Are you looking for a new motorcycle helmet or is this your first time picking one out and you aren’t sure which one to go with? I feel you. When I first started riding, I couldn’t decide which one I wanted. One made me look cool, the other was the safer option, and one that was on the head of every hardcore rider out there. So which one did I ultimately go with or which ones did I consider? Let’s take a look at the full versus the open face helmets, two of my main choices.
Full Face vs Open Face Helmets Comparison
Less wind noise
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More wind noise
Full Face vs Open Face Helmets Pros and Cons
Statistically safer than open face
Protection from rain and debris
Wind noise reduction
Easier to remove
May be difficult to remove in the event of an accident
Tend to be higher priced
No face protection
Could fall off in the event of an accident
Statistically less safe
Full face helmets are statistically much safer than any other helmets on the market. In general, helmets decrease the risk of death by 37% or a Traumatic Brain Injury by 69% in the event of an accident by. In 2013 alone, helmets saved around 1,630 lives. Along with being much safer, they also have many other features that make them one of the most desired helmets on the market.
In terms of comfort, a full helmet can be more comfortable for someone who doesn’t like the wind in their face as opposed to someone who enjoys the wind. I wear glasses, so wearing an open face helmet wouldn’t be the best option for me. I’ve tried and it didn’t pan out so well for me or my glasses.
Full helmets fit very snug on your face. This is to ensure that your head isn’t bouncing around on the inside or that it doesn’t fall off if you’re ever in an accident. Even though the helmet is snug, it should still be comfortable enough for you to enjoy your ride.
If you aren’t a fan of wind, full helmets are an ideal option for your head. When i’m riding, I can’t focus very well if the wind is completely bashing my eyes. If it gets too hot in my helmet, I open my visor so I can get a few seconds of air and even those few seconds are terrible on my face.
The noise from the wind is very distracting as well and can manage to make its way inside, but a lot of helmets that are made now have wind noise reduction technology. You can also get a windjammer, which is a sticky silicone band that is placed between you and the helmet, blocking wind from entering under your helmet and creating noise.
There really is no comparison between a full and open face helmet when it comes to safety. A full helmet offers the rider full protection if they were to be in an accident. Studies have shown that the face, especially the front left/right chin or shield area, have the biggest impact rates.
The only downfall to full face helmets when it comes to safety is the fact that they can be difficult to remove after an accident. The general rule of thumb is to never move a person after a crash because of the increased risk of spinal injury. So how easy do you think it would be to remove the helmet if it’s tight against your head?
Check out this video simulating a crash test with a full face helmet. Although they may be hard to remove, they are still your safest option and medical personnel are trained to remove them while avoiding injury.
When it comes to full helmets, visibility may be lacking. While you are out on the road, you may not be able to see someone coming up on your blind spot as easily as you would with an open helmet.
With ¾ helmets, there’s just a small window (visor) for you to look out of as opposed to no visor and nothing blocking your blind spot. It’s also easier to move your neck while wearing the open face helmets, making it easier to look both ways before crossing an intersection or changing lanes.
Open face helmets seem to be extremely popular with younger riders and those who are into the fashion statement they make. Yes, they are pretty great looking, but they aren’t exactly the safest option. Let’s take a look at why.
Open face helmets are much more comfortable to some. The reason for this is because they aren’t tight against your head. An open helmet, also known as a three quarter helmet, covers the side of the head, leaving everything else wide open for better breathability.
The 3/4 helmet is definitely ideal for people who seem like they feel suffocated by the full face helmets. If you like to comfort of the open face but hate the wind on your eyes, invest in a nice pair of goggles for riding.
Since these helmets are open more than the full ones, the wind is more likely to affect the way you ride. I don’t like the wind, which is why I prefer a closed helmet. Yes, these are a good option for you if you like the feel of the wind on your face, but it compromises your safety.
If you are stuck in the dilemma of enjoying the wind, but you can’t stand the noise, invest in some earplugs. These will allow you to feel the wind while blocking the noise at the same time. Some are also designed for motorcycle riders to block noise, but not ALL noises like sirens, such as these ones.
As i’ve said before, these helmets are much less safe than full helmets. They are less effective because they leave your face exposed to everything around you. This can subject it to additional injuries. These helmets have also been known to contribute to more deaths than full ones.
These helmets are recommended to be worn with goggles, like the ones I had recommended for taking the wind off of your eyes. These also may be a lot easier to remove if you have been in an accident because they aren’t as tight fitting and there’s no chin strap on most of them.
This is the one area where open trumps full. The reason being is that there is no visor and your visibility isn’t limited. With these, you can see what’s on the side of you easier than with full helmets.
With full face helmets, you kind of have to strain your neck to look over your shoulder. Open helmets give you the ability to just look left or right and easily see what’s next to you.