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.

Wulf Off-road Pro

Wulf Off-road Pro
Amazon

View offer

Not only is Wulf a well-recognised brand, but this helmet also gets good reviews online and is Amazonu2019s Choice for u2018Motocross helmetu2019. It uses a shell formed in TPR plastic with a removable interior to allow for washing.

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

Bell MX-9 Mips

Bell MX-9 Mips

View offer

The Bell MX-9 Mips packs a huge number of features into a great-value price. It uses a polycarbonate shell with an adjustable peak and Bellu2019s Velocity Flow ventilation system to keep the rideru2019s head cool.

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 2 Series

Ou2019Neal 2 Series
Amazon

View offer

Ou2019Neal is another brand with an enviable reputation in the off-road and motocross worlds, and with good reason. This helmet features a shell formed in ABS plastic and comes up relatively light u2013 a quoted weight of 1450g for a Medium is certainly not heavy.

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

Dexter Emmet

Dexter Emmet

View offer

If you want some retro styling to your off-road helmet, then this one from Dexter will do just that. It will conjure images of desert racers and riders from California in the 1960s and 70s u2013 on any Sunday-style. However retro the resign though, the technology is thoroughly modern, with a fibreglass shell for strength and low weight u2013 just 1250g.

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

Viper RSX121

Viper RSX121
Amazon

View offer

Iu2019ve used various bits of kit from budget manufacturer Viper in the past and have always been impressed by the quality and value for money, so there is no reason why this motocross helmet should be any different.

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

LS2 Fast Evo

LS2 Fast Evo

View offer

Another budget helmet, this example from LS2 is formed in the companyu2019s Kinetic Polymer Alloy (KPA), a form of thermo-resin plastic. The liner is formed from multi-density EPS with channels formed within to aid airflow throughout the helmet, from the front-mounted inlet vents to the rear exhaust ones.

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 V1

Fox V1
Amazon

View offer

Fox is another brand with plenty of experience - and products u2013 for the motocross and dirtbike worlds. This V1 helmet is formed with an injection-moulded ABS plastic shell which comes in six sizes to get a perfect fit. The multi-density EPS liner also comes in six sizes and it is fitted with the Mips rotational-energy reduction system.

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

X-Lite X-502 Carbon

X-Lite X-502 Carbon

View offer

This helmet from X-Lite is not cheap but thatu2019s hardly surprising u2013 the shell is formed in super-light yet strong carbon fibre and the aggressive styling is designed for the motocross track. The shell is formed with the racing ventilation system with numerous vents to admit and remove air and it is also fitted with an emergency cheek pad release system for emergency teams.

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

What to read next:

Top Arai motorcycle helmets

Best three-season motorbike gloves

Garage essentials for a basic motorbike toolkit

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us