If you’re planning to upgrade your lid for 2013, take a look at some of the helmets that made a real impact on MCUSA’s editors during the past riding season. The 2012 Motorcycle Gift Guide: Street Helmets offers reflections on some of the stand-out models that are sure to provide the perfect blend of style, comfort and protection for you or your favorite biker while logging miles on the pavement.
Icon Variant Helmet
Icon’s Variant Helmet is an adventure bike-styled helmet with attitude. Just like almost every piece of gear from Icon it’s not for those looking to blend in with the crowd. The colorways are flashy, the lines are aggressive and the winglet on the rear of the helmet borders on cartoonish. Slip the Variant over your head and the plush interior and excellent vision through the flip down visor will make you an instant fan. I wasn’t expecting to like the Variant as much as I did, but after using it for a solid week in Utah for our 2012 Adventure Touring Comparison it has earned a place in my regular helmet rotation. – Justin Dawes.
Bell RS-1 RSD Flash Helmet
The Bell RS-1 RSD Flash Helmet blends style with a host of amenities to make sure you look cool while keeping your head well protected on the pavement. Made of a lightweight Kevlar/fiberglass Composite Shell, the RS-1 has contour cut cheekpads to ensure a perfect fit and superior comfort. An adjustable Velocity Flow Ventilation system allows you to open and close vents depending on conditions outside and the 3Mode Shield allows for quick, tool-free shield changes. The RS-1’s liner is removable for easy washing and it also comes with a NutraFog II anti-fog, anti-scratch shield.
Icon Women’s Airframe Street Angel Helmet
Lady riders shopping for a fantastic full-face helmet, look no further. Sure, the Women’s Airframe Street Angle Helmet has the eye-catching graphics Icon is known for, but better yet it meets world safety standards and is DOT, ECE, SAI and SG approved. A shell made of fiberglass, Dyneema and carbon fiber help Icon meet those standards. Inside it’s well-padded courtesy of a dual density EPS liner tucked behind mesh, padded Hydradry liners, which are removable. The various vents allow for ample air flow and the tabs to open and close them are easy to operate with gloved fingers. With its chin curtain and locking visor, the helmet doesn’t let in an abundance of ambient noise. For ladies who aren’t into pink, the black version is even more striking! Decently priced at $330, our tester believes it’s one of the best-looking ladies motorcycle helmets on the market. – Bryan Harley
O’Neal Racing Fastrack II Bluetooth Helmet
The O’Neal Racing Fastrack II Bluetooth Helmet gives riders the opportunity to link Bluetooth compatible GPS, cell phone and other media devices to ensure you’ll never miss a turn or call on those long adventure rides. Equipped with a BLINC Bluetooth module, the Fastrack II also allows riders to communicate from bike-to-bike or from bike-to-passenger. Made of a lightweight fiberglass shell, the Fastrack II has an adjustable, multi-port flow-through ventilation system and a scratch resistant, fog-free shield with tool-less release. Built in stereo speakers make sure that you’ll hear every song and integrated communication technology means you won’t have a bothersome mic pressed up against your mouth.
When it comes to protecting your noggin’ on the road, you won’t find a better helmet than the Shoei X-Twelve. From its construction to the way it fits your head, it’s obvious that the Japanese designed and built helmet is a cut above the rest. Another plus is how quiet it is, not to mention it’s above average ventilation. Sure it’s a little heavy and carries a higher price, but considering its excellent fit and finish you simply can’t go wrong with this helmet. Another plus is the number of colorways and graphic options which make it the right helmet for any type of street or sportbike you ride. – Adam Waheed.
Icon Airmada Stack Helmet
If you’re looking to turn some heads while riding through town, the Icon Airmada Stack Helmet is for you. The stylish Airmada comes in a variety of color options and meets safety standards in the U.S., Europe, Australia and Japan. It comes with an injection molded polycarbonate shell, Recessed Twin Channel Supervent flow-through ports and a Fog-Free Icon Optics shield with Prolock Shield Locking system. The fully removable and washable Hydra Dry moisture wicking interior will help you keep the inside of your Airmada clean and tidy. The Airmada Stack Helmet comes in four shell sizes as well, including an exclusive long oval headform to provide the best in fit and comfort.
The Bell Star has been one of my favorite street helmets since it came out in 2007, and has only gotten better with a few minor tweaks and changes over the years. I find the fit to be great and comfort levels to be high with its soft contour-cut cheekpads and padded chin strap. The ventilation is probably the biggest seller as the Star has great temperature control to go along with its comfortable interior. Bell’s Velocity Flow Ventilation System pulls air through the helmet to keep the rider cool. The vents are also closable in colder temperatures. On top of all that, the Star has a unique racey shape and cool 3Mode shield with a locking mechanism. – Frankie Garcia.
AGV RP60 Café Racer White Open Face Helmet
Café culture is making a come-back these days, and what better way to show your love than to represent the movement with an AGV RP60 Café Racer White Open Face Helmet. The advanced composite fiber outer shell provides superior protection and the quilted lining inside means you’ll have a snug, comfortable fit. The inner lining is also completely removable and washable. The Double-D retention system will help to keep the AGV RP60 in place as you lean through the curves and the stylish checker graphic lining the shell gives an added flair to this nostalgic lid.
HJC RHPA-MAX Modular Helmet
HJC offers a much improved modular flip-up helmet design with its new RPHA-MAX. Feeling sturdier and more secure than previous flip-up designs from HJC, the RPHA-MAX delivers pleasing comfort and performance. Most notable are the surprisingly sound aerodynamics and low wind noise levels. We’re not as enamored with the awkward sun visor actuation, though the standard Pinlock visor is a treat not found on similarly priced helmets. The RPHA-MAX’s delivers high value, offering comparable performance and features of its more expensive rivals, but undercutting them by more than $200. – Bart Madson
Arai XC-Ram Open Face Helmet
The Arai XC-Ram Open Face Helmet features a futuristic looking shell with upper, front and rear vents. The Fixed Air Wing design helps to reduce lifting while providing additional stability and a vented neck roll extracts heat build-up from the interior. The Dry-Cool liner is fully removable and the XC-Ram also has thinner side pads to give it a more aerodynamic shape. LRS levers are included to help with shield removal as well. – MotoUSA
Vega Full Face Nylon Helmet Bag
Part of having a superior helmet is giving that lid somewhere warm and comfortable to rest, and the Vega Full Face Nylon Helmet Bag is just the ticket. Lined with a plush fleece material, the Vega helps provide additional protection to the surface of your helmet and a D-ring slot in the bottom of the bag allows you to lock the helmet to your bike. –MotoUSA