Best Helmet in India: Ultimate Bike Helmet Buying Guide
Motorcycle or bike riding is fun but dangerous.
Scooty riding is economical and saves loads of time in daily basis.
I don’t know whether you ride 2 wheeler for style or comfort. But I know one thing, if you don’t wear helmet while riding, you are making a big big mistake. This can cost your precious life.
Govt of India enacted laws to curb deaths occurring due to bike accidents. Riding motorcycle without helmet is a punishable offence within India.
Few people buy helmets just to escape the law and don’t think about features before buying. Don’t do that. This can potentially become a life-saver decision someday.
Things to Consider Before Buying Helmet for Motorcycle or Bike:
The most important three factors are –
- Certification: All motorcycle helmets in India should be ISI certified. Read more about helmet certifications in details later.
Size of Helmet: You must buy helmet of perfect size. Period. This is the single most important thing to watch out for. Read our dedicated article which explains how to find out size of your helmet.
- Type of Helmet: You should choose the helmet type according to your riding habit. Full face helmets and off road helmet are most secure and best for people who rides off road, on highway or sports bike. For scooty or cruiser , open face helmet is default choice. Read more about each type in next section.
Types of Two Wheeler Helmets and Our Best Picks:
There are in total, 6 different types of motorcycle helmets each having its own pros and cons. As per your requirement, buy the type of helmet that fits your needs and biking style.
Full Face Helmets and Best Picks:
The ideal and recommended one. They meet all the safety requirements and protection criteria. A full helmet covers all four sides (top, side, back and front) of your head. Only the eye area is left to visor (without hard shell) for bikers to see.
These are mostly street or road helmets. So for off road riding, choose off road full face helmet. Difference is, street helmets are less airy at low speed and a little heavy for better protection at high speed.
In India, average speed is around 25 km which is really less according to global standard. Hence, major upset for people wearing a full face helmet is related to ventilation and sticky hairs. So, look for something that offers proper air flow mechanism within the category.
The Winner- Steelbird SBA-1 full face helmet:
The Runner Up – Studds Professional full face helmet:
For detailed review of top full face helmets read our dedicated article.
Open Face Helmet and Best Picks:
The open helmet covers three sides (back, top and side) of your brain, hence called ¾ helmet. It offers more comfort albeit at the cost of slightly lesser protection than a full face helmet.
The open face motorcycle helmet allows you to enjoy the ride. If you have cruiser motorcycle or scooty, open face helmet should be your default choice.
Imagine if you need a sip of water or need to wipe your face, you can do that without removing the helmet.
The Winner – Studds Marshall open face helmet:
The Runner Up- Studds Cub open face Helmet:
For in-depth knowledge about best open helmet, checkout our list of reviewed helmets.
Flip Up or Modular Helmet and Best Picks:
A hybrid between full face and open face helmet, the headgear is designed with an adjustable front. Need to take a bite to eat, just flip-up the front guard and turn it into a open helmet. Want to ride at high speed, flip down chin guard and enjoy safety of full face helmet. Simple.
These helmets offer better safety from open face helmet and less than a full helmet. The flip-up mechanism inherently weakens the otherwise solid structure. A modular helmet is a smart choice that offers protection and convenience both.
The Winner- Vega Crux flip up helmet:
The Runner Up – Steelbird SB-41 Oscar Dashing Flip-Up Helmet:
Half Helmet and Best Picks:
Covering the top of your forehead to halfway down the neck, a half shell helmet aka brain bucket is an extremely popular entry into the scooty helmets.
Ideally, half helmet is more or less a skull cap that must not be used for extensive hardcore biking. The helmet leaves your face open to wind, dust and other external conditions. It is not a safety helmet you want, so consider twice before picking up this helmet.
The Winner- Vega Crux Half Face Helmet:
Go for full review on half face helmets.
- Off-road or motocross Helmets and Best Picks:
A motocross helmet is built for off-road biking or casual stunts. It is specifically designed to counter any dirt, dust or debris that gets kicked towards the face.
The helmet supports sun peaks, pronounced angular chin bars and enhanced ventilation that distinguishes them from regular full face helmets. The lightweight bike helmet is not a great choice for highway riding. Although, air vents keep the head cool & provide comfort during long rides this also puts more stress on the rider’s neck.
The Winner- Vega Off Road full face motocross helmet:
Dual Sports Helmets:
The last one is a dual sports helmet. It truly sets the benchmark with its extraordinary aerodynamic design and international certification which is far superior to the ISI mark. Riders with superfast bikes tend to use these ADV helmets for extra protection and care. Their aerodynamics and protection properties rank them among the most premium & stylish bike helmets in the list.
The crossover helmet is comfortably priced starting at ₹ 10K onwards. Most of the premium-priced headgear is not for general purpose regular bikers. So, consider these things before you think about purchasing a dual sports helmet.
You can also classify helmets according special features and needs. Here are few of them –
Ladies or Women Helmet and Best Picks:
Like men, ladies need to wear helmets to protect their heads when riding. Helmet is required even as pillion passenger. It is very unfortunate that few people believe that the back passenger don’t need helmet.
Now a days even women biker with sports bikes are not very rare. In cities, women ride scooty in huge numbers for daily commuting. So manufacturers has come up with ladies helmet series. Though at core, the headgear design and materials are same.
The Winner- Vega Verve Ladies open face helmet:
Kids motorcycle Helmet and Best Picks:
I know kids don’t drive bike. Or is it? You can buy your son or daughter battery operated sports bike. They will love the gift and enjoy riding it.
Few ignorant people wear helmet diligently but forgets to offer the same to his/her dear little co-rider. This is a really big mistakes.
Indian market is full of colorful lightweight helmet for your kids. They are available at reasonable price. Buy one for your little one and make sure that even during unfortunate event of fatal crash you both stay alive.
The Winner- Studds Marshall D1 open face helmet:
The Runner Up- Vega Buds Junior full face helmet:
Double Visor Helmet and Best Picks:
This type of helmet is best for those people who needs perfect visibility anytime during riding. Sun visor will nullify effect of direct sunlight at day. At dark night, clear visor (flipped up sun visor) will ensure bikers get the best visibility. This simple modification is really handy.
The Winner- Studds Ninja 3G full face helmet:
The Runner Up- Vega Eclipse open face helmet:
For detailed review on double visor helmet, checkout our article.
This helmet is best for busy people who needs to take call frequently. But do remember, talking over phone or to your fellow tour member while riding could be dangerous. So use it to avoid removing helmet for taking calls only.
List of Best Helmet Brands in India:
Don’t buy unbranded motorbike helmets to save few hundred rupees. Those helmets don’t provide safety at all during crash. Keep it in mind the pain that your near and dear one have to suffer in case of your untimely death. Browse through the well known brands in Indian helmet market and buy one from their offerings.
Steelbird, Studds and Vega are undisputed leader in Indian helmet market. They provide ISI certified helmets at reasonable price range. LS2 and Royal Enfield helmets are of premium quality and costs more than first three. But if you really want world class ECE/DOT/SNELL certified helmets, go for very costly HJC, BELL, SHOEI, THH e.t.c brands.
Vega – Manufacturing & supplying top-quality helmets and other safety gears in the Indian market. Vega India is incorporated in 1982 and it’s headquarter is in Belgaum. It has market share of around 35% in India. The brand offers all types of helmets that are certified with ISI. Around 40% product it exports to USA, Europe and other Asian countries.. This certainly makes them a smart and trusted choice.
STUDDS – Like Vega, STUDDS also started it’s journey in 1982. STUDDS offerers ISI certified, lightweight, safe and stylish helmets. The headgears support impressive paintwork and design. Its popular line-up includes shifter, marshall, ninja series, chrome elite, and more. SMK brand is introduced for targeting international market. As per the company, they sold around 4.95 million helmets in 2018 fiscal year.
Steelbird – Incorporated in 1964, Steelbird offers entire gamut of gears and accessories for motorcycle. Attract the new generation with stunning designs and colors. It exports into 50 countries around the world. With 47 models, the Steelbird helmets collection is certainly the best at the affordable price range. The Indian-based firm produces a variety of bike helmets including flip-up, open face, modular and more.
Royal Enfield – The brand needs no introduction to motorcycle lovers in India. Royal Enfield from Eicher group, not only rules the streets with its Bullet line-up but has also been providing some high-quality bike accessories from over a century. The helmets usually manufactured by OEMs offer superior comfort and the “R” badging embedded on the front showcases the class of Enfield.
LS2 – The Barcelona, Spain based brand helmets are graphically great that appeals to the audience. LS2 is abbreviation of LIAO’s (Mr Arthur Liao, the founder of the company) SYSTEM. LS2 is a real global brand for motorcycle helmet. The offerings include options for the clear visor, semi and fully tinted visor. Although, the premium price tag in India may be bothersome.
Other popular helmet brands are follows –
Two Wheeler is Accident Prone. Let’s Check Out Why?
Bike lacks safe guards – There is a great sense of freedom and danger while riding a motorcycle on the open roads. Unlike cars, there are no air-bags or any structural protection on a bike to keep drivers safe in the event of an accident.
Motorcycle is the lightest among automobiles – No matter who makes mistake, biker needs to pay the price. Cars, buses , trucks or any other vehicles that ply on road are much heavier than motorcycle. Hence during collision, biker gets badly hit.
Bike destabilizes easily and fall – As motorcycle is a two wheeler, it can’t stand on its own. It needs help of any stand or your leg when it stops. But when in motion, if biker losses control, motorcycle falls on road and crashes.
Indian roads are in bad condition – Let’s admit it. Bad roads enhances chance of accidents many fold. Even a simple skid can cause death of bike rider.
Awareness of traffic rules and regulations are very low in India – This is bad but it is true fact. And bikers are among the main culprits. There is nothing heroic in bypassing rules. Rules and regulations are enacted for safekeeping.
Why Bike Riding Without Helmet is Life Threatening?
- The Indian States had reported that 1 out of every 5 deaths in bike crashes were due to non-wearing of helmets.
- According to an analysis of data shared by states with the transport ministry, about 28 riders died daily for not wearing headgear.
Two-wheeler account for 25% of the total road crash deaths in India. A major reason for these deaths is not wearing any protective gear.
The United Nations have also said that the chances of survival increase by 42% when you wear a motorcycle helmet.
Benefits of Wearing a Motorbike Helmet:
Reduces risk of head injuries: Your head will remain protected when you are on move. Any small accident may cause instant death or permanent damage to your brain if you don’t wear safety headgear. Helmet converts thumping thrust of force to your head into a treatable injury. So wearing a bike helmet significantly increases the chance of survival for riders.
Protection from external elements: Bugs can’t hit your eye. Impact of sun-rays will be lessened by sun visor. You stay unperturbed by cold winds during winter. And there are others.
Makes You Visible: If you wear a bright colour helmet, automobile riders can notice you more easily. Hence less accidents take place.
No fines, become a law abiding citizen: If you don’t wear a helmet while riding, traffic police will charge fine. Avoid that and comply with rule of the nation.
How Helmet Reduces Risk of Death During Two Wheeler Accident?
Three layers of helmet along with retention system provides the safety to bike riders. Let’s see how helmet saves life —
Rigid outer shell : Takes the first hit during crash. This layer absorbs the sharp impact energy by distorting itself and redistribute the force to whole wide area.
Helps to slide along road. The longer time and length taken before biker stops after crash, probability of survival increases dramatically.
Inner layer of foam: This soft layers is made to absorb the forces of accident and self destruct. This way peak impact can be avoided.
Comfort layer: This layers does not have much important role to play for safety. It just produce a cushion during hit.
- Retention System: After an accident when biker hits the ground , the helmet should stay with biker’s head. The retention system ensures that it does not fell off during any crash.
What Are The Different Helmet Certification?
As per the Government of India, an ISI certified bike helmets are compulsory to wear while riding. ISI is abbreviation of Indian Standards Institute which is a standard developed by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) . As per the experts, an ISI 4151-certified helmet protects your skull to a large extent even in serious road accidents.
The Indian ministry brought to notice that sub-standard bike helmets are being sold all over India. They are providing little to no safety to the riders.
The imported helmets come with following International safety certifications:
ECE: ECE stands for Economic Commission for Europe. It is an European helmet safety standard adopted by over 50 countries in the world. It offers more rigorous testing and is preferred by even racing organizations.
DOT: The Department of Transportation, USA enforced the standard for motorcycle helmets in their country. There are few minimum requirements including impact, penetration that must be conformed to certify a helmet as DOT-certified.
SNELL: It is a rigorous international standard for helmets derived from motorcycle racing. The severity of tests makes it the best helmet standard internationally.
Let’s Find Out Different Components of Helmet:
1. Materials of different layers of the helmet : Helmets are made up of external shell, internal foam and EPS padding for extra protection to the head.
Outer Layer: The harder shell on the outside is usually non-abrasive and scratch resistant. It spreads the impact on a larger area and improves visibility. The shell can be made of following material –
Thermoplastic Shell – Large, heavy and cheap. The helmet made up of the thermoplastic shell is usually not the safest option because it isn’t hard enough. Extra padding is necessary to meet the safety standards.
Fiberglass Shell – Expensive than plastic, the fibreglass shell is one of the safer options for bike helmets. Usually, the fibreglass is prone to crackling but that is a good thing. On impact, the shell absorbs much of the force leaving foam unharmed. The Fiberglass helmets are quite lightweight.
Kevlar & Carbon composite shell – This is a super-quality shell but really expensive. Here, the tensile strength of Kevlar is combined with stronger Carbon fibre to make a safe yet lightweight motorcycle helmet.
Middle Layer: The middle layer of any motorcycle helmet is composed of polystyrene material or EPS foam padding. The EPS padding is both stiff & lightweight, just like thermocol. During accident, the force generated by impact should crush the padding and it abosrbs the sheer force by destructing itself. So choose a helmet with multiple densities of EPS in various layers & locations.
Comfort layer: The comfort layer is one that touches your head & skin. It sucks sweat and ensures proper air flow for proper comfort. A high-end motorcycle helmet usually allows you to fully remove the comfort layer for cleaning purpose.
2. Weight of Helmet : A lightweight option in helmets is not necessarily always best choice. Choose a helmet that fits all the safety requirements and is relatively lightweight. For example, some helmets weigh approximately a little over 1 Kg while others weigh over 2 Kilos and still feel light. Go for higher-end helmets if your wallet permits. Because premium helmet is lightweight due to the material being used and still passes all crash tests.
3. Colour : There are unique colour combinations & options available for each type of helmet. Bikers can find helmets with various eye catching graphic designs and sketches in online stores. If the things do not appeal to the right audience, it doesn’t sell. So, selecting the best-coloured helmet is rightfully our personal decision.
If you don’t have any colour preference, then purchasing a bright colour helmet is a good idea. The reflection from helmet makes bike riders easily visible.
4. Noise cancellation : Indian roads are too noisy. Also when you are moving at a speed more than 50 Km/hour, passing wind creates a lot of noise. These days the best bike helmet comes with sound or noise cancellation features. Bikers can use earplug to offset or reduce noise hazard.
5. Retention System: A proper retention system is a must to ensure that the helmet stays on during the crash itself. Separate tests are conducted to check for system’s strength, reliability and durability. There are three types of buckles —
Quick release buckle
Micro metric buckle
6. Visor: Keeping your eyes on the road is very important while riding busy Indian roads. A visor effectively covers the eye portion from gushing wind, sun-rays, dust, debris e.t.c. High-end helmets use visors made of polycarbonate material that is harder to scratch and optically better. From sun-shades to semi & fully tinted, there are all kinds of helmet visors available online.
7. Vents: Vents ensures proper air flow within helmet during ride. India is a hot country and average speed is very low. Cold wind enters through inlets and absorbs the heat of your head and goes out through outlets. Intake vents usually stays at front part of the helmet and outlets at the back end. Without proper air flow, suffocation and heat dissipating from your head will kill you. A proper air flow mechanism allows comfort inside.
Is Riding Motorbike Without Helmet Illegal in India?
Yes, It is punishable offence. You can lose your driving license, slapped with handsome fine.Wearing helmet is mandatory for person sitting on back seat.
As per section 177 of the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988 driving without wearing a helmet is punishable for ₹ 100 (for the first time offence) and ₹ 300 on subsequent offences. Various campaigns are run in different parts of the country to make people aware of the safety on roads and how important motorcycle helmets are.
When do I need to replace a motorcycle helmet?
Bike helmet manufacturers recommend replacing helmet every five years after the initial purchase. After 5 years, it looses it’s effectiveness due to natural deterioration of different parts. Usually the outer shell stays fine, but inner layers and fabric lining deteriorates.
There are few situations that may demand immediate replacement of motorcycle helmet:
After crash hit – The inner foam padding is for one-time protection only and not more. If you have been involved in an accident then the EPS has taken its beating & done its part, even though it still looks intact. It’s now time to replace your present helmet with a new one.
After helmet drops while holding heavy object– If your helmet holds some heavy object, then a casual drop on the road can become serious issue even though the shell looks just fine. Helmets are designed to absorb any impact through their own degradation. So, if your helmet is impacted get it replaced immediately.
If you find any visible crack signs – If there are any visible signs such as a cracked outer shell, crushed foam liner or an exposed EPS, don’t use it. These are the warning signs that a motorcycle helmet owner must take note. Careful inspection of the helmet is the only way to detect any scratches, bumps or cracks.
Apart from this, there is heat, chemicals and other external factors that may damage the helmet. It is up to the user to look carefully for such damages and ensure proper safety.
We have discussed almost all factors in this motorcycle helmet buying guide. As bike riding is accident prone, make sure to wear one helmet while riding. Wearing helmet is required for your own safety, not for avoiding any fine or punishment. It is such a good practice that not only you should follow it but spread the awareness.