Throughout history there have been several influencing factors for the design of different types of motorcycle helmets . Of course, the first designs were thought of as a safety and protection mechanism against accidents. But other manufacturers have been oriented after a different way, rather to cover the aesthetic factor, both to match their designs to the aesthetics of some types of motorcycles; as to stylize the appearance of the bikers themselves.
Faced with these differentiations, it is worth asking, How many types are there and which is the best of all? Well. In this article we intend to clarify these and other questions in detail.
The three main types of motorcycle helmets
Regarding the question of how many types of helmets exist for motorcycles , the answer may vary from one expert to another. This is because some of the helmets, despite being designed with different safety and aesthetic factors in mind, are ultimately very similar to each other. However, the most general trend leads us to differentiate three main types of motorcycle helmets ; within which other “subtypes” or more specific models can be incorporated. Let us know below which ones and how they are:
As the name implies, the classic helmets are the oldest in motorcycling . It was very common to see them everywhere and at all times of the year, since, after all, they are the ones that have been on the market the longest. However, for a few years they have gradually started to disappear in substitutions of other new types of helmets. In fact, different governments and competent institutions have long proposed and promoted their veto of the market.
Specifically, all this negativity that surrounds classic helmets falls on the fact that they are very unsafe . The ability they have to absorb impacts and the range of cranial coverage are very limited factors, in many accidents they are even useless . The reason: these helmets have a very simple shape, the first designs of this type only covered the upper half of the skull; without protection for the ears, the face and much less the neck.
The classic helmets can also be recognized under the name of open helmets . An improved version of them provides protection for the ears, to some extent for the neck, and includes an eye protection screen. The latter are known as Jet helmets , which we could consider as an evolutionary bridge between classic and full-face helmets.
As in the previous case, the name of these helmets is also intuitive. The helmets were the first designed to provide complete protection , ie; integral. For this, they are made with high-tech materials such as thermoplastic or Kevlar, carbon or glass fibers, and also with a tricomposite invoice. They are manufactured in a single piece that includes protection for the head, ears, neck, eyes, face and jaw. I like to think of them as the modern equivalent of the helmets worn by different knights of the Middle Ages, such as the Templars.
This is by far the safest type of helmet of all . Just look at the fact that these are precisely the helmets used by speed pilots. Although it is true that its use is very valid for any scenario, whether in the city, the road or the countryside.
The high safety of full-face helmets is no reason to think that they are unattractive. On the contrary, they are some of the most stylish on the market ; since they can incorporate different reliefs (decorative or utilitarian) on their surface without compromising their protective capacity at all. In addition to this, the aerodynamic shapes of many of them stylize their silhouette, projecting a particularly sporty image.
Due to their comprehensive one-piece protection, these types of motorcycle helmets are commonly known as closed-back helmets . And it is precisely from this very fact that its two main (and practically only) drawbacks arise: they can be somewhat uncomfortable, depending on who, and on hot days, they can feel somewhat suffocating.
Taking this type of helmet as a basis, we can mention three more specific subtypes, each one designed to better meet certain needs for greater protection or lightness. For example, we can mention the Off-road helmets that are normally used in sports and motocross competitions, there are also helmets without jaw protection for trial practice and ultralight full-face helmets for trail-type motorcycles.
We could say that, depending on how you look at them; the modular helmets are the kinds of helmets for motorcycle more practical . They are manufactured with the same materials as full-face helmets, but unlike those, they are not made from a single piece. Specifically, they are made up of two pieces: the base piece is practically a Jet-type helmet, on which a second articulated piece is mounted to protect the chin. In fact, if before we mentioned that Jet helmets are an intermediate between the classics and the integral ones, we could also say that the modular ones are between the Jet and the integral ones.
As a result, when riding the motorcycle the joint can be lowered to obtain the protection of a full face helmet, while when standing or moving at very low speed the jaw protection can be raised to give the face a breath of air during hot days. It is in this sense that these helmets can be considered the most practical. Which by the way, due to the movement of their joint are also known as flip-up helmets .
On the other hand, although they are very useful for the city; These types of motorcycle helmets can become more of a problem than insurance in certain accidents. The downside is that the articulation system could jam in the event of receiving a strong and direct impact, so it can be a problem when the orderlies have to remove it. The possibility of this scenario happening is minimal, but it is a possibility in the end. In addition to this, this type of helmet is by far the heaviest of all .
An important detail to take into account, which differentiates them from full-face helmets, is the extra weight that the mechanics suppose to make a modular helmet flip up.
How to choose well between the different types of motorcycle helmets?
What to Look for When Purchasing a Motorcycle Helmet
- Comfort – This is a must! After all, if it doesn’t fit well, you will find yourself not wanting to wear it.
- Safety – Be sure to check out the safety specifications.
- Brand – This is important to some people but not everyone.
- Durability – Make sure it’s built to last.
- Full Face or Half Face
- Amount of Airflow
It is very important to know how to choose well between the different types of motorcycle helmets for several reasons. The main and most obvious has to do with the protection capacity that each one has. In this sense, without a doubt; the best are full face helmets.
The next point is to correctly determine what our size is. There is no use wearing a full face helmet if it is baggy and it will slip out of your head during an accident. Which by the way, it is estimated that in approximately 20% of motorcycle accidents, the helmet flies off exposing the rider’s head. That is why it is important that you take a look at our article on how to choose the size of a motorcycle helmet. But from this moment we anticipate that if a full-face helmet does not cause you some discomfort, then it is not your size.
Finally, it is important to check that the helmet has a homologation label (J, P, N / P and P / J are the European homologation standards). This is the guarantee that the competent bodies have validated that the manufacturer complies with the standards (DOT and ECE) established to produce safe and reliable helmets.
To finish, I have personally preferred full face helmets even from the time I was riding a scooter, which no matter where you look, they do not match. And I prefer the discomfort, sweat or lack of aesthetics rather than breaking my skull for wearing a less secure helmet. According to the WHO, wearing a good helmet reduces the risk of death by up to 40% and severe head injuries by 70%.