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The Best Motorcycle Helmets of 2024

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In most states riding without a motorcycle helmet is illegal. Honestly, we also think you should never ride without a cap. Because if you can read this sentence, that’s thanks to your brain: the most crucial tool you own. A brain makes life enjoyable! And full face motorcycle helmets protect your precious cargo.

That said, there are a lot of moto helmets to choose from. Your decision-making about helmets should be a lot easier with this guide. We did the hard part by testing more than a dozen full face helmets to winnow down the winners.

Pulling on these hard hats, we rode in a range of weather from rain pelts to baking sun and everything in-between. With these safety accessories, we motored in slow and fast conditions, because armor that keeps you cool at highway speeds might be miserably hot on a slow, unpaved two-track session. 

As with skis or mountain bikes, there’s no single helmet that’s perfect for all conditions. Our aim with this guide was to find sweet-spot lids that are versatile. Among the categories, we prioritized the adventure (a.k.a. ADV) category, which is capable in various conditions.

To understand the finer points of a helmet’s construction, details, safety, and subcategories, eyeball our our comprehensive buying guideFAQ, and comparison chart lower in the article. Otherwise, scroll through our choice picks for full face motorcycle helmets.

The Best Motorcycle Helmets of 2024

Best Overall Motorcycle Helmet

  • Type
    Upright conventional
  • Materials
    Carbon fiber shell, multi-density impact liner
  • Weight
    3.57 lbs.
  • Safety Rating
    ECE 22.06 certified/DOT certified

  • Very quiet

  • Photochromic visor

  • Five shell sizes


  • No specific communication system

  • Visor isn’t Pinlock compatible

Best Budget Motorcycle Helmet

  • Type
    Upright conventional
  • Materials
    Carbon fiber shell, heat-resistant and strong synthetic fibers, multi-density EPS foam
  • Weight
    3.02 lbs.
  • Safety Rating
    ECE 22.06 certified/DOT certified

  • Pinlock visor compatible

  • Extra lightweight

  • Super wide, 190-degree field-of-view for better visibility

  • Four shell sizes


  • Not the best breather

  • No integrated sun-shield

Quietest Modular Motorcycle Helmet

  • Type
    Modular with a hinge chin bar, upright conventional
  • Materials
    Fiberglass shell, carbon fiber reinforcements, EPS foam interior
  • Weight
    3.8 lbs.
  • Safety Rating
    ECE 22.06 certified/DOT certified

  • Pinlock visor compatible (and included)

  • Super quiet thanks to the chin and neckroll spoiler

  • Built-in communication system with boost antenna and speakers

  • Internal sun shield


  • Visor detents could be better

  • Only two shell sizes

  • Bit stuffy in hot weather

Most Comfortable Motorcycle Helmet

  • Type
    Modular with a hinge chin bar, upright conventional
  • Materials
    Multi-ply matrix of fiberglass, organic and glass fibers, and synthetic resin plus an EPS liner
  • Weight
    4.15 lbs.
  • Safety Rating
    DOT certified

  • Pinlock visor compatible (and included)

  • Internal sun shield

  • Insanely comfortable, cushy interior

  • Nearly as quiet as the Schuberth

  • Excellent, easily removable cheek pads


  • Not ECE 22.06 certified

  • Somewhat porky

Best Adventure-Specific Motorcycle Helmet

  • Type
    Upright conventional, ADV-specific
  • Materials
    Koroyd and carbon construction
  • Weight
    3.4 lbs.
  • Safety Rating
    ECE 22.06 certified/DOT certified

  • Pinlock visor compatible (and included)

  • Very light for an ADV lid

  • Excellent venting at speed

  • Quick-release visor, plus included photochromic transition visor

  • Fidlock clasp


  • Only two shell sizes

  • Stuffy at a slower pace

Motorcycle Helmets Comparison Chart

Scroll right to view all of the columns: Price, Type, Materials, Weight, Safety Rating.

Motorcycle Helmets Price Type Materials Weight Safety Rating
Bell Race Star DLX Flex $820 Upright conventional Carbon fiber shell, multi-density impact liner 3.57 lbs ECE 22.06 certified/DOT certified
AGV K6S $550 Upright conventional Carbon fiber shell, heat-resistant and strong synthetic fibers, multi-density EPS foam 3.02 lbs ECE 22.06 certified/DOT certified
Schuberth C5 $769 Modular with a hinge chin bar, upright conventional Fiberglass shell, carbon fiber reinforcements, EPS foam interior 3.8 lbs. ECE 22.06 certified/DOT certified
Shoei Neotec 3 $900 Modular with a hinge chin bar, upright conventional Multi-ply matrix of fiberglass, organic and glass fibers, and synthetic resin plus an EPS liner 4.15 lbs DOT certified
KLIM Krios Pro $750 Upright conventional, ADV-specific Koroyd and carbon construction 3.4 lbs ECE 22.06 certified/DOT certified

How We Tested Motorcycle Helmets

Our lead GearJunkie tester for motorcycle helmets, writer Michael Frank, has ridden motos for decades. These days, Frank prefers slow, windy backroads and double-track over Interstate rides. For this guide, he and a crew of friends tested a range of full-face motorcycle helmets on pavement, off-road, and some trail. The bulk of these helmets were tested for more than a year across seasons and conditions. The goal was to evaluate each helmet for comfort, noise, usability (like the visor and vents), and breathability. 

We considered weight without sacrificing safety. While they cost more, we looked for protective options with the United Kingdom SHARP five-star standard or the ECE 22.06 certification. We also sought relatively lightweight options, and we dug hard to find those. Heavier helmets are more exhausting to wear. Then we looked for models that were aerodynamically tested, which usually leads to a more quiet design. While some options were booted, we’re happy with the helmets that made the cut.

Why You Should Trust Us

In field tests with the ADV and modular lids, we rode at a variety of speeds to measure comfort, especially when riding slow and working hard in off-road terrain. For street-focused helmets, we maneuvered through in-town traffic and at fast highway speeds to see how the lids performed while we were broiling at a stoplight and in freezing temps while bombing a night run for a pint of ice cream.  

Throughout our personal experience, we determined the best helmets for street commuters but also hunted for the most versatile models. Because helmets are expensive, we chased down options that let you swap a lens or a shield quickly, ditch or add a peak, and that vent very well at both slow and high speeds.

We also hunted for helmets with built-in communication options via the manufacturer or that have pre-built ear pockets to add speakers, so that you can add your choice Bluetooth system. (Note: We didn’t specifically test each integration option, because that’s an entirely different evaluation. But we did make sure the integration existed because we’ve tested helmets in the past without room to add speakers.) 

Further, we found helmets with relatively easily removable pads, which helps with wiring comms and maintenance. Our top options have removable liners that are washable and have funk-fighting treatment to reduce bacterial growth caused by sweating into your lid.

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose a Motorcycle Helmet

There are a lot of motorcycle helmet styles. For our guide, we focused on ADV (adventure) and street. Here’s a breakdown of all the choices to make sure you’re in the right place.

Types of Helmets

Fully open lids are built for motocross or MX riding, which are rather specialized. There are also half shells that the chopper crowd loves — but we don’t think are protective enough. You can find DOT-certified half shells but none exist (that we know of) that are dually approved by the ECE or SHARP.

Track-specific race helmets support riders who are chasing triple-digit speeds. These designs are cut to be very aerodynamic when you’re in a tuck, but they’re not so comfy on a bike where you sit more upright. For that reason, they aren’t included here.

We prioritized testing modular, upright conventional, and adventure helmets.

Modular Motorcycle Helmet

Modular motorcycle helmets include a hinge chin bar, like on the Schuberth C5 and Shoei Neotec 3. That means you can swing that chin piece up and out of the way. The design is handy for taking a swig of water while you’re gassing up or chatting with a buddy about the next section of road.

Riding a modular helmet with the chin bar up is possible but not advisable. First, the weight of that component in the open position will tax your neck and shoulders: It feels like you’re balancing a small pan on top of your head. Second, exposing the front of your face is not good safety protocol.

Modulars are particularly handy for ADV riders because you can quickly open the front to assess technical sections of trail.

Upright Conventional Motorcycle Helmet

Upright conventional motorcycle helmets are meant for riders who either are on street bikes, baggers, or ADV machines. This shape overlaps with the modular helmets, and all of the Moto helmets we tested fit in this category.

The Schuberth C5, AGV K6S, Bell Race Star DLX Flex, Shoei Neotec 3 and KLIM Krios Pro are all aero-tested for riding while sitting upright.

Adventure (ADV) Motorcycle Helmet

ADV-specific full-face motorcycle helmets, like the KLIM Krios Pro, are more versatile because you can remove the peak and visor. You’re basically getting several designs in a single package. Sans peak, the helmet is less turbulent on the highway. Ditching the visor/face shield lets you wear goggles, which are nice for technical off-road rides.

Typically ADV-specific designs have a wider opening, so riders have increased visibility for obstacles when they’re standing on the footpegs. That way, you can carefully scope out rocks and undulations before picking your line.

Shell Sizes and Fit

Shell sizes matter. Manufacturers often tailor the same shell to different head circumferences. Often that means the smaller size is internally stuffed with more insulation to make up for the difference. That can be a slightly uncomfortable ratio for a smaller person, because the wider circumference results in a larger draft.

Ideally, a full face motorcycle helmet offers a close fit. There should be zero wiggle when you pull one on, but you shouldn’t feel like you’re being smooshed. When you slide on the helmet, the interior should have a little bit of give. You also shouldn’t feel the firm backer or hard shell.

Noise, Comfort, and Insulation

These three attributes go hand in hand. Also if you care about noise, comfort, and insulation, look for a helmet design that’s been wind-tunnel tested.

The Schuberth C5, AGV K6S, Bell Race Star DLX Flex, Shoei Neotec 3 and KLIM Krios Pro all have chin spoilers: A curtain of foam beneath your chin. A chin spoiler cuts off airflow at the front of the lid, so you don’t experience turbulence inside the helmet.

Insulation dampens noise in helmets, too. That said, we prefer helmets with liners that can be easily pulled out and washed: All of the helmets here check that box. When you return the liner to the helmet, that process shouldn’t be an arm-wrestling match. Good designs make that step a relatively easy process. When you’re shopping, go ahead and yank out the padding to see if it’s easy to replace. 

A well-designed insulation system should be paired with clever vents. Internally, channels groove along the interior and especially on top of the helmet. When you pull back padding, you can actually see the channels. You can also fire a flashlight beam through the exterior vents at the brow, which will light up the subtle grooves that let air pass over the top of your scalp. 

When you remove insulation, you should be able to squish those pads, which should feel pretty pillowy. Better helmets incorporate soft multi-density foam that’s smooth for skin contact and can compress against your face. Behind the cushion is a more rigid backer.

Cooling and Ventilation

Inside a helmet, you can often see grooves across the interior, which channel air over top of your cranium. We quickly spotted channels inside the KLIM Krios Pro, plus the Koroyd material, which looks like the circular ends of side-by-side straws. A well-designed helmets can vent with minimal turbulence.

Massive ports are not necessarily needed for cooling. The type of riding you do will influence the size and quantity of vents.

On the KLIM Krios Pro, for instance, there’s an oversized mouth port. If you’re riding the Backcountry Discovery Route (BDR), moving slow and off-road, you will need larger openings to breathe while working hard.

If the bulk of your riding is on open road and you’re going fast, you will want smaller vents. The Bell Race Star DLX Flex has smaller ports at the mouth, brow, and top of the helmet. At a higher speed, this helmet isn’t screaming with airflow that would deafen you. But thanks to the number of vents, the helmet is plenty cool for highway rides.

As far as breathability and aeration goes, there’s no single helmet that’s perfect for all kinds of riding. MX riders typically ride with a helmet that has a peak and broad face opening for goggles, which also allows max cooling. But that type of helmet on the highway would roar with wind. A touring rider might choose the Schuberth C5, because they want the advantage of a modular design without the noise, but that lid is not cool enough for slow-duty ADV routes.

Get the full face motorcycle helmet that’s built to cool you off for 80% of the riding you do, and you’ll be happy. 

Vision

The size of the visor or lens is proportional to the helmet’s intended use.

You’ll want a larger visor (from top to bottom) for off-road riding, because you need to see obstacles directly in front of you while you’re standing on the footpegs.

Ideally, the lid you pick for the street has a wider field-of-view. That way, you can spot a car in your blind spot or see approaching cross traffic without needing to swivel your head too far.

Across various helmets, the benchmark for keeping a visor de-fogged is a technical insert called Pinlock. The Schuberth C5, AGV K6S, Shoei Neotec 3 and KLIM Krios Pro (but not the Bell Race Star DLX Flex) use this attachment, which you place inside of the visor to prevent fogging.

Pinlock is pretty unique because the insert creates an airtight space between the inside of the visor and your eyes. This means fogging is prevented via a thermal barrier, the same way a dual-layer ski goggle works. Pinlock inserts are treated to absorb moisture if it’s humid inside the helmet, like when you’re riding in the rain, and then release it back into the atmosphere when the humidity level drops. For instance, when you duck out of that storm, pop the visor, and stroll into an air-conditioned mini-mart for coffee. 

The tradeoff? Pinlock inserts are delicate, so only rinse the surface with soap and water and let them air dry.

Safety and ECE 22.06 Standards

The new 2024 European Union (EU) safety standards for motorcycle helmets are a mega upgrade and arrived after 20 years with the prior regulations. Look for a full-face motorcycle helmet that passes the fresh, more stringent rules. You’ll see the tag: 2024 ECE 22.06. ECE stands for Economic Commission for Europe.

Now, the EU tests every single helmet model in each size. The impact tests include the visor, chin bar, and other components. For modular lids, like the Schuberth C5, the EU makes sure that the chin bar stays shut during multiple crash and deformation tests. That way, we know that the helmet remains protective in a hazardous event.  

Helmets are put in a device where 630 Newtons (141 pounds) of pressure is applied from either side and front to back. The helmet cannot move more than 1.5 inches (40mm). 

The EU also tests ventilation and audio. A helmet that blocks out too much sound won’t pass, because you need to be able to hear your surroundings to be safe on a motorcycle. The protocols include testing peripheral vision. Visors need to have a photochromic option, like the KLIM Krios Pro and the Bell Race Star DLX Flex. Those photochromic lenses need to be able to pass through enough light so that riders can safely see turn signals, brake lights, and stoplights, for instance.   

For those visor tests? Examiners fire a steel ball at the shield at 180mph, in order to emulate a rock being kicked up from a tire. We wouldn’t want debris to pierce the face protection layer.

You can also look for a motorcycle helmet with the U.S. DOT (Department of Transportation) seal on the back. Meaning, those designs comply with the federal standards for motorcycle helmets.

We looked for moto helmets with approvals from the DOT and the EU.

FAQ

A full face motorcycle helmet needs to be snug. The lining and padding of motorcycle helmets compresses over time. Ideally, the helmet won’t move much even without the chin strap buckled. You shouldn’t be able to slide your fingers in and around the padding at the forehead.

Measure your head with a soft tape measure around your forehead, just above the ears and around the back of your head. That measurement should correspond with the correct lid on the manufacturer’s size chart.

Brands make helmets with varying densities of pads. If you’re on the cusp of medium and large, for instance, you can use a thinner pad to fit that medium or use a thicker pad to fit in the large. 

Typically, the shells of motorcycle helmets are made out of a glass composite, carbon, Kevlar, or a combination of these materials. The biggest distinction regarding material is going to be weight.

Carbon fiber helmets are usually lighter. As a result they can be pricier. But the carbon fiber AGV K6S we tested is more affordable compared to our other top picks.

Full face motorcycle helmets in the $200-$300 range tend to be made of heavier materials. That doesn’t default to lower degree of protection or safety. Though, there is a linear relationship between safety and cost, and that’s typically true for weight and cost, too. 

Without question, a full-face motorcycle helmet is safer than a half-shell. Full-face motorcycle helmets are also safer than helmets with open ports for goggles. Goggle lenses aren’t as hard or impenetrable as a visor shield, because they need to deform to fit snugly against your face.

Modular helmets should be no less safe than a full-face motorcycle helmet that is fixed and non-modular. Though, usually having a hinge mechanism adds some bulk to the design, so modular options are going to be heavier than a straight full-face model.

We tested a variety of GPS trackers to find the best options for tracing vehicles, property, and loved ones. Here are our top picks.

Southwest Colorado’s remote Alpine Loop Backcountry Byway takes adventurers through remarkable historic sites and rugged, out-of-this-world scenery. 



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