Dirt biking is an exhilarating off-road sport, one that combines adventure, speed, and skill into a thrilling experience.
However, the intensity and unpredictability of the trail also bring about a certain level of risk.
Among all the safety gear a dirt biker needs, the most crucial one is the helmet.
Choosing the best dirt bike helmets can make a significant difference not only in terms of safety but also in comfort and overall riding experience.
But with so many options available, how do you find the best dirt bike helmet for your needs?
This blog post is here to guide you through the process.
Understanding Dirt Bike Helmets
A dirt bike helmet is not just a piece of protective gear; it’s a piece of life-saving equipment when you’re out on the trails riding your dirt bike.
Understanding what makes a helmet protective, comfortable, and suitable for your needs is key to making an informed purchase.
The main components of a dirt bike helmet include the helmet shell, dual-density EPS liner, comfort liner, visor, and strap.
The outermost layer of a dirt bike helmet, is often made of materials like polycarbonate, fiberglass, or carbon fiber.
Its main job is to distribute the impact over a wider area, reducing the force before it reaches your head.
Short for Expanded Polystyrene, this foam-like material is found beneath the shell.
The EPS liner absorbs the energy from the impact, again reducing the force before it reaches your head.
This is the soft layer inside the mx helmet that rests against your head. It’s often removable and washable, and its main function is to provide comfort rather than safety.
The visor’s role is to protect the rider’s eyes from the sun, dirt, and debris. It can usually be adjusted or removed according to the rider’s preference.
The best mx helmet should come with a secure and easy-to-use strap system. It holds the helmet in place and is crucial for ensuring the helmet provides full protection.
Helmet safety is further guaranteed by certifications such as DOT, SNELL, and ECE, which indicate the helmet has passed rigorous safety tests.
A proper understanding of these components and certifications can help you make an informed decision when searching for the best dirt bike helmet.
According to the Journal of Neurosurgery in 2021, Helmet use remains problematically low among young ATV and dirt bike riders
What to Look for in a Dirt Bike Helmet
When shopping for the best motocross helmet, there are several factors you should consider to ensure you choose the best motocross helmets for your needs:
- Safety Ratings and Standards: Look for a premium quality motocross helmet that has been certified by recognized standards such as DOT (Department of Transportation), SNELL (Snell Memorial Foundation), and ECE (Economic Commission for Europe). These certifications ensure the helmet has undergone rigorous testing for impact absorption, penetration resistance, and more.
- Size and Fit: A well-fitting helmet is crucial for safety and comfort. Helmets that are too large can shift or come off during a crash, while helmets that are too small can cause discomfort. Measure your head circumference and compare it with the manufacturer’s size chart before buying.
- Weight: While heavy helmets can provide better protection, they can also cause neck strain during long rides. Look for the safest dirt bike helmet that balances protection and weight.
- Materials and Construction: The materials used in the shell and liner of the helmet affect its safety, weight, and price. A new motocross helmet made with advanced materials like a carbon fiber shell tends to be the lightest dirt bike helmets and they are more durable, but also more expensive.
- Ventilation: Good ventilation is key to keeping you comfortable, especially during warm weather or intense rides. Look for mx helmets with multiple vents and channels that push cool air in and exhaust hot air out.
- Vision and Visor Quality: The visor should provide a wide field of view and protect you from the sun, dirt, and debris. Consider the visor’s quality, adjustability, and ease of replacement.
- Comfort and Padding: The high-quality helmet should have comfortable interior padding that fits well against your head. Look for removable and washable padding for easy cleaning.
How to Choose the Best Dirt Bike Helmet for You
Choosing the best dirt bike helmet for you involves considering your specific needs, riding style, and budget. Here’s how to make your decision:
Understand Your Riding Habits
Your riding habits can heavily influence the type of premium helmet you need.
If you participate in competitive racing or more aggressive off-road riding, you might require a helmet with higher safety ratings and more durable materials.
For casual or infrequent riders, a standard dirt bike helmet might be sufficient.
Measure Your Head Size and Shape:
Off Road motorcycle helmets are designed to fit different head sizes and shapes.
Use a measuring tape to measure the circumference of your head at its widest point (just above your eyebrows and ears), and compare it to the manufacturer’s size chart.
It’s also important to consider your head shape, which can be classified as round oval, intermediate oval, or long oval.
Set a Budget
Modern dirt bike helmets can range from under $100 to over $1000. Determine how much you’re willing to spend before you start shopping, but keep in mind that a higher price often indicates better materials, advanced features, and improved safety measures.
Online reviews can give you a sense of the helmet’s pros and cons, and let you know if it has any common issues, like being too hot, heavy, or uncomfortable.
Consider Additional Features
Some dirt bike helmets come with additional features like removable and washable liners, quick-release straps, built-in speakers, or camera mounts. Consider whether these features are important to you.
Review of The Top Dirt Bike Helmets
6D ATR-2 Motocross Helmet
The 6D ATR-2 is a motocross helmet made with a unique protection system aimed to reduce the likelihood of concussion and the effects of linear and angular impacts at varying speeds.
It includes advanced features such as a tricomposite shell, an advanced rotation reduction system, dual impact absorption liners, and EQRS. The 6D ATR-2 stands out for its comprehensive focus on safety, comfort, and performance, making it a prime option for serious motocross riders.
- Tricomposite motocross helmet for enhanced strength and durability
- Advanced rotation reduction system to mitigate rotational forces during a crash
- Dual impact absorption liners (EPS and EPP) for maximum shock absorption
- Quick-release cheek pads for emergency situations (EQRS)
- Excellent ventilation with five always-open chin vents and six forehead vents
- A fully removable and washable Dri-Lex material comfort liner
- Weight: Average around 3.3lbs (1.5Kg)
- Safety Features: Advanced rotation reduction system, dual impact absorption liners, EQRS, titanium Double-D ring fastener
- Ventilation: Five always-open chin vents and six forehead vents
- Price: Expected to be around $600-$700
Recommended for: Motocross riders who prioritize safety features, don’t mind a slightly larger and heavier dirt bike helmet, and are willing to invest in a high-end, feature-rich helmet. It is suitable for those who engage in long rides as it’s built with comfort and ventilation in mind. The helmet may also appeal to riders who prefer a modern-looking helmet with a variety of graphics and colorways.
Alpinestars Supertech M10 Solid Dirt Bike Helmet
The Alpinestars Supertech M10 Solid Helmet is the product of over five years of intensive study, development, and testing. It is designed to offer exceptional protection and performance enhancement for motocross riders. The helmet integrates the latest safety technology, a lightweight design, and excellent ventilation and comfort.
- Ventilation system with specifically designed ducting.
- A visor designed to direct maximum airflow into the shell.
- Compatible with a hydration system.
- A patented fitting system for height and angle adjustment.
- The unique visor release system ensures secure mounting while allowing easy detachment during impact.
- Collarbone protection design with a raised profile to clear the collarbone.
- MIPS system to reduce damaging rotational forces during impact.
- Emergency Release System (ERS) for safe and efficient removal.
- Constructed with a multi-composite carbon shell for high strength and efficient energy dissipation.
- A multi-density EPS polymer liner for effective energy absorption and comfort.
- Weight: 1240g for size Medium (ECE), 1340g for size Medium (DOT)
- Safety features: MIPS, ERS, visor release system, collarbone protection
- Ventilation: Specifically designed ducting for efficient ventilation
- Price: (Please note that as an AI model, I don’t have real-time information or the ability to check current prices. Please check the latest price on the seller’s website.)
Recommended for: Motocross riders looking for a dirt bike helmet that offers high protection, performance enhancement, and comfort. It is particularly suitable for those who ride in extreme conditions and need superior ventilation, hydration compatibility, and emergency safety features. The adjustment systems also make it a great choice for riders seeking a personalized fit.
Shoei VFX-EVO Dirt Bike Helmet
The Shoei VFX-EVO is the latest motocross helmet from Shoei, featuring advanced AIM+ shell construction technology. The helmet includes the EQRS (Emergency Quick Release System), MEDS (motion energy distribution system) for managing rotational forces, and has been wind-tunnel tested for superior aerodynamic performance. Its shell uses multilayered composite material to absorb energy, and it is both DOT and ECE certified.
- AIM+ shell construction for lightweight strength and superior energy absorption
- EQRS Emergency Quick Release System
- MEDS rotation protection
- 16 intake and exhaust ports for improved ventilation
- Large opening for goggles, compatible with oversized goggles
- Double-D ring fastener
- Designed for superior aerodynamic performance
- 4 different shell sizes for a more personalized fit
- Removable and washable liner
- Safety features: Snell M2015 and M2020D certified, DOT & ECE certified, EQRS, MEDS
- Ventilation: 16 intake and exhaust vents
- Price: $530-$700 depending on the version
Recommended for: The Shoei VFX-EVO is recommended for serious motocross riders and racers who require a dirt bike helmet with advanced safety features, superior aerodynamics, and excellent ventilation. It’s ideal for those who value a high degree of comfort and the ability to have a more personalized fit, though riders who need to mount a Bluetooth headset or wear certain types of neck braces may need to consider other options.
Arai VX Pro 4 Dirt Bike Helmet
The Arai VX Pro 4 Helmet is a premium dirt-specific helmet from Arai, a renowned Japanese brand known for its top-tier helmets. This dirt bike helmet shares the same R75 Shape design as Arai’s street helmets and adheres to Arai’s Glancing Off philosophy for impact protection. The dirt bike helmet is handmade, featuring multiple layers of laminates molded together for enhanced safety and comfort.
- Facial Contour System (FCS)
- Dry-Cool® Liner for efficient heat and moisture transfer.
- Replaceable interior components including cheek pads, chinstrap covers, and neckroll.
- The innovative peak forces air into the forehead vent ports for cooling and reduces “lifting” at high speeds.
- Double-D ring device for easy fastening.
- Five-year limited warranty.
- Weight: Approx 3 pounds, 11 ounces (for a medium size)
- Safety features: Penetration tested, Emergency Release System (ERS), Double-D ring device.
- Ventilation: Front and rear ventilation system, including center top vent, inner chin vent, removable three-piece rear exhaust, and side exhausts.
- Price: Around $760
- Available sizes: XS-XXL
Recommended for: The Arai VX Pro 4 Helmet is recommended for serious and professional off-road riders who prioritize safety and comfort, and are willing to invest in a high-quality, handcrafted dirt bike helmet. It’s also recommended for those who prefer traditional safety strategies and a helmet with an organic shape that conforms more to the head’s natural shape for improved comfort and fit.
Bell Moto-10 Spherical Helmet
The Bell Moto-10 Spherical Helmet is a leading solution in head protection, designed for off-road motorbike riding. It features a combination of advanced protection, weight reduction, and optimized ventilation. The dirt bike helmet comes with the Spherical Technology powered by MIPS®, providing excellent safety against impacts.
- Spherical Technology™ powered by MIPS® for improved impact management
- Segmented 3K Carbon Shell for lightweight protection
- Thermal Exchange Airflow System™ for optimal ventilation
- Fully adjustable Flying Bridge Visor™ with air intake vents
- NMR™ Collarbone Bumpers to reduce further injury
- Exclusive Magnefusion™ magnetic strap keeper and Emergency Removal System (MERS)
- Virus™ Cool Jade removable/washable liner for comfort
- Panoramic Goggle Port for increased visibility
- Double-D closure for a secure fit
- Weight: 1300g
- Safety features: Spherical Technology™, MIPS® (Multi-directional Impact Protection System), NMR™ Collarbone Bumpers, Magnefusion™ Emergency Removal System
- Ventilation: Thermal Exchange Airflow System™
- Price: $800
Recommended for: The Bell Moto-10 Spherical Helmet is recommended for professional off-road riders looking for advanced head protection, especially those who value ventilation and comfort. Given the dirt bike helmet’s high price point, it is best suited for those who are serious about their sport and willing to invest in high-quality equipment for improved safety and performance. It’s also suitable for riders with a rounder head shape, as per the user review.
Scorpion EXO ADX1 AT950 Dirt Bike Helmet
The Scorpion EXO ADX1 AT950 is a versatile modular adventure helmet. It is designed to be adaptable to suit the riding conditions, whether you are dirt bike riding on a road bike or off-road. The helmet features an integral drop-down sun visor, a removable sun peak, a wide visor, and a modular design that allows you to switch between different looks and functions. Despite its myriad of features, the helmet is surprisingly affordable, which makes it a great value for money.
- Modular dual-sports design.
- Polycarbonate shell for robustness.
- Integral sun visor for visibility.
- Removable sun peak for adaptability.
- Pinlock visor and insert included for clear vision.
- Micrometric fastener for safe and easy use.
- EPS lining in chin guard for added safety.
- Weight: Specific weight information not provided.
- Safety features: Micrometric fastener, EPS lining in the chin guard, ECE and DOT certification.
- Ventilation: Single chin vent and single crown vent.
Recommended for: The Scorpion EXO ADX1 AT950 Helmet is recommended for riders who require versatility in their gear. It is suitable for both on-road and off-road riders. Due to its affordable price, it is also a great choice for riders on a budget who do not want to compromise on functionality and protection. Despite some potential sizing issues, Scorpion offers different size cheek pads to tailor the fit, so the helmet can be a good choice for riders willing to adjust the fit slightly.
Fly Racing Formula CC Primary Helmet
The Fly Racing Formula CC Primary Helmet, modeled after the original Formula Carbon model, contains all the critical elements that make the helmet an excellent choice for head protection. Its Adaptive Impact System (AIS) enhances impact management, making it a safer alternative to traditional helmets. The helmet has been rigorously tested to exceed ECE and DOT standards. It is lightweight, comfortable, and the use of a leading-edge viscoelastic material, RHEON, further improves its shock absorption ability. The Formula CC Primary Helmet comes in two versions: Carbon and Carbon Composite (CC), with the latter being a more budget-friendly option.
- Tri-weave composite shell, combining carbon fiber, DuPont™ Kevlar®, and fiberglass
- RHEON, Impact Energy Cells to maximize absorption of low-speed impacts
- Conehead® EPS Technology provides a softer liner
- Expanded volume EPS for more impact absorption
- EPP (Expanded Polypropylene) chin bar for added impact mitigation
- Custom molded rubber trim with integrated nose guard
- True Functional Ventilation (TFV) system
- Comfort liner and emergency release cheek pads made of washable moisture-wicking, anti-microbial material
- Soft fleece helmet bag included
- Weight: Carbon Composite helmet weighs 3.21 lbs
- Safety features: ECE / DOT approved, RHEON Impact Energy Cells, Conehead® EPS Technology, EPP chin bar, clavicle shell relief zone
- Ventilation: True Functional Ventilation (TFV)
- Price: Carbon Composite model at $449.95; Carbon model at $689.95
Recommended for: The Fly Racing Formula CC Primary Helmet is recommended for motorcycle riders looking for advanced head protection that is also comfortable and lightweight. Given its safety features and approval from ECE and DOT, it is particularly suitable for those participating in motorcycle racing or other high-impact activities. While the helmet’s price is higher than some alternatives, it offers superior safety, making it a worthwhile investment for those prioritizing head protection.
Helmet Maintenance and Care
Proper maintenance and care of your dirt bike helmet is essential for its longevity and effectiveness.
Here are some guidelines on how to take care of your helmet:
Never use harsh or abrasive cleaners on your helmet, as these can damage its materials and decrease its effectiveness.
For the exterior, use a soft cloth or sponge with mild soap and water. For the interior, remove the liner and cheek pads (if possible) and hand wash them with mild soap. Allow them to air dry and avoid direct sunlight.
Store your helmet in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
UV rays can degrade the helmet’s materials over time. When not in use, it’s best to keep it in a helmet bag to protect it from dust and scratches.
Avoid dropping your helmet, as this can cause unseen damage to the protective materials.
If you do drop it, inspect it carefully for any signs of damage.
Regularly inspect your helmet for signs of wear and tear.
Look for scratches or cracks on the shell, any deformation in the interior lining, or deterioration in the straps or buckles.
Even if your helmet appears to be in good condition, it should be replaced every 5 years, as the materials can degrade over time.
However, if you have a crash, the helmet should be replaced immediately, even if no damage is visible.
Remember, a well-maintained helmet can provide the best protection.
Whether it’s Fly Racing’s innovative RHEON Energy Cells and Conehead® EPS technology for superior impact absorption, or 6D’s exclusive Omni-Directional Suspension system, or Bell’s tried and true MIPS Energy Management System, each helmet represents some of the most advanced head protection technology on the market.
The weight, ventilation, and price are other significant factors to consider based on the type of riding you do, your budget, and personal preferences.
The Fly Racing Formula helmets stand out for their lightweight construction and safety features, with two price points for different budgets.
The 6D ATR-2 offers advanced suspension technology at a premium price, while the Bell Moto-9 MIPS presents a more affordable choice without sacrificing the essential safety feature of MIPS technology.
In the end, all these helmets excel in providing the safety, comfort, and performance necessary for off-road biking.
We recommend trying on different helmets to find the one that feels the most comfortable and suits your riding style and budget the best.
Remember, safety should always be your top priority when choosing a helmet, so investing in a high-quality helmet is well worth it.