Reviews

Best Motorcycle Racing Helmets: Protect Your Head on the Track

These top motorcycle racing helmets are great for competition

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BY Nikola Petrovski , Noelle Talmon / LAST UPDATED ON March 24, 2020

There are a variety of different helmets for different types of motorcycling. Racing helmets are strong, lightweight, and aerodynamic. They also provide superior ventilation. When you're on the track, the last thing you want to worry about is the helmet on your head. The best motorcycle racing helmets provide optimal protection and safeguard your skull in a crash. Check out some of the best options in our buying guide below.

Best Overall
Shoei X-Fourteen White Full Face Helmet
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Summary
Summary

The helmet has multiple air intakes and exhaust for maximum airflow. It features an adjustable liner, it's very lightweight, and it can be used with racing tear-offs.

Pros
Pros
  • Lightweight 
  • Anti-fog technology
Cons
Cons
  • Pinlock knobs could be distracting 
  • May vary from the picture
Best Overall
Shoei X-Fourteen White Full Face Helmet
Best Value
Yema Motorcycle Full Face Helmet
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Summary
Summary

This affordable helmet comes in either black or white and sizes small through XX-large. It has an ABS shell and multi-density EPS construction

Pros
Pros
  • Aerodynamic  shape
  • Plenty of venting
Cons
Cons
  • Foam padding is thin 
  • Not compatible with glasses
Best Value
Yema Motorcycle Full Face Helmet
Honorable Mention
Scorpion R320 Helmet
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Summary
Summary

This DOT-certified helmet comes in seven colorful designs and sizes X-small through XX-large. It has an EPS inner core and an outer polycarbonate shell.

Pros
Pros
  • Ellip-Tex Ratchet System
  • Kwikfit cheek pads
Cons
Cons
  • Small air vents 
  • Only comes with clear face shield
Honorable Mention
Scorpion R320 Helmet

Why Trust Us


Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

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Benefits of Motorcycle Racing Helmets

  • Provide head protection. The best motorcycle helmet for racing is designed to do one thing and do it well: protect your head. If you don't wear the proper full-face helmet on the track, you are setting yourself up for injury and even death. Racing helmets are much more effective than open-face helmets and modular helmets. 
  • High-quality. Helmet manufacturers spend a lot of time and money researching and designing their products to ensure that they protect riders in a crash. The best motorcycle racing helmets can even decrease the effects of brain rotation.
  • Meet federal guidelines. The best motorcycle road racing helmets meet or exceed federal safety standards. Many track and race organizers hold tech inspections to ensure that the helmet you're wearing is safe.
  • Make racing fun. Riding on the track can be addictive, and the more protected you feel the more fun you will have. Going to the track can improve your skills and make you a better rider. When you're wearing the proper helmet, you can let loose and enjoy the ride.

Top Brands

Bell

Bell was started by founder Roy Richter in a garage in 1954. The company creates Bell helmets for auto racing, motorcycling, and bicycling. Bell is headquartered in Santa Cruz, California, and one of its top products is the Bell Race Star Full-Face Motorcycle Helmet.

Arai

The Japanese company Arai Helmet, Ltd. was founded in 1937. It started off making military headgear in the 1930s, industrial helmets following World War II, and motorcycle helmets in the early 1950s. The U.S.-based facility is in Pennsylvania. One of its popular products is the Arai Signet X Helmet.

Shoei

Shoei Co., Ltd. is another Japanese company that manufactures motorsport helmets. It's been making protective headgear since 1958. Shoei designs helmets for several Grand Prix motorcycle racers. One helmet to consider is the Shoei X-Fourteen White Full Face Helmet.

AGV

Italian motorcycle helmet manufacturer AGV has been in business since 1947. It's known for making the first fiberglass full-face helmet. Several of its riders have made history in motorcycle racing. Check out this AVG helmet for everyday riding: AGV Unisex-Adult Full Face K-1 Warmup Motorcycle Helmet.

Motorcycle Racing Helmets Pricing

  • $150-$900: Expect to pay a lot for a motorcycle racing helmet. It's a worthy investment because it will provide optimal protection in a crash. These helmets are designed to be lightweight and aerodynamic and are made of high-quality materials, such as carbon fiber and kevlar.

Key Features

Ventilation

The best helmets will circulate air and provide maximum airflow when you’re racing. The best motorcycle racing helmets feature intake and exhaust vents that you can easily open and close. Many are adjustable for comfort. The vents bring cold air in when you need it and shut it out when you don't.

Field of Vision

Look at the eye-port opening of the helmet. Some helmets have higher openings than others, which can affect your field of view. For example, sport bike riders often prefer a higher opening, which compensates for lower handlebars as well as their riding position. Many racing helmets are designed to provide optimum vertical and lateral visibility, so you see what’s around you when you’re on the track.

Fit

While all these features are important, it's vital that you get a helmet that fits your head properly. If it doesn't, it won't protect you very well. Some helmets have a break-in period, while others fit comfortably from the start. It's okay if a helmet is tight at first because it will wear in over time. A helmet that's too large and moves easily around your head may come off during an impact.

Safety 

Official and professional races have a variety of safety requirements. If possible, focus on the latest helmets rated by the Snell Memorial Foundation even though many events permit helmets that are rated the previous year. SA-rated helmets are professional grade and are often used in auto races.

M-rated helmets are designed for motorcycle racing. They have a wider field of vision than SA helmets but provide a lower level of protection. K-rated helmets are for karting and have similar impact protection as SA helmets but are not as fire-retardant. Experts recommend purchasing an M-rated helmet because they are versatile and provide good protection.

Other Considerations

  • Material: Helmets are made of either fiberglass, carbon fiber, kevlar, or mold-injected plastic, which is the most common. Racing helmets are typically kevlar and carbon fiber, so they're very strong and absorb greater impacts. Fiberglass helmets are also designed to take impact and can withstand greater impact than plastic helmets.
  • Liner: Some competitions have stringent safety requirements, and you may need a helmet with a fire-retardant inner lining in order to participate. Some brands make antimicrobial liners that keep sweat and grime from building up inside your helmet. Other liners are adjustable and/or removable for easy cleaning. 
  • Padding: Many helmets have pads that you can add or remove as necessary. You need a snug fit so that your head doesn't bounce around inside the helmet when you're riding. Adjust the pads for comfort and fit, and make sure they're not too tight that they cause discomfort.
  • Face Shield: The best motorcycle racing helmets have face shields that are easy to install and remove. It can be frustrating if it's hard to remove the shield. Many helmets come with clear visors, but you have the option of replacing it with a tinted shield, which can help with visibility.

Best Motorcycle Racing Helmets Reviews & Recommendations 2021

Best Overall
Shoei X-Fourteen White Full Face Helmet

The X-Fourteen features six air intakes and six exhaust outlets for ventilation. The 3D max-dry interior and adjustable liner provide a custom fit and permit greater field of vision. The face shield allows racing tear-offs, and it is designed with a fog-resistant system. The shell is strong, lightweight, and elastic.


One of the great things about this helmet is that it's quiet, and there's very little noise on the highway. There's no wind resistance, and it cuts through the air nicely. It has excellent visibility and is comfortable. Also, the anti-fog technology works great, and the helmet is DOT- and Snell-approved. The helmet comes in white.


However, the pinlock knobs may show up in the edge of your peripheral vision. Also, it's really for sport bike riders because of the way it controls airflow. If you have a cruiser, you may want to consider other options. In addition, the helmet may not be the same color as depicted in pictures.

Best Value
Yema Motorcycle Full Face Helmet

This affordable helmet comes in either matte black or white and sizes small through XX-large. It features a full-face design with a liftable face shield. The shape of the helmet is aerodynamic to slice through the air better. It’s made with an ABS shell and multi-density EPS. It has a dual visor design with the outer visor and a retractable smoked inner one. To keep you cool, it has a ventilation system to encourage airflow through the helmet from the front to the back. It also has a quick-release buckle under the chin and removable liner pads. The helmet is also DOT approved. 


Unfortunately, the foam padding is thin on this helmet, which can cause you to feel the hard foam underneath. This can create hot spots. It can also not work if you wear glasses.

Best Graphics
Scorpion R320 Helmet

This bold helmet comes in sizes X-small through XX-large. There are seven colorful designs to choose from for a custom look. There are flower, abstract, and scorpion designs. It’s made from an EPS inner core and an outer polycarbonate shell. This helps the helmet to be DOT certified. It has an Ellip-Tex Ratchet System, Kwikfit cheek pads. You’ll also appreciate that this helmet is compatible with eyeglasses. The face shield is pin-lock ready. There are vents at the top, chin, and back of the helmet. 


The downside of this helmet is that the vents are small, which limits airflow. It also comes with only a clear face shield. You’ll need to buy the black tinted shield separately. It also lacks an internal sun visor or quick release buckle.

Most Comfortable
LS2 Helmets Full Face Rapid Street Helmet

This DOT-approved helmet comes with a quick-release chin strap. The helmet line has two shell sizes to reduce the bulk and weight of the helmet for the smaller sizes. This keeps the helmet lightweight and aerodynamic. A standout feature of the helmet is the hypoallergenic, removable, and washable comfort padding. It also has an extra internal shield that acts as a breath guard to prevent the face shield from fogging. The helmet also features an aggressive scary clown design. There are adjustable vents on the front and across the back for the maximum amount of airflow. 


One drawback of this helmet is that it runs small. So you’ll want to consider sizing up when ordering. The visor also tends to fog up in colder weather.

Honorable Mention
Bell Qualifier Full-Face Helmet Matte Black

This classic full-face helmet comes in 22 designs and colors for plenty of options. You have sizes X-small through XX-large to choose from. This helmet has a lightweight polycarbonate/ABS shell. The shield is a click-release design for fast and tool-free changing. The Velocity Flow Ventilation and Flow Adjust features give you full control over how much airflow you get through the helmet. A standout feature of the helmet is the NutraFog II anti-fog, anti-scratch, and UV resistant shield. It also has a padded wind collar for reduced wind and road noise. The helmet is DOT approved and meets FMVSS 218 Standard.


One drawback of this helmet is that the pictures show it with a black tinted visor. However, it comes with a clear shield only, and you’ll need to buy the tinted one separately. 

Tips

  • Once you purchase a helmet, make sure it fits. This is particularly important if you buy it online. Before removing the shield stickers, wear it around the house for about 10 minutes. If it's not comfortable or too small or large, return it.
  • Don't wear an expensive helmet for many, many years just because you spent a lot of money on it. You need to replace helmets on a regular basis so they provide optimal protection in a crash.
  • Look at the helmet’s chin strap fastener. It's easier if the helmet has a simple fastener that prevents the loose end from flapping in the wind. It should also be easy to use when you have gloves on.
  • Some helmets are Bluetooth- and speaker-compatible. If you like listening to music when you ride, find a helmet that is designed to accommodate a sound and/or communication system.

FAQs

Q: How do I know that it’s time to buy a new helmet?

A: You need a new helmet if your current one is more than five years old, if it doesn't fit properly, or if it suffered an impact in a crash. You also need to replace a helmet if it shows heavy wear and/or is in poor condition.

Q: Which helmet safety standard is best? 

A: Most helmets are DOT/Snell- or DOT/ECE-certified. Cheaper helmets are DOT-certified only. Ideally, you should wear a helmet that has Snell certification.

Q: Are more expensive helmets safer?

A: More expensive helmets usually have higher-quality inner linings and tend to last a lot longer than cheap motorcycle helmets. Pricier helmets are often lighter weight and provide a fit that’s a bit more snug. Still, affordable helmets—as well as expensive ones—can be DOT- and Snell-certified, which is a testament to their safety. 

Final Thoughts

Our pick for the best motorcycle racing helmet is the Shoei X-Fourteen White Full Face Helmet. It's available in three colors, is very comfortable, and is great for visibility.

For a more budget-friendly option, consider the  YEMA Motorcycle Full Face Helmet. It comes in a wide range of sizes and has an aerodynamic shape and lightweight ABS shell.