Ok, Let's get this out of the way right up front: I'm not exactly big on half helmets (they're called brain buckets for a reason). I usually ride with a full face helmet, or on occasion a ¾ style. That being said, I can understand the appeal of the half lid: there are plenty of long time riders out there who prefer wearing a half helmet for various reasons, and there's no beating the level of comfort or visibility you have while you're riding around with a good beanie.
Besides, every biker should be able to choose the helmet they prefer wearing, as long as they're obeying the law, and half helmets are no exception. So with that in mind, I decided to get down to business and assemble some of the best motorcycle half helmets out there to find out which one might be the best overall.
5 - year warranty
2 - year warranty
5 - year warranty
BELL PIT BOSS
5 - year warranty
HJC IS - CRUISER
5 - year warranty
If you own or are considering a half helmet, optimum cranial protection might not be your chief concern. Why even get one then? The arguments for half helmets aren't simply cries about personal preferences.
Quality half helmets are usually lighter, many weighing between three and four pounds. Half helmets provide a remarkable amount of visibility and allow for riders to stay more "in tune with the road" by not impeding their sense of the surroundings. Furthermore, supposed drawbacks of half helmets, namely, having too much wind in your face, can be negated by having a good face protector with a pair of riding goggles.
Of course, there's also the half helmet's trump card – the cool factor. For many riders, the look of the half helmet seals the deal, providing the ultimate old-school biker appearance. It's a hard point to argue, and combined with the comfort you get riding with a half lid it's easy to see why you'd want one (even if it won't be your everyday riding helmet).
Even though you're not getting that half helmet because protection is your chief concern (studies show a majority of motorcycle crash impacts affect the face and jaw, which half helmets do not cover), there are still ways in which you can optimize your overall safety while wearing one.
Following your basic safety tips is a must. Wear the right gear, don't ride recklessly, don't ride a bike you can't handle, know the roads you're riding on, etc. Your half helmet is going to offer you greater visibility, so make sure you take advantage of that. Keep your wits about you, ride defensively, and watch out for careless motorists.
Make sure you get a helmet that fits properly and make sure that you have it on securely before heading out. Lastly, don't fall prey to any motorcycle misconceptions (like thinking your helmet is completely inconsequential) that plague many beginner riders.
You know you want a half helmet with aesthetics that match your own personal tastes, so finding a helmet with a good selection of colors/designs will be high on your list of priorities. That's not the only thing to consider when picking up one of these stylish pieces of riding gear, though. You should also consider different additional components.
The chin strap is going to be particularly important on your half helmet, as it's the only thing keeping the helmet secured. You'll have to decide between different styles, though many prefer chin straps with a quick release that allows them to remove the helmet quickly.
Does the helmet have snaps? Many half helmet riders like having the option of adding or removing a snap on visor. Some helmets also have a built in drop down sun lens. If it's an option that doesn't appeal to you, though, you'll have to make sure the lens is removable, or look for another helmet altogether.
If you like some covering for your neck, you'll want to look for a helmet with a zip-off neck skirt. They attach to the back of half helmets to provide extra warmth. If you need additional cooling when you're riding in hot areas, you can find a vented helmet (though it's not as critical an option with a half helmet as it is with a full helmet).
There are also the other helmet considerations you'll be looking at that apply to helmets in general:
This popular LS2 half helmet has plenty to offer half helmet fans. Its DOT approved shell is constructed from a durable tri-composite fiberglass that's available in 5 color options (matte black, gloss black, gunmetal, white, and wine). The helmet fits true for long oval head shapes, and overall weighs only 3 pounds.
The HH568 interior features a removable (and washable) comfort liner, with laser-cut foam cheek pads. There's also a removable neck skirt on the back of the helmet, which is perhaps its top feature. In addition to keeping your neck nice and warm on colder days, the neck skirt has speaker pockets so that you can listen to your preferred audio device while on a ride, and an extra pocket to hide any pesky wires.
I found this to be particularly appealing as I often like to ride with a wired headset but get annoyed by all of the wires protruding from my jacket.
This helmet also includes a quick-release chin strap, fully adjustable forehead vents (ostensibly to stay cool and reduce wind noise) and a 3-snap peak to allow for the installation of a visor. Thankfully, the visor is unobtrusive and still allows you to accommodate your standard eyewear while it is engaged.
All-in-all, this is a feature-laden helmet delivered in a deceptively simple and affordable package that is sure to appeal to just about any half helmet rider.
This helmet seems pretty basic at first glance but has some hidden depth to it that is only revealed when wearing it. The 700CF's shell is made from handwoven Carbon Fiber, giving it both incredible durability and weight. It's one of the lightest half helmets I've seen at only 1.52 pounds. The drawback here being that the helmet only comes in two color options: dull black, and glossy black (great if you're a fan of black, but if not you might be sorely disappointed).
The helmet is designed for intermediate oval head shapes, meaning it will fit well for narrower heads, but round-headed individuals will find this helmet to be tight. Make sure you measure yourself accordingly before purchasing. Individuals that can fit this lid will be treated to a plush "Kool Komfort" microfiber liner. It's removable and reusable so that you can keep your helmet interior fresh for longer.
The 700CF has sturdy nylon chin straps, fitted with a metal quick-release for fast removal of the helmet. It's not the most advanced helmet around regarding perks and extras, but it covers the bases if you want a helmet that's durable, lightweight, and won't put a lot of strain on your neck.
For the rider that moonlights as a supervillain, the Bell Rogue comes equipped with an adjustable muzzle, allowing riders to appear either supremely intimidating or like they're trying too hard to be supremely daunting. I fell somewhere in the middle and think that at the least, it's an innovative feature that is well constructed.
The muzzle features its own removable liner and uses a magnetic connection system that makes it easy to put on and take off. It's also pretty functional. Keeping your lower face area protected from the wind, cold, and bugs when you're riding at high speeds.
As far as the helmet itself is concerned, it's a DOT approved option, made from a lightweight composite material weighing only 2.8 pounds. Designed for round head shapes, the interior features a tried and true removable liner, as well as speaker pockets for using an MP3 or another audio device. The neck lining is comfortable and warm, and can be used to disguise extra wiring.
Though the look of this helmet is going to be what attracts most riders, they'll also be getting a product that had a lot of thought put into it. The Rogue half helmet has all the modern conveniences you'd want in a half helmet, and then adds a few more in for good measure.
This helmet is a hit among riders who want nothing but the basics concerning appearance. It's a stripped down, simple shape designed for intermediate oval heads, and constructed from a DOR approved tri-composite shell that blends kevlar, carbon, and fiberglass. This helps the helmet come in on the lighter side, at 2.44 pounds, but still remain durable in the face of impacts.
The Pit Boss features an internal sun shade (that still accommodates any eyewear you're accustomed to riding with), removable neck curtain, and speaker pockets for use with communication devices. So far, pretty standard (as far as the best half helmets for motorcycles go).
Where the Pit Boss begins to innovate though is with it's "Speed Dial" adjustable fit system. This allows riders to fine tune the vertical and horizontal fit of the helmet, delivering the best comfort, and counteracting instances of the helmet coming off a rider's head (which usually happens a bit more often with half helmets).
By bringing all of these features together, Bell has created a solid, no-nonsense helmet that's sure to appeal to the old-school crowd, while providing them with some modern conveniences they may have been missing out on with their old helmet.
This HJC half helmet looks like an ultra modern update of a classic, rugged design. The DOT certified advanced polycarbonate shell is lightweight, and the helmet weighs only 2.6 pounds. I prefer the matte black option, but riders can also get a glossy black, white, gray, or red.
HJC made use of computer aided design (CAD) technology to not only to create the external shape of this helmet, but also to carve out the interior. It has a superior fit and extraordinary comfort, provided you fall within the intermediate oval range in terms of head shapes. The Nylex interior is also removable, washable, moisture wicking, and has anti-bacterial properties (which protect it from becoming fetid).
The IS-Cruiser features a very stylish integrated light smoke sun shield. It deploys easily, and instead of using a complicated lever system, it simply pulls down via tiny exposed tabs on the edges. The nylon straps are held in place with a d-ring retention system. It's not a quick-release, but it is pretty sturdy (which is what counts the most).
This helmet is a good warm weather option, and great for those who want a lid with a commanding appearance, but also want something with some modern features and design elements as well.
Though stylish and feature filled, the price tag on the Rogue might be a bit off putting for many riders. The Voss is tough and light, but pretty barren when it comes to additional features. The Pit Boss, on the other hand, has everything most riders need in a slick and affordable package. It's tri-composite construction is very durable, The Speed Dial system allows it to fit a wide range of riders, and the neck curtain provides comfort and will accommodate most communications systems. To top it off, the Bell Pit Boss is sleek, its solid coloring makes it a great choice for visual customization and at its current price, it's well within the range of most rider's budgets.
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