Adventure Riding Helmets
Ever seen a rider with a $25,000 adventure bike and a $100 lid? I see it often. One rider I knew did exactly this. He bought a totally specced-out R 1250 GS, but when it came to gear, his entire kit cost less than $400. After a few weekends, he became angry due to being uncomfortable, which led to frustration and the eventual sale of his bike.
Don’t be that rider—especially when helmets are involved.
ADV helmets are the most essential part of your gear, and money spent here is well spent. Not only can it save your life during a crash, but a quality lid can also provide a more enjoyable ride due to higher comfort levels.
Here’s where I put my brains into the most trusted lids available that comply with both DOT and the European ECE 22.05 safety standards.
Next is overall design: street style, dual-sport, or modular? Most adventure riders use a dual-sport style with a sun peak, and others modular. Some like to combine both designs, such as the Touratech Aventuro Traveller, one of my go-to ADV lids, especially when riding often off-road (the other is an Arai XD4).
If you are using a dual-sport style helmet with a peak, remember that wind buffeting can cause discomfort on faster or sustained highway rides. Look for a lid that has a peak that either cut through wind or are completely removable. I tend to remove my Aventuro or XD4’s peak when slabbing it for anything longer than a half-hour or so. The little effort to remove them—although both helmets offer nice wind flow through the peak—keeps me more comfortable, and thus focused more on the ride.
Comfort is key, and the only way to truly know is to wear one for more than an hour—that’s when the hot spots will be noticed, and whatever other comfort is there. Many online markets allow free exchanges of lids within 30 days.
If you’re going to put a few hundred dollars into a helmet, make sure it’s comfortable. Wear one at home for an hour or so, and make sure the comfort is there—look for hot spots that annoy a certain part of your head, and the actual feel of the helmet’s inner liner/cheek pads.
Not happy? Ship it back and try something else. All other factors won’t matter if the lid is uncomfortable, to begin with.
The next essential element is ventilation, which can vary drastically between lids. This is where reviews come into play. Study what the top publications are saying. Ventilation will always be a top mention.
Personally, the Arai XD4 and Touratech Aventuro Traveller (modular lid) both offer comfort for my head shape. I use the XD4 for longer travel due to the increased ventilation and comfort, and the Aventuro for shorter, weekend, or day rides.