High-End Motorcycle Helmets is the single most important gear that you will buy for yourself and your loved ones. You will ride many miles, and you will smile many smiles on your motorcycle, but both will be amplified even further if they are done in a helmet that fits your budget, fits your needs, and, most importantly, fits your head.
Top 8 High-End Motorcycle Helmet Brands
1. Shoei Metallic Neotec Road Race Street Helmet
Built to take you from cruising on the open road to gunning it off the beaten track, this sleek helmet is a dutiful hybrid that hasn’t compromised anything on its path to true versatility. Shoei, the Japanese company responsible for this bona fide brain bucket, has always been a pioneer in the field, surprising riders with safety innovations, comfort upgrades, and unique quality-of-life additions their products apart from the rest.
What’s interesting to note here is that the Neotec is built off the backbone of the Multitec. Engineers analyzed and tweaked the old helmet, marrying its tried-and-tested design with some of the best tech emerging from their lab.
The result: This helmet blew us away. It features a wider and taller field of vision than its predecessor, wind noise reduction, an internal sun shield, improved shell aerodynamics, and a removable and washable liner.
Our Geeks were most impressed by the helmet’s lightweight design and hardworking anti-fog system during our test drives. It’s comfortable to wear over long stretches and features hardworking ventilation even when temps begin to climb.
Bottom line: The racing stylings of this hybrid helm aren’t just for show; the Neotec is the speed king of the highway, road, trail, you name it. The best motorcycle helmet under $750.
2. Shark Evo One two helmet
Innovation takes vision and the ability to bring the idea to life in the real world in a way that others have yet to discover. That’s what the original Shark Evoline brought to modular motorcycle helmets. It’s the legacy that the Shark Evo One 2 continues to build upon in the latest addition to the Evo lineup.
The Shark Evo series of helmets offer riders the unique capability of a modular motorcycle helmet that can also be worn in the open-face position. Alright, so you might be thinking, “All modular helmets allow riders to wear them in the open-face position. That’s the point!” And yes, you are correct. The key to the Evo series is that they can wear the helmet in the open position while riding. The Evo One two helmet can do this because, unlike just about every other modular on the market, the innovative thinkers over at Shark came up with a system that allows the helmet’s chin bar to flip to the back, rather than stop at the vertical position (and thus, catch a ton of wind and be a bad idea while riding a motorcycle).
Where the Evo One two tops its predecessors in the same line is its streamlined shell and reduced weight (a medium comes in at three pounds, 12 ounces). Now you might be thinking, “Wait, didn’t you just say three pounds, 12 ounces was a nitpick for the Airflite? How is that a good thing for the Shark?” That is a great question. The answer is that modular helmets tend to be heavier due to the mechanisms needed to allow the chin bar to rotate. It’s the price to be paid for the functionality. In addition to the weight savings over other modulars, the Evo One 2 comes with a notably improved mechanism for activating the internal drop-down visor, reduces wind noise, offers a Pinlock-ready Faceshield (with Pinlock insert included), an ultra-plush bamboo liner, has been specifically designed to work well with eyeglasses, and is both DOT- and ECE-certified. All in all, a pretty impressive lid.
Nitpicks: Modular helmets are a favorite of touring riders worldwide, and so are Bluetooth communicators. One of the areas of the Evo One 2 that could use some improvement is the size of the speaker pockets. While they will work well for many units, if your preferred speakers are on the larger side, you will likely need to adjust them.
Sticking with the interior, we noticed that the venting channels do not extend to the helmet’s back. This would provide better circulation of air when the helmet is in the closed position. However, as mentioned above, if it ever gets stuffy, a quick flip of the chin bar to the open area would instantly provide more airflow than any full-face helmet on the market. So this is an easy issue to remedy.
3. LS2 Valiant Modular Motorcycle Helmet
This futuristic helm wouldn’t be out of place on the set of Blade Runner. But it’s far more than just a prop. Smaller and lighter than most of its competitors, the aerodynamic Valiant has cut down on superfluous extras, leaving breathing room for LS2 Helmets’ trademark features to excel.
This helmet exceeds many of the safety standards set out by the Department of Transportation’s (DOT). Its thick foam lining and generous padding work together to offer maximum head protection in a crash. However, LS2 Helmets hasn’t traded away comfort and convenience for the sake of safety.
The removable comfort padding is spun from “thermo-formed” breathable threads. In layman’s terms, this material is heated and then molded to the shape of the helmet. You won’t find a thick layer of heat-trapping glue between the padding and the shell of your head armor.
Plus, the cheek pads are designed to prevent hot spots from forming inside the helmet. Combined with an adjustable ventilation system – which enables you to react to sudden shifts in the weather – the Valiant is a top performer under any condition.
Our Geeks’ favorite feature: the quick release chin strap. It takes just seconds to put on or take off this head armor. Bottom line: There’s a reason why this helmet has global appeal – whether you’re riding in colder climes or cruising along sunbaked beaches, it offers the perfect balance of safety and comfort.
4. AGV K6 helmet
If you are going to be the best, you need to beat the best, and that’s exactly what the AGV K6 helmet has done for 2020 (see Honorable Mentions below). Providing a revolutionary, forward-thinking approach to street motorcycle helmets, and a bit of a departure from the ultra-aggressive designs that AGV has become known for, the K6 is unquestionably one of the most exciting helmets that we have seen in the past half-decade. If you are looking for a solid, non-graphic, you will get it all for under the $500 price point.
With a carbon-aramid shell construction (that comes in four shell sizes!), and the most refined Faceshield mechanism that we’ve ever seen, the AGV K6 is as streamlined a helmet as is currently available on the market. The low profile and ultra-lightweight mean that riders will be more comfortable for longer, due to reduced neck strain and wind resistance. For some context, if you rock a lid that comes with the medium-small (MS) shell size, you will be getting a helmet that weighs all of two pounds, 14 ounces, and is still DOT/ECE-approved! That, in and of itself, is flat-out bonkers.
The low weight is back up by competitive features on the AGV K6, including an eyeglass-friendly fit, 2Dry internal moisture-wicking system, Pinlock-ready Faceshield (lens included), solid detents for Faceshield positioning, and an astoundingly good shield-to-helmet gasket seal that keeps wind noise to an absolute minimum while riding.
Nitpicks: For all the great features and innovations of the AGV K6, the piece that could most use improvement is the venting. The problem is not the number of intakes but the volume that they can suck up and move through the helmet’s interior. Vents on the K6 are slightly smaller than we’d like to see, and it can be hard to manage the five different ports while riding.
5. HJC IS-MAX 2 Modular Helmet
HJC has designed and manufactured some of the world’s top motorcycle helmets for the better part of four decades. The company’s strength lies in its ability to offer innovative safety, luxury comfort, and long-lasting build quality at an affordable price point. The IS-MAX embodies the perfect trifecta of HJC’s brand identity and is undoubtedly the best full-face motorcycle helmet under $250.
Featuring a polycarbonate composite shell, the IS-MAX helmet was built using advanced CAD (computer-aided design) technology to provide a superior comfortable fit. This digital-driven process eliminates human error that can lead to design flaws and irritating faults in a helmet’s shape.
The interior padding repels moisture and kills bacteria. With the superb ventilation system, which channels humidity and heat out of the back of the IS-MAX, this helmet ranked top in our tests for comfort.
Equipped with a three-stage sun shield, which can be deployed with the touch of a button, the IS-MAX is a versatile piece of head armor, adjusting to shifting weather patterns with ease. But the quality-of-life features don’t end there. A glasses groove in the helmet is designed to accommodate riders who have to wear a prescription pair.
Bottom line: HJC improves on its already pristine track record with a helmet that is as stylish as it is affordable.
6. Fly Racing Dirt Formula helmet
Gear that blazes new trails always catch our experts’ eye, especially if that gear is built for blazing through actual trails! With the new Dirt Formula helmet from Fly Racing, that is precisely what riders will get. While the price point of this lid ($650) is a big jump up from many other helmets the brand has traditionally offered, this helmet also sets a new standard with the innovation it brings to the table.
In reviewing the Dirt Formula helmet (and we discussed it hard, with a lot of off-road abuse!), the first thing that stood out was the weight savings from the full 12k carbon fiber outer shell. For context, in a medium, the helmet came in at an impressive two pounds, 13 ounces while still meeting or exceeding DOT and ECE standards. At the same time, underneath the shell, Fly Racing has made use of impact energy cells (featuring their proprietary RHEON technology) that have been specially crafted better to absorb the forces of low-speed linear and rotational impacts, thus reducing the amount of energy that is transmitted to the brain.
Additional advancements to the liner itself have resulted in the development of six critical zones that provide a progressive response to both low- and high-speed impacts. All of that, along with superior venting, creative design of the peak system (with a replacement included), and a variety of other features are why we feel the Fly Racing Dirt Formula helmet leads the pack for off-road riding in 2020.
Nitpicks: It’s expensive. That is going to stand out for those familiar with Fly Racing helmets. While it shouldn’t deter anyone from purchasing the lid (because the features more than justify the price tag), it will take some getting used to for fans of the brand. That being said, at this price point, even small nitpicks are warranted. While it may not seem like a big deal to many, for all of the intricate details that this helmet features, the cheek pads leave something desired. They are pretty basic and are not quick-eject in their functionality.
7. Shoei Solid Neotec 2 Motorcycle Helmet
Adventure touring is on the rise, but many manufacturers are still struggling to catch up with one of the world’s biggest motorcycling trends. Shoei has one simple rule: stay ahead of the curve.
Built for both the trail and open road, the Neotec is an innovative hybrid that features the best tech. Forged from the framework of the still-popular Multitec, the Neotec has taken giant leaps toward optimal comfort and convenience.
Spoiler alert: we love this helmet. It features a wider and taller field of vision than the bulk of its competitors. Still, engineers have also managed to improve on its predecessor’s already excellent wind-noise reduction and taken further steps toward streamlining the shell’s aerodynamics.
The result is minimal wind drag. The helmet’s lining and removable padding remain comfortable over extended trips, with the advanced ventilation system wicking away moisture under even the hottest conditions.
Bottom line: adventure riders looking for a helmet that works as well in the wild as it does on the road need look no further than the Neotec.
8. Bell Race Star Flex DLX helmet
Any way you cut it, $735 is an expensive piece of motorcycle gear. At that price point, excellence is expected, and ultra-high performance is simply table stakes. When operating in the rarified air of the world’s most premium brands, it takes a lot to stand out from the crowd. Providing a dramatic upgrade in features, without changing the price, is one way to make it happen, and that is exactly what the Bell Race Star Flex DLX has done for 2020.
The Bell Star name has a long history, and with the Flex DLX, Bell has upped their game by making use of a strategically re-crafted outer shell that varies the thickness (increasing in certain areas and decreasing in others), and updates the material itself, with a 3k carbon composition. This obsession with continual improvement, along with the tailored fit that comes from five shell sizes and six EPS liners, has led to a five-ounce weight reduction in a medium-sized helmet over its predecessor (with a total weight of three pounds, five ounces). Additionally, the folks at Bell have taken special care to improve the actual fitment by further pronouncing the intermediate oval shape.
With a helmet this advanced, a more thorough discussion of the liner itself is necessary. As noted in the name, the Flex technology Bell used here is one of the fundamental differences that sets this helmet apart from all others, even those in the top stratosphere of premium race helmets. With the Flex tech, the Bell Star employs an outer layer tailored for high-speed forces (EPS), a mid-layer for medium-level impacts (EPP), and an inner layer that is extra absorbent for low-speed impacts (EPO). Working together, the combination of these three layers stacked on top of each other reduces the amount of rotational force that is transferred to the head in the event of a crash. When factoring all of that in with the ultra-premium fit and finish, the inclusion of a ProTint Faceshield ($150 value), and the fact that this helmet comes in at the same price as its predecessor, it made for an easy selection as our best racing motorcycle helmet of 2020.
Nitpicks: It’s really hard to find fault in getting more for the same price point. That’s what is happening here with the Bell Race Star DLX Helmet. The ProTint shield alone is a crazy-good value. However, it is also not a Pinlock shield. If we had our druthers, it would be, but in the end, this is a minor price to pay for the functionality of a buffer that you never have to swap for various light conditions.
When should I replace my motorcycle helmet?
Short answer: after any crash or every five years. The foam lining found inside a motorcycle helmet is effective at reducing the blow of an impact. However, to slow down these extreme forces, the material needs to compress. This foam is classed as a one-use material as it will not be as effective at reducing crash forces in subsequent collisions. You should immediately replace your helmet after you have been involved in an accident.
You will need to replace your helmet every five years to ensure the latest technology is protecting you. Heat and humidity can also slowly degrade your headgear’s structural integrity, warping the protective materials, and reducing your helmet’s ability to protect you in a crash. Body fluids, hair oils, and some cosmetics can also speed up the degradation of your helmet.
Is buying a second-hand helmet safe?
Experts warn against buying used helmets. The second-hand market is flooded with cheap knock-offs, old helmets, and units that have already been involved in a crash. The latter is a massive red flag and not a potential hazard you can spot with the naked eye.
Our Geeks suggest avoiding the second-hand market and opting for one of the new, proven, and safe helmets listed above.
How do I know if a helmet will fit me?
Wrap a tape measure around the top of your head, about 1 inch above your eyebrows. This will give you an accurate estimate of the circumference of the largest part of your head.
Check your head measurement against a helmet sizing chart and select the size closest to your head’s circumference. Remember: a helmet will never precisely match the size of your head.
What is the DOT certification?
The “DOT” emblem signifies that a particular motorcycle helmet meets the Department of Transportation safety standards enforced by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. However, the authority does not test the helmet itself; instead, companies undertake their crash testing and self-certify their units.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration then acquires random samples of a company’s product and conducts its testing to verify compliance with safety standards. Companies caught misleading consumers are heavily penalized. Fortunately, the brands listed above have unblemished track records of manufacturing reliable and safe motorcycle helmets.
How effective are motorcycle helmets?
Motorcycle riders are 27 times more likely to die in collisions than other drivers. These accidents cost the United States billions of dollars each year due to productivity loss and medical expenses. A proper helmet can reduce your risk of death by approximately 37 percent and reduce your risk of sustaining a brain injury by nearly 67 percent, which is why 47 states have enacted partial or universal helmet laws.
So we have finished introducing the premium motorcycle helmets. Hope it will help you better choose a suitable helmet for yourself, do not forget to be safe. First of all for you and others. Thanks, and see you again at German Helmet.