Best Beginner Motorcycle Helmets – 2020 Complete Round-up

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A motorcycle helmet is the most important piece of protective gear for any rider.

If you’re a beginner, you likely know how important it is to choose the right bike helmet. But how do you know which is the right one? Let’s take a closer look at what makes a good beginner bike helmet.

Our Top Picks for Best Beginner Motorcycle Helmets

  • Better aerodynamics
  • Safe shell
  • Great airflow
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  • Strong, durable
  • Easy to close shield
  • Reduce shield fogging
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  • Best for the Money
  • Strong, durable
  • Very safe to use
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Comparison of the Best Beginner Motorcycle Helmets

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Comes with a slim and lightweight design for better aerodynamics
  • Shell is made from high-quality materials
  • Large vent with three selection for lots of fresh air
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  • Uses very durable polycarbonate materials for outer shell
  • Very quick shield replacement with easy shield ratchet
  • Eliminate shield fogging with chin vents
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  • Best for the Money
  • Comes with a lightweight Polycarbonate ABS shell
  • DOT approved for higher safety feature
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  • Comes with an integrated dropdown sun shield
  • Coolmax inner liner is removable and washable
  • Can be used with glasses with the easy fit system
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  • Optical shield will operate in all light conditions
  • Full carbon shell construction of shell makes it very strong
  • Very safe to use on the road for ultimate protection
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What Makes a Helmet Great for a Beginner?

Here are a few factors to consider when choosing a helmet as a beginner.

Safety

Helmet safety is the most important factor of motorcycle gear, but it’s especially critical for any beginner rider. New riders are prone to accidents, simply because they don’t have a lot of experience. That’s why full-face and modular helmets are the best options. These helmets provide the face protection that beginners need to stay safe.

Comfort

Comfort is a big factor for motorcycle helmets, especially for beginners. Anyone who is starting out riding should be able to focus on the road. It's hard to improve technique without worrying about being uncomfortable.

One thing to consider is the padding. 3D or customizable padding is best because they provide a snug but comfortable fit. Look for a helmet with a decent ventilation system, too. This circulates air, maintaining a comfortable temperature, and keeping sweat under control.

How Should a Motorcycle Helmet Fit?

A motorcycle helmet should fit snugly. It shouldn’t move around, but it shouldn’t be tight or painful, either.

To measure for a motorcycle helmet, get a tailor’s tape measure. Place it around the widest part of the head, typically right above the eyebrows. Use this measurement when consulting the sizing chart for each brand.

Quick Take - Best Beginner Motorcycle Helmets

Hoping to cut to the chase? Below are the three best beginner motorcycle helmets:

  1. Shoei RF-1200
  2. HJC 824-614 CL-17
  3. BELL Qualifier DLX

Review of the Best Beginner Motorcycle Helmets

If you’re in the market for a beginner motorcycle helmet, you’re in the right place. Here are a few of the best options on the market.

Best Overall:
Shoei RF-1200 

PROS

  • Slim, lightweight design
  • Ventilation system for temperature control
  • Impact-absorbing liner balances the force impact
  • Spring-loaded Quick-Release Self-Adjusting base plate
  • The aerodynamic shape reduces wind noise and buffeting

CONS

  • It’s a bit pricey
  • Can be noisy at high speeds

Specs

Type of Helmet: Sport, Track, Street, Touring

Materials Used: Multi-ply Matrix Aim+ shell made of six layers of fiberglass, organic fibers, and resin

Brand: Shoei

Type: Full face

Certifications: DOT, Snell M2015

Clasp type: Double D-ring

Weight: 3.5 lbs

What Types of Activities is the Shoei RF-1200 Best For?

The Shoei RF-1200 is a great choice for street riding, touring, and sport riding. It’s Snell certified, which makes it great for track riding and off-roading, too. It’s lightweight, with superior ventilation that keeps you comfortable over long distances.

Safety Features of Shoei RF-1200

This helmet is Snell certified. This meets higher safety standards than DOT and is harder to get.

The six-ply matrix outer shell and dual-layer inner lining provide superior head protection.

An emergency quick-release system lets EMTs remove the helmet in the event of an accident.

What Are the Components of the Shoei RF-1200?

Liner and pads. The dual-liner absorbs and distributes the force of potential impacts.

Face shield. The Pinlock shield system has top and bottom ribs that improve face shield rigidity. It also has beading to maintain a tight seal, prevent air and moisture from getting in.

Ventilation. This helmet has exceptional ventilation. In total, it has six intake vents and four exhaust ports.

HJC 824-614 CL-17 Full-Face Motorcycle Helmet (Matte Black, Large)

PROS

  • Sizes from XS to 2XL are also SNELL certified
  • Cheek pads are interchangeable for a custom fit
  • Lightweight shell uses CAD technology to ensure a proper fit
  • Anti-Scratch Pinlock-ready Face shield with 95% UV protection
  • RapidFire Shield Replacement System for quick and tool-less removal and installation

CONS

  • Can be loud at high speeds
  • Cheek pads can be difficult to replace

Specs

Type of Helmet: Touring, Sport, Cruising

Materials Used: Advanced polycarbonate composite outer shell

Brand: HJC

Type: Full-face

Certifications: DOT; sizes XS to 2XL are also SNELL certified

Clasp type: Double D-rings

Weight: 3.91 lbs

What Types of Activities is the HJC 824-614 CL-17 Best For?

This full-face helmet is great for street riding, especially stop-and-start commutes. The ventilation system and cooling liner keep you cool, even in hot weather. This helmet is also good for track days. It is one of the most affordable Snell-approved helmets available.

Safety Features of HJC 824-614 CL-17

The anti-scratch Pinlock ready face shield blocks out 95% of UV light. Plus, it locks in place with an ultra-secure seal.

The cheek pads are available in multiple sizes to ensure a perfect fit.

Sizes XS to 2XL is Snell certified.

What Are the Components of the HJC 824-614 CL-17?

Face shield. The two-stage closure system provides a secure seal. But, it still has a simple one-touch mechanism for opening and closing.

Ventilation system. The advanced channeling system moves air from the front to back. Heat and humidity travel over the head out of the back of the helmet.

Cheek pads and lining. The cheek pads are changeable to ensure a better fit. Plus, moisture-wicking, antibacterial lining keeps you feeling cool and fresh.

Best for the Money:
BELL Qualifier DLX

Bell Isle Of Man Adult Qualifier DLX Street Motorcycle Helmet - Black/Red/X-Large

PROS

  • 5-year warranty
  • Padded wind collar reducing wind
  • Aerodynamic shape to resist lifting and buffeting
  • Adjustable ventilation system for improved airflow
  • Moisture-wicking internal padding keeps the rider cool

CONS

  • Sizing runs small
  • Loud at high speeds

Specs

Type of Helmet: Touring, Sport, Cruising

Materials Used: Lightweight polycarbonate

Brand: Bell

Type: Full face

Certifications: DOT and ECE

Clasp type: D-ring

Weight: 3.34 lbs

What Types of Activities is the BELL Qualifier DLX Best For?

This helmet is an ideal street riding helmet. It's suitable for commutes, cruising or touring. The full-face coverage and lightweight design suit high speeds and long distances. Plus, the adjustable ventilation system keeps you cool.

Safety Features of BELL Qualifier DLX

The aerodynamic design gives less resistance, providing increased concentration and stability when riding.

This helmet includes a transitions shield. It changes tint depending on the ambient light.

The Qualifier DLX accommodates the Bell Sena SMH10 Bluetooth stereo headset and intercom.

What Are the Components of the BELL Qualifier DLX?

Adjustable ventilation system. Four exhaust ports on the back of the helmet and optional front vents provide fast cooling.

Padding and lining. The padded wind collar reduces wind coming under the helmet. The contoured cheek pads provide a snug fit. All of the interior paddings are removable and washable.

Face shield. The transitions face shield works just like the glass’s lenses. They respond to the ambient light, automatically darkening when the sun is brightest.

PROS

  • Improved ventilation system
  • Integrated drop-down sun shield
  • Removable and washing inner liner
  • Can be comfortably worn with glasses
  • Can safely ride with the chin bar in the up position for street riding or commuting

CONS

  • Sizing runs small
  • Face shield rattles when in the open position

Specs

Type of Helmet: Street, Touring, Cruising

Materials Used: Lexan polycarbonate outer shell

Brand: Shark

Type: Modular

Certifications: DOT

Clasp type: D-ring

Weight: 4.13 lbs

What Types of Activities is the Shark Evoline 3 ST Best For?

This modular helmet is extremely versatile. You can safely use it as an open-face helmet for commuting or riding around town. When you’re ready to hit the open road, drop the chin bar for full-face protection while touring or cruising.

Safety Features of Shark Evoline 3 ST

This is one of the only modular helmets safe for riding with the chin bar and visor in the upward position.

This helmet can be worn with glasses, ensuring a clear and crisp view.

The integrated drop-down sun shield helps maintain a safe view, even in harsh light.

What Are the Components of the Shark Evoline 3 ST?

Removable liner. The interior liner is soft and comfortable against the skin. The CoolMax material helps moderate the temperature. Plus, you can remove and wash the liner to keep it fresh.

Auto-Up system. The chin bar and main shield lift in a single movement. It’s easy to open the helmet, even while wearing riding gloves.

Ventilation. Top and chin vents allow air to circulate inside the helmet.

KLIM TK1200 MD Illumino Hi-Vis ECE/DOT

PROS

  • Proprietary adaptive lens technology
  • One-handed micrometric buckle closure
  • Surprisingly lightweight for a modular helmet
  • Moisture-wicking hypoallergenic 3D comfort liner
  • Break-away chin bar that reduces force upon the head and neck

CONS

  • Fits tight
  • Can be loud at high speeds

Specs

Type of Helmet: Touring, Cruising, Street

Materials Used: Heat-polymerized molded full carbon fiber outer shell

Brand: Klim

Type: Modular

Certifications: DOT, ECE

Clasp type: Micrometric buckle closure

Weight: 3.26 lbs

What Types of Activities is the Klim TK1200 Men's Modular Best For?

The Klim TK1200 is a good fit for street riding and commuting. It’s suitable for cruising and touring, too. As modular helmets go, it’s more lightweight than you might expect. Plus, the adaptive lens technology adjusts to the ambient light. That makes this the perfect helmet to transition from day to night riding.

Safety Features of Klim TK1200 Men's Modular

The quick-release micrometric buckle closure can be removed with one hand.

A break-away chin bar reduces the force placed on the head and neck when used in the open position.

What Are the Components of the Klim TK1200 Men's Modular?

Ventilation system. The intelligent ventilation system encourages abundant airflow, diminishing heat.

Transitions face shield. The face shield is made of a material similar to Transitions eyeglass lenses. It adjusts to ambient light, whether rain is coming in or the sun is rising.

Padding and lining. The 3D comfort liner is made of hypoallergenic material. It wicks away moisture to keep you cool. Plus, it’s removable and washable, so you can be sure to stay fresh.

How to Choose a Beginner Motorcycle Helmet

When choosing a beginner motorcycle helmet, here are the main things to look for:

Type

Choose a full-face or modular style helmet. These types provide face protection that you won’t get from an open-face helmet. When you’re still getting used to riding, you’re more likely to have an accident. You need the most protection possible.

Safety Certifications

Always make sure the helmet you choose is certified by either DOT or ECE. If you can find one that’s Snell certified, that’s even better. Snell safety certification is a little harder to get, but it’s a sign that the helmet is safe.

Comfort

When you’re starting, you have to wear a helmet. Even in states where helmets aren’t required, you must have some experience riding before you can go helmet-free. By making sure your helmet is comfortable, you’re going to be more likely to wear it.

The biggest things to consider for comfort are padding, weight, and ventilation. Note that modular helmets are usually heavier than full-face helmets. Both need a good ventilation system to keep you cool.

Difference Between Cheap and Expensive Motorcycle Helmets - Comparison Overview

The biggest difference between a cheap and expensive motorcycle helmet is the quality of the materials. Expensive helmets are made using expensive materials.

Does this mean that a cheap helmet won’t protect you? Not necessarily. There are plenty of affordable helmets that are DOT safety rated. Some even have a Snell certification. What you do miss out on when buying a cheap helmet is mostly comfort. The more you pay for a helmet, the more comfort features it’ll have. This might include softer padding or better ventilation.  Expensive helmets are also more likely to have advanced features. These may include a Transitions visor or integrated Bluetooth antennas.

How to Buckle a Motorcycle Helmet

If you’ve never had a motorcycle helmet before, one of the biggest mysteries might be how to buckle it. Refer to the video below for a demonstration, but here is a quick step-by-step guide for how to do it:

  1. Place the helmet on your head.

  2. Take the chin strap and thread it through both D-rings.

  3. Tuck the strap back through the middle and into the lower D-ring.

  4. Adjust the tightness of the strap. You should only be able to place two fingers between the strap and your chin.

Conclusion

There’s nothing like the freedom of riding a motorcycle, but you have to be safe. If you’re a beginner, you need to make sure you have the right helmet. Full-face or modular styles are the best. They provide the face protection new riders need.

People Also Ask

If you’re new to riding and looking for a helmet, you probably have a lot of questions. Here are some of the most common questions people ask.

Should I Get a Full-Face Helmet?

If you’re a beginner, yes. Full-face helmets provide the best protection for your face and chin. Modular helmets are a close second. They’re better than open-face helmets but not as safe as full-face. When you’re learning to ride, you’re at risk for accidents. Making sure you have as much protection as possible is key to staying safe.

How Do I Know if My Motorcycle Helmet is Still Good?

The guideline is to replace your helmet every five to seven years. If your helmet has ever been in an accident, it should be replaced right away. The hard outer shell is not made to withstand multiple accidents. After the first one, the integrity of the material is compromised and the helmet is not as strong.

Do Motorcycle Helmets Deteriorate?

The hard outer shell can deteriorate from exposure to harsh sunlight. Extreme temperature fluctuations and weather can damage a helmet, too. Inside, the foam and liner deteriorate over time. Eventually, the helmet will loosen and the fit won’t be as snug.

Does the Color of a Motorcycle Helmet Matter?

Not really, though it can make a difference as far as temperature. Black helmets absorb more heat than lighter colored helmets. This can make the interior uncomfortable and hot without an adequate ventilation system. White or light-colored helmets are more visible, especially in low light.

How Can You Tell the Quality of a Helmet?

There are a few things you can look at to determine the quality of a motorcycle helmet. Does it have the proper safety certifications? Does the interior liner stay snugly in place or is it lose and falling out? If it’s a modular helmet, does the chin bar close and snap in place safely? Can you see any cracks or obvious defects?

Can You Wear Glasses With a Motorcycle Helmet?

Yes, but it’s much more comfortable with some helmets. Modular helmets tend to be a little more accommodating for eyeglasses. Some full-face helmets work well, too. It also depends on the style of your glasses. Some are big and bulky and may be uncomfortable under a helmet.

What States Do You Have to Wear a Motorcycle Helmet?

The following states require all motorcycle riders to wear a helmet: Alabama, California, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Some other states have restrictions and require helmets for riders under 18 or 21 years old. In the states where helmets are not required, there may still be some restrictions. Some require a year or more of riding experience before you can go helmet-free.

What Do DOT and Snell Mean For Motorcycle Helmets?

DOT and Snell are safety certifications. DOT stands for the Department of Transportation. For DOT, a helmet must meet minimal safety requirements and pass a series of impact tests. DOT tests by placing the helmet on a crash dummy head. Then, they drop the helmet onto different surfaces from predetermined heights.

Snell is a private non-profit organization that tests to more rigorous standards. They change the certification standard every five years. Snell drops helmets from multiple heights, all of which are higher than DOT. Snell also tests the visor and chin bar, not only the helmet itself.