In Australia, all motorcycle riders and passengers are required to wear a helmet. It’s a law that protects the safety of everyone on the road. A helmet also shields you from harsh weather conditions and gives you great visibility. But wearing a helmet is only half the battle. To be safe as possible, you need to own the right one.
Motorcycle helmetscome in a range of types and sizes. The motorbike helmet you buy needs to match the type of motorcycle you use and the riding you do. In this guide, we help you find the best motorbike helmet. Plus, some essential tips to ensure it's a perfect fit.
6 types of motorcycle helmets you must know
With so many different types of motorcycle helmets in Australia, it can be hard to find one that best suits your needs. Below, we’ve detailed what you can expect from various kinds of motorcycle helmets.
1. Full-face helmet
As the name suggests, the full-face helmet covers the whole face, head, and neck. It’s one of the safest motorcycle helmets out there because it provides full coverage. This helmet is also one of the most versatile too as it can be used by almost every type of rider. A vital safety feature of this type of helmet is the chin bar giving riders protection for their chin and jaw.
Full-face helmets also come in different styles to fit your need. Some have adjusted chin bars and angled visors, so it doesn’t lift at high speeds for sports riders. These helmets have ventilation as well to reduce heat, and visor fogging, and evaporate sweat. In colder weather, the ventilation can be shut off.
2. Modular helmet
A modular helmet, also known as a flip-up helmet, is ideal forlong-distance, cross-country road trips. If you have a touring motorcycle or a cruiser, this helmet may be the one for you. It resembles a full-face helmet, but the chin bar and visor can be flipped to open the front of the helmet.
The modular helmet consists of a visor and a detachable chin bar making it easy to take off and put on. Because this helmet has an extra hinge, it is a bit heavier compared to a full-face helmet. The design is made with an upright riding position for optimal comfort.
3. Open-face helmet
An open-face helmet or a ¾ helmet only covers three-fourths of your head: the top, sides, and back. It leaves your face exposed. It’s great for those who ride scooters, touring motorcycles, and cruisers. It provides more airflow while still protecting your head. However, it doesn’t offer protection from the elements. Because it’s open-faced, there’s nothing shielding you from the weather or road debris.
Open-face helmets are typically lightweight since it’s doesn’t have a chin bar. They’re also easy to wear and remove. Some helmets come with a partial or full-face visor to shield you from sunlight. These helmets also provide riders with a wide vision field.
4. Half helmet
Another great helmet for cruiser bikes or casual riders is a half helmet. It offers minimal protection as it only covers the top of the head and the forehead. Like the open helmet, a half helmet leaves the face exposed and offers no protection from weather and debris. You need to purchase additional eye protection like glasses or goggles for eye protection.
Half helmets offer great airflow compared to the previously mentioned helmets. You don’t need to take them off when conversing, eating, or wiping sweat.However, these helmets don’t meet DOT standards and common security criteria. You must purchase other safety equipment to be totally safe.
5. Off-road helmet
Off-road helmets are best suited for motocross or dirt bike riders. These helmets are built for dirt road riding. Typically, these helmets aren’t equipped with a visor. Instead, riders are advised to get motocross or dirt bike goggles for eye protection.
These helmets are lightweight but built with maximum protection and flowing ventilation. Off-road helmets are made of a variety of materials such as Kevlar, carbon fibre, and fibreglass to ensure their strength and durability.
When buying an off-road helmet, test it out with the rest of your gear to see if it fits well. You want to make sure your riding goggles can fit perfectly with the helmet for ease and comfort.
6. Dual sport helmet
A dual sport helmet is great for adventure, crossover, hybrid, and enduro bikes. Built for both on-road and off-road riding, these helmets cover the whole head but are equipped with a helmet visor. The adjustable visor can be slid up or down when needed for convenience. It doesn’t lift in the wind and is completely aerodynamic. It can keep up with speeds and stunts.
The chin bar, meanwhile, isn’t as protrusive as off-road helmets. It provides less airflow and much better soundproofing. Looks-wise it resembles an off-road helmet more. Inside the helmet, there’s more padding for better comfort like a full-face helmet.
Top motorcycle helmet brands in Australia
Now that you know the different types of motorcycles, it’s time to choose a brand. Each brand offers its own unique features and styles. Know the leading motorcycle helmet brands available in Australia:
Fox is a premier helmet brand thatoffers helmets for motocross riders and other extreme sports enthusiasts. Their helmets come in a variety of colours, styles, and features. The motocross collections are DRIVE, CELZ, SUPR TRIK, RELM, Legion Air, Airline, SP22, and MX23.
You can find helmet sizes ranging from XS to XXXL. They’re among the best because their helmets offer comfort while providing the best fit and stylish design. The durability and value of money for their helmets are great as well.
AGV is an Italian helmet manufacturer that delivers in style and substance. They’re well-known for making on-road helmets but also have a few racetrack models as well. If you’re looking for something unique and attention-grabbing, an AGV helmet could be the one for you.
This brand’s helmets come in an array of standout finishes and colours. It has almost all types of helmets from modular to full-face. Their expansive catalogue gives you plenty to choose from.
Bell is lauded worldwide for its durability and technological innovations. Not to mention the comfort their helmets provide. This American brand has a wide range of helmet models including full-face, open-face, and off-road.This brand is one of the most competitively priced out there. If you’re looking for a good deal on your helmet, Bell is one of your best bets.
Shoei is a Japanese brand lauded for the quality of its materials, incredible finishes, and comfort. This brand offers both on-road and off-road motorcycles, although most of the helmets in their line are made for on-road bikes.
What makes Shoei stand out is the ingenuity of its helmets. Helmets from this brand are usually easy to clean and maintain as well. Take note, this brand of motorcycle helmet is more expensive compared to its competitors. But the higher price tag could be worth it for the durability, comfort, and great fit Shoei’s helmets offer.
Another American manufacturer, Thor has a range of helmets made from fibreglass and constructed with shock-absorbing welded tubes. These helmets have great durability. Thor helmets are designed for the best performance and comfort. Overall, these helmets offer great quality at a relatively affordable price.
Tips & tricks: Helmet safety and maintenance
Below we’ve detailed some essential advice to help you find a good helmet and how to take care of it. Here are some important things to keep in mind:
Helmet fitting and sizing guidelines
- Take measurements of your head. The fit of your helmet is important. Get your measurements and figure out what size fits your head best.
- Always try out a helmet before buying. Try it on to check the fit. The chin strap should be tight but allows two fingers between your chin and the strap. While wearing the helmet, the fit should be snug; no gaps but still comfortable.
- Wear it for a few minutes. Before buying, wear it for a couple of minutes to see how well it fits you. Move your head around to see if your cheeks move with the helmet. The helmet shouldn’t rotate or move off your head.
Helmet care and maintenance tips
- Use water to clean your helmet. Cleaning products that aren’t specified for helmets could cause damage to your helmet. It’s best to only use pure water or very mild soap.
- Clean your helmet with microfibres. Or anything that doesn’t leave marks.
- Don’t use stickers. Some adhesives could damage your helmet’s finish which may diminish its durability.
- Keep helmets away from fuel or excessive heat. Store your helmet somewhere without traces of gasoline and at room temperature. Excessive exposure to fuel and heat could warp the material of your helmet.
- Don’t use glass cleaner or ammonia-based cleaners on your visor. This could destroy the lenses of your helmet.
Importance of replacing helmets regularly
- Replace your helmet if it’s cracked. Helmets were made for your safety. If you see any cracks or dings, replace them immediately.
- Replace your helmet after five to seven years. Helmets have a lifespan of around five years (up to seven if it’s extra durable and hasn’t been used often). By the five-year mark, the material has already worn out and won’t protect you as much.
- Frequently used helmets should be replaced every three years. If you wear your helmet every day, it’s better to replace it every three years instead of five because of the additional wear and tear.
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Are motorcycle helmets mandatory in Australia?
Yes, motorcycle helmets are mandatory in Australia both for the rider and the passenger.
What are the penalties for not wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle in Australia?
The rider will get demerit points and be fined somewhere from $50 to $1,000 depending on which state or territory they are in.
What are the specific helmet standards that helmets in Australia must comply with?
Helmets in Australia must comply with the Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 1698:2006 Protective Helmets For Vehicle Users. Or it must be in line with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Regulation No 22 (UNECE22.05 or UNECE22.06). It should also have a mark that certifies compliance with the standards.
Can I wear a helmet approved by another country's standards in Australia?
Australians can now wear helmets that are in line with European standards.
How do helmet regulations vary between states and territories in Australia?
In all states and territories in Australia, motorcycle riders and their passengers must wear a helmet that meets the Australian/New Zealand Standards or European Standards.
Are there any limitations or restrictions on helmet designs or styles in Australia?
When it comes to helmet designs or styles, Australia doesn’t have any major restrictions. The only thing to look out for is if the helmet passes the Australian/New Zealand Standards or European Standards.
How often should I replace my motorcycle helmet?
People are advised to replace their helmets every five years or seven years of the production date. Everyday wear and tear can weaken the helmet leaving the wearer less protected.
Are there any additional safety accessories or features recommended for motorcycle helmets in Australia?
If your helmet doesn’t have any face or eye protection, it’s recommended to purchase one. When buying motorcycle helmets, make sure the fit is snug and comfortable.