When you have a limited budget, it can be challenging to know which cheap dirt bike helmets will provide the best protection. A head impact is the same, whether you have spent $800 on a motocross helmet, or under $200. How can you be sure that the cheap motocross helmet you are considering, will do its job when it matters most?
There are so many budget imports available online, and it can be tempting to go for the cheapest helmet possible. Motocross Advice urges all of our readers to budget as much as possible when considering all dirt bike safety gear, especially the helmet.
There are so many cheap dirt bike helmets on offer at the budget end of the market that we wanted to focus attention on the helmets that we would be happy to wear for an off-road ride.
Second-hand helmets or cheap imports are potentially dangerous. A second-hand dirt bike can be negotiated down with cash, or your dealer can tweak a new bike finance deal to include a proper helmet. Allow yourself a little more money for both helmet and proper dirt bike boots, whatever bike you are riding.
When considering the best cheap motocross helmets available for 2021, we have taken into account; safety features, cost and manufacturer reputation. We have selected helmets ranging from the $100 mark, through to $400 at the highest end. Considering that premium helmets come in at $600 plus, we are providing you with the widest choice of affordable dirt bike gear. We have also updated the information on motocross helmet safety rating at the end of the article. Keep reading to learn more about how safe your choice of dirt bike helmet will be.
TOP 8 Cheap Dirt Bike Helmets 2021:
1. Suomy MX Speed
We are very excited to include the Suomy MX Speed in our 2021, ultimate cheap motocross helmets guide. The MX Speed is an all-new off-road helmet from a manufacturer that has carved out a great name for itself in the road racing world. Suomy has had an off-road presence throughout the 2019 season, and the MX Speed has its D.N.A. rooted in an older product, the MX Jump.
Suomy has opted for a contemporary carbon, kevlar and fibreglass composite which weighs under 1200gms.
There are six inner EPS sizes, split between two outer shell sizes to provide an industry-standard range. The MX Speed does run a half-size small so do look at an inner E.P.S. a size up from how you measure on the standard chart.
Fine-tuning of fit is possible as Suomy provide a full range of replacement liners. The cheek pads have a neat finger grab for safe removal trackside, and all inner linings are washable.
The visor system is a standard three screw style, without any technology to speak of, but it is worth remembering that this helmet is just $400.
The venting system has plenty of venting and exhaust ports which do what you need them to do.
Why we chose the Suomy MX Speed cheap motocross helmet
The Suomy may tick the box with its venting, but it excels with the internal channelling. The well designed E.P.S. liner follows the design standards set by higher-priced motocross helmets.
Another design feature that we like is that Suomy is allowing for modern motocross goggle trends. We have noticed goggles are getting a lot bigger, and this means that goggles sometimes fail to sit comfortably on some older helmet designs. Tight-fitting goggles have the effect of reducing airflow via the port. The Suomy MX Speed allows you to use larger goggles and still achieve maximum air intake.
Part of the design upgrade from the MX Jump includes the introduction of a MIPS liner so that you can ride with complete confidence.
Suomy MX Features:
- Suomy M.I.P.S. System
- Removable and washable liner
- Tri-composite shell
- Extensive venting system
- Oversize goggle aperture
- Traditional D-Ring strap design
Suomy MX Speed Safety Certification
- E.C.E Rated
2. Just1 Helmets-J12 – Cheap Dirt Bike Helmets
Italian company Just1 started producing helmets back in 2011. Just1 is the product of motocross and offroad enthusiast, Tony Amoriello. The bold entrepreneur launched the company to make the best helmets across several price points. Having worked alongside many leading riders, Tony heard a lot of riders complaining about their helmets. These insights into the issues some riders were having led him to start Just1.
Since launching, Just1 has several world-class riders who have won major titles. These include Tim Gajser, who won the 2016 M.X.G.P. and 2015 MX2 FIM Motocross World title, and Klemen Gercar, who won the 2013 MX3 title. With riders of this calibre trusting Just1 equipment, they are worthy of consideration.
Just1 -J12 main features:
The J12 helmet has an adjustable visor which works on an Allen screw system. The peak is longer than others on the market, which allows you a slightly more comprehensive range of adjustment while maintaining protection from mud and roost.
There is ample venting, with three large chin bar vents, five brow vents and two more on the top of the helmet. Airflow travels through the eps liner, and the warm air dispenses via the rear ports. The venting design is easily on a par with other helmets at a more premium price point.
The J12 has a removable wicking liner that is anti-microbial, removable and fully washable. The cheek pads have a quick release ring strap each side to allow safe removal at the trackside in an emergency. The 2021 model features redesigned inner padding for increased comfort.
Just 1 have a wide range of colour options, and two shell sizes are ranging from 53cm to 58cm in the small shell, and 59cm to 63cm in the larger shell.
Why we chose the Just1 J12
The reasons we feel that this helmet is worthy of a place in our cheap dirt bike helmets guide:
The new J12 12k is a full carbon fibre shell for under $450 which weighs in at just 1100gms. Carbon fibre, at this price point, is an incredible value for money offer.
A neat design feature is that the J12K integrates well with a neck brace. Just1 has thought about how a motocross helmet interacts with a neck brace in the event of an accident. Many import helmets do not have this level of design.
Finally, the sub $450 price point makes the J12K incredible value for money. There are a lot of cheap dirt bike helmets in the $350 to $450 price range, but few combine the weight and comfort of the J12. We see this helmet as a starter helmet for the rider with a larger budget. The safety technology is somewhat limited, but for a weekend rider who wants a lightweight carbon lid, with proper venting, this is a great choice.
Just1 J12 features:
- Full Carbon External Shell
- 2 Shell Sizes
- 2 Eps Sizes
- Emergency Cheek Pad Removal
- Traditional Double D Strap system
Just1 J12 Safety Certification
- C.E. Certification
- DOT/ECE Certification
3. Fly Racing 2021 F2 MIPS
Many riders report that the F2 is an extremely comfortable helmet to wear. Comfort is due in part to the removable, washable interior padding, but also the low weight.
Standard fixing keeps the visor in place, but again, Fly has upped the game by retaining an adjustable peak.
The Fly Racing F2 has all-new colour schemes for 2021, and with the recent upgrades, it is hard to find reasons to spend more money.
Why we chose the F2 MIPS
Fly has thought hard about the level of features versus the cost. They know there are a lot of cheap dirt bike helmets on the market. Many people will have a favourite manufacturer or a specific requirement when shopping for a helmet. If you are a rider who is only interested in what a helmet can do for the money, the Fly Racing F2 is tough to beat. We are big fans of the Fly Racing True-vent system. It not only allows excellent airflow, but the intelligent design allows for demisting of goggles and recycles air flowing through the peak. The recycled air is pushed back into the helmet to help draw heat away from the head. Very neat!
The final reason for including the F2 in the best cheap motocross helmet guide 2021 is the MIPS system. The lower density E.P.S. used by Fly not only saves weight but consists of a shock absorption design for increased dissipation of energy.
Fox Racing has created a value option by really thinking about what riders want, and how much they may have to spend to get it. If you are a new rider or a rider who is moving into racing, the F2 MIPS is packed with features and should be on your shortlist.
Fly F2 2021 Features:
- Carbon fibre and Kevlar composite construction
- Dual-density EPS inner
- Coolmax comfort liner & cheek pads
- Removable and washable interior
- Ten Air intakes with four exhaust vents
- Four demisting vents to draw air away from goggles
Fly F2 Safety Certification
- SNELL 2015
4. Fox V1 – 2021 Model
For our next suggestion, we are under the $200 price point. The Fox V1 is a great starter helmet. It underwent a full redesign a few seasons ago and is a capable dirt bike helmet that looks the business.
Even at the entry-level point, we still see features such as adequate air venting, removable interior padding and the high spec impact visor system, which sets the V1 apart from other cheap entry-level motocross helmets.
We expect to see some sacrifices at sub $200, and the V1 is a little heavy. It is certainly not the heaviest in its class, though.
Why we chose the Fox V1
The V1 is one of the best entry-level helmets you can buy. The V1 features Fox’s Magnetic Visor Release System’ M.V.R.S.’ to manage rotational forces. This pro-level feature dispenses with traditional visor screws and replaces them with magnets. This system allows the visor to release from the helmet in the event of a crash. Fox has listened to the feedback on the original and strengthened this system so that it is more robust at speed, and when catching excessive roost.
With Fox having redesigned their entry-level lid from the floor up, they have massively improved the airflow. A cooler helmet means a higher level of comfort when riding harder and in warm conditions. Fox has also introduced four specific shell sizes for a more true-to-size fit and feel.
The V1 comes complete with a removable and washable liner and cheek pads for comfort after repeated uses.
Fox V1 Features
- V.R.S. – Magnetic Visor Release System releases in the event of a crash
- Lightweight Injection moulded polycarbonate & A.B.S. shell construction
- Four shell sizes, and four EPS sizes for a precise fit
- Removable and washable comfort liner and cheek pads
- Nine intakes and four exhaust vents for optimum airflow
Fox V1 Safety Certifications
- Exceeds ECE 22.05
- Exceeds D.O.T.
- Meets A.C.U. Gold for competitive riding in the UK
5. O’Neal Hexx 5 budget motocross helmet
O’Neal has over 49 years of racing experience, which puts them firmly into contention. The Hexx 5 helmet is an example of their value for money range of products. Constructed from a light polycarbonate material and with all of the basic features you would want to see on a dirt bike helmet, it is one for your shortlist.
Why we chose the Oneal Hexx 5
The venting system is excellent. There are enough vents front and back, to create a good airflow through this helmet. The shell liner is Oneals patented Coolmax liner which is designed to draw moisture away from your face and head on warm days. The inner liner of the Hexx 5 is very well padded, making for a firm and extremely comfortable fit.
The helmet features several replacement parts, making long term use and servicing an easy job.
Hexx 5 Features:
- Lightweight A.B.S. shell construction
- Coolmax® liner Ultra-plush, removable/washable padded liner
- Adjustable visor design
- Multiple air vents help keep you cool and dry
- Replacement parts available
Hexx 5 Safety Certificates:
- Meets D.O.T.,
- Meets ECE 22-05
- Meets AS/NZS
- Meets A.C.U. Gold for competitive riding in the UK
6. Airoh Twist cheap MX helmet
Italian helmet manufacturer, Airoh, has been on the scene for a few years now. They have some popular models, which have gained traction amongst road and trail riders. Their “Twist” helmet falls nicely into the cheapest dirt bike helmets category. The “Twist” is another polycarbonate shell design, with front and rear venting, the fashionable aggressive styling, and a wide field of vision with adjustable peak.
Why we chose the Airoh Twist
There are several other basic features, including removable and washable lining and an easy to secure Double D chin strap. There is also a neat, removable dust filter to help keep ventilation to an optimum during off-road riding.
We are very much in the area of starter helmets now. With its safety certification and a robust design standard, the Airoh Twist is one cheap dirt bike helmet you can buy with confidence.
Airoh Twist Features:
- Thermoplastic shelled
- Adjustable peak
- Removable and washable liner/filter
- 1200 Gms
Airoh Twist Safety Certificates:
- Meets ECE 22.05,
- Meets D.O.T.
- Meets A.C.U. Gold for competitive riding in the UK
7. H.J.C. i50 – Cheap Dirt Bike Helmets
H.J.C. has been manufacturing quality helmets since the early ’70s. H.J.C has built an enviable reputation with riders all over the world. They are one of the few manufacturers to have developed their own in house wind tunnels; such is the commitment to safety and design. Many other helmet manufacturers use this facility to test new models. H.J.C. are renowned for their contemporary designs and innovative ideas.
Why we chose the H.J.C i50
With their budget dirt bike helmet, H.J.C. brings a tough and aggressive looking product. H.J.C. are no slouches when it comes to technology and this shows. A shock-absorbent EPS liner, along with the patented SLID system, maximises impact protection. The i50 is very contemporary, featuring an oversize goggle port for today’s larger goggles. There is an expected level of airflow and venting.
Quality is of a high level. The helmet isn’t the lightest, at 1450 gm’s, but it is indeed very comfortable. The impact liner and SLID system show how serious H.J.C. are. A dedicated rotational impact feature at this price point is very welcome. Should you be unfortunate enough to receive a sideways blow to the head, this system will reduce the amount of rotational acceleration your head and neck experience.
H.J.C. i50 Features:
- Advanced Polycarbonate shell
- Dual positions for goggle band to provide comfort
- Superior ventilation: nine intakes, four exhaust ventilation channels
- Sliding Layer Impact Distribution (SLID): SLID reduces rotational acceleration
- Aerodynamic and adjustable shatterproof peak visor
H.J.C. i50 Safety Certification
- Complies with E.C.E. 22:05
- Complies with DOT
8. Fly Kinetic cheap dirt bike helmets
Fly Racing is another brand that we see a lot of in the off-road, dirt bike, motocross community. They have a solid reputation for exceptional value products. If you are looking for a starting point for off-road gear, you should have Fly Racing on your list.
Why we chose the Fly Kinetic
the Fly Kinetic is an entry-level, polycarbonate lid for those who want maximum performance from a minimal budget. Even though this helmet is the cheapest helmet on our list, it still does the job more than adequately. The Kinetic is a great starter helmet for any self-respecting dirt bike rider. The kinetic will protect and keep you comfortable.
The basic construction includes a ventilation system, EPS liner for shock absorption, and even a washable interior padding system.
The venting is pretty good for such a cheap helmet. All F.L.Y. helmets have T.F.V. (True Functional Ventilation). When in motion air is forced through multiple air intake vents, then passed through aligned vent channels in the EPS and exited via numerous rear exhaust vents.
Probably the most significant win here is dual-layer EPS. For such a cheap helmet, this is a critical safety feature which will increase the rate of shock absorption when you experience an impact, which sets the Kinetic apart from many of the mass-produced, cheap motocross helmets.
Fly Kinetic Features
- A durable and lightweight polymer shell
- Dual-density E.P.S (Expanded Polystyrene) liner
- Removable and washable comfort liner and cheek pads
- Replaceable high-flow mouthpiece
Fly Kinetic Safety Certifications
- Exceeds DOT
A few necessary steps to follow when buying a cheap dirt bike helmet
There is little room for compromise when protecting your head. The helmet is one of the most critical safety items you will ever buy. Head impacts are all too easy to sustain, and the resulting injuries can have serious consequences. Spend as much as you can spare from your budget. If a budget needs trimming, then try taking it from less essential areas.
While there is a considerable array of cheap dirt bike helmets in this price category, many are not up to the demands of dirt bike riding, ATV riding, Enduro, motocross and the like.
When compiling this list, we have tried to suggest cheap motocross helmets that we would feel comfortable using on a weekend off-road ride with friends. The cheap dirt bike helmets in this review would also be suitable for a rider who is looking to start competing in entry-level classes.
Safety Ratings for cheap dirt bike helmets
There are several safety standards which are used to classify a motocross helmet as safe. Of course, safety is a very relative thing. A helemt that is safe for a short ride to the shops, may well prove to be entirely unsuitable for anyone riding off-road, in a local competition or riding more challenging terrain. Therefore a certificate of safety is, in itself, not enough to prove fitness for purpose.
When choosing the best cheap dirt bike helmets in this guide, we have made sure that all of the cheap motocross helmets have a minimum level of safety classification. Ultimately, it is up to you the rider, to make sure that the helmet you buy is right for your intended use. To help you do that, here are a few basics about helmet safety certification:
The Dot Rating for cheap dirt bike helmets
The D.O.T. rating is somewhat outdated. It is a minimum level of protection only. D.O.T. rating is applied to a product by the manufacturer. Self-certification has obvious integrity issues. It is not too difficult for a manufacturer to make sure their product pass. Also, the D.O.T. rating does not include any testing for the chin bar. The chin bar is one of the most essential areas of a dirt bike helmet when riding off-road. A rider cannot automatically assume that a helmet with a D.O.T. rating is safe for motocross riding.
Sharp Helmet Rating for cheap motocross helmets
The Sharp helmet rating was introduced in 2007 by the U.K. government as a supporting standard to the European E.C.E. standard. Their controversial 5-star rating system has been questioned by many in the industry. One of the main reasons it is criticised is that it uses a star rating system. A well made budget helmet can end up with the same rating as a $600 helmet, whcih some feel is misleading.
However, it is essential to note that the Sharp system does analyse helmets that the department has bought off the shelf. Sharp also analyse data from real-life incidents, eliminating unwanted manufacturer influence. Again, when purchasing a cheap dirt bike helmet, a Sharp rating should be taken into consideration along with other vital factors, and not as a sole deciding factor.
E.C.E. 20. Rating for cheap dirt bike helmets
The E.C.E. rating is one of the more stringent test standards. The European standard takes into account a more extensive range of factors. These include visor strength and the field of vision available to the rider. E.C.E can be viewed as a good indication of helmet safety when buying a cheap motocross helmet. E.C.E is not without its critics. The fact that the piercing test is always carried out on the same zone of the helmet is one issue raised. The suggestion is that a manufacturer can beef up the protection in just that area of the helmet and get a pass. Given the overall stringency of the test, this is a minor gripe.
A.C.U. Gold Standard (UK Only)
The A.C.U. is the Auto Cycle Union for competitive motorcycle racing in the United Kingdom. To compete in the U.K., your helmet will have to reach this standard and have their distinctive gold sticker on it. An A.C.U standard is a mark of race-proven quality.
Other points to consider when buying cheap Dirt Bike Helmets:
Any test standard will have its critics. The important things for you to remember when purchasing a budget motocross or off-road helmet is the brand reputation. Look at the level of respect from the motocross industry in general.
Motocross, dirt bike riding, ATV and Enduro are a tight-knit family of sports. Reputations are important. Look at what brands the top riders are wearing. See which brands are investing in sponsorship and have a strong presence within the scene. Which companies are spending money on the development of safety features? These are the type of brands that will ultimately have a reputation to keep. Of course, you should also ask around at your local track and find out what your mates are recommending.
A combination of any of the above certificates of safety, plus research into the brand, is an excellent way to ensure your cheap dirt bike helmet is right for you.
Finally, and perhaps most important of all. Make sure you have your head size measured correctly with dirt bike helmet size chart and before you get on the bike, ensure that the fit of your helmet is right.
To Sum Up Cheap Dirt Bike Helmets:
Always make sure you have your head measured accurately before buying your first helmet.
Check with your local race association to find out what they require in terms of safety certification.
Certification is only a guide. It is best to research yourself to make sure the helmet you are buying is fit for its intended use.
Consider ventilation, safety features and the materials used when evaluating a helmet for dirt bike riding.
So there we have it. I hope you have a clearer idea of what to look for in a cheap motocross or dirt bike helmet. If this article has made you think about your budget and has decided to spend more, check out our Top 10 Premium helmets guide.
We will be back with more motocross advice soon.
Have fun out there