If you’re touring or riding around the city, a flip-up helmet is a great option.
You don’t have to remove your helmet when you’re filling up with petrol, you can easily speak to other riders at the lights and you can also get a bit of that ‘wind in your hair’ feeling when you’re cruising along.
Flip-up helmets are just as safe as full-face helmets but they require more components and they’re more complicated to produce, meaning they can be much more expensive than their full-face counterparts.
So we set ourselves a challenge: to find the best flip-front motorcycle helmets for bikers on a budget. We’ve set £250 as our maximum spend and in most cases, we’ve come in below £200.
Even though we’ve picked helmets on a tight budget, we haven’t sacrificed quality, features or functionality. Each one of our helmets has been through the SHARP helmet rating and each one has an internal sun visor, which can be brought into play when the front bar is raised.
So onwards and, er, flip-upwards to our top flip-front helmets guide.
Premium flip-up that’s super quiet
German brand Schuberth makes some of the best-rated helmets around, so you might be surprised to see them in this budget guide. The C3 Basic has all the features of a top-notch flip-front but with a budget price tag. Pinlock ready and with a Coolmax removable lining and cheek pads, wind tunnel tested and rated as very quiet by owners, it’s a premium lid, make no mistake. It also comes with a two-year warranty.
Featured packed flip-front at an unbelievable price
HJC makes quality lids and the IS-MAX is no exception. Boasting a lightweight polycarbonate composite shell, Pinlock-ready anti-scratch visor, fully removable and washable interior, a one-click chinbar system and a 3-stage internal sun visor. All backed-up with a one-year warranty.
The cheapest front-flip helmet
The saying goes: “If you’ve got a £5 head, get a £5 helmet” but the Leopard Leo-838 Safari goes some way to challenging that.
It costs under £50 and yet it’s ECE-22-05 approved, it features a removable and washable liner, an internal sun visor, air vents and an easy-to-use flip mechanism.
If you’re biking on a budget or looking for a cheap flip-front helmet for the occasional summer ride or a spot of touring, then you can’t go far wrong.
We’ve all got a priceless head but there’s no reason you can’t get a £50 helmet.
The most expensive flip-up motorcycle helmet
If you want to put a bit of context on these budget flip-fronts, then check out the Held Schuberth C4 Tour. It’s won a RiDE Recommended award but then that’s hardly surprising as it costs £649.99 and so it ought to have every feature possible.
But when you look at the spec sheet, the budget lids don’t lose out by as much as you’d think. The C4 Tour has a removable washable lining, an internal sun visor and air vents – exactly the same as the budget lids.
Where the C4 Tour starts to leave the budget lids behind is its connectivity. It features a built-in antenna and pre-installed speakers and microphone to work with Schuberth’s SC1 Bluetooth communication system.
At £649 it might have won a RiDE award but it looks expensive compared to our range of budget flip-front lids.
Flip-Up Motorcycle Helmet Buying Guide
There is an impressive range of budget flip-front helmets on the market but some do cut down on features and use different materials in order to meet a specific price point. Here are the feature that every quality flip-front should have, no matter what the budget.
- Homologation: Most flip-up helmets are tested to the same specificaiton as a full-face helmet (a P rating) so if you want to ride with the chinbar raised you'll need a lid that's been tested to both P and J ratings.
- Retention system: Most full-face lids use a D-ring type system to keep the helmet securely in place but most flip-fronts use a ratchet system. If you have a preference for either, make sure the lid you're buying uses your preferred system.
- Linings: A removable lining is a great feature to have - you can remove it, wash it and keep your lid from smelling like a tramp's underpants.
- Internal visor: An internal sun visor is a very useful addition. It can be used with the chin bar down or raised and when raised it's a handy feature to stop the wind from making your eyes stream and for reducing glare.
- Shell material: Top-end flip-fronts will use carbon-fibre or composite fibre which are strong and light. Polycarbonate (plastic) shells are just as strong but they'll be heavier.
- Pinlock-ready: A Pinlock visor system will stop your visor from misting up, making the kid more useful in all conditions. If your budget lid comes with this system it's a real bonus.
- Shell sizes: Most budget lids will only be made with one shell size but if your lid comes in to sizes, it means you'll be able to buy a lid that comes with far less padding (if you're an S or XS size) or a decent amount of padding (if you're an XL size) meaning you'll get a better fit and a more comfortable lid.
The style choice
Let’s be honest, flip-front helmets have a bit of a reputation for being geeky. A lot of the earlier ones looked like they’d be chiselled out of a block of wood.
These days, there’s a lot more choice and the average modular helmet looks almost identical to a full-face but there are still a couple of stylish options.
Roof Boxer V8 Matt Titanium – Can you believe the Boxer has been around for over 30 years but it’s still a cool-looking lid. It features a fibreglass shell, it’s dual homologated to P & J standard so you can ride with it up, it has an anti-scratch and anti-fog visor and removable lining and cheek pads. It’s a classy bit of kit.
Shark Evoline Series 3 – A modern version of the Roof Boxer, Shark’s lid has crisp clean lines and a chinbar that goes 180-degrees to sit neatly on the back of your lid. It squeezes into our line-up at just one-penny under our £250 budget. It’s dual homologated, features an anti-scratch sun visor, washable and removable interior and it’s designed to be comfortable to wear with glasses. Top-notch lid.
Some flip-up lids come with recesses around the temples to allow glasses users more comfort.
Some helmets are made to fit specific Bluetooth intercoms, so if you have an intercom in mind, look for a lid it's designed to work well with.
If you ant a flip-up that's designed to be open while riding, you'll need one that comes with a J rating.
With so many flip-up helmets on the market, it’s easy to get lost in the pages and pages of choices. These 5 other top flip-front helmets all made our shortlist.
AGV Compact-ST – Boasting all the features you’d want from a top-end flip-front, including a Pinlock-ready visor insert, removable and washable liners and it’s also AGV Share (AGV’s Bluetooth intercom) ready.
Black Optimus SV Tour Max – A stylish-looking lid for under £100. The Optimus features a fully removable liner, a Pinlock-ready visor, single-button operation and a drop-down internal sun visor.
Caberg Duke II – Caberg have carved out their own following in the flip-up helmet niche. The Duke II is one of the most popular modular helmets. It’s good value for money and the only place it fell down was the fact it is starting to look quite dated compared to the newest lids out there.
MDS MD200 – A really stylish looking lid at a staggeringly low price. The only area that lets it down is that it’s not Pinlock ready but if that doesn’t bother you, it’s hard to beat this lid.
Nolan N105 – With dual homologation, the N100-5 series has many hidden features to make your journey more comfortable, including an integrated sun visor with an automatic retraction system and space for the N-Com communication system.
Flip-front helmet FAQs
Can I ride with my chinbar raised?
Only if your lid is ‘duel homologated’ to P and J standards. In theory if you’re caught riding with a non J rated flip-up helmet with the chinbar in the raised position you could be fined.
Does anyone make a carbon-fibre flip-up helmet?
Yes there are a few on the market but the only one we could find under our £250 upper limit is the Dexter Adron Carbon.
Thanks to the following websites which helped us research and write this motorcycle flip-up helmet guide:
SHARP helmet safety scheme: