You are currently viewing 6 Types Of Motorcycle Helmets – 2023 Complete Guide

6 Types Of Motorcycle Helmets – 2023 Complete Guide

6 Types Of Motorcycle Helmets – 2023 Complete Guide

Shopping for a motorcycle helmet can be very confusing, especially for beginners. Who knew there were so many options? You’re probably asking yourself which one is right for for me?

There are six types of motorcycle helmets available in 2023.

Here’s a list of each one and below this list and quick reference infographic, we take a deep dive into each type so you can learn everything you need to know with the most popular models so you can choose the right one for you.

There are six types of motorcycle helmets available in 2023.

Here’s a list of each one and below this list and quick reference infographic, we take a deep dive into each type so you can learn everything you need to know with the most popular models so you can choose the right one for you.

  1. Dual Sport Helmet
  2. Half Helmet
  3. Full Face Helmet
  4. Modular Helmet
  5. Off Road Helmet
  6. Open Face Helmet

Each type of motorcycle helmet offers a different style, features and level of protection. The helmet needs to fit your head snugly and securely while still being comfortable. The types of riding activities you engage in and the type of motorcycle you ride should also influence your decision.

Type Of Motorcycle Helmet – Dual Sport

Dual Sport Motorcycle Helmet Scorpion
O'Neal 0817-504 unisex-adult full-face style Sierra II Helmet
O'Neal 0817-504 unisex-adult full-face style Sierra II Helmet
9.7
  • Shell is constructed with ABS
  • Weight: 1590G ( 50G)
  • Moisture wicking, removable/washable liner
  • Integrated face shield
  • Padded chin strap with double-d safety lock
Bell MX-9 Adventure MIPS Helmet
Bell MX-9 Adventure MIPS Helmet
9.5
  • Lightweight polycarbonate/ABS shell construction 
  • DOT certified with five-year warranty
  • Helmet ships with clear shield
  • Removable clear shield with NutraFog II UV protection
  • Meets the FMVSS 218 Standard
AFX FX-41 Helmet (Medium) (Frost Grey)
AFX FX-41 Helmet (Medium) (Frost Grey)
9.1
  • Family-owned and operated manufacturer 
  • Top helmet supplier for the USA since 1996
  • Aerodynamic design with lightweight composite poly-alloy.
  • A flip-up, quick-release, single-turn screw face shield 

For many riders, they engage in more than one type of riding. It doesn’t make sense to pay for several helmets. Not only does the cost add up but storing them can take up too much space. A better solution is buying a dual-sport motorcycle helmet. This gives you the best of both worlds for off-road and a full-face helmet.

One of the main differences with this type of helmet is the visor. It is larger than what you get with a full-face helmet. Many of the models offer a snap into position design, so you can remove it if you desire. If you would rather wear goggles during certain types of riding, this can be the ideal solution.

The aerodynamic design of the visor means it stays in place. The chin bar isn’t as distinct as off-road options. This reduces noise and there will be some airflow, but not the same volume you get with an off-road motorcycle helmet. You will find the inside of these helmets are far more comfortable than your typical full-face helmet. This is due to the additional layers of padding they feature.

Some popular models of dual sport helmets are the MMG Helmet Dual Sport Off Road Motorcycle Dirt Bike ATV, Fly Racing Kinetic Rockstar Helmet, and TCMT Dot Youth & Kids Motocross Offroad Street Helmet

Pros
  • Can be used for multiple riding activities
  • Most have ventilation systems to keep cool
  • Full protection for the head and face
Cons
  • More expensive than standard helmets
  • Heavier and bulkier than standard helmets
  • Limits peripheral vision

Type Of Motorcycle Helmet - Half

Biltwell Bonanza Half Helmet
Sena CAVALRY Gloss Black X-Large Bluetooth
Sena CAVALRY Gloss Black X-Large Bluetooth
9.7
  • Composite Fiberglass Half Shell. Complies with US Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 218 (FMVSS 218) (DOT FMVSS No. 218 Certified)
  • Aerodynamic, low profile removable visor
  • Nylon strap D-ring retention system
  • Bluetooth 4.1
  • Hands-Free Profile (HFP)
  • How to Measure: 1. Wrap a soft, flexible measuring tape horizontally around your head 1 inch above your eyebrows and ears. Pull the tape softly snug, read the length and repeat for accuracy. Use the largest measurement. 2. Select the helmet size that is closes to your head measurement from the Size Chart above. If your head measurement falls between two helmet sizes, it is suggested to go with the smaller size.
Daytona Helmets Half Skull Cap Motorcycle Helmet
Daytona Helmets Half Skull Cap Motorcycle Helmet
9.5
  • Lightweight, DOT-approved half shell skull helmet meets & exceeds D.O.T. FMVSS 218 safety standards
  • 1/2 shell biker helmet hugs head for a secure, snug fit that provides superior comfort
  • Y-strap lock retention system provides quick-release with sliding adjuster for precise positioning
  • Proper biker headgear & riding gear for safety & comfort on motorcycles, cruisers, scooters & mopeds
  • Moisture-wicking inner liner fabric help keep your head cool and comfortable for warm weather riding
Biltwell Bonanza Half Helmet (Gloss Black, XL)
Biltwell Bonanza Half Helmet (Gloss Black, XL)
9.1
  • Injection-Molded abs outer shell with hand-painted finish
  • Expanded polystyrene inner shell
  • Hand-Sewn removable brushed Lycra liner with contrasting diamond-stitched quilted open-cell foam padding
  • Rugged plated steel d-ring neck strap with adjustment strap end retainer
  • Meets dot safety standards

The show Sons of Anarchy seemed to make the half motorcycle helmet surge in demand! This is a basic helmet, lighter than a full-face option. It only offers support for the back and top of the head. Some of the half shell motorcycle helmets also have coverage for the forehead. They are popular because they allow you to feel the wind around you and air can circulate. Individuals in warmer locations like Florida, Texas and California wear them to stay cool during the brutally hot summer months.

Others that ride occasionally or short distances also like this type of helmet. They offer some protection but nothing like a full-face motorcycle helmet. Not all half motorcycle helmets are DOT approved but some of them are. If your state requires DOT certification, that’s obviously a necessary feature when buying.

This is a basic type of helmet, and less expensive than many other models. However, you don’t get a visor or any type of covering for your eyes. It is highly recommended to always wear eye protection with a half motorcycle helmet. You don’t want to risk debris flying into your eyes while you are riding. If you are interested in upgrades such as Bluetooth, you will be hard-pressed to find it with such a product. There simply isn’t a place to put those features and the wind resistance due to it having an open face, would be too loud to hear anything if you did have it.

Some popular models of half motorcycle helmets are the Sena Momentum INC Pro Bluetooth Camera Street Motorcycle Helmet, Bell Race Star Flex DLX Helmet, and YBZS Motorcycle Helmet

One of the main differences with this type of helmet is the visor. It is larger than what you get with a full-face helmet. Many of the models offer a snap into position design, so you can remove it if you desire. If you would rather wear goggles during certain types of riding, this can be the ideal solution.

The aerodynamic design of the visor means it stays in place. The chin bar isn’t as distinct as off-road options. This reduces noise and there will be some airflow, but not the same volume you get with an off-road motorcycle helmet. You will find the inside of these helmets are far more comfortable than your typical full-face helmet. This is due to the additional layers of padding they feature.

Some popular models of dual sport helmets are the Bell Pit Boss Open-Face Motorcycle Helmet, Biltwell Bonanza Half Helmet and Daytona Helmets Half Skull Cap Motorcycle Helmet.

Pros
  • Lighter weight makes it more comfortable
  • Superior ventilation when riding in warm weather
  • Least expensive helmet option
Cons
  • Most unsafe type of motorcycle helmet
  • No protection from elements and road debris
  • Require eye protection when riding which is an added expense

Type Of Motorcycle Helmet – Full Face

AGV Pista GP R Soleluna Helmet
AGV Pista GP R Soleluna Helmet, Gloss Yellow, LG
AGV Pista GP R Soleluna Helmet, Gloss Yellow, LG
9.7
  • DOT FMVSS No. 218 Certified
HJC C70 Helmet (X-Large) (SEMI-Flat Black)
HJC C70 Helmet (X-Large) (SEMI-Flat Black)
9.5
  • Since 1971, HJC has specialized in manufacturing motorcycle helmets exclusively.
  • The combination of this extensive specialized manufacturing experience, innovative ideas, and reasonable pricing resulted in HJC's success in worldwide markets.
  • It is HJC's continual goal to provide high quality, comfortable, and reasonably priced helmets to motorcyclists around the world.
  • Advanced Polycarbonate Composite Shell: Lightweight, superior fit, and comfort using advanced CAD technology.
  • Aerodynamic shell with large eye port for greater visibility.
Shark  SKWAL 2 Matte Dark Grey White LEDs
Shark SKWAL 2 Matte Dark Grey White LEDs
9.1
  • Injected thermoplastic shell
  • Optimized aerodynamically enhanced spoiler
  • Autoseal system flattens the face shield onto the helmet, offers better soundproofing and seals the helmet against water and cold

A full face motorcycle helmet is designed to offer the highest level of protection for the head and the neck. It is at the top of the list of the safest helmets to reduce injuries in the event of an accident or flying debris. A full-face motorcycle helmet can be successfully worn with any type of bike you choose to ride.

At least half of all motorcycle accidents involve injuries to the chin. Therefore that’s an area you want to seek protection for if possible. A full face helmet offers the most protection for that area in addition to your face. This is the only type of helmet that offers exceptional protection for the jaw and the chin. That explains why so many riders go with this type of motorcycle helmet.

Make sure you pay close attention to the chin bar and where it sits on a full-face motorcycle helmet though. When riding a bike in a crouched forward position, it is important that the helmet doesn’t lift or shift as you increase the speed. For sports motorcycles, it is best to select a full-face motorcycle helmet featuring a high chin bar and the opening of the visor should be angled facing the top of the helmet.

Some popular models of full face motorcycle helmets are the AGV Pista GP R Soleluna Helmet, HJC C70 Helmet and  Shark HE4902DAMAXL SKWAL 2.

Pros
  • Offers the highest level of protection for the head and face
  • Keeps head and face warmer in cooler weather
  • Provides better audio quality for music and communications
Cons
  • Reduced peripheral vision which can be a safety concern
  • A visor can fog up more than other helmets if not an anti-fog visor
  • Can be hot and uncomfortable in warm weather if it has no ventilation feature

Type Of Motorcycle Helmet – Modular

Bell SRT Modular Full Face Helmet
Scorpion AT950 Helmet - Outrigger with Dual Pane Shield
Scorpion AT950 Helmet - Outrigger with Dual Pane Shield
9.7
  • Once again Scorpion redefines the definition of value and versatility.Introducing the all new EXO-AT950, a versatile modular adventure touring helmet.
  • It has features and quality that you would expect to pay three times more for.The AT950's advanced LG® Polycarbonate Shell is not only engineered to minimize weight and disperse impact, its intuitive design also makes it the most versatile snow h
  • In addition to the easy access afforded by the flip-up chin bar, the face shield can also be removed to accommodate riding with goggles, or keep the dual-pane shield in place and remove the peak visor for a completely different look and feel!Advanced LG&#
  • The Ellip-Tec ratchet system allows for 100% tool-less shield changing in a matter of seconds.EverClear® Dual-Pane Faceshield - Optically-clear, Dual-Pane, anti-fog shield with external scratch-resistant hard coating.
  • 95% UV-A and UV-B protection.Oversized Eyeport - Wide eye port allows for greater peripheral vision and downward visibility.
ILM Motorcycle Helmets Dual Visor Enlarged Air Vents Modular Full Face
ILM Motorcycle Helmets Dual Visor Enlarged Air Vents Modular Full Face
9.5
  • Not only approved ILM's strict quality inspection, but also meet or exceeds FMVSS-218 and DOT safety standards.
  • Modular ''flip-up'' function making the helmet a true two-in-one helmet fit for multiple occasions. Large lock release button helps to flip up the helmet easily with gloves.
  • Built-in sun shield visor to block sun's UV rays, gives riders instant relief from sun glare.
  • Multiple enlarged vents for optimum ventilation. Compact, aggressive and streamlined shell design helps to prevent wind noise.
  • Replaceable and washable inner liner. Inserted chin curtain design aims to reduce dust.
KLIM Modular Motorcycle Helmet Large - Tech Matte Black ECE/DOT
KLIM Modular Motorcycle Helmet Large - Tech Matte Black ECE/DOT
9.1
  • Transition Lens Instantly Reacts To Changing UV Levels
  • Proprietary Break Away Chin Bar That Reduces Force On Head And Neck In The Event Of An Accident
  • Premium Polycarbonate Anti-Scratch Shield Tech Takes The Lead With Pinlock Ready Systems Standard To Ensure A Clear Road Ahead

Similar to a full face helmet is a modular, also referred to as a flip-up motorcycle helmet. Both the chin bar and the visor can quickly be flipped up and then put back down. You can do this while still wearing the helmet. It is advised to keep the visor down while riding of course, to offer protection for your eyes and face. When you ride with it up, you’re vulnerable to flying road debris like dirt, rocks, trash, etc.

Many modular motorcycle helmets have a neat feature built into them. They offer a dual visor so you can conveniently change the visor based on the sunlight or darkness when you ride. With a dual visor motorcycle helmet, you flip one down and the other up.

In a matter of seconds, you can quickly change your visor type. You don’t have to stop the motorcycle or take off your helmet to make the change with this type of modular helmet design. Look for one with an anti-fog design to ensure you can safely wear it in all riding conditions.

One of the disadvantages of a modular motorcycle helmet is the weight. They tend to be heavier than a full-face helmet. This is because of the extra materials it takes to create the hinge design. Even so, the difference is slight and most riders won’t notice it, especially newer riders.

The hinge design is convenient, but it is important to know it reduces overall safety. Of course, it is safer than a half helmet or not wearing one at all. It is important to understand the trade-off for convenience is reduced protection in the event of an accident compared to a full-face motorcycle helmet. It is a common choice for those riding touring bikes, cruisers, and high-speed adventure sports bikes.

Some popular models of modular motorcycle helmets are the Scorpion AT950 Helmet, ILM Motorcycle Helmets, and KLIM TK1200 Helmet ECEDOT.

Pros
  • Chin bar can be flipped up or down
  • Less expensive than most full-face helmets
  • More protection than a standard helmet
Cons
  • More wind noise and drag 
  • Heavier and bulkier than full-face helmets
  • Chin bar is removable making it less safe in accidents

Type Of Motorcycle Helmet – Off Road

Bell MX-9 MIPS
Arai VX-Pro4 Adult Off-Road Motorcycle Helmet - Block/X-Large
Arai VX-Pro4 Adult Off-Road Motorcycle Helmet - Block/X-Large
9.7
  • The Eye Port Trim And Material Has Molded Rubber Trim Across The Top Of The Eye Port
  • A Removable, Replaceable, Washable Neck Roll Pad, And 5mm Peel Away Cheek Pads And Temple Pads.
  • Standoff Ribs That Help Reduce Liner Wear From Goggles While Also Providing A Small Gap For Airflow And Molded Goggle Strap Guides At Either Side Of The Eye Port Trim.
  • Imported
  • High Quality
Bell Moto-9 Flex Dirt Helmet (FH Newhall Gloss White/Black - Large)
Bell Moto-9 Flex Dirt Helmet (FH Newhall Gloss White/Black - Large)
9.5
  • Flex Energy Management interior liner with integrated vented roost guard
  • Lightweight carbon composite shell construction with DOT & Snell M2015 certifications thats all backed up with an Industry-leading five-year warranty
  • Velocity Flow Ventilation system for maximum cooling, fully adjustable Flying Bridge Visor with air intake vents
  • Magnefusion Emergency Removal System magnetic cheek pads
  • DOT approved. Meets the FMVSS 218 Standard
Bell MX-9 Adventure MIPS Helmet (Dash Hi-Viz Yellow/Gray - Small)
Bell MX-9 Adventure MIPS Helmet (Dash Hi-Viz Yellow/Gray - Small)
9.1
  • Lightweight polycarbonate/ABS shell construction with MIPS energy management system
  • 3 shell and EPS sizes that are DOT certified and backed with an industry-leading five-year warranty
  • Helmet ships with clear shield
  • Integrated/Removable clear shield with NutraFog II UV protection
  • DOT approved. Meets the FMVSS 218 Standard

An off road motorcycle helmet is designed to offer support and protection while on dirt roads or other challenging terrains. The head can be jerked around during such riding rather than it being smooth like when you are on a cruiser on a paved highway. Off-road motorcycle helmets are the ideal choice when venturing off the safety of the asphalt road.

The visor on off-road motorcycle helmets is larger than your typical helmet. The chin bar is designed differently too. This is intentional, to offer as much airflow through that area as possible. They offer the highest level of protection, but the materials they are made from are lightweight. You won’t find many luxurious features, but they do offer the protection you need when you ride a sports bike.

The look, weight, and amount of protection with any off road helmet depends on what it is made of. Take your time to compare products and identify the best choice for your type of riding. Those made from carbon fiber or fiberglass are your best choice. They also offer support for your head and neck, something you will appreciate after a few hours of off-road riding, especially at high speeds.

Neck braces and body armor are often worn for overall body protection with off-road riding. This can change the fit of the helmet. It is a good idea to purchase your protective gear for the neck and body first. Try it on and confirm it will fit, and then try on helmets while you have it on. This ensures it won’t be too loose or too tight when you add those other accessories for protecting yourself. Most helmets can’t be returned or exchanged so the right fit is important before you buy one.

The same is true with the eyewear you select for off-road motorcycle helmets. You need goggles that stay in place if you choose one without a visor. As you look at the designs for this type of helmet, you will notice differences. The shapes around the face vary, and that influences how well they will fit. Decide on your helmet choice first and then you can select goggles that fit. You can mix and match brands if you desire, but the best fit tends to be when they are from the same manufacturer.

Some popular models of off-road motorcycle helmets are the Arai VX-Pro4, Bell Moto 9 Flex, and Bell MX-9 MIPS.

Pros
  • Protects face and head from off-road dirt and debris
  • Better ventilation to stay cool in warm weather
  • Safer since they are designed for common off-road impacts and crashes
Cons
  • More expensive than regular helmets
  • Can be uncomfortable to wear for extended periods of time
  • Peripheral vision is limited which can be a safety concern

Type Of Motorcycle Helmet – Open Face

HJC IS-33 Open-Fac
Bell Custom 500 Helmet (Matte Black - X-Large)
Bell Custom 500 Helmet (Matte Black - X-Large)
9.7
  • Multi-density EPS liner
  • Low-profile fiberglass composite shell
  • 5 shell and EPS liner sizes ensure a low-profile look
  • Integrated 5-snap pattern for aftermarket shields and visors
  • DOT approved. Meets the FMVSS 218 Standard
HJC Helmets Open-Face Motorcycle Helmet
HJC Helmets Open-Face Motorcycle Helmet
9.5
  • Advanced Polycarbonate Composite Shell - Lightweight, superior fit and comfort using advanced CAD technology
  • Impact absorbing, multiple density EPS liner
  • One-Touch Patent Pending Integrated SunShield - Smoke-tinted SunShield deploys quickly and easily - Three Stage Multiple positions with locking mechanism - Anti-Scratch 3D face shield provides 95 percent UV protection
  • QuickSlide shield system, tool-less removal and installation [HJ-17] - Multiple optional Face shields and SunShields available
  • ACS Advanced Channeling Ventilation System - Full front to back airflow flushes heat and humidity up and out
LS2 Helmets OF569 Open Face Helmet
LS2 Helmets OF569 Open Face Helmet
9.1
  • Open face 3/4 design shell offers protection combined with a wide field of visibility prevents that claustrophobic feeling
  • Built-in Twin Shield System Sun Shield makes it easy to control how much air and light you want at the push of a button
  • DOT approved quick release buckle for a secure fit that will stay on your head
  • Fully adjustable flow-through ventilation gives you control over the elements
  • Lightweight Kinetic Polymer Alloy (KPA) shell meets and exceeds both DOT and ECE standards

An open-face helmet is similar to a half helmet but offers more protection. If you love the idea of enjoying the wind but are concerned about the safety limitations of an open-face helmet, this might be your best choice. Many models offer a visor to help prevent damage to the face should you be involved in an accident or from flying road debris like rocks and sand. When you wear this type of helmet, you should wear eye protection with it if yours doesn’t have a visor.

This type of helmet offers protection for the top, back, and sides of the head. Since the front is open, there is no protection for the jaw or the chin with it. Due to the reduced protection, they are recommended for those traveling at lower speeds. For example, those riding scooters or mopeds tend to have enough protection with open-face motorcycle helmets.

If you plan to ride your bike on major roads or operate it at high speeds, this type of helmet can leave parts of your face vulnerable to injuries should an accident take place. Some riders claim they feel closed in when they wear a full-face motorcycle helmet so they select this option regardless of the reduced protection for their head and face. They love to feel the wind on their face as they ride and choose to compromise with an open-face helmet.

Some popular models of open-face motorcycle helmets are the Bell Custom 500 Helmet, HJC IS-33 Open-Face, and LS2 Helmets OF569,

Pros
  • Provides much better ventilation than full face helmets
  • Does not fog up as easily as full face helmets
  • Lighter than full face helmets making them more comfortable
Cons
  • Less protection than full-face helmets 
  • More difficult to keep clean from outdoor elements like dirt and insects
  • More wind noise which can make listening to music and communications difficult

Conclusion

Statistics speak volumes, and they prove a helmet worn while riding a motorcycle can save lives. Sadly, there are numerous accidents where a person was seriously injured or killed and it is believed a helmet could have minimized the injuries or allowed them to survive. Then again, some would argue that no type of motorcycle helmet will protect you against a serious crash at high speeds or when colliding with a vehicle.

Being proactive and safe while enjoying your adventures on any type of motorcycle is important.

Take your time selecting a quality motorcycle helmet designed to offer the optimum level of safety. Helmet styles continue to improve to offer better protection. Always dispose of a motorcycle helmet if it has been involved in an accident, even a minor one and never buy a used one.

You can select the style and colors you desire, giving you plenty of options to choose from. Get into the habit of always wearing your helmet any time you ride your motorcycle. It doesn’t matter if you are going a few miles or plan to ride for hours. A safe, high quality helmet is an essential investment.

Chris

Content manager and writer for MotorcycleAccident.org