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The riding season is in full swing. Hell, for some of you, all year is the riding season. Whichever camp you fall into, it’s important that you equip yourself with the right motorcycle helmet. However, picking the right new motorcycle helmet is a more involved process than choosing a model that fits your aesthetic tastes.

Riders should consider factors like head shape, safety certification, and style before choosing a new motorcycle helmet

We can’t tout the advantages of riding with a motorcycle helmet enough. In the times I didn’t keep the shiny side up, a DOT-certified helmet protected me from serious injury (or worse). Sure, it might be your prerogative to ride sans helmet in a state without a helmet mandate, but that doesn’t make it any less, let’s face it, stupid. 

However, not all helmets offer the same levels of safety, comfort, or functionality. As such, picking a new lid should require some research. Here are some of the most important factors to consider when choosing a new motorcycle helmet.

  • DOT or Snell safety certification
  • Head shape and fitment
  • Riding style
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Budget

First and foremost, we encourage motorcycle riders to opt for a helmet that meets or exceeds the NHTSA’s Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS). Admittedly, the most straightforward way to do this is to pick a helmet with a DOT, Snell, or similar safety rating. For DOT helmets, you’ll find the decal on the back of the model’s outer shell. 

A new Arai Corsair X RC full-face motorcycle helmet.
An Arai Corsair X RC full-face helmet | Arai

Beyond safety certifications, riders should consider their head shape and the fitment of their helmet. Most riders have an “intermediate oval” shape. However, some riders have long oval or round oval head shapes, so an intermediate oval helmet might not fit as well as it should. Furthermore, your helmet should fit comfortably and snugly without specific points of pressure or play.

Additionally, your riding style could dictate what style of helmet you choose. For instance, if you do a lot of dual sport riding, consider a modular helmet with a lifting chin piece. Furthermore, if you intend to ride with a Bluetooth intercom system, you should pick a helmet with the necessary space for the system.

Finally, your budget should come into play. Especially considering the so-called “5-year rule” wherein motorcyclists are encouraged to replace their helmets every five years at the most. Of course, the more you ride, the faster the foam components of your helmet will degrade.