Six Questions to Consider When buying a Motorcycle Helmet

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A lot of thought goes into buying a motorcycle helmet. There’s a lot to consider, such as where you’ll be riding your motorbike. If you’ll be speeding along a track then you need a durable, aerodynamic helmet with great eye protection. If you’re just riding around town then you could get away with something more stylish and a little less sae. Goggles are a good idea for a dirt bike, but they can be distracting when riding a sports bike. A sports bike requires a full-face mask helmet (which is great if you want to look aggressive!). Different bikes and situations need different helmets. Here are six questions to consider when buying a motorcycle helmet.

Is it Certified?

Never buy a helmet that isn’t certified. There are plenty of acronyms you’ll come across, such as DOT, ECE, and AUS; but the only one that matters is the one that tells you the helmet is Snell-certified. These helmets are made for crashing. They can take a kicking from a truck and keep on licking. Snell-certification is voluntary and concentrates on the anti-puncture strength during a one-time crash. Helmets with Snell-certification are tougher and more durable than helmets with the benchmark US DOT (in America) and ECE (in Europe) certification.

Don’t forget the importance of replacing a helmet. In theory, a helmet becomes completely useless after the first crash. You need to buy a new helmet as soon as your old one is dropped or you crash your bike. Never ride using a helmet with a crack.

What’s the Fit Like?

Does the helmet pinch your temples or wiggle around the chin? If so, then it’s not the helmet for you. Your helmet needs to have a snug fit around the forehead and skull; but obviously, it shouldn’t be so snug that you get a headache from just wearing it. The helmet shouldn’t move or shake at all. It’s okay if it pushes your cheeks in, as the cheek pads open up a little. The last thing you want the helmet to do is push against the crown of your head. It’s bad to have too much pressure build up there.

How About the Ride?

Give the helmet a street test, and don’t be afraid to walk out of a shop that doesn’t let you. You need to get a feel for how it rides before you buy it. An open face helmet lets a lot of wind buffet your face and ears compared to helmets with visors and chin-guards. People might think open faced helmets are fashionable, but they leave your face fully exposed. For this reason – among others – they just aren’t worth it.

What Material is it Made From?

A high quality motorcycle helmet is one made from components such as leather, microfiber, and chrome. Quality is one of those things you can just feel. Some people are in love with the look of the Shark helmet, but at the same time it is criticised for its chin guard. The reason for this is that the chin guard is made from plastic, which won’t hold up in the event of a crash. Don’t forget to check to see if the interior lining can be removed and washed. Riding a bike properly means getting your helmet sweaty and dirty.

How Much does it Cost?

Okay this one is really a trick question. The cost of the helmet isn’t related to the safety. A DOT helmet provides the same level of protection, whether it costs you $160 or $600. The difference in price has more to do with the style of the helmet – the paint and venting, the flip shield and padding, and whether it uses a leather trim and microfiber. There are also expensive helmets that earn their price by being special edition and featuring tributes – such as the Pista GP R E2205 Replica, which will set you back $1,400.

We hope that you found this guide to buying a motorcycle helmet useful. Stay safe out there and have fun!

Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn’t know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.