How to Buy a Motorcycle Helmet

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How to Buy a Motorcycle Helmet

One of the most important pieces of equipment to have when riding a motorcycle is a helmet. It doesn't matter if a rider is experienced or new to motorcycling, there is always the potential for an accident and a helmet protects the head from impacts. It needs to fit correctly, be high quality, and in a style that the rider finds appealing. With all of the various brands available it is time consuming and overwhelming to choose a helmet that is safe as well as comfortable and satisfactory. In order to select the one that is best for an individual's needs, shoppers should learn about the construction of helmets, how to size them, and the types of helmets.

Construction of Motorcycle Helmets

The exteriors of motorcycle helmets are made with polycarbonate plastic, Kevlar, or carbon fibre. All of the materials are durable and prevent most hard objects from contacting the head in a crash. Of the three, polycarbonate is the most affordable option. Kevlar and carbon fibre cost more but they are also lighter weight.

The inside of the helmet has padding and lining. The padding is there to absorb impacts and stop the head from hitting against the hard, plastic shell. Some pads are removable and replaceable with different sized pads to adjust how the helmet fits. The liner is there mostly for comfort.

Types of Motorcycle Helmets

There are five kinds of helmets for shoppers to choose from. They vary in the amounts of protection they provide and in cost. Many people choose the helmet based on the style, but functionality is an important factor as well.

Full Face Helmets

The full face helmets offer the most amount of protection because they encompass the entire head as well as cover the face. The base of the skull is even covered and so is the chin. They have a visor that comes down and covers the face. The visors are available in clear or tinted shades. Because these helmets are so large, one of their disadvantages is being somewhat restrictive. If considering a full face helmet, look for one with ventilation to prevent perspiration and stale air from building up. However, since these helmets block out the wind, some come with built in radios or mics to speak with other riders that are nearby.

Off-Road Helmets

Off-road helmets are for dirt bikes and motocross racing. They cover the entire head including the base of the skull and chin. However, these have an extended visor that blocks out the sun as well as an open face. This is to allow room for riders who wear goggles. Most people only wear these helmets when off roading but some are worn on the streets with regular sunglasses.

Modular Helmets

Modular helmets are convenient to wear. They look just like the full-face helmets, except that the chin and visor portion completely fold up to make the helmet easier to put on. Sometimes the chin portion is removable if a rider wants the open face. The trouble with these helmets is that many of them do not have a chin strap to hold the helmet in place. This is a problem in the event of a crash. At high speeds the helmet can fly off of the head. Movable parts also reduce the structural integrity of the helmet.

Open Face Helmets

An open face helmets cover the entire head, but they leave the face and the chin unprotected. Some have a flip-down visor that shields the eyes from wind and flying debris, but still would not be helpful in the event of a crash. Many of them also do not have a chin strap to prevent them from flying off.

Half Helmets

Half helmets have a vintage appearance because of their use in World War II. Of all the helmets, these are the least protective because they only cover the top half of the head. The face, chin, and base of the skull are vulnerable. However, many riders prefer them because they are less restrictive and still allow them to feel the wind.

Fitting a Motorcycle Helmet

Everyone's head is shaped differently. Some are more circular while others have an oval shaped head. This becomes a problem when trying on various helmets. Luckily, many manufacturers actually have several models with various shapes. Start out by measuring the circumference of the head and then looking at their sizing charts. The helmet should fit snugly without being too tight. It should not wobble back and forth when shaking the head, and keep in mind that extra room may be needed for glasses depending on the type of helmet. Since some helmets have interchangeable pads, their sizing is adjustable in that way too.

Adult Sizes




20 1/4 to 20 7/8

52 to 53


20 to 21 5/8

54 to 55


21 3/4 to 22 3/8

56 to 57


22 1.2 to 23 1/8

58 to 59


23 1/4 to 24

60 to 61


24 1/8 to 24 7/8

62 to 63

Manufacturer sizes may change depending on the country of origin. However, it is always a good idea to ask the manufacturer for a sizing chart and determine the units of measure before sizing and purchasing a helmet.

Motorcycle Helmet Features

Some features such as vents and radios make a motorcycle trip much more fun and comfortable. Consider things like mobile phone connectivity, mics, and listening to music.

How to Buy

Motorcycle helmets come in all shapes and sizes and you can find a big selection on eBay. There are numerous ways to shop on the site and save money. For example, you can visit the eBay Deals page to see what sales are available, or you can compare the prices between hundreds of sellers to see who has the best prices. Simply use the search field to pull up a list of motorcycle helmets. Some sellers also offer free delivery which makes shopping online even more convenient. Be sure to read the full product description to figure out what features the helmet has and what size it is. Most sellers should have a size chart available or show you where to see one. If they don't, you can contact them to ask.

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