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LAST UPDATED: March 24, 2020

Best Motorcycle Racing Helmets: Protect Your Head on the Track

These top motorcycle racing helmets are great for competition

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PUBLISHED 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 in our buying guide below.

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

    The helmet redirects impact energy as opposed to absorbing it through its Variable Axis System (VAS). The liner has antimicrobial qualities, and a special latch system keeps the shield securely closed.

    Cons
    Cons

    The air intake vents can be adjusted three ways, and they are tightly sealed against wind and water intrusion. The helmet is DOT- and Snell-approved, and it's easy to remove the face shield.

  • Best Overall
    Shoei X-Fourteen White Full Face Helmet
    Shoei X-Fourteen White Full Face Helmet
  • Best Value
    Shoei Hornet X2 Navigate Street Racing Motorcycle Helmet
    Shoei Hornet X2 Navigate Street Racing Motorcycle Helmet
    Summary
    Summary

    The mouthpiece and chin bar are designed to provide optimal air intake and ventilation. It comes in four shell sizes for a custom fit and is light, compact, and aerodynamic.

    Pros
    Pros

    The face shield delivers a distortion-free view and is easy to remove without removing the visor. It fits firmly at high speeds, and the liner has foam in key areas for impact protection.

    Cons
    Cons

    The helmet can get very hot and sweaty in certain temperatures. It's not as comfortable as some other helmets and can be noisy at high speeds.

  • Best Value
    Shoei Hornet X2 Navigate Street Racing Motorcycle Helmet
    Shoei Hornet X2 Navigate Street Racing Motorcycle Helmet
  • Honorable Mention
    Arai Corsair X Helmet
    Arai Corsair X Helmet
    Summary
    Summary

    The helmet redirects impact energy as opposed to absorbing it through its Variable Axis System (VAS). The liner has antimicrobial qualities, and a special latch system keeps the shield securely closed.

    Pros
    Pros

    The air intake vents can be adjusted three ways, and they are tightly sealed against wind and water intrusion. The helmet is DOT- and Snell-approved, and it's easy to remove the face shield.

    Cons
    Cons

    The helmet is expensive. It can also be awkward to lift the visor with gloves on, and the interior fabric could be a little softer on your skin.

  • Honorable Mention
    Arai Corsair X Helmet
    Arai Corsair X Helmet

    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 in our buying guide below.

    Best Motorcycle Racing Helmets Reviews & Recommendations 2020

    Best Overall

    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, gloss black, and matte black.


    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

    The Shoei Hornet X2 Adventure helmet combines on-road and off-road performance. The mouthpiece and chin bar deliver optimal air intake and ventilation, allowing riders to breath heavily and comfortably while hitting the track. The helmet comes in four shell sizes for a custom fit (small, medium, large, and extra large), and the shell construction is light, compact, and aerodynamic.


    The face shield is 3D injection molded and provides a distortion-free view. It's quick and easy to remove the shield without removing the visor, and the liner includes foam in key areas around the head for better impact protection. The helmet fits firmly when riding at high speeds, and the 3D-shaped check pads come in various thicknesses, so you can create a custom fit. The DOT-approved helmet also complies with the FMVSS 218 Standard.


    One problem with this helmet is it can get very hot and sweaty in certain weather conditions. It may also not be as comfortable as some rival helmets, especially in warmer temperatures. In addition, the helmet makes a little bit of wind noise at highway speeds.

    Honorable Mention 

    The race-level Corsair is Arai's flagship model, and it's well-known for its high-quality attributes. It's designed to redirect impact energy instead of absorbing it through its Variable Axis System (VAS).  It features an antimicrobial eco-pure liner and a VAS shield latch system that holds the shield closed securely so it doesn't accidentally open.


    The air intake vents are adjustable and can be closed, half open, and fully open. They feature a tight seal to prevent wind noise and water intrusion and are simple to operate even when you're wearing gloves. The VAS MAX Vision shield features a clear anti-fog pinlock insert. It's quick and easy to remove the face shield and the neckroll, and the helmet is DOT- and Snell-approved.


    The biggest drawback with this helmet is that it's a little pricey. It can also be a little awkward to lift the visor with gloves on. Another problem is the interior fabric is a littler rougher compared to some other models. 

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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 Corsair X Helmet - Nicky 7.

    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 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 2020

    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, gloss black, and matte black.


    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
    Shoei Hornet X2 Navigate Street Racing Motorcycle Helmet

    The Shoei Hornet X2 Adventure helmet combines on-road and off-road performance. The mouthpiece and chin bar deliver optimal air intake and ventilation, allowing riders to breath heavily and comfortably while hitting the track. The helmet comes in four shell sizes for a custom fit (small, medium, large, and extra large), and the shell construction is light, compact, and aerodynamic.


    The face shield is 3D injection molded and provides a distortion-free view. It's quick and easy to remove the shield without removing the visor, and the liner includes foam in key areas around the head for better impact protection. The helmet fits firmly when riding at high speeds, and the 3D-shaped check pads come in various thicknesses, so you can create a custom fit. The DOT-approved helmet also complies with the FMVSS 218 Standard.


    One problem with this helmet is it can get very hot and sweaty in certain weather conditions. It may also not be as comfortable as some rival helmets, especially in warmer temperatures. In addition, the helmet makes a little bit of wind noise at highway speeds.

    Honorable Mention 
    Arai Corsair X Helmet - Nicky 7

    The race-level Corsair is Arai's flagship model, and it's well-known for its high-quality attributes. It's designed to redirect impact energy instead of absorbing it through its Variable Axis System (VAS).  It features an antimicrobial eco-pure liner and a VAS shield latch system that holds the shield closed securely so it doesn't accidentally open.


    The air intake vents are adjustable and can be closed, half open, and fully open. They feature a tight seal to prevent wind noise and water intrusion and are simple to operate even when you're wearing gloves. The VAS MAX Vision shield features a clear anti-fog pinlock insert. It's quick and easy to remove the face shield and the neckroll, and the helmet is DOT- and Snell-approved.


    The biggest drawback with this helmet is that it's a little pricey. It can also be a little awkward to lift the visor with gloves on. Another problem is the interior fabric is a littler rougher compared to some other models. 

     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 Shoei Hornet X2 Navigate Street Racing Motorcycle Helmet.