so, you’ve just got your license and are ready to ride, but the question is do you go for the cheap and inexpensive helmet or take a bit more out of your savings? come to think of it, when will you even need to replace it? well, we’ve collected a few mistakes that beginner riders make to help you avoid them so that you can stay safe and save some time and money.
top 5 mistakes to avoid when choosing a motorcycle helmet + video
just like there are a lot of things that you can accidentally do wrong with taking care of or purchasing your bike, there are a few mistakes that we also often see people make in dealing with their motorcycle helmets. whether it’s an improperly adjusted helmet to just not knowing what features you should really be looking for in buying your helmet.
so, we’ll be going over a few of the biggest mistakes you should make sure to avoid as well as how you can avoid them.
1. check the fit
first, we’ll start with one of the most basic mistakes that we still often see starter riders make: buying an improperly fitted helmet. this is always a fundamental aspect to buying a helmet and, as such, it can have impacts ranging from mild discomfort to actual danger if the helmet slips off.
when you’re first buying a helmet, the best advice is to make sure you’re able to try one on in a physical store, regardless of if you plan to buy from there or not. this way, you make sure of your size and how well the helmet itself will fit. if there are no stores near you and you’re going to order online then make sure to ask a friend to help you measure your head for sizing and to also take a look at your head from above.
this second step is important since helmets often come in round, intermediate oval, and long oval head shapes, with the intermediate oval being the most popular. but, if you get the wrong head fit, then you can experience uncomfortable pain points or hot areas in the helmet.
Read more: Motorcycle and Bike Helmet Laws
you can also get more information on how to size and fit your helmet in our how to size and fit your helmet guide.
2. clean your helmet
next mistake to avoid would be not cleaning the helmet regularly. while this may seem a bit pedantic, it will not only give you a nicer smelling helmet, but it will help it last a bit better in the long term. this is because oils in your hair or sweat can affect the rate of deterioration of the different liner materials in the helmet that are there to keep your head safe.
but when you do clean your helmet, always make sure you use either helmet cleaner or very mild soap and warm water, and don’t scrub the outside too hard. for the inside, it’s basically the same process where you delicately rinse, shampoo, and rinse the padding. however, if you ride a lot or don’t have a lot of spare time, then an easy workaround is also wearing a balaclava when you ride since you can just wash that instead and keep the helmet cleaning to a minimum.
3. replace your helmet on time
the next mistake that we see is not replacing a helmet soon enough or going for an inexpensive used helmet over a slightly more expensive new one. while there’s nothing wrong with going for a lightly used helmet, more thoroughly used helmets are generally already reaching the end of their useful life.
generally, helmets are designed to last for about 3-5 years before they need to be replaced, assuming that they’ve been treated right, so it’s important to make sure you replace your helmet when you need to and to avoid a 6-year-old hand-me-down from a friend. unfortunately, there’s nothing you can really do to lengthen the 5-year time period. but the best thing to do is make sure you treat your helmet right. store it properly, treat it gently, and clean it when it needs it.
but if you have more questions on replacing your helmet, we also elaborate further in our when to replace your helmet guide.
4. check the helmet details
another mistake that you often see is not going for the little extras that may seem trivial at first, but really make a difference in the long run. chief among these is the type of anti-fogging you get in your visor, emergency quick release cheek pads, as well as missing out on earplugs.
anti-fog features are incredibly important for a visor since that’s how you see the road. while a lot of helmets will boast an anti-fog treatment, which will generally be serviceable, the best option is to always go for the anti-fog pinlock visor and insert. this greatest a double-glazing effect in your visor, and it’ll stop any potential fogging.
in this vein, ear plugs are also important, especially if you plan on long highway speed rides since it can help prevent cumulative hearing loss from the sound of the bike and the wind on your helmet.
lastly, emergency release cheek pads are an incredibly important feature to consider when you look at a helmet’s safety. these are often red ribbons or tabs found on the bottom of cheek pads. these tabs allow first responders to quickly remove the helmet from your head without having to exert pressure on your head.
5. keep your riding style in mind
the last piece of advice would be to try to avoid going style over practicality.
obviously, get the helmet that most speaks to you in a graphic that you like, but also keep in mind what sort of riding you think you’d like to do. for example, if you think you’ll be riding around town, you may want something that lets you lift up the chin bar, an integrated bluetooth system, or something like a drop-down sun visor.
likewise, on the track you’ll want the opposite, so a hard carbon fiber or fiberglass shell, an aerodynamic design, and a lot of ventilation. basically, just make sure you’re considering the helmet that has been built for the riding you plan on doing rather than for simply looks.
with these basic tips in mind, if you’re feeling ready to go out and take a look at some helmets, make sure to head to championhelmets.com where we have a lowest price guarantee and plenty of bundle deals including free visors or discounted comms systems.
these may be some basic things to avoid but a stitch in time and all that does save having to buy another helmet, or worse, putting up with an uncomfortable one for a few years.
if you’re curious to learn more about different helmet features and how they compare, make sure to check out our youtube channel where we review and road test the latest motorcycle helmets and we have our top 5 mistakes to avoid when choosing a motorcycle helmet video.