Why do motorbike helmets cost so much? Too often when I shop for a new bike helmet, I am eyeing one snazzy bike helmet that I liked and its price tag shocks me big time! There am I, asking myself “Are more expensive bike helmets safer?”
Motorbike helmets can cost as little as $20 and as much and $500 or more. Cheaper helmets are designed to meet the basic safety standards and stay on your head on the go. Just look for a helmet that fits you well.
Expensive helmets. What are we looking at?
There are a lot questions flowing around when people see different price ranges of helmets in the store. Is there any real difference between cheap and expensive helmets? Sometimes it can be 3 to 5 times the price of a cheap helmet. Does it give you more protection? Let’s discover more in this article.
Safety First (Right?)
Well, accidents do happen when you’re riding a bike, it just seemed inevitable being involved in some sort of falling or crash. There are several motorbike helmet safety certifications you’ll see out there. Usually you’ll most likely see DOT, ECE 22.05 and Snell. Some helmets are certified to multiple standards.
The Depart of Transportation (DOT) standards does its drop test from 6ft (1.83m), generating G-force equivalent to 400G, landing it on flat and spherical anvils. For the penetration test, a pointed steel is dropped onto the helmet. It will fail the test, If it strikes through the shell and the foams and makes contact with the head form or causes any other damage. Lastly, the stress test, 50lbs (22.7kg) of stress is applied with the retention system for 30 seconds, progressively increased to 300lbs (136kg) for 120 seconds. The retention system should not displace more than a specified limit to pass the test.
The Economic Commission of Europe (ECE) 22.05 helmet safety standards is more widely used worldwide. Over 50 countries require this helmet certification to those helmets sold in their region. The biggest difference between DOT and ECE standards is that DOT does its test in the same area on the helmet twice, while ECE only does it once. For its stress test, the retention system has to go through more than twice the load of DOT, which is over 650lbs (300kg). Additionally, ECE certified helmets need to pass its abrasion test, and the helmet visor is treated as an essential part.
Snell Helmet Certification is voluntary for helmet manufacturers, unlike DOT or ECE, which is required in some countries. This certification is named after Pete Snell, a well-known racer who died after a major crash that caused serious head injury. Its test range is wider and more rigorous, its helmet safety specifications are updated every five years, helping helmet makers to produce better, safer helmets.
Check out my other article since you’re here, you might want to find out if dropping your helmet ruins it.
If you regularly spend a couple of hours at a time on the bike, well, you’ll definitely be looking for a more comfortable helmet. Generally, the helmets in the pricier spectrum will likely be more ventilated, so it wont heat up easily while riding. It will also be lighter, relieving tension on your neck.
That said, more expensive helmets doesn’t mean it’s safer, but definitely more comfortable. The $200 helmets may be amazing, but it’s probably overkill and you probably won’t notice much of a difference if you’re only riding for a few miles at a time. Is it really worth it? It’s really up to you. I’m sure there are a lot mid-range helmets that cost around $60 – $100 that provide a good level of comfort.
Since technology is going everywhere even to your home’s fridge. Motorbike helmets today are beyond simple luxuries like more comfy paddings and snazzier graphics.
You definitely are familiar with it now, bluetooth technology isn’t exactly new. It allows you to pair it with your mobile devices to your helmet, which should have built-in speakers and microphone. It’ll definitely make your life easier to listen to the directions from your phone’s navigation app, and listen to music while riding, and most importantly, answering calls through your helmet. How convenient… Keep that in mind to have the volume set at a reasonable level, so that you can still hear what’s going on around you.
Heads Up Display (HUD)
Another cool feature that helmet manufacturers are implementing. It’s no more sci-fi, you can have HUD on your helmets, just like Iron Man or like you’re on a fighter jet! Showing real time information such as navigation instructions, your current speed, phone notifications, and much more inside of your helmet, in front of your eye!
Not only cars can have dash cams, now they have it built-in to motorbike helmets. Allowing riders to capture footage for their own protection. Some high-tech helmets use the camera to send data to the HUD, such as pedestrian or animal crossing detection alert, collision avoidance systems, and more.
If you do not have a camera built-in, you can also purchase aftermarket cameras and mount it on your helmet. Many people use GoPro action cameras, because of its size, quality, and have lots of accessories options such as helmet mounts.
It’s always good to record every moment when you’re riding. It does its job to protect you in disputes, and to show off cool footages to your friends!
What’s your budget for a motorbike helmet?
Motorbike helmets range in cost from $20 to a couple of hundreds. It really depends on what you need and how long you use it for at a time. A basic $20 helmet does it job pretty well, but it’ll most likely be not very comfortable to wear for a longer period.
Buying a better one doesn’t mean that you have to spend a fortune. There are great mid-range options under $100, if you can’t find it at your nearest store, go shop it online.
More expensive helmets will probably be lighter, better ventilated, providing you more comfort. Because you are paying for more expensive material in exchange. It’s very important to know what meets your needs.
I would suggest starting with a mid-range helmet, $60 – $100. If you find that it feels good and meets your needs, wonderful! If you feel uncomfortable, and/or maybe too heavy for your neck, it’s just less than a hundred bucks and you can store it for collection (this is what I do), give it away or donate it to charity for good. Now you know what range of helmets you are looking for.
But frankly speaking, don’t spend too much on a helmet unless you need it really badly. $200 is way too much to get a shaped bit of plastic foam.
No matter if it is cheap or expensive, these helmets do the same job of protecting you. As long as it meets the safety standards, price does not make much of a difference safety-wise; a cheap helmet will do a fine job of protecting you.