In this post, which is Part 1 of 2 posts, I am going to have a look at the best value motorcycle helmets within the cruiser motorcycle helmet range. So, what do we mean when we say best motorcycle helmet for a cruiser?
Personally, I define a cruiser motorcycle not so much as the brand or size of your bike, but what you are using it for. I mean, whether you are using a Vespa scooter to navigate your favorite roads or the latest Triumph Rocket 3 GT to travel through Europe, you are cruising in my books and you form part of the biker “brotherhood”.
You are going to need a safe, comfortable and good-looking lid to donne your head. Take note of the order used in my previous sentence. Above all else, safety must be your priority when choosing any cruiser motorcycle helmets. Whether you are a first time buyer or purchasing to replace your current helmet, I want to help you make the best choice.
In this post I will be looking at full face bike helmets as the most popular choice but included the modular helmet style as this is becoming very popular amongst motorcyclists.
I also realize that there are many “brothers” who like the half face and open face style of helmet. In my Part 2 post, I have specially selected the coolest ones to discuss and have chosen the most popular half face and open face cruiser helmets that are currently for sale. As an extra, I have included a special section on vintage leather motorcycle helmets.
Well, without further ado, let’s get rocking!
Full Face Bike Helmets
I often get asked; what is the safest motorcycle helmet? The good news is that the safest helmet to wear is also the most popular design of helmet and because of this fact, it gets the most research and development attention from the different manufacturers.
So to answer the question; the full face helmet
Full face bike helmets are by far the most comfortable motorcycle helmets on the market and this includes excellent ventilation systems, the option of adding helmet accessories and in some cases added versatility, like with the modular type motorcycle helmets.
In the below, I discuss my top 10 of the more popular helmets, but in no particular order or price and lastly, I will reveal which helmet is my choice and why.
Let’s get going.
Suomy SR Sport Helmet
Born and developed on the race tracks in Italy, for racing, the Suomy SR range is DOT and ECE approved, making it comply with the strictest of safety standards necessary for use on any race track in the world. Made famous by the legendary Max Biaggi in the 2001 Moto GP 500, Suomy has a strong link to Ducati super bike riders.
With its extremely light construction, striking colorful graphics and new improved visor mechanism, the Suomy is ready to take on most full face helmet manufacturers.
Improved front air ventilation and rear exhaust ports, the Suomy SR Sport is extremely comfortable. Just something to keep in mind, with previous models, it was recommended that you take a size larger than your normal helmet size, but with the new SR Sport, the size is correct as per the size chart.
The helmet comes with a 2-year warranty. One of the best full face helmets on the market today.
LS2 Vortex Modular Helmet
Price around the U$425 mark
Sitting at the top of LS2’s modular type helmets, is the LS2 Vortex. What makes this helmet stand out from the rest is the fact that its modular function can get locked into place, meaning that the chin guard can be locked into position, creating, a three-quarter helmet. This is done by a locking mechanism on the left-hand side of your helmet.
The LS2 Vortex is also one of the lightest modular helmets on the market today. It has active vents in the front and passive exhaust vents at the back.
Unfortunately, the airflow is a bit restricted inside the helmet, as there are no air flow grooves cut into the EPS liner. The front chin vent operating mechanism is too close to the visor and can accidentally be closed when you are attempting to open your visor. The drop down sun visor works very well but could drop down a little lower for better protection.
Otherwise, the Vortex is a wonderful helmet and comes standard with PinLock anti-fog mechanism and cut-outs on the inside of the helmet, to enable motorcycle helmet communication systems to be fitted.
Prices between U$360 and U$600 mark
“The best helmet I’ve ever owned!” Those were the words for a number of the owners I interviewed for my research. This is an incredible helmet. Part of the flip up motorcycle helmet family and arguably the lightest in its class as a result of the Carbon Fiber shell construction. DOT and ECE approved.
The Klim TK1200 flip up modular helmet gives extreme comfort both with the way it fits and with its now famous transition visor technology which allows it to react and tint in direct sunlight and change to normal when the sun goes down. No need to wear sun glasses and no need for an internal sun visor. The visor shape and size, also allows for exceptional visibility all round. Adding to the comfort is the low noise level at speed and the aerodynamic design which limits any buffeting that may occur, in turn aiding with any possible neck fatigue.
As you would expect for an upmarket helmet, it comes ready to fit most motorcycle helmet communication systems.
One gripe that seems to be raised, is the fact that the fit of a new Klim TK1200 is very tight, so tight that it actually causes discomfort with some wearers. But, and this is a BIG but, after a few hours of wearing it and putting it on and taking it off, the internal padding becomes softer and forms to your cheek structure, and then you have the most comfortable of helmets.
A truly great helmet and the ideal companion to the cruiser motorcycle fraternity.
Scorpion EXO R1 Air
Price around the U$450 mark
The latest full face helmet to come from the Scorpion manufacturer and like the other helmets from this stable, a very well-designed and good-looking helmet. They say that once you have been “stung” by the Scorpion, you will not go back to any other helmet…
This helmet comes standard with PinLock anti-fog system and the well-known KwikWick III interior lining which ensures a comfortable and dry ride.
The Scorpion EXO R1 Air also comes with the “AirFit inflation” system which is essentially an adjustment system for the helmet cheek pads, ensuring the most comfortable of fits. The helmet is equipped with a double D-ring tightening system and a chin curtain which helps reduce any road noise.
The EXO R1 is DOT and ECE approved and comes with a 5-year warranty
Shoei Neotec II Helmet
When people say that they should have bought the Shoei Neotec II helmet years ago or say things like “best helmet I’ve owned”, then it is evidence to the quality and comfort of this lid. Another excellent helmet from the Shoei factory and seems like they just keep designing great helmets.
Compared with the Shoei Neotec I helmet, the obvious differences are the more aggressive profile (I just love the Neotec II’s profile), the visor can now be cracked open, just enough, to allow the minimum of air in without feeling too cold. This is great for those riders who wear prescription glasses that tend to fog up. The front chin vent still works just as well and together with the top vent, ensures enough airflow inside the helmet. Both vents can be closed.
Another improvement to the Neotec I, is the larger chin skirt made from thicker material. This helps make the Neotec II a little quieter. The visor still comes with the “PinLock Evo” anti-fog system. There is also the added internal sun shield which operates very smoothly and comes down far enough for added protection.
Arai Corsair X
Prices between U$780 and U$960 mark
A very popular but expensive helmet because of the technology and engineering that goes into this helmet. Prices are higher also as result of the incredible graphics. There are very few helmets with the technological advancements as Arai has in their helmets. Just inspecting the Arai Corsair X, your attention is drawn to the flush temple covers for the visor and once these pop off, the visor mechanism is well-designed and of good quality. Will take some time to get used to the operation, but once done a few times, all you will do is admire the finish and smooth operation.
The Arai Corsair X comes standard with the “Maxivision” PinLock anti-fog shield. The “Maxivision” means that the PinLock shield covers the whole surface of the visor and no step or break in the visor surface is visible. This improves the overall vision.
The Arai Corsair X also comes with the updated ventilation system both front and rear. Only gripe I have is on the 3 top separate ventilation inlets, they each have their own opening and closing mechanism which is not very practical and makes the use awkward.
When inspecting the inner liner it is evident that the engineering design did not stop on the outside. Very good quality material, soft but supportive and once the helmet is on, it fits snug and very comfortable. The inner liner is not just for comfort but practical as well and minimal road noise is experienced once on the move. The Corsair X comes prepared to fit most motorcycle helmet communication systems.
Another great helmet by Arai and one well proven and worth the extra money.
Please look out for my upcoming review of the exciting and much anticipated Arai Concept X helmet. Where, “old school” cool meets modern Arai engineering. I am excited to get my hands on this one!
HJC RPHA 11
Prices between U$360 and U$560 mark
With 24 models to choose from, HJC helmets are able to keep their prices low when comparing similar upmarket brands.
With the HJC RPHA 11 you get a very capable, comfortable and high end helmet. The finish to this helmet is excellent and worth noting is the visor opening mechanism which is one of the best and easiest to use. The visor comes with the PinLock anti-fog shield and you also get a smokey colored visor as an extra. The visor has its locking clip in the middle bottom, which makes for a smooth open and close.
The ventilation is great and will keep your head cool in the warmest of weather. What is worth noting is the round dials to operate the top ventilation shoots. Something I would like other helmet manufacturers to look at, as it makes operating the vents very easy.
The interior is top-notch and very good quality. All linings and pads can be removed, as expected, and there is space for motorcycle helmet communication systems.
Comparing the price to other high end helmets, you get incredible value for money when purchasing this helmet.
Nolan N87 Helmet
Price around the U$270 mark
Visor and visor mechanism is pretty good and comes with PinLock anti-fog shield. Visibility is better than most. The Nolan N87 comes with a built in sun shield which is operated via a small lever on the left side of the helmet. Ventilation is standard and will keep you cool in warm weather. The top vents have individual operating switches, which is not ideal but does its job.
Interior liner is of good material and is comfortable. The cheek pads have no emergency release toggles. There are speaker cut-outs for fitting motorcycle helmet communication systems.
Overall an acceptable entry level helmet.
AGV Corsa R
The AGV Corsa R is classified as a premium street and sport helmet, but is equally at home on long stretches of your favorite roads. Light and comfortable when wearing but I have found it to be a bit noisy when compared to similar priced helmets.
It is DOT certified and SHARP rated.
A cool feature to this helmet is the head insert which is reversible. This means that it has a side which is made for warmer weather and the other side made for cooler weather. So, you have the choice of which side you want to use, depending on the weather.
The visor gives excellent visibility and the visor mechanism is very easy and smooth to operate.
One gripe I do have, is the aerodynamic spoiler situated at the back of the helmet. This is a very flimsy design and although it is made to break off during a fall, it will easily be damaged when bumped too hard.
The AGV Corsa R is a good-looking but average full face helmet.
Shoei X 14 Helmet
Prices between U$680 and U$750 mark
I just have to mention the “flagship” helmet of the Shoei brand. The “helmet of all helmets”, made famous by MotGP Marc Marquez, the current world champion.
Everything about the Shoei X 14 Helmet, oozes quality, comfort and “coolness”. This is arguably the quietest full face helmet on the market, with the most aerodynamic profile of all modern racing helmets. The great thing about this helmet, is that it is not just for fast riding and super bikes, but because of its design and being so quiet, it makes for a very special cruiser helmet.
All the aerodynamic attachments, like the “Rear Stabilizer” and the fitted rear flaps are all strategically placed to enhance the riders experience and ensure for the most comfortable ride. Even the visor has specially designed “vortex generators” which help reduce any air friction. This just proves to what lengths the R&D departments within Shoei has gone, to create this top premium full face helmet.
If price is no option or you just want the confidence knowing that you own one of the best full face helmets and be that the same helmet as used in MotoGP, then the Shoei X 14 is for you.
You won’t be sorry.
My Choice and Why
I choose the KLIM TK1200 flip up modular helmet.
This helmet gives extreme comfort both with the way it fits and with its famous transition visor technology which allows it to react and tint in direct sunlight. No need for an internal sun visor. The visor shape and size, also allows for exceptional visibility all round. Adding to the comfort is the low noise level at speeds and the aerodynamic design which limits any buffeting and in turn aids to eliminate possible neck fatigue.
The build quality and versatility of this helmet won me over and is my choice of helmet.