MX helmet Guide: Reviewing The Best Dirt Bike Head Gear

Riding a dirt bike is incredibly exciting, but also very risky...

Since even the most experienced dirt bike riders are injured fairly often (compared to regular cycling or mountain biking for example) having the best quality motocross gear is imperative. The right helmet can help protect you from possibly fatal injuries.

The helmet is the most crucial part of your motocross gear because it protects both your head and your face.

In this article we’ll show you what to look for in dirt bike helmets, followed by our top picks.

In a hurry? The test winner after 14 hours of research:

editors pick
bell moto 9 flex

Bell Moto-9 Flex  

Why is it better?

  • Incredibly comfortable
  • Excellent ventilation
  • DOT, ECE, and Snell certified

95/100
our score


researched sources

6

Researched sources

reviews considered

89

REviews considered

hours researched

14

hours researching

products compared

16

products compared

Last Updated: November 1, 2019

By Max Shumpert: This article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information regarding dirt bike/motorcycle helmets available for those who are interested in cycling protection gear. The best 5 available have changed, and information has been added to assist individuals in finding the best helmets available on the market. The FAQ has also been updated.

IMAGE PRODUCT DETAILS  
MX helmet Guide: Reviewing The Best Dirt Bike Head Gear 1 BELL MOTO-9 FLEX Rating: 96/100 View Latest Deal →Read Full Review
MX helmet Guide: Reviewing The Best Dirt Bike Head Gear 2 BELL SOLID MEN'S MX-9 HELMET Rating: 90/100 View Latest Deal →Read Full Review
MX helmet Guide: Reviewing The Best Dirt Bike Head Gear 3 O'NEAL UNISEX-ADULT OFF-ROAD STYLE 2SERIES HELMET SPYDE Rating: 88/100 View Latest Deal →Read Full Review
MX helmet Guide: Reviewing The Best Dirt Bike Head Gear 4 AHR DOT FULL FACE MX HELMET Rating: 87/100 View Latest Deal →Read Full Review
MX helmet Guide: Reviewing The Best Dirt Bike Head Gear 5 YEMA YM-915 Rating: 84/100 View Latest Deal →

So, let’s first go over what you should look for in dirt bike helmets.

Features

MX helmet Guide: Reviewing The Best Dirt Bike Head Gear 6

Dirt bike helmets come in many different shapes and sizes, and with various features. This is why we decided to compile the 7 most essential features an MX helmet should have:

  1. The helmet should be compatible with the manufacturer’s neck braces.
  2. It must be durable, so look for a helmet that has a carbon fiber shell. Polycarbonate shells are also quite durable and lightweight.
  3. An MX helmet should have a label on the inside that says either DOT or UN-ECE Regulation 22.05 are satisfied.
  4. The helmet needs to have fluorescent colors and reflective strips, so you are visible during the day as well during the night.
  5. The padding should have some type of moisture-wicking technology, so your head stays dry throughout the day. You should look for a helmet that allows for the padding to be removed for easy cleaning.
  6. The helmet should have Omni-Directional Suspension. This is an in-helmet system that absorbs kinetic energy, reducing the impact on transferred to the head.
  7. Lastly, look for a helmet that has venting in the back and the front, including exhaust vents and intake scoops for optimal airflow.

Please note that it is almost impossible to find a product that has all the features listed above. 

That’s what you should consider which ones are most important to you.

Safety

MX helmet Guide: Reviewing The Best Dirt Bike Head Gear 7

The most important thing to look for when choosing a dirt bike helmet is how much protection it offers. One of the best ways to determine how much protection a particular helmet provides is to look at its safety rating. As we mentioned above, a certified helmet will have a label on the inside, saying which standards it meets.

Safety standards differ from country to country, but there are three that are most common amongst dirt bike helmets:

DOT Certification – is the most common rating you’ll come across when looking for a dirt bike helmet. This certification is only really recognized in the United States and is similar to the Europan ECE 22.05 standard. However, the DOT is considered a lesser rating.

ECE 22.05 – is a Europian testing standard which is accepted in 47 countries across the world. Although the testing is similar to DOT testing, it is more thorough. While DOT testing includes penetration testing, impact attenuation test, and retention strap test, the ECE standard includes abrasion resistance testing and shell rigidity test. If possible, go for a helmet that is at least ECE 22.05 certified.

Snell Certification – is conducted by the Snell Memorial Foundation, a private, non-profit organization which formed in 1957 shortly after William Peter Snell died in a sports car accident because his helmet failed to protect him. The testing is incredibly thorough, including chin bar and flame resistance testing. A Snell certification is regarded as the highest possible safety rating for helmets worldwide.

Good Vision

MX helmet Guide: Reviewing The Best Dirt Bike Head Gear 8

One thing a lot of people tend to ignore when looking for a dirt bike helmet is how much vision it provides. It is imperative to make sure that the design of the helmet is not going to obstruct your field of view in any way.

There are lots of dirt bike helmets that are open in the middle. This design leaves your eyes exposed, which means you have to wear goggles in combination with the helmet.

Unfortunately, goggles constrict your vision and are prone to fogging up. On the other hand, having goggles is good because they protect your eyes from sunlight and debris.

Some helmets come equipped with visors, which can be fixed or movable. This type of dirt bike helmet offers better FOV because you don't have to wear goggles. We recommend you look for a model that has a movable visor so you can enjoy versatility.

If you want to purchase a helmet with a visor, make sure it's made out of high-quality materials and is unbreakable in case of a crash. It must also be fully fog-proof and protect your eyes from the heat of the sun.

Temperature Control

Another thing you shouldn't overlook when buying a dirt bike helmet is venting. If you haven't ridden a dirt bike before, you're probably wondering why a helmet needs vents.

Trust us on this - after a couple of laps around a motocross track and you'll be glad your helmet has vents, even during winter!

Venting on a dirt bike helmet is incredibly important because it stops the build-up of moisture from sweating, and also helps keep your head fresh.

Keep in mind that most of your body's heat is precipitated through your head. A helmet with inadequate venting can cause heatstroke, so be careful which one you buy!

When it comes to venting placement, they are commonly placed in the chin guard. This allows the cold air to reach the most critical parts of your head - the mouth and the nose. The best dirt bike helmets also have vents located in the eye-port, on the crown, and on the back.

A helmet with proper venting should also have exhaust ports on the back. These ports ensure the air that's entering the front ports gets vented out, which further reduces heat and moisture.

Aerodynamics

MX helmet Guide: Reviewing The Best Dirt Bike Head Gear 9

While motorcycle helmets are designed for speeds up to 200 Mph, the story is quite different with dirt bike helmets. Dirt bikes are intended for off-road driving where you'll hardly reach speeds over 70 Mph.

If you decide to take your dirt bike on a ride across town and you reach speeds over 65 Mph, you'll soon find out that it'll start to cause a lot of drag. We're not saying that dirt bike helmets aren't aerodynamic, we're saying they're not designed for high speeds.

Of course, even at speeds under 70 Mph aerodynamics play a huge role. That's why many MX helmets have canals (or indentations) along the chin and the sides to minimize air drag.

The best dirt bike helmets usually have canals running along the chin, the sides, as well as on the top of them. Most of these canals end with an intake vent that's there to help keep cool down your head. The air is then released from the outtake vents on the back where the air pressure is lowest, so you don't feel the helmet is trying to rip your head off in high speeds.

1. Bell Moto-9 Flex - OUR TOP PICK FOR 2019

Sale
Bell Moto-9 Flex HELMET
  • FLEX - Three-layer impact liner to manage energy from a range of impacts
  • 3K CARBON SHELL – The look, performance, and feel of a true race helmet
  • MAGNEFUSION MAGNETIC CHEEK PADS – Easy removal for emergency responders

The first place in our list is reserved for Bell Moto-9 Flex dirt bike helmet. Not because Bell is a popular manufacturer, but because the Moto-9 offers superb protection and comfort.

Bell is known for manufacturing helmets that are in accordance to highest safety standards. And unsurprisingly, the Moto-9 Flex is both DOT and Snell certified. 

The Bell Moto-9 Flex features a composite-carbon shell, that’s incredibly durable while remaining lightweight. Inside the helmet, there are three segmented layers of material that help absorb energy at different speeds. 

This helmet features Velocity Flow Ventilation System -- essentially a bunch of vents in the front and the back of the helmet. Because the shock absorbing lining is segmented, there is a lot of space for cool air to reach your head.

This helmet also has an adjustable visor with additional air vents. It also has a large opening that can accommodate any type of goggles.

The silver-infused lining inside the Moto-9 features moisture-wicking technology and is incredibly easy to remove. The silver helps prevent bacteria from multiplying, which keeps the helmet fresher for longer periods of time.

WHAT WE LIKE

  • DOT and Snell certified
  • Superb ventilation
  • Lightweight
  • Visor with additional air vents
  • Removable cheek pads

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

  • A bit expensive, but you can't put a price on safety

2. Bell Solid Men's MX-9 Helmet

Bell Solid Men's MX-9 dirt bike helmet
  • 3 shell and EPS sizes for a personalized fit, Adjustable mouth vent
  • Antibacterial/Antimicrobial interior liner, EPS-lined chinbar
  • Industry-leading Five-year warranty

The second place on our list is also reserved for a Bell product, albeit a more affordable one. The MX-9 MX-9 Adventure Dirt Bike Helmet main feature is its removable face shield.

The MX-9 is both DOT and ECE certified. For additional protection, this helmet features a Multi-Directional Impact Protection System that dramatically improves rotational impact energy displacement in case of a crash.

The injected polymer shell is quite durable but makes the helmet a bit heavy (1.5Kg) for some people. The interior features three layers of EPS for impact absorption. The chin-bar is also EPS lined, which is fantastic since you can't have enough protection.

Both the visor and the face shield can be removed, which gives you much-needed versatility. The face shield is scratch-resistant and is excellent for driving on the road. The visor features a tool-less height adjustment, which makes it even more versatile.

The ventilation is identical to the one found in the Moto-9 flex. The mouth vent is adjustable, so you don't get too much air when riding on the highway.

The interior lining is infused with silver to help keep the bacteria at the minimum. The liner features moisture-wicking technology and is easily removable.

WHAT WE LIKE

  • It’s quite affordable
  • DOT and ECE certified
  • Removable face shield and visor
  • Antibacterial lining
  • EPS lined chin-guard

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

  • Heavier than most of the helmets we reviewed

3. O'Neal Unisex-Adult Off-Road Style 2SERIES Helmet SPYDE

O'NEAL UNISEX-ADULT OFF-ROAD STYLE 2SERIES HELMET SPYDE
  • Shell weight (size L): 1450grams (±50)
  • Ultra-plush removable/washable padded liner
  • Rubber roost nose guard. Lightweight

Third place in our list goes to another well-respected dirt bike gear brand, the O'Neal. Their 2Series Spyde helmet provides excellent protection and comfort while remaining incredibly affordable.

Let's talk about safety first. The 2Series Spyde is both DOT and ECE certified. It would be awesome if it were Snell certified too, but you can't have everything at such a low price point.

The shell is built out of mold injected ABS that feels quite solid. Inside the helmet, three EPS layers help displace the impact force evenly, which is the industry standard.

The visor features a tool-less height adjustment, and the opening on the helmet is big enough to fit almost any type of goggles.

The venting on the helmet is pretty good, but not as good as the one on the Bell Moto-9 Flex. However, it is still pretty decent. We managed to stay cool, even when riding at 100+ degree temperatures.

The lining on the 2Series Spyde is super soft; however, it doesn't utilize any moisture-wicking technology. There's also no anti-bacterial layer. Thankfully, the lining can be easily removed for cleaning.

WHAT WE LIKE

  • Very affordable
  • Solid build quality
  • Quite comfortable
  • DOT and ECE certified

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

  • We wish it was Snell certified too.
  • No moisture-wicking technology and anti-bacterial layer

4. AHR DOT Full Face MX Helmet

AHR DOT Full Face MX Helmet
  • DOT approved safety standard
  • Ventilation system - provides sufficient air flow
  • Lightweight ABS shell with breathable and comfortable liner

One quick look at the price tag of the AHR DOT Full Face MX helmet, and you'd think you're getting a sub-par product. However, it's amazing how good it is for such a low price, making it excellent for riders on a tight budget.

When it comes to safety, this helmet is only DOT certified. However, we the build quality is pretty solid, and we think this helmet could easily pass the ECE test.

The shell is built out of mold injected ABS, and (as we mentioned) feels pretty solid and rigid. This helmet weighs just a around 3.5 pounds, making it one of the lightest models in its price range.

Unfortunately, the AHR comes with a few caveats. For starters, you can't adjust the height of the visor. Furthermore, it also doesn't have any padding on the chin guard. Thankfully, the opening is big enough to accommodate most types of goggles.

The ventilation is pretty decent for a budget helmet, albeit not as good as the one on the 2Series Sypde.

The interior lining is made out of foam that's quite breathable. If it wasn't, this helmet would be a sweatbox. There is no moisture-wicking technology or antibacterial lining, which isn't surprising when you consider its price.

WHAT WE LIKE

  • Budget-friendly
  • Comfortable
  • Offers decent protection

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

  • Non-adjustable visor
  • No moisture-wicking technology
  • The ventilation could be better

5. YEMA YM-915

Sale
YEMA YM-915 DIRT BIKE HELMET
  • Professional Grade Motorcycle Helmet: Meets or exceeds DOT FMVSS 218 standard. Exciting fashionable design with lots of advanced features....
  • Outstanding Materials: Aerodynamic ABS Shell, Multi-Density EPS, Reinforced Chin Strap, Quick Release Buckle
  • Ventilation System: Fully adjustable intake and exhaust vents to create a constant, light flow of air helping to keep the rider cool and...

The last place in our list is taken up by one of the coolest helmets we've ever seen. While it may not be vital for you, we like the Batman aesthetic the Yema YM-915 oozes.

Before we get to the design and features, let's go over the safety rating first. The YM-915 helmet both DOT and ECE certified, making it both stylish and safe.

The shell is built out of mold injected ABS making it very lightweight. The helmet feels solid and sturdy. The inside features multi-density EPS lining that displaces the impact energy quite efficiently, at least it did during our tests.

The opening on the helmet is quite large and can fit most types of dirt bike goggles. The visor can be height-adjusted by loosening the screws. While we like the tool-less approach, we understand you can't have everything at a tight budget.

The ventilation on the YM-915 is superb. The vents are fully adjustable and create a light, constant airflow that keeps you cool even at high temperatures.

The lining is super soft and features both moisture-wicking technology and an antibacterial layer. It’s easily removable for washing and  also has extra space around ears for Bluetooth headphones.

WHAT WE LIKE

  • Budget-friendly
  • Stylish
  • DOT and ECE certified
  • Excellent ventilation

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

  • The visor screw are too flashy
  • Can be small for some people

Best MX Helmet For Kids

MX helmet Guide: Reviewing The Best Dirt Bike Head Gear 10

As a bonus, we also decided to showcase a helmet for those little ones looking to get started with dirt biking!

ILM DOT-approved MX Helmet

ILM DOT-APPROVED MX HELMET
  • DOT certified for Safety - meets or exceeds FMVSS-218 and DOT safety standards.
  • Made from ABS making it very lightweight and incredibly durable.
  • Sleek aerodynamic design made for speed. Front and back air vents for maximum ventilation.

The last place in our list is taken up by one of the coolest helmets we've ever seen. While it may not be vital for you, we like the Batman aesthetic the Yema YM-915 oozes.

Before we get to the design and features, let's go over the safety rating first. The YM-915 helmet both DOT and ECE certified, making it both stylish and safe.

The shell is built out of mold injected ABS making it very lightweight. The helmet feels solid and sturdy. The inside features multi-density EPS lining that displaces the impact energy quite efficiently, at least it did during our tests.

The opening on the helmet is quite large and can fit most types of dirt bike goggles. The visor can be height-adjusted by loosening the screws. While we like the tool-less approach, we understand you can't have everything at a tight budget.

The ventilation on the YM-915 is superb. The vents are fully adjustable and create a light, constant airflow that keeps you cool even at high temperatures.

The lining is super soft and features both moisture-wicking technology and an antibacterial layer. It’s easily removable for washing and  also has extra space around ears for Bluetooth headphones.

WHAT WE LIKE

  • DOT certified
  • Affordable
  • Excellent ventilation
  • Easily-removable lining

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

  • We wish if it were ECE certified
  • Can be a bit thight for young adolescents

Best MX Helmet Bundle For Kids

If you don’t want to bother with separately purchasing gloves and goggles, here’s a bundle you can check out! 

TCMT Dot Youth MX Bundle

TCMT Dot Youth MX Bundle
  • Great and Beautiful UV protective finished,Light weight extremely durable.
  • Well vented all purpose product for summer or winter riding Main.
  • Sleek modular design,Flip up modular helmets.


TCMT dirt bike helmet bundle features colorful graphics that ensure it will become your kid’s favorite. 

The goggles and gloves that come with the helmet are a bit too snug for our taste, but are of decent build quality. The goggles aren’t scratch-proof, which means they’ll soon become unusable,

The TCMT helmet is DOT certified. This means it offers more than enough protection for your youngsters in case of crashing.

The helmet’s shell is built out of mold injected ABS and is incredibly lightweight, only 1 pound. The TCMT helmet is one of the lightest kid’s helmets we’ve come across. This makes it perfect for kids under the age of 6 since it won’t cause any neck strain. 

The visor is height-adjustable, but can’t be removed. While this isn’t a dealbreaker, it does impact its versatility. The opening is big enough to accomodate most kid-friendly goggles, which is always nice.

Although it has only one vent located on the beak of the helmet, the TCMT helmet does a pretty good job at keeping your child’s head cool. 

The interior lining is a bit hard for a kid’s helmet. The fit is also a bit too tight if you ask us, wo we recommend you measure your kid’s head before purchasing it. The lining can be removed for washing, so the helmet stays fresh and microbe-free.

WHAT WE LIKE

  • DOT certified
  • Affordable
  • Excellent ventilation
  • Easily-removable lining

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

  • We wish if it were ECE certified
  • Can be a bit thight for young adolescents

What Are Bike Helmets?

A cycling helmet is a lightweight type of headgear that minimizes the force of impact and protects the head when a bicyclist falls off his or her bicycle.

Bike helmets come in a variety of sizes, styles, and can be worn by adults and children; there are even bike helmets for babies.

Why Do You Need A Bicycle Helmet?

If you’ve ever observed other bicyclists on the roads or trails, you will see that some wear helmets and others who don’t (maybe you’re one of these bicyclists). 

While the importance of wearing a bike helmet may seem obvious, many riders have excuses as to why they don’t want to wear one such as the helmet being too uncomfortable or too hot.

Research shows that wearing a bike helmet can reduce the risk of a head injury about 50 percent and the risk of injuries to the head, face, and neck by about 33 percent. Head injuries can lead to traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and can be life-changing. 

In some cases, a bike helmet can save your life in the event of an accident while riding your bike.

Why do you need a bike helmet

How do you know what size to buy?

Helmets vary in size depending on manufacturer, we recommend you check out specific brand's helmet size chart.

Be careful, even if two brands have the same size chart, be cautious because they may have different shapes.

Before taking a look at the size chart of a particular helmet, first, measure your head. To do so, use a tailor's measuring tape and measure your head's circumference.

It is essential to start measuring one inch above your eyebrows and go around the fullest part of your skull.

After that, compare your head's circumference with the size chart, and you're done!

Conclusion

Dirt bike helmets come in many shapes and sizes. We recommend that you first pay attention to how safe they are, then you can start considering the design.

If you're looking for maximum protection, look for helmets that are  DOT, ECE, as well as Snell certified. If a model you're particularly interested in has only one of these certifications, we recommend you continue looking.

Once you've found a model that offers proper amounts of protection, measure your head to see if it'll fit. Also, read the reviews to see how comfortable it is.

editors pick
bell moto 9 flex

Bell Moto-9 Flex

Why is it better?

  • DOT, ECE, and Snell certified
  • Excellent ventilation
  • Incredibly comfortable

95/100
our score

Resources

“How Bicycle Helmets Are Made” Helmets.org,

https://www.bhsi.org/howmade.htm

Last update on 2019-11-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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