What Style of Motorbike Helmet is For You?
There are a few styles of motorbike helmet that offer differing styles, level of safety and comfort.
Some states and countries do not make helmet wearing compulsory, and some don't take it seriously, recently in India wearing a helmet was made compulsory, however the lack of defining safety measures behind a helmet found many Indians riding around with a carved out pumpkin on their head!
Personally I'd always recommend the use of a helmet. It's not your own riding that is the problem, but other road users tend to cause the majority of accidents involving motorbike riders, and for this reason, it's best to protect yourself against them, if not against your own ability.
Open Face Motorbike Helmets
Open face helmets (known charmingly as 'p!ss pots' in the UK) cover the cranium with the exception of the face. These designs maximize the air flow to the riders face (and the dirt!) and in doing so also offer the best visibility, the worst crash protection and something else.
These started off commonly used in military applications as orders could be shouted over air and heard by riders of off road motorbikes and are a popular Harley Davidson Helmet style due to tradition of the design.
Open face helmets come in 2 styles - half helmet and 3/4 helmet. As the names suggest, half helmet covers half of the head (as per the picture here) whereas 3/4 helmets come down below the ears offering more protection against the side of the head in comparison to a half helmet.
Modular Motorbike Helmets
Modular helmets are the most versitile of the bunch. You can literally pull parts off some of the designs to change the style as it suits you, usually they are also the most expensive for this reason also.
Modular helmets are popular with police riders and couriers, this is because they can have the full safety advantages of a full face helmet but be able to pull the front up to show their faces to communicate quickly without the need to remove their helmet.
The styles are various and you can have the back of the head, the chin guard, and visor all movable. The image I have provided here shows exactly what is possible and has a large amount of flexibility; with the chin, visor and sunglasses section all non-fixed.
Please note that these helmets must be worn correctly to benefit from their design. Just because the face flips up it doesn't mean you should ride with it up. Removing it completely if you want to do that is a better idea.
Full Face Motorbike Helmets
Full face helmets cover the entire head and offer the maximum safety and protection due to the lack of movable parts and added bulk.
Full face helmets are by far the most common type and are not only offered in many styles but many styles also have design tweeks to make them unique. Check out The Stig to the right here modelling his helmet! A design inspired by Darth Vader of the Star Wars fame.
Trials helmets are probably the most distinctive style out of the full face motorbike helmets due to their extended chin design. It is best when buying a full face helmet to check the ventilation you will get. Visors can get steamed up without adequate ventilation which is dangerous on the road.