When it comes to protecting your head, full face helmets are the best and safest choice. They have better structural integrity than other helmet types, and their design provides more room for features that enhance the riding experience.
But not all full face helmets are created equal, and there are thousands of different options available. So how can you make sure your full face helmet will satisfy you—and more importantly, that it can protect you when you need it most?
Below, I’ll show you some of my favourite full face motorcycle helmets that are currently on the market. BBM has spent years testing helmets from big and small brands alike, so we know a few things about what will keep you safe, comfortable, and looking sharp while you ride.
Shoei GT-Air II
The Shoei GT-Air II is one of those expensive full-face helmets that is totally worth it. The helmet has plenty of features, and it’s an exceptionally well-made lid. The helmet is one of the best all-around helmets on the market.
The GT-Air II features an aerodynamic shell that has what Shoei calls an Advanced Integrated Matrix shell. It’s a special fiberglass blend. Inside the shell is a multi-piece EPS liner. The shell is slightly raised at the front to keep the EPS liner intact and still allow for a sun visor.
Additionally, the helmet features a series of vents for airflow, breath guard, chin curtain, an eyeglass compatible interior, removable and washable interior, and a Pinlock face shield.
Released in Q2 2021, the EXO-R1 Air Carbon takes the same design as the EXO-R1 and replaces the fiberglass and aramid weave with full 3K carbon fiber weave construction. This is the same grade carbon fiber specification that is used in aircraft manufacturing, so it is extremely strong, yet flexible enough to dissipate some impact force all on its own.
The helmet combines that with a very quiet shell shape that literally cuts the air more than ramming into it, and one of the largest visors you can get on the market today. The ventilation system, while simple, is extremely effective, and the AirFit inflatable cheek pad system ensures you have a tight but comfortable fit, on every ride.
The R1 Air Carbon carries DOT and ECE 22.05 certifications.
AGV went all out in the design of the K6, seeking to create the ultimate sports-touring helmet. AGV already has a well-earned reputation for safe helmets, but the K6 steps it up with a 5 density EPS liner, covered by a shell made from Carbon and Aramid fibers. The result is a 5-star SHARP rating, no easy feat.
The design goals for this lid were lofty and appear to all have been achieved. The airflow is good and this is a very very quiet helmet. It is extremely light, coming in just under 3 lbs. To make this weight there are some compromises, most notably there is no internal sun visor.
The liner material is beautiful, soft, and with the substantial neck roll and once on it is a great fit for most heads. Thankfully AGV provides deep speaker cutouts making it simple to add in a comms system.
The K6 is the premium street helmet from AGV and offers amazing value at just under $500, and is E.C.E and DOT rating.
Sometimes when a rider is helmet shopping, they may not have the available finances to afford a $500+ helmet. This doesn’t mean, however, that they should be left with a substandard helmet or one that skips out on important rider protection. Enter, then, the ICON Airflight MIPS Stealth, released in the latter half of 2020.
The most important bit of that name is MIPS or “Multi-Directional Impact Protection System.” This is a special piece inside the construction of the helmet, between the EPS foam and the liner, that allows the helmet to absorb an impact and begin rotating to dissipate energy before the liner starts to move with the shell. It only covers a few millimeters, and the time between shell and liner rotation is measured in milliseconds, but it is enough to allow the brain to slowly accelerate to the speed of the shell, instead of bashing against the inside of your skull during a tumble.
The helmet itself is made of advanced injection molded polycarbonate and is backed by multi-density, multi-layer EPS foam, the MIPS system, and then comfortable, thick padding. Ventilation is through multiple oversized intake ports and a massive chin port and is exhausted via multiple exit ports. The helmet meets or exceeds DOT, ECE 22.05, and other world standards as part of ICON’s push for their “All World Standard.”
This pick may raise a few eyebrows but I have some logic to my choice. Simply put, those who buy the Fly Racing Street Sentinal helmet…love it. When looking for a helmet that can look great, protect your head well, and perform well above its price point, a helmet like that should be considered one of the best.
The Sentinal design is a few years old now, but the Recon styling is new for this year and it gives the whole package a fresh, edgy look. This lid is more to the sport side of things, a great look on a naked or standard style bike. The shell is a lightweight polycarbonate blend, over a 2 layer dual-density EPS core. There is plenty of regulated airflow, a drop-down sun visor, and an overall solid feeling to this entire helmet.
It is not going to be rated at the level of some helmets on this list, but at half the price you are getting far more bang for the buck. I am listening to the people. They like this helmet a lot.