If you think about all the different sorts of activities where people wear helmets it should come as no surprise that there are, in fact, different helmets built for different purposes. Some focus on safety. Some are built for sports, while some are meant to be aerodynamic. Others are made with the intention to include more and more features into them. As a result, there is a vast variety of Motorcycle helmets made for different purposes.
No helmet is perfect. The one built for one purpose might work for another, but each of them is best suited to its own purpose. And as a result, all of them have their own drawbacks and their own advantages. Whether the model is good for you or not is governed more by the environments you’re in rather than the product itself. You can read our beginner’s guide to buying motorcycle helmets to know more.
Also Read: Best Motorcycle Helmets (2019)
Hence, we have decided to make a guide for the different sorts of helmets out there where we aim to help you realise which one you’d like to pick to meet your own specific requirements. Make a note of the fact that these requirements should vary from activity to activity. Read on below, to figure out which helmet you’d rather prefer.
1. Full Face Helmets
Full Face Helmets are usually made with a goal of safety in mind. This kind of helmet tends to cover the entire head from the very back of the head all the way to the chin including the sides. Nothing about this helmet leaves anything exposed. Summing the helmet up in one word, it is safe. This sort of helmet is one where you can be the safest in the event of an accident or a crash especially because of the way it covers the entire face.
However, therein lies the drawback to this helmet as well. All the additional safety added to the helmet serves to take away from the freedom of accessibility while riding. While these helmets are the safest kinds which you’ll find, it sacrifices a lot of other features to include that additional safety.
In short, while these helmets provide the most security, they also sacrifice accessibility and other features which can provide comfort for the same. While some see this as a price to pay for the safety, others would prefer to purchase another kind of helmet altogether.
Vintage models of these helmets can often be found being paired up with cafe racers while newer, more graphically detailed variants are often coupled up with sports bikes.
2. Open Face Helmets
Open Face Helmets, or Three Quarter Helmets are called so because they cover three quarters of the face. These helmets lack the Chin Piece which full face helmets have and may or may not have a face shield attached to them. These helmets are responsible for covering the back, the top, and both the sides of the head, while leaving the face and chin exposed.
While these helmets provide lesser safety than the full face helmets, they are still comparatively safer than others. The Face Shield acts as more of a barrier against wind and rain in these helmets as the lack of a chin piece doesn’t let the face shield be as secure as possible. In fact, the face shield is the weakest part of these helmets and can easily break and fly off in the event of an accident.
However, just like in the case of full face helmets, these helmets give their users other features where they lack the safety.
All in all, this helmet provides much more comfort than a full face helmet for the heavy sacrifice of safety. This helmet is also provides a greater amount of accessibility while riding. However, a face shield comes highly recommended with this helmet as it greatly improves the experience for the rider.
These kinds of helmets are generally found paired with V Twins and other sorts of cruisers and powerful bikes which aren’t meant for sport. Needless to say, this comes as a preffered favourite for bikers and others who spend a lot of time and go long distances on their bikes.
3. Half Helmets
Half Helmets are the least safe kind of helmets available. These helmets only protect the back and the top of the head. The sides and the face are left unprotected. However, they carry with them a certain sense of freedom and bring the rider closer to the experience of riding at a steep price of safety.
On the bright side, these helmets allow for the most accessibility and don’t hinder the wearer from feeling much of the experience of a ride. We only recommend wearing these with low powered rides. High speeds can be easily devestating with one of these helmets.
To sum things up, these helmets are great for accessibility but are the worst when it comes to safety. These helmets are simply not built for higher speeds or for extremes. If you want to commute within a limited area under safer speeds, then these helmets would prove great for your purposes. However, that is their limit and they cannot be of much use elsewhere. These helmets are generally found paired with scooters and other sorts of low powered rides.
4. Modular Helmets
Modular Helmets are hybrids between Full Face Helmets and Half Face Helmets. Just like the Full Face Helmet, they can cover the entire head all the way from the back to the chin. However, unlike the Full Face Helmet the chin piece and the face shield can be flipped up to turn it into a Half Face Helmet, giving it the name Flip Up Helmets.
These helmets are designed to give them best of both worlds, full face protection when needed and an exposed face when desired. The only problem with this approach is the fact that the face shield usually has to be flipped down along with the chin piece, making the face shield dependednt upon the face shield.
In a few words, while these helmets look to offer the best of both worlds, they do have their own set of drawbacks and advantages. While they offer both protection and accessibility on demand, they still have a few weaknesses of their own and come at a more expensive price point and the sacrifice of a little bit of safety.
5. Sports Helmets
As the name suggests, Sports Helmets are meant for use in sports and other recreational activities. These helmets have added features which are required for their respective sports and should only be used while participating in such sports and recreation. This is because while these helmets are designed for safety in sporting environments, they are not the safest options on the streets simply because of the different circumstances which riders can face in such conditions. Needless to say, all sprots helmets are full face helmets due to the focus on safety. The different types of sports helmets available are as follows:
5.1 Racing Helmets
Racing Helmets are meant for racing out on the tracks. They have many special modifications to the helmets which makes them more durable than the normal helmets. These helmets are also constructed with a fireproof coating as even racecar drivers wear these helmets in addition to riders. While this addition is not necessary for the streets, it is necessary on the track in the event that the vehicle catches fire and the rider or the driver can’t fly off to safety because of the safety belts. Furthermore, these helmets contain smaller viewports and no ventilation.
These helmets are made specifically for the racetrack and should not be used for safety on the streets for obvious reasons. Needless to say, these safety standards and regulations come with high price points. Using these on the streets can easily prove fatal as they rid the rider of a lot of senses which are not required on the racetrack for more protection.
5.2 Dirt Helmets
Dirt Helmets are meant for use on Dirt Tracks and other Dirt racing event where there is dust and dirt flying everywhere. These helmets lack a face shield as dirt can easily block the rider’s view and commonly feature elongated chin pieces to help save the rider’s face. They also feature a sun visor to keep the sun out of the rider’s eyes. These are optimsed for riding on the dirt and as a result have aggressive ventilation as the focus is not on much speed, but rather dealing with the strenous intesity of maneuvering a bike on rough terrain. Riders usually wear face masks and goggles inside these helmets to protect their eyes.
These helmets are basically meant for usage on the dirt track. While using one of these on the streets can be good enough, it is always better to simply go for a conventional full face helmet instead.
5.3 Snow Helmets
Snow Helmets, as the name suggests are meant for use on the snow. While they might look similar to dirt helmets, they have a few subtle differences which can make a world of difference between riding in the snow and in the dirt.
For starters, snow starters preserve the longer chin bars and the sun visors. Even the ventilation is the same. However, that’s where similarities end. Snow helmets feature face shields as snow isn’t as sticky as mud is and usually melts off soon due to the heat generated. Beyong that, snow helmets also have reflective visors which help riders see better the glistening snow. Furthermore, the face shield helps them better protect themselves agasint the wind and cold.
These helmets are designed for use while riding in the snow. While they can make for good helmets for use in the streets, they are generally preferred for use where there is more snow than road.
5.4 Dual Sports Helmets
Dual Sports helmets are meant to be a hybrid between Dirt Helmets and Racing Helmets. They have features from both and are meant for casual practicioners of both recreational sports. They feature the sun visors from dirt helmets and an overall rounded shape and face shield from racing helmets. This makes for a mixture of both streams which can’t really be termed as inclining towards any certain side.
These helmets are meant to give the rider more a mixture of both worlds rather than the est of both worlds. As can be seen from the design, these are not of proper use in either the racing track nor on the dirt track. However, it can make do for a casual substitute for either case.
6. Touring Helmets
Touring Helmets are meant for the recreational activity of touring on a bike. These helmets tend to focus more on the comfort and features that they offer. While there are many helmets in this category which are full-face helmets, most of them tend to be modular helmets to provide the best comfort and accessibility to the wearer. This type of helmet comprises of a wide variety of helmets, some which contain communications facilities, while some contain other features such as reflective visors and photochromatic face shields. All for the express purpose of more comfort during longer journeys which can span across entire countries and continents.
Hopefully this guide has helped you understand a little more about how different helmets are built for different purposes and helped you realise the type of helmet which you want. After all, there are so many kinds of helmets out there that knowing the purpose of each helmet, or at least how you can use them can be greatly beneficial while using them.