There used to be a time when painting your helmet as you wanted to – to celebrate a racing hero or just a cool design – was within the realms of every rider. However, while this is still possible, it’s best left to professionals as they know what products work with helmets and won’t affect their integrity.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t get a helmet to celebrate your heroes, whether motorcycling or otherwise and aren't stuck with something in white, black or – heaven-forbid – hi-vis.
There are plenty of excellent lids around in the same colour schemes as any of your racing heroes or indeed, a massive selection of your comic-book or movie heroes (or villains, if that flicks your switch).
While many might think that this kind of helmet is a bit cheesy or a step down from a ‘proper’ helmet, bear in mind that all of the options here are available in plain colours and all are most definitely ‘proper’ helmets – they have just been finished with an interesting and often limited-edition colour scheme.
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They still conform to at least ECE 22.05, the minimum safety standard. All are also rated by SHARP, the UK government testing scheme and are awarded a safety rating out of five.
So whether it’s an Avenger, a champion or an old-school hero, there is something for everyone who wants a helmet a bit different from white or black. Here are a few of our favourites.
HJC CS-15 Spiderman
Get your Marvel on with this HJC CS-15 finished in full Spiderman Homecoming mask livery. HJC teamed-up with Marvel to licence a host of cool finishes and this is one of those. But itu2019s no novelty u2013 the CS-15 is an excellent helmet; four SHARP stars, Pinlock-ready wide visor, HJCu2019s Advanced Channelling System for airflow around the head and a micro-buckle fastening. SHARP rating: 4/5
AGV K1 Soleluna 2015
Arguably one of the most famous and revered motorcycle racers, Valentino Rossi has probably spawned more merchandise and hero liveries than any racer and this AGV K1 helmet replicates the design he used in 2015. The K1 comes in two shell sizes to ensure a perfect fit and features a spoiler for aerodynamic efficiency. The vents allow optimal air flow into the helmet and the visor is ready for a Pinlock anti-mist insert. SHARP rating: N/A
So it may not have the full-on peak but there is more than a passing resemblance to the helmet Master Chief John-117 wears in the Halo family of games as he goes about eradicating the Covenant.
This lid from Icon is finished in patina’d military green and comes with a gold visor in the box for use... off-road... as well as a road-legal clear one. It has four intake vents, two exhaust ports and as well as the large external visor, has a drop-down internal sun visor.
SHARP rating: 3/5
Some say people used to wear these helmets before they were approved for bikes. Some say they used to be known as u2018Stormtroopersu2019. All we know is... this is a proper, ECE 22.05 approved motorcycle crash helmet that looks just like the one the Stig wore.
It comes with a large, distinctive main visor and a drop-down sun visor with plenty of vents and internal channels for cooling airflow. It is also ready to accept a range of Bluetooth headsets. Just don’t mention cold snacks...
SHARP rating: 4/5
Arai RX-7V Hayden
Not a cheap helmet but the RX-7V from Arai, here shown in a replica of the late American racer Nicky Haydenu2019s design from his time in World Superbikes, uses the companyu2019s u2018Glancing offu2019 design, which seeks to minimise rotational injuries as well as direct impacts.
It has a wide field of vision from the Pinlock Max Vision-equipped visor and the interior is adjustable for a perfect fit. It has emergency release cheekpads and a spoiler for aerodynamic efficiency.
SHARP rating: 5/5
The SHARK Spartan is an excellent helmet even before you finish it in a replica of the distinctive design that Jorge Lorenzo wore to fourth place in the 2017 Austrian GP and limit it to just 1500 examples.
The Spartan uses a composite fibre construction with SHARK’s flush-fitting visor mechanism covers for low noise. It has a double spoiler with air extractors at the rear and two inlets at the front; the chin and forehead. It comes with a Pinlock insert and a drop-down sun visor.
SHARP rating: 4/5
HJC RPHA 11 Joker
Itu2019s not just Marvel that manufacturer HJC has a licence with; some of DCu2019s iconic characters, such as Gothamu2019s scourge and Batmanu2019s arch-nemesis Joker are also available.
The RPHA 11 is formed in a multi-composite shell that comes in three sizes for a perfect fit. Both ECE 22.05 and ACU Gold approved, it comes with a Pinlock anti-fog insert and both a clear and light-smoked visor in the box. Plenty of ventilation will keep you cool.
SHARP rating: 3/5
Shoei X-Spirit III
Shoeiu2019s flagship helmet has been designed for u2013 and inspired by u2013 the racetrack and the shell comes in four sizes to allow a perfect fit for any racer. This version is a replica of the livery used by Alex de Angelis when he rode in the MotoE race in San Marino and like that helmet, features a race visor with Pinlock insert and a traditional double-D ring fastening.
Ventilation is key for the track and so, there are inlets in the chin and brow and the rear spoiler is designed for aerodynamic efficiency and to work with the hump on racing leathers. There are other liveries available, including Marc Marquez.
SHARP rating: 5/5