All in one buying guide for motorcycle helmets in India

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24 November 2023

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Long story short – We want to make your motorcycle helmet buying decision on the right track and the right product in this overloaded information era.

There is no need to explain what a helmet is and whether it is mandatory. We all know without a helmet how fatal it can be when an accident happens. According to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH), there were 1,15,188 road accidents in India in 2022, resulting in 4,12,439 fatalities. Of these fatalities, 32,460 were motorcyclists. This means that motorcyclists accounted for about 8% of all road fatalities in India in 2022.

In this digital era, there is a lot of information regarding each topic, making our choices more confusing while buying. We need clarity and knowledge of marketing and sales tactics used by dealers, showrooms, etc., to make the right helmet-buying choice. So we at Bikeleague want to help you make your buying decision on the right track and with the right product. Before that, you need to know some safety tips for bike helmets.

How a motorcycle helmet works and what is the anatomy of a helmet

The helmet comprises several high-quality materials, each with a clear-cut purpose, and works together to protect the head from all sorts of worse situations. Let’s check the anatomy of a helmet and how it works.

Hard outer shell

Most helmets use polycarbonate or fibreglass, which is economical compared to Kevlar or carbon fibre. Premium helmets use the latter, which is the cost and protects the rider in the worst conditions.

Protective inner shell

Every helmet has an inner shell to protect the head against physical impact when it hits the road. This protective inner shell is expanded polystyrene or EPS. EPS does the most important job of absorbing the impact force and cushioning the skull so the head stays protected.

Removable soft lining

The third layer is a removable soft liner that protects the face and neck against the EPS’s hard surface. The removable soft lining can be washed frequently and is usually made of hypoallergenic materials to prevent allergic reactions.

Protective padding

There is also protective padding to protect the cheek and jawbones. It is made of a soft sponge or shock-absorbing composite materials that are great at keeping you comfortable on long rides and protecting the facial bones.

Strapping mechanism

A high-quality strap is mandatory to ensure it stays on your head even during an accident. The release mechanism should be easy; otherwise, it will be frustrating to use

Vents

ventilation systems allow good air flow within and outside the helmet to keep riders cool and comfortable on long rides. We cannot think of long rides without a good ventilation system, especially in hot conditions.

Visors

The visor is a curved material worn above the eyes to protect them from the sun, dust, etc. They are designed to resist the normal wear and tear of an average daily ride for up and are replaceable.

Six types of helmets are legal in India, and they are

types of motorcycle helmets in India
  1. Full Face Helmet
  2. These helmets offer the most protection, covering the entire head, face, and jaw. They are ideal for highway riding and high-speed travel.

  3. Modular Helmet / Flip up / Flip front helmet
  4. These helmets combine a full-face helmet’s protection with an open-face helmet’s convenience. The chin bar can be flipped up, allowing easy face access and improved ventilation.

  5. Half Face / Open Face Helmet
  6. These helmets provide less protection than full-face helmets but offer more airflow and visibility. They are suitable for low-speed riding and urban environments.

  7. Half Shell Helmet
  8. These helmets offer the least protection, covering only the top of the head. They are not legal in most states in India.

  9. Off-Road Helmets
  10. These helmets are designed for off-road riding and feature a peak to protect the rider’s face from the sun and mud. They also have a visor that can be removed for added airflow.

  11. Dual Sport Helmets
  12. These helmets are designed for both on-road and off-road riding. They combine features of both full-face and off-road helmets.

Many in India have the misconception that half-helmets and half-shell helmets are illegal, but the reality is that they are legal. Do note that they provide minimal safety and must have ISI certification.

What are the latest motorcycle helmet rules in India?

  1. All riders and pillion riders above four must wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle in India. This rule is applicable in all states and union territories of India.
  2. Helmets must be made from high-impact absorbing materials like ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) or polycarbonate to provide adequate protection against impact. The inner shell should be made from expanded polystyrene (EPS) or expanded polypropylene (EPP) to effectively absorb and distribute the force of impact.
  3. All helmets sold in India must be BIS certified, ensuring they meet the specified safety standards under CMVR (Central Motor Vehicles Rules). This certification guarantees the helmet’s material, construction, and performance meet the required safety requirements.
  4. The helmet’s inner liner should have a minimum thickness of 20-25 mm (0.79-0.98 inches) and be made from high-quality foam to provide comfort and shock absorption.
  5. The maximum weight of a helmet should not exceed 1.2 kg (2.65 lbs) to minimize fatigue and neck strain during prolonged riding.
  6. The helmet’s visor must be made from a durable transparent material that offers clear visibility without distortion or obstructions. It should also protect against UV rays and scratches. Some visors may have anti-fog and quick-release mechanisms for added convenience.
  7. The helmet must have a secure and easy-to-use chinstrap system, such as a quick-release buckle or double D-ring fastener, to ensure proper fit and prevent the helmet from coming off during an accident.
  8. No cameras can be fixed on top of the helmet, resulting in several accidents.

Best Motorcycle helmet brands in India

Some of the best motorcycle helmet brands in India are listed below

  1. Vega
  2. Steelbird
  3. Studds
  4. Royal Enfield
  5. SMK
  6. LS2
  7. THH
  8. MT
  9. Sol
  10. Axor
  11. Aerostar
  12. HJC
  13. Shoei
  14. Gliders
  15. AGV
  16. Aaron
  17. Bell
  18. Arai
  19. Shark

If you are on a tight budget and need a decent amount of quality, then the best helmet brands are

  1. Vega
  2. Steelbird
  3. Studds
  4. THH

On the other hand, if budget is not an issue and quality is what you are purely looking for, then the best helmet brands are

  1. SMK
  2. LS2
  3. MT
  4. Shoei
  5. AGV

Best motorcycle helmets in India

The answer to this varies from person to person and purely depends on his needs, budget, purpose, etc. The market has many options right now, and this article is purely a guide. So, we will not specify the exact models in this article.

Motorcycle helmet fit and size measurement

motorcycle helmet measurement size India
  1. As per the image above, wrap a measuring tape around the head.
  2. The measuring tape must go above the eyebrows in the forehead and the ears in the back.
  3. Next, check the size chart and compare your measurements with the same.
  4. If two to three fingers can be placed inside the head while wearing the helmet, it is loose and needs to be checked for smaller sizes.
  5. Initially, the helmet will be tight while wearing and loosen up a bit.
  6. There should be no movement of the helmet while shaking the head.
  7. Head shapes can also be considered, and there are three shapes: round oval, intermediate oval, and long oval.
  8. Long Oval – Head shape is longer from forehead to back of skull vs. ear to ear.
  9. Intermediate Oval – The most common head shape. The front-to-back measurement is slightly longer than ear-to-ear.
  10. Round Oval – Both front-to-back/ear-to-ear measurements are nearly the same.

Where to buy helmets online?

Always look for helmet models on the official company website or in eCommerce portals like Amazon India or Flipkart. But never buy online. The reason is explained below.

Always buy bike helmets offline.

Yes, without a doubt. It would help if you always felt like wearing the helmet. Customers can decide on colour options and prices online but make the final decision only after wearing the helmet. So, always purchase offline, and that too separate and dedicated one.

Never opt for free helmets given by dealers while buying a motorcycle.

Nowadays, dealers must hand over helmets and motorcycles while buying as per the rule mentioned by the Government of India, which they say is free, but hidden charges exist. Quality-wise, they will be lower, and we will accept the same. Do not get trapped in such pitfalls, and always prioritize your safety.

Replace the helmet with a brand new one every five years

The expiry date of a helmet is around five years, and the helmet should be replaced with a brand-new one. The chin strap, outer shell, and inner padding show the aging signs of a helmet. Check for the same before replacing the helmet. If a helmet is met with an accident, it should not be used further.

Certification, fit, visibility, air circulation, weight

Customers must consider certification, fit, visibility, air circulation, weight, and inner material washing options.

  1. A helmet should not be too tight or too loose.
  2. Maximum visibility is better for riding.
  3. Air circulation/ventilation should be proper inside.
  4. Weight should not be too much as it can result in neck pain.
  5. Internal materials like inner lining should be washable.
  6. Visors should be anti-UV and anti-scratch resistant and replaceable.
  7. Should have ISI, DOT, and ECE certifications. ECE is the most thoroughly tested, while ISI and BIS are mandatory for helmets in India.

Myths about motorcycle helmets in india

Myth 1: Helmets are only necessary at high speeds or on long rides.

Fact: Accidents can happen anywhere, regardless of speed or distance. It is essential to wear a motorcycle helmet while riding, even for short distances or at low speeds.

Myth 2: Helmets are too expensive.

Fact: Motorcycle helmets come in various prices to suit different budgets. There are many affordable and high-quality helmets available in India that provide excellent protection without breaking the bank.

Myth 3: Helmets are bulky and uncomfortable to wear.

Truth: Lightweight materials like polycarbonate and ABS are used to manufacture helmets and have comfortable liners to ensure a comfortable fit.

Myth 4: Helmets restrict your field of vision.

Fact: Motorcycle helmets are designed to provide a wide field of vision, typically around 210 degrees, allowing riders to see everything they need while riding.

Myth 5: Helmets are not necessary for skilled riders.

Truth: Even the most experienced and skilled riders can be involved in accidents. Helmets are not about being a good or lousy rider; they are about protecting your head from serious injury in the event of an accident.

Myth 6: Helmets restrict airflow and make riding uncomfortable.

Fact: Modern helmets are designed with advanced ventilation systems that allow for adequate airflow, preventing overheating and discomfort during long rides. Many helmets have adjustable vents to customize airflow based on personal preferences and riding conditions.

Myth 7: Helmets make you look like a dork.

Fact: Two Wheeler helmets come in various styles and designs to suit individual tastes. There are many stylish and attractive helmets available in India.

Myth 8: I’m a careful rider, so I don’t need to wear a helmet.

Fact: Accidents can happen even to the most careful riders. It is always best to wear a helmet to protect yourself from serious injury in the event of an accident.

Myth 9: Helmets are only necessary for full-face helmets.

Fact: While full-face helmets offer the most protection, open-face helmets can protect your head effectively. Choosing a helmet that fits properly and meets all safety standards is essential.

Myth 10: I don’t need to wear a helmet because I’m not going to crash.

Fact: No one plans to crash, but accidents can happen even to the most cautious riders. It is always best to wear a helmet to protect yourself from serious injury in the event of an accident.

Conclusion

To summarize, please keep these things in mind

  1. Always opt for full face helmet
  2. Obey rules and follow laws of the land
  3. Opt for ISI & BIS marked certification helmets
  4. Donot fit cameras above helmet
  5. Always buy bike helmets offline
  6. Never opt for free helmets given by dealers while buying a motorcycle
  7. Go for helmets that have the balance of features and strict quality

If you have any other doubts or queries, email us at bikeleague2017@gmail.com. We are always eager to help and assist you. Also, here are several social media platforms of Bikeleague India to raise your suspicions.

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