A motorcycle helmet is the only piece of safety equipment we legally have to wear. Protecting your noggin’ is not only the law but it should be a priority for all riders whether you’re commuting, touring or racing. Money spent on a good helmet is rarely money wasted.
The trouble with modern motorcycle helmets is that manufacturers are under pressure to produce cheaper and cheaper lids. Modern cheaper helmets use a thermoplastic resin (plastic, basically) which is predominantly heavier than a fibre-shell. If you opt for a full-face design rather than open face, it only adds to the weight. Neck pain is common so how can you combat this strain? By opting for a lightweight motorcycle helmet.
Originally designed for use on the track, in the quest for better performance, racers opted for lighter, stronger helmets, often made from carbon fibre. It’s all about shaving off those vital few grams. Carbon fibre or lightweight fibre-resin helmets are not only light, but they’re also strong.
If you’re after a cutting-edge helmet, packed full of features and also low in weight, check out our list of some of the lightest helmets you can buy in the UK.
Claimed weight: 1400g
D-ring, removable, washable liner, Pinlock ready and Pinlock included
If you struggle to get a comfortable fit with your helmet, upgrading to the Scorpion Exo-1400 Air is for you. With built-in Airfit, the cheek pads are air adjustable and have additional noise reduction for a more convenient fit. Ease your eye strain with the internal retractable sun visor without the need to change visors and stay cool with the KwikWick3 lining.
Claimed weight: 1315g
D-ring, removable, washable liner and Pinlock visor. Comes with free race visor.
Shark consistently delivers on style with their helmets and this white and gold design is no exception. Made from ultra-lightweight carbon fibre and fibreglass, this helmet comes complete with an internal drop-down sun visor. With a Double D retention system, Pinlock MaxVision anti-scratch visor for quick release and a removable and washable interior, it takes the work out of cleaning. Aerodynamically designed with a double spoiler and incorporated air extractors for optimum stability and cooling.
Claimed weight: 1310g
D-ring, removable washable lining, Pinlock visor
The X-lite is the carbon edition of the X-803. This full-face racing helmet is compact, lightweight and stable in the most demanding of conditions. Featuring a double-action visor lock to prevent it from opening at high speeds, it is also ultra-wide for the best possible view of your surroundings. Complete with a race-inspired breath deflector and airflow system with upper and front air intakes, there are no worries about your visor fogging up.
Claimed weight: 1300g
D-ring, removable washable liner
This full-face racing sports helmet by Viper is ECE22.05 and ACU Gold approved so you know you’re safe and riding within the law. Featuring a Double D retention system and a removable washable lining for outstanding comfort. The V-1010 visor has an anti-scratch coating and is removable for added convenience. Designed with a multi-point venting system, you’ll remain cool whatever the temperature.
Claimed weight: 1290g
D-ring, removable washable liner, fog-free visor
This minimal design, white gloss helmet oozes class and has a professional look. Made from carbon aramid fibres for a weightless feel, the Race R Pro by Shark is aerodynamic for optimum performance. Complete with a Double D retention system and magnetic strap end, it’s safe and secure whatever the speed. Featuring 4 extraction points and a fog-free visor, you’ll have visibility when things start to heat up. The interior is completely removable and fully washable which makes it much more hygienic than other helmets out there.
Motorcycle helmet buyer's checklist
With a focus on quality, the best motorcycle helmets are rarely the cheapest ones out there but that doesn't mean you can't get a bargain.
If you're looking for the best helmet, these are the features that we think you should be looking out for.
- Safety ratings: Full-face helmets are tested to the EC 22.05 standards but the government's SHARP test is also worth factoring in. If it scores 4-stars or higher in the SHARP test then you know it'll deal with an impact and stay firmly in place.
- Retention system: Most full-face lids use a D-ring type system to keep the helmet securely in place some will use a ratchet system. If you have a preference for either, make sure the lid you're buying uses your preferred system.
- Linings: All of the helmets in this review feature a removable washable lining. Most of the top-end lids do but some are only partially removable or others only have removable cheek pads. If you're going to be using your lid all the time, you'll need to wash the lining a couple of times a year.
- Internal visor: An internal sun visor is a very useful addition. It can be used in conjunction with a clear visor to ensure you stay legal.
- Shell material: Top-end helmets will use carbon-fibre or composite fibre which are strong and light. Polycarbonate (plastic) shells are just as strong but they'll be slightly 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. If it's scratch resistant then this should see it last longer before needing to be replaced.
- Shell sizes: Most budget lids will only be made with one shell size but if your lid comes in two 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.
- Bluetooth: More high-end helmets feature the provision for a Bluetooth intercom. Most of the well-known manufacturers make their own Bluetooth system which will neatly fit into their lid. If you're planning on using a Bluetooth headset, this is definitely worth factoring in.
- Warranty: All of the helmets in this review have a minimum of a two-year warranty but some helmets have up to a 5-year warranty. If your lid is going to get heavy use, this longer warranty could prove very useful.
The Lightest Motorcycle Helmet
If you’re after the lightest motorcycle helmet then an open-face is the way to go. There’s less material in a half helmet, meaning they’re lighter than the equivalent full-face.
We’ve found this X-Lite X-201 Ultra Carbon Puro price at just £233.99. Of course, if you’re a superbike rider, it’s not going to be the lid for you but it’s great for riders of Cafe Racers, Retro riders, urban commuters or those who just like flies in their teeth. It weighs just 1000g.