May 11, 2021 13 min read

As a dirt bike enthusiast, I know just how thrilling it can be to go on an adventure with your dirt bike. Whether you are racing on the track or going on an off-road adventure, I also know that safety is just as important as having fun. That’s why it’s important to make sure that you choose the best dirt bike helmet.

Important things to consider when choosing the best dirt bike helmet include:

  • High-quality shell
  • Impact absorption
  • Lightweight
  • Ventilation
  • Look
  • Fit
  •  

    Whether you are a novice to picking dirt bike helmets or just want some advice on which options are the best for your money, this ultimate dirt bike helmet guide is here to help you. 

    super close up on mx 77 Mike Burrys helmet setup inc Risk Racings JAC goggles and the Ripper auto roll off system

    Who Makes the Best Dirt Bike Helmet?

    There are several brands that you should be looking at if you want the best dirt bike helmets. Each of these brands has its own benefits and downsides that you should consider when selecting the perfect dirt bike helmet for your needs.

    fly racing motocross helmet

    Fly Racing

    Fly is one of the best options to consider, especially if you are looking for a comfortable bike helmet. Comfort matters for those more intense or longer adventures on your dirt bike. Fly Racing has invested a ton of time and money into their new helmet, the Formula, which has proven to be one of the best helmets on the market.

    6d motocross helmet

    6D

    Some consider the dirt bike helmets from 6D to be the safest that you can buy on the market today. 6D has been working with the NFL to further their helmet development as well, so safety is definitely an area where they are not looking to cut corners in.

    bell moto-10 motocross helmet

    Bell

    Bell is a brand that is very well-known for making bike helmets. They have a solid reputation in the industry for making high-quality bike helmets. These are well-rounded helmet designs, which offer an excellent balance of comfort, protection, and ventilation.

    ansr motocross helmet

    Answer

    Answer is another well-rounded bike helmet brand. With this choice, you can get a stylish bike helmet that offers adequate comfort and ventilation.

    fox motocross helmet

    Fox

    Fox is a brand that is more known for its stylish helmets, which are some of the most aesthetically appealing options on the market today. With these stylish options, you are getting excellent ventilation that can improve your riding experience. Worn by riders like Ken Roczen and Adam Cianciarulo, it’s easy to see the style and safety Fox puts into all of their innovations.

    leatt motocross helmet

    Leatt

    Leatt is a brand that tends to be on the pricier side, but if you do have the budget and are willing to spend a little extra on a great helmet this is a great option to consider. They are known for making pretty solid gear that is worth the money. Above all else, their entire product line revolves around safety, which is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

    O'Neal motocross helmet

    O’Neal

    O’Neal dirt bike helmets are pretty stylish options, with what some would consider the coolest graphics on the market. However, the ventilation of these bike helmets may be pretty inadequate.

    dirt biker wearing black helmet Goggles and jersey by Risk Racing hills tress in the background

    What Should I Look for in a Dirt Bike Helmet?

    Choosing the best dirt bike helmet means that you need to know exactly what you are looking for in a dirt bike helmet. In this section, we will take a look at some of the most important features for you to look at when choosing a dirt bike helmet.


    Helmet Ventilation

    No matter what type of dirt biking you prefer, a helmet with adequate ventilation is important. Ventilation is what will keep you at a consistent temperature as you ride around while also preventing a lot of sweat from pouring all over you. Some people sweat a lot more than others, which means that ventilation can actually be a major priority when selecting a dirt bike helmet.

    Helmet Shape/Comfort

    The first part of this is to take a look at the helmet shape. This is something that many people don’t consider when they are choosing a dirt bike helmet. Helmet shape is essential to the comfort of your helmet, especially since everyone has a different head shape. This means that a helmet that your friend may find comfortable, may be very uncomfortable for you.  

    mx num 94 Roczen whipping up high over a jump sky BG

    Style

    Style may not be a major priority when you are on your dirt bike, but it always helps. Some people want to make sure that they have a helmet that they are proud of wearing when they are on their dirt bike. 

    Safety

    Easily one of the most important things that you should be looking at when it comes to your dirt bike helmet is to find the safest option. The helmet’s primary job is to protect your head, specifically your brain, from injury if you have an accident on your bike. That’s why choosing a safe helmet should be your top priority. There are plenty of safety features that can help you be sure that you have the safest helmet possible, such as a quick-release feature or helmets made with multi-density foam. 

    Price

    Price is another important thing to look at when you are looking at dirt bike helmets. There are options that can work within most price ranges, so you can find something that you will love and will work for you without breaking the bank.


    Availability of Parts

    It can be a good idea to stick to a trusted brand of dirt bike helmets. This way if something happens, such as you break a visor on your helmet, you can just buy replacement parts to repair the helmet. This can be really nice, especially if you spent a lot of money on the helmet.

    Rotational Impact Protection

    While this may not be a must-have feature for a lot of people, this can be an excellent idea if safety is your top priority with your bike helmet. This feature means that the helmet is built to handle impact from any angle.

    num_164_Risk_Racing_factory_racer_tearing_into_the_top_of_a_burm_turn_throwing_dirt_in_a_wave

    How Long is a Dirt Bike Helmet Good For?

    For the most part, if you are going to buy a dirt bike helmet you can expect to pay a decent amount of money. However, this means that you want to make sure that the helmet lasts a long time. It is generally recommended by the dirt bike helmet manufacturers that a helmet will last between 3 and 5 years or if it sustained any damage after a crash. 

    The first part of this to address is whether or not dirt bike helmets expire. The reason that manufacturers recommend replacing a helmet after between 3 and 5 years of use is that the various materials like glues and resins tend to lose effectiveness and can compromise the helmet’s lining. This is something that is very dependent on the different brands. 

    For example, O’Neal doesn’t have an expiration date for their helmets as the materials that they use tend to not have issues with disintegration. The good news is that bike helmet manufacturers typically have a sticker under the helmet’s lining with the manufacturing date so that you know when the helmet will expire.

    Another part of this is to address whether or not you should replace the helmet after a crash. The issue is that this is a bit more complex when it comes to if you replace a helmet after a crash. There are some manufacturers who recommend that the rider purchases a new helmet after any significant crash, despite there being no signs of damage to the helmet. Other manufacturers think that you can just check the polystyrene to see if there are any soft spots or bends to determine whether or not you need to replace the helmet.

    A thorough inspection of the helmet after the crash is important when determining if you should replace your helmet. To do this, you need to take off the inner liner of the helmet to check the polystyrene for bulges, cracks, and if there are any compressed areas. Then, examine the shell to see if there is any damage to that. You should also see if the helmet shell is faded, as this can be a sign that the shell material is growing brittle and won’t offer the protection that you need to be safe.

    So how do you know exactly when it’s time for a new helmet? Here are some things to consider:

    mx num 22 wearing Risk Racing Ventilate gear taking a corner in a race followed by opponents in BG

    Age

    As previously mentioned, manufacturers recommend replacing a helmet after between 3 and 5 years of use. Just like with everything else, the helmet does start to weaken after years of use. The bike helmet has been exposed to the elements repeatedly as well as UV rays and mud/dirt. The years of abuse can further weaken your helmet. That’s why it’s recommended that you should replace your helmet after 5 years at most.

    How Frequently It’s Used

    Another consideration for when you need to replace your helmet is how frequently you use it. If you are wearing the helmet every day, this wear and tear may mean that the helmet will need to be replaced before the recommendations of the manufacturer. 

    Helmet Becomes Too Loose

    New helmets tend to fit very snugly so that if you shake your head the helmet will stay in place. If the helmet starts to slide around when you move your head, that means that the padding has become compacted. When the padding is compacted and the helmet is loose, that’s a sign that you need a new dirt bike helmet.

    Any Signs of Deterioration

    If there are any signs of damage or deterioration in the interior or exterior of the helmet, it’s time for a new one. The shell of the helmet is the part where the point of contact takes place in a crash. If there are any cracks or other damage to the helmet, this can make your head more exposed in a crash. 

    A compromised shell can put you at higher risk for injuries. When looking at the interior of the helmet, you need to take a very close look at the foam and lining. If you notice that the lining or foam are starting to peel or flake off, then this means that the foam is compromised and so is your helmet.

    Strap/Lock Problems

    The straps and locks on the helmet are important to keep you safe. The strap locks do often get damaged as a result of exposure to the elements. This is a problem because the straps are what keeps the helmet on your head. You might have the option of just replacing the strap, or you might just want to get a new helmet.

    motocross rider wearing black Risk Racing jersey a star helmet and JAC Goggles by RR

    How Much Does a Dirt Bike Helmet Cost?

    When you’re talking about the cost of dirt bike helmets, you can expect to spend under $350 for these helmets. There are also dirt bike helmets that are far more expensive, sometimes nearly $700. You should know that while you may want to save money and spend as little as possible on your bike helmets, you will not really want to cheap out here. The dirt bike helmet is there to keep your head and brain protected should you have an accident or crash. 


    You want to get a high-quality bike helmet that was built to last and will keep you protected for as long as the bike helmet is safe to wear. You should find something that is within a comfortable budget for you but don’t just select an option because it’s the cheapest one. You will often get what you pay for when it comes to bike helmets.

    Why Do Dirt Bike Helmets Look Different?

    You may be wondering why dirt bike helmets look different than helmets that you would use for street biking. The reason for this is because you will need more protection for your face in the very likely event that you crash. The shape of the dirt bike helmet does serve very different purposes than street bike helmets.

    Dirt bike helmets serve the following purposes, which explains why they are shaped the way that they are:

    • Protect the rider from dust and dirt while riding.
    • Keep the sun out of your eyes.
    • Improved ventilation
    • Offer protection while being lightweight.
    • Offer the highest level of protection for riders.
    The Ripper Goggle Roll Off letting this person see through extremely muddy goggles and helmet

      How Do I Know What Size Motocross Helmet to Buy?

      The fit of your helmet is crucial to your safety when riding a motocross or dirt bike, as the fit determines how well the helmet protects you in a crash. It also plays a significant role in how comfortable you are when wearing the helmet. You should never buy or wear any helmet that doesn’t offer a snug fit. So how do you know what size helmet to buy?

      You can start by measuring your head size, by using a cloth tape measure. You will need to wrap the tape measure around your head horizontally, right about an inch over the eyebrows and ears. This is an important area to measure because this is the largest area on your head. Once you get that measurement, you can look at sizing charts to see which size matches this measurement. 

      A common thing that sometimes happens is that the helmet size may fall in between 2 sizes. Since you are looking for a snug fit on your helmet, you should try out the smaller size first. 

      How do you know if the helmet is the right level of snug? It shouldn’t be too tight that it’s uncomfortable to wear. However, if you are able to move the helmet around when tightened easily, then the helmet is too big. 

      Something that’s important to know here is that different helmet shapes may fit each person differently. This can mean that it’s a good idea to try a helmet on if possible before you buy it, or purchase from an online site that offers a good return/exchange policy.

      faded opacity on motocross helmet showing off the ripper auto roll off system by Risk Racing

      How Tight Should a Dirt Bike Helmet Fit?

      The short answer is that when your helmet moves, your skin should move with it. That’s how you’ll know if the helmet has the right fit. The helmet should be as snug as it is comfortable for you, without allowing for any movement. You have to remember that after some time, your helmet will just loosen up. You want your helmet to last as long as possible, so by choosing a snug fit you are not only getting the best protection but that you are also getting a helmet that will last you a longer period of time.

      When you wear the helmet, you may be afraid that it’s too snug or uncomfortable, but you may just need to adjust it until it fits in place. It needs to be worn squarely on your head, not worn tilted back as you may wear your hat. Your helmet must be worn in its proper place for it to fit properly.

      There are some other things to look at when you are looking at the fit of a dirt bike helmet, including:

      • Your cheek pads should be able to touch your cheeks without being uncomfortable pressing against the cheeks. 
      • You shouldn’t have any gaps between the brow pads and temples. 
      • For helmets with a neck roll, the helmet shouldn’t be pushed away from your neck.
      • For full-face helmets, you should press the chin piece. When you do this, neither the helmet nor the face shield should touch your chin or nose. If this motion does that, then the wind will as you race around.

      The fit matters. You don’t want to have an accident and not get the protection that you need to stay safe. You don’t want your helmet to fall off during a crash, leaving your head vulnerable to more severe injuries. Getting the right fit for your helmet is essential for your safety and the enjoyment of your dirt bike.

      mx number 3 Kawasaki leaning into a turn on the track

      Are Expensive Motorcycle Helmets Worth It?

      This can be a more complicated question than just answering yes or no. You may be tempted to just automatically buy the most expensive, or the cheapest options, just because of its price. The problem is that the price doesn’t necessarily guarantee the quality of the helmet. Dirt bike helmets can be extremely pricey on the high-end, or pretty cheap. Which leads you to ask the question: Are expensive motorcycle helmets worth it?

      To answer this question, let’s take a look at the different things that can impact the price of the helmet:

      Certifications

      One thing that can impact the price of the helmet is certifications. Generally, with the cheaper helmets, you won’t see certifications from ECE, DOT, or SNELL. Now, does that necessarily mean that the more expensive helmets with those certifications are automatically better helmets than the cheaper ones without them? No. There can be some that may have barely passed these certifications, which means that they aren’t much better than those models without them. This is why certifications don’t necessarily mean a better quality helmet.

      Shell Size

      A brand that usually uses more shells for their different helmets will typically cost more. For the most part, cheaper brands may only use between 3 and 5 different shells across the different sizes of helmets. This is because brands that use more than this number of shells generally have higher operational costs that they need to compensate for. This doesn’t mean that the brand is necessarily better.

      Design and Materials

      If the helmet was designed with the right materials, excellent aerodynamics, or great ventilation, then the helmet will be more expensive. Cheaper brands may not offer the best aerodynamics or just have a simple plastic shell. Using the latest designs and technologies to create the helmets will create a more expensive helmet.

      The actual materials used may or may not determine how great the helmets are but they will certainly determine the price. A high-quality plastic can still be an excellent option as well as carbon fiber and resin. The materials themselves that are used are not necessarily as important as the quality of the chosen material.

      Motocross racer coming straight at camera through heavy mud wearing black and yellow Risk Racing moto gear

      Branding & Marketing

      Another thing that has an impact on the price is the brand and the marketing that the brand puts into raising their brand awareness. There could be 2 helmets that are exact in every way, but the brand can make one cost twice as much. One might have different graphics. These are some seemingly minor differences that can add up to a significant difference in the cost of helmets.

      Fasteners

      There are several different fastener options available on the market today and the different fasteners can impact the cost of the helmet. The most commonly used items are D-rings, double D-rings, ratchet fasteners, and micrometric. 

      Risk Racing's mx number 164 red Honda wearing red n black RR jersey pants and gloves out on the track

      Are More Expensive Helmets Worth it?

      After considering all of the things that can determine what makes the helmets more expensive, you may still be wondering whether or not the more expensive helmets are actually worth it. In short: the answer is both yes and no. If you go up to a specific cost of the helmet, it can absolutely be worth it. But once you cross that threshold, it may not really be worth it to spend too much on a helmet. 

      So, the question becomes: “What makes a helmet worth the expensive price tag?” When you pay a little bit more for a helmet, you get a helmet that is very well-designed. This means that the helmet will have great aerodynamics to it, amazing ventilation to keep you cool and offer extra features that can keep you safer when riding. 

      But, the problem is that there are some brands that charge a ton more money just for a few cool graphics on the helmet. The helmet itself might be cheaper and not as great-quality, but because of the stylish aesthetics, it can cost a lot more. 

      That’s why it’s important to do your research before you spend a fortune on a helmet. Take a closer look to see just why the helmet is that expensive. That will help you determine if the more expensive helmet is actually worth it.

      number 164 Risk Racing factory racer flying forwards through the air w unfocused track and spectators in background

      Conclusion

      It’s very important that you take the time to buy a dirt bike helmet that works for you. It should fit properly, and it should be comfortable. There are plenty of different options available for you when it comes to bike helmets, from different brands to shapes of the helmet. It may take some time to find the perfect helmet for your needs and head shape, but once you do you will have an even more enjoyable experience when you ride your dirt bike.


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