Riding motorcycles at high speeds is an experience you don’t easily forget. If you’re into motorcycle racing or just taking your motorbike for a very fast ride, you know how fun and rewarding it can be. Still, you need to prioritize your safety and make sure that your body is protected well enough to minimize damage from possible accidents. Having a suitable helmet is non-negotiable if you want to take part in official motorcycle races regardless of the league, so you’d better gear up properly with race boots, gloves and everything else required.
In this review, we are going to show you some great motorcycle racing helmets that are going to be a solid investment into your safety and racing career.
Here are the 8 best motorcycle racing helmets.
This helmet is easily one of the best we’ve reviewed. We’ll admit it’s a little pricey, but, ultimately, your own safety is the best investment you can possibly make. The helmet is made from composite carbon fibers which offer extra levels of impact protection while making the helmet as light as possible. This is important because you don’t want to feel too much pressure on your head and neck while racing, as it could distract you and potentially even have an impact on your judgment.
The helmet has an integrated ventilation system with extra wide ducts to keep the air inside fresh and comfortable for the wearer. The insides of the helmet are lined with breathable fabrics covered with sanitizing treatment to make sure that your helmet doesn’t become home to bacteria and other harmful microorganisms. The visor is made from high-quality polycarbonate that is extremely clear and very resistant to scratches and other kinds of impact damage. Finally, the quick-release system that’s built into the helmet allows you to swap out visors in a matter of seconds.
We would recommend that you go for a model with more impact protection if you are serious about your motorcycle racing plans. However, if you’re a hobby racer and mostly use your motorbike to get around or just ride it for fun, you can’t go wrong with this modular helmet from Scorpion. It is an affordable model, but it doesn’t compromise on quality in any way. The shell of this helmet is made from advanced LG polycarbonate, which makes it quite light and very sturdy.
The oversized eye port and extra wide visor make sure that you have all the visibility you need to correctly assess the situation on the track or on the road. Both visor and shield can be removed if you want to use the shield with goggles, which makes it a really versatile option for all kinds of use scenarios. The ventilation system in this helmet may not be as effective as those in more expensive models, but it does the job as long as you don’t have to spend more than a couple hours in the helmet. It is available in a number of sizes, and you can choose from several color options. Overall, this is one of the best modular helmets we’ve seen, and it’s definitely worth the price.
No matter how strong a helmet shell is, high speeds always mean lots of impact in case of a collision, and the helmet might break. What’s more, the force of the impact is still going to be transferred through to the racer’s head and neck, potentially resulting in quite serious injuries.
6D Helmet is a company that decided they had to find a way to reduce potential damage to the helmet wearer, and that’s why they came up with their patented omni-directional suspension technology that is used in the ATS-1 helmet. What it does is absorb and redirect the kinetic energy that results from a collision and essentially causes all injuries and traumas from accidents. Omni-directional suspension is an active suspension found inside the helmet, between its outer shell and inner lining.
The elastomeric isolation dampers that are placed there imitate an hourglass shape, which allows the helmet to absorb the energy even better. All things considered, this helmet should be able to provide a remarkable level of protection for your head and brain in case of a fall or collision. Also, it’s not as expensive as you might have expected given the use of unique advanced technology. It comes in several colors that all look equally great, but we really loved the bright yellow one we reviewed.
Racers who are very serious about their potential careers in motorcycle racing need helmets that are ready for just about anything that may go wrong. The AGV Pista GP R is a premium piece of protective gear that goes above the three-digit price range, but it’s also going to last you for years, and it’s a solid investment if you’re going to be racing at high speeds on a regular basis.
Unlike the racing helmets from some other manufacturers, AGV helmet shells are made completely from carbon instead of just having a relatively thin carbon layer on the outside. This minimizes the weight of the helmet and also adds to the safety of its wearer, as thicker layers of carbon are very sturdy. The helmet is very aerodynamic and has a special spoiler that helps reduce the turbulence behind the racer’s head. This makes it easier to keep your head stable without being affected by the air resistance as much, even during rapid head turns. Don’t worry; the spoiler is not a safety hazard as it is designed to snap back easily in case of a fall or crash.
The helmet has advanced ventilation and hydration systems, creating an optimal environment for its wearer. The visor is very wide and made from extra clear polycarbonate that won’t obstruct your vision in any way. If you need any more convincing, this helmet is worn by the motorcycle racing legend Valentino Rossi, and it is available in some really cool graphic designs, including the one we reviewed and some other amazing color options from your favorite racers.
If you’re not ready to drop that much on your new helmet just yet but feel like your racing plans call for a helmet with solid protection, take a closer look at the Bell Race Star helmet. It’s a mid-range model that was specifically designed for motorcycle racers, so you can be sure that it is going to suit all your needs perfectly.
The helmet has an ultra-wide Panovision viewport, allowing you to see as much as possible without having to turn your head around all the time. The 3K fiber shell of this helmet is excellent for extended periods of use because it makes the helmet very lightweight without having to compromise on the safety in any way.
The Flex liner used inside the helmet is the result of a proprietary technology developed at Bell, and it provides excellent protection combined with maximum comfort while wearing the helmet. The cheek pads attached to the sides of the helmet allow for a better fit and make sure that the helmet sits on your head the way it’s supposed to do.
Bell is a well-known name in the world of motorcycle racing; as a matter of fact, your parents might still remember the brand if they were into motorcycles as teenagers and young adults. This means that the Bell Race Star was developed by people who know what they are doing and have already supplied thousands of motorcycle racers with high-quality protective equipment. As a bonus, Bell helmets tend to come in a lot of color options and sizes so that anyone can find a helmet that fits their head and satisfies their personal aesthetic taste.
The second modular helmet entry on our list is going to cost you almost two times as much as the Scorpion EXO AT-950. Given the modularity of this helmet, it can either be a great deal or a wrong choice depending on how you ride your motorcycle. Hobby racers who are looking to buy a modular helmet for everyday use while commuting or exploring the countryside are likely going to be very satisfied with the Shoei Neotec II.
What’s more, the price increase as compared to the Scorpion modular helmet means that the Neotec II has a lot of potential for further semi-professional use should you get more serious about racing. However, if you’re not into casually riding your motorcycle and are looking to seriously compete in motorcycle races, you might benefit a lot more from buying a dedicated racing helmet.
That being said, the Neotec II still is an amazing helmet that can serve you well for years. The modular build allows it to be very versatile, which is a huge plus for motorcycle enthusiasts who want to race, do tricks, and ride their motorcycle casually without having to shell out on separate helmets for each activity. The first incarnation of this model, the Neotec helmet, was released in 2011 and has received a lot of praise from both amateur and semi-professional users.
With the Neotec II, Shoei decided to keep the basics of the successful design while making some improvements. The result of their efforts is an excellent modular helmet that’s comfortable, lightweight, and offers impressive protection for the money. It is also available in about a dozen color options and all the standard sizes, so you don’t have to worry about not being able to find a model you like.
As you can see, “racing” isn’t even included in this helmet’s description, which is a clear indication that it’s not to be used for serious races. However, if you’re just starting out with zero experience of competing in motorbike races, your first races are likely going to be quite safe, happening on easy tracks at relatively low speeds. In that case, you’ll still need protection, but you probably don’t want to spend a lot of money on a helmet that you might not even need in a couple of weeks.
Alternatively, you could be on a very tight budget but still wanting to take up motorcycle racing. We’d still recommend that you save up some money for a helmet with more advanced protection, but if you absolutely can’t wait, we’d rather you started out with a budget helmet that delivers excellent protection for the money, and that’s the Bell Qualifier.
As we’ve already mentioned, Bell has already been around for a while, so they know what makes a good motorcycle helmet. The Qualifier’s polycarbonate shell is obviously less sturdy than those of more expensive models, but it will suffice for some moderately-paced races, and it is more than enough for everyday use. The helmet only comes with a clear visor, which means that you’re likely going to have to buy a darker visor for it. It is very lightweight and offers an extremely comfortable fit that has been praised by hundreds of satisfied users.
All in all, the Bell Qualifier is an affordable helmet that’s better geared toward casual use, but it is still going to offer decent protection if you decide to use it for entry-level racing. Just don’t neglect the upgrade to a better helmet if you decide to stick with competitive motorcycle sports.
Arai is another well-known name in the world of protective gear for motorcycle enthusiasts, so this list wouldn’t be complete without an Arai helmet on it. Having reviewed several Arai models in different price ranges, we were equally impressed by all of them, but we decided to only include the Quantum-X model in our review as an example of a great mid-range motorcycle racing helmet.
If you’re starting out with the Arai Quantum-X, you likely won’t have to buy another helmet for years (unless you manage to go pro early in your motorcycle racing days). The Quantum-X is noticeably cheaper than its top-of-the-line sibling Corsair-X, but they do share a lot of the core features that ultimately result in the most value for you as a racer. All Arai helmets are built with the R75 shape in mind, which means that the continuous curve radius of any helmet shell is equal to at least 75 mm.
To stick to this rule, Arai has to create helmets that look slightly different from most models made by other manufacturers. The elongation of the helmet allows for extra aerodynamic properties and help the helmet distribute kinetic energy from physical impacts more evenly and safely for the racer. In addition, this shape contributes to preventing the helmet from catching on rough, uneven surfaces in case of an accident, minimizing the chances of potentially dangerous drag or rotational forces.
The face shield, visor, and neck roll are all removable to allow as much customization as possible without going fully modular. All in all, Arai Quantum-X is a great helmet that provides enough protection for most amateur to semi-pro motorcycle racing needs without breaking the bank.
Choosing the Right Motorcycle Racing Helmet
If you’re absolutely new to the world of motorcycle racing, you may be confused by the variety of helmets available and all the different ratings for them. That’s why we’re going to quickly explain what makes up a good motorcycle racing helmet and what ratings you need to focus on.
First of all, you need to have a clear understanding of your racing preferences. Depending on the track type and average race duration, your suitable helmet may be made from a different material and have different features. Generally, motorcycle racing helmets vary by four parameters, namely ventilation, internal lining, face shield material, and field of vision.
If you’re going to be racing for extended periods of time, you need a helmet with a special system to supply you fresh air while you’re wearing it. Depending on the safety requirements for your preferred race types, you might not need to get a helmet with fire-retardant inner liners, but we still recommend that you do because it is better to account for anything that might go wrong on the track.
Motorcycle racing helmets usually have a very wide field of vision, so make sure that your chosen model is not restricting your vision in any significant way. Finally, the face shields used in most helmets are made from polycarbonate anyway, but if you find one that’s using a different material, you may want to consider one with a polycarbonate shield instead.
Last but not least, you need to have a helmet with a good fit; otherwise, it won’t be able to provide you with maximum protection. Since your helmet is going to wear in, you need to choose one that sits as tight as possible at first. If the helmet can be easily moved around your head or even removed with minimal impact, it’s too large for you, and it won’t be safe to race wearing it.
Motorcycle Racing Helmet Ratings
If you want to compete in motorcycle races organized by official organizations or even professional ones, you’ll need to pay attention to their safety requirements and get suitable gear. Motorcycle helmets are rated by the Snell Memorial Foundation, and they release new ratings once every five years. Most events will still allow the use of helmets from the previous rating year, but we recommend you focus on the latest recommended models as they are the most advanced and safest ones.
The Snell ratings are usually designated by one or two letters and their release year. The SA rated helmets are professional-grade protective gear that is suitable for auto races and offers maximum protection for the wearer. M rated helmets are the most common choice for motorcycle racing because they are specifically designed for that purpose. They offer a wider field of vision than SA helmets, but the price for that is an overall lower level of protection. K rated helmets are designed for karting and offer high levels of impact protection (similar or comparable to SA helmets), but aren’t as fire-retardant as the SA ones.
If you’re just starting out, we recommend you go for an M rated helmet because they are the most versatile type, and they offer very good protection. However, if you want to participate in specialized events such as kart racing or auto racing, you’ll have to get a respectively rated helmet.