Chopper Helmets and What To Choose!

Shopping for "chopper helmets" shouldn't include getting a D.O.T. approved helmet. It's a helmet that you'll be happy to wear when riding your custom chopper. 

After all, who wants to spend all that time and money building just the perfect custom chop and end up having to wear a dorky looking helmet just because it is the law in your state that you must wear head protection - or many you live in a Helmet Optional state and choose to protect you skull when riding.

There are lots of really cool helmets available, so there is no need to have that 1960's "Captain America look". However, there are few things you need to look for when purchasing a helmet:

  • D.O.T. approved chopper helmets ensure your safety. If it does not have the D.O.T. seal, you aren't purchasing real protection.
  • Proper fit ensures the helmet will protect your head instead of sliding  off your skull.
  • Padding provides comfort and avoids chafing.A sturdy yet comfortable chin strap that is fully adjustable makes sure the custom chopper helmet is snug on your head.
  • If you do not like to wear goggles or safety glasses, you should consider  a face shield to prevent bugs from hitting your eyes and causing accidents.
  • Most states require eye protection and this is one solution.

D.O.T. and Snell:

There are two organizations that test motorcycle helmets for safety. The Department of Transportation (D.O.T.), a branch of the Federal U.S. government must test all helmets, excluding novelty helmets, before they are placed on the market to be sold.

All helmets that will be used for driving on public roads must meet the minimum standards D.O.T sets. 

The second organization that tests helmets is the Snell Memorial Foundation. Snell is a non-profit, private organization. Snell voluntarily tests helmets for safety. The Snell standards are considered some of the toughest standards set for motorcycle helmet safety. 

So if you are considering different types of helmets and you are concerned about safety you should get a helmet that passes the Snell standards.

half helmet

A very popular custom chopper helmet style is the half-cap or cranium cap.

This is a hard-shell half-helmet that protects the skull and brain. These chopper helmets do not extend down to the neckline and therefore prevent injuries caused from the helmet driving into the neck when hitting pavement in a wreck. Traditionally, these helmets were all black, but today they are available in airbrushed and many colors.

A new light weight material used in helmets that custom chopper riders love is carbon fiber. These lids are not nearly as heavy as old-fashioned helmets but they provide adequate protection necessary to earn the D.O.T. seal of approval. These helmets are usually seen in solid colors but some graphics are beginning to appear. These are also available in a marble-like finish that looks really nice.

D.O.T. approved leather helmets are another popular choice for the custom scoot crowd. These helmets provide protection but have an outside surface of leather. They look cool and still get the job of protecting your body's computer very well.

If your custom chopper is designed along a theme or has beautiful airbrush graphics, you can find ready-made helmets that fit into the design scheme. Eagles, skulls, spiders, roses, crosses, flames and may other graphic designs are available. You can also purchase ready-to-airbrush helmets and have them finished with your custom sled for the perfect match.

Recently chrome helmets have come on the market. These are certainly bright and shiny but they have one serious and rather aggravating problem: lights reflected off the helmet, whether from sunlight or headlights can be absolutely blinding to riders or drivers around you. No one wants to be blinded by a motorcycle helmet so be polite and don't blind those around you. Accidents can be the result of having a bright light shined in the eyes of drivers and riders. 

If you plan to allow passengers on your chopper, you might want to   consider buying a matching pair of chopper helmets. If you have a child that may ride with you from time to time, even if you are in a Helmet Optional state, you will want to have a child's smaller chopper helmet available. Most Helmet Optional states require anyone under the age of 18 to wear head protection at all times when riding.

Two School Of Thought When It Comes To Chopper Helmets!

Impact Tests:

D.O.T and Snell perform standard impact tests. These tests involve dropping the helmet, which is positioned on a headform from various distances onto a steel anvil. The impact is said to simulate what happens when someone is thrown head first from their bike into the pavement from their motorcycle. The tests are done to ensure durability and dependability of motorcycle helmets. 

In the headform of the helmet there is equipment that measures the sudden stop that occurs when the helmet is dropped. If the level is beneath 300 for Snell then the helmet passes.

D.O.T requires that helmets be beneath a 400 level. Since the Snell test is done before the product is on the market, once the helmet is on the market, the test is done again to ensure no changes have been made to the helmet. D.O.T. only tests the helmet once, and once the helmet is certified it can be sold without further testing. 

There are various types of motorcycle helmets that are available for purchase, depending on what kind of motorcycle you have.

For example, motocross helmets are used with dirt bike racing in most cases. These helmets protect your head, chin, and ears and also allow for the rider to wear goggles to avoid getting dirt particles in the eyes.

There are two schools of thought regarding motorcycle helmets: 

  1. Helmets provide safety in the event you are thrown from your motorcycle.
  2. Helmets restrict your vision from side to side.

In my opinion helmets are an essential part of riding. But if you are in the second school of thought above and you are in a state that doesn't enforce helmets, maybe you can get comfortable with a half helmet at the very least? Why is it important that you wear a helmet? You do not want to take a chance of getting thrown from your motorcycle without protection. You also do not want your helmet to be the cause of your accident, so getting the proper sized helmet is essential. Here's a few tips...

A motorcycle helmet should be worn comfortably.

The helmet you choose should be fitted to your head snugly, and should not have a bulky strap that could possibly move up and restrict your vision while you are riding.

Here is where I found quality helmets at guaranteed low prices.

Remember, chopper helmets are not simply something to use as a kickstand pad when parking in loose soil. It has to be on your head to protect your brain should an accident occur. Also, states that require helmets are not amused at those who ignore that law, no matter whether you agree with the law or not.

Three Types Of Chopper Helmets!

leather half helmet

There are three types of helmets with varying degrees of protection:

  • The first is the half motorcycle helmet. It provides no protection for your ears or chin. It is worn like a cap on the top of your head. It is most often worn by those who ride cruiser motorcycles. 
  • The second type is open face helmets. These helmets provide more protection then half helmets do. They provide protection to the sides of your head and your ears. 
  • The third, the full head helmet, is the best choice out of the three. It provides comprehensive protection over the top of your head, the side of your face, your chin, and your ears. There are many companies both online and off that sell motorcycle helmets.

This is my favorite place to shop for helmets at discount prices. It's a good place to shop for other motorcycle gear and accessories too.

Another factor we haven't discussed is aesthetics:

Most motorcycle owners want to have a decent look when they are riding. So be sure your helmet matches or compliments your motorcycle and maybe even your motorcycle clothing. See our article on leather motorcycle jackets. 

There are so many colors and designs you can choose from when picking out a helmet. But you can find what you are looking for in a helmet quite easily. If you really want to be creative then you can have a custom helmet created for you. You can have your custom helmet painted to match your motorcycle apparel, or even your custom chopper.  You can even paint it yourself!

A large number of discount chopper helmets are available for purchase online and they may suit your needs. But make sure they are comfortable and pass at least the D.O.T. standards. They have motorcycle helmets for street racing, off road riding and cruiser helmets. These are just a few of the available types of helmets that can be purchased. 

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