The Ultimate Guide to Buying a Motorcycle Helmet

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Every motorcycle journey starts with a Helmet, and the rest. Before you take the plunge and decide to actually get into motorcycling, you need to start doing research on your gear. It’s not rocket science; if you get in at accident and you don’t own a helmet, there’s a very high risk of a fatality.

To help you on your way, the UK’s leading bike trader, We Buy Any Bike have put together the ultimate guide to buying a motorcycle helmet… enjoy!

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A Quick History of the Motorcycle Helmet

We’ll try our best to keep this bit short and sweet. Back in 1907, a gentleman named Dr Eric Gardner started his career as a medical officer at Brooklands Race Track. It was here where witnessed an increase of injuries; in particular, head injuries. So, he contacted another gentleman; Mr Moss to specifically make “a canvas & shellac stiff enough to stand a heavy blow, and smooth enough to glace off any projections it encountered”.

The project was evidently a success following the 1914 Isle of Man TT, where there were no reported head injuries. Much to their initial disapproval, all the riders wore helmets!

Motorcycle Helmets were stated a lawful requirement in the UK in 1973.

Where do I get Started when buying a helmet?

The first port of call is preferably to visit your local motorcycle accessory shop. You’re likely to find these in your nearest major town. If you’re struggling to find one in your area, simply drop me an email, you can find it at the bottom of this page!

Doing a bit of window shopping is a great benefit. You will more than likely get a ‘feel’ of how the ideal helmet will fit you. You may even find ‘the one’!

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How will I know when I’ve found ‘the one’?

Your perfect helmet should ideally be quite uncomfortable at first. But don’t worry; like a pair of good hiking boots, they’ll age with grace and you’ll soon be best friends!

When you first place the helmet over your head, you should only feel movement on your skin, the padding should feel a little bit squished up to your cheeks to say the least. There should be absolutely no movement in the fabric itself! Don’t forget to give your head a wobble for a quick test.

If you’re a new rider, we personally recommend a *full-face helmet. This ensures the ultimate protection. You could then think about the type of bike you’re going to ride. Consider the seating position and practice head gestures. You also want to make sure to move your helmet about manually – or try to. If you can’t move it; congratulations – you’ve found the one!

Don’t forget about Safety!

As previously stated, the use of a helmet is a legal requirement for motorcyclists in the UK. The government has stated that all helmets should meet at least one of the following to comply with the road safety regulations:

  • British Standard BS 6658:1985 and carry the BSI Kitemark
  • UNECE Regulation 22.05
  • A European Economic Area member standard offering at least the same safety and protection as BS 6658:1985 and carry a mark equivalent to the BSI Kitemark

Information cited from the GOV website.

Alongside this, we also recommend submitting a SHARP helmet safety test. This scheme is highly suggested by the Gov website – you can submit your desired helmet here.

Different Types of Helmet

There are many different styles of riding; there are many different types of bike; and ultimately; there’s a whole selection of different styled helmets too. We mentioned earlier that we recommend the *full-face helmet for beginners. However, helmets don’t stop there; there are plenty more! We’ve already spoke about full-facers, so we won’t more you with that one… but here are some more styles:

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Touring Helmet

The name speaks for itself on this one. You guessed it… it’s ideal for touring! In terms of features, the tourer helmets provide great ventilation for when you’re out on the road in the hot weather. This is a great attribute when travelling abroad. It is also naturally good as a wind muffler; drowning out any unwanted noise. The weight is also keenly distributed.

Half Helmet

Occasionally known as ‘beanies’, or ‘shorties’, the Half Helmet is recognized by its significant lack of protection on the lower portion of the head. If you’ve never seen one before, simply imagine a bowl on your head with a strap attached to it. 9 times out of 10 it doesn’t come with visor, goggles, or any protection for your face/eye area. This means you’d have to buy added extras!

Off-Road Helmet

Used for the more sportier-style of riding, specifically for off-roading… it says it in the name! Off-Road Helmets, also known as Motocross Helmets, are significantly identified by their sun visor displayed above the brow area of the helmet. The pointed chin bar is also an accentuated feature.

These types of helmet often are unfortunately sold with no eye protection. Alike half helmets, goggles are often recommended for purchase as an added extra.

Modular Helmet

Frequently worn by the ‘semi-touring’ motorcyclist (one who enjoys going on decent sized rides but not extensive trips). The Modular Helmet features an adjustable visor. Though it isn’t recommended for the rider to move the visor to an upright position whilst riding, it can be significantly helpful when you’re pulling over for a quick brew! The rest of the modular helmet is replicated by the full-face helmet, meaning – great safety!

Open Face Helmet

This style of helmet is commonly found on top of the noggin’ of a café racer rider. It can also be seen crowning scooter and cruiser riders. Often referred to as a ¾ helmet, this one doesn’t have a visor, you’d have to buy that separately. It also doesn’t have a chin guard either – in fact, the face is completely exposed. If you don’t fancy putting one on your head, it does look pretty cool as a house decoration!

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How much is a helmet going to set me back?

Prices often misunderstood. As the saying goes, ‘the price of the helmet will cost you your head’; or something like that. In our opinion, you want to stay clear of the cheap deals. When priced, the dealer takes into consideration the certification/safety features, as well as the shell size. Features such as ventilation, aerodynamics, and materials are also a big factor.

Another massive price factor, in particular with the helmets that approach the £1k mark, is marketing. Obviously, recognizable brands like Arai/Shoei/HJC/Bell are an exception. However, when a company bumps up their price because their ‘limited edition’ is your favourite MotoGP rider. The helmet itself won’t be any different or safer than the standard model.

Do you sell helmets?

We don’t… but these do:

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Whilst we’re here… we don’t suppose you’re looking to sell a bike, are you? Here at We Buy Any Bike we offer exceptional rates on motorcycles of all walks of life! We take the stress right off your shoulders when you’re looking to sell a bike. So, next time you find yourself wondering how much your bike is worth – visit our valuation system!

Author: Emma Henry

Emma Henry is the Digital Marketing Manager and Contributor to WeBuyAnyBike.com. For any blog enquiries, please email [email protected]

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