Tips For Buying a Motorcycle Helmet

When you were young, your worrisome mother probably warned you to wear your helmet when you rode your bike.  These requests were most likely met with frustrated feelings and sulky expressions. However, as they say, mothers know best. And now that you’re all grown up, you’ve trained yourself to strap on a helmet when you hop on your big-boy bike—your motorcycle.  But what should you look for when it comes time to buy a new motorcycle helmet? Or, for new riders, what should you look for when you buy your first motorcycle helmet?

Safety’s First

There’s not much of a point in wearing a motorcycle helmet if it’s not going to be safe.  This should be the first item on your checklist.  Fortunately, there are a number of safety standards in place to ensure the integrity of your helmet.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) certification found on motorcycle helmets in the U.S. marks the minimum security requirements for a helmet to be sold.  Also, in addition to a DOT certification, you can also find Snell Memorial Foundation certifications.

Shape and Size

A properly fitting helmet is the most important criteria to consider while shopping.  A motorcycle helmet that doesn’t fit correctly will be uncomfortable and, more importantly, won’t protect you as well during a crash. Generally speaking, size is easy to figure out.  Most stores have sizing charts to help you out.  Shape, on the other hand, can be a little trickier.  Different manufacturers produce motorcycle helmets with varying shapes. The best way to find the proper shape is to try on as many helmets as you can.

Motorcycle helmets should fit snug, which, at first, might be uncomfortable to a new rider. Therefore, it’s highly recommended to work with a knowledgeable sales person.


Budget is important, especially for first time riders.  Motorcycle helmets can range from $50 to more than $700.  It’s important to remember that even a low-cost helmet is going to protect you in a crash.  The price difference is generally due to extra comfort features.

Colors and Graphics

Once you know it’s a safe helmet, and you have your size, shape, and budget, it’s time to have a little fun.  There is really no guide to picking colors and graphics for your new motorcycle helmet.  It’s all up to your personal preference.  Keep in mind, however, that bright, vibrant colors make a rider more visible on the road.