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If you are a motorcyclist or are about to become one, the helmet is your best friend. Knowing how to choose the best modular helmet for your needs is essential. Even more important is knowing how to distinguish a quality modular helmet from a poor one.
With this guide, we will teach you how to recognize a great helmet on the fly. We will also teach you how to choose the right modular helmet size and the perfect fit. The best modular helmet is the one that protects you adequately without straining your cervical.
Beware of lists that propose modular helmets that cost 75 dollars, they try to profit at the expense of your safety. A truly safe modular helmet can not cost less than 150 dollars. You can save money on looks, soundproofing, comfort, but not on quality materials, so be careful!
All parameters related to the safety level indicated in this guide are extrapolated from a careful analysis of the Helmet Safety Scheme provided by the tests carried out by SHARP.
Importance of the helmet
I want to emphasize once more the importance of always using a helmet. Even for very short trips, a helmet must be worn and fastened properly. The risk of serious injury as a result of an accident is reduced by 72% if you wear a helmet. It can literally save your life!
How to choose the best helmet for your needs
Motorcycle helmets are divided into jet helmets, full-face helmets, and modular helmets. Let’s see briefly how these three types of motorcycle helmet differ from one another:
Jet helmets are models typically used in the city on small displacement scooters and motorcycles. They do not have the classic chin guard of full-face helmets. What are the advantages of this type of helmet? Comfort and lightness. However, it should be emphasized that the absence of a chin guard offer much worse protection in case of an accident. In addition, you will be cooler in summer but more exposed during winter. Sincerely as a motorcyclist, I do not recommend this type of helmet unless you make really sporadic use of your bike. It may be an option only if you have particular cervical problems and need maximum lightness.
It offers maximum safety. In addition, it has the best weather protection and soundproofing. If you make intensive use of your bike the best choice is a full-face helmet.
It’s a helmet that combines the positive aspects of a jet helmet with a safety similar to that of the full-face helmet. The chin guard can be lifted and you can decide whether to travel with an open or closed helmet.
Best modular helmets 2019
Best budget: HJC IS MAX II
- Sharp Test Safety Score: 4 stars out of 5
Although budget (Check on Amazon.com) this is a respectable helmet. Its greatest advantage is the 4-star rating from Sharp. The visor is also excellent with an anti-fog and anti-scratch coating and the integrated sun visor. Its weight is considerable since it weighs 1.78kg.
The outer shell is made out of polycarbonate and the strap has a simple micrometric latch mechanism. The ventilation is good and the internal padding is OK since it’s removable and washable. The lower pads are also removable in case of an accident. This model is an excellent entry-level helmet for those who want optimal safety. Surely there are better helmets out there but in the budget price range, this is the best modular one.
Best value for money: Shark Evoline 3
- Sharp Test safety rating: 5 stars out of 5
The first helmet in this list to boast a 5-star Sharp rating is the Shark Evoline 3 (Check on Amazon.com). This is a helmet without many bells and whistles, and not particularly beautiful to look at, but that offers too much quality at a price hardly beatable. It has a polycarbonate outer shell with a total weight of 1.7kg and you can use it both open and closed.
The visor system is well designed (it is both scratch and fog-resistant) and sports an integrated sun visor. It is also well ventilated and the inner lining is completely removable although a little bit delicate to wash. The lower pads are also removable in case of need and it has a micrometric latching mechanism.
It has room to house an intercom and is also comfortable to wear for those who wear glasses. If you value safety over aesthetics this is the best helmet to buy.
Shark Evo-One 2
- Sharp Test Safety Score: 4 out of 5
Shark is one of my favorite brands because they know how to combine great build quality, excellent safety, and an essential aesthetic. The Evo-One 2 (Check on Amazon.com) has a 4-star Sharp rating and weighs 1.7kg. The shell is made out of polycarbonate and sports an anti-fog and anti-scratch visor and an integrated sun visor.
The internal padding is contoured so that it can accommodate the use of glasses and is Bluetooth ready. It lets you drive with the helmet both open and closed. The interior lining is of excellent workmanship and is both removable and washable while the lower pads are also removable in case of emergency. Airflow is well distributed and you will not experience any problems during summer or winter.
A really great helmet and a great choice for anyone who makes intensive use of their bike.
The best: SHOEI Neotec
- Sharp Test safety rating: 4 stars out of 5
Shoei is perhaps my favorite brand. This modular fiber helmet (Check on Amazon.com) is consistently one of the best since its release back in 2011. It weighs just 1.60kg (which is low for a modular) and has scored 4 stars in the Sharp Test. The Japanese brand has finally equipped it with an integrated sun visor while the main visor is both anti-scratch and anti-fog.
This helmet has maybe the best soundproofing among all modular helmets and it’s also extremely comfortable. It sports a micrometric latch and good interior padding which is both removable and washable. The lower pads are also removable in the event of a crash. The only thing missing is room for an intercom.
Attention: this helmet is not road legal if you ride with the chin guard raised. Shoei made thus a clear choice of safety over comfort. Personally, I still consider it the best modular helmet on the market.
Important features in a modular helmet
Choosing a modular helmet is not a trivial operation and it requires knowledge of some key elements, so if you are not a new buyer read this part of the article very carefully so you’ll be able to distinguish a good helmet from a poor one.
Choosing a quality helmet can make the difference between life and death. My advice is to always check the safety classification of a helmet before you buy it. The simplest method is to verify through a certified testing site such as SHARP.
The comfort is also a determining factor. The helmet must be tight enough not to move during normal head movements, but at the same time, it should not be extremely tight around the temples. If you are wearing glasses know that there are models that provide a molding of the inner padding that leaves enough space for them.
The fit of a helmet varies from brand to brand and based on its inner shape. The ideal way to find the perfect fit would be to try many different brands.
The outer shell of a helmet can be made of different materials, each with characteristics that determine a different level of strength and weight. The cheapest material is polycarbonate, a thermoplastic material that has a good level of strength but also decent weight. A fiber helmet is more durable and lighter than polycarbonate but also more expensive.
The weight of a helmet depends mostly on the construction materials. If you use your bike for short trips, 100-200 grams of extra weight will not be a problem. If you travel for long stretches, then I recommend a fiber helmet.
The lacing of the helmet is an aspect that must be carefully considered. You will have to choose between a double D-ring and a micrometric strap. The first is undoubtedly the safest but requires a small amount of experience and patience in properly fastening and adjusting the helmet. The micrometric one is also very safe and more suitable for beginners because it is very easy to adjust.
A good helmet must have plenty of internal padding, which makes the helmet more comfortable and that can be easily removed for washing. High-end helmets also give the possibility to remove the lower pads even while the helmet is on, in order to facilitate the removal in the event of an accident.
The ventilation is very important since it keeps your visor free from fogging and helps you cope with the heat.
My advice here is to buy a helmet with an anti-fog visor. The closure of the visor must be solid and shouldn’t open in case of an accident. At the same time try purchasing a model with an inner sun visor.
Compatibility with other accessories
If you use to travel in pairs, the best helmet leave room for the installation of an intercom.
Duration of a helmet
Helmets do not have a real expiration date but It is good practice to change it at least every 5 years. Also, a good rule is to always change it after an accident.
Care and maintenance
Careful maintenance of your helmet will allow you to make it last longer and to maintain a tight fit.
Internal cleaning of the helmet is a very important factor that prolongs its longevity. If you have fixed inner pads, the only thing you can do in order to clean it is to use a cleaning spray foam. If you have removable padding then you can wash it periodically using warm water (maximum 30 degrees) and neutral soap. Let it air dry without exposing it to direct sunlight and put it back in only when it is perfectly dry.
The outer shell of the helmet can be safely cleaned with a cloth, mild soap, and water. You can also use specific products if you are afraid of scratching the shell.
For everyday cleaning, use a lightly moistened cloth and be delicate.
Avoid storing your helmet in your bikes top case for long stretches of time, especially in the summer. At home, store your helmet in a dry and not too cold place. Helmets that suffer too many thermal fluctuations should be replaced more frequently than the standard 5 years.
- Always wear a helmet
- Fasten it tight
- Avoid dropping it
- If it is damaged change it
- If the pads get thin change it
- Always check the Sharp Test before buying
- Replace the helmet at least every 5 years
- Store it with the visor slightly open
- If it costs too little, it is not a good helmet
- Avoid intense or frequent temperature changes
- Do not buy/use second-hand helmets especially if they are not your size and if you are not sure how they have been treated
- Avoid fastening the helmet hastily, much of your safety depends on this in the event of an accident