Off-road biking is a popular outdoor activity, and many people enjoy the thrill and freedom it provides through cycling or riding motorcycles. They relish the sensation of the mountain breeze rushing against their faces, the joy of navigating muddy mountain trails, or the excitement of speeding through rugged desert terrain. However, it’s crucial not to underestimate the risks associated with off-road biking, making the choice of appropriate protective gear paramount. Among all protective gear, the helmet is undoubtedly the most crucial. How much do you know about motocross helmets?

Based on what I know, it seems that there aren’t many people in China who opt for motocross helmets, and many seem to prefer stylish, race-inspired helmets. However, there are likely some enthusiasts who appreciate rally off-road racing, and wearing a rally helmet can indeed be quite stylish. Did anyone pay attention to this year’s Dakar Rally motorcycle event? The combination of domestically produced racing bikes (like the Kayo 450Rally Competition Version) and Chinese riders is something to be proud of. These elements could certainly make a significant mark in the history of motorcycle racing in China. Hopefully, more people will become interested in motorcycle off-road racing. Without further ado, let’s continue with the introduction to rally helmets.

Chapter One: Types and Designs of Rally Helmets

A rally helmet is designed specifically for riders who enjoy off-road biking and has some unique features. Off-road riders often venture into harsh natural conditions, so first and foremost, rally helmets typically have a larger overall shape to provide better coverage for the head, thus offering more comprehensive protection.

Secondly, rally helmets often feature an extended chin area to better safeguard the rider’s lower jaw and face. This design takes into account potential accidents during off-road riding, reducing the risk of injury to the head and face. Additionally, the visors of rally helmets are typically designed to be externally removable for the rider’s convenience. This allows riders to choose the appropriate visor based on weather conditions, lighting, and personal preferences, ensuring clear and safe visibility. Most importantly, riders can drink water or engage in conversation without having to remove the helmet, making it especially convenient during outdoor activities.

Next, let’s delve into a detailed introduction to various types of rally helmet styles:

  1. Full-face rally helmet:

The full-face rally helmet is a design that provides comprehensive head protection. It features a shell with a transparent face shield that completely covers the rider’s head, including the front and sides. This type of rally helmet is capable of preventing dust, debris, and other foreign objects from reaching the rider’s face while also protecting the eyes from splashes and bright light. Additionally, full-face rally helmets often have an effective ventilation system to ensure the rider’s head remains comfortable and cool during high-temperature and high-intensity activities.

Now, let’s move on to the open-face rally helmet:

 

Open-face rally helmet:

Compared to full-face rally helmets, open-face rally helmets have an opening in the chin area, allowing the rider’s face to be exposed. This design aims to provide better breathability and communication capability, enabling riders to interact more easily with team members or spectators. Open-face rally helmets often come with adjustable neck protection devices to provide additional neck support and protection.

 

Next, let’s explore the ventilated rally helmet:

 

Ventilated rally helmet:

The ventilated rally helmet is designed to focus on providing an excellent ventilation system to ensure that the rider’s head remains comfortable and cool throughout competitions. This type of rally helmet typically features multiple ventilation ports and an air circulation system that effectively dissipates heat and moisture from the head. By keeping the head dry and cool, the ventilated rally helmet helps riders stay focused and drive efficiently.

 

Now, let’s move on to the lightweight rally helmet:

 

Lightweight rally helmet:

The lightweight rally helmet is a type designed specifically to reduce the burden on the rider’s head. This type of rally helmet uses lightweight materials such as carbon fiber composites to achieve the optimal balance between weight and strength. Lightweight rally helmets not only reduce the fatigue experienced by the rider’s head but also enhance the rider’s agility and responsiveness.

The main differences between rally helmets and regular helmets include:

  1. Rally helmets offer better visibility, allowing riders to see the dashboard without tilting their heads.
  2. Rally helmets provide better sunshade capabilities, effectively blocking sunlight and dust, but they also come with higher wind resistance.
  3. Rally helmets offer improved chin protection and are better suited for neck protection devices.
  4. Rally helmets may have poorer wind resistance and noise reduction compared to regular helmets.

Regardless of the type of rally helmet, it must comply with relevant safety standards and regulations. When choosing a rally helmet, riders should consider factors such as comfort, protective performance, environmental suitability, and race requirements. Additionally, regular inspection and maintenance of the rally helmet are crucial to ensure that it remains in optimal working condition and provides maximum protection.

Chapter Two: Global Mainstream Helmet Testing Standards

I’m not sure if anyone is still unaware that helmets need to be tested by specialized authorities. If you still choose a helmet based solely on its appearance without considering the standards it complies with, I recommend taking a closer look at this chapter. It can be said that helmet testing standards are closely related to helmet quality. In this chapter, we will cover some of the most globally recognized helmet testing standards, and I hope it will be helpful for those who are not familiar with them.

  1. 06 (European Standard)

ECE (European Standard): Helmet ECE certification is based on the technical quality standard set by the Economic Commission of Europe (ECE Regulation No. 22). It is an approval system where authorized agencies test and certify helmets. Currently, ECE certification alternates between No. 22-05 and No. 22-06 versions, with No. 22-05 versions no longer being sold after March 1, 2024. Once certified, helmets bear the E-mark and can be sold in ECE member countries. There are currently 47 member countries, and certificates can be issued by any European Union member state.

2. DOT (U.S. Standard):

DOT (U.S. Standard): DOT FMVSS 218 is the motorcycle helmet standard developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the United States. This standard requires helmets to pass impact tests, visibility tests, and retention system (strap) tests to ensure the helmet’s impact resistance and comfort. However, because this standard has not been updated in a long time, some riders may have doubts about its reliability. Helmets in the U.S. market are subject to random inspections by this agency, and if a helmet fails the testing, the product may be recalled, and the company may face fines.

3. SNELL (International Standard):

SNELL (International Standard): Snell M2015 is an independent non-profit organization that establishes a series of rigorous helmet standards. SNELL standards require helmets to undergo testing in various aspects, including high-speed and low-speed impacts, and have higher impact performance requirements. SNELL certification covers various types of helmets, including motorcycle helmet standards such as M2020, which further divides into M2020D (leaning towards DOT) and M2020R (leaning towards ECE). SNELL standards are typically updated every 5 years.

4. FIM (International Motorcycle Racing Helmet Standard):

FIM (International Motorcycle Racing Helmet Standard): FIM standards refer to the testing standards set by the International Motorcycling Federation (FIM) for helmets used in its motorcycle racing events. The full name is the FIM Racing Homologation Programme for Helmets (FRHPhe). Currently, the 01 version, FRHPhe-01, is in use, and the 02 version is expected to be introduced in 2025. Helmets that pass these tests can bear the FIM logo. It’s important to note that FIM certification is conducted based on helmet sizes.

This is certainly the most authoritative certification, but most motorcyclists only ride casually, so they may not typically purchase professionally FIM-certified helmets.

Chapter Three: Well-Known Rally Helmet Brands on the Market

Here are some well-known rally helmet brands and their advantages:

  1. Shoei X-FourteenShoei X-Fourteen: Shoei is a well-known helmet manufacturer, and its X-Fourteen model is a professional-grade rally helmet. It is crafted using advanced composite materials, offering excellent impact resistance and ventilation systems. Furthermore, the X-Fourteen features comfortable lining and removable visors, providing an outstanding riding experience.

2. Arai Corsair-X

Arai Corsair-X: Arai is another highly reputable helmet manufacturer, and the Corsair-X is one of its flagship models. It is constructed using advanced fiber materials, providing excellent impact absorption performance and comfort. The Corsair-X also features an advanced ventilation system and adjustable neck support, delivering outstanding safety and comfort for riders.

3. ILM Z302

ILM Z302: ILM is an emerging brand in the realm of riding gear and is one of the top five helmet brands in North America. Founded in the United States in 2013, it is a professional motorcycle riding gear brand specializing in helmets, riding apparel, protective gear, and a full range of riding products. They have retail stores in over 140 countries, including Europe, Mexico, Brazil, and more. The ILM-Z302 model is one of their offerings.

4. AGV Pista GP R

AGV Pista GP R: AGV is a highly respected Italian helmet brand, and its Pista GP R model is a professional racing-level rally helmet. It features a lightweight carbon fiber shell, exceptional aerodynamic design, and an advanced ventilation system. The Pista GP R is also equipped with optical-grade visors and anti-fog coatings, providing outstanding visibility and reliable safety.