LAST UPDATED: April 6, 2020
Best Carbon Fiber Helmets: Protect Your Head With Hardcore Safety
These top-notch carbon fiber helmets will protect hard-headed riders—literally and figuratively
The Review Team
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PUBLISHED ON April 6, 2020
Strong, specialized, and more than capable of keeping your head safe when you ride, carbon fiber is used in the production of aircrafts and race cars for a reason. It’s durable enough to shield you from sustaining heavy injuries when you’re roaring down the road, but it’s also lightweight and sleek enough to keep you comfy and cool while you’re at it.
Before you go Evel Knievel out on the track, check out our guide to the best carbon fiber helmet to give your noggin’ some lovin’.
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All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Carbon Fiber Helmets
- Safety. Carbon fiber is extremely durable and made from the lightest material. It makes sure that your head gets the TLC it deserves. The material is used in aircrafts, vehicles, and other sporting equipment, so you know it’s strong and protective.
- Aesthetics. Carbon fiber helmets usually avoid the dreaded mushroom head look as they sport sleek and aerodynamic designs to make sure you look cool when riding.
- DOT-Certified. Most carbon fiber motorcycle helmets meet and even exceed safety standards from the Department of Transportation, so you can ride with the assurance that your head is protected from accidents. All you have to worry about is enjoying the ride.
Types of Carbon Fiber Helmets
A full-face helmet provides all-around protection for your head, including your chin and your face. It can shield you from the sun, wind, noise, and harsh weather conditions, as well as from random little stones that kick up and pesky bugs that might buzz your way. The face shield also provides anonymity for riders who value their privacy while on the road. Plus, you don’t need to wear goggles to protect your eyes if you have a good visor on your helmet. The insulation provides much-need comfort from fatigue during long trips. Removable or moisture-wicking inner linings are a plus since full-face helmets can be pretty stifling.
Open-Face Half Helmet
Open-face helmets or ¾ helmets offer less protection than full-face motorcycle helmets, but they provide more ventilation and don’t feel stifling. They don’t limit the airflow around your face, which is a huge plus during excruciatingly hot days. Half helmets don’t restrict your hearing and vision, either—you don’t have to worry about not being able to hear important warning sounds around you like sirens and horns. Your field of vision has less blind spots, and they’re often lighter than their full-face counterparts.
Half helmets are similar to open-face helmets in that they provide more airflow for your chin and your cheeks. Since they don’t have chin bars, they are one of the lightest helmets available. You normally have to wear sunglasses or goggles, but some brands have built-in visors. Since they don’t offer as much protection as full and ¾ helmets do, make sure that your model is DOT approved for safety.
Also known as flip-up helmets, these are a cross between an open-face helmet and a full-face helmet. They normally have visors to protect your eyes and your face, and they can be flipped up when needed. Good models have a second inner visor for extra UV protection. Their versatility can be pretty nifty, but they do tend to weigh more than their full-face counterparts due to the added hinge weight.
Founded by Roy Richter in the 1950's in California, Bell takes pride in “The Bell Way” when it comes to providing the next generation of riders the best possibilities in helmets. The company values both form and function in its products, which is why the Bell Bullitt Carbon Full Face Motorcycle Helmet is one of the best-looking vintage bike helmets available.
This company is aptly named after its location in Daytona Beach, Florida. It’s been making quality helmets and headgear since 1992 and has a wide range of helmet sizes for different kinds of riders across the country—the Daytona Half Helmet Skull Cap included.
Located in Illinois, 1Storm not only provides quality motorcycle helmets, but also motorcycle gear for competitive prices. It was founded in 2007 and has since been a champion of more value-for-money gear coupled with commitment to customer service. The 1Storm Full Face Motorcycle Helmet Flip up Dual Visor is one of its standout helmets.
Founded in 1947 by Gino Amisano, AGV takes pride in its fiberglass full-face helmets, among others. Helmets from its impressive product lineup include material made from Kevlar and SSL carbon for unparalleled durability. The AGV Unisex-Adult Flip-Up Sport Modular Motorcycle Helmet is a crowd favorite.
Carbon Fiber Helmet Pricing
- Under $100: Be wary of racing helmets that claim they’re made from carbon fiber when in reality, they’re only using carbon fiber colors. These helmets are often made from ABS, EPS linings, or fiberglass. Our best value pick, however, is the real deal.
- $100-$1,700: Quality carbon helmets can cost a lot of money. Expect to shell out a good chunk of your budget for genuine carbon fiber, but the investment will be worth it when it comes to protection.
When you’re shopping for the best carbon fiber helmet, pick one that is made from genuine carbon fiber. There are plenty of products online that claim to be made from anti-scratch carbon fiber material, but they actually only feature carbon fiber colors or are made with Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) instead.
Full-face helmets offer better protection than half helmets, and they are not always well-ventilated. Look for products that have some form of ventilation system that can help circulate the airflow inside the helmet. This is essential during scorching hot days. It’s also a plus if your helmet has a removable inner padding, so that you can wash it and get rid of any bacteria from your sweat.
Size and Fit
No matter how cool looking or how expensive your motorcycle helmet may be, it won’t do its job of keeping your head safe if it doesn’t provide the right fit. Most shops have measurement charts for head shapes and shell sizes, so take advantage of them to ensure your helmet won’t fall off the minute you hit the road.
- Weight: Choose lightweight helmets that won’t give you a headache during long and fatiguing rides. They should also give you enough freedom to move your head around. Opt for a good balance between a helmet that won’t weigh down too heavily and those that won’t get blown away by the slightest breeze.
- Padding: Apart from the overall exterior design of the helmet, inner EPS foam padding will keep you comfortable and offer an added layer of protection for your face and your head. Aside from keeping your cheeks comfy, the padded interior can also help absorb some of the shock during a collision.
- UV Resistance: A tinted sun visor with some form of UV-resistant coating will help you steer clear of any unwanted glare while you’re on the road. It protects your eyes and your face from the sun’s harmful rays as well as keeps the helmet from compromising your vision when you’re riding. Anti-fog visors are also a plus.
Best Carbon Fiber Helmet Reviews & Recommendations 2020
DOT-approved with an antibacterial interior, the Bell Bullitt Carbon Full Face Motorcycle Helmet has a dense EPS liner and a durable shell for maximum protection. The quality leather interior is removable for hygienic purposes. Plus, the vintage look is a tribute to old-school racing.
We love how snug the cheek pads are, topped with five metal mesh vents for ultimate comfort. There are also speaker pockets designed into the helmet—a nice surprise and a nifty little touch for audiophiles.
A huge turn off is its hefty price tag; it’s definitely not for more budget-conscious riders. The visor also tends to rattle, which really puts a damper on a good ride. You should also be wary of shipping snafus as some boxes may arrive damaged or dirty.
The Voss 888CF Genuine Carbon Fiber Half Helmet features a removable visor that can be replaced, exchanged, or tucked up into the helmet. There are different visor tints that protect you from the sun. The half-face helmet offers clear visibility while on the road and features genuine carbon fiber material that’s highly resistant to damage.
We love the removable and washable inner lining, so you don’t have to worry about the ick factor of sweat and grime accumulating inside your motorcycle helmet. The DOT certification is the cherry on top—it certainly does its job all while keeping you looking as cool as can be.
This would have been the perfect carbon fiber motorcycle helmet for its affordable price if it weren’t for its odd fit. It tends to fit oval-shaped heads better, so if your head shape is slightly different, it’s not the best option. The straps are also a bit inferior compared to higher-priced helmets, so it may not provide the tightest fit.
Perhaps one of the most flexible carbon fiber motorcycle helmets out there when it comes to sizes, the Daytona Half Helmet Skull Cap features easily adjustable straps and chip-resistant material. It’s approved according to DOT standards, so safety and reliability aren’t an issue.
The biggest pro is that it’s available in sizes from 3XS to 4XL. We also love how easy it is to adjust the chin straps—a huge plus for bearded fellas who want to steer clear of any painful pulling and snagging. The 90-day guarantee makes us feel a little safer, too.
Still, we don’t like its tendency to slip off your head at breakneck speeds despite the tight straps. It also has that dreaded mushroom look, which definitely reduces its cool factor. Since it’s only a half helmet, it doesn’t provide the best overall protection for your entire head and face.
- Aside from the DOT certification, also check if the helmet has the Snell Helmet Standard from the Snell Memorial Foundation M2010 for safety compliance.
- Don’t hesitate to return a product if it doesn’t fit your head. The right fit is crucial when it comes to keeping your head protected.
- Make sure that the chin straps fit just right. They should be secure enough to keep the helmet in place but loose enough that the helmet doesn’t choke you.
- If you like listening to tunes on the road, it’s a bonus if your helmet has some form of Bluetooth compatibility and speaker pockets for your music and gadgets.
Q: How reliable are carbon fiber helmets?
A: Known for its strength and its lightweight features, carbon fiber is a popular material among those who value durability. It’s even used by NASA for different applications. Sometimes, it can be lined with Kevlar for an additional layer of strength.
Q: How long will my helmet last?
A: This will depend on the usage, but if you haven’t been in a crash, your helmet can last for up to five years until you have to replace it.
Q: My carbon fiber motorcycle helmet is expensive and durable. It still looks good. Why should I replace it?
A: Even if your helmet hasn’t gone through major accidents or other kinds of impact, the EPS cushioning inside will degrade over time, reducing your level of protection. You need to replace your helmet every five years to ensure maximum safety on the road.
With its washable interior and its vintage look, our top pick is the Bell Bullitt Carbon Full Face Motorcycle Helmet. Bell has been in the business for a significant amount of time—enough to cement its name in the industry as a trusted maker of quality carbon fiber motorcycle helmets that you can rely on.
If you’re on a budget, the Voss 888CF Genuine Carbon Fiber Half Helmet still gets the job done.