Choosing the right helmet is the most important safety aspect when it comes purchasing motorcycle wear. The structural integrity of your current helmet can be diminished by anything from stickers to damage from the sun. As it's the main piece of protective kit, it's important to take the time to review the different brands and make sure that you get the ultimate in safety and the best in comfort for your money.
Remember: if you're in an accident and wearing the wrong helmet, it could cost you your life.
Familiarise yourself with the latest regulations
Get to know some of the better-known manufacturers on the market
Ensure helmet is not counterfeit - look for certification of safety from supplier of motorcycle accessories
Look out for is the SHARP
rating (this is an independent reviewing program, which rates and reviews a wide range of helmets). You can find out the SHARP ratings on the Direct.Gov website.
All motorcycle helmets that are sold in the UK need to have either the British Standard 6658:1985 mark or an ECE Regulation 22.05 - either of these labels should be found on the outer casing of the helmet (normally at the rear) or inside. Sometimes it will be on the inner lining. If you find a helmet that doesn't have either of these labels, walk away. It's illegal and will be unlikely to save you in the event of an accident.
Get the right fit
Whilst you can probably save money by buying online, we highly recommend you go into a shop and try on a number of different helmets. Buying online means you lose the ability to try them on and you need to make sure it fits comfortably and firmly. At Stratstone, we have two Harley-Davidson dealerships offering accessories, in Wolverhampton and Birmingham.
If it's a full face helmet that you're after, the fit is quite tight around the face, especially your cheeks.
If you put on a helmet and it moves about when you jiggle your head, it's too big. If a helmet moves around then it can cause all sorts of problems such as fatigue and excess tension in your neck when riding for long periods of time.
Make sure to check the chin strap, the clasp and how adjustable the helmet is. If you're unable to properly secure it, there could be consequences. If the straps are too long, they could flap about and distract you.
Bright colours are advised as they are more visible, especially in low light conditions such as early morning or evening. If you're going abroad on your bike, be aware that many EU countries make having a flourescent pattern a legal requirement.
Used helmets - say no!
Never buy a second hand helmet. Ever.
You don't know what it has been through, or where it's been throughout its life. It could have already suffered a hard knock, damaging the structural integrity of the helmet.
Seeing the road
Thinking of having an open face helmet?
Goggles will be necessary to provide protection for your eyes. Make sure you get goggles or a visor which have the ECE, CE or BSI trademarks on. If they don't have those trademarks, don't buy the visor/goggles.
Most modern helmets are built so that you can easily change the visor, so you can buy tinted ones for bright sunlight.
Ultimately, we want you to be safe on the road, and buying the right protective kit is absolutely vital to that. So, in a nutshell: