When it comes to dirt bike riding, the most crucial piece of safety equipment is the helmet. It’s the first safety item that every rider needs to buy, no matter if you’re a beginner or professional, a good helmet is a must-have. There a wide selection of helmets on the market today, and my advice is better have a cheap helmet on you than no helmet at all.
The helmets that I’ve listed here are not as inexpensive as some other models, but they’re on top of the chain if you compare them with the other models on the market. Either way, if you’re after a budget-friendly helmet, make sure you check out our article on “Best dirt bike helmets under $100“.
There are some things you have to consider when buying a helmet, things that play a huge role in how protective the helmet is, how comfortable it is, and how does it fit. Even though you might find plenty of cheap helmets, what I’d recommend is to go for a brand that has gained reputation in what they do. Okay, now, let’s get more into details to see what makes these helmets be so special.
Top 5 Best Dirt Bike Helmets in 2021
5. YEMA Motocross Dirt Bike Helmet
YEMA is an inexpensive motocross and dirt bike helmet option that looks really stylish, and what’s the best part is that it is made for both women and men. However, what the manufacturer recommends is to order the helmet one size larger than your original size, so keep that in mind if you end up buying this helmet.
Design & Construction
YEMA is made of high-quality materials that add extra points to the overall aesthetics of the helmet. It features an aerodynamic ABS shell that can withstand some heavy torture, while on the other hand, it has a reinforced chin strap that does a great job at keeping you safe and sound at all times.
In addition, another aspect of the design that makes me like this helmet even more is the quick release buckle that it uses which lets you take the helmet off within seconds. If you are someone who wears glasses, this helmet is designed to give you extra room for such situations, but that’s not all, since there’s also room for a Bluetooth device.
As you might imagine, most helmets can cause you to overheat, and that’s due to the lack of a ventilation system, or even if they have one, it’s not well-designed to cool you off. This is not the case with YEMA, this particular model has a ventilation system that constantly provides you with flor of air, which prevents your head from sweating.
The most common problem with cheap helmets is the bad smell that they have after you use them for some time. Well, with YEMA, you can easily remove the liner and pads on the inside and wash them, which means that even if you sweat a lot, you can simply wash everything and re-use again like brand new.
Considering the fact that the helmet is built with some high-grade materials, the helmet is protective enough for motocross and dirt bike riding. For the most part, I like the fact that the helmet meets DOT safety standards. If you don’t know what DOT is, it is a U.S section that sets safety standards for motorcycle helmets which companies are required to meet, well, most companies. All and all, for the price that it has, YEMA delivers a great deal of value featuring a selection of advanced features for comfort and protection.
4. O’Neal 3 Series Helmet
O’Neal is a well-known and respected brand in the dirt bike and motocross gear industry. The O’Neal Series 3 is an upgrade to the Series 2, but not just a small upgrade, it comes at a reasonable price without sacrificing quality nor features. Everything about this helmet shows quality, aesthetics and design, its construction, comfort, versatility, and so on.
Design & Construction
First, let’s start by pointing out the fact that this particular model features a durable polycarbonate shell construction which weighs around 1500grams. It isn’t much considering the durability that it has, and that’s the weight for the large size helmet, for smaller sizes, it’s even less. The outer shell also supports the neck of the rider while riding, and it helps in cutting through the wind with less resistance.
Since mentioned the sizes, the O’Neal 3 Series comes in 4 different sizes from which you can choose from, so the chances of you missing the correct size for you are minimum. These sizes include: X-Small, Small, Medium, and X-Large. O’Neal 3 Series Helmets come in multi-colored graphics which make them stand out from the other models on the market. If you’re someone who likes old-retro racing gear, this is the helmet for you.
Comfort is probably one of the most appealing aspects of the O’Neal 3 Series. It features inner liners that are made of comfortable, soft, breathable, hypoallergenic material that can also be easily removed from the interior. Similar to the YEMA helmet, this one also has washable and reusable fabric, so whenever the helmet starts to get bad odor, you can always wash it and re-use it as brand new.
In addition, the plush inner liners are super lightweight which come with heavy washable cheek pads and feature an advanced drying technology that enables the helmet to dry out faster. If you combine all of these into one piece, such features allow the rider to breathe better when riding under adrenaline and pressure.
All O’Neal helmets meet the DOT safety standards which means that have surpassed and exceeded the US requirements for safety regulations for helmets. For more convenience, the O’Neal 3 Series is also ECE, AS/NZS approved, so when it comes to protection, the helmet ranks amongst some of the most premium helmets out there. What also adds extra points to the protection features is the polycarbonate shell construction which is as durable as it gets, and it’s lightweight as well, so you won’t feel like carrying something heavy on top of your head.
3. 6D Helmets ATR-2
6D is a company that is only oriented towards making helmets. This company is relatively new to the market, but due to their quality products, it has managed to crawl on top of the chain and rank amongst the most premium helmets out there.
However, being new to the market doesn’t mean that the company is providing budget-friendly helmets, in fact, their helmets are mostly expensive but always come with the latest technologies. 6D ATR2 Helmet is an example of their quality, it comes with advanced protection and comfort features that will elevate your riding experience to a whole new level.
Design & Construction
The 6D ATR2 has a one-of-a-kind shell design that makes this helmet stand out from all the other models on the market. The 6D concept of “Optimized Shell Design” does not define just one element, but it boasts a system where multiple materials are mixed together to provide a greater protection and energy management. In addition, the shell has the structural integrity to prevent penetration, but it’s not overly stiff or rigid either.
This helmet comes in 6 different sizes from which you can choose from, starting from x-small, small, medium, large, x-large, to xx-large. Aside from the lining and the interior, what makes a helmet comfortable is the sizing. If you choose the correct sizing for your head, everything else is a matter of quality, and quality is exactly what this helmet provides.
For added convenience, it has an air gap ventilation system and the dri-lex liner is removable and washable. Even though it will be necessary to wash the liner from time to time, the liner is made of high-quality materials that prevent odor from and sweat from building up.
The manufacturer has put too much attention in designing the shell for one strong reason, an overly stiff and rigid shell can seriously compromise the helmet’s energy management potential. 6D calls this feature ODS technology, which translates to Omni-Directional Suspension. This patented feature is comprised of an active suspension system that decreases the amount of energy transferred to the brain in an event of an impact.
This helmet will offer you optimum protection no matter if the impact is made in low, medium or high-speed with both linear and angular directional forces, everything is managed with maximum efficiency. If you combine all of these features into one piece, they make this helmet one of the safest on the market today.
The ODS technology deploys 27 dampers in the helmet that work together to isolate impact energy away from the human brain. Due to the fact that they sit between both layers of the EPS liners, it keeps both layers in motion. The system is quite unique actually because it reduces the risk of concussion and severe head injuries, even in angular acceleration.
2. Alpinestars Supertech S-M10
You have probably heard of Alpinestars, or maybe you’re using some kind of gear from this brand. Alpinestars is a very popular company in the dirt bike gear industry, and the Supertech M10 is their first helmet which was launched back in 2018.
There’s really no doubt about the helmet’s quality, it’s a premium helmet that delivers optimum protection and exceptional comfort. There’s a lot of features to mention about this helmet, but I’ll try covering only the most important ones that cover protection, design & construction, and comfort.
Design & Construction
In terms of the design, this helmet comes in a wide variety of colors which in total are 6. These colors include anthracite gray orange fluo, black aqua orange fluo, black gray yellow fluo, carbon black which we are currently reviewing, and white. The company chose some odd names for the colors, but they all look stylish and truly make the helmet stand out from all the other piece of gear that you have.
In addition, you can also get the helmet in various sizes which in total are 9, so it will be fairly easy for you to find the one that fits you most perfectly. When it comes to its construction, the Alpinestars S-M10 features a lightweight shell that is constructed from advanced composite materials, and it is fitted with E-2, which is the last generation of MIPS with the intention to reduce rotational motion to brain with a low-friction layer.
Comfortability is one of the strongest aspects of the Alpinestars S-M10 helmet. This particular model features a unique venting system that holds sixteen inlets and five exhaust ports with the intention of keeping air away from your head. In addition, there are multiple channels that direct warm air through a porting system within the construction of the helmet. In other words, this helmet does a great job at increasing comfort and performance even during the toughest rides.
There are several features that the helmet includes for offering optimum protection, such as the removable cheek pads with retractable straps and a full MIPS which translates as a “multi-directional impact protection system”. To be more specific, MIPS is a dual-layer compound which adds extra protection considering the fact that it lets the liner to rotate within the helmet shell and reducing lateral forces.
The helmet is pretty adjustable in a lot of ways, but you’ll be very limited when it comes to the visor. The visor is only there for protection, and you can’t make no adjustments to it due to the fact that Alpinestars featured a unique design for the visor to be with quick-release system.
1. Fox Racing V3
Fox is one of the oldest companies on the market that has been around for decades. This brand has been constantly producing quality motocross gear for many years now, and their products are always ranked amongst the most premium ones due to the reputation that they’ve gained, and the quality.
Fox gear is widely used even by professional world-class motocross riders such as Ken Roczen and Ryan Dungey. This particular model is a relatively new helmet launched in May 2019 which comes with the latest technologies and the most advanced protection and comfort features out there.
Design & Construction
When it comes to the design, this helmet comes in 3 different color variants from which you can choose from, such as white/silver which we are currently reviewing, the matte black version, and the carbon black. You also get 4 different size choices ranging from small, medium, large, to x-large. Considering its high-quality durable built construction, this helmet is pretty lightweight. This is an important aspect that really matters, because if the helmet is heavy, after 1-2 hours of riding you’re going to get tired.
A heavy helmet will feel like carrying a whole planet on top of your head while riding. It’s important that nothing discomforts or makes you lose focus during your rides because it can lead to an impact causing serious injuries without the proper gear. The Fox V3 has a very unique shell construction featuring a multi-composite technology that blends carbon and FRP resins to provide a light yet rigid external shell.
The comfort features are probably the most appealing ones that this helmet has. It includes injected mesh vent screens that provide superior ventilation and airflow while at the same time maintaining protection from dirt and debris. In addition, just as you can imagine, it has a removable and washable X-Static comfort liner. Aside from that, the cheek pads are antimicrobial and are able to manage odor while wicking moisture away from the head.
The Fox V3’s protection abilities go beyond the charts. First, let’s start by pointing out the fact that the v3 is the first helmet to include two rotational management systems, the Fluid Inside and the MVRS. To clarify, Fluid Inside is a system that is designed to help dissipate rotational and linear energy transmitted to the rider’s brain in the event of a crash. On the other hand, MVRS(Second Generation Magnetic Visor Release System) comes redesigned with more roost resistance and refined release control that help to mitigate external rotational forces.
More on that, this particular model is also DOT approved as all Fox helmets are, and it features a dual-density Varizorb EPS liner that provides improved protection by spreading the forces of impact across a wider surface area. Lastly, the patent-pending chin bar and the eye-port cage does a great job at managing energy in an event of an impact. There’s truly nothing bad you can find about this helmet, it checks all the boxes of how a premium helmet should be like, but it does come at a hefty price. If you’re willing to pay a little more extra about a helmet, the Fox V3 would be the best choice out there.
What is a DOT helmet rating?
DOT translates to Department of Transportation, and it’s a U.S section that has set standards for motorcycle helmets, standards that all companies have to meet in terms of construction. There’s a sticker on the back of every DOT approved helmet that serves as an indicator to show that the helmet has met DOT standards.
No matter how fancy this may sound, but basically every manufacturer out there complies with the safety requirements before they affix the sticker, so does this mean that no brand is really special?
For your information, make sure you do some research to see what the minimum requirements are. If you want to see how a DOT sticker looks on the back of a helmet, you can check some products on Amazon, every manufacturer proudly shows an image with the indicator on the back.
What is Snell helmet rating?
Snell is a more serious foundation that takes helmet tasting to a whole new level. What’s interesting is that Snell is a non-profit foundation, and yet their safety requirements are above the charts when compared to DOT. Unlike DOT, manufacturers can’t just add the sticker of Snell to their helmet, every manufacturer needs to apply for the sticker before putting it on the helmet.
To give you an idea of how Snell perform their tests, let’s just point out some of the most interesting facts. All helmet Snell tests include impact, Roll-Off, Dynamic Retention, Chin Bar, Shell Penetration, Faceshield Penetration, and Flame Resistance.
That being said, the most premium helmets out there not only include DOT, but also Snell which is a far more serious testing of safety features. What if you decide to buy a used helmet? Well, the best thing to do is to check whether it has the DOT or Snell indicator on the back, if it doesn’t have any, then that helmet serves for nothing.
What Is MIPS?
MIPS is an advanced impact protection system that is scientifically developed to act as a shock absorber designed to manage energy and counteract force sideways. That’s only possible due to the advanced technology used in making this system, allowing it to absorb all rotational energy and reducing head movement in an event of an impact. Why is less head movement important? Well, less head movement also means there are low chances of damaging your head from fluid movement that surround your brain that can cause concussion.
The helmet shouldn’t fit uncomfortably tight, but also not too loose, you want to get yourself a helmet that is snug. If the helmet is too large for you, then you won’t get the protection you’d get normally, and the same goes if the helmet fits too tight. The way you measure a helmet is very straightforward, measure first the widest part of your head, just above 1-inch from your eyebrows.
Check if it’s leveled around your head, without moving on any side, and you can do that by using cloth tape, or a piece of string and then measure the string. By doing that, you will get an idea of what size is most suitable for you. Here’s a link(https://uk.foxracing.com/eu-mtb-helmets-sizechart.html) where you can check different helmet sizing charts, and also how to measure your head properly before buying a helmet.
Helmet Buying Advice
If you have a nearby local motorsport shop, don’t just go off and search for helmets on the internet. It’s always better if you try how the helmet fits first, then to buy it. However, if you don’t have nearby local motorsport shops, then you can always find plenty of choices online.
What you can do to know for sure how the helmet fits is when you choose a helmet, go to the company’s website and check the sizing chart that they have for helmet, it’s usually described in centimeters. Every helmet manufacturer has its own website, and that’s what I have done for years, I go on their website and check the sizing charts for helmets to be sure of the sizing.
If you happen to somehow choose the wrong sizing, you should know that return shipping costs can get pretty expensive. Check the helmet titles carefully on Amazon or in some other online store that you’re buying, if it says youth size, then that’s not for you, it should be adult size and made for motocross or dirt biking, not a dual-sport or BMX helmet.
Choosing a proper helmet with the correct size and the safety features suitable for dirt bike riding can be frustrating, but if you know what to look for then you’ll be good to go. As we got the product reviews and the buying guide out of the way, by now I believe you know exactly what to look for and what helmet meets your requirements the most.
My top pick for today is the Fox Racing V3, it checks all the boxes whether you see it in terms of protection, comfort, design, or quality. Either way, budget is something you should really take into consideration, which makes the Fox Racing V3 an option if you’re willing to spend some extra bucks on a helmet. I hope this article was helpful, and if I left any questions related to the topic unanswered, make sure you contact me and I’ll try to get back to you as soon as possible.