The best flip-front motorcycle helmets

All the convenience of an open face but the protection of a full-face

Two flip-front motorcycle helmets

by Jim Blackstock |

Many people swear by a flip-front (or modular) helmet and once you’ve tried one, it easy to see why. They offer excellent versatility as well as (potentially) comfort and protection and can make struggling to get your lid off for a drink or to pay for petrol a thing of the past.

Unlike a single-piece full-face helmet, a flip-front has a separate chin-bar that lifts up, exposing the face while the helmet is still on. Not only does this allow people to see your face for ID, such as in a petrol station or a shop, it also allows air to your face. Plus, you'll be able to grab a drink, a bite to eat or simply have a quick chat with another rider or your pillion without taking your helmet completely off.

Another benefit is that because the helmet is put on with the flip-up, a modular can often give a better seal around the neck since the aperture doesn’t need to go over your head. This can mean a more comfortable fit, fewer draughts and lower noise.

Related: Top neck warmers

One historic criticism of flip-front helmets was that the always looked ungainly and larger than corresponding full-face items. Inevitably, they are a little heavier than their full-face counterparts due to extra hinges and fasteners, but most models are available in lightweight carbon nowadays (albeit more expensive than say composite) and the design on many doesn’t look like a flip.

One thing to consider with flip-front helmets is homologation. All helmets have to conform to regulation ECE 22.05 to be allowed to be sold in the UK but for flip helmets, they can either be ‘P’ or ‘J’ homologated, or both. P means it is certified for protective when the flip is closed and J means it provides adequate protection when the flip is open (it will need to be locked open to conform). If you want to ride with the flip open, then look for one that is P/J approved or has ‘dual homologation’.

Like all helmets, a SHARP rating is also useful; this government scheme tests and rates helmets for safety with a rating out of five stars, five being the most protective.

The best flip-front helmets

Viper RS-V171

Viper RS-V171
Amazon

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photo: Amazon

This sports-style flip-front from Viper looks like a sporty street helmet with the flip-down but the chin-bar lifts easily to open. It has the added benefit of an integral Bluetooth intercom system built-in from the factory for added convenience and it has a drop-down sun visor and a Pinlock-ready main visor. We've tried this and it's not bad; vision is good and while it's reasonably weighty, it's also comfortable.

Pros:

• Built in Bluetooth
• Drop down sun shade
• Pinlock ready

Cons:

• Two star SHARP rating

Schuberth C5

Schubert C5

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It's fair to say the C4 that came before this helmet was not universally loved - the C5 benefits from a raft of improvements that make it one of the most complete all-rounders currently on sale. Not only is it already ECE 22.06 compliant, it's dual homologated for riding open or closed. A quality bit of kit that looks stealthy and should appeal to non-flip-front enthusiasts too. We've given it a more thorough run down in our Schuberth C5 review.

Pros:

• Dual homologated
• Certified to ECE 22.06
• Comes with Pinlock already installed

Cons:

• Chin bar catch could be chunkier

AGV Tourmodular

AGV Tourmodular

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photo: Sportsbikeshop

A flip-front designed to look and feel like a sporty full-face, the new AGV Tourmodular is available in a range of finishes and dual homologated to ECE 22.06. The shell is available in three sizes for a perfect fit and designed with a super-wide visor aperture for exceptional vision. Developed in the wind tunnel, it is also very quiet and has a unique removable, and washable, 2Dry moisture absorption inner liner.

Pros:

• Dual homologated to ECE 22.06
• Comms ready
• Wide vision aperture with good peripheral vision

Cons:

• None

Shoei Neotec II

Shoei Neotec II

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photo: Sportsbikeshop

Shoei's premium flip-front is available in three shell sizes to suit every head. It is dual-homologated for riding with the flip-up or down and uses a drop-down sun visor, as part of Shoei's 'touring' range of helmets. The liner and cheek pads are removable for washing and different-sized cheek pads are available to tailor the fit. There are chin and top vents as well as exhaust at the rear and it is suitable for the SENA SRL2 integrated intercom.

Read our in-depth review here.

Pros:

• Low noise interior
• Dual homologated
• Four star SHARP rating

Cons:

• Heavy and sun shade mists up

Caberg Duke

Caberg Duke
Amazon

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photo: Amazon

Caberg has a reputation for quality, inexpensive helmets and this Duke continues that theme while providing SHARP five-star protection. It's a relatively straightforward flip helmet though it is both P and J homologated for use with the flip open. The visor is Pinlock-insert ready and there is a drop-down sun visor with large, adjustable vents at the chin as well as on top of the head. Like many helmets, it is ready for a matching intercom system as well.

Pros:

• Five star SHARP rating
• Intercom ready
• Pinlock ready and included

Cons:

• Visor release catch can be fiddly

HJC RPHA 90S

HJC RPHA 90S

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photo: Sportsbikeshop

Inspired by racing helmets, the RPHA 90S from HJC is a flip-front helmet that looks and rides just like a full-face. It's both P and J homologated and this carbon-skin version is lightweight, reducing strain on the rider's neck. Its large visor is Pinlock-ready and there's a drop-down sun visor, too. Designed to be low-noise, it features removable interior panels for washing and it is ready for HJC's smart Bluetooth intercom system.

Pros:

• Lightweight
• Comms ready
• Dual homolgation

Cons:

• None

SHARK Evo ES

SHARK Evo ES

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photo: Sportsbikeshop

A variation on a theme, the SHARK Evo ES uses a chinbar that folds right over the top of the helmet and is stored at the back to leave the visor in front of the face but with no chin bar, like the European 'Jet' style of helmet. The chinbar opens and moves the visor automatically whichever direction it is going, open or closing, and the sense of air and openness, particularly when riding in warm conditions, is liberating. We've used one of these for a couple of summers and it's a nice option if a little loud when closed. Seal of Approval - We've tested this product and have found it performs well

Pros:

• Dual homologated
• Chin bar rotates fully to the rear
• Main visor stays in place regardless of chin bar position

Cons:

• Loud at speed

Schuberth C4 Pro

Schuberth C4 Pro

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photo: Sportsbikeshop

The C4 Pro has been designed for tourers as well as sports riders and has quietness and comfort at its heart, thanks to its rounded external profile. It has a multi-channel cooling system and vents at the chin and the top of the head as well as a drop-down sun visor. The liner and padding are all seamless for additional comfort and the helmet comes with pre-installed speakers, microphone and antenna for an optional Bluetooth intercom system.

Pros:

• Four star SHARP rating
• Comes with speakers and mic pre installed
• Quiet and comfortable

Cons:

• None

Simpson Darksome

Simpson Darksome
Amazon

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photo: Sportsbikeshop

Release your inner Stig with this flip-front from American brand Simpson. Famously worn by TV's pet racing driver and revered over the years by racers and motorcycle riders alike, the iconic helmet is now available in both a full-face and this flip-front design, properly homologated for road use. It uses the famous snout as well as a Pinlock-ready main and a drop-down sun visor. It has vents at the chin and channels running inside and can accept Bluetooth headsets.

Pros:

• Striking design
• Wide aperture with good peripheral vision
• Removable and washable lining

Cons:

• Striking design not to all tastes

LS2 Vortex

LS2 Vortex

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photo: Sportsbikeshop

Also available in gloss and matt carbon finishes for £30 cheaper, the LS2 Vortex is a chunky (some would say aggressive) flip with a carbon shell in three sizes for a perfect fit. Supplied with an optically correct visor, the large aperture gives a good view while the drop-down sun visor helps with bright sunlight. It is vented at the chin and the top with rear-mounted exhaust ports and it includes internal channels for cooling.

Pros:

• Aggressive design
• Carbon shell
• Pinlock inluded

Cons:

• Can be a bit noisy

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