entirely your preference.
Importance of Your Helmet’s Weight
As stated earlier, the materials that make up the outer shell have a lot of bearing on the weight, as does the type of helmet (full-face, modular etc.), whether the accessories are built-in or not (internal sun-visors etc.) as well as the size of the helmet of course. A XXXL is heavier than an XS ! The weight of a helmet generally varies between 1kg up to around 1.8kg, with an average of 1.25kg (based on a medium-sized full-face helmet). It is essential to think about how often you plan to use the helmet, if you travel every day or travel far, it is worth considering purchasing a lighter model to minimise fatigue.
How Do I Know Which Size of Helmet to Buy ?
With the aim of helping you get the most comfortable and rewarding experience from your machine, we have compiled here a list of tips to help you stay protected, and stay legal. UNECE Regulation 22.05
To state it simply : all motorcycle helmets must be set up in order to deal effectively with a set of minimum safety demands. The European norm adapted by every European country as well as several countries around the world is UNECE Regulation 22.05. Every helmet we offer at iCasque.co.uk conforms to this regulation and therefore to these safety demands.
Since the adoption of amendment 05 to regulation 22, the inclusion of a particular letter now denotes the result that the helmet achieved in the chin-protection tests to which it was subjected. :
- J No lower-face cover (open-face helmets)
- NP Non-protective lower face cover (certain modular helmets)
- P Full chin protection (Full-face helmets)
- J/P or P/J Indicates that the helmet is road-legal in both open and full-face configurations
The interior of your helmet is made up of hypo-allergenic padding for maximum protection and comfort. This padding varies, but models may be deodorising, antibacterial, fixed, partially removable (the cheek pads) or entirely removable and washable (making maintenance much easier). Helmet-padding Inflation System
Augmenting certain models, the interior padding inflation system reminds us of the ‘Pump’ line of 90s basketball trainers. Shaping to the rider’s head, the helmet contains a pump which inflates and deflates the airbags under the cheekpads. The Ventilation System
Although open-face helmets can get by without an efficient aeration system, modular and above all full-face helmets are obliged to incorporate these systems, under pain of being uncomfortable in both the summer (perspiration) and winter (condensation). The air circulates within the helmet between the polystyrene strips to refresh the rider or remove condensation. Logically, helmets intended for use on the racetrack are equipped with supplementary entry and exit points for the air to be able to flow more easily. The flip side to this, is that the noise level will increase as a result. Breath Guards and Chin Curtains, Essential Accessories
Sometimes supplied as standard and sometimes as optional extras, breath guards and chin curtains are indispensable elements for your comfort if you choose to ride with a modular or full-face helmet. The breath guard limits the formation of condensation on the visor by keeping your breath from the screen. In addition, the chin curtain is connected under the helmet to reduce the amount of cold air getting to the chin. The curtain also reduces the amount of noise getting to the rider’s ears. Failing this, a good-quality, well-adjusted neck warmer can also fulfil this function. Internal Sun Visor
Gaining in prestige amongst bikers, for reasons of comfort as well as of safety, the built-in internal sun visor is nowadays available from a number of motorbike helmet manufacturers. The screen which is built into the shell deploys and retracts easily with a small lever, it offers the same comfort as a smoked screen when faced with intense brightness. Try it and you’ll love it ! What if I Wear Glasses ?
Be aware that if you wear glasses, that open-face and modular helmets are the most adapted to your requirements. At the same time, several full-face models have specially shaped inner pads at the right level to accommodate your glasses. It would be advisable to wear spectacles with slimmer temples. Helmets with Intercom
Some may be interested in helmets which are adapted to host Intercom systems, these facilitate communication between the rider and passenger or even riders of other cycles. Certain brands now kit out their products as standard with the components of their own communication system such as microphones and earphones built into the shell. Practical.
So youre almost there, you’ve carefully considered the options and have found a type of helmet and the accompanying accessories which suit your needs. Now for the last stage, getting the right size. Too small, and you’ll feel like your head’s in a vice. Too big, and the helmet won’t provide you the protection you require. To avoid any issues later on, have a look at our method for choosing your perfect fit. Measure the Circumference of Your Head
To measure the circumference of your head, take a tape measure and measure around from 2.5cm above your eyebrows. Once you have your measurement, simply have a glance at our sizing list below. The (non-exhaustive) list provided here shows the main equivalences between head circumference and helmet size :
- 51-52 cm / size XXS
- 53-54 cm / size XS
- 55-56 cm / size S
- 57-58 cm / size M
- 59-60 cm / size L
- 61-62 cm / size XL
- 63-64 cm / size XXL
For helmets smaller than 51cm, these will fall under ‘Children’s Helmets’. At the other end, helmets for heads larger than 64cm are more difficult to find, but some manufacturers do offer XXXL (65-66cm) and XXXXL (67-68cm). A Bit Squeezed ?
So you’ve done your measurements and read the sizing table carefully, yet when it comes to putting your new helmet on, you feel all squished ? Don’t panic, don’t panic ! It’s perfectly normal as the inner pads take some time to compact so the contact should be firm, and gradually they will adapt to the shape of your face. After around a month you should feel perfectly comfortable and at ease in a new helmet.