Adventure bike sales are on a high all over the world with more and more riders turning to these high-bar do-it-all bikes for their two-wheeled transport. And this change in motorcycle style also often necessitates a swap in kit, such as a dedicated new motorcycle helmet, as adventure bikes open up a whole new riding proposition.
If you plan on off-road riding, you can’t use a standard road helmet because its visor will quickly become plastered in mud and scratched when you scrape the filth aside. Also, road lids lack the extra slow speed venting that is so necessary when you are breathing heavily during a more physical off-road ride.
Fashion is also an important factor, as a road lid can sometimes appear a bit out of place on a big adventure bike with a peaked off-road style helmet far more suiting.
So which is the best adventure bike helmet to buy? We have rounded our favourite options and answered all of the important buying questions at the bottom of this article to ensure you make the right decision.
MCN's recommended adventure helmets:
1. LS2 Subverter EVO
Tested by Saffron Wilson for 14 months, 4000 miles. Quality 4/5, Value 5/5. This
2. Caberg Tourmax Flip Front
Any helmet can work off-road, but the best ones are those designed to do so. A large aperture and
3. Nexx X.WED2
Best for features
The Nexx is an outstanding lid in terms of its features. As well as an integrated sun visor, you
4. Shoei Hornet ADV
Best for road use
The Hornet ADV retains a visor-release mechanism similar to Shoei's road bike lids use, meaning
5. Arai Tour-X 4
Best for graphics
Like so many Arai products, the Tour-X 4 is fairly basic in its operation but does tick all the
6. AGV AX9 Adventure Helmet
Best for comfort
7. NOLAN N70-2 X Classic
A lid pleasingly stacked full of features considering its low price tag, the Nolan has a removable
8. Schuberth E1 Matt Black Adventure Helmet
Best flip-front adventure lid
One of the very few flip-front [adventure
9. Viper RX-V288
Viper has a reputation for decent products at low prices and this adventure helmet is no
10. HJC C80
This helmet from HJC is a genuine dual-sport version like so many [adventure
11. Scorpion ADX-1
Riders of a certain age may remember the video game Halo and the hero, Master Chief. He wore a
12. Klim Krios Pro
Not a cheap helmet but Klim has an excellent reputation amongst hardcore off-roaders and
13. Spada Intrepid
The Intrepid from Spada is amazing value at less than £100. It uses a moulded thermoplastic shell
12. Klim Krios Pro
[We've given the Klim Krios Pro a full in-depth
The important questions
Is it road legal?
To conform to UK law a helmet must either:
Reach British Standard BS 6658:1985 and also carry the BSI Kitemark.
Meet UNECE Regulation 22.05
Meet a European Economic Area member standard equivalent of BS 6658:1985 and also carry a mark equivalent to the BSI Kitemark.
Most lids will have ECE 22-05 printed on them, usually at the back of the lid.
Is it SHARP rated?
SHARP’s five-star safety rating is an independent helmet testing scheme ran by the Department of Transport. Where most full-face lids are rated, few adventure lids have been assessed by SHARP but those that have been can be located via the SHARP website.
Is it ACU gold-approved?
An ‘ACU Gold or Silver’ sticker means that the lid is approved for use in motorcycle sport by the Auto Cycle Union in the UK. Generally adventure lids aren’t work in competition, so few will carry this sticker.
Can I wear goggles with it?
When you are riding off-road, visors tend to get covered in mud, reducing visibility. Also, a visor is more likely to mist up when you are breathing hard due to exertion than goggles and has less ventilation. A lot of adventure lids allow the visor to be removed completely and goggles worn instead. If you plan on riding your bike off-road, look for a lid that allows the use of goggles.
Does it have a Pinlock insert?
One of the best anti-fog inserts on the market, many lids come with a Pinlock included in the box while others simply have its fixings and you need to purchase the Pinlock itself separately. If you need to buy it, factor this extra expense into your buying decision.
How much does it weigh?
A heavy lid can put extra strain on your neck, leading to fatigue when worn for a long period of time, so a lightweight lid can be an advantage when it comes to touring.
Is the lining removable?
Helmets get sweaty and removing the lining and cleaning it thoroughly is the best way of reducing smells and keeping it nice to wear. This is especially important if you are planning off-road use where you will exert yourself more and possibly even get the lid’s lining dusty.
Is the visor easy to remove?
A fiddly visor removal system can be very annoying when it comes to removing the visor to give it a good clean and remove and stuck on flies. Look for a well-designed system that will allow you to quickly remove the visor with minimal effort or use of tools.
Does it have an integrated sun visor?
A ‘flip-down’ sun visor is a really handy addition for when the sun is out as it means you can simply flip it down while on the go rather than stopping to fit a pair of sunglases.
What is its ventilation like?
A hot head is an uncomfortable head, so see if the helmet has vents and if they are easily operated by a gloved hand. The more vents, the cooler your head will be, however they can create extra wind noise.
Is it ready for a communications system?
Many helmets are ‘communications ready,’ which means they are designed with extra recesses around the ear areas so that you can insert headphones for a communications system. Without these recesses, the headphones can press irritatingly on your ears.
Is it designed for glasses?
If you wear glasses, a lot of helmets have special areas in them to allow the glasses’ arms to sit comfortably between the lining and your face, stopping them pressing on you or getting deformed and also making them easy to remove and put on.
What kind of strap fastener does it have?
There are two general types of helmet strap fastener – a D-Ring and a ratchet-style. The D-Ring requires manually threading and then tightening the strap where a ratchet-style system is a simple push-fit. It is a matter of choice with some riders preferring the ease of the ratchet-style and other opting for the secure feeling offered by a D-Ring.
Can I move the peak?
Adventure lids have a peak to help shade your eyes from the sun. Can it easily be moved to alter its position? Also, does it have cut-outs or aerodynamic features to stop it getting caught in the wind at speed, potentially putting extra strain on your neck.
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