Motorcycle Classics editors review 7 motorcycle helmets from different companies for everyday riding.
1. One of the coolest new helmet designs to emerge in the last few years has roots firmly in the past. The new Bell Bullitt Helmet takes its inspiration from the very first Bell Star helmet launched in 1966. Full of retro styling, the Bullitt incorporates modern safety and some nice touches. Made from fiberglass composite, it’s light, comfortable and functional. A magnet on a leather strap holds the shield closed, and you can remove the shield entirely by simply unscrewing the retainer rings. The brown leather and perforated micro-suede interior fits comfortably and looks like a million bucks, and the head piece and cheek pads are removable for washing. Available in a variety of colors including the new Retro Blue shown here. Too cool. DOT approved. Price: $399.95.
2. Looking for something a bit more affordable in a full-face helmet, but still wanting that vintage vibe? Consider the Biltwell Gringo S. The full-face Gringo has been around for a bit, but the new Gringo S adds a shield, too. The shell is injection-molded ABS, with a shock-absorbing EPS liner, plus hand-stitched, brushed Lycra interior padding. The cheek pads are removable for cleaning and the inside of the chin bar wears BioFoam for comfort. Padding is a little on the thin side, most likely to help maintain the smaller profile that makes the Gringo S a really good looking helmet. The large eye port gives excellent visibility and the shield provides good optics, while a snap on the side of the shield latches it down when closed. DOT approved. Price: Starting at $199.95.
3. Don’t want to go retro? Then turn the other direction and get a helmet from the space age. Not long ago, carbon fiber helmets were priced out of most people’s budget, but no longer. Joe Rocket’s Speedmaster Carbon features an attractive and lightweight carbon fiber weave shell and a lightweight dual-density EPS liner. The anti-fog face shield can be removed without tools and Joe Rocket’s Quadport 2.0 ventilation system features two large front air intakes that channel air to a rear venturi-effect spoiler to pull heat and humidity up and out of the helmet. An adjustable chin bar intake vent helps move even more air when needed and the removable Air-Guide aids fog resistance. The comfortable interior is fully removable and washable. Snell and DOT approved. Price: starting at $399.99.
4. Torc made its name in the U.S. with its expansive range of stylish and affordable open-faced helmets, but recently it’s been expanding its offerings with helmets like the T27 Compass, the company’s new modular helmet. Made of a fiberglass/nylon weave composite shell, the helmet features a one-button, flip-front design and an EPS liner that’s channeled to allow for better ventilation. Adjustable chin vents move even more air, as does the top vent and integrated rear air extractor. The Compass features an integrated mechanical drop-down sun shield, a metal-on-metal post latch system, and a quick-release anti-scratch, anti-fog shield. The ultra-suede interior is fully removable for cleaning. Available with or without Blinc Bluetooth. DOT and ECE approved. Price: $163.99 ($288.99 with Blinc).
5. If you’re looking for a comfortable, conservatively-styled, solidly crafted three-quarter helmet, the Arai XC is what you want. There’s no denying that full face helmets offer more protection in the event of an accident, but many riders prefer the unencumbered view and feel of a three-quarter helmet. Arai’s solution to improving a three-quarter’s protection was to build extended jaw coverage into the XC by adding 1-3/16-inch to the lower front cheek pad area of the helmet. It feels more secure but without changing the open feeling of a three-quarter helmet. All Arai helmets feature composite fiberglass shells, and the XC uses two top intake vents and side cowl air exhausts, plus face shield eyebrow vents. A vented neck roll further enhances helmet ventilation by extracting more heat from the interior. Snell and DOT approved. Price: $509.95.
6. The Italian-made Nolan N104Evo modular helmet features a lightweight and aerodynamic Lexan polycarbonate shell with built-in spoiler for improved stability. An integrated scratch- and fog-resistant sun shield is manually lowered by a slider but retracts instantly at the touch of a button. An included Pinlock anti-fog insert can be installed inside the clear shield for fog-free riding. The pivoting chin bar features a stainless steel latching mechanism, and can be locked in the open position so it won’t accidentally close while riding with it open, an unusual feature as most modulars are designed to be used in the closed position only. The new Airbooster system channels air through tubes to disperse it efficiently along the crown of the helmet, and chin and top vents move even more air when necessary. The comfortable, nicely padded interior is fully removable and washable. DOT and ECE approved. Price: $449.95.
7. We were so impressed by the Schuberth S2 full face we sampled back in 2012, we decided to include the soon-to-be-released Schuberth Metropolitan 1 in our list. Modern and very sharp looking, the M1 is Schuberth’s first three-quarter helmet and features a new seamless lining that is breathable, anti-bacterial and easier to remove for cleaning. There’s also a click-down integrated sun visor that is available in five different colors, and the helmet is designed to be used with or without the clear removable full-face shield. The M1 comes pre-installed with a microphone and speakers for use with the optional SRC-System, a high-end communication system that can be used for phone calls, bike-to-bike discussions, navigation and listening to music. Price: To be announced, but likely around $550. MC