Different types of helmets: everything you need to know before buying

different types of helmets

Comfortability while riding a motorcycle is largely dependent upon the helmet. To help you choose the most suitable options among different types of helmets, we have collected all the necessary information about them: the pros and cons, for whom this or that type is more suitable, and for whom.

All information is laid out in detail, with photos and tables to accommodate.

So, what are the different types of helmets?


  1. Full Face
  2. Modular (AKA Flip-Up)
  3. Crossover
  4. Dual-Sport (Motard)
  5. Open types:
    1. ½ (AKA Brain Bucket)
    2. ¾ (AKA Open Face)


types of moto helmets


  • Rattles
  • Double Rings



  • Thermoplastic
  • Carbon
  • Fiberglass

Full Face Helmets


full face helmets


The most well known, widely used and SAFEST helmet. It covers the whole head and looks like a holistic, full-fledged construction. The shell, as a rule, has inlet and outlet openings, the design is equipped with goggles or a flip-down visor that protects the face.

It offers the greatest protection, but is not well ventilated and has a poor field of vision.
Although, modern and higher-priced full-face helmets have additional multi-channel ventilation and sufficient visibility.

In more than 30% of accidents, the harmful impact falls on the front of the helmet, the full face helmet has an undeniable advantage in safety protection over other types.


the safest of all types of helmets

one of the quietest in its price category


when stopping, for example, at a traffic light or at a gas station, it must be removed

not always well ventilated

does not always have a very wide field of view

Modular Helmets


modular helmets


Outwardly, it looks exactly like the full-face helmet, but it has ONE main difference – with one movement of the hand, the front of the helmet can be raised to easily open access to the face. This is convenient if you often need, for example, to smoke, drink or for any other reason you need access to the face.

The construction of the modular helmet allows for special devices in closing and opening the front part. Accordingly, the modular weighs more if we compare it with other types of helmets in its price category.

In terms of safety, it is significantly inferior to the full-face helmet. Mainly, because of the open type of construction. More often than not, the folding chin arch is not included in the building structure of the helmet. At the first fall and contact with asphalt, a modular helmet will not protect any better than an open type of helmet for example. However, It is a great option for riders who travel long distances.

Another obscure nuance regarding modular: As a general rule, this type of helmets is slightly smaller in its external parameters than the full-face helmet. This is important if you want a smaller helmet. For example: if you desire a helmet that takes up less space while traveling with luggage.


able to fold up the protective glass and chin – providing easy access to the face

safe enough because it covers the whole head

excellent aerodynamics

convenient to use with glasses


not as safe as a full face, because it does not have an integral structure, but a metal lock for opening and closing the helmet

the heaviest weight among all types of helmets

higher cost

sometimes insufficient durability due to the complex device

Pay attention when choosing a modular! Certain modular models have the chin and visor opening at the top of the helmet and while riding with it open, the aerodynamics deteriorate. This makes it impossible to ride with an open modular at high speeds.

However, there is The Shark Company that manufactures modular helmets with patented technology: when you raise the chin and visor, the visor remains at the top of the helmet, snug against it, and the chin rotates backward. Accordingly, with this option, the aerodynamics do not deteriorate and you can comfortably ride at high speeds, with an open helmet or with a closed one.


modular helmet shark
The chin rotates backward




crossover helmets


Helmets designed specifically for motorcycling. These helmets differ because the chin area is protruded forward to facilitate better rider breathing. Thus, allowing more air to enter your nose and mouth, which means you can breathe deeper and more freely. In addition, the chin part is greatly strengthened and designed so that the rider who wears it will be better protected in case of a fall.

Another distinguishing feature of the crossover is the lack of a visor. Instead of a visor, riders who ride sports bikes wear special glasses called goggles. This is due primarily to the fact that they are constantly getting dirty. There is also a canopy in the construction of the helmet which protects the helmet from dirt.
Crossovers are very lightweight.



additional protection of the chin

protection from dirt and the sun

good visibility

excellent ventilation


lack of visor

aerodynamic pressure on the head.

Motard (dual sport)


dual-sport helmets


Almost the same helmet as the crossover, but differs by the presence of a built-in visor. A suitable option for those who ride in all seasons. It has the same pros and cons as the crossover.

Open types of helmets





These helmets offer no chin protection or face protection. They offer almost no protection so they are rarely used when riding motorcycles. It is usually preferred among Scooter riders.


easiest to wear

most comfortable

great visibility

neck is almost never tired


minimum level of protection

not safe enough for motorcycle use




3 quarter


This type offers side protection, unlike a brain bucket, but leaves the face open. All the same, it is more suitable for owners of cruisers, choppers and other low-powered motor vehicles.


easy to breathe

wide viewing angle

light enough due to the small construction


not safe enough

Different Helmet Materials


The most common material for the manufacture of motorcycle helmets. Automated production and a minimum of manual labor together with shockproof plastic make these helmets reliable and affordable and therefore the most common.


Better when compared to thermoplastic in strength, and durability. In the manufacturing process of such helmets, the proportion of manual labor is higher. Fiberglass helmets are very strong and relatively expensive, they are used in sports.


Today these are the lightest construction, which is important when you buy a helmet. When riding a motorcycle, the head lends itself to heavy loads, during acceleration, braking, moving through bumps, etc. Preventing fatigue from wearing a helmet is an important factor for comfortable riding.


very durable

lightweight (carbon is the lightest material)

light enough due to the small construction


price – carbon fiber helmets are much more expensive than thermoplastic.

Type of mount

  • Helmets on ratchets – a convenient and quick fastener for everyday and city driving, convenient fastening even in motorcycle gloves



  • clasps “double ring” (DD-ring) – the only valid way to fasten, used on racing tracks, and at all sporting events. The method is not as convenient as a ratchet, but safer. It completely excludes even the theoretical possibility of unfastening the helmet during its operation. In addition, owners of helmets with a double ring claim that it is enough to pull a little at one of the ends of the clasp, move it away and you can remove the helmet. It is not necessary to unfasten the fasteners to the end.




Our recommendations:

  • choose a helmet with a pinlock (so that the helmet does not sweat);
  • choose a helmet so that it already has sunglasses on
  • choose a helmet that will keep you safe in case of an accident.

If you still have questions or concerns about different types of helmets, please leave a comment below. Also if you found this information useful, let us know about it!

How to measure a helmet to make sure you get the right size

how to measure a helmet size

It could be dangerous if you don’t choose a helmet that fits properly – this is an important topic that most sellers of motorcycle equipment are silent about. Ignorance of the main points on how to measure your head to ensure the correct helmet size and the pursuit of momentary savings often leads to loss of money. Let’s look in detail how not to lose money when buying a new helmet.

Most likely, the question of measuring the size of a helmet is of interest to a beginner who buys a helmet for the first time or perhaps you just have not bought a new helmet for a long time. In any case, it will be useful for you to familiarize yourself with the material below.

Method №1. We measure the circumference of the head and select the appropriate size according to the manufacturers’ tables.

Step 1. First, you should measure the circumference of the head with a sewing measuring tape or steel soft measuring tape.

This is done very simply: over the ears, we measure the circumference of the head at its widest part (if there is no measuring ruler, use a string or a rope around the head, and then measure the resulting length with a ruler or yardstick). As a rule, you need to measure the head circumference at a distance of 0.6-1 inch above the eyebrows, slightly above the ears and at the point on the back of the head that gives you the longest circumference. Measure your head several times to avoid mistakes and find the maximum circumference.

Step 2. Now compare your result with the helmet sizes shown in the summary tables below.

Each helmet size corresponds to a certain head circumference in centimeters or inches. Since different manufacturers produce hard shells of completely different shapes and sizes, they can classify the sizes of their helmets in different ways. Below are tables of the sizes of helmets and the length of the head circumference, depending on the brand of helmet and manufacturer. If you are firmly convinced that you want to buy a helmet of a particular brand, for example, Arai or Shoei, see the corresponding table (or read the recommendations on the manufacturer’s website).

Arai Helmet Sizing

2XS51-5220 -20 1/2
XS53-5420 7/8 - 21 1/4
SM55-5621 5/8 - 22
MD57-5822 1/2 - 22 7/8
LG59-6023 1/4 - 23 5/8
XL61-6224 - 24 3/8
2XL63-6424 3/4 - 25 1/8
3XL65-6625 5/8 - 26

Vega Helmet Sizing

S55-5721 5/8 - 22 1/2
M57-5922 1/2 - 23 1/4
L59-6123 1/4 - 24

Shoei Helmet Sizing

XS6 5/8 - 6 3/453-5420 7/8 - 21 1/4
SM6 7/8 - 755-5621 5/8 - 22
MD7 1/8 - 7 1/457-5822 1/2 - 22 7/8
LG7 3/8 - 7 1/259-6023 1/4 - 23 5/8
XL7 5/8 - 7 3/461-6224 - 24 3/8
2XL7 7/8 - 863-6424 3/4 - 25 1/8
3XL8 1/8 - 8 1/465-6625 5/8 - 26

Icon Helmet Sizing

2XS6 3/8 - 6 1/251-5220 1/8 - 20 1/2
XS6 5/8 - 6 3/453-5420 7/8 - 21 1/4
SM6 7/8 - 755-5621 5/8 - 22
MD7 1/8 - 7 1/457-5822 1/2 - 22 7/8
LG7 3/8 - 7 1/259-6023 1/4 - 23 5/8
XL7 5/8 - 7 3/461-6224 - 24 3/8
2XL7 7/8 - 863-6424 3/4 - 25 1/8
3XL8 1/8 - 8 1/465-6625 5/8 - 26

Step 3. If you see that two sizes of helmets may suit you, it is preferable to focus on a smaller size. Moreover, some of the inner linings of helmets tend to wear out a little over time.

Step 4.When placing an order, ask the consultant how closely the size chart matches the actual characteristics of the product.

Often, consultants have information on the features of a particular model or brand of helmet. Also, read reviews about the store and the specific products in this store. Ask about the possibility of a return or exchange

When you order a helmet online and measure its size in this way, take into account the risks – the helmet may turn out to be too big or small and simply will not work for you.

Reasons why the helmet may not match the circle in size:

  • the manufacturer does not adhere to its size grid (rarely, but this happens even inexpensive price segments);
  • the shape of the head does not always coincide with the shape of the helmet (heads with the same circumference may have different shapes, for example, the helmet may not fit in height).

Method 2. Measure the equipment of a comrade.

If you are a rider, then most likely you have acquaintances and friends who also ride on motorcycles.

If you like your friend’s helmet, try on it (on the balaclava). Does it fit? Find out the size and safely order the same online!

Method 3. Measure the helmet you like in the motorcycle equipment store.

The longest on time, but the most accurate way to guess the size is to go to the store and try on the helmet there. As a rule, on the Internet you can find exactly the same product, but cheaper. So you can find a helmet that fits your size in your local motorcycle store and then order it cheaper.

So what is the best way to try on a helmet in a store?

  • Firstly, when you put on a helmet and fasten it, try shaking your head with short sharp movements in different directions. If the helmet easily moves around, then you chose the wrong size. It is unsafe and uncomfortable due to wind blowing, whistling and noise.
  • Secondly, try to get a finger between the head and the helmet in the temple or frontal area. If you can do it, you should most likely choose a smaller size.
  • Thirdly, take a closed and fastened helmet with one hand on the back of the head and try to shake it up and down or pull it off your head through the front. If a helmet easily moves back and forth, then this is not your size.
  • Fourth, if you feel strong pressure in the forehead and discomfort, you need to try on a larger size.
  • And lastly, after putting on a helmet, walk in it for at least ten minutes to assess the level of comfort and to understand if it puts a lot of pressure on your head.

As a conclusion, we will answer some of the most popular questions:

As a general rule, a S-size helmet is suitable for a 22-inch head. However, the difference may be in the manufacturers. For example, the Arai dimensional table suggests a helmet of size Md on a 22-inch head, and Bieffe - Sm. Check carefully the manufacturer’s dimensional tables!
Measure your head circumference just above your eyebrows and ears with a string or rope. And then use a ruler to measure the length of this string or rope. You can also use a soft tape measure or sewing measuring tape.
Our recommendation: For sports and racing motorcycles, choose reliable and safe equipment that will fit your size exactly. Measure a helmet for racing in a specialized store.
12 months46
2 years48
3-5 years51
6-10 years 53

How do you clean a helmet? 6 simple ways to do it at home

how to clean helmet

How to clean a helmet at home?

All helmets consist of two main parts. One is the outer “shell”, the other is the inner soft layer, which absorbs shock when riding and thus makes trips more comfortable.

Therefore, cleaning the helmet at home consists of several stages:

  • inside helmet cleaning;
  • cleaning the outside of the helmet;
  • neat cleaning of the visor and pinlock.

How do you clean the inside of the helmet?

Even if you wear a helmet over a balaclava, it still needs to be constantly and regularly cleaned from the inside. The surface inside is still dirty, even if the helmet is constantly closed. Dirt and air enter through different filters.

Method #1.

You can use a special cleaner to clean the inside of the helmet. As a rule, this is a spray can of liquid under pressure. You need to shake the can, and then just spray the foam on surface to be cleaned. Wait one minute, take a disposable napkin or towel and blot the surface with this napkin. Foam, as it were, “pulls” dust and dirt from the inner surface of the helmet. Repeat the procedure until the towel remains clean after getting wet.

These substances usually do not have any smell. This ensures constant freshness. In addition, they quickly dry out and kill all bacteria.

how to clean bike helmet

You can buy one of these sprays:

cleaning a helmet inside

  1. AUTCA
  2. Helmet pro-tec
  3. Release-on
  4. Motul

Method #2.

If your helmet does not have a removable liner, you can wash the whole thing. Use a basin, hair shampoo and warm water to do it. Soak the helmet in soapy water, brush it, drain the water and repeat the procedure again so that dust and dirt do not remain in the water. After you have thoroughly rubbed all the parts, drain the water on the helmet to completely wash off the soapy water. Leave it to dry.

Method #3.

If you want to clean the helmet in more detail and more carefully, you can disassemble it, namely, remove its entire soft shell. Most modern helmets have this option. If your soft shell is not removable, use the helmet cleaning method from the inside No.1 or 2.

So, we disassemble the inside of the helmet:

  • remove the visor;
  • cheek pads (as a rule, they are attached with buttons);
  • we take out a grid;
  • remove the rest of the removable interior of the helmet (first the side, and then the central part).

Then we clean all the elements. Ideally, do this using some special detergent for motorcycle equipment. If you need a more economical option, you can wash it with soap or hair shampoo, which does not have a pronounced smell. The best thing is to draw water, add soap or other cleaning agent to it, soak the inside of the helmet and leave them overnight. The next day, rinse, dry and put them back into the helmet.

You can also wash the comfort liner and other soft parts in the washing machine in a delicate wash mode.

We recommend cleaning the interior at least once a season, and preferably once every two months. For convenience, you can remove the helmet once every two months, and use the foam to clean the helmet between washings. And do not forget to wear a balaclava!

While the insides of your helmet dry, let’s wash the outside of the helmet.

    1. fill a basin with warm water;
    2. add detergent to the water: soap or hair shampoo;
    3. take a soft brush or sponge;
    4. put the helmet in the water;
    5. and start washing it with soapy water and a sponge, carefully cleaning out all the dust and dirt;
    6. let it dry or wipe with a soft, dry cloth.

    Often dust remains on ventilation openings and attachment points. You can gently remove it with an ear stick or cotton swab.

    how to clean small derails on helmets

    And your helmet will look like new!

    How do you clean the helmet visor?

    The visor is an important part of a motorcycle helmet. Any scratch, insect residue or dust on it interferes with the view of the motorcycle driver.

    So, we have already removed the visor. Then disconnect the pinlock and wash them separately. We recommend to wash the visor and the pinlock with plain soap and water, but very carefully so as not to scratch anything. This is best done simply with the fingers (not with a brush). Be careful not to scratch the visor, for example, with a ring on your hand. And never use window cleaners or any other substances that contain ammonia. It destroys polycarbonate, which means it is dangerous for your visor.

    Next, leave the elements to dry a little, and when the water drains – wipe with a paper towel or other soft cloth.

    How to clean helmet visor

    We do the same with the sun visor.

    Our recommendations to keep helmet looking new:

    • During rain, use a special water-repellent meant to protect the visor from a drop of rain and pollution. For example, Rain-X 620036 Plastic Treatment or another:
    • Be sure to wear a balaclava.
    • Carry wet wipes with you. Why wait until the dirt dries on the visor if it can be wiped off right away? This will greatly protect the visor from scratches and damage.
    • Remember to ventilate your helmet often so that the smell inside it does not stagnate. Take it out of the bag sometimes.

    Well, keep an eye on your helmet and drive safely!

    And if you have any recommendations for cleaning your helmet, please share them with other motorcyclists in the comments below!