Nothing beats the feeling of the wind and road whipping past you as you feel every ounce of horsepower charge through your bike. Nothing kills that adrenaline rush faster than an accident. Sure you’ve taken on board the idea of riding motorcycles either as a hobbyist or a functional mode of transport. But along with that new lifestyle, you should be equally adding some detailed attention to safety. Your helmet may be all that sits between you and injury.
So rather than mull over which helmets out there will best serve you when you hit the road, we’ve already sorted through the top performers on the market for you. Remember that touring helmets are meant for long rides. We’re talking 300-400 mile cross-country jaunts on a Sunday in spring kind of long rides.
What to Look for When Buying a Top Touring Motorcycle Helmet
Touring helmets are meant for long rides. We’re talking 300-400 mile cross-country jaunts on a Sunday in spring kind of long rides. You need your touring motorcycle helmet to be comfortable, quiet, light and well ventilated and most importantly safe on those kinds of trips. The small nuances matter a lot. A “kind of” comfortable touring helmet isn’t going to work when you are 200 miles and are upright for the entire time. It needs to be “super-comfortable” when you wear it in the shop because after two hours on a bike it won’t be unless it is perfect.
This isn’t just about comfort either folks, it is about safety and performance. When you are riding a motorcycle you need to be alert and focused at all times so the right touring helmet matters a lot.
The Best Motorcycle Touring Helmets Aren’t Cheap
You will notice that the majority of the best motorcycle touring helmets on this list aren’t cheap. We’re all for saving money on motorcycle gear and recommend some great reasonably priced helmets in other posts, but there is a good reason for why these helmets are more expensive and it really comes down to three main things:
Your Touring Motorcycle Helmet Needs to Be Safe
When you’re riding long distance on a motorcycle, especially on big open roads with cars and trucks all over the place, you want to feel (and be) safe. The best touring motorcycle helmets will have the latest multi laminate shell technologies, carbon fiber and other top of line materials.
It will have the latest safety tech and exceed standards like SNELL and ECE certifications. Sure lots of helmets have the stamp of approval, but few exceed the standards and build helmets that are designed to be safe at all costs. That doesn’t come cheap.
Quietest Touring Motorcycle Helmets Are What You Want
Wind noise inside a motorcycle helmet can reach 100+ decibels when you’re cruising on the open road (that’s really loud). According to hearing specialists we spoke to you can get hearing loss when you hit 80 dB+.
The top touring helmets are also the quietest touring motorcycle helmets. The easier a helmet slips through the wind, the quieter it will be. That means more (and higher end) materials, manufacturing complexity and design and engineering effort. You need a wind-tunnel to design a helmet that is quiet in the real world and only the top motorcycle brands can afford that technology.
Gap in your visor seal? Huge external vents? Air getting caught under your chin? That’s how a helmet gets noisy. Think about the engineering and design expertise needed to get this fit and finish perfect and you can see why the quietest (and best) touring helmets are expensive (and worth every penny by the way).
Don’t Forget Comfort & Features
We talked about riding long distances and how comfort is uber-important. Well that kind of comfort requires finer materials, softer lining, better communication tools, sound deadening and all of these things cost money. Getting a helmet to have a softer lining isn’t hard and there are lots of materials that will meet that objective, but getting a liner that is soft and also light (because riding long distances with a heavy helmet is painful) is hard. That’s where the engineering, research prowess and sheer experience of the helmet manufacturer comes into play.
Top Motorcycle Touring Helmets
Schuberth C3 Pro Motorcycle Helmet
The Schuberth C3 Pro is all kinds of badass. With its flip up face and aerodynamic shape designed to meet the rigors of high speed, the C3 sits at the top of the heap of sporty touring helmets. It comes in sizes XS to 3XL fitting a head circumference of 52 to 65 cm. The inner lining has a modular design that uses Schuberth’s special Coolmax foam pad system that can be lifted out of the helmet and washed when you want.
The outer shell for its part also benefits from Schuberth tech, using a strong fibreglass-resin combination that not only protects but allows for a lighter weighted helmet. And a spoiler is integrated into the shell and antennas for radio and bluetooth reception. There is an EasyChange visor mechanism in place for ready manipulation or removal of the visor. The helmet has been tested through all manner of hardcore trials and has proven itself worthy. Other bells and whistles: excellent acoustics and is very quiet, excellent ventilation, and a ratchet lock for the adjustable chin strap. It’s DOT and ECE certified.
Shoei is an American brand specializing in premium helmets. Look no further than the RF-1200 to find that one mix of everything you need in a helmet for the wide open road.
This full face helmet features four intakes and four exhaust outlets, optimizing ventilation and temperature. The shell features several layers of protection, utilizing Shoei’s “Multi-Ply Matrix AIM+ shell and Dual-Layer, Multi-Density EPS liner.”
Six layers of protection sit between you and the road here in Shoei’s lightest and strongest helmet. A dynamic fibreglass resin combination endow this light helmet with superior durability and resistance.
The CWR shield has a 3D injection-molding that allows for nearly limitless range of vision and zero distortion of view, the Pinlock EVO fog resistant system and protection against 99% of UV rays. The liner system is fully removeable and washable.
The RF-1200 comes in sizes XS to XXL. And its retail price starts at $485.
The Nolan N44 is a truly versatile helmet. It can be converted into 6 variations expressly conditioned for the needs of the rider. It has a full face shield a Pinlock system with an anti fog visor and a polycarbonate shell.
Thusly it’s an extremely lightweight yet durable helmet. Its ventilation system features an intake in the front and in the chin guard with two exhausts in the rear.
This modular helmet is exceptionally suited for the ever changing conditions of the road.
If you’re planning touring sport or off road, here is a helmet reasonably conditioned for all occasions. It retails from $259.95 to $419.95.
The HJC CL 17 is one of the stellar helmets on the market at the moment. It boasts an advanced polycarbonate lightweight shell with a Pinlock shield.
And the shield has a sidelock mechanism as well.
UV protection up to 95% is guaranteed by 3D design.
It also possesses an Advanced Channelling Ventilation system keeping riders cool in both summer days and well insulated with its Super Cool Moisture-Wicking Interior during the winter ones. It retails for about $128.
This helmet was reviewed by a reader of ours who said it was by far his favorite helmet ever. Main reasons were the comfort on longer rides and the relatively light weight which meant those longer distances were covered without a painful neck.
Intermediate-round oval shape:
The Corsair-V has Arai’s intermediate oval interior fit shape, but one nearer the rounder end of the range.
Side-vent Exhaust ports: The sculpted exhaust ports, designed to clear interior air and heat more efficiently, have also been shown to work in concert with the Corsair-V’s AirWing to greatly add lateral helmet stability at speed.
Patented AirWing and DF-10 Diffuser Arai’s exclusive, adjustable AirWing is designed to greatly reduce drag, turbulence and buffeting. It provides unprecedented aerodynamic performance options via five hand-adjustable “attack angle” positions from full-tuck racing to upright everyday street riding.
This is a great helmet. Its light and quiet and it shows how much progress can be made over the years.
This helmet provides significant wind noise reduction which is great over longer distances, making riding much more comfortable. The inner shield fits snugly and there aren’t any air-leaks that I noticed on my two hour ride.
Comfortable, very light weight and the chin bar locks with gentle pressure when closing the lid. If we’re being harsh the only criticism we have is that the front air vent is a look finicky which can be annoying as it also vibrates a little. Other than that this is an extremely quiet helmet at even high speeds.
The helmet is made of an advanced Carbon fiber material with fiberglass epoxy and aramid epoxy to give it a very strong and lightweight shell. HJC claims it is their lightest modular helmet ever and that wouldn’t surprise me.
Other notable features include the One-touch Integrated Sunshield is great too (it has three position adjustable Smoke Tinted Sunshield), “ACS” Advanced channeling ventilation system, Full Front to Back Airflow Flushes Heat & Humidity Up & Out.
On the inside it was really comfortable and even on the hot summer that I rode with the helmet on it was lightweight, moisture wicking meant I couldn’t detect any moisture (the old feel test). It has odor free and antibacterial materials too. Meets or exceeds D.O.T. standards.
I love this helmet. Yes, it is expensive but it really it one of the best helmets on the market.
Let’s start with the aerodynamic Shell Design that has been extensively wind tunnel tested. You can tell because the airflow over the helmet is smooth and it has the least amount of turbulence I’ve ever felt on a helmet. It makes for comfortable cruising at speed.
The Shoei Neotec also has best venting on the market. There’s a face vent under the visor in the front that comfortably blasts your face with cool air when open. There is also an adjustable vent on top that allows air to flow through ridges and holes in the inner lining and a unique vent in the top rear of the helmet that creates a vacuum to pull air from the top vent in faster, while reducing the drag on your head by destroying the air turret that typically forms behind you as you ride.
It’s super comfortable with perfect sizing and fit. The standard helmet fit me fine but a friend tried his one on and found that he needed to buy additional cheek pads. A little back and forth and tweaking and he found the perfect fit. It has a D-loop chin strap with padded protector flaps that pulls tight and doesn’t come loose.
The lightweight construction means that even on a 5 hour rides your head shouldn’t get fatigued. We also tested this helmet in the summer and we loved the drop-down sun visor. Forget sunglasses because it is so easy to use the system to just raise the lip or visor, the sun visors will stay in place and protect your eyes and make riding more comfortable on sunny days.