Best Modular Helmets Under 500

The Best Modular Helmets Under $500 For Beginners [2023 Edition]

The helmet is, by far, the most important piece of protective gear you can wear on a motorcycle. Yet, for some, a full-face helmet may be difficult to find (see also: our best full-face helmet under $500 list). Maybe your head shape is odd, or the chin bar is touching against your chin, or your nose gets squished up against a breath dam in a mildly uncomfortable way.

This is where the modular helmet comes into play. Not only does it form a full-face helmet when the chin bar is down and locked, but it can also allow for you to flip up the chin bar when taking a rest stop or needing to take a sip of water, without having to remove your helmet at all. As well, because of the nature of how they are built, more often than not modular helmets will have extra chin room.

While new and exciting helmets are coming out nearly every month in 2022, we’ve dug through the piles of modular helmets laying around the internet, and found the best ones you can get in 2022 if you’re just starting out, for under $500!

Scorpion EXO-AT950Scorpion EXO-AT950 Helmet in Matte Sand


In the world of helmets, Scorpion sits very nicely as one of the best value-for-money contenders out there. With the EXO-AT950, not only do you get a modular helmet, but one that can tackle a variety of riding situations. If you need an ADV helmet, you can leave the peak on. If you need a supermoto helmet, remove the visor, put the peak on, and grab your goggles. If you need a comfortable street riding helmet, remove the peak and lower the built-in sunshade.

Made of LG Polycarbonate, the shell is lightweight but resilient, backed by dual-density, multi-layered EPS foam. The view through the visor is excellent, due to the shaping of the helmet to allow goggles to be used in supermoto configuration. The modular chin bar seats home securely via a steel pin-and-lock system that is integrated directly into the shell and can withstand major impacts without breaking.

The lining is of Scorpions KwikWik II, meaning it is anti-microbial and quickly wisps away sweat to be either cooled and carried out via the ventilation system, or absorbed into the machine-washable padding. It also features Ellip-Tec ratcheting on the visor, meaning when lowered, the visor is snugly pulled back into the helmet, reducing aerodynamic leaks and keeping the helmet a little quieter.

The Scorpion EXO-AT950 is DOT certified.


HJC C91 Taly

  • Price: $230 – $235
  • Head Shape: Intermediate Oval
  • Weight: 3.73 lbs
  • Buy: RevZilla / Amazon

The HJC C91 is a “do what is important right” helmet from the manufacturer. It has been designed from the outset to be budget-friendly, yet carries the same level of safety and impact protection you would expect out of HJC.

Starting with the polycarbonate shell, EPS foam lines the interior with carefully grooved sections for ventilation. A drop-down sun visor comes standard, and the visor itself is pinlock capable. The ventilation in the helmet, dubbed SuperCool by HJC, uses air from both the chin vent and the top-mounted intake to flow cool air through and around the interior of the helmet, exhausting out a venturi port at the top back.

Where the real budget-friendliness comes in is that the helmet comes ready to either use HJC’s own Smart Bluetooth system or any other major communications system (Sena, etc). It features a removable lining so you can machine wash it to get a day’s ride out of it, and the chin bar locks down securely with a metal pin-and-lock system.

The HJC C91 is DOT certified.

Sedici Sistema II Parlare

Sedici Sistema II Parlare

  • Price: $399.99
  • Head Shape: Intermediate Oval
  • Weight: 3.7 lbs
  • Buy: RevZilla

The Sedici Sistema II Parlare is a very advanced helmet at a very middle-of-the-road price. In fact, we honestly believe that it is underpriced, but don’t tell anyone we said that. So what makes it so advanced? For starters, it uses a fiberglass and kevlar shell, which is lightweight and extremely impact and abrasion-resistant, and quite often reserved for helmets in the $500 to $700 range.

It features a dual-density, multi-layer EPS foam under that shell, which is shaped and grooved for maximum cooling. Those grooves are fed by the two-position chin vent and three-position crown air intake, circulating throughout before being exhausted through three venturi exhausts on the back of the helmet. The chin bar itself is solidly locked down with a massive steel post-and-lock system.

And if that wasn’t enough, it also comes with a SENA DWO-6 bluetooth compatible comms system built into the helmet. That, by itself, usually asks for $150+ and then you have to install it yourself. The DWO-6 has a 1-kilometer range for comms, and can have up to 4 other riders connected to it so communications can occur over a group ride.

The Sedici Sistema II Parlare is DOT and ECE certified.

Shark EVO One 2 LithionShark EVO One 2 Lithion Helmet in Matte Black/Fuchsia


The Shark Evo One 2 is a helmet with a hidden trick up its sleeve. Fashioned from thermoplastic resin, the shell is both resilient and durable. This is backed up by dual-density, multi-layer EPS foam, over which a fully removable liner sits ready to keep your head protected.

The trick with the Evo One 2, however, is that unlike other modular helmets with which the chin bar only raises to the top of the crown, the chin bar on this helmet can travel a full 180 degrees and be stored snugly across the back of the helmet, out of the wind. The visor has an automatic up/down system that lets you do this with one hand, even when the visor is fully down.

Other features are a drop-down sun visor, a pinlock MAX compatible visor, three front intakes, and two venturi exhausts out back, and a very strong steel pin-and-lock securing system for the chin bar that also helps keep the chin bar down via magnets.

For the price of the helmet, it is feature-packed, and is one of the few “budget” helmets for beginners that takes into account the round oval head shape. The Shark EVO One 2 is DOT and ECE certified.



The HJC RPHA 90S is, on the face of things, a fairly expensive helmet, pushing near our $500 budget limit. However, it does have a lot of things going for it, especially in terms of safety and carrying over a lot of the technology used in the construction of the non-modular RPHA models.

First and foremost is that this is a mostly-carbon-fiber helmet, with a mix of carbon fiber and carbon-glass hybrid fabric to make the shell super strong, but also super light. This is backed by multiple layers of multiple density EPS foam for the best impact and shock resistance possible. This is the same construction used in the RPHA 11 Pro, a full-blown competition racing helmet.

Adding to this is HJC’s MultiCool interior ventilation, cooling the entire head efficiently with the minimal amount of grooving needed in the EPS foam to keep its structural stability. A flip-down sun visor is standard, as is a visor with an included pinlock anti-fog and anti-UV insert already installed. The visor system is also toolless, meaning that you can swap out visors as needed in seconds, another innovation brought over from the racing helmet side of HJC.

Altogether, it combines to make a super-strong, super light, durable, and comfortable helmet that is among the best of the best. It far exceeds DOT standards.

Simpson Mod BanditSimpson Mod Bandit Helmet in Alloy


The Simpson name is quite popular, and the Bandit style even more popular, thanks to a certain tame racing driver on a fairly small, not-well-known, low-budget British motoring show that rhymes with Pop Steer. Well, they have a motorcycle version of it, and even better, it’s modular!

What makes the Mod Bandit a great helmet is both aesthetics and functionality. While the aggressive shape makes it one of the most fearsome-looking helmets on our recommendations, it also does add to creating some wind noise if your bike doesn’t have some kind of windshield or wind deflector. The functionality of it, however, is that the helmet flows an unbelievable amount of air. The front and top vents can flow so much cooling air that it has been noted by reviewers and users of the Mod Bandit that at times, it doesn’t feel like they are wearing a helmet at all.

The helmet does have a few flaws, most notably the previously mentioned wind noise. This is a helmet where good-quality riding earplugs are definitely recommended. It is also somewhat difficult to operate the chin bar release with gloves on until you learn where it is and can hit it by memory.

Apart from a few of the downsides, however, the helmet is definitely worth looking into if you live in a place where a large portion of your riding is going to be in hot weather, as this helmet will keep you both looking and feeling cool. The Mod Bandit is DOT certified.

LS2 Valiant II

LS2 Valiant II modular helmet

LS2 is one of those brands that makes quality products at affordable prices, and is willing to try out new things. The original Valiant helmet was a resounding success, with the 180 degree flip chin bar that meant it was legal as both a modular and an open face helmet. Based on that successful helmet, the Valiant II is the next generation, and has improved the helmet in almost every way.

The helmet is made from LS2’s newer Kinetic Polymer Alloy (KPA) composite, it is both lighter and stronger than the original Valiant. The EPS liner has been completely redone, to provide a better fit for intermediate oval heads as well as to add extra layers of protection across the entire helmet.

The overall shape has been refined to make the already quiet original helmet quieter in its second generation. As well, a new variation of the thermo-formed comfort padding, covered in a high-tech moisture wicking liner means that there is no glue between the padding and the liner, eliminating the chemical smell inside your helmet you sometimes get on really hot days.

The flip-up-and-over chin bar latches via metal-on-metal clamps, with the anchors formed into the EPS and shell directly. There is a drop-down sun visor, as well as the visor being Pinlock ready. If you are looking for an affordably priced modular helmet that is comfortable, quiet, and carries a DOT certification, the LS2 Valiant II is well worth considering.