When riding any recreational vehicle, it’s important to protect your head from injury. To stay safe and comfortable there are many factors to be taken into consideration when buying an ATV riding helmet. If you want your helmet to look cool, that’s fine, but also make sure it feels comfortable and will protect you in a crash.
You don’t need to go out and spend 300+ dollars on a fancy helmet, unless that’s what works for you. I do want to urge you not to spend less than $100 on a helmet though. I’ve tried several helmets over the years, probably over 50 riding helmets. And the cheaper ones (under $100) are not very good. They wear out, don’t vent very well, and the protection they offer is very poor. It doesn’t have to brake the bank either though, the helmet I recommend and use now is about $150 online.
After testing out and using many helmets over the years, the one I now use and recommend is the Fox Racing V1 Helmet found here on Amazon. This helmet comes in different sizes and colors to customize your look, and has exceeded ECE22.05 and DOT safety certifications. It has 9 intake vents and 4 exhaust vents for airflow. I really like the airflow of this helmet, it will keep me cooler than most of the other helmets I’ve tried. This helmet is the perfect balance between price and quality, not very expensive, but has the same features as the high end pricey helmets. I will buy this helmet again the next time I need one.
What To Look For In A Quad Helmet
There are a few things to consider when looking for a helmet. Safety standards are at the top of the list of course, no point in wearing a helmet that doesn’t protect you. But there are other things to consider to help you get the most out of your money.
- Available Parts – Loosing a cheek pad or breaking a visor are fairly common helmet problems. Get a helmet from a well known major manufacturer, that way you can find parts and order them more easily.
- Ventilation – This may be more important to me than some people. But it kind of ruins the riding experience for me if I feel overheated. Get something with good ventilation to keep you comfortable on hot summer days.
- Total Weight – If your helmet is too heavy it can wear you down and make your neck tired. Having a solid helmet with plenty of padding is nice, just make sure it’s not too heavy for you.
- Comfort – Make sure the helmet feels nice and fits right. If the helmet is pushing on your head and giving you a head ache, try a different one. After a few hours of riding you won’t even want to wear a helmet if it’s uncomfortable.
- Looks – Make sure you like the graphics on the helmet and how it looks. It won’t add to the protection, but will keep you from buying a different helmet because you don’t like how it looks. Take the time to get something you will be happy with.
- Price – I do not recommend any of the helmets under a 100 dollars. I’ve just never found a good quality one I liked for that price. It’s worth the extra money if it saves your life, and you can usually get a good one for under $200. To me, it’s totally worth it.
Safety Standards For ATV Helmets
A helmet is by far the most important piece of safety gear to wear while riding an ATV. Getting a head injury could not only end your day of riding early, but it could affect you the rest of your life. If you wear a helmet that doesn’t pass any safety standards, you’re putting yourself at risk.
I would highly recommend you buy a new helmet for yourself. Do not buy used or second hand for this one. You have no idea how much the helmets been banged around, and you could end up getting one that has a weakened structural integrity. It may look fine and held together, but in a crash it could easily brake, leaving you vulnerable. Helmets are supposed to be replaced regularly, and you won’t know for sure how old the helmet actually is. Get a new helmet, better safe than sorry in this case.
A lot of countries have their own safety standards set in place, and some require you to wear a helmet by law. Even if your country or state doesn’t require a helmet by law, many tracks you could ride at will require it. In the United States, the Department Of Transportation sets the minimum safety requirements for helmets. If your helmet passes these minimum safety requirements, it will be considered DOT approved. The UK has the British Standard and the EU has the ECE22.05.
Although each country has pretty good safety standards, the DOT is on the lower end. At least get a DOT approved helmet, if you find one approved by DOT plus another, that’s a bonus.
One of the highest safety standards is the Snell approval. If you get a helmet that has a Snell rating, you can rest assured you have an extremely safe helmet. The Snell Memorial Foundation provides some of the strictest testing in the world to guarantee a high level of helmet safety.
When To Replace
Helmets should be replaced after 3-5 years of use according to most manufacturers. They also recommend replacing 7 years after the production date, if they have been in a crash, or if they have taken damage in some other way. Fox themselves recommends replacing after 5 years of use, nothing about the production date, and after a crash even if there are no physical signs of damage.
The core of a helmet is usually made from polystyrene or polypropylene foam, which will crush upon impact. This is designed so that the foam will absorb most of the energy from the impact, rather than your head. The outer shell is usually made out of kevlar, fiberglass, polycarbonate plastic, or some other rigid material. After an impact, the outer shell may look fine, but the core foam is compacted, and will not provide the same level of protection anymore.
The foam can even be compromised by dropping the helmet too many times or by tossing the helmet around. Take good care of your helmet, and it will last longer, saving you money.
Maintaining And Fitting Your Helmet
Getting a good fitting helmet is as much about safety as it is about comfort. The helmet needs to fit snugly and comfortably to be able to protect you properly. A common way to test a helmet for good fit is to get the helmet on and firmly fasten the chin strap. Now rotate the helmet from side to side and check whether your head moves with the helmet or not. The skin on your face should actually move with the helmet as you rotate it.
Another tip, you should not be able to lift the helmet from the rear and roll it off your head. The helmet should feel snug and secure, without too much pressure on the sides of your head. Everyone’s head is shaped differently, so you will have to go by how the helmet feels on you. I’ve tried on so many helmets, and just because the helmet costs a lot, doesn’t mean it’s going to be comfortable.
There’s not much to maintaining your helmet. Keep it clean, and dry it out if it gets wet or muddy. Don’t throw the helmet around too much, I don’t even let mine roll around in the back of the truck, I always put things on either side to keep it in place. A good riding helmet should last you years, if you take care of it properly.
ATV Helmet Features
ATV riding helmets have gotten some cool new improvements over the past couple years. Here are some of the helmet technology features that stand out.
- Low Weight – Lighter helmets mean less fatigue on the rider. Lighter helmets that don’t sacrifice safety are a huge plus.
- Venting – Venting has been greatly improved in recent years. Most newer helmets have air intakes and exhaust ports that offer great airflow through the helmet.
- Mouth Vents – Mouth vents seem to have gotten larger over the years. This is great because you will see better air flow and also better roost protection in case of a fall.
- Cheek Pads – Some helmets have adjustable cheek pads now. I like this feature because you customize the helmet for your comfort, and more helmets fit more people because of it.
- Goggle Holders – This is a cool feature that keeps your goggles in place.
- Removable Liners – Now the inside lining of your helmet can be removed and washed easily. This comes in handy after a long day of sweating in the helmet.
- MIPS Liners – You can usually find these on more advanced helmets. These liners can help reduce rotational impact, reducing neck injuries.
Top ATV Helmet Brands
- 6D – The 6D ATR-1 (link to Amazon) is a nice looking helmet with one of the best safety records out there. The only issue is that the helmet is expensive.
- Answer – The Answer AR-3 (link to Amazon) is good option. It’s comfortable to wear and vents pretty well.
- Bell – The Bell MX-9 (link to Amazon) comes in a huge variety of colors, and has an excellent rating everywhere I look. They are well known, and make helmets for all kinds of different sports and riding hobbies.
- Bilt – Bilt makes a variety of different helmets. The ones I’ve tried on were uncomfortable and cheaply made. They do have the DOT certification, but they weren’t good quality, and I can’t recommend them.
- Fly – The Fly Mx Helmet (link to Amazon) was really comfortable, but I didn’t like the look that much. It’s in a good price range and DOT approved. I would wear this helmet, but it wouldn’t be my first recommendation.
- Fox – The Fox helmets have excellent ventilation, are comfortable, and have a great safety record. I think Fox makes some of the best looking helmets, and you already know I recommend the Fox V1 (link to Amazon).
- Klim – The Klim F3 (link to Amazon) has one of the widest field of views out of all the helmets I’ve tried. I also like the other riding gear klim makes, likes pants and jerseys.
- Leatt – The Leatt GPX4.5 (link to Amazon) has good ratings and was comfortable enough. I didn’t like the look so much, but if it suits you, go for it.
- O’neal – The O’neal 5SRS (link to Amazon) has a great safety rating, and it looks cool. In fact, I think O’neal has some of the coolest looking helmets out there. The price isn’t that bad, but I have some concerns about the ventilation. It doesn’t seem like the helmet gives as much airflow as I would like.
- Shift – The Shift White Label (link to Amazon) looked ok and felt ok. The ventilation could’ve been better. It was just an ok helmet, and for the price I was hoping it would be better.
- Shoei – The Shoei VFX-EVO (link to Amazon) is an awesome helmet. It has an excellent safety record, looks cool, and has an emergency quick release system. Shoei is a really popular brand, but for me, the price was too high to justify the helmet.
- Suomy – The Suomy MX Jump (link to Amazon) is a good option. It ticks all my boxes, but the price was a bit high for me.
- Thor – Thor makes some quality gear, and they usually get good reviews for the stuff they offer.
- Troy Lee – I like the look of the Troy Lee SE4 (link to Amazon), but the one I tried on didn’t fit me perfectly, and the reviews I’ve seen haven’t been that great.
If you know your helmet size, there are some great deals you can find online. In fact, most of the stores I’ve been to, charge twice as much for the same gear I found on Amazon. If you don’t know your helmet size though, I suggest going to a store to try some on first. Getting a good fitting helmet is important for enjoying your riding, comfort, and safety. Don’t forget the goggles, to see my top pick for ATV riding goggles check out this article.
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