Helmet Buying Guide
Our motto here is not just to bring awareness on the importance of wearing a helmet but we aim to guide our buyers to select the right one.
It’s a known fact that the most common reason for fatalities of two-wheeler riders is head injury. Even though wearing a helmet is mandatory in most parts of the country, many people are negligent while some go for cheap and uncertified brands in order to save a few bucks.
Buying a helmet is not just a wise decision but a lifesaving one too. And it is important to choose the right one. There are various points to consider before buying a helmet online and it may seem like a cumbersome task. Hence, we are here to make this process easy for you.
Type of Two-wheeler & Riding Position
Let’s first figure out which type of helmet works best with your two- wheeler. The type of two-wheeler you ride and your riding position are important factors for selecting the right helmet.
Standard (Naked bikes/Roadsters) – Standard/Naked bikes are usually defined by their upright riding position. Full Face Helmets work best with this riding position.
Cruiser – Cruisers offer a lean back riding position. Half or Open Face Helmets are the basic requirement for the casual rides.
Sport Bike – Sport bikes puts you in an aggressive position. With the high speed riding, aerodynamics become more important. Sport or Race Helmets are a must for these bikes.
Touring – These bikes offer an upright riding position, where you don’t lean forward at all. Touring or Full Face Helmets work best with this riding position.
Sport Touring – Sport touring bikes puts you in a three-quarters posture, where you need to lean slightly forward. This position offers a wide range of helmets, right from Dual Sport, Touring to Race Helmets.
Dual Sport – Dual sport bikes offer a good upright position for long adventure rides. These bikes are used for both on and off-road rides, also aerodynamics are important for the higher speed on road rides. Dual Sport Helmets are specifically designed for these bikes.
Off-road/Dirt Bike – Most of your time on a dirt bike is in the standing position. Off-road/Dirt bike/Motocross Helmets are designed specially to perform and protect under the distinctive conditions of off-road riding.
Type & duration of rides
Now that you are aware which type of helmet goes well with your two-wheeler, it’s time to figure out the duration and type of your rides. Ask yourself, what kind of roads will you be riding on? How long will your rides be? How many months in a year will you be riding for?
Commuters who ride year round, should look at helmets with adjustable features like easy change face-shields, drop-down sun visors or photochromic shields. While, comfort and quiet are a must for a long distance rider. For off-road riders motocross helmets are primary. If you ride occasionally and for shorter distances within the city then an open face or a modular helmet should work fine. If your two-wheeler is your only transportation to your work place or you take it for weekly road trips, a higher end full face helmet would be more comfortable with better dynamics and reduced noise.
Generally speaking, if you are going to be wearing a helmet for long hours, then it’s important for you to make sure that your helmet has these basic features – a removable and washable liner, comfortable cheek pads and an easy solution to adjust with changing light conditions. For occasional and short distance riders, a basic helmet may serve well.
The right fit
An ill-fitted helmet does not offer the same protection and comfort as the one that fits snuggly. To get an ideal fit you basically need to consider the head shape and the head size.
Manufacturers usually consider the following shapes when making helmets:
Long Oval – Suitable for a head which is longer front-to-back and narrow side-to-side
Intermediate Oval – Suitable for a head which is shorter front-to-back and wider side-to-side. It is the most common head size.
Round Oval – Suitable for a head with almost equal measurements front-to-back and side-to-side
You can use a mirror to determine your head shape or ask someone to look down your head from top. Extreme shapes are easy to identify, but if you aren’t sure then you likely fall into the intermediate oval category.
Next, measure the head size by wrapping a cloth measuring tape around your head from about a half inch above your eyebrows, above your ears to the thickest point in the back. This circumference is to be measured in inches for comparing it with the size chart on any helmet.
Additionally, many helmets have replaceable cheek pads and liners which help the rider to adjust the fit of the helmet according to his/her head shape.
You might adore a helmet for its unique graphics but if it does not meet the safety standards then there is no point in trusting your life with it. Choose a helmet that conforms to established safety norms. For Indian brands, look out for the ISI mark and for International brands check the DOT, ECE, Snell or BSI stamp on the helmet. Besides these marks, there should be a hologram sticker on the helmet, which certifies that the helmet has been tested and can protect your head from trauma in case of a sudden impact.
Never buy a used helmet or use your helmet again after an impact. It might appear fine from the outside but once hit, the interior of the helmet usually gets damaged.
Price is likely to be the first thing that most would consider, especially if you are a beginner. It is generally calculated considering the materials used and the number of features offered. It’s good to have a budget but buying a helmet solely for its cheap price does not make sense. Also, a higher price does not guarantee a better/safer helmet. Go for a helmet which not only suits your pocket but meets the safety standards as well.
The colour and design should also be considered before selecting your helmet. From a safety perspective, it’s important to purchase a helmet which is visible in the dark. If you do not prefer flat bright colours then you can select colourful graphics which have some contrast that allows motorists to notice you.
Another important thing is having a clear vision through the visor. Therefore, it is advisable to buy a helmet which has a scratch resistant visor or face shield. Some high end helmets offer visors coated with anti-fogging agents which can be pretty helpful during cold weather. Also, photochromic shields are useful for changing light conditions.
Make sure that your helmet has a proper ventilation system. It not only provides comfort but also keeps things cool under the lid, especially in hot climate.
Lastly, if you intend to ride with a group of bikers, then it’s a good idea to purchase a helmet with built-in communication provisions.