Dirt Bike Helmets Buying Guide 2018 – What you need to know!

Buying a motocross helmet isn’t what it used to be. No longer should you base your decision purely on what you favourite pro rides, or how cool the helmet looks – you need to know the features of best dirt bike helmets! Nowadays, there is a ton more to think about than that, which is a good thing!  This article is going to cover what you should look for when making a decision about your next helmet purchase.

To help you readers in the most efficient way possible, we are going to break down what we think is important into two categories. The first will be about the more obvious things to look for in a helmet. This will be especially helpful to people newer to the sport, but will serve as a nice reminder for all of us. The second category will be about helmet details that aren’t thought of as much, and are especially relevant in modern helmets.  

How Much Should You Spend On A Dirt Bike Helmet?

How much is your brain worth to you? This might be a bit of an unfair question but hopefully no one can put a real price on their brain. When buying a helmet, it is best to think about protection more than anything else. The unfortunate thing is that lower end dirt bike helmets typically offer less protection than higher end modern dirt bike helmets.

If there was ever a piece of gear to go all out on, this would be it. However, that is not to say that you have to buy the most expensive helmet. Just try not to be cheap. Some dirt bike helmets are great value considering the protection they offer. If I could give you a price range I would, but unfortunately, this one is up to you!

Typical Important Details to Look for

How Much Should Dirt Bike Helmet Weight?

To some this may be the most obvious, however, there are still plenty of people who seem to forget about weight when buying a helmet. Here is the thing. Weight matters! A heavy helmet has an array of downfalls. It encourages poor riding posture and can lead to a sore neck at the end of the day. Not only that but they are also (for the most part) quite hot to ride in.

This leads to more sweat and a less comfortable / more tiring experience. I guess this is useless knowledge if you don’t know what a good helmet should weigh. So here is my recommendation, stay in the area of 1600 grams. There are quite a few dirt bike helmets that are lighter than that now which is great! I find 1600 grams to be where you start to feel the extra weight.

Although if you found a helmet that you like for all of the right reasons and it weighs 1650 grams, don’t let it scare you off. 1600 grams is just a good starting point.    

Helmet Ventilation

Ventilation is important to look at no matter who you are. Snow cross racers may look for a helmet with less ventilation or a special liner to keep the cold out. However, for the most part, the more ventilation the better! Ventilation not only keeps us at a consistent temperature, but it also helps to keep the inside of our dirt bike helmets from becoming a bucket of pure sweat.

Some people sweat less than others so views on how important ventilation is may differ from person to person. What I will say though, is that everyone can benefit from a well ventilated helmet. Not just heavy sweaters.

Helmet Shape/Comfort

Alright here is something that tons of people bypass. Helmet shape matters! Not all heads are the same shape. So your friend may tell you that a certain helmet is the most comfortable one they have ever worn, but it may not suit you at all. Now for some good news, a fair few brands in 2018 have made their helmet liners to almost adapt to your face and head.

This makes finding a good fit a fair bit less difficult than it used to be. Brands typically keep a similar head shape profile from year to year. So an older Arai will likely fit similar heads that a newer Arai would (but of course the newer one is more comfortable). If you already know what brands fit you well, a new helmet fit will be easy. If not, maybe try on a few, or just do some research and figure out how each helmet you are looking at fits and go from there. 

Helmet Looks Matter

Never overlook this when picking out a helmet. Who wants to put something ugly on their head every time they go to ride? The fact is, helmet style is interpreted differently by all of us. Buy a helmet that you love the looks of and you will be much happier every time you go to put it on, or see yourself riding in a photo or video. 

Overall Safety

This is probably the most obvious thing to think about when it comes to dirt bike helmets, but for some reason, people will put it on the back burner and look at other details. The point of wearing a helmet is to protect your brain, so make sure the helmet you are buying will do a good job of this.

Look for safety tech included in the helmet such as a quick release feature and multi-density foams. Safety standards are important but should never be the basis of your decision. SNELL and DOT certifications are often surpassed by helmet companies.

A good way to compare dirt bike helmets is to look for charts online. Information is pretty easy to find thanks to the internet. Sometimes helmet brands will even list comparison charts on their website (6D is known to do this quite often).  

Modern Details to Look for

Alright now we have covered some of the more simple details, it is time to dive into other features that you should be looking for in a modern motocross helmet. 

Rotational Impact Protection

If you have read many of our helmet reviews, you will notice that there is a trend going on right now in the helmet industry. That is to reduce rotational forces caused in a crash. Since motocross crashes are usually unpredictable, manufacturers must build helmets to withstand impacts from all angles. Rotational forces can be violent so it is great to know that most high end helmet brands in 2018 have included technology to absorb some of these forces.

6D led the way with their Omni Directional System, and now others are following with technology such as MIPS, and M.E.D.S. So if you are in the market to buy a new helmet, I would be sure to look out for some fancy technology inside the helmet that will protect you from rotational force.  

Break Away Visor

Okay, here is where I start nitpicking. Some of you may think this is over the top but this is 2018 and safety standards are higher than ever. There are manufacturers out there that are making helmet visors so that they break away before they can catch and drag in a crash enough to cause damage. Fox offers a magnetic visor system to solve this issue, where Shoei makes use of specially engineered polycarbonate screws. Be on the lookout for this small detail when searching out a new helmet!

Multi-Crash Capable

Typically, motocross helmets are a one and done type deal. You have one big crash in the helmet, and then it should be replaced for safety reasons. Well I have good news for the people who are looking to save some money and their heads! Some dirt bike helmets are being designed to withstand more than one impact. This makes buying an expensive helmet a little less daunting than usual.

6D has even come out with a rebuildable helmet. As long as the shell is okay, you can send the helmet back to 6D and they will rebuild the internals for you (and for a much lower cost than buying a brand new helmet). 

Last Reminder About Buying Dirt Bike Helmets

Okay, that was a lot of information. Some of it was probably new to you and some I’m sure you already had a bit of knowledge about. Hopefully, you will use this as a bit of a guide for the next time you go helmet shopping. I am not here to push any brands, but one thing I will push is to buy a good helmet. At the end of the day we each have only one brain, so let’s protect them as best as we can!

Martin