Head On: The 6 Best Motorcycle Helmets

Motorcycle helmets used to be a mark of weakness. No Hell’s Angel was taking to the road strapped into his ass-kicking motorcycle boots and then going to use anything other than a do-rag with his club’s colors to protect his head. The reason for this was not only did early helmets look horrid, they were often painfully uncomfortable and could inhibit the rider’s visibility, making them as much of a hazard as a help when going out on two wheels.

Those days are long gone. Now taking a tour on your motorcycle means you can also look like a real hard case. They’ve improved in safety and usability as well, allowing you to customize your appearance while also adding protection wherever you need it most, with a plush, cozy interior that makes the California King in your chalet look like a torture chamber. Our 6 best motorcycle helmets are meant to give you the most in coverage for touring riders, knee draggers, or weekend warriors alike while they cradle your scalp and make your biker brothers proud of how you look.

Scorpion Exo-C110

Scorpion Exo-C110

Pro: Included snap-up visor
Con: Half helmet

Half Measures: Cruising riders who want a basic bucket without a lot of fanfare will get more than they need with the Exo-C110. It has clean lines, especially for a half helmet, that reduce the size, weight, and keep the appearance modern with a touch of the traditional motorcyle helmets of old. The shell is a polycarbonate that won’t weigh you down, even if you expect to take a long run. The added visor and extreme ventilation permit this to work better on hot rides than cold trips, along with some features that give it a little more latitude when touring. The SpeedView SunVisor operates better than using a pair of sunglasses when you need eye protection since they can be flipped with a switch that is easily accessible when you’ve got your meat hooks in some motorcycle gloves. Anti-fog coating means it won’t pick up moisture from your face or from harsher conditions and will keep you from stopping to wipe away condensation. [Purchase: $130]

Bell Rogue

Bell Rogue

Pro: Unusual style allows for customization
Con: Design not suitable for all

Wonderfully Strange: We’re not sure what Bell was trying to design here, and frankly, neither do they. It’s possibly a half helmet with a guard, or a vented full helmet, or a 3/4 helmet for Darth Vader. Whatever they’re doing, it damn sure works. For playful jaunts down to the corner store or quick commutes, you can use it as a half helm with all the comfort you need and none of the added weight. When you feel like taking a serious road trip and expect high speeds filled with flying insects and the debris that goes with a life on the highway, you can strap on the detachable grill for greater cover and protection without the sweaty discomfort of gearing up with a full helmet that is sure to leave you bathed in sweat. It’s not only comfortable thanks to the venting, but the triple EPS sizes allow it to handle whatever your head size comfortably without making you look like a reject from the mushroom kingdom. [Purchase: $250]

Shoei Solid Qwest

Shoei Solid Qwest

Pro: Easy shield adjustment without tools
Con: Some helmet drag at high speeds

Most for the Money: This is probably the biggest bang you’ll get out of a street bike helmet with all the protection of the pros moved down to the standard level. The interior has four shell liners and 6 EPS sizes so that you can find a bigger range of options to accommodate your head size so that long-term riding doesn’t cause any discomfort. Added aerodynamics on the outside prevent high winds from causing interior noise which will give the touring rider an easier time with their head trapped inside the shell. The air intake at the top allows more flow through the helmet while the rear spoiler helps pass air along to eliminate neck fatigue from pressure and improper riding posture. A Q.R.S.A. (Quick-Release Self-Adjusting) base plate means you can adjust and swap out the shield without tools and gives you customization options if you plan on taking this into the big leagues or making personalized upgrades. Also has classic lines that go along with any motorcycle jacket or reinforced riding leathers. [Purchase: $349]

Arai Corsair V

Arai Corsair V

Pro: Highly durable
Con: Very basic style

Safety First: Stunt riders and heavy-duty racers will find that the Corsair V is probably the safest place they could put their head outside of a steel roll cage. Not only did this pick up a DOT stamp of approval but also a Snell M2010 certification for safety. We chose the standard model to help shave a few dollars off of the price, but you can upgrade to the Rea or the Race Carbon if you want to drain that troublesome savings account. A hyper-ridge lines the bottom for more impact resistance while also offering more ventilation and a larger neck opening. Typically you’ll want to ride these over long tracks with your head down, but the inclusion of a five spoiler system helps keep your head cool when riding upright, though true street riders might find the more vertically built RX-Q to their liking. The helmet doesn’t throw a whole lot of style at you, but they do include features like safety tabs which allow EMTs easier removal when the rider is unconscious so as to limit trauma. Details like that are why riders with a Corsair V walk away more often. [Purchase: $729]

Schuberth C3 Pro

Schuberth C3 Pro

Pro: Quietest helmet on the market
Con: Minimal ventilation

Quiet Riot: Among the largest complaints of touring riders is the abuse that most helmets cause their ear drums on long rides. Inside of a helmet the decibels can reach as high as 115 dB, which is more than enough to give you hearing loss that will last long after the ride is over. If you want to avoid becoming one of those old bikers yelling at their tv, you need a helmet that protects your eardrums. The insides are lined with Coolmax which severely cuts down on high decibel noises from high speed winds buffeting your headgear. In addition, you can organize all of the guys on your speed touring run with the SRC Bluetooth system made by Schuberth. There is zero lift on the helmet at high speeds so you won’t feel any upward drag which allows you to stay in the upright and locked position and won’t cause you neck pain later on. The convertible style allows for the chinbar to be moved up so you can add ventilation without changing your helmet’s position. [Purchase: $769]

AGV Pista GP

AGV Pista GP

Pro: Extremely comfortable fit
Con: Expensive

Track Star: If you feel like telling Moto GP Champion Valentino Rossi that he doesn’t know a good helmet from a hole in the ground, you go ahead, but we’re going to stick with the winner on this one. He was not only instrumental in the design of this bucket, but helped to test it since he was so comfortable with the work that the people at AGV did. This is clearly made for sport riders who are used to dragging their knees along the track with a carbon fiber construction base that enhances peripheral visibility so that you’ll never get caught unawares on curves or as you come off a jump. These use the FEM (Finite Elements Analysis) common to many AGV motorcycle helmets for an inside out design that starts with ergonomics around the head of the rider and works out to safety, rather than trying to cram comfort into a shell as an afterthought. The result is a tight fit that doesn’t feel claustrophobic and maximizes impact distribution along key points around the skull. [Purchase: $1,400]

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