If you ride on your motorcycle to feel free and alive, you’re not alone. There are currently over 8.6 million registered bikes across the US!
Choosing the right motorcycle helmet is important so you can stay safe while on the road. Whether you’re an adventurer or like to casually commute, read on to learn how you can choose the right motorcycle safety gear to protect your head.
Understand What You Want
There are generally four types of motorcycle helmets.
The first, a full-face helmet, gives your head and neck as much coverage as possible. They work for all riders because the chin bar protects you from impact more than other helmet types. They also often have ventilation, sunlight adjustment, and Bluetooth capabilities.
Open face helmets leave the face exposed while covering the top and sides of your head. This doesn’t work for more daring riders but is perfect for commuters and low-stakes motorcycle enthusiasts. They weigh less than full-face options.
Modular helmets are also called flip-up helmets. They’re made from a similar material to full-face headgear but have hinge features that let you flip up the front when you want to. This means that you can alternate between the feel of a full-face vs open-face helmet at will.
If you’re a fan of off-roading and higher speeds, a specialized off-road helmet might be for you. These are also called ‘dirt bike’ helmets and have an extremely strong material designed to stop head and neck soreness. They’re lightweight, have a lot of airflow because of their high chin bar, and (unfortunately) are usually the only helmet to lack Bluetooth capabilities. However, you can still install bluetooth on your own!
Please note that these are not the only options open to you. Some people like lightweight and less-protective half-helmets, too. Others like dual-sport helmets that combine full-face and off-road features.
Do your research and decide what you want after gathering all the necessary information.
Decide on Your Helmet Shape
There are three general head shapes to consider when you are determining what type of helmet to get:
- Round-oval: the length of your head is almost the same as the ear-to-ear width, probably only slightly longer.
- Long-oval: the length of your head is significantly longer than its width.
- Intermediate: a middle ground between the two.
Look in a mirror and focus on the entire shape of your head. Better yet, sit down and have someone else look at your head from the top. Have them take a picture so you can be more confident in your decision.
Figure Out Your Size
Once you know the shape of your head, you’ll need to determine your helmet size. This is a straightforward process that just requires measuring tape.
Put one end of the tape between your eyebrows. Measure the circumference from this location all the way to the thickest part of the back of your head.
After you have this number, compare it to standard sizes on the NHTSA website. You’ll learn what size you need to order to fit your head safely and snugly.
This is one of the most important motorcycle safety steps. If your helmet is too loose, your head will get jostled around. It won’t just lack protection if you get in an accident, but you will also be more at risk for a concussion.
If your helmet is too small, it’s going to take a lot of work to get on. More importantly, it will provide you with no barrier in the event of an accident.
Choose a Reputable Retailer
Much like buying your actual motorcycle, you’ll need to choose a reputable seller of motorcycle gear. This means:
- Researching the website, you find to make sure it’s legit.
- Reading product pages for information about DOT compliance.
- Reading online reviews of various sellers to determine their quality.
- Talking with other motorcycle enthusiasts in forums about where they got their helmets.
- Learning which sellers specialize in the type of helmet you want.
- Choosing somewhere that’s been in business for several years.
- Speaking with people at the online shop to hear more about what is offered.
If you’re buying your helmet in person, even better. You can try on the helmets and inspect them to ensure they meet safety requirements. This will let you make a more informed decision, especially since you can talk to experts at the shop.
Ensure DOT Safety Compliance
The U.S. Department of Transportation has legal standards for motorcycle safety gear. This makes sense since wearing the appropriate helmet is a safety issue. It’s their job to keep people safe while on the roads and minimize distractions.
Some DOT regulations for motorcycle helmets include:
- Thick inner lining
- Liner made from polystyrene foam
- A weight of about 3 lbs
- Nothing protruding over 2/10 of an inch from the helmet
- Solid chin straps and helmet rivets
Luckily, helmets have small stickers that denote compliance with these standards. You only need to manually examine your helmet if you’re suspicious of the seller’s reputation.
Choose the Right Motorcycle Helmet Today
Choosing a motorcycle helmet that fits your needs perfectly requires a lot of thought and research. Now that you know some of the most important things to consider and have explored our tips, it’s time to get started.
Harley Davidson of The Woodlands is committed to helping you choose from dozens of motorcycle helmets that will keep you safe on the road. You’ll also find tons of bikes that come in different colors, feels, and financing options. Contact us to discuss our offerings and what they can do for you!
Harley Davidson of The Woodlands
Harley-Davidson of The Woodlands has been serving Southeast Texas for more than 20 years. We provide the Greater Houston area with new and pre-owned motorcycles, riding apparel, parts, maintenance service, and more at our state-of-the-art dealership. Whether you’re a new rider or a seasoned Harley vet, our friendly team of Harley-Davidson experts is ready to help you find the perfect bike today. Stop by and visit the Harley-Davidson of The Woodlands Showroom off of I-45 North in The Woodlands, TX.