If you’re searching for an MX motorcycle helmet but need more information so you can make the right choice, we’ll walk you through the things you should consider before you buy one for your next off road adventure.
The shell of off road motorcycle helmets is engineered from high strength yet lightweight composite materials, while the interior is made of high-quality foam pads for excellent impact absorption and comfort.
Kevlar helmets are among the strongest in the world and are almost impossible to destroy. They also cost more than other helmets because of the intensive process involved in making them.
Carbon fibre is an advanced composite material that is extremely lightweight and durable. It is commonly used in motorcycle helmets (both for road and off road use) and offers a high level of protection.
Fibreglass has an excellent energy absorption quality and delivers great protection from impact. However, fibreglass is prone to cracking, which means you’ll most likely need to replace your fibreglass motorcycle helmet after a crash.
Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) foam
EPS foam provides an additional layer of head protection. This foam can be found between the shell of the helmet and the comfort padding that comes in contact with your head. It absorbs the impact during a fall and spreads the energy evenly throughout the helmet. The higher the density of the EPS foam, the greater the protection it offers to riders.
Open-cell foam is used to make the interior padding of motorcycle helmets. It is moisture-wicking and has a cooling effect to keep you dry and comfortable during your ride.
For your peace of mind and safety, choose an off road motorcycle helmet that is compliant with relevant Australian safety regulations or widely recognised helmet safety standards like the UN ECE 22.05 certification. Helmets approved for use in Australia have a label bearing the code AS 1698:1988 or AS/NZS 1698:2006 attached to their lining, while those with the UN ECE certification have a sticker on their chin strap.
It is equally important to make sure that your MX helmet has all the necessary safety features for off road riding such as a sturdy peak, an extended chin bar, and a chin strap.
The peak is the plastic brim that protrudes from the forehead part of a motocross helmet. It is your first line of defence against rocks and dirt that may come from the rear wheel of the motorcycle in front of you. It also protects you from branches that would otherwise hit your goggles and shields your eyes from the sun’s glare and the rain.
Using the peak during your off road riding is fine since you are riding at low speeds. But if you need to travel at high speeds on paved roads, it would be best to remove the peak (most motocross helmets come with removable peaks) as it will cause drag and pull your head back, causing rider fatigue.
Extended chin bar
Another distinguishing feature of a motocross helmet is its extended chin bar that is typically angular in shape. This provides better impact protection, deflects debris from going to your mouth, and gives you more room to breathe. It also promotes efficient airflow and prevents your goggles from fogging.
A chin strap (also called the retention system) is another feature that ensures your helmet stays in place for the duration of your ride. It usually has a padding for a more comfortable wear and can be secured using double D rings or a quick-release system.
Fit, Size and Comfort
While it’s best to try on different types of off road helmets so you can see which one fits you perfectly, the most you can do when you’re shopping for an off road helmet online is to measure the size of your head and refer to the size chart of the manufacturer. To do this, take a measuring tape and wrap it all the way around your head at the forehead level. You can base your helmet size on this measurement.
If you are buying your helmet from a physical store (and not online), check if the chin strap is tight enough to keep your helmet securely in place throughout your ride. For the ideal fit, you should be able to insert no more than two fingers between the strap and your chin.
It will also be best to pay attention to the quality of the padding and ventilation of your desired motocross helmet.
MX helmets usually have plenty of padding to ensure your comfort and keep the helmet securely in place as you ride through rough terrain.
Apart from the inner comfort liner, check if your preferred off road helmet has cheek pads. These pads are designed to give you a snug fit and extra protection. They are usually removable so you can wash or replace them whenever you wish.
The open face design and extended chin bar of MX helmets promote proper ventilation, but if you want to make sure you’ll experience a higher level of comfort, choose a helmet that has moisture-wicking fabrics and rear vents to keep you feeling fresh and cool even during the most gruelling MX competitions.
It’s best to choose a lightweight off road helmet with an aerodynamic profile. An aerodynamic helmet will reduce the effects of air resistance and drag, which will help you make sharp, quick turns and prevent rider fatigue.
A basic but reliable MX helmet can go as low as $200 and should have all the essential features to keep you safe and comfortable during your off road rides. But as these features increase and become more advanced, so does the price. You can expect to shell out as much as $850 for a well-ventilated, comfortable, and lightweight MX helmet that has superior safety and performance features.
Unlike road helmets, motocross helmets have aggressive designs, angular lines, and come in various eye-catching (mostly neon) colours. Besides making you more visible to other riders and reducing your risk of getting into an accident, brightly coloured MX helmets can reflect your bold riding personality. MX helmets featuring the brand colours of the manufacturer will help you express your loyalty or affinity to that brand.
Protection on your head, off the road
When you’re choosing an MX helmet, think about your safety first, your comfort second, and your style last. Give the proper weight to these different factor and work with a budget that doesn’t compromise on your most important considerations.