Finding best motocross helmets can easily become a stressful and lengthy process. How is one supposed to know what lid is right for them with so many different protection systems, colorways, weights and shapes on the market? Well, luckily for you, we have the ultimate motocross helmet buyer’s guide for 2018. In this article, we will take an in depth look into the top 5 motocross helmets of this year as well as their safety specs, price and aesthetics.
Let’s cover a few essential tips before getting into it.
Luckily, each helmet will offer a size chart. All you have to do is measure the circumference of your head with a soft tape, and then compare your dimensions to the chart – thus allowing you to pick the correct size online. A motocross helmets technology is designed specific to each size to provide ultimate protection. Too big or too small, the features intended to save you may become ineffective. It is essential to know that each motocross helmet will fit differently even if they are of equal size. Some motocross or ATV helmets may be suited towards an oval shape, and others towards a rounder head. Although the difference may be subtle, this is something you should take into consideration to ensure you make the right purchase!
Another factor to consider is your budget. When purchasing a motocross helmet, cheaping out should not be an option. Broken bones can be fixed, but a brain can’t! You will see here that the best motocross helmets on this list will be priced from $400 – $800+ USD. Although that may seem pricey, the features included with these options will drastically decrease your chance of serious brain injury. A cheap helmet may be approved by D.O.T, but all motocross helmets are not the same.
Alright, now we have that out of the way – let’s dig into our list!
Best Motocross Helmets 2018:
1. 6D ATR-2
Brand new for 2018, 6D helmets has finally released the 6D ATR-2. This helmet is based off of their extremely successful predecessor, the 6D ATR-1. Offering substantial performance improvements throughout the range of linear and angular accelerations. It’s honestly extraordinary what they have done to make an already extremely advanced helmet even better than it already was. You can see this motocross helmet being used by athletes throughout the world such as the Factory Connection Geico Honda team, and up and coming amateur athletes such as Ryder DiFransesco. One thing that 6D has realized, is that most brain injuries occur at low speeds. We will jump into that below.
“What makes this motocross helmet so special”; you may ask.
When I say 6D, the first thing that comes to mind is innovation. To understand why this helmet is so special, you have to look into the advance technology that they have implemented into it. Through hours of rigorous testing and designing, 6D came up with their Omni-Directional Suspension System, or ODS. ODS is constructed of Elastomeric Isolation Dampers that allow the helmet to displace impacts – minimizing the effects greatly. The hour shaped dampers are fitted in between dual EPS liners, not only acting like suspension to absorb impacts – but also allowing the outer shell to rotate up to 6 degrees dispersing low, mid, and high velocity impacts. Actually, the 6 degrees of rotation why 6D has its name.
Just like a motor, you can now rebuild your helmet
This may sound a tad crazy, but new for the ATR-2 – 6D has constructed their helmet to be rebuilt in the event of a damaged liner. Not only will this increase the overall time span with your helmet, this will also drastically increase the longevity of the motocross helmets protective service. 6D has realized that it isn’t achievable for most to drop $800 every year on a new motocross helmet. Now you can stay on a budget, while also having potentially the world’s safest helmet on your head.
Low Threshold Impacts
As I mentioned this earlier, let’s look in depth into why 6D focuses heavily on low threshold impacts and low speed crashes.
A large hit to the head is awful, but with that being said; an accumulation of minor sub-concussive impacts can accumulate into large issues down the road as well. As riders, we hit our heads more than often, sometimes than we realize. 6D has made sure that their ODS system will effectively soften every level of impact, where a solid EPS liner may only absorb the mid-high range impacts.
Other features incorporated into the ATR-2
If there is one thing that 6D was struggling with the ATR-1, it was weight. Now 6D has taken the riders feedback and released the ATR-2 at a miniscule 1500 grams. The lid currently sits in the same weight range as other competitors such as the Bell Moto 9 Flex. Along with washable emergency release pads, a 3 year warranty, and advanced ventilation system – the 6D ATR-2 may just be the best motocross helmet to date.
Speaking of the Bell Moto 9 Flex, that best motocross helmet is next on our list!
2. Bell Moto 9 Flex
Bell is a company that has not only been present, but dominated the industry from the very beginning. We have seen countless supercross, motocross, and enduro championships won throughout the years of Bells ‘Moto’ lineup existence. Recruiting riders such as Bob Hannah, Jeremy Mcgrath and now Eli Tomac to get the job done and prove what this helmet is really capable of! With all these years of testing, the innovative journey that Bell embarked on is something quite amazing. Coming into its third year on the market, the Bell Moto 9 remains to be one of the top motocross helmets on the market.
Similar to the 6D, Bell has also introduced a system to reduce both low and high velocity impacts effectively. Bell achieves this by using a progressive liner layering system, alongside a rotational management slip zone. The layer system consists of an EPO low impact sector, EPP mid impact sector, and an EPS liner that works simultaneously with the other layers for high impact situations. The slip zone allows the shell of the helmet to move independently from the inner liner, effectively reducing the rotational velocity impacts.
Other Exceptional Features
The Bell Moto 9 Flex doesn’t just stop there, it also includes some awesome features such as its adaptive fit system. This allows the liner to be fine-tuned to your head, making sure that you can fully utilize the performance of this lid. Along with that, you will find ventilation far superior to most motocross helmets on the market, magnetic cheek pads for easy removal, and also a light weight of 1400 grams.
The Bell Moto 9 Flex remains near the top of the best motocross helmets this year.
3. Arai VX-4 Pro
With a strong history in road racing, Arai has been making high quality motocross helmets for decades. Big in the early 2000’s, Arai has become one of the most underrated helmet manufacturers when it comes to off-road competition. You can see the VX-4 Pro being used by top athletes such as Justin Barcia and Justin Bogle in the AMA Motocross and Supercross championships. This motocross helmet is manufactured with a more traditional, yet extremely effective approach to helmet technology. We are going to give you an in depth look on why this best motocross helmet is still relevant, and should be considered.
Simple Shell Aesthetics Design
You may notice that Arai lacks a creative shell design. Apart from a few vents, the shell seems extremely basic. But, there’s a reason for that! With a design free from any unnecessary protrusions, the likelihood of getting a helmet edge getting caught causing violent twisting resulting in broken necks, or whiplash is diminished. This goes to show that something that may seem basic, or un-innovative is actually good in some situations. In regards to the shells construction, it is made of up a Complex Laminate Design, consisting of a composite fiber middle layer, surrounded by two layers of Super Fiber Laminate. This allows for a lightweight, yet sturdy design.
Arai offers an amazing, self-adjusting feature known as the Facial Contour System. The FCS is essential spring like cheek pad design, which allows the pads to compress and decompress as you take the helmet on and off. Not only does this provide comfort, it also adds to the overall safety of the helmet by ensuring the perfect fit.
Continuing on with the commonly overlooked things that Arai helmet offers, we are checking out the VX-4’s goggle port. This allows for modern frames such as Oakley Airbrakes to fit in your helmet without issue. Leaving one of the best features for last, the small amount of bulk on the back of the helmet is a key component to the breathability of this lid. Arai has dialed in their ventilation system with an air directing chin bar to send cold air throughout the helmet, and large exhaust vents at the rear to have a noticeably cooler ride.
Did you know that Arai also made one of the best Bluetooth Helmet called Arai Tour X4?
4. Fox V3
Fox has been supplying champions such as Ryan Dungey, Ricky Carmichael, and James Stewart with quality motocross helmets for quite some time. Yes, this may be due to big marketing dollars but when we look into the Fox motocross helmet – they obviously have some development dollars too. The Fox V3 helmet also brings innovative impact reduction features similar to the 6D and Bell (above). There are several reasons why the Fox V3 is chosen by many, let’s check them out.
MIPS & MVRS
M.I.P.S is Fox’s shot back at their competitors. The system was developed specifically to replicate the cerebrospinal fluid that surrounds your brain. Essentially, there is a low friction layer between the dual EPS layer design that will allow the outer layer to move independently, just as your skull will move independently from your brain. This will reduce angular velocity impacts much better than the traditional ‘EPS only’ helmet.
Along with the MIPS, you will find the most innovative visor on our list today, the MVRS. The Magnetic Visor Release System removes the need for the regular screws that attach the visor. Instead, the helmet has strong magnets to hold it tight. The magnets are durable enough to withstand heavy roost and small crashes, but will allow the visor to dis-attach when a serious impact is presented. This reduces the risk of your visor catching, and hyperextending your neck in the event of a serious crash. Its technology advancements like this that really make you admire Fox for their attention to detail
Shell Size and Composition
Moving into the shell, this is another department that Fox has nailed. Unlike some of its competitors, the Fox V3 offers a custom shell for each helmet size (whereas others may only increase the level of padding or thicken the liners). This system works great as each shell will feature the same effectiveness in the safety department as the other. This also reduces weight as your size decreases.
This being said, weight is another amazing aspect of the V3, which comes in at an extremely light 1300 grams. This is achievable by using a multi-material composite shell that includes carbon, and other fibers.
Overall, the Fox V3 is one of the best motocross helmets on the market today. Alongside these features, they expand the list including a comfortable; breathable liner, 10 unique colorways to suit your taste, and over 23 vents to allow for maximum ventilation. We believe that Fox V3 has seen great improvement in their 2019 dirt bike helmet.
5. Shoei VFX Evo
We are going to finish off our list with the most long awaited helmet of the decade. Yes, that’s right! Shoei has finally released a new motocross helmet to match the modern day standards. For years, Shoei was a top pick for riders throughout the world, but with this much progression – the once popular VFX-W helmet was starting to fade away. We wanted it, and Shoei answered back with the VFX EVO. An extremely innovative helmet with the style that we all have come to love, but will it live up to the standards of brands like 6D? Lets see!
M.E.D.S & AIM+
To match or even surpass its competition, Shoei has released the Motion Energy Distribution System. This allows for rotational impacts to be reduced by upwards of 15% in comparisons to its predecessor, the VFX-W. This is achieved by having a module layer between each EPS liner. Surrounding this system, you will find one of the best shells on the track. Shoei has introduced their patented AIM+, ultra lightweight shell composition. This shell not only surrounds the protective EPS liner and M.E.D.S, but works with it to disperse energy throughout the helmet to considerably reduce the overall impact. Along with the shell technology, you will find that this helmet comes in 4 different shell sizes like the Fox V3 (above). This will allow optimal safety and specified fit.
What else does Shoei have to offer?
To answer that simply, they have lots to offer. Not only is their streamline design sexy, it offers extraordinary aerodynamics and direct pathways to the VFX-Evos intakes for optimum ventilation. They mix the ventilation with an amazing 3D Max-Dry liner to keep you cool, and reduce sweat getting into your eyes.
Overall, Shoei is no longer behind. This new lid brings a promising future for the brand in the off-road department.
There you have it!
The ultimate buying guide for a best motocross helmet in 2018. With so many great options, it will be hard to pick – but it’s great to know that no matter what, you will be getting an awesome lid! We hope this helped you and wish you the best of luck this riding season!