With the country in a state of uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Pennsylvania has issued a statement that the contractual agreement with Total Control Training has been ended. This decision, coupled with the current Stay at Home Order, has resulted in all PA Motorcycle Safety Courses being cancelled. As a person that likes to set goals and formulate a plan of attack – this news stings a bit.

Since the proper training that I need to reintroduce me to Motorcycles is out of my control, I’m now pivoting to something that is in my control – selecting Riding Gear, specifically a Helmet. My rational is that this is the very first item I will need for my eventual Rider Education Course, so I might as well start narrowing down the field.

First and foremost – it is important to know that I am very much a rookie when it comes to both motorcycles and helmets. The purpose of this blog post is to outline how I came to select my new helmet. It is my hope that you find this information useful but please, consult a professional before selecting gear to keep you safe.

So Many Choices

When it comes to Motorcycle Helmets, there is no shortage of choices. You can get yourself a bargain helmet on Amazon for as little as $50 or you can tip the scales at over $1,500 for a specialty racing helmet. Even if you were to cut the field in half and say I just want a good middle of the road helmet the number of Brands, Models, Styles, and Features are overwhelming. Where do you even begin with so many choices?

The best place to start is to first consider the type of helmet you want to wear; Half, Three-Quarter, Full Face, Modular, or Dual Sport. In my case I’ll be shopping for a Full Face Helmet as I feel it offers the most protection in the event of a crash. With a wife and kids at home, my primary concern is being able to come home safe and sound after a ride.

Narrowing the Field

Armed with a decision on a Full Face Helmet and sizing info from the video above (Intermediate Oval with a measurement of 23-1/2 inches), I can now begin to narrow the selection a bit. The elephant in the room is price – how much am I willing to shell out to keep my head safe?

Early on in the process I fell into the common misconception that most riders face – big protection costs big bucks! After reading a number of articles and watching a number of videos, I found that this just wasn’t the case. There are many budget friendly helmets that offer the same, if not greater, protection of helmets that cost significantly more. The biggest impact on pricing seems to be a matter of finish, features, and branding. Based on this information, my personal budget cap is $400

I feel that this price point will allow me to purchase a safe helmet from a reputable brand with all of the features that I’m looking for.

  • Must Cost Less than $400
  • Must Include a drop down Sun Shield
  • Must have adequate venting (I sweat a lot)
  • Must be relatively quiet
  • Must allow for a communication device in the future

Making a Decision

Using my feature wish-list as a search criteria, I was able to reduce the field from several hundred choices to several dozen choices. While better, there were still an overwhelming number of helmets to choose from. A little frustrated, I decided to select one well-known brand and limit my results even further – HJC as they have a reputation for being a well made helmet with budget-friendly options.

After weighing my options, I ultimately decided on the HJC F70. It had all of the features I was looking for and was priced under-budget (which will allow me to invest in other gear).