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Helmets should be the first piece of gear you invest in, not only because in most places it is illegal to ride without one but also because your head is (hopefully) the thing you will care about protecting the most.
Buying your helmet first before your other gear has a benefit for a variety of reasons, the main being your budget will probably be at its largest allowing you to get the best you can afford and not skimp on quality or safety.
No matter whether it’s your first or 100th helmet, buying something that you are entrusting your life to can be a bit nerve-racking. We have pulled together a list of the best womens motorcycle helmets like the Scorpion EXO-R420 so you can choose with some confidence.
If none of our picks spin your wheels, there is also a list of tips, tricks, and considerations for you to take along as you venture out to buy your own.
Best Womens Motorcycle Helmets
Best Overall – Scorpion EXO-R420
Entry-level Snell approved helmets are hard to come by, which is why the Scorpion EXO-R420 is such a great helmet and our pick for the best overall. It is a sleek looking, racer-inspired helmet that comes at a ridiculously good price.
There is an LG polycarbonate shell that is lightweight but very strong. It also used the Ellip-Tec II Ratchet System which allows you to change face shields hassle-free and without the need for tools. The inner liner is removable, washable, and made with anti-microbial fabric, which helps to regulate the temperature.
Our favorite feature is the emergency release system cheek pads, which allow emergency service personnel to take out the cheek pads in order to remove the helmet without causing further damage to your neck in the event of an accident.
One thing we found was the sizing could be slightly off depending on the shape of your head, so we recommend trying this one on in person before buying.
Overall, this helmet offers the best bang for your buck out of our line-up today. A lot of these features are found solely on helmets that will cost you anywhere for $300 upwards, and to find them in the Scorpion EXO-R420 with a SNELL certification is a steal.
Best All-Rounder – Shoei GT-Air II
This helmet is on the higher end of the budget scale but it is worth the investment. Shoei never fails to disappoint and when they come out with helmets like the Shoei GT- Air II, it’s not hard to see why. The helmet is packed full of features like the drop-down sun visor, foam cheek pads, and an emergency quick release system, to name a few.
The shell is made of fiber materials combined with elastic organic fibers which are strong and lightweight. It is aerodynamic, good looking, and now features a QSV-2 drop-down sun visor, which is 5mm longer than the previous model. The ratchet chin strap is also very helpful and the E.Q.R.S (emergency quick release system) means the cheek pads can be removed, allowing the helmet to come off easily in the event of an accident.
One slight issue we have noticed is, if you are a sports bike riding depending on how low you tuck, your range of vision may be reduced by quite a bit. Its safety rating is also only D.O.T certified. Given the price, we would have liked to see some other safety certifications in there too.
With that being said, overall, the Shoei GT-Air II is a great women’s motorcycle helmet. It has all the features you look for in a higher-end helmet, and although the price tag is on the more expensive side we think it is worth every penny.
If full-face helmets aren’t quite what you are looking for, then take a look at the Neotec 2. It is very similar but with a Flip-Up design.
Best Budget Option – Bell Qualifier Full-Face Helmet
The Bell Qualifier Helmet is one of the most well-known entry-level helmets and for good reason. This bad-boy comes stock with everything you need to get out and start riding with confidence.
We love the look of the aerodynamic shell which is also super lightweight.
It has Bells ClickRelease face shield system, which is a bonus given this is an entry-level helmet. The style is really versatile and wouldn’t look out of place on a sports bike or a classic motorcycle.
Some of the features include a removable, washable liner as well as an antibacterial interior which is a bonus, and contoured cheek pads that add to the overall comfort of the helmet. The padded collar helps to reduce external noise like wind and a padded chin strap.
Some of our other favorite features include the internal pocket that allows you to add a motorcycle communication unit. NutraFog II superior anti-fog, anti-scratch, and UV protected shield, and the ventilation is adjustable, allowing you to stay cooler or warmer during your ride.
This helmet is also DOT approved and comes with a five-year warranty, which is great to see on such a budget-friendly helmet.
Overall this is a very well priced and versatile helmet, targeted at first-time bike owners. It has a good level of safety if you are a new rider and won’t break the bank.
If you want to add a bit of flair to your motorcycle gear, some color on your helmet is a great way to do that. The Bell Qualifier range has a lot of different color options, so be sure to check them all out.
Best Vintage Looking Helmet – Bell Bullitt Full-Face Motorcycle Helmet
Who doesn’t love that vintage/retro look when it comes to motorcycle helmets. The Bell Bullitt has been able to craft the ultimate retro-looking motorcycle helmet that fits modern safety standards and is packed with features.
The inspiration for this helmet comes from one of Bell’s original helmets called the Star. Bell has given the Bullitt a modern-day makeover bringing it up to meet DOT regulations while keeping the vintage vibes. It got its name from the classic film Bullitt which was a very nice touch.
The helmet itself comes equipped with a low profile fiber composite shell. The visor has a brown or black pull-down tab depending on the color of the shell. Unlike the original, the Bullitt has a removable, washable, and antibacterial interior.
Other extra features include the padded chin strap and five intake vents to keep you looking and feeling cool. 3D cut cheek pad, weighing just 3.24lbs and comes with an outstanding five-year warranty.
Overall this is a tidy looking helmet. It’s certainly not for everyone, but those in the market for a retro helmet should take a serious look. A lot of thought and effort has gone into the design and it is a helmet that should last you a long time.
Best Stand Out Full Face Helmet – MotoRadds Chin Mount for ICON Airflite Helmets
Being a women rider, we face enough stereotypes so why not go with a helmet that breaks them all and says I don’t care what anyone thinks. The Icon Airflite Helmet says exactly that, and it is certainly not for everyone. I couldn’t make up my mind when I first saw it, but after doing some research, I am loving it!
The Icon Airflite Helmet chin vent does have a slight Hannibal Lecter vibe, but it works. The helmet itself has a removable, washable liner and fog-free inner sun shield – very useful for people who like riding with their visor up but not with sunglasses.
The shell is polycarbonate and has a twin channel super vent cooling system. This is another helmet you might want to try on in the shop as they tend to run slightly too narrow for some people’s heads.
It had a D.O.T certification as well as the ECE 22-05 which means you can rest assured this helmet will do its job in the event of an accident. One feature we would have liked to have seen is some kind of emergency release system, but given the price, we can go without.
Overall this helmet is a great option for anyone wanting to stand out or say screw the stereotypes. It is certainly a unique looking helmet and comes with a good amount of features given the price.
Best Open Face Motorcycle Helmet – Arai Classic-V Helmet
Open Face Helmets are cool. They denote a certain type of rider so it is important to find one that goes with the look you are trying to portray and keeps you safe. This is where the Arai Classic-V Helmet takes the cake.
It is a little bit retro as all Open face Helmets should be but has all the modern features you want from a helmet in 2021. The shell is a PBcLc construction and has faux leather trim around the edge of the helmet.
One thing we loved was the amount of ventilation used in the helmet. It is often one thing that is overlooked with open face helmets but not here. There are three intake vents that are built-in as well as three rear exhausts to keep the air flowing.
We were a bit disappointed by the fact this helmet doesn’t come with a visor. There are places to clip the visor onto but they are sold separately.
Overall this is a really nicely designed helmet that is very versatile and a great option for scooter riders or people looking to take it slow and enjoy the view rather than chase down the horizon.
Best Off-Road Helmet – Arai Solid XD-4 MotoX Motorcycle Helmet
When you think of an off-roading helmet, the Arai XD4 should be one of the first things to pop into your mind as they are one of the only few to have gained a Snell safety rating, among other things.
They also include lots of other luxury features which are not as common in off-roading helmets; the comfort liner and cheek pads are great examples. The shell is very aerodynamic and even had funnels that channel air into the vents.
Overall this is a great helmet, but it does fall a bit out of the entry-level budget. However, if you are looking to invest in a quality off-road helmet, don’t look past the Arai XD4.
What to Consider When Buying A Women’s Motorcycle Helmet
Now I have heard a bunch of crazy rules when it comes to allocating how much to spend on a helmet for a beginner, ⅕ the price of your bike, the cost of you ⅓ of your budget for all your gear, and the fractions go on.
What you really need to consider is how much you can afford to spend (not want to spend) on a helmet, depending on your level of riding. Are you a learner rider, or are you looking to do some track days? If you are a new rider and looking at the price of Shoei makes you feel sick, I have some good news that entry-level helmets exist for that reason. They do the basics well and come at a price that won’t make you sick inside.
One of the best parts is the fact that your first helmet is never your last if you stick to riding. You will have years of being able to upgrade and find something that works perfectly for you.
Types of Helmets
For most people, a full-face helmet is a go-to option. They are considered to offer the best protection when compared to other types of helmets. The chin bar is perhaps the most distinguishing safety feature as studies show that the chin encounters a high percentage of impact during an accident, and having a reinforced chin bar that is part of the shell provides the best protection.
They are also very versatile and come in a lot of different styles and designs to accommodate different riders. For example, there are more extreme styles for sports bike riders as well as more relaxed styles for cruisers.
They also offer a fair few features even at the entry-level stage like ventilation, tinted visors, drop-down visors, removable liners, and more.
Overall they are a great choice in helmet purely for the high level of safety, but when combined with the amount of choice and extras, they are most peoples go to.
Open Face Helmets
Open face helmets, also known as a ¾ helmet, cover the top back and sides of your head but leaves your face exposed. They are popular amongst scooters, cafe racers, tourers, and cruisers, as the face area is kept open to feel the wind on their skin. The distinguishing feature of a ¾ helmet is the lack of a chin bar, which significantly reduces the safety of the motorcycle helmet, as it leaves your face exposed.
Open face helmets are considered structurally equal to a full-face helmet, in terms of safety in the areas that they do provide coverage. The weight is slightly less than the full-face helmet, due to the absence of the chin bar, but it isn’t a significant reduction.
In addition, because of the openness of the helmet, it does not protect you against weather conditions and road debris. They either come equipped with partial or full-face visors used to protect the eyes and face from sunlight, or it may require you to purchase the part separately.
A Flip or Flip-Up helmet is the best of both worlds. It combines the features of both a full face and an open helmet. They are a great option for touring because they have the advantage of being able to flip down into a full-face helmet when traveling at higher speeds and the flip up into an open face when you want to feel the wind in your hair.
Because they are mostly used for touring, they often come with a bunch of luxury features like Bluetooth, extra padding, and so on. One disadvantage is when you are using a flip helmet in the flip-up position you now have a great big non-aerodynamic mass on the top of your helmet.
There are certain models like flip all the off so you can store them in your purse or that flip all the way round to sit at the back of your helmet where they will be less bothersome.
It should come as no surprise to discover off-road helmets are designed to be worn off the road on first tracks. They have a different design than the full and 3/4 helmets because they are designed for the best protection to weight ratio.
They have a more accentuated chin bar which allows more air to flow, keeping the rider cooler. They also allow for a larger range of vision. This does mean that they typically need to be worn with goggles or glasses to protect your eyes. In cases where there is a lot of dust, goggles are preferable.
Because of their lightweight minimalist design, they often forgo comfort features like Bluetooth. One thing they are packed with however, is ventilation.
The sizing of your helmet is perhaps the most important phase of the buying process. It’s wonderful having the very best protection money can buy but if it does not fit correctly, it is not going to be able to protect your head as it should.
Before you start looking, you want to make sure you know the measurements of your head.
It is important to remember that each manufacturer has slightly different sizing. So even after you know whether to be browsing in the small, medium, or large section, it also pays to remember the measurement in cm so you can find a better exact fit.
It is really important to try on the helmet before buying it in order to check if it is a good fit. If you have long/thick hair, come prepared by wearing your hair in the hairstyle you ride in. If you wear thick plaits while riding and try on with your hair out, you might find it fits a bit different when you put it on for your first ride.
The helmet should be tight but not uncomfortable (it will give a bit as you wear it in). A rough guideline to how a helmet should fit is to check if you can fit two fingers under the chin strap but not three, and that it does move much if you shake your head.
If you are not feeling confident, don’t be afraid to ask someone who knows their stuff to come with you or ask at the shop if one of the staff can check the fit for you. Make sure you wear it for a few minutes to really and get a feel for it.
Buying Second Hand
Do not buy a second-hand helmet. This is a big no-no in the biking community and for very very good reasons. Unless this helmet was a mates who is pedantic and you can bet your life on the fact she stored it out of the sun, never dropped it, never crashed in it, and that it was bought not too long ago…do not buy it.
Helmets are the most important part of your kit. They will stop your skull from splitting when you have an accident. The rule of thumb is you should be replacing your helmet roughly every five years. Of course, this depends on a variety of factors like the material used, if you have had any accidents and how you treat it. Buying a helmet that’s already a few years old only shortens the time you will actually be able to wear it, meaning you are just going to end up sending more in the long run.
The other most important factor is that you don’t know what has happened to this helmet. Has it been dropped once, weakening the structural integrity? Has it been dropped multiple times? Where has it been stored, and how has it been stored?
There are so many questions that you can never be 100% sure about. We all know the temptation of seeing your dream helmet for sale with the tagline “like brand new,” but you have to stop and ask yourself do I trust this stranger with my life. Because at the end of the day, if you end up in an accident and you are wearing a second-hand helmet, how it has been treated by someone else will decide the level of protection you get.
Saving the extra cash isn’t worth your life. Buy an entry-level helmet that you know will protect you and spend a bit longer saving for the one you really want.
Motorcycle helmets are designed to protect your head if you crash on a motorbike. This is no easy thing, given the crash could occur anywhere from 10km/h to 200km/h if we are being realistic.
This means the shell or outpart of the helmet must be made of some pretty hard stuff.
Its main job is to spread the impact force from the crash over a larger area while not cracking or splitting. The outer shell is typically made from polycarbonate plastic, Kevlar, fiberglass, or a composite mix of the three.
Fiberglass is relatively inexpensive to produce. It is molded into the shell and the final product is lightweight and strong. Most entry-level helmets will most likely have a fiberglass shell for this reason. Fiberglass does a great job at spreading the force of the impact, but because it is brittle in comparison to most of the out materials, it cracks the easiest.
Carbon fiber is a step up from fiberglass. It is naturally incredibly strong and, at the same time, manages to stay lightweight too. They do an excellent job of spreading the force from the impact and are less prone to cracking or breaking. Because helmets using carbon fiber shells are so durable, they come with a higher price tag.
Kevlar is often mixed with either a fiberglass or carbon fiber helmet to increase its strength. Kevlar is so strong it is used to make bulletproof vests, and you will find it in a lot of high-end motorcycle gear like jackets or pants. Because of its super-strength, less is needed which helps to reduce weight. Kevlar is not often used on its own, as its weak point is compression.
There are also specially engineered thermoplastics like polycarbonate that can be used to great a strong and safe outer motorcycle helmet shell.
Helmet fit is very important because an ill-fitting helmet is not only uncomfortable and distracting but will not protect you as it should in the event of an accident. Mainly comes down to sizing but it applies to your current helmet too. It is a good idea to try on your helmet as if you were looking to buy it and test for the fit every once in a while. Is it still tight enough? Is it still comfortable?
When looking to buy a helmet, especially your first helmet, all the safety acronyms can be confusing. They are, however, important, so I am going to try and break them down for you to digest in small chunks.
The first step is to read through the brief breakdown of what each jumble of letters and numbers means.
D.O.T ( Department of Transportation FMVSS218)
The D.O.T mark indicates that the helmet meets the minimum level of protection and is the general level you will need for your helmet to be legal. In order for a helmet to gain this certification, it must pass a series of tests done in the manufacturer’s labs.
Snell Memorial Foundation
Helmets with a Snell certification have passed a series of tests like that of the D.O.T certification, only at a higher level. Some of these tests include Impact testing, Dynamic retention testing, chin bar testing, and so on. If budget isn’t an issue, we would definitely recommend splashing out for a women’s motorcycle helmet with a Snell certification.
European Standard 22/05
The European standard, like the D.O.T and Snell certifications, require a certain number of tests to be performed on the helmet. The pass mark varies slightly, and the European standard adds a shell rigidity test that is not performed in either the D.O.T or Snell tests.
European BSI 6658-85 Type A
There is a second test coming under the European name. The testing for the European BSI 6658-85 Type A is similar to the Snell tests.
SHARP is for helmets sold in the United Kingdom, and instead of having a flat out pass or fail score, the SHARP system measures the helmets with stars. The stars represent how well (or not so well) the helmet passed (or failed) the tests.
Now the second thing you want to check is what are the safety requirements for your country or state. Generally, the basic D.O.T safety rating will be good enough but it is always important to double-check.
If you can afford to go for the highest level of safety, then go for it. Otherwise, the last thing you want to consider is the riding you will be doing. Are you going to be doing track days, riding to and from school, or a fine weather rider?
If you are just starting out, there is nothing wrong with looking at the entry-level helmets. They will protect you when you crash and won’t break the bank. Then if you decide riding is for you, once you are ready for a new helmet, start looking at women’s helmets that have a few more features that will make them a bit more enjoyable.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there specific helmets for women?
The difference between men’s and women’s motorcycle helmets is not like that of the difference between motorcycle jackets, for example. Head shape is generally very similar between both sexes, which is why most physical stores display helmets that are gender-neutral or don’t separate them into male and female zones. It should always come down to the best fit for your head rather than worrying about whether it is a men’s or women’s helmet.
How often should I replace my helmet?
The General rule of thumb for when to replace your helmet is around the five-year mark.
This is dependent on a variety of factors. If you have had an accident, then you should be seriously looking at replacing your helmet straight away. If you have a high-quality helmet that has always been stored correctly and never dropped, you might get more than five years out of it.
Last update on 2021-03-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API