Friday, May 16, 2014

Choosing a Motorcycle Helmet

There are plenty of cool motorcycle helmets for sale today, but which one is right for you? That’s a question every rider should ask before taking to the open road. When it comes to buying a helmet, there are a few must-have properties, but for the most part, it comes down to personal style and preference.

Choosing Between ½, ¾ or Full Face Motorcycle Helmets

DOT helmetsA helmet is by far the most important piece of safety equipment a rider can own, and they are mandatory by law in many states. In fact only Illinois, Iowa, and New Hampshire don’t require helmet use in some form or fashion.

At the moment, there are three predominant styles of motorcycle helmets: ½, ¾, and full face.

½ Motorcycle Helmets – Half helmets are sometimes referred to as skull caps because they are bowl shaped and fit just over the top of the head. They offer minimal protection, which is why they aren’t as popular as three-quarter and full face helmets.

¾ Motorcycle Helmets – A three-quarter helmet surround the entire head with exception of the face. That portion of the helmet is left open, however some three-quarter helmets have a visor that can be flipped up and down.

Full Face Motorcycle HelmetsFull face motorcycle helmets offer the most protection to riders. They cover the entire head including the face and almost always come with a protective visor. If you want to protect both your head and your face, this is the only style that guarantees both.

How Fit and Comfort Factor Into Your Helmet

No matter what style of helmet you decide to buy, it should fit snuggly on your head all the way around. A helmet that’s too loose is not only annoying and uncomfortable, it can also be detrimental to safety. The term “fit” applies to both the size and shape of the helmet. To get a good idea of your head size, use a measuring tape to measure the circumference, starting at just above the eyebrows and going all the way around the thickest part of the skull.

Weight is another consideration. The lighter the helmet is, the better, as it will put less strain on a rider’s neck. Carbon fiber motorcycle helmets are quickly gaining in popularity because they are extremely lightweight and low profile while meeting or surpassing DOT standards.

Eye Protection from a Motorcycle Helmet

Going down the road with no vehicle to shield you from the bugs, rocks, dust, and tire rubber means you’ve got to find another way to protect your eyes from projectiles. Another advantage of full face motorcycle helmets is that they provide superior eye protection compared to three quarter and half helmets as they cover the entire face.

If you’d prefer one of the latter two helmets, consider adding a visor if you have a three quarter helmet or riding goggles when you wear a half helmet. Sunglasses are better than nothing, but they aren’t shatter proof and could easily come off by simply turning your head to one side.

Why You Should Only Consider DOT Helmets

One in five motorcycle crashes involve a head or neck injury. In almost every instance, an approved helmet could greatly reduce the chance and/or severity of these injuries. By “approved”, we’re referring to DOT helmets.

The one absolute must is that the helmet meets Department of Transportation (DOT) standards, which is required by most city and state governments. The standards are laid out in FMVSS 218 and revolve around a helmet’s puncture resistance. The sides, top, and chin portions of helmets are all tested to ensure they don’t give way upon impact.

The manufacturer will do the testing to confirm their helmets meet or exceed the set standards. The National Highway Safety Administration will then randomly request samples for independent third party testing. This helps to keep manufacturers honest when they put the DOT emblem on their helmets.

SNELL Memorial Foundation is other certification to look for when selecting a motorcycle helmet. It’s not required, but it’s an added layer of safety testing. It’s not nice to think about, but the risk of crashes and collisions are an inherent part of riding a motorcycle. A DOT helmet with a SNELL certification can help to further protect your life and minimize serious injuries, so you can keep on riding.

About the Author: Lick’s Cycles has been disturbing the peace since 2002 with their custom motorcycle parts and accessories.  They offer a great selection of gas tanks, caps, handlebars, risers, and motorcycle helmets for sale in their online store:


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