What to look for when buying a motorcycle helmet

Arguably, it’s your single most important piece of protective kit. Knowing what to look for when buying a Motorcycle Helmet will ensure that you end up buying a lid that will give you the best protection in the event of a crash.

All helmets sold in the UK must satisfy either British Standard 6658:1985 or ECE Regulation 22.05 standards.  Look for a label inside the helmet (usually on the chin strap) or on the shell to confirm this.

So, they all meet the same ‘minimum requirements’, but which ones are best? That’s where we would advise checking things like ‘Sharp Ratings’. SHARP is an independent rating system for lids sold in the UK. It’s a UK Government programme that provides a 1-5 star safety rating: an indication of how much protection a helmet offers in an impact. They use a tried and tested method to test all 4 common impact zones on a helmet, and rate them on their overall performance. The results can be surprising, as paying top dollar does not necessarily always mean top protection!
Choosing a helmet that fits correctly is absolutely vital.  If it moves around on your head, it’s not going to offer you the intended protection in the event of an accident.
For more information about getting the right fit, we recommend that you head over to GetGeared, who have published a useful article on checking you are buying the right size lid!

Never buy a second-hand helmet.  We honestly can’t stress that enough! The external appearance can disguise damage to the protective material inside the helmet.


Protect your Eyes

When riding, you should always use a visor or googles carrying an ECE, CE, or BSI approval mark. Its not a legal requirement, but it is in our opinion, stupid not to. During daylight hours a tint of up to 50% is ok – legal tinted visors will be marked “For daylight use only”.  Before setting off, make sure your visor is clean and free of smudges, scratches, or marks that could affect your vision, especially in strong sunlight!

Strap Up

Always secure your helmet properly using the chin strap and check the adjustment before every trip.  Even with a good fit, a helmet that has not been properly strapped on is likely to come off in a crash.  A Strap which is too long could cause irritation and affect your concentration, so make sure you fully tuck it away.  There are 3 common strap types, the ‘Double-D’ and the ‘Ratchet Strap’ and the ‘Belt Buckle’.  Whilst the latter 2 are more convenient, many people insist that the original Double-D is the way to go. (Including most race tracks, who enforce their use on the track)


Theses days, its often easiest to get the helmet that you want from an online retailer such as GetGeared, This is because they tend to range the largest range of brands, graphics, colours and models. They offer 365 day FREE returns, so you can order your lid, and if its not the perfect size then you can exchange it no problems for the right size. If you do happen to have a decent local bike gear shop, then pop in and try them on to get your sizing right first time. GetGeared have provided an excellent guid to getting your helmet fitting right when buying online, check it out here.


There should be no tight spots or pressure points. Wear the helmet for several minutes in the store before you make a purchase, as in most retail shops you will not be able to take it back after leaving with it. One of the benefits of buying online is that you are protected under the distance selling regulations, meaning you can exchange your lid (providing its not been used outside on the bike and has just been tried on).


Look out for the British Standard, or ECE mark previously mentioned, but also do check out the latest SHARP ratings to see that you’re buying a lid with a decent test result. (New models are tested weekly)

Low Noise

A noisy helmet can lead to tiredness which will affect your concentration. Noise can be influenced by a number of factors including the fit of the helmet, your riding position and the style of Motorcycle that you ride. Speak to other motorcyclists, go online, or consult your local dealer to find the best model for you.

When not wearing your lid, keep it somewhere it can’t fall or be knocked. It’s a good idea to store it out of direct sunlight when not in use as UV rays and heat can affect the components of the helmet.

We recommend the following online retailers : GetGeared, SportsBikeShop, and GhostBikes.

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