Are Expensive Motorcycle Helmets Worth It? (Pros & Cons)
Motorcycle helmets can be really expensive.
So much so that many motorcyclists will be surprised at the price difference between the entry-level and the mid and high-tier motorcycle helmets.
The motorcycle helmet is one of the essential parts of your gear. So is spending more on a more expensive motorcycle helmet a good idea?
Are expensive motorcycle helmets worth it? Expensive motorcycle helmets are made of better and lighter materials like fiberglass and carbon. The better design, materials, and features make a motorcycle helmet more expensive. Other motorcycle helmets made of less expensive materials like polycarbonate can be heavier, noisier, less comfortable, and lack good ventilation.
Motorcycle helmets seem like a product that should not be very expensive, so what exactly affects their price, and is the higher price worth it?
This is a question that gets asked a lot so Let’s take a more in-depth look.
What makes motorcycle helmets expensive?
The materials they are made of
The materials used in the making of the motorcycle helmet will be one of the main factors determining how much a motorcycle will cost. Cheaper motorcycle helmets may be made from bulkier and heavier materials that may not be long-lasting or heavy-duty and more susceptible to abrasions.
Motorcycle helmets can be made from different materials like polycarbonate, fiberglass, carbon, and other composite materials.
The more expensive motorcycle helmets are made from higher-quality materials like fiberglass, carbon.
The safety certifications
In order for a motorcycle helmet the be street legal, it has to pass certain safety certifications. Acquiring these safety certifications should, in theory, affect the majority of motorcycle helmets the same way and should not have a different impact on the final price.
However, certain companies do have their own certifications and tests that can be more rigorous and thorough. Those additional tests and requirements will affect the price of the motorcycle helmets they produce, making them more expensive.
The manufacturing process
Not all motorcycle helmets are made the same way.
Certain types of helmets like the full face helmets, modular helmets, dual sport helmets, and dirt bike helmets usually are more expensive and difficult to design and manufacture. Half helmets and open face (3/4) motorcycle helmets, on the other hand, are easier to produce and thus will be cheaper.
See article: How much do motorcycle helmets cost?
The extra features
The more features, options, and niceties motorcycle helmets have, the more expensive they will be.
The visor, for example, can also have a big impact on the price of a motorcycle helmet. Anything extra like having a mirrored visor or a photochromic visor will make the helmet more expensive.
Even simple, at first glance, features like graphics, stickers will also make a helmet more expensive.
If a well-known pro is sponsoring a particular brand of motorcycle helmets, this will make said helmets more expensive.
It is hard to say how much the endorsement of a famous celebrity will affect the final price of a motorcycle helmet, but it will definitely have an impact on it.
Are expensive motorcycle helmets good for casual motorcyclists?
Casual riders that do not spend a lot of time traveling on their motorcycle may be able to make do with a cheaper motorcycle helmet. Although a cheap motorcycle helmet will not provide acceptable levels of comfort, it can, arguably, be a decent option for short-distance rides—especially if they are on a tight budget.
That being said, I cannot put a price on comfort.
For anyone that values their safety and comfort, regardless if they are a casual rider or ride every single day, investing in at least a mid-tier averagely priced motorcycle helmet will be worth it. These helmets are usually better than cheap helmets by a significant margin.
It is no wonder that the majority of riders who have tried a more expensive helmet will never go back to wearing a cheaper one ever again.
Expensive vs. cheap motorcycle helmets differences and comparison
Are expensive motorcycle helmets lighter?
Typically more expensive motorcycle helmets will make use of higher-quality materials that are not only strong and heavy-duty, providing the necessary protection, but also remain relatively lightweight.
Motorcycle helmets will usually weigh between 2.65 lbs up to 5.50 lbs depending on its type, design, and materials used. That being said, cheaper motorcycle helmets have gone a long way and will often be designed in such ways that the gap in weight will not be significant, if any. However, that may come at the cost of fewer features, padding, visor latching, and more.
Even though the weight of a helmet may not feel like a lot of paper, wearing it all day can significantly tire you out, leading to more fatigue, muscle soreness, neck pain, and headaches.
Expensive motorcycle helmets noise reduction
Motorcycle riders that have tried several helmets in different price-classes will usually report that more expensive helmets offer better wind noise reduction.
For the majority of expensive helmets, this is true.
More expensive helmets usually have better aerodynamics and the materials used, and the helmet’s design will keep the wind noise low. That being said, some ear protection may still be needed.
Expensive motorcycle helmets ventilation and-anti fogging
Another advantage of expensive helmets over cheaper ones is that they have better ventilation. This makes expensive helmets a lot better for wearing during the warmer months of the year.
On top of that, they are also designed in a way that will keep your visor from fogging as you exhale—which is a common problem among cheaper models.
Are expensive motorcycle helmets more comfortable?
When cheap and expensive motorcycle helmets are compared side by side, you will certainly feel the difference. Often the difference is night and day.
Expensive motorcycle helmets are usually designed better, and the lining and padding are all made in a way that promotes more comfort on both short and long-distance rides. With more expensive motorcycle helmets, you will feel not only comfortable but also safer and at ease. Even when you stop at a gas station, you will feel no need to immediately take off your helmet.
See article: Reasons a motorcycle helmet will hurt your head
Are expensive motorcycle helmets safer?
All motorcycle helmets need to pass DOT or ECE certification. This means that both cheap and expensive motorcycle helmets that have passed the same safety certification will offer the same protection regardless of price.
It is required for a motorcycle helmet to be DOT certified; however, some manufacturers may also choose to pass other safety certifications and tests, which may be more thorough and rigorous like Snell and Sharp.
Those additional safety certifications are not mandatory and are voluntary. This, in theory, can bring the manufacturing costs up and make a motorcycle helmet more expensive as a result.
However, it is important to clearly define what kind of helmets we are comparing.
Often people may compare a $35 helmet with a $750 helmet, in which case the more expensive helmet will be significantly better and safer in the long run. However, if we compare a $400 helmet with a $750 helmet, in terms of safety, we will see that the differences may be negligible.
For example, cheaper motorcycle helmets are usually made from polycarbonate, which is plastic. Granted, it is a very durable plastic that is used for its high impact resistance, but, nonetheless, it is still plastic, and it may degrade faster than helmet made from composite materials.
So at the time of making both cheap and expensive motorcycle helmets that have passed, the same safety certificate will provide the same protection, but over time they may degrade differently, and the level of protection they offer may vary as well.
See article: Should you buy used motorcycle helmets?
Should you buy an expensive motorcycle helmet?
In many fields, beginners will be advised not to go all in and spend too much money right from the start. They simply will not have enough experience and may decide that they are not interested in investing heavily in the said discipline, whatever it may be.
However, this is not good advice to give simply because your health and well-being are put at stake.
Motorcyclists are at the worst odds when it comes to an incident. Even relatively benign incidents and crashes can result in very serious injuries, traumas, and even death. This has been proven times and again over the years by experts.
The head of the motorcyclist is the weakest point in many cases—especially when it comes to injuries associated with a fatal outcome. It is no coincidence that wearing proper head and foot protection in many countries will often be the only gear laws focus on.
At the very least, you need to get a real motorcycle helmet that has been DOT or ECE certified. Depending on the type of helmet you want, these can start from as low as $35 in certain cases. However, as already seen, cheaper helmets will not usually offer the best riding experience.
It is not advisable to go with a cheap run of the mill motorcycle helmet. A good ballpark to aim for is usually between $250 to $450, which will get you a good mid-tier motorcycle helmet in the majority of cases.
Are expensive motorcycle helmets really worth it?
With motorcycle helmets, you get what you pay for. The general rule of thumb is that up to about $250, you pay for safety, and after that, you pay for extra features and comfort.
And comfort is one of the most underestimated aspects of a motorcycle helmet.
This is why a lot of riders will wonder if paying more than $200 to $250 for a helmet is really worth it as you will not necessarily get any more extra protection for your money.
However, I have been alluding to this a lot in this article—beyond a certain price point, spending more will provide you with more comfort, something that can have a huge impact on your performance and possibly even on your safety.
Will a more expensive helmet make you a better rider and keep you safer? A more expensive helmet is not guaranteed to make you a better rider or keep you safer.
However, it can make you feel more comfortable. And a more comfortable helmet will keep you from fatiguing as fast. As a result, you will remain more focused and fresh.
On top of that, the better aerodynamics of the helmet coupled with the reduced wind noise and other features can make a ride a lot more enjoyable and easy compared to a cheaper, less comfortable helmet that can give you a headache, tire you out sooner, and even restrict your movements in certain cases.
With motorcycle helmets, it is one of the rare exceptions that expensive just means better. An expensive helmet will perform better in many different areas compared to a cheaper helmet, which may do well only in one area and lack in others.
A more expensive helmet may also not wear out as quickly, which means it may be able to keep you safer for longer. In the end, it boils down to wearing a helmet that will not just keep you safe on the day of its purchase but keep you just as safe even after 2 or 3 years.
See article: How much should you spend on a motorcycle helmet?