MOTOCROSSTIME - PRODUCTS REVIEW
It’s the start of the year and maybe you’ve made a new year’s resolution to take up an exciting new hobby in the form of motocross. Or, maybe you’re a seasoned pro but need to update some of your equipment for a new year of off-roading. Either way, the one piece of riding gear that must be fit for purpose and that you absolutely must choose well is a helmet. For all of the fun and adrenaline of off-road riding, it’s vital to remember that it can be dangerous and you need to protect yourself should the worse case scenario arise.
So join us as we review five of 2018’s best motocross helmets and discuss a few extra things to consider that will help you find the perfect helmet for you this year.
The Best Motocross/Enduro Helmets Of 2018
Airoh Aviator 2.2
The Airoh Aviator 2.2 is the evolved version of its predecessor, the Airoh Aviator 2.1. The sleek looking helmet, available in three different shell sizes, is made of 100% carbon kevlar, which offers high levels of protection with very little weight. And the weight is the real big advantage of the Aviator 2.2. It is so light! Possibly even the lightest on the market. But despite the lightweight build, there is absolutely no compromise on safety and durability.
The helmet features a wide field of vision visor for ultimate visibility out on the track, and a chin guard vent in addition to the standard front, top and rear vents for great breathability. The Aviator 2.2 also features an AEFR emergency release system for the cheek pads should you get into trouble and require assistance. A bonus for the adrenaline junkies out there that like to capture their stunts and best laps on film too, is the compatibility to fit GoPro accessories to the helmet. It didn’t happen if you didn’t film it right?
Troy Lee Designs SE4
We would be raving about how light the TLD SE4 helmet is if we hadn’t just talked about the even lighter Airoh Aviator 2.2! At just over 2 pounds, this helmet is still one of the lightest on the market though, and you can really feel it when you’re riding.
The shell is made from a strong carbon-kevlar composite, for great protection and durability. Where this helmet really steps up its game from the Troy Lee Designs SE3 version, however, is in its upgraded breathability. There are a massive 16 intake vents, strategically placed around the helmet. Even on the hardest ride on the hottest day, sweat is not going to be an issue if you’re wearing this helmet.
According to the TLD team, the SE4 has an average of 13% more foam around the crown of the helmet compared to other helmets on the market. So you’re guaranteed a comfortable fit and added protection too.
The only slight gripe we could find with the helmet is that the cheek pads, which do feature an emergency pull system, are made from a slightly rough material that can give a scraping feeling when you’re pulling the helmet on.
Shoei is a well-known and well-regarded manufacturer of helmets in the motor biking world, and with good reason. Their helmets offer a unique aesthetic and a priority on safety. The VFX-W is no different.
Shoei’s AIM+ technology allows for an extremely strong shell without an ounce of excess weight, by combining fiberglass with organic materials. The helmet also features a handily adjustable visor and emergency quick releases system cheek pads. Another thing to note about the visor is that it doesn’t require any tools to adjust. It can be done entirely by hand which is a pretty cool feature!
The best and worst features of the helmet actually go hand in hand. The specific shape and kind of hugging fit of the VFX-W can make it a little uncomfortable to get on initially, but when it is in your head, it tends to fit extremely well. Overall a stylish looking helmet with an abundance of safety features.
Leatt GPX 5.5
The most notable feature of the Leatt GPX 5.5 is the smaller than usual shell design. It also features a multi density foam molding to greatly reduce the G-force experienced by the rider and a 360 degree turbine technology to help absorb impacts. The lesser volume of the helmet reduces the rotational acceleration of the head according to the manufacturer. That all sounds a bit sciencey, but in basic terms, your head is going to be pretty safe and secure in this helmet.
Add into the mix the emergency cheek pad removal system and an adjustable visor, and you’re looking at a very solid off-road biking helmet. Plus, it’s very easy to put on and remove too. One word of advice though, the helmet can assert pressure in certain areas depending on the shape of your head and therefore the resulting fitting. So it’s always best to try it on before you make the decision to purchase.
6D created this helmet with the aim to address two areas that modern motocross helmets are still underperforming. Low speed crashes and glancing side blows (tree branches a problem for anyone?) What the team at 6D have come up with to try and combat those issues in the ATR-1 helmet is an Omni Directional Suspension system. It’s basically a suspension system for your head. The system allows the inner liner of the helmet to move independently of the outer liner and the carbon fiber, fiberglass, and kevlar outer shell.
What all of that means for the rider, is lowered G-forces reaching the brain and lower directional forces in the event of an impact or crash. Advances in the safety of riders? Who isn’t a fan of that?
Ventilation on the helmet is pretty standard and it looks good without blowing anyone away. The only real major drawback of the ATR-1 is that it doesn’t do a terrific job of canceling excessive noise.
Types of helmet
We’re going to take a quick step back and quickly outline the six main types of motorcycle helmet for the complete beginners. Skip ahead to the next section if this isn’t your first rodeo. The style of an off-road helmet is quite unique, so you shouldn’t get it mixed up with another type of helmet, but below is a quick summary of each anyway.
The full face: This is the stereotypical motorcycle helmet. It’s also the most common kind that you’ll see riders of road bikes riding on public streets and highways.
The open face: When you picture someone riding a scooter, this is probably the helmet you imagine them wearing. The most notable feature is the lack of a chin bar compared to a full face helmet.
The modular helmet: A modular helmet is basically a full face helmet which has the option to flip up the chin bar, turning it into an open face helmet. It gives the wearer the choice depending on weather and riding conditions.
The half helmet: The half helmet looks a bit like a snowboard helmet and is commonly referred to as a brain bucket. They are extremely minimalist and usually offer limited protection compared to other helmets. They’ve recently become extremely popular with riders of choppers or cruisers.
The off-road helmet: This is the most relevant helmet in the case of this article. Loosely similar to a full face, the off-road helmet has an additional peak, modified chin bar and superior ventilation. They’re also designed to be worn with goggles opposed to a built in visor.
The dual sports helmet: Basically a hybrid of a full face helmet and an off-road helmet. Dual sports helmets have basic features of both but obviously aren’t as well suited to either extreme.
How to choose the right helmet for you
Now that we have reviewed some of our personal favorite motocross helmets for this year, you may be itching to buy one and get out on the track. But making sure that a helmet is right for you is vitally important. Just because a helmet fits one person perfectly and feels comfortable when they’re riding does not mean that it will be the right helmet for you.
Everyone is different, and we all have different shaped heads, cheekbones, and faces so you should always try on a helmet and test it thoroughly before you buy it and go riding. But what should you be looking for when purchasing a helmet?
The right size
Before you even start looking at helmets, you should determine the size of your head in order to find the measurements you should be looking for. The easiest way to do it, is to wrap a measuring tape around your head just above your eyebrows, across your ears and around the back of your head.
Now, each helmet manufacturer will have a slightly different set of measurement guidelines, so always read them carefully and keep in mind the measurement of your own head.
The right helmet should be snug, with next to no movement.
The right fit
Obviously, you should be trying on a helmet before you purchase it. Generally speaking, the helmet should be rather difficult to get onto your head initially. Remember it will loosen up a little amount over time and use. If you can slide it on without pulling the inner material apart slightly, or you can fit your fingers in the gap between the helmet and your head you will need a smaller size.
Having said that, it must be comfortable too. If the helmet hurts after wearing it for a few minutes in the store, imagine how it will feel after a few hours of riding! How do the cheek pads feel? Is it comfortable on the top of your head? These are the type of questions you should be asking yourself when trying on different helmets.
What will you be using it for?
You should also consider what you will be using the helmet for when deciding on a particular brand or design. If you’re a relative novice and will only be going for gentle off-road rides every other weekend, then it doesn’t make much sense to pay a premium price for a high-end helmet with all of the bells and whistles. In this case, a helmet that is comfortable for you and will offer a high degree of safety is all that is really necessary.
Similarly, if you’re a bit of a pro rider and want to show off your skills with point of view videos, look for a helmet that is compatible with a GoPro or similar camera.
At the end of the day, it’s the amount of money you have to spend on a helmet that is probably going to determine which one you go for (unless you’re very lucky and someone is buying one for you.)
Having said that, the first price that you see for a helmet isn’t necessarily the price that you will pay for it everywhere. So shop around a little to find yourself the best bargains!
Last words to remember
Overall, we have reviewed five motocross helmets in this article that we believe are great helmets. Each has an array of awesome features and excels in its own way. Each has its own downfalls and drawbacks too. But what is important to remember, is that we are talking in general terms. These helmets are great, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be great for you.
As we went over in the how to choose the right helmet for you’ section, it’s very important to try on a helmet before you purchase it and make sure that you buy the right size. Safety is the number one function of a motocross helmet, and it’s important that you’re safe while riding.
We hope that this article was helpful for you and hope that everyone rides safely in 2018!