Best motocross and dirtbike helmets

Protection for off-road riding differs from what you need for the road - here’s how.

Rider wearing a motocross helmet

by Jim Blackstock |

We've already looked at dirtbike helmets for kids – and with good reason. When little ‘uns begin their motorcycling journey, they are likely to do so off-road as they can usually ride smaller bikes and cut their teeth in an environment where if they do fall, they are less likely to hurt themselves.

However, for adults, while the same basics of protecting the head when riding off-road apply, things get a bit more demanding. Adults are likely to be going faster, so the chances of getting hurt in an off are higher.

Adults may also be riding their dirt bikes or off-road bikes on the road, either between off-road sections, if they are greenlaning, or to and from their ultimate destinations.

Of course, they may also simply be using the bike entirely off-road – it may not even be road registered, but they demand the same levels of protection as any road helmet will provide.

What to look for in a dirtbike helmet

The main difference between a road and a motocross or dirtbike helmet is the provision of a visor. Most MX helmets are designed to be used with goggles, as these can offer a better view as well as maximising airflow to the rider’s head in what is likely to be a strenuous and demanding riding environment.

They will also have a peak to keep the sun, rain and debris from other riders away from the goggles and the chin bar will be extended, again to maximise airflow for cooling and for breathing by the rider.

Ideally you should be looking for helmets approved to ECE22.05, as this will certainly be necessary for use on the road. However, even if using off-road, then it establishes that the helmet meets that safety standard.

Related: Top enduro motorcycle helmets

If you intend to use it in proper racing, it will also need to be ACU (Auto Cycle Union, the governing body of UK motorcycle racing) approved as well, to a minimum of Silver standard for off-road racing (Gold is for road racing on sealed surfaces).

Another technology adopted by professional MX riders is the Mips slip-plane, a plastic layer between the inner and outer sections of the helmet that allows the helmet to rotate in relation to the head in a glancing impact. This helps to dissipate energy and reduce rotational brain injuries in riders.

Here is a selection of motocross and dirtbike helmets to keep you protected.

Not only is Wulf a well-recognised brand, but this helmet also gets good reviews online and is

Wulf Off-road Pro

The cheek pads can also be removed for washing and the peak is replaceable should it get damaged in use. Available in six sizes and in seven different colourways, it comes with a storage bag and is both ECE22.05 and ACU approved.

Approval: ECE22.05, ACU

The Bell MX-9 Mips packs a huge number of features into a great-value price. It uses a

Bell MX-9 Mips

It also has the Mips system installed, designed to reduce rotational brain injuries in a fall. It comes in three shell sizes to make sure the fit is right every time and the anti-bacterial interior is removable for washing. It is fastened with a double D-ring strap and comes with a five-year warranty.

Approval: ECE22.05

Ou2019Neal is another brand with an enviable reputation in the off-road and motocross worlds, and

Ou2019Neal 2 Series

It also has a fully removable and washable liner and numerous ventilation access and exhaust ports including the large, mesh-covered chin vent. It has soft rubber edging around the nose port, fastens with a double D-ring strap and has an adjustable peak. It is both ECE and DOT approved.

Approval: ECE22.05

If you want some retro styling to your off-road helmet, then this one from Dexter will do just

Dexter Emmet

The interior is both hypoallergenic and removeable for washing and features faux leather detailing to complete the retro look. It comes with a tinted peak and goggles with both tinted and clear lenses and has multiple vents for cooling.

Approval: ECE22.05

Iu2019ve used various bits of kit from budget manufacturer Viper in the past and have always been

Viper RSX121

It uses a thermo-resin plastic shell with a removable and washable lining and a double D-ring strap for the correct fit every time. It’s not the lightest – 1500g quoted weight – but it has an adjustable peak and is approved for road use in the UK and Europe and is also ACU approved.

Approval: ECE22.05, ACU

Another budget helmet, this example from LS2 is formed in the companyu2019s Kinetic Polymer Alloy

LS2 Fast Evo

The interior is removable for washing and it also features an emergency release system in case it needs to be removed quickly. It comes with a double D-ring fastening and an adjustable peak.

Approval: ECE22.05

Fox is another brand with plenty of experience - and products u2013 for the motocross and dirtbike

Fox V1

The peak is attached by Fox’s magnetic system so it comes off easily in the event of a crash and the comfort liner is removable for washing. It has 11 intake and four exhaust vents for comfort and is both ECE and ACU approved.

Approval: ECE22.05, ACU

This helmet from X-Lite is not cheap but thatu2019s hardly surprising u2013 the shell is formed in

X-Lite X-502 Carbon

The peak is adjustable and the lining and cheek pads are removable for washing. It is also ready for a drink system, with a side mounting and flexible section around the chin guard.

Approval: ECE22.05, ACU

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