When contemplating a long trip by motorcycle you need complete confidence your helmet will be 100% comfortable for the duration.
If you’re buying a new lid just for the trip, test it for at least a month before setting off. Reading helmet reviews is tricky because what fits someone else might not suit your head shape, so it’s worth trying on as many as you can before buying.
There are road, off-road, adventure and flip-up helmets to choose from for travelling. Here’s our pros and cons of each and a little about our personal preference.
Road bike helmets
Road helmets can be worn for adventure travelling. The negative is that they tend not to have as much ventilation as adventure bike helmets, the visor opening is smaller, the mouthpiece ventilation is almost always less than an adventure bike helmet, interior padding isn’t made for sweaty rides and they don’t have peaks.
Peaks aren’t a must, but they’re helpful in sunny countries. However, if you’re not thinking of riding off-road much road helmets are the way to go because they’re more aerodynamic and don’t have unnecessary extras.
Dirt bike helmets
These are perfect for off-road focused travel. Dirt bike and motocross helmets are the lightest lids with wide front openings for goggles, peaks for protection from the sun and stray stones and they let in the most amount of air. Goggles allow more air to flow through your helmet and they protect your eyes from dust better than visors.
Adventure bike helmets
Adventure bike helmets are hybrids of dirt bike and road bike lids. They have wider visor openings, more ventilation, often come with removable peaks and can usually take goggles or a visor.
Lids like the Arai Tour X4 and Klim Krios or Krios Pro use visors, but the openings are big enough to take goggles. The vast majority of helmets like this are road lids with more vents, peaks and wider openings.
Our personal choice: Flipfront adventure helmet
We recommend adventure-styled helmets for travelling, but more specifically – a particular flipfront adventure bike helmet.
I’ve just switched to a new Schuberth E2 flipfront, because I had a Schuberth E1 beforehand, and a Schuberth C3 Pro flip-up for years before that. The E2 is an adventure version of the Schuberth C5 flipfront helmet.
Alissa and I prefer flipfront helmets because they make life so much easier when travelling. Pulling over for directions, taking a photo, having a chat, a quick sip of water, a bite to eat, stopping at petrol stations etc. It’s just easier and more comfortable for us, but it’s personal preference, so go for what works best for you.
Things to consider when buying a helmet…
- Is the padding easy to remove and washable?
- Does it have decent mouth ventilation?
- Does it have a flick down/up internal sun visor
- Is it light?
- Does it have a peak?
- Is it easy to lift the visor with a gloved thumb?
- Do you prefer D-rings or a clip to fasten the strap?
- Does it come with a fog-free or Pinlock visor?
- Is the visor easy to take off and clean?
- Have you checked the safety rating?
- Top tip: Look at all your helmet’s colour options. A different colour could be quite a bit cheaper.
Andy Davidson and his wife Alissa have just restarted their round-the-world odyssey, having replaced their trusty Yamaha XT660 with a pair of Honda CRF300L machines. Andy is a former MCN journalist and travel writer and the couple run the blog site www.madornomad.com. You can also follow their progress on social media as Mad or Nomad.