Best Carbon Fiber Helmets: Protect Your Head With Hardcore Safety
These top-notch carbon fiber helmets will protect hard-headed riders—literally and figuratively
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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 on the track, check out our guide to the best carbon fiber helmets to give your noggin some love.
ILM Carbon Fiber Motorcycle Helmet
This DOT-approved full-face helmet comes with two wide-view visors for enhanced vision in both sunny or cloudy conditions. It’s got a sleek, aerodynamic look that is a great unisex option.
- Has a substantial, yet breathable and fully removable EPS inner liner that’s easy to wash
- Equipped with a professional grade emergency quick release system for fast removal in an accident
- Fit seems to be on the narrow side
- Wind noise during riding is more apparent with this model than with some others on the market
1Storm Motorcycle Modular Full Face Helmet
The modular helmet features a dual visor design with an inner smoked lens and an outer clear shield. It’s convenient for riders who travel during the day and at night.
- This model features a six-vent system with four adjustable vents for customized airflow
- Integrated visor system is simple and quick to switch out.
- Roomy enough inside for riders to wear with earbuds or glasses
- Some users note that the chin strap is too long and isn’t the best quality
- Produces more wind noise than some other options
HJC Helmets RPHA 11 Pro Carbon Bleer Street Motorcycle Helmet
This is a premium quality, DOT-approved, ultra lightweight carbon fiber helmet that’s designed for either racing or street use. It boasts high-end performance at high speeds.
- Enlarged viewing visor is an improvement over previous versions and allows for greater peripheral vision
- Strategically placed vents are geared to keep riders comfortable in the crouched racing position
- Helmet is on the pricey side of the spectrum
- Newer version produces more wind noise than the previous version
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
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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 2021
If you’re looking for the ideal combination of style, protection, durability, and price, look no further than the ILM Carbon Fiber Motorcycle Helmet. This aerodynamic and super lightweight carbon fiber helmet comes equipped with a wide view clear visor and a tinted visor. Both are HD-enhanced, feature anti-scratch coating, and are quick and easy to swap out depending on your riding conditions.
Of course this helmet meets or exceeds DOT safety standards. It comes in a range of sizes that will fit youth to adult. The inner liner of the helmet is high-density EPS foam that efficiently absorbs shock and provides breathable and fully washable comfort and protection. We like that this helmet comes equipped with a professional grade emergency quick release system in case of an accident.
Multiple air vents promote enhanced breathability during your ride. One thing that users do note frequently is that this helmet has a narrow and tighter fit than some other models and might not be the best for wider diameters. Wind noise is also a bit more noticeable with this model than with some others.
We like the 1Storm Motorcycle Modular Full Face Helmet because it features a dual visor design with an inner smoked lens and an outer clear shield. That makes it convenient for riders who travel during the day and at night. Both shields are also easy to remove and install. This DOT-approved helmet features a lightweight, durable, and aerodynamic ABS shell with multi-density EPS materials.
The helmet has a removable and washable liner and pads, a quick-release buckle, and a six ventilation opening system, which includes four adjustable vent switches. It is well-balanced with very little buffeting. There's also plenty of room to wear glasses or earbuds comfortably. Overall, it's comfortable and fits snugly in place.
One downside is that you may look like a bobblehead when you wear this helmet. It also produces a little bit of wind noise at higher speeds, and there have been some complaints that the chin strap is a little long.
The HJC Helmets RPHA 11 Pro is one of the highest quality, most well-designed and versatile carbon fiber helmets on the market. Yes, it comes with a premium price tag, too, but you’re getting one of the most lightweight and comfortable designs available. Transition easily from the racetrack to the street with this DOT-approved helmet.
The ultra lightweight carbon fiber shell construction allows this helmet to weigh less than six pounds, padding included. It features an enlarged eye port to allow you maximum view peripherally, an improvement over the RPHA 10. Innovative vent placement is also a new improvement that specifically caters to riders in the tucked position, but still works well when doing casual riding.
This helmet offers the emergency release cheek pad system for quick removal in the event of an accident or crash. One complaint is that the cheek pads do tend to pop off too easily. Another is that this model produces significantly more wind noise than is experienced with the previous version of this helmet.
We like the TORC T1 Retro Full-Face Helmet because it's stylish and it includes a carbon fiber shell construction. The helmet is DOT and ECE certified and features multi-density EPS, excellent airflow, a removable face shield, and an ultra-plush interior with a faux suede liner.
The T1 has front chin vents with a metal mesh intake and exhaust vent, a padded chin strap with a D-ring closure, and a removable anti-fog and anti-scratch shield. The interior can also accommodate Bluetooth speakers. Users like that it's comfortable, lightweight, and looks good. The vents work well, and it provides excellent visibility with a good field of view. The opening is bigger than standard modern helmets, so it feels more like a 3/4 helmet with the protection of a full-face helmet.
Unfortunately, it's a little noisy at highway speeds, and it's not as aerodynamic as some rival brands due to its retro styling. Also, it may be uncomfortable to wear glasses or sunglasses with this helmet, depending on the size of your head.
We wanted to give a shout out to the Conquer Carbon Fiber Full Face Auto Racing Helmet. It is a super lightweight and comfortable option if you’re an avid auto or go-kart racer. It features a 3mm anti-scratch, flame-resistant shield with a tear off post. This helmet is SNELL SA2020 certified to meet or exceed racing safety standards. It’s also equipped with threaded inserts that accept the HANS device for added cervical spine protection.
Fire retardant padding inside is designed for comfort over longer or shorter races. Removable cheek pads are a nice added option. Well-placed vents allow for maximum cooling airflow during wear.
Some drawbacks: this helmet is not DOT-approved for street use. It is strictly for racing. It’s also one of the priciest helmets on our list.
- 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.
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