Motorcycle Protection Gear -Types of Helmets Available

By: Matthew Hick

When it comes to choosing a motorcycle helmet, there certainly are a lot of choices out there. From three quarter shell, and half shell helmets there seems to be style to fit every biker's tastes and comfort level these days. Of course, each of the three main helmet styles features its own advantages and disadvantages to riders. . Choosing the right helmet depends a great deal on your own personal taste. Here is a brief rundown of each major helmet style to help you in making your best decision.

Full-face motorcycle helmets are designed to cover the entire head and face. It features a hard shell that extends from the brow over the cranium to the base of the skull at the top of the neck. This hard safety shell also rides forward along the cheekbones to encompass the jaws and chin. A clear visor also helps to keep the wind, rain and any dust or debris from affecting your vision while riding.

Full-face helmets are generally considered the safest of all the styles, since they cover the largest area of a rider's head and face. Their main disadvantage, however, is that they are the heaviest of all the helmet styles, and may cause neck fatigue when riding in strong winds or for long periods of time.

Within the full face helmet category are two individual styles: racing helmets, which are very sleek and light; and dirt bike helmets, which is the lightest full face helmet version available. Since it does not feature a visor, goggles are recommended.

The Three quarter shell motorcycle helmet is similar to its full-face counterpart, except it does not wrap around the entire face. Instead, the shell extends from the brow over the cranium to the base of the neck and forward over the ears. A chinstrap is used to secure the helmet in place.

Some benefits of the three-quarters face helmet (which, by the way offers many of the same safety benefits of a full face helmet), is the ease in which riders can communicate while wearing it, and how quickly it can be removed without causing sight blockage
The half shell motorcycle helmets, often called a beanie helmet are the least intrusive of all the helmet styles. They cover only the top half of the head. Weighing the least, the half shell is very light, does not block the ears, and offers the least wind resistance. Unfortunately, this style also offers the least protections of all the helmets.

In order to meet the legal requirements for those states that have a mandatory motorcycle helmet law, all motorcycle helmets must meet the minimum Department of Transportation (DOT) standard. Helmets meeting this criterion will sport a safety sticker acknowledging DOT acceptance. And approval.

SNELL, a non-profit organization that sets a more stringent voluntary standard of helmet safety also offers an approved sticker for helmet buyers. Helmets that are both DOT and SNELL approved are considered the safest helmets available to today's bikers since they are designed to meet the highest standards of protection within the helmet industry.

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