How to buy an open face helmet?

Café racer, custom, classic or commuter. There’s an open face helmet for every persuasion…

FIT

A well-fitted open face helmet should feel similar to a full face, snug yet not uncomfortably tight – you need to feel the helmet’s liner touching all the way over your head. Measure round your head at the widest point to find out what size you need, but bear in mind not all helmets use the same fitting guidelines.

For example, Davida helmets come up small so you may need a size up. Just like Shoei and Arai suit different types of head shape, so Davida suits a more narrow head.

BRANDS

Caberg, Scorpion and Spada have the entry-level market covered and a lot of their designs include decent features that the high end manufacturers have been slow to adopt. Of the premium manufacturers Arai’s X-Tend (£300) is a direct competitor of Shoei’s J-Cruise (£310) and both feature full face visors that run right down to the chin.

Shoei are also bringing out the Shoei J.O jet-style open face, with interesting graphics options – it’ll cost around £80 more than the Arai Freeway. Schuberth’s £330 M1 is a quiet helmet beloved of commuters. Davida only make open face helmets handmade to order. They take two weeks to reach you from placing the order at a base price of £265. It’s £40 extra to customise each element.

SAFETY

The main body of open facers passes the same safety checks as full helmets: the European standard ECE 22.05. More expensive helmets will have passed the standard by a much higher margin than cheaper options and this normally comes down to the materials used in the design.

For example, the average helmet over £200 will have a fibreglass shell like the Arai Freeway, or composite like the Shoei J-Cruise. These materials are much stronger and lighter than the cheaper polycarbonate you will find in the £45 Spada Open.

STYLE

Customers who buy this kind of helmet normally have a classic or custom bike, or ride a scooter. The jet-style classic helmets like the £200 Arai Freeway are good for classic bikes. Buy a helmet with popper studs so that you can fit a bubble visor if you want a café racer look.

Integrated visors are fitted to more modern designs, such as the Shoei J-Cruise or £75 Caberg Riviera – these are popular with scooter riders and commuters. The Caberg sells well because it’s small enough to fit under a scooter seat. Helmets come in a range of colours. Expect matt black as an option on nearly every model, but Davida offer a range of options that cannot be touched and the quality is fantastic too.

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