The 12 Best Modular Motorcycle Helmets of 2021

Sep 20, 2021

Category: Gear

Full-face motorcycle helmets represent the pinnacle of protection for riders, however, these full-coverage lids are objectively lacking when it comes to convenience and ease of use. These helmets must allow the widest point of the wearer’s head to slip through the opening while still affording a snug and precise fit, and as a result, removing or donning a full-face brain bucket is often a fairly uncomfortable process. Recognizing these properties, a growing number of moto gear brands have started producing modular motorcycle lids that offer full-face protection and the simultaneous ability to flip up a locking chin-bar to increase airflow or to more easily have a conversation when stopped.

The immense and continued popularity of these “best of both worlds” type helmets has lead to dozens of different modular moto helmet releases over the last few years, all offering their own unique takes on the genre with their own respective strengths and weaknesses. And while we now have more modular-style brain bucket options on the market than ever before — a trend that shows no signs of slowing — the sheer abundance of available offerings has made it increasingly difficult to hone in on the handful of models that stand head and shoulders above the rest. So, with this in mind, we’ve thoroughly scoured the segment to deliver this hand-picked guide to the best modular motorcycle helmets.

Moto Lid Modularity

What Exactly Is A Modular Motorcycle Helmet?

Though over the last year or two the segment has started to expand in other directions — such as with mask-style lids — traditional modular motorcycle helmets are, in essence, hybrid full-face lids that can be converted on the fly to 3/4-style items. This is typically accomplished through the use of a locking flip-up chin-bar that can be raised to expose the wearer’s face or brought down to shield their face while riding. Despite the flip-up aspect of these helmets, modular lids don’t compromise on safety or protection compared to regular fixed-position full-face models.

Aiming to bolster convenience and comfort, modular helmets lend themselves to everything from daily commuting duties to long-range touring, and as such tend to come loaded with features such as drop-down sun visors and swappable face shields. And, unlike regular lids, modular helmets don’t have to be removed and put on as frequently, as the wearer can keep the item on and simply flip up the face when interacting with other people or stopping to fill up. Having the ability to lift the face-covering section while riding on hot days is also an objective game-changer, especially for those residing in warmer climates.

Modular Helmet Must-Haves

The 12 Most Important Areas To Consider When Buying A Modular Motorcycle Helmet

The process of purchasing a new modular moto lid is fairly similar to that of buying a regular motorcycle helmet, though there are a few areas unique to the former’s space that are crucial to consider when shopping. In a bid to streamline the buying process, we’ve compiled this guide on the dozen most pivotal areas to factor in before pulling the trigger on your purchase.

Shell Construction: A lid’s first line of defense, the shell material used to manufacture a helmet is of utmost importance as it plays a massive role in both its overall protective qualities and its weight. While fiberglass was once the standard, in more recent years many modular helmets — especially of the more premium variety — have been utilizing shell constructions comprised of polycarbonates or composites, as well as carbon fiber weaves. When buying a modular lid, it’s also worth looking into the construction of the chin-bar, in addition to the main shell material.

Liners: Another hugely important element on any lid are the liners. This includes both the type of energy and impact-absorbing material used to line the shell — i.e. the EPS liner — as well as the material lining the inside of the helmet. This latter area is especially important, as a host of high-end helmet companies have been introducing helmet liners with advanced antimicrobial and/or moisture-wicking properties.

Features & Amenities: More so than any other helmet segment, the modular moto lid space has hugely embraced supplementary bells and whistles such as integrated Bluetooth comm systems and built-in drop-down sun visors. There are also quite a few helmets that come with recesses or ports to accommodate specific add-ons such as aftermarket comms.

Visor Setup: On the surface, it might seem like a helmet’s visor is a fairly cut and dry area, but the reality is that visors can hugely vary in a number of key areas. The first thing to consider is a visor’s size (i.e. the field of vision it offers) and construction (and whether it is fog and/or scratch-resistant), though you’ll also want to explore factors such as whether the visor is pin-lock ready (and if it comes with an included pin-lock).

Closure System: For pretty much all of motorcycling history, double D-rings — an invention that dates back to ancient Rome — were the standard in helmet closure systems, being simple, effective, easy to use, and offering precise adjustments. More recently, however, several innovative thinkers in the helmet space have started utilizing alternatives to the double D-ring setup like ratcheting closure systems or magnetic FIDLOCK buckles.

Shell Size & Fitment: In order to properly do its job, a motorcycle helmet needs to precisely fit its wearer. To save on manufacturing costs, many helmet makers use the same shell size across several of their helmet sizes. The more high-end brands tend to employ more shell sizes across their lineup, offering an even greater fit.

Ventilation: Even with the ability to simply flip up the chin-bar, a modular helmet’s ventilation is still wildly important, as chances are you’ll be spending much of, if not most of your time with the chin-bar being locked in the down position. As such, you’ll want to look into the number of intake and exhaust ports that comprise a given helmet’s ventilation system. Likewise, you’ll also want to explore whether these ports are fixed, or can be open and closed.

Noise: The wind noise a helmet creates at freeway speeds isn’t just annoying, it can be irreparably damaging to your hearing, making a brain bucket’s noise level another important area to factor in. Traditionally, the helmets with better ventilation suffered from excessive wind noise, though this has massively changed in recent years, to the point where riders can have clear conversations over comm systems at 70+mph.

Weight: Considering that the entirety of a helmet’s heft is supported by your neck, a lid’s weight is extremely important. Despite the addition of locking flip-up chin-bar mechanisms, most modular helmets tip the scales at similar weights to their regular full-faced counterparts — an area largely made possible through the use of carbon fiber and other advanced, weight-saving constructions.

Fit & Finish: The main elements that comprise a motorcycle helmet — i.e. the shell, shell liner, interior liner, and visor — are obviously of extreme importance, though there are some secondary areas that can hugely affect a lid’s fit and finish, such as the quality of its paint (and the paint’s application) and the hardware used to piece the whole thing together. These small elements can have a pretty profound impact on a given helmet’s overall execution feels.

Style: Regular full-face motorcycle helmets come in a wide range of different shapes, sizes, and styles, and modular lids are no different. As such, there’s nothing wrong with letting your personal aesthetic taste partially guide your decision. So, whether you want a sporty, track-inspired model or an old-school-inspired vintage-style lid, this segment is sure to have something that jives with your visual taste.

Safety Certifications: For a more objective baseline sense of a helmet’s protective qualities, several government agencies have created safety tests that a helmet must pass in order to receive a road-legal certification (such as America’s DOT system or Europe’s ECE certification). If you plan on wearing your helmet on public roads, this is an important area to check on, though the good news is that the vast majority of helmets on the market sport one of both of these certifications.

Icon Airflite Moto

Starting this list, we have a non-traditional take on a modular motorcycle helmet. Rather than utilizing a moving chin-bar, ICON’s Airflite Moto lid is comprised of a motocross-meets-full-face helmet shell that can be equipped with a full face shield, or be outfitted with an MX-style beak and recessed port for moto riding goggles. Built around an injection-molded polycarbonate shell, this helmet also features an internal drop-down sun visor, ICON’s HydraDry moisture-wicking liner, and half-a-dozen strategically placed intake and exhaust ports.

Shell Material: Injection-Molded Polycarbonate
Weight: 3.79LBS
Origin: America
Safety Certifications: DOT, ECE, & PSC

Purchase: $265

Scorpion EXO-AT950

While most modular motorcycle helmets are modeled after regular, sport-focused full-face models, Scorpion’s EXO-AT950 lid takes blatant inspiration from the adventure moto helmet sector, with a removable beak, and a face shield that can be removed to open up space for a pair of moto riding goggles. Produced in a trio of different shell sizes, the EXO-AT950 features a ratcheting closure system, all-metal folding visor hardware, and is protected by a half-decade warranty.

Shell Material: LG Polycarbonate
Weight: 3.77LBS
Origin: China
Safety Certifications: DOT

Purchase: $270+

HJC V90

Created in response to the massive influx in popularity that the vintage-style helmets segment has seen in recent years, HJC’s V90 model puts an unmistakably neo-retro spin on the genre, with a bubble-shaped visor and a bullet-style chin-bar that can flip up to expose the rider’s face. Created using advanced CAD technology, this retro-inspired helmet sports an IS-08 internal drop-down sun visor, recesses for accommodating riding glasses, a moisture-wicking and antibacterial SilverCool lining with removable and washable cheek pads, and is also compatible with the Smart HJC comm system.

Shell Material: Polycarbonate Composite
Weight: 3.41LBS
Origin: Korea
Safety Certifications: DOT & ECE

Purchase: $325

Bell SRT Modular

The monumental success of Bell’s no-frills full-faced SRT model has ultimately prompted the American brand to release a modular version of the lid, resulting in the item seen here. Maintaining a near-identical appearance to the regular SRT, the modular spec of the helmet boasts a removable and washable antimicrobial liner, a Panovision face shield with class one optics, an internal drop-down visor, and a fiberglass composite shell that’s manufactured in a trio of sizes.

Shell Material: Fiberglass Composite
Weight: 3.89LBS
Origin: America
Safety Certifications: DOT

Purchase: $380+

Shark EVO One 2

Shark Helmets has been producing quality brain buckets for the last 35 years, though the Marseille-based manufacturer’s EVO One 2 model undoubtedly represents a step in a more premium direction for the French firm. Sold with an included Max Vision pin-lock insert, this modular item sports a slew of improvements over its predecessor, as well, including an all-new chin guard locking system with a revised side plate design, a new visor quick-release setup, markedly less wind noise, and a more aerodynamic shell design that boast a flip-up chin bar with an integrated chin curtain that’s reinforced via a magnetic fastening system.

Shell Material: Injected Thermoplastic Resin
Weight: 4.03LBS
Origin: France
Safety Certifications: DOT & ECE

Purchase: $430+

Nexx X-Vilitur

Nexx is a hugely respected helmet company that’s lauded for its sleek exterior designs and use of advanced materials. And the Portuguese brand’s X-Vilitur is no exception, sporting a modern and aerodynamic shell design that’s crafted from its X-Matrix material — a cutting-edge composite that’s made from an amalgamation of aramid, fiberglass, and carbon fiber. Produced in three shell sizes — and a slew of unique color and design options — the X-Vilitur features dual rubber seals at the visor and chin bar, a micro-ratchet stainless steel chin strap, a single neck roll and cheek pad combo piece, Nexx’s X-SWIFT Quick Release visor mechanism, and an all-metal locking mechanism, plus is sold with a pair of included action camera bracket mounts.

Shell Material: X-Matrix Composite
Weight: 3.93LBS
Origin: Portugal
Safety Certifications: DOT & ECE

Purchase: $500

Klim TK1200

Described by Klim (pronounced “climb”) as “the world’s first Grand Touring helmet,” the TK1200 is an ultra-advanced modular lid with a carbon fiber shell that’s created using the Idaho outfit’s proprietary Polymerisation heat and molding process — ultimately resulting in a super lightweight yet immensely durable helmet. But it doesn’t end there, as the TK1200 also gets Klim’s micro-metric buckle securement system, hypoallergenic and removable 3D padding, and proprietary photo-chromatic TRANSITIONS visors that automatically adjust their tint depending on (sun) lighting conditions. This top-notch brain bucket is also offered in a plethora of solid color and pattern designs — several of which leave the shell’s carbon weave on full or partial display.

Shell Material: Heat-Polymerised Carbon Fiber
Weight: 3.26LBS
Origin: America
Safety Certifications: DOT & ECE

Purchase: $600

Quin Carbon Quest Modular

A markedly more top-shelf interpretation of an ADV-style modular lid, Quin’s Carbon Quest helmet is constructed around a K6 carbon fiber shell with a matte finish, a flip-up chin-bar, and a removable visor. Designed in Texas before being manufactured at a state-of-the-art factory in China, this helmet conceals internal drop-down shades, a removable beak visor, and a fully integrated Bluetooth comm system. Another factor that hugely sets this helmet apart from other models on the market is Quin’s built-in SOS satellite beacon which uses an algorithm to detect a crash and then summon help should the rider be unresponsive.

Shell Material: Carbon Fiber
Weight: 3.66LBS
Origin: America
Safety Certifications: DOT & ECE

Purchase: $699

Simpson Mod Bandit Carbon

Simpson is well-known for its aggressive-looking moto and auto racing helmets, and the Italian brand manages to fully maintain its signature aesthetic while delivering a more user-friendly brain bucket with the Mod Bandit Carbon. Also offered in a non-carbon version (seen above), this helmet features a lightweight, all carbon fiber shell, adjustable intake vents, a removable air dam, a drop-down visor, a removable and antibacterial liner, speaker and microphone recesses, and visors that can be swapped on the fly without the use of any tools. Simpson also produces visors in a variety of different colors for this helmet.

Shell Material: Carbon Fiber
Weight: 3.56
Origin: Italy
Safety Certifications: DOT & ECE

Purchase: $700

Shoei Neotec 2

Shoei’s Neotec 2 is the modular helmet that all others are judged against, setting the standards for safety, style, and amenities. Essentially a modular version of the Japanese brand’s wildly popular GT Air II helmet, the second generation Neotec sports an even more aerodynamic shape, along with a 360 Pivot Locking System made from all stainless steel components and an ANSI-rated, 3D injection-molded QSV-1 drop-down visor. Other highlights on this updated item include new noise isolator cheek pads, an ultra-rugged CNS-3 base plate system, and a pin-lock-ready visor that’s sold with an included Pinlock EVO insert.

Shell Material: Advanced Integrated Matrix
Weight: 4.12LBS
Origin: Japan
Safety Certifications: DOT & ECE

Purchase: $700+

AGV Sportmodular

Touted as being the world’s first-ever all-carbon-fiber modular helmet, AGV’s Sportmodular is arguably the most game-changing flip-up lid of all time, offering seriously top-notch levels of protection — thanks to the use of three shell sizes coupled with four sizes of an advanced five-density EPS liner — in an ultra-sleek package that actually tips the scales at nearly half-a-pound less than the elite Italian brand’s Pista helmet (which is worn by a slew of riders on the MotoGP grid). While it doesn’t come cheap, the overall design, craftsmanship, and fit and finish on this helmet are second to none. AGV also produces this helmet in a variety of solid color and livery options.

Shell Material: Carbon Fiber
Weight: 3.2LBS
Origin: Italy
Safety Certifications: DOT & ECE

Purchase: $750+

Schuberth C4 Pro Carbon

Schuberth unequivocally produces some of the finest helmets on the planet — as evidence by the fact that the German brand’s lids are utilized by numerous Formula One drivers — and its C4 Pro helmet wonderfully encapsulates the company’s hallmark traits. Boasting an absolutely stunning fit and finish, the C4 Pro utilizes an ultra-advanced impact absorption system with a specially-optimized EPS foam set in strategically placed multi-zone sections and housed in a carbon fiber shell. In addition to sporting Schuberth’s antimicrobial, quick-drying Coolmax fabric lining, this helmet also boasts an integrated antenna for the brand’s SC1 comm system which was designed specifically to fit its helmets (though is sold separately).

Shell Material: Carbon Fiber
Weight: 3.91LBS
Origin: Germany
Safety Certifications: DOT & ECE

Purchase: $899

The 24 Best Motorcycle Helmets

Interested in checking out a wider selection of moto lids that isn’t limited to the modular genre? Then be sure to head over to our guide to the best motorcycle helmets for a look at two-dozen of today’s greatest brain buckets from every type of riding helmet.

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