BoldRide Helmet Guide: 2014
Whether you're doing track days on your Ducati 1199 Superleggera or out for a leisurely rip through the countryside on your vintage Honda CB400, a helmet is a must-have piece of equipment. Here are five helmets that not only do an outstanding job at protecting your noggin, but look good in the process: Icon Airframe Ghost Carbon
Icon has come a long way in the last few years, providing high-quality, relatively inexpensive gear. Their top-of-the-line helmet is the Airframe Ghost Carbon, a full carbon fiber helmet with the company's own rubberized "Rubatone" finish. If matte black isn't your thing, for another $15, the Airframe Ghost Carbon comes with colors and graphics.
Safety: Meets or exceeds DOT FMVSS 218 (US), ECE 22-05 (Europe), SAI AS1698 (Australia) & SG (Japan)
PHOTOS: Full Galleries of the 2013 BMW S1000R
For a long time, dual sport riders face a helmet conundrum: They want a full-face helmet with an easy-to-use flip up faceshield and on-road head protection, but when the road turned to dirt, they loved the openness of a dirtbike helmet, with the sun-busting bonus of a visor. The industry came up with a great compromise, but the earliest helmets were pricey. Today, KLIM offers a great alternative at a price that's a lot easier to handle. The third generation F4 has tons of upgrades including better ventilation, bold graphics and an included Gore Windstopper cold-weather liner.
Safety: Exceeds SNELL 2010 and DOT FMVSS 218 standards
PHOTOS: Full Galleries of the U.S. Marine Corps' 1995 Harley-Davidson MT500
Retro-styled helmets are cool, but a lot of them you see reviewed aren't available for sale here in the United States because of our DOT standards. Bell -- which also makes an original line of the old 500 Custom open-face helmets from the 1970s -- stepped in with the Bell Bullitt, a lid inspired by the Bell Star, the original full-face motorcycle helmet. It's got a super-retro look, but it also provides a multi-density EPS liner, snap-in 3D cheek pads and a range of faceshields.
Safety: Exceeds AS, DOT and ECE standards
Like the Bell Bullitt, Biltwell was going for a super-retro look. They upped the ante with the boldest carnival-ride metalflake blue you've ever seen. It'd look right at home perched on the fender of your Meyers Manx. The helmet features an EPS inner shell and a removable, hand-stitched comfort liner with open-cell foam and brushed Lycra construction. The brushed Lycra extends to the chinstrap, making this as comfortable as it is cool. Bubble or Blast Sheild (flat) faceshields are sold separately for the super-reasonable price of $29.95 and $19.95 respectively.
Safety: Exceeds DOT FMVSS 218 standards
Shark is a French company relatively new to the US market. The Shark Raw is an "urban biking" helmet that combines solid head protection with a removable facemask. It's not a full-face helmet in the protective sense of the term, but it does offer a facemask for protection and weather comfort. The goggle straps are a part of the helmet, rather than the goggles, so you can swap out goggles as you wish, and the facemask can come off separately, as well.
Safety: Exceeds DOT and ECE standards