The Ultimate Guide to Motorcycle Helmet Ratings

Riding on the open road, feeling the wind in your face, and experiencing the freedom of a motorcycle or scooter can be exhilarating. However, it’s essential to prioritize safety and ensure that you’re protected at all times. One of the most critical pieces of safety equipment is a helmet. But with so many safety ratings and certifications out there, how do you decide which one is best for you? In our comprehensive guide on “Helmet Safety Ratings: Everything Explained,” we dive deep into the world of helmet certifications, breaking down each rating to help you make an informed decision. Whether you’re a seasoned rider or just starting out, this post will equip you with the knowledge you need to choose the best helmet for your safety needs.

Regarding helmet safety, many different ratings and certifications can help you choose a helmet that will keep you safe. However, understanding these ratings can be confusing and overwhelming. In this post, we’ll break down the basics of helmet safety ratings, so you can make an informed decision when selecting a helmet.

Types of Helmet Safety Ratings

There are several different types of helmet safety ratings, including:

Safety RatingCountry/RegionDescription
DOTUnited StatesCreated by the US Department of Transportation, helmets must pass impact, penetration, and retention tests to receive this rating.
ECEEurope and other countriesCreated by the Economic Commission for Europe, helmets must pass impact, penetration, retention, and field of vision tests to receive this rating.
SnellInternationalCreated by the Snell Memorial Foundation, helmets must pass more rigorous impact, penetration, retention, and other tests than DOT or ECE to receive this rating.
SHARPUnited KingdomCreated by the UK government, helmets must pass impact, penetration, retention, and other tests, and are rated on a five-star scale for safety.
ISIIndiaCreated by the Indian Standards Institute, helmets must pass impact, penetration, retention, and other tests to receive this certification.

It’s important to note that some countries or regions may recognize multiple safety ratings, while others may only recognize one. When selecting a helmet, it’s important to consider the safety standards recognized in your country or region.

1. DOT (Department of Transportation)

The DOT rating is a safety standard created by the US Department of Transportation. A helmet must pass impact, penetration, and retention tests to receive this rating. DOT-rated helmets are legal for use on public roads in the United States.

Some of the Popular DOT Certified Helmets

  1. AGV K1 S Helmet – Priced at around $219, this helmet offers a sleek design and is DOT approved, ensuring safety and style for riders.
  2. Shoei Helmets – Shoei is a well-known brand that offers a variety of DOT-approved helmets, providing riders with a range of options in terms of style, comfort, and safety.
  3. HJC Helmets – HJC is another reputable brand that offers DOT-approved helmets, such as the HJC i10, which is designed for intermediate oval head shapes and meets both DOT and ECE safety standards.
  4. Bell Qualifier DLX Blackout – This helmet is not only DOT approved but also features a sleek blackout design, making it a stylish and safe option for riders

Here are some popular DOT-certified helmets available in India:

  1. Axor Apex Venomous – This full-face helmet is ISI, ECE, and DOT certified, featuring a pin-lock-fitted outer clear visor and inner smoke sun visor. It is designed for both men and women and offers high safety and comfort.
  2. TVS XPOD Racing Helmet – Priced at INR 3,132, this helmet is DOT-approved and offers a stylish design along with safety features.
  3. THH Helmet – This helmet comes with dual certification, both DOT and ISI and features an unbreakable hard ABS shell along with a denser EPS liner to withstand impact upon fall.
  4. SMK GL231 Twister Helmet – Priced at INR 4,400, this full-face helmet is aerodynamically built with EIRT and is DOT-certified, ensuring safety and style for riders.
  5. Royal Enfield Street Prime – This full-face helmet from Royal Enfield comes with three top certifications – DOT, ECE, and ISI, providing a high level of safety and comfort.

2. ECE (Economic Commission for Europe)

The ECE rating is a safety standard created by the Economic Commission for Europe. To receive this rating, a helmet must pass impact, penetration, retention, and field of vision tests. ECE-rated helmets are legal for use in Europe and many other countries around the world.

These helmets undergo rigorous testing to ensure they provide suitable protection for riders in various conditions. Some popular ECE-certified helmets include:

  1. Arai Helmets – A well-known brand that offers a range of ECE-certified helmets, known for their handmade construction and focus on safety.
  2. Shark Helmets – Another reputable brand offering ECE-certified helmets, providing riders with various options in terms of style, comfort, and safety.
  3. Icon Helmets – Icon offers a selection of ECE-certified helmets, known for their stylish designs and safety features.
  4. Nolan Helmets – Nolan is a popular brand that provides ECE-certified helmets, ensuring riders have access to safe and comfortable options.
  5. Bell Helmets – Bell offers a variety of ECE-certified helmets, including the Bell Qualifier DLX and the Bell Star MIPS, which are designed for safety and style.

Here are some popular ECE-certified helmets available in India:

  1. Steelbird Ignyte IGN-7 – Priced from ₹6,199 onwards, this is the first made-in-India helmet to receive ECE 22.06 certification. It also conforms to DOT FMVSS No. 218 for the US market and India’s Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) safety standards.
  2. Axor Apex Venomous – This full-face helmet is ISI, ECE, and DOT certified, featuring a pinlock-fitted outer clear visor and inner smoke sun visor. It is designed for both men and women and offers high safety and comfort.
  3. Steelbird Blauer Brat – This open-face helmet is both ISI and ECE-certified, featuring a fibreglass shell and soft material fabric for comfort and convenience.
  4. SMK GL231 Twister Helmet – Priced at INR 4,400, this full-face helmet is aerodynamically built with EIRT and is DOT-certified, ensuring safety and style for riders

3. Snell

The Snell Memorial Foundation is a non-profit organization that creates safety standards for helmets. To receive a Snell rating, a helmet must pass impact, penetration, retention, and other tests that are more rigorous than those required for DOT or ECE ratings. Snell-rated helmets are often used by professional riders and are known for their high level of protection.

Snell certified helmets are known for their rigorous testing and high safety standards. Some popular Snell-certified helmets include:

  1. Arai Defiant-X HA Helmet – Arai is a strong advocate of Snell certification, and many helmets in their range, including the Defiant-X HA, carry the Snell certification.
  2. ILM Snell SA2020 Approved Auto Racing Helmets – This lightweight fibreglass full-face helmet is designed for adult men and women and is Snell SA2020 approved.
  3. Vemar Ghibli Base Full Face Helmet – This Snell-certified helmet offers a balance of safety and affordability.
  4. GMAX MX-46 Helmet – This Snell-certified helmet is designed for off-road and motocross use.
  5. PCI Klim R1 Fresh Air – This helmet is Snell-certified and designed for off-road riding with a focus on ventilation.

4. SHARP (Safety Helmet Assessment and Rating Programme)

The SHARP rating is a safety standard created by the UK government. A helmet must pass impact, penetration, retention, and other tests to receive this rating. The SHARP rating system uses a five-star scale to rate the safety of helmets, with five stars being the highest level of protection.

SHARP (Safety Helmet Assessment and Rating Programme) is a scheme devised and funded by the Department for Transport (DfT) to help motorcyclists make a more informed choice when buying a helmet. SHARP tests helmets and rates them on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the best

Here are some popular SHARP 5-star rated helmets:

  1. AGV K6 – A full-face helmet with a lightweight carbon-aramid fiber shell and a compact design.
  2. Shark Evo-One 2 – A modular helmet with an integrated sun visor and a patented Auto-up/Auto-down system that allows the chin bar to be raised or lowered with the visor.
  3. HJC RPHA 70 – A full-face helmet with an advanced P.I.M. Plus shell construction, an integrated sun visor, and a RapidFire™ Shield Replacement System.
  4. Shoei NXR – A full-face helmet with a compact and aerodynamic design, a multi-composite shell, and a multi-density EPS liner.
  5. Caberg Duke II – A modular helmet with a dual homologation for both full-face and jet use, an integrated sun visor, and a quick-release buckle.

5. ISI (Indian Standards Institute)

The ISI certification is a safety standard created by the Indian Standards Institute. A helmet must pass impact, penetration, retention, and other tests to receive this certification. ISI-certified helmets are legal for use in India.

ISI (Indian Standards Institute) certified helmets are those that have passed the ISI certification test, ensuring they meet the safety standards set by the institute. These helmets are mandatory for two-wheeler riders in India. Some popular ISI certified helmet brands include:

  1. Studds – A well-known brand offering a range of ISI-certified helmets, known for their quality and affordability.
  2. Steelbird – Another popular brand offering ISI-certified helmets, such as the Steelbird Baron Open Face Helmet and the Steelbird Ignyte IGN-7.
  3. Vega – This brand offers a variety of ISI-certified helmets, including the Vega Crux Flip-Up Helmet and the Vega Bolt series.
  4. Axor – Axor Apex Turbine is a full-face helmet that is ISI, ECE, and DOT certified, offering high safety and comfort.
  5. SMK – SMK Titan Arok, Titan Firefly, Slick, and Unicolour are some of the best-selling ISI-certified helmets from this brand

Choosing the Right Helmet

When selecting a helmet, it’s important to look for one that has been certified by a reputable safety rating organization. However, it’s also important to consider other factors, such as fit, comfort, and style. A helmet that doesn’t fit properly won’t provide the level of protection it’s designed to, so be sure to try on several different helmets to find one that fits well.

Here are some articles with different price points, so you can choose your helmet according to it,

Conclusion:

Helmet safety ratings are an important tool for selecting a helmet that will keep you safe while riding. By understanding the different types of ratings and what they mean, you can make an informed decision when selecting a helmet. Remember to look for a helmet that has been certified by a reputable safety rating organization, and always choose one that fits properly and comfortably.

Vishwanath Mathpati

I am Vishwanath Mathpati, a full-time Blogger and Motorcyclist from Bidar, Karnataka. I love writing about my Motorcycles Stories and Riding Gears on this blog.

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