Wearing effective head protection is a given for bikers – despite the image of freewheeling through life that motorcycling sometimes exudes, most motorcyclists are extremely safety conscious and invest in the best equipment. Young riders may be tempted to economise on safety gear for biking, but the best safety helmets do not necessarily have to cost a fortune.
The UK government has introduced ratings for motorcycle helmets to ensure that there is a minimum standard of protection offered. The Department for Transport’s (DoT) Safety Helmet Assessment and Rating Programme is operated as the SHARP scheme, which tests helmets for fit and also rates them on safety. New helmets are added to the SHARP website daily, so it is easy to check out the best motorcycle helmets around.
The DoT estimates that if motorcyclists chose the safest helmets, 50 lives could be saved every year. Many helmets are now made from lightweight materials such as polycarbonate – and have foam or other shock absorbent materials lining the helmet to cushion the impact of any head injuries during a crash.
The sort of safety features you need to look for when buying a motorcycle helmet include:
Full face protection – best to protect the face from grit, dust and rain or snow while riding, as well as essential to prevent critical head/brain injuries in an impact
Chin strap – needs to fit firmly but comfortably and allow for movement without chafing or cutting in
Shell – the best motorcycle helmets will have multiple shells to cushion any impact – never buy a second hand helmet in case it has been in an accident and the inner shell has been damaged
Padding – a motorcycle helmet needs to be comfortable and offer protection to the sides of the head as well as the crown
Liners – look for removable liners as these will get hot and sticky quickly and harbour bacteria
Visor – look for quick release mechanisms so you can get the helmet off in the event of an accident – or so that the emergency services can release it quickly. Visors should also offer a wide range of vision and be anti-scratch and anti-fog.
Here are five of the best motorcycle helmets around to suit all budgets, as tried and tested by SHARP.
AGV GP Tech – 5 Stars
The AGV GP Tech is a full-face helmet with a high design spec, boasting a fluorescent retro pattern to improve visibility on the road, and Carbon Kevlar construction. The price reflects all the features included, such as an anti-fog and anti-scratch visor with quick release mechanism, multipoint ventilation and Double D Ring retention system, removable cheek pads and liners. Saving up for the AGV GP Tech could just save your life.
BMW System 5 – 5 Stars
The BMW System 5 takes motorcycle headgear a stage further and adds Bluetooth capability (optional), so is perfect for despatch riders or those who want to stay in touch. This is a meatier helmet weighing in at 1.76kg, but offers excellent protection with an anti-fog and scratch visor, multiple point air ventilation, removable cheek pads and liner and composite fibre construction. The retention system uses micrometric adjustment. The BMW System 5 has a classic, aerodynamic design with smooth lines – perfect if you have a box of Milk Tray awaiting delivery this Valentine’s Day.
Arai GP5X – 5 Stars
The Arai GP5X will appeal to those who like a racer-style helmet and the Arai GP5X incorporates a world of safety features in a lightweight helmet (1.30kg) which almost looks too cool for school. The Arai GP5X has Double D Ring retention in a composite fibre helmet with multiple shells, and removable cheek pads and liner. The anti fog visor also makes this good looking helmet practical, too.
Caberg V2R – 5 Stars
The Caberg V2R motorcycle helmet offers reasonably priced, superior protection and a myriad of features, including quick buckle release, anti fog and anti scratch visor, multiple ventilation points and multiple shells, plus removable cheek pads and liner. The Caberg V2R is also available in sizes XXS to XXL – and its classic racer style with Chevron trim make it not only pretty safe but pretty stylish, too. Perfect for super heroes of the road, regardless of their head size.
MT Revenge – 5 Stars
The MT Revenge gets 5 stars for its name alone, but is also a lightweight helmet offering full face protection and costs just £64.99. The helmet has an anti-scratch visor and multiple shells, as well as multipoint ventilation to help keep your head cool.
Bike safety is extremely important and having a high quality helment will help prevent Brain Injury Related Bike Accidents and Cases. if you do find yourself a frequent bike rider, check out one of the helmets above.