Buying a new motocross helmet is one of those things you will do on a fairly regular basis. There are many reasons for purchasing a new helmet. Maybe your current lid has suffered a significant impact. Perhaps you fancy upgrading to the latest safety technology. If you are new to motocross, then new kit is a given. Whatever the reason for your purchase, you must choose a dirt bike helmet that works well for you. Without further ad0, here is the list of best dirt bike helmets money can buy.
TOP 10 Best Dirt Bike Helmets 2021 – Ultimate Guide
1. 6D ATR-2 Dirt Bike Helmets
6D is a totally helmet orientated brand. All of their research and development focuses entirely on helmet performance. The 6D company mission statement is to make a genuinely safe and durable dirt bike helmet.
Even though 6D Helmets is quite a new company, they have already established themselves as a key player. The Geico Honda team has used 6D helmets for several seasons. Many 6D riders cite outstanding comfort and protection as reasons for their choice.
6D Dirt Bike Helmets ATR2 – Key features
ODS is one of the standout features of this model.
The patented Omni-Directional Suspension (ODS), is comprised of an active suspension system, with a kinetic energy management design. This technology decreases the amount of energy transferred to the brain in the event of a substantial impact.
With this unique design, low, medium and high-speed impacts with both linear and angular directional forces are all managed with maximum efficiency. 6D dirt bike helmets are up there with the safest helmets available on the market right now.
ELASTOMERIC ISOLATION DAMPER
ODS technology is a system employing 27 dampers in the helmet. These dampers work in unison to isolate the impact energy and take it away from the human brain. The dampers sit between two layers of EPS liners which keep both layers in motion. If you happen to crash, the isolation dampers instantly absorb the energy. This system reduces the risk of concussion and severe head injury, even if you fall and create angular acceleration.
Why we chose the 6D ATR-2
In addition to the safety design, there are several other winning features.
The venting system provides excellent airflow when riding.
The ATR2 has multiple intakes and exhaust ports, making for a cool and airy helmet.
The visor has a great design.
The ATR-2 visor system is the result of feedback from world champion riders. Its faceted shape blocks dirt or rocks kicked up by riders in front of you. If you have ever caught a face full of roost, you will know just how important that is!
The ATR-2 is one of the lightest on the market.
At 1480 grammes, the ATR-2 will reduce the amount of pressure on the neck when riding for extended periods. Its low weight makes the ATR2 an excellent option for dual sport riders who are spending longer in the saddle.
When you are buying a premium helmet, you want to know that it will last as long as possible. 6D has designed the ATR2 to be fully rebuildable and provide a three-year guarantee.
2. Alpinestars – Supertech M10
The Supertech M10 is a carbon composite helmet, available in four shell sizes. The venting system is beautifully engineered, with sixteen inlets and five exhaust ports. The M10 keeps air away from your head, with multiple channels directing warm air through a porting system within the construction of the helmet. Other dirt bike helmets force air through the area where your head sits. Alpinestars design increases comfort and performance when you are riding hard.
Visor performance is a little limited in as much as there is no adjustment forward and backwards. What prevents a change of position is the unique design Alpinestars has used for the visor quick-release. The safety feature is a good pay off, and as the helmet is adjustable in other ways, this should not cause problems.
Alpinestars safety features include removable cheek pads with retractable straps and a full MIPS (multiple-direction impact protection system). The MIPS is a dual-layer compound which allows the liner to rotate within the helmet shell, thus reducing lateral forces.
Why we chose the Alpinestars M10
Adjustable shell position
The top liner of the MIPS system has three different attachment points. This fine-tune system allows you to reposition the shell around the inner liner to make it sit higher, lower, or biased to the front or back of your head.
Collar bone protection
Extra safety performance comes in the form of a rubberised gasket along the base of the helmet. The suspension panel provides an absorbent core, which in the event of an impact, will protect your collar bone from your helmet.
The Alpinestars M10 comes in at just over 1250 grammes in a medium-size, which is one of the lightest weights for its class.
3. Shoei VFX-Evo
Shoei is a company famous for its uncompromising safety standards. Their world-class motocross helmets are among the lightest on the market. Shoei’s Premium class helmets utilise their very own A.I.M. technology.
With the latest VFX, Shoei has completely reimagined and re-engineered the quality and performance of their motocross range. These are some of the features that have kept Shoei at the front of the race:
The all-new VFX-EVO features the SHOEI-exclusive Multi-Ply Matrix AIM+Shell construction. Combine this with SHOEI-exclusive Motion Energy Distribution System [MEDS], and the all-new VFX-EVO sets a new standard for safety and performance.
Shoei’s proprietary AIM+ uses fibreglass, blended with organic fibres, to create a helmet so hard, it requires laser equipment to cut it. Every Shoei helmet is designed to absorb and distribute the force of an impact safely and efficiently.
The brief for the VFX range was to make a helmet that combined strength, with the minimum amount of weight possible.
Impact resistance comes from the Shoei MEDS system.
Why we chose the Shoei VFX-Evo
Emergency Quick-Release System (EQRS).
For any rider who requires immediate trackside medical attention, it is vital to remove their helmet quickly. Helmet removal is a tricky process, especially with the possibility of a severe neck or head injury. Too much head movement or jolting can make injuries even worse. Shoei dirt bike helmets have EQRS, which allows safe removal of the cheek pads and lining. This simple feature could minimise injuries sustained in a heavy crash.
Shoei is renowned for high-performance ventilation systems. The VFX-Evo utilises well-placed ventilation channels inside the helmet that provide plenty of airflow. These channels work in tandem with the dual-density EPS liner. Shoei’s 3D Max-Dry wicking liner works with the airflow to pull sweat away from the head and face 2X faster than conventional nylon.
Large Eye port:
When you are riding flat out in the dirt, things can change quickly. With mud, spray dust and other riders all vying for the space in front of you, it can get quite hectic! In these situations, a clear view is a distinct advantage. Shoei’s large eye port design provides a vast peripheral field of vision, as well as accommodating oversized goggles.
Shoei is so confident in its dirt bike helmets that they provide an extraordinarily long guarantee. You can opt for a 7-year warranty that starts on the date of manufacture, or a 5-year guarantee starting from the date of purchase.
Shoei helmets look great
The VFX-W EVO 2021 range offers a whole host of variations and colour schemes.
The Shoei VFX-EVO is easily one of the ones to beat when it comes to the Best dirt bike helmets ultimate guide.
4. Fox Racing V3 2021
Fox has been producing quality motocross gear since 1974. They have over 40 years of experience in designing great products. Ken Roczen and Ryan Dungey are just two world-class motocross riders who put their trust in Fox gear.
Fox dirt bike helmets look as incredible as they perform. The current range has eight design options. Since then, it has gained much respect from the motocross community.
With the V3 helmet, you get a premium quality helmet for midrange money. Fox has achieved the perfect balance of high specification Versus value for money. The V3 remains one of our best dirt bike helmet for the money product.
Fox motocross features and technology
One of the notable things about Fox V3 motocross helmets is their Multi-Directional Impact Protection System (MIPS)
Many manufacturers of cheaper motocross helmets test impact resistance with a vertical force only. This method of testing will replicate what happens to a motocross helmet when it is dropped straight down onto the ground. When you have an unplanned dismount, rarely do you fall straight down headfirst. Vertical testing doesn’t cover all the bases when it comes to safety testing.
In a real-life crash, a rider will be more likely to make contact with the ground at an angle. A motocross crash will often result in the rider’s helmet twisting on a sideways plane. It is this sideways force that can lead to a severe concussion or worse.
What is MIPS?
MIPS is a scientifically developed, impact protection system fitted to the V3 helmet. Think of it as a kind of shock absorber designed to counteract sideways force. It does this by absorbing rotational energy. With sideways force soaked up, there is less head movement. Less head movement equates to less disruption of the fluid surrounding the brain and reduced chances of concussion.
Another excellent safety feature is the magnetic visor release system. Screws attach most visors in traditional designs. Slam the helmet into the ground visor first, and you create a rapid twist motion. This twist motion is what causes a whiplash injury. Fox has developed a visor system that is robust enough to perform when you are shiny side up but will detach easily with any impact.
A detachable visor drastically reduces the chances of the helmet “grabbing” the ground on impact. It is features like these that made the V3 one of the safest dirt bike helmets in previous tests.
Why we chose the New V3
The Fox V3 has always been a favourite at motocross advice. The new 2021 model has some neat new features which have kept it in our ultimate motocross helmet guide. These include:
A new Fluid Inside™ rotational and linear impact management system.
MVRS: We were big advocates of the magnetic visor system in last years guide. Some users seem to have fed back concerns about the performance of the system when roost hits a rider. Fox has taken this on board and upgraded the visor system for 2021.
The VARIZORB liner helps spread the energy absorbed in a crash across a much wider area.
Finally, the new Injected Mesh vent screens have upgraded the ventilation. There is now less chance of much and debris penetrating the helmet space.
The V3 is outstanding value for money. With these upgrades, we feel it is one of the best dirt bike helmets in its class.
5. Bell Moto-9 Carbon Flex
Bell has been producing superior motorcycling gear since 1954. Bell’s Moto-9 Carbon flex is a carbon composite, lightweight motocross helmet, with a whole host of benefits. Many of the helmets features are centred around Bells unique interior layer design.
High-quality materials, unique design features and attention to detail, place this helmet firmly amongst the industry leaders. From beginner to pro, Bell helmets inspire confidence and provide high levels of comfort. The Bell Moto 9 deserves a place in the 2021 ultimate helmet guide.
When considering a premium helmet, it is essential to know that your money is being invested in a product that will stand the rigours of motocross riding. One of the main design features of the Bell Moto 9 is longevity. Bell has produced a helmet that will last.
The new Moto 9 Carbon flex looks good
The Moto 9 Carbon flex hits the ground running, with a highly technical interior lining system. Sideways force and impact absorption are one of the main challenges with any motocross helmet. Bell has designed a first-of-its-kind, three-layer impact liner. This is a MIPS system constructed from three densities of material.
This hi-tech approach comprehensively disperses impact energy and works to reduce rotational energy transfer. The three-layer system is designed to cope with low, medium and high impacts. Each of the three layers reacts according to the level of impact, giving you the right protection at the right time.
In the event of a serious spill, safe helmet removal is one of the main challenges faced by marshals and medical staff. A neat magnetic clip-in system ensures that medical personnel can remove the Moto 9 with the minimum of head movement.
Other key features of the Bell Moto 9 Carbon flex:
Easy to wash lining
The harder you ride, the hotter you get. The inside of a helmet can become a very sweaty place. The Bell’s magnetic cheek pad system takes far less effort when removing, washing and replacing cheek pads.
The helmet weighs 3.4 pounds
While not the lightest helmet on the market, it definitely isn’t the heaviest either. Its safety features and ventilation system inevitably add to its overall weight.
Why we Chose the Bell Moto 9 Carbonflex
A revolutionary three-core layering system for absorbing kinetic energy at three different speed levels: low, mid and high-speed impacts are all dealt with individually by a dedicated layer within the helmet.
The Moto-9 features segmented construction, automatically conforming to the riders head. With this proper fit, the impact management system can work far more effectively.
Rotational energy management
Part of the MIPS system is the inclusion of a low friction liner, which separates the comfort liner from the EPS shell. This low friction liner allows slip, to lessen rotational energy from impacts which would ordinarily cause your head to twist.
Bell helmets were able to improve upon the already effective Velocity Flow Ventilation system to provide unparalleled airflow within the helmet. The highly effective cooling system sends a flow of air onto the chin and forehead. This effective intake system, coupled with well designed rear vents maintains fantastic airflow at all speeds.
The Bell, Moto 9 Carbonflex is up there with the top motocross helmets ever designed.
6. Troy Lee SE4 Factory Carbon
Troy Lee Davis is an artist, designer and Motocross rider. Innovative design is in his DNA. He first started designing custom helmets way back in the ’60s. Troy Lees designs have continued to refine and perfect their helmet technology.
In 2016 the popular SE3 was redesigned entirely, and the SE4 was born. Troy Lee focuses on producing the safest products possible. The SE4 is a Premium class full-face helmet. The carbon kevlar outer shell makes it both light and durable. At just over the 3-pound mark (depending on the size), it is the lightest helmet that TLD has ever made.
TLD SE4 Main technology features
MIPS with three-layer EPS liner. Inside the helmet, the EPS liner is designed to handle low, mid and high-speed impacts.
The TLD SE4 boasts an impressive 21 ventilation ports and a well-designed venting system. Many consider the SE4 to be one of the coolest performing helmets on the market.
Anatomical cheek pads with an emergency release system add both comfort and peace of mind.
The TLD comes with a comfort liner composed of CoolMax and Dri-Lex moisture-wicking materials. The ability to clean padding and reassemble a helmet quickly is not to be underrated. Regular cleaning and maintenance is a breeze.
Why we chose the Troy Lee SE4
We like the oversize voids for the rider’s ears. You will notice these as soon as you try on an SE4. The increased space not only enhances your hearing when riding but also contributes to the lightweight feel of the helmet. The ability to hear more when riding is a great safety feature. Greater awareness of what is going on around you can help you react quicker than you would.
By completely rethinking the placements for the air intakes and internal venting, the SE4 performs way over and above its predecessor. A significant change in the chin guard and forehead venting has added new airflow paths. In the latest version of this helmet, air is driven straight to the area around your goggles, drying any sweat that could potentially start dripping into your eyes. On the back of the helmet, several vents pump out moist and hot air, all resulting in one of the most comfortable helmets you can buy today.
World-class motocross riders like Cole Seely have said that riding in such a safe helmet gives you confidence. There is no doubt that when you are confident and relaxed, you can ride your bike to its fullest potential. When you wear one of the safest helmets on the market, and you trust the technology put into it, you will ride faster and more aggressively.
TLD has the aesthetic design of their helmets nailed. Troy’s artistic skills flow through his products. A range of stunning colours and designs grab the eye. When it comes to good looks, these helmets will be at the front of the pack for years to come. If you are looking for a Premium class motocross or off-road helmet, you are not going to go far wrong with the TLD SE4
7. Arai VX-Pro 4 Motocross Helmet
In the mid-1970s, Mitch Arai set out to make the best helmets in the world. Spending hours in his workshop designing the perfect composite construction paid off. Arai has become a world leader in the motorcycle industry.
Arai holds multiple world championships across many disciplines. Motocross is no exception, and you will see the VX-Pro 4 in action at enduro, motocross, and regular off-road events, all over the world.
Main Arai VX-Pro 4 Features
The VX-Pro 4 stays true to its roots by using the traditional Arai composite as opposed to carbon fibre or more contemporary materials. Arai’s composite is stronger than many carbon fibre blends and maintains strength without adding to the overall weight.
Arai Ventilation is as capable as any premium level motocross helmet. The Arai ventilation works alongside a trademarked cooling liner system to keep you comfortable and dry during even the most demanding ride.
The emergency release system (ERS) adds the expected level of protection in the event of a crash.
Arai has designed their peak to scoop air towards the venting system to add to the cooling capabilities.
The warranty on the VX-Pro 4 is five years, further underlining the confidence that they have in this world-class product.
Why we chose the Arai VX-Pro 4 dirt bike helmet
At the upper end of the motocross helmet market, many of the design and safety features are similar. It is refreshing when a manufacturer designs a product which can be tuned in for a more personal fit.
The VX-Pro 4 has two design features which enable you to achieve a personal fit. The first is the cheek pads, which have layers at 5mm intervals. You can remove these until you find your sweet spot. The second is the temple pads, which adopt the same approach. Temple and cheek are often the areas that cause issues with internal padding, so being able to adjust them out of the box is a smart idea.
Arai offers future-proofing and extended lifespan by selling replaceable interior components for almost every part.
The VX-Pro 4 range is an heirloom product, coming from the classic VX3 helmet. We recommend the VX-Pro 4with absolute confidence.
8. Airoh Aviator 2.3 Dirt Bike Helmet
For our final helmet in the 2021 Ultimate motocross helmet guide, we have the Airoh Aviator 2.3 (2021). Airoh Aviator 2.3 is the lightest dirt bike helmet of the list. It is always exciting to see a brand new design launched, and Airoh is one of the most popular contemporary manufacturers.
The 2.3 is a carbon fibre constructed shell fitted with the all-new Airoh patented MIPS system. (AMS2). The MIPS is two separate inner shells which encase a single silicone layer. This silicone layer is the patented design which transfers multi-directional forces should you suffer an impact to the head.
The AMS2 design comes from data collected during strenuous testing. By analysing the forces present in different crash scenarios, Airoh has created a capable motocross product.
Ventilation in the Aviator 2.3 is superb. New chin and brow vents keep air fed to the critical areas.
Why we chose the Aviator 2.3
The finish on the Aviator 2.3 is superb. From the paint, through to the materials used for construction, the 2.3 looks and feels like a helmet costing twice the asking price.
Regular maintenance and cleaning are easy with the Aviator 2.3 as the entire lining pulls out in one straightforward movement. Airoh uses a simple magnetic system to achieve this. The lining is fully washable and contains the anti-bacterial properties you would expect.
The other thing that we love about Airoh 2.3 is the huge aperture for your goggles. Any modern oversize dirt bike goggle will fit nicely. The design allows for superior all-round vision. Increased airflow is also a bonus here.
The all-new Airoh Aviator is one of the latest products to hit the shelves, and with its super aggressive styling, and modern design, you will certainly stand out on the starting line.
9. Fly Formula Dirt Bike Helmet
With many manufacturers taking the plunge and releasing $600+ models, the Formula dirt bike helmet is a significant step for Fly racing. A move like this demonstrates a commitment to its products and confidence in its technologies. So what exactly are you getting for your money?
Constructed from high-grade Carbon Fibre, the Formula has four shell sizes to allow you to find a more tailored fit. There are also four inner EPS liner sizes to go with the outer shell. The thing you notice most when you pick up this helmet is just how light 1300 grams is. Ideal for long days in the saddle, and increased comfort around the neck and shoulders. Fly has some exciting new features, and unique spins on existing safety concepts throughout their 2021 range, and the Formula is no exception.
Fly Formula – Other Key features
- ECE / DOT Approved
- Custom moulded rubber trim with integrated nose guard
- Lightweight Custom visor screws and titanium alloy D-rings
- Comfort liner and quick release Cheek pads
- True Functional Ventilation (TFV)
- Premium helmet garage included
Why we chose the Fly Formula Dirt Bike Helmet
You will most likely have heard of EPS technology. Fly has its own proprietary system, which consists of some unique materials and tech. The first line of defence is RHEON Impact Energy Cells which disperse energy from low speed linear and rotational impacts. Fly’s Conehead® system mitigates impact force more efficiently, as well as providing a softer liner. Six critical zones handle increased forces with a progressive range of protection. All of this adds up to a far safer rider experience.
We really like Fly Racings approach to the age-old issue of Peak design. Fly has opted for a hybrid of the self-release system, and a more unique, malleable nylon material. When a helmet collides with the ground, the peak (visor) is always in danger of digging in. If that happens, then the helmet can be yanked back sharply, causing whiplash style injuries. Fly has created a bendy peak. When force is applied in almost all directions, it will fold and then return to its standard shape. If the peak does snag, removable dowels pop out of the helmet shell. If that happens, you can unscrew the peak, replace the dowels into the shell, and re-affix. It’s a neat idea.
A clavicle shell relief zone is yet another contemporary design feature which shows Fly Racing is on the money. With more riders wearing neck braces, these soft filled zones reduce clavicle injuries.
Fly Racing has taken a brave step in entering the premium market with the Fly Formula. We like it.
10. Leatt GPX 6.5
Leatt came to the market with its first helmet range around 2016. the 6.5 is Leatt’s premium product and sits in the $600 plus bracket. Considering the impressive reputation, it has built for dirt bike body armour and protective wear, the GPX 6.5 helmet was an essential product for Leatt.
Straight out of the box, the 6.5 has aggressive looks, contemporary design features and feels as light as the Fly Formula. The 6.5 employs a similar bendy peak approach too. The composite carbon fibre shell comes in the three sizes and accommodates six different size inner liners.
At first glance, you can see Leatt mean business with their helmet range.
Leatt GPX 6.5 – Other Key features
- Moisture-wicking, anti-microbial lining
- Neck brace compatibility
- Emergency cheek pad removal
- Hands-free hydration kit ready
- DOT/ECE 2205
Why we chose the Leatt GPX 6.5 Motocross Helmet
Leatt has a neat 360-degree turbine impact dispersion system. These safety zones are claimed to reduce up to 30% of the forces above the level where concussion is likely.
The ventilation system on the GPX 6.5 range is outstanding. Huge scoops and exhausts drive a constant stream of air through at even low riding speeds, making this an excellent choice for you if you ride in exceptionally warmer climates.
Applying fundamental physics has also increased safety. Intelligent design has allowed chamfered cutaways on the rear of the GPX 6.5 which enable clearance against neck braces. An overall reduction in the inner shell, via pillared foam, claims to reduce up to 40% of the forces that occur at the level where linear rotation causes brain injury.
The GPX 6.5 is a benchmark premium dirt bike helmet and places Leatt at the top of the food chain with other major brands.
What to look for in a motocross helmet
When you are buying a new motocross helmet, you should allow as much budget as you can. Don’t be tempted to try and save money through purchasing a second-hand motocross helmet. Your head is one of the most essential parts of your body to protect. If you have a fixed budget for your new kit, then prioritise a new helmet and boots, followed closely by knee braces and other armour. The place to save money is trousers and tops. You will always be able to find good deals on these items, without compromising your safety.
Your helmet will need to keep you safe. It will need to be comfortable and light. It will also need to look the business!
There has been many advances in technology
Advances in technology have seen a flurry of new materials, composites and safety features. Trademarked designs for airflow, impact absorption and visor clip systems, have increased. Each manufacturer has their take on how to make motocross helmets safer, lighter and more comfortable to ride in. The choice of dirt bike helmets is more comprehensive than ever before.
Our Ultimate motocross helmet guide for 2021 contains some of the best dirt bike helmets money can buy. We know that you will find the right helmet for you from this list. When you do, enjoy it for years to come. We will be back soon with more Motocross advice.
We will be back soon with more Motocross advice.