Choosing the right helmet is easier when you can make an informed decision. Therefore, you need to learn as much as possible about the different types, particularly focusing on the similarities, differences, and the level of protection that each helmet provides.  The market is teeming with many kinds of helmets. All, or most, of these helmets meet the legally required safety standards for the types of vehicles and riding they are rated for, however, some helmets are higher quality, and will provide more protection than others.  That’s why we are offering “Bike Helmet 101”

How Many Helmet Types Are There?

Types of Motorcycle Helmets You Should Own

Currently, there are six common helmet types:

  • Full-face helmet
  • Modular helmet
  • Open-Face helmet
  • Half helmet
  • Off-road helmet
  • Dual-sport helmet

1. Full-face Helmets

Full-face helmets are the most widely used types of protective headgear. These kinds of helmets cover your entire head, face, and neck. For this reason, they are considered the safest helmets out there, and are commonly used for off-road motorcycle riding and racing, as well as for streetbike riding on-road, and at the track.

The identifying feature of a full-face helmet is the chin bar. The bar increases the safety function of this helmet significantly.

In most instances, during a very hard crash, the chin bears the brunt of the damage. Full-face helmets are the only helmets that protect the chin and jaws from being damaged in the event your face comes in contact with the ground or another object.

Most full-face helmets can be worn on many different kinds of bikes, motorcycles, other vehicles, and terrains.

However, full face helmets do tend to vary in design according to the kind of riding you are engaged in.

For example; motorcycle racers, and even BMX racers, ride their bikes while leaning forward, hence their full-face helmets must have higher chin bars, as in the Fulmer motorcycle helmets found on Amazon.

On the other hand, leisurely bikers ride upright so a low chin bar works for them. The Fuel Motorcycle Helmet is an excellent example of such a helmet.

Full-face motorcycle helmets should have a fully-functioning ventilation system. Without this, the helmet visor will fog up. Ventilation vents ensure there is rough air circulation in the fully-enclosed helmet. Some helmets have the option to open or close these air vents as needed.

If you live in a hot and humid area, air vents are the most important thing you must look out for in your new helmet. Insufficient circulation causes fatigue and poor visibility, both of which are potentially fatal.

Even though the full-face helmet provides an impressive degree of protection, it is not for everyone. Claustrophobic riders may not want to be enclosed in the small space offered by full-face helmets.

2. Open-Face Helmet

Also known as the ¾ helmet, it protects the sides and the upper backside of your head. Wearing this helmet, your face is exposed to the environment.

These helmets are for you if you enjoy feeling the wind whipping past your face. Open-face helmets are widely preferred by scooter users, cafe racers, and tourists.

The helmet doesn’t offer any protection for the face in the event of a sudden impact. And since there is no chin bar, the jaws are not protected either. Naturally, this isn’t one of the safest helmets.

However, the areas that stay under the helmet are rigorously protected from high impact injuries. The key is to be careful while riding with an open helmet.

Open-face helmets are some of the lightest motorbike helmets. Their weight is due to the fact that they are smaller and have no chin bar.

Some of these open helmets will come with a visor to protect your eyes while others will require that you purchase your own.

Because of the level of protection available with this helmet, we recommend them only for casual riders. People who are claustrophobic will enjoy the open design.

3. Modular Helmets

Modular helmets are also known as flip-up helmets. Their name comes from the fact that the helmet design lets the visor and the chin bar flip upwards. They are a blend of a full-face helmet and an open-face helmet.

At a glance, the design looks similar to the fully enclosed helmet and materials used in their construction are almost always similar. Once the visor section lowers, the rider’s face is totally enclosed.

In modular helmets, serious brands install a high-quality visor with UV filtration capabilities to protect the eyes. However, adding a visor and the hinge that flips upwards means adding more weight to the helmet.

The disadvantage of the hinged visor is that it forms a point of weakness on the helmet. The visor flap, therefore, compromises the protection capability of a modular helmet.

This helmet is suitable for highway cruisers and adventure seekers. It has extended eye openings for a wide field of view. The chin bar also sits lower to accommodate the upright stance of this kind of riding.

As with the fully-enclosing helmet, the modular helmet should have an efficient ventilation system as well. Without airflow, the visor will fog and your head will overheat.

4. Half Helmet

Quite surprisingly, motorcycle half helmets are wildly popular. The helmets only cover the top of the skull to the eyebrows. Minimal coverage of this headgear means minimal protection. However, a few designers extend the coverage to the back of the neck. Even then, the face is always exposed in a half helmet.

Since the design is so open, you need not worry about ventilation. Some half helmets do not have visors, while some do. In the event that there is none, please purchase eye protection separately.

Just like the open-face helmet, we recommend it for riders who avoid speeding. If you love going fast but only have half-helmet, please purchase a more appropriate headgear.

5. Off-Road Helmet

Off-road helmets are made for those rough rides that take place off normal streets. Rough tracks and muddy dirt paths, popular among motocross circles, are the ideal locations where you need an off-road helmet.

Off-road helmets have a unique design. The helmet has a bigger, jutting chin bar as well as a wide protruding visor.

The helmet is meant to weigh as little as possible while offering the highest level of protection. The helmets usually come with a good ventilation system.

Wear an Off-road helmet if you are riding a dirt bike.

These motocross helmets do not come pre-installed with eye-protection so you should purchase riding goggles.

Please note that although there are other eyewear options for the dirt bike, goggles are the safest option.

Off-road helmets are made of various industrial yet lightweight materials, including:

  • Fiberglass
  • Kevlar
  • Carbon fiber

All these materials, when used in the construction of this helmet, reduce the weight and in turn eliminate fatigue and strain on the neck.

Off-road helmets pair well with other protective gear such as neck braces and body shields. The two different types of body protection should fit seamlessly with each other.

Despite its functionality, off-road helmets are made for comfort. When you purchase one, it should be lightweight and easy to clean. Ease of cleaning is paramount since off-road helmets go through some of the muddiest tracks. To maintain visibility and ventilation, frequent cleaning of this helmet is highly recommended.

Motorcycle Helmet Sizes

Did you know that your helmet will only provide protection if it is the correct fitting?

The Department of Transportation safety ratings only apply to helmets of correct sizes.

When you wear a helmet and you experience a large impact, the MIPS liner is designed to diffuse the effects. If there is a significant space between your head and the helmet, the helmet will hit you instead. Ironically, you will be injured by your safety gear for wearing it improperly.

The slip layer of the MIPS adds to protection from injuries arising by rotational force. If the helmet isn’t a snug fit, even the MIPS won’t work as it is supposed to.

Furthermore, if you wear a helmet that pinches your head, it will be painful and distracting to ride with such discomfort. You’ll simply want to take it off the entire time you are riding.

A good fit prevents these two scenarios and does its job of protecting you. The following steps show how to choose the correct size of helmet.

How to Identify the Shape and Size of Your Head

At this stage, you should have decided on the type of helmet you want to rock on your motorcycle. With that in mind, the next step is to find out the shape of your head.

Types of Motorcycle Helmets You Should Own

Head shapes fall into three categories:

  • Round oval
  • Long oval
  • Intermediate oval

To determine the shape of your head, you need an extra hand to take a photo of your noggin from above.

While taking this photo, smother down your hair as much as possible. Thick hair tends to obscure the real shape.

Is your head long and thin? Is it almost round? Or somewhere in between the two?

Generally speaking, the United States most common head shape is the intermediate oval.

How to Measure the Size of Your Head

In our daily lives, we rarely have to measure the size of our head as much as our shoe or waist size. Helmet fitting is one of the few instances that demand the correct head size.

It is a straightforward process that requires two people to get an accurate figure of measurement. Let a companion measure the perimeter around your head using a tailor’s tape measure. Place the tape above the eyebrows to the back of the head.

Alternatively, use a piece of string to wrap around your head and then place it flat against a ruler.

Once you have the correct readings, compare the measurement against the motorcycle helmet size chart. The chart will tell you the correct size to buy.

Note: The chart is both in inches and centimeters.

How to Try on a Helmet

At this third step, we already have your head shape, helmet size, and the design of the helmet that you want. These three factors already narrow down your scope of search significantly.

When your order finally arrives, put on the helmet by grabbing and stretching the straps apart to slip on the helmet. Sliding it on may feel a bit uncomfortable but that is alright.

Sometimes you will have to adjust your ears, and that’s normal too.

Checking your Helmet for the Correct Fit

If you immediately feel a severe ache after wearing your headgear, it means that you should try another one.

If you end up with an uncomfortable helmet after going through the first two steps above, please recheck your measurements and shape evaluations.

If the helmet is the correct fit, the inner padding should gently press against your cheeks. The cheeks should be pushed up slightly. Open-face helmets do not have this effect.

Lastly, hold the chin bar and shift it around. The helmet shouldn’t move, but your cheeks should. If the helmet slides at this point, it is a size bigger than the right fit.

If you feel that it is just a wee bit tight, give yourself 20 hours to fully break in the liner.

How to Make Sure You have the Right Helmet Size

Types of Motorcycle Helmets You Should Own

After trying on your helmet, leave it on for several minutes. While you are wearing it, just sit and do something relaxing.

While sitting down, you will notice if the helmet pressures some points. If it presses your head to the point that you feel like taking it off to stop the discomfort, it is not the right one.

  • Feeling the helmet’s snugness while sitting is normal and is not a cause for concern.
  • Helmet discomfort is usually centered around the forehead or right above the temples.
  • If after sitting with the helmet on for several minutes and you are left with a lined imprint on your forehead, it isn’t the right long oval shape for you.
  • A helmet pressing down uncomfortably on your temples isn’t round enough.

Note: Spend the time you are testing the helmet on your couch! Some helmet sellers will not accept a return after a ride.

Several minutes later, if you have experienced none of the above disqualifying factors, this is the right pick.

Spend more time in your helmet at intervals, this will help the helmet take the shape of your head. Remember it takes up to or at least 20 hours for the helmet to get to the right point of comfort.

Motorcycle Helmet Designs

Helmets are mandatory while on the road with your motorbike. Even if you have a rebel spirit and you are dying to break free, do it with a cool motorcycle helmet. You don’t have to conform to the conventional designs.

Getting a unique motorcycle helmet design is a safe yet powerful way of expressing yourself.

Cool motorcycle helmet designs are not confined to graphics and style. They extend to extra features that will make the riding experience more comfortable and joyful.

Some of these features include plush lining for the interior, advanced ventilation systems, and even tinted visors.

Manufacturers constantly go out of their way to be innovative with their helmets. We found some of the most original motorcycle helmet designs.

Below we have listed some of our favorites.

Police Motorcycle Helmet

Ordinarily, police officers wear open-face helmets because they are easy to snap on and off.

There are open-face helmets designed specifically for the kind of job police officers do. The specifications are as follows:

  • The outer shell consists of smooth aerodynamic fiberglass material.
  • Inner padding is often constructed with a comfortable urethane lining.
  • There are three layers of cushioned padding.
  • Ventilation comes from 0.5-inch holes that act as air inlets.
  • Alongside the ventilation slots, air ducts are molded inside the helmets to cool the head.
  • The visor is custom-made, as per requests.
  • High on the visor, there is sometimes a rank band of either gold or silver.

Police helmets with open ear harnesses feature snaps to hold their communication devices. The harness may come equipped with the following features:

  • Echo Quick-release buckle
  • D rings
  • Micro-Metric quick slide and release buckle

For normal folk who want to rock wearing the police motorcycle helmet style, there are black and white helmet designs that mimic the law-enforcement design.

Just read your state laws to make sure it’s not illegal to wear cop-style helmets in your location.


In the unfortunate event that you are involved in a crash either on your own, or with another bike or vehicle, please seek medical attention immediately. It is a very good idea to see a professional regardless of whether your helmet prevented any visible injuries. Some kinds of damage to the skull can manifest after days or weeks later.

Enjoy the (safe) ride with your helmet!