ATV Helmets: Buyer's Guide

Plenty of choices to protect your head

Story by ATV.com Staff, Jun. 08, 2009

This is the first in a series of ATV Buyer’s Guide articles. This series will look at everything from riding gear to performance modifications and everything in between. We will look at products and services from a wide variety of companies to help you see what your options are when it comes to spending your hard-earned money on ATV-related goodies.

When coming up with ideas for the Buyer’s Guide series, helmets seemed like the most logical place to start. Outside of your ATV itself, it’s the most crucial piece of equipment you need to ride. Simply put, everybody who rides ATVs needs to wear a helmet.

Even if you already own a helmet, you may want to think about replacing it. Helmets don’t last forever and if yours is getting on in years a new one might be in order.

When it actually comes time to purchase a helmet, make sure it fits properly. A helmet should fit snugly, but it shouldn’t be so snug that it it’s painful. Be sure to try on multiple sizes from more than one manufacturer because helmet sizes vary from brand to brand.

Dozens of helmet brands are out there for your perusal, each with different styles, materials, and graphics to choose from. We can’t possibly list them all here, but we’ll try to give you a wide variety to look at from the bottom of the price scale to the top.

AFX
Official Web Site

AFX makes lower-priced helmets with plenty of features. The AFX helmet line includes five youth models and six adult models with prices ranging from $54.95 to $134.95.

FX-17Y ($64.95 – $79.95): Contains YLS (Youth Liner System); this helmet can be converted to any of three youth helmet sizes through the simple swapping of liner components; 11 points ventilation. DOT, ECE approved. FX-19 ($84.95 to $89.95): Thirteen points of ventilation; clear coat finish to protect paint and graphics; weighs 3.28 lbs (large). DOT, ECE approved.

Answer Racing
Official Web Site

Answer is a big name in off-road racing and produces low to mid-priced helmets. The Answer Racing helmet line includes one youth model and three adult models with prices ranging from $79.95 to $249.95.

Nova ($79.95): Powercore resin tec shell; removable/washable liner; rear exhaust vents; three available colors. DOT approved. Comet X ($249.95): Carbon fiber and Kevlar shell; adjustable front intake and rear exhaust venting; removable/washable liner; two available colors.

Arai
Official Web Site

Arai only produces top-of-the-line adult helmets. Two off-road models are available with prices ranging from $529.95 to $699.95. You’ll pay a premium for graphics with Arai as prices vary by more than $100 depending on the paint. Those prices might give you a case of sticker shock, but these helmets have a proven track record and all the creature comforts you could want.

VX-Pro3 Hayes “Jolly Roger” ($659.95): Complex Laminate Construction/fiberglass composite shell; Hypershark peak forces air into forehead vents; removable/washable liner. SNELL, DOT approved. XD-3 ($699.95): Multi-purpose helmet features Complex Laminate Construction/fiberglass composite shell; helmet good for street and off-road riding thanks to removable shield; one-piece liner; emergency cheek pad release. SNELL, DOT approved.

Bell
Official Web Site

Bell is one of the world’s largest helmet makers with a large following in cycling and auto sports. Bell makes one youth ATV helmet and three adult models, each in a variety of colors. Prices range from $89.95 to $399.95.

SC-R ($99.95): Composite fiberglass shell; adjustable ventilation; roost guard and goggle grabbers; EPS-lined chinbar; removable/washable liner; five-year warranty. DOT approved. Moto-8 ($399): Kevlar, carbon fiber, fiberglass composite shell; adjustable visor with air intake vents; Velocity Flow Ventilation system; removable/washable liner; ventilated EPS-lined chinbar. SNELL, DOT approved.

Fly Racing
Official Web Site

Fly Racing is well known in the motocross world and the company’s helmets cover a wide price spectrum with prices ranging from $99.95 to $439.95. Fly Racing’s helmet lineup includes one youth model and four adult models, each with a variety of colors and graphics.

Kinetic Youth Tiki ($99.95): Poly-alloy composite painted shell with clear coat finish; removable/washable liner; ten intake vents. DOT, ECE approved. Platinum LX Relic ($259.95): Carbon fiber and Kevlar shell; closeable air vents; high-flow mouth piece; goggle strap locator; removable/washable liner. SNELL, DOT, ECE approved.

Fox Racing
Official Web Site

Fox has made a name for itself in everything from surfing to mountain bike riding, but off-road powersports is its bread and butter. Fox makes youth and adult helmets ranging in price from $109.95 to $375.00.

Youth Girls V1 Print ($109.95): Injection molded polycarbonate shell; vent channels in the shell suck out moisture and heat; integrated roost shield. DOT approved. V3 Latinese ($375.00): Carbon fiber, Kevlar & fiberglass shell; wide eye port for improved peripheral vision; two piece removable mouthpiece. DOT approved.

HJC
Official Web Site

HJC has been manufacturing helmets, and only helmets, since 1971. With prices ranging from $69.99 to $419.99, HJC has a helmet for just about any budget. HJC lays claim to being the top helmet brand in North America since 1992.

CS-MX Thrust ($89.99): Injection-molded polycarbonate composite shell; Nylex removable/washable liner; helmet weighs 1,470 grams. DOT approved. AC-X3 Carbon ($419.99): Lightweight carbon fiber shell; two-piece channeled dual-density EPS liner; removable/washable liner; flow-through Advanced Channeling Ventilation System. SNELL, DOT approved.

Rockhard
Official Web Site

Rockhard helmets are just plain fun. With off-road helmets featuring exclusive graphics from bands line AC/DC, SlipKnot, Slayer, and Motorhead, you can wear what you listen to. All Rockhard helmets retail for $249.99, but you can find some really good deals out there well below the sticker price.

AC/DC ($249.99): Advanced composite shell with exclusive AC/DC graphics; removable/washable liner. SNELL, DOT approved. SlipKnot ($249.99): Advanced composite shell with exclusive SlipKnot graphics; removable/washable liner. SNELL, DOT approved.

Shoei
Official Web Site

Shoei has been manufacturing helmets since 1959. Best known for producing a wide variety of high-quality motorcycle helmets, Shoei does produce a very good ATV helmet with prices ranging from $399.99 to $559.99.

VFX-W Matte Black ($410.99): Shell made with fiberglass and organic fibers that Shoei says can only be cut by a laser; dual layer EPS liner ventilation system; improved air intakes are located in mouthpiece, forehead, and through scoops directing air into EPS liner; five-year warranty. VFX-W FCR3 TC-1 ($559.99): Shell made with fiberglass and organic fibers that Shoei says can only be cut by a laser; dual layer EPS liner ventilation system; improved air intakes are located in mouthpiece, forehead, and through scoops directing air into EPS liner; five-year warranty.

Thor Motocross
Official Web Site

Thor is a big name is ATV and off-road motorcycle racing. Beyond helmets, Thor can outfit you from head to toe with boots, goggles, apparel and body armor. Thor helmets range in price from $94.95 to $429.95.

Youth Quadrant ($99.95): Polycarbonate outer shell; extensive venting with intake and exhaust ports; plush removable/washable liner; molded roost guard. DOT approved. Force Carbon ($429.95): Pre-impregnated Carbon Fiber material; contoured eyeport gasket for improved goggle fit; increased liner and EPS ventilation for maximum airflow; antibacterial, moisture wicking silvercool liner. DOT, ECE approved.

Zamp Racing
Official Web Site

If you’re new to ATV riding or just don’t want to spend a lot of money, Zamp Racing helmets are a good place to start. With helmets starting at $52.95 and topping out at $119.95, Zamp Racing helmets are easy on your wallet.

FC-4 ($52.95): Lightweight thermoplastic resin shell; multiple fixed intake and exhaust vents; moisture absorbent snap-in interior. DOT, ECE approved. FC-6 ($119.95): Lightweight composite fiberglass shell; multiple fixed intake and exhaust vents; moisture absorbent snap-in interior; built-in roost deflector. SNELL, DOT approved.

If you're looking for a new helmet, check out the ATV.com Buyer's Guide.