Different materials and types of construction, integral, modular or jet: choosing the right helmet means knowing how to distinguish the technical characteristics and go beyond the simple aesthetic evaluation. It’s not a question of safety, the approved castes are all safe in the same way, beyond the price range. A less expensive helmet is therefore no less safe. The differences are instead linked to those characteristics that can make a helmet more or less suitable for different needs. Here is a simple guide to choose the most suitable helmet for you. Also with helmet, you need to think about glasses for choosing the best motorcycle riding glasses.
JET, INTEGRAL OR MODULAR?
For urban travel by motorcycle or scooter and for daily use, especially in summer, a Jet Helmet is preferable, but also ideal for tourist trips over short and medium distances.
Most jet and demi-jet helmets have an integrated sun visor, a long visor to protect from the wind even at high speeds and a Bluetooth intercom to listen to music, talk to the passenger or other motorcyclists, receive information from your smartphone or navigator.
Today these features are also available in full-face helmets, allowing maximum comfort on the track, so it is preferable to choose a full-face helmet thanks to the high degree of protection combined with lightweight construction materials and aerodynamic design.
If you opt for a Modular Helmet, with openable or removable chin guard, it is important to check the type of homologation. Only those with double P/J homologation can also be used open during the trip. Otherwise, only use with the chin guard lowered and in Jet mode during the trip is allowed, allowing you to get air or talk to your fellow travellers without taking your helmet off.
The size of the shell should not be confused with the size of the helmet. Each helmet has an outer shell and a polystyrene inner shell. Therefore, a helmet can be designed with a single shell size and the different sizes can be obtained by reducing or increasing the thickness of the padding.
Vice versa, in helmets with two or more shell sizes (maximum 4), the differences in size will correspond to a different size of shell. In this case, the helmet will be more compact, ergonomic and less voluminous as possible in proportion to the size chosen.
The material from which the shell is made is a fundamental element but, unlike what you might think, it does not affect safety. All approved helmets, whatever the material and price range, are safe, ensure good shock absorption and can save your life in case of accident. More expensive does not mean safer. The material of which the shell is made affects other fundamental characteristics.
Helmets can be made mainly of carbon, glass fibre (or composite) or polycarbonate/thermoplastic. The most obvious difference lies in the weight and, consequently, in the driving comfort. Carbon and glass fibre guarantee a lower weight but are the most expensive materials.
A light helmet, reducing fatigue of the cervical muscles, may be preferable if our routes are very long or we go to the track.
THE CLOSURE SYSTEM
There are two locking systems: with micrometric buckle and with double-D closure. The first, also called quick release closure, consists of a tab to be inserted into the closure mechanism, ensuring the helmet to the head and allowing you to adjust and release the helmet very quickly with the use of only one hand.
The double D, or double ring, closure is mainly used on the track and for high speed trips. It consists of a strap that is passed through two rings and then back into one of the two. It represents a high quality and safety locking system.
Many helmets are sold without a visor, providing the attachment of a three-button or bubble visor. Alternatively you can equip the helmet with goggles and motorcycle goggles. Without visor are obviously the cross and jet helmets.
The main function of the visor is obviously to protect the face from wind, cold, debris and insects, increasing comfort and avoiding disturbance to visibility caused by the wind. At the time of purchase, the helmet is equipped with a transparent visor, but you can buy different types of visors with different colors and cuts: smoked, mirrored, colored, especially suitable for driving on the track and on sunny days.
For jet helmets there are 2 types of visor: the long visor or with eyeglass cut. There are also anti-fog lenses to apply on the visor and removable films during the trip to keep the visor always perfectly clean. Most helmets allow the visor to be replaced once worn, the difference is the degree of ease with which this can be done.
The interior of a helmet can be made of many materials but with some common characteristics: hypoallergenic, antibacterial and breathable, to ensure maximum comfort even in prolonged use.
The interior of a helmet can be totally or partially removable, in this case they will certainly be easier to clean but helmets with non-removable interior are also washable through the use of special products.
A correct and frequent cleaning of the helmet affects its durability over the years, despite this, in the long run the inside of the helmet may be damaged and it may be necessary to replace it. When the interior is removable this operation may be easier.
The padding is also important to assess whether the size of the helmet is right for you. You don’t have to worry if the helmet may look tight at first, even if it is the right size. With use, the interior will fit better to your face.
THE VENTILATION SYSTEM
The ventilation system is certainly a key feature in full-face helmets to extract hot air and let in fresh air. A mechanism that allows to maintain the internal temperature, control sweating and reduce fogging of the visor.
The air flow is ensured by air vents usually positioned at the top of the helmet and on the chin guard, and extractors at the back.
The air vents can also operate through an air channeling system on the inner shell and provide the possibility of being opened and closed according to the needs of the moment. The noise level of the helmet also depends on the ventilation system, a factor to be careful of because it can be very annoying for the rider.
Now you really know everything about how to choose the most suitable helmet for your needs. Remember, however, do not choose based on just one of the characteristics we have talked about, but evaluate your helmet according to the right balance between the mix of these characteristics and their adaptability to your needs.