Dirt bike riding can be extremely dangerous and safety should be your number one priority. If you are careless and ride without safety gear, it could lead to serious injury or even death. In this article, we will discuss what to look for when buying a dirt bike helmet and give you a complete dirt bike helmet buyer’s guide.
Always protect your head
A helmet would be number one on the list of safety gear that you will have to invest in when you want to start riding. A Canadian study shows that more than 60% of dirt bike related deaths occurred in persons not wearing a helmet (read more about it here)….so I cannot reiterate this enough, ALWAYS WEAR A GOOD QUALITY HELMET!
It is important to get a helmet of good quality. Don’t buy a cheap helmet, just for the sake of wearing a helmet. Rather spend the extra money on a quality helmet and save on potential hospital bills.
Helmet safety standards
Check the back of the helmet to see if it complies with the safety standards. It should at the very least be DOT compliant.
The U.S. DOT (Department of Transportation) has set minimum safety standards for motorcycle helmet construction. The sticker on the back of the helmet is supposed to be an indicator that the helmet has met the Federal safety standards.
The issue with DOT is that it is up to the manufacturer to comply with these safety standards & it is based on an honor system.
If you want to make sure you are buying a good, quality helmet, get one that has the Snell sticker on the back.
Snell is a non-profit organization that takes safety testing to the next level. The Snell tests include Impact, Roll-Off, Dynamic Retention, Chin Bar, Shell Penetration, Face-shield Penetration and it gets tested for Flame Resistance.
Have a look at the Snell website for more information on the tests that get performed.
Characteristics of a safe helmet
The helmet should have a polystyrene foam liner between the outer shell and the comfort liner. Cheap helmets may not have this inner liner, which is extremely unsafe, as this liner is there to protect your head against impact.
Make sure the rivets holding the helmet together are of good quality. Cheaper helmets may have rivets of poor quality, which means it will come apart quite easily.
Look for a helmet that has a quick release on the chin strap. In the event of an accident, it will be quicker and easier for medics to safely remove your helmet.
It is absolutely imperative that your helmet must fit properly. The helmet should not move around when you move your head. It should fit snug, but also pay attention to make sure that it is not too tight. Always make sure that the chin strap is tightened properly before riding.
To make sure you get the correct measurements when buying a helmet online, measure your head as follows: Measure the widest part of your head. Hold the measuring tape about an inch above your eyebrows when measuring. Hold the tape firmly and make sure it is level around your head, without any sagging anywhere.
Have a look at the sizing chart below, to see which is the correct size for you.
Fox Racing V1
This is an entry level helmet, but it is lightweight and very durable. It also comes at an affordable price.
It weighs in at 5.5 Pounds and has the following features:
- Injection molded polycarbonate & ABS shell construction
- 3 shell and 4 EPS sizes for a precise fit
- 9 intake and 4 exhaust vents for optimum airflow
- Exceeds ECE 22.05 and DOT FMVSS 218
Troy Lee Designs – SE4 Polyacrylate Factory
This helmet is incredibly light, it only weighs 4 pounds and has the following features:
- MIPS protection system reduces rotational forces to the head
- EPP (Expanded PolyPropylene) chin bar for lightweight, durable protection
- Three shell sizes to more accurately fit a variety of head sizes and rider ages, improving overall safety
- Anatomical –3D contoured cheek pads with emergency release system for EMS responders
- Plastic visor screws and brass inserts for easy impact break-away
Airoh – Cross Twist
This helmet only weighs around 2.6 pounds, which makes it one of the lightest helmets on the market in this price range.
This helmet offers the following features:
It is made from Airoh’s high resistant thermoplastics (HRT) and expressly designed for the most demanding riders. Its outer shell has an ultra lightweight and an aggressive look and is a perfect choice for the most demanding riders to excel in the toughest races. Its lining is highly breathable, removable and washable and provides absolute comfort.
Twist also has an adjustable peak and a dust filter (as an added plus for off-road rides). A double D-ring retention system ensures maximum comfort and protection even in the riskiest situations.
Helmets over $300
Fox Racing – V3
This helmet weighs only 1 pound and has the following features:
- MVRS Magnetic Visor Release System
- New specific medium shell size for improved scaling and fit
- 4 shell and 4 EPS sizes for a precise fit
- Reduced weight over the previous generation V3 helmets
- Muti-Directional Impact Protection System
- Multiple-composite technology construction
- DriLex comfort liner & cheek pads
- 14 intake and 4 exhaust vents for optimum airflow
- Certification – Exceeds ECE22.05 and DOT FMVSS 218
- Matte finish
Aria VX-Pro 4
- Features new peak, 14mm longer and 5mm wider than VX-PRO 3
- Larger relief ports to allow more air to escape from under the larger peak to minimize lift/pulling at speed
- New chin vent incorporates expanded SS mesh moved from inside to the outside of the shell, provides room to move the EPS chin liner forward for more room in the face area
- Chin vent has mesh cap, round and smooth to resist snagging and digging in, easily removable with a single screw and will break away if necessary in an impact
- Meets or exceeds Snell and DOT standards
Shoei – VFX-Evo
This helmet, in my opinion, is probably one of the best helmets money can buy and it has the following features:
- Proudly boasts the SHOEI-exclusive Motion Energy Distribution System [M.E.D.S.]
- All-new V-470 visor provides a seamless connection with the shell, optimal roost protection, and secure positioning
- Optimally-designed vents, an aerodynamic shell, and cooling EPS channels yield superior airflow
- Precise placement of multi-density EPS material yields a more compact, lightweight design
- The proprietary technology integrates a six-ply matrix Hand-laid interwoven layers of fiberglass with lightweight organic and high-performance fibers
- SHOEI’s strongest, lightest, most elastic shell provides optimal impact absorption
- Exceeds Snell 2015, DOT FMVSS 218
- High-quality EPS liner material throughout entire chin bar for enhanced impact absorption
- Eyeport Provides a massive peripheral field of vision, Large eyeport facilitates oversized goggles
- Shell-integrated goggle channel forms a perfect goggle retention system
- Boasting sixteen (16) intake and exhaust vents in total Wind tunnel-tested for optimal vent port shapes, sizes, and locations
- EQRS quick release system