A properly fitted helmet is one of the most important accessories for any motorcycle rider. The type of helmet you need depends on what type of riding you’re planning to do. Riders taking an easy trip on a cruiser require a different level of protection than those tackling rough terrain and jumps with carbon fiber dirt bike helmets. Follow these tips to understand the differences between cruiser and sport helmets, and to determine which helmet is right for your needs.
Types of Motorcycle Helmets
There are six main varieties of motorcycle helmets: half, open face, full face, modular, off-road and dual-sport. Cruiser riders tend to prefer cruiser open face helmets or half helmets, which cover part of your head and leave your face exposed. Sport riders choose the type of full-face helmet that best fits their planned activity, whether that’s off-roading, dirt biking or motocross. Understanding the key features of different types of helmets will help you decide which variety is the best for you. For any style, learn how to size a motorcycle helmet to ensure a proper fit and maximum safety.
- Half: Covering the back and top of the head, half helmets have a retro feel and allow you to enjoy the wind as you ride. They offer the least amount of protection among motorcycle helmets, so be sure to pick a model that’s been safety tested and approved.
- Open Face: An open face helmet covers about 75% of your skull, including the sides of your head. As the name implies, this style leaves your face open. They offer considerably more protection than half helmets and tend to be the safer option for road riders who want to experience the environment. Open face helmets typically have a visor to shield your eyes from the sun.
- Full Face: In the event of a crash, a full face helmet will offer the most protection. This style has a face shield that covers the eyes and nose, as well as a chin bar that wraps around the lower part of the face. Look for a model with a ventilation system to keep from getting overheated.
- Modular: A modular, or flip-up, helmet can essentially morph from full face to open face coverage. The lower chin bar and visor on these helmets flip up, allowing riders to convert to an open face style when they want it. These are a popular choice for cruiser riders who want the option for both protection and breezy airflow.
- Off-Road: An off-road helmet is designed to take you off the beaten path. These carbon fiber dirt bike helmets are designed with movement in mind, delivering significant protection at a low helmet weight. They tend to have a longer visor and a larger chin strap, and do not have a shield over your eyes.
- Dual-Sport: A dual-sport helmet is a blend between the full face and off-road style. For riders who want to tackle a trail and cruise the highway on the same day, this is an ideal option. The protective eye shield snaps up and out of the way, to be replaced by goggles when you’re ready to go off road.
Choose a helmet from a trusted vendor that will keep you safe in the event of an accident and shield you from the elements.