Best Motorcycle Helmets for Cruising: Avoid Headaches Ride Comfortable


best motorcycle helmets for cruising

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Here’s the thing – Finding the best motorcycle helmets for cruising can be a bit of a chore and make your wallet cry uncle. Here five options that don’t break the bank.

There are a lot of great helmets out there but let’s face it;

You can spend an absolute fortune.

If you’re looking for the best motorcycle helmet for cruising and traveling but you don’t want to spend a fortune, I’ve picked some out for you to take a look at. These motorcycle helmets are all at a reasonable price point.

Are Shoei’s great helmets – Yes they are, but I’m not a fan of their price tag.

I know folks will disagree but let’s be real – You can be just as dead in a $600 helmet as a $150 helmet. That’s because: 1) No helmet will stop your brain from colliding with the inside of your skull. 2) The helmet doesn’t fix stupid.

These motorcycle helmets are all reasonably priced and feature a little something for everybody. My pick is the HJC IS-33ii because it’s the helmet I’ve been using (and it’s 2020 now). But I recognize that not everyone likes an open face style of motorcycle helmet.

Best Motorcycle Helmets for Cruising

ImageProductRating 
HJC CL-17 Full Face Motorcycle Helmet4.75/5Learn MoreOpens in a new tab.
ILM Modular Helmet w/ LED Light4.5/5Learn MoreOpens in a new tab.
Bell Qualifier Helmet4.5/5Learn MoreOpens in a new tab.
MoPhoto Bluetooth Integrated Motorcycle Hlemet4/5BlueTooth Enabled

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HJC-IS33ii Open Face Helmet4.5/5.0Editors Pick

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How to measure for a motorcycle Helmet

Getting a measurement for a motorcycle helmet is not too much different than getting fitted for any other headgear (hats for example). 


The best tool for the job is an old school seamstress or tailor’s tape measure. It gives you the flexibility you need to wrap around the your head (or someone else’s) and is marked in inches or metric (depending on your country of course) for determining an accurate size.

Use it to find which size of helmet suits you:

Wrap the measuring tape around the biggest part of the head – about a half inch or so above the eyebrows. Wrap the tape measure around the back of the head at the widest point.

If your measurement falls within a range of two numbers, use the larger number.

Keep in mind these are basic guidelines and not definitive. 

That being said, these measurements will give you solid idea of what to look for whether your shopping online (which I all the time anymore) or in person. You can get a ton of great info at Motorcycle Safety Foundations website hereOpens in a new tab..

Sizing Chart

InchesCMHat SizeHelmet Size
20 1/8 – 20 1/251 – 526 ⅜ – 6 1/2XX-Small
20 ⅞ – 21 1/453 – 546 ⅝ – 6 3/4X-Small
21 5/8 – 2255 – 566 7/8 – 7Small
22 3/8 – 22 7/857 – 587 1/8 – 7 1/4Medium
23 1/4 – 23 5/859 – 607 3/8 – 7 1/2Large
24 – 24 3/861 – 627 5/8 – 7 3/4X-Large
24 7/8 – 25 1/463 – 647 7/8 – 8XX-Large

Know your Head Shape

Every motorcycle website will tell you that you need to know your head shape and we’re no different. The wrong helmet on the wrong head shape can result in some nasty headaches, since the equivalent of shoving a square peg in a round hole.

The three basic head shapes are:

  • Oval – Which may be the most common
  • Round – Wider in the middle than the oval, kind of like a basketball
  • Egg – Wide at the top narrow at the bottom. Kind of like an… egg

How to determine head shape for motorcycle helmet

Not everyone can get the motorcycle helmet that helped Charlie Brown win that epic race from his days in a motorcycle race. In fact, if memory serves correctly, it was made out of a watermelon. It fit comfortably, but hey, we can’t all be as smooth as old Chuck. Today, motorcycle helmets are contoured, advanced in every way, and are made to protect you.

The helmet that you decide to wear could very well save your life. If you are involved in an accident of any type, even if you deem it minor, protecting your head is paramount. Learning how to determine head shape for motorcycle helmet is important, because not all helmets are made for every single head.

Whether you have a giant head, a small head, one that is round, or an oblong one, there’s a lot of options that you can pursue. Not sure which helmet is for you? Well, consider a few notes on how to determine head shape for motorcycle helmets, and see which is going to work best for you.

Before getting too deep, remember, take your time, and make you have a good fit.

Look For the Government Seal of Approval

Once you have a helmet picked out, the first thing that you will want to look into is whether or not the helmet is meeting the standards of the government or. The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) has done a great deal of work to look into motor vehicle safety standards, and more.

A helmet that doesn’t have a DOT certification on it, is not a legal helmet. Watch out for this when you go into cycle shops that sell novelty helmets.

A DOT certified helmet must have at least 2 inches of padding to be legal. The DOT standard is not as comprehensive a safety standard as SnellOpens in a new tab., but its the standard we have to live by.

harley davidson trike

The Fit

To ensure that you get a good fitting helmet, make sure that you put it on and you move it a little. Consider whether you’re going to wear a bandana, or if you grow your hair out.

A full face helmet should be easy to put on and take off, and be comfortable on your cheeks with a little bit of pressure on your jaw. A loose helmet is the worst thing that you can purchase (it will more than likely be ripped off of your head in a crash), but a tight helmet will make your ride miserable causing headaches.

Buying Online Vs in Store

If you have a local store that you like to support, certainly support them.

And yes, it is best to try the helmet on in person if you can.

However, what I’ve discovered over the years and buying several motorcycle helmets is this;

Once you leave the store with the helmet and you’ve worn it once, you’re pretty much stuck with it. That means if you didn’t get the fit right you won’t be able to take back. Of course this does depend on the retailer.

With online stores (like Amazon), they appear to be more willing to accept returns.

Staying On The Head

You’re going to need to understand what a helmet should be like on your head. It should fit snug, you should be able to fasten the strap without trouble.

But here’s the thing, you need to ensure that it’s not too loose and stays put. Crashes are violent events; Your motorcycle helmet could be ripped right off your easily if it doesn’t fit right.

Depending on your helmet’s shape and style, it could slide, and can even drop off your head. With that in mind, you should ensure that your head is protected fully, and when you fasten the straps, you snugly have it in place.

Once the helmet is on and secured, move your head around. Jerk your head a little, and check to see if get a little movement. You need to make sure that the helmet doesn’t slide, doesn’t move around your head, and stays put. You also need to make sure it doesn’t sink, or pull.

The HJC CL-17 Helmet

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The CL-17 by HJC helmets is an all-for-one bang for your buck helmet. The CL-17 offers a level of protection similar to other big names in the helmet industry but all for a fraction of the cost. 

With features like an advanced polycarbonate shell to keep you comfortable and safe, an Anti-Scratch Face shield so you’re guaranteed great visibility in fog and any other weather condition, an Advanced Channeling Ventilation System and the SuperCool sweat-wicking fabric interior which keeps you cool and eliminates sweat it’s easy to see why this helmet is rated so highly not just by us but by customers as well.

 The CL-17 offers the best value for what you’ll spend and meets DOT and Snell standards. Safety is the most important rating for a helmet, but it’s nice to have bells and whistles that make your helmet more customizable and comfortable, and the CL-17 doesn’t skimp on these features either. 

Just like the heavy hitters in the helmet industry the CL-17 offers features including removable and washable cheek and head pads inside the helmet which means you can keep your helmet feeling clean even after long sweaty rides, and cheek pads that can be customized and interchanged for different options. 

This helmet is an all-in-one standard helmet and a great buy for beginning or experienced motorcyclists looking for a general use helmet.

Specifications

Advanced Polycarbonate Shell

Anti-Scratch Pinlock-ready Face shield 

Side face shield lock mechanism 

Pinlock-ready (Pinlock lens not included)

2-stage face shield closure system

ACS (Advanced Channeling Ventilation System) 

SuperCool Interior made from anti-bacterial, moisture wicking fabric

Crown and Cheek pads are removable and Washable

Integrated air deflector

What People Like

Affordable Price point under $150

Good General use helmet

High Safety Ratings

Standard and some extra features 

Lightweight 

Keeps you cool 

DOT and Snell approved

Dislikes

Less customization options than higher priced helmets

Less features than higher end helmets

ILM Modular Motorcycle Helmet

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The ILM Modular helmet is an entry price full face motorcycle helmet. Overall the helmet doesn’t have the same features that higher priced helmets will, but it’s a high rated product at a very low price.

The ILM Modular Helmet is a great entry helmet for motorcycling and while it doesn’t have all the features a $300+ dollar helmet would have, it is DOT certified, and is designed with an LED system for increased visibility on the road. This helmet features a modular design which means it has the versatility of switching between full-face and open face styles.

The helmet features fully removable and washable cheek pads so you can keep it clean even after long rides. This is another helmet all about bang for your buck. So, if you’re looking to get onto the road with less investment than a multi-hundred-dollar helmet, then you should consider the ILM Modular Motorcycle Helmet. 

Specifications

ABS Shells, adjustable Strap, Lightweight design

Helmet Liner and Cheek pads are soft, removable, and washable

Modular flip-up function Anti-Scratch, Anti-Fog, and Wide View Clear Visor

Several LEDS for visibility 

DOT Approved

What People Like

Low Price

LED Visibility System

ABS Shell

DOT Approved

Dislikes

Not Snell Certified (only matters if you intend on racing)

Bell Qualifier DLX Blackout Helmet

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The Bell Qualifier DLX Blackout helmet earns a spot on our Best Cruiser Motorcycle Helmets List because it offers bang for your buck. The DLX Blackout is a helmet meant to keep you safe and offer you plenty of features at an entry level price point. 

 The shell is a lightweight polycarbonate, and it comes in three different shell sizes. Overall the helmet is very protective and weighs about 3.3 pounds which means you won’t find your neck getting tired with this helmet.

The helmet also features an adjustable ventilation system to keep you cool and comfortable on long rides in hot places. The helmet is designed to house a Sena SMH-10 Bluetooth Communication unit though it’s sold separately which is a great feature especially for riders planning on traveling two-up.

The shield of the helmet is NutraFog II which means superior anti-fog, anti-scratch, and UV protection. Lastly, the DLX Blackout helmet comes with a Five-year warranty and it’s DOT and ECE (Economic Commission of Europe) Certified. 

Specifications

2 Shields – Clear shield on the helmet and a dark smoke shield in the box

Communication ready – can house a Sena SMH-10 Bluetooth unit

Polycarbonate Composite shell for lightweight protection

Moisture wicking, anti-microbial interior liner 

Adjustable ventilation system for cooling and comfort 

Padded wind collar to reduce wind and road noise 

Contoured cheek pads 

NutraFog II superior anti-fog, anti-scratch and UV protected shield 

Five-year warranty

DOT and ECE Certified

What People Like

Offers DOT and ECE certified protective features

Low Price, under $200

Bluetooth ready

Good ventilation system

Includes two shields 

Lightweight

Dislikes

Noise issues at higher speeds 

Lack of customization options

MoPhoto Bluetooth Integrated Motorcycle Helmet

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Getting a Bluetooth helmet can be a pricey proposition these days. If you’re looking to make the jump to a bluetooth motorcycle helmet, MoPhoto offers a nice helmet that has the basic safety features you’re looking for plus the tech.

The helmet features a modular design that’s heavily cushioned to give the rider a more comfortable interior. It also features dual visors for rain and sunlight that are high definition and anti fog.

The built in bluetooth intercom system will allow you to talk with up to 2 other riders for about 20 hours. You’ll also be able to stay connected with your personal devices like a cell phone or gps unit.

Specifications

Modular design and comfortable interior

Dual visors

Air Vents

Bluetooth w/intercom system

800mAh battery capacity lasts 20 hours

Quick release clasp

Rider to rider communications

Anit fog lenses

DOT approved

Wide variety of sizes, Med to XX Large

What People Like

High quality stereo sound

Lighter helmet

Affordable bluetooth helmet

Removable interior

Good features for the price point

Dislikes

Better instructions for bluetooth

HJC-IS33ii Open Face Helmet

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The IS-33 II helmet by HJC helmets is on our list of best motorcycle touring helmets because it’s a sturdy helmet at a fairly cheap price offering an open design with a greater range of visibility.

The difference between the CL-17 and the IS-33 is the IS-33’s open face design. The open face design on the IS-33 allows for a greater range of visibility and ventilation because there’s no constricting chin bar that traps hot air.

Just like the CL-17 this helmet’s features offer an Advanced Polycarbonate Composite Shell, an Advanced Channeling Ventilation System, a Supercool anti-bacterial moisture wicking liner, an EPS liner, and an overall aerodynamic shape to make sure wind won’t drag and cause fatigue. The IS-33 is DOT approved, and also offers the option of swapping the face shield for an integrated peak visor to increase airflow.

This is the helmet I’m currently riding with, and you can read my HJC IS-33ii review here.

Specifications

Advanced Polycarbonate Composite Shell

Aerodynamic Design

Swappable Face shield/Visor

ACS Advanced Channeling Ventilation System

SuperCool anti-bacterial liner

2 shell sizes

Single-density EPS liner 

DOT approved

What People Like

Bang for your buck

Offers good protection for head

Includes a single-density EPS liner

Great ventilation 

Customization options including face shield/visor

Dislikes

DOT Approved but no ECE or Snell certification 

Offers less overall face protection without chin bar

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