Selecting the right helmet for a motorbike adventure is something that should be done with consideration. After all, you are going to have a lid on your head for extended periods in time, so you might want to make sure to select the proper head protection that both protects you and gives you a decent level of comfort. We’ve all made mistakes in the past and most of us have learned from it. Read on to find out what years of adventure riding has taught us when it comes to proper adventure helmet selection. This is our checklist.
First off, the farmost important thing a good helmet should do is protect you in case of a crash. Most helmets tend to offer a level of protection that is acceptable. Some producers invest in the latest technologies and the best materials to guarantee your ride won’t end in drama and these technological evolutions are more than the latest commercial talk to win you over. There are plenty of Chinese counterfeit rubbish helmets on the market that I wouldn’t even consider wearing. Look for a reputable brand which shouldn’t necessarily mean the most expensive. Also, open face helmets are a no go for the obvious reason of lack of protection. Just try to imagine the possible injuries I could have faced without a good quality helmet when I crashed my bike in Iceland (video below). And I am still wearing that very same helmet by the way.
Most of the time, adventure rides are pretty long. They take you to remote places and sometimes that means having to work hard to get there. Mobility of your body is important and having the least possible constraints is so too. The last thing you want is a heavy pot on your head because it is about the best guarantee for neck pain and fatigue that will in the end limit your travel options. If you can afford it, choose as light as possible!
People come in different forms and shapes and that applies to head shapes as well. Some are thin and long, others are round and chubby, or square, or pear shaped… Riding long distances requires a helmet that fits well and gives you a decent level of comfort under all circumstances. Personally, I find the option of different cheek pad sizes an important added value.
4. To visor or not to visor
Many brands have released off road style helmets combined with a visor. They advertise it as “the best of both worlds”. But serious adventure riders will never choose these helmets for a good reason: These visors cannot withstand the elements when off roading. I too once left with a visor that after two weeks of riding a dusty environment was scratched to the level of complete uselessness. For sure these visors can be taken off, but stowing them in your luggage will be the next challenge, as their shapes do not really allow for compact packing. My advice: get yourself a nice pair of goggles and foresee a couple of interchangeable goggle screens you can easily tuck away in your luggage. Be prepared to get your face a little bit wet when riding in the rain. It’s part of the adventure!
5. Aerodynamics and peaks
In most cases, a peak is a huge plus when doing some decent adventure riding. Most of us prefer to ride in nice weather which means you would need some sort of sun block. In my opinion a peak greatly enhances the level of comfort on sunny rides. But in many cases, there is a serious downside when inevitably having to ride motorways or faster sections. Make sure you opt for an adjustable peak that can be tweaked so your head is not nearly torn off at speeds over 60kms/h.
6. Moisture control and ventilation
Adventure riding often means physical exercise, high temperatures, sweating and the like. A good ventilation and properly chosen, washable interior fabrics, will definitely help you enhancing your level of comfort on the hotter or more intense sections of your ride.
We have had quite a few helmets and none of them is truly perfect. But the Lazer MX 8 Carbon comes pretty darn close. It has an off road style, full carbon shell and it’s incredibly low in weight (just over 1000g), has washable coolmax lining, cheek pads in various sizes, an adjustable peak and plenty of ventilation. It goes well with various types of goggles and won’t cost you an arm and a leg compared to other brands. Furthermore, Lazer is a very reputable European brand with a long history in helmet production.
We will be back soon with an in-depth from the field review of our scarred Lazer MX8 Carbon helmets so stay tuned… In the meantime you can check out this review by RevZilla.