What Do You Look for in an Off-Road Helmet?

What to Look for in an Off- Road Helmet

Off-road and Motocross helmets provide unique features usually not found in standard motorcycle helmets. The main advantages being optimized ventilation (nose / mouth / sides / top) and a flip-up visor that also serves as a face shield. The three types of safety helmets are Full-Face, Open-Face, and Off-road / Motocross. To determine which style is best for you, consider the following:

  • Full Faced helmets, safety helmets come with integrated face shields and an extended molding for additional protection for your chin and mouth. These types of safety helmets provide excellent protection.
  • Open-Face helmets provide the least protection and do not have the extended molding to guard the chin and mouth area. They do have a chin strap that basically keeps the helmet on your head.
  • Off-Road / Motocross helmets are recommended for those who ride their ATVs aggressively. These safety helmets cover most of your face and have a solid piece of molding jutting out over your chin and jaw for optimal protection, and a flip-up visor / face-shield. Although Full both-Face and Off-Road safety helmets both provide excellent protection, Off-Road helmets are uniquely designed for rigorous Off-Road riding.

Make sure it is comfortable. The things that will have the most effect on a safety helmet's comfort are plenty of padding, a good seal around the ears without touching the ears, a neck roll that rests against the back of your head and neck, and no inside protrusions.

Make sure it is DOT and / or Snell certified. Snell certified helmets meet stricter standards. Wearing a helmet that meets the US Department of Transportation (DOT) standards is the law in many states – and for good reason. Helmets save lives. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), helmets have a 35% effectiveness rate in preventing fatalities. In 2003, for example, helmet use was credited with saving 1,158 lives. Had these fortunate riders not used a helmet, the fatality rate would have risen from 3,661 to 4,819, more than a third higher.

The more EPS (Expanded PolyStyrene) liner inside the helmet the better since it absorbs the force of an impact. Some helmets just use the minimum EPS required while others line the entire shell with it. If your safety helmet includes a chin-bar the EPS should extend there also.

Face-shields should meet VESC-8 or ANSI Z-87 standards. The most important face-shield features are:

  • Easy to open
  • It should stay up when raised
  • It should not distort your view (make straight lines appear curvy) or block your peripheral vision