Seven Motorcycle Helmet Reviews

From old-school cool to Bluetooth

| March/April 2011

Price and availability confirmed at time of publication. Subject to change, please visit the product website for the latest prices and availability.

From old-school cool to Bluetooth, here are seven general motorcycle helmet reviews from the editors of Motorcycle Classics:

1. Arai says that its RX-Q motorcycle helmet is purpose-built to be the ultimate street helmet and the benchmark for quietness and good ventilation. Recognizing that not all noggins are shaped the same, Arai is unique in offering different interior-fit packages to address the variety of head shapes and sizes. The RX-Q is a version of Arai’s popular Intermediate-Oval (IO) interior shape. Features include a fully removable liner and neck roll, with removable/replaceable cheek pads with washable covers for easier, more thorough cleaning, and a smaller, more aerodynamic hand-formed shell shape that aids in stability. Editor Backus has been wearing an RX-Q Flag Series Italy off and on since last spring, and has been impressed. Build quality is excellent, and it fits like the proverbial glove. A wide eye port gives excellent peripheral view, and it’s extremely well ventilated; it’s one of the few helmets Backus says never gets hot. Our RX-Q has the optional Pinlock visor, virtually eliminating fog and available in a range of tint options. The RX-Q is available in a variety of colors and graphics. Snell 2010 and DOT approved. Price: Starting at $539.95.

2. Although they’ve been making riding gear for years, we’d yet to try a Joe Rocket helmet. Cold weather has kept us from logging many miles with the RKT201 full face helmet we received, but we’ve been impressed so far by its comfortable interior, cozy fit and reasonable quietness. Fit and finish are excellent (sometimes a let down with mid-priced helmets), and it ventilates nicely. We like its large breath deflector, which effectively minimized fogging on the cool days we got to wear it. Peripheral vision is good, and visor operation very smooth. The RKT201 features a lightweight composite weave shell, a removable chin curtain, and a removable and washable moisture-wicking SilverCool anti-bacterial and odor-free interior. Shown here in the Anthracite solid finish, but available in several colors and graphics. Snell 2010 and DOT approved. Price: Starting at $244.99.

3. The Arai Vector-2 is the latest version of Arai’s less-is-more Vector model. The Vector-2 was specifically crafted for the rider who doesn’t need all the bells and whistles of the company’s higher-end models. The Vector-2 features a new chin vent design, a rubber breath guard and an extremely wide peripheral view, just like the RX-Q. The Vector-2 also shares the RX-Q’s 5mm peel-away cheek pad layer and 5mm peel-away temple pads. This gives the wearer the option of thinner cheek pads and thinner temple pads for a custom micro-fit, without having to purchase optional pads, a feature that takes micro-fitting to a higher level. Like the RX-Q, the Vector-2 also features a fully-removable liner with removable/replaceable cheek pads with washable covers for easier, more thorough cleaning. It’s a good looking helmet with famed Arai quality at a lower entry price. Snell 2010 and DOT approved. Price: Starting at $479.95.

4. Another great retro-looking lid is the Bell Custom 500. In 1954, Bell founder Roy Richter made his first fiberglass helmet, the 500, named in tribute to the epic Indianapolis car race. The 500 marked the beginning of the modern motorsports helmet. Bell’s new Custom 500 marries Richter’s original style with modern technology, resulting in a light, strong, DOT-approved retro motorcycle helmet. Available in a variety of graphics and a couple solid colors, we ordered ours in Orange Flake and we love the deep paint and chrome trim. It features a comfortable quilted liner and has snaps on the front for a snap-on visor or old-school bubble shield. We’ve only put a few miles on ours so far, but we’re impressed with its close fit and comfort. This has got to be the lowest profile DOT helmet we’ve worn. It fits so close that without a visor, you can’t see any of the helmet in your peripheral vision or at the top of your field of vision, giving you a completely clear view. It’s not as quiet as the Fulmer V2 around town, but with a set of earplugs (which we always wear on the road) it’s quiet and comfortable. Price: $119.50.

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