Off the beaten track: Best adventure bike helmets as chosen by MCN


Adventure bike helmets are usually full face and come with a visor but also feature a peak like an off-road helmet. They also usually feature lots of venting to keep you cool when

Adventure bike sales are on a high all over the world with more and more riders turning to these high-bar do-it-all bikes for their two-wheeled transport. And this change in motorcycle style also often necessitates a swap in kit, such as a dedicated new motorcycle helmet, as adventure bikes open up a whole new riding proposition.

If you plan on off-road riding, you can’t use a standard road helmet because its visor will quickly become plastered in mud and scratched when you scrape the filth aside. Also, road lids lack the extra slow speed venting that is so necessary when you are breathing heavily during a more physical off-road ride.

Fashion is also an important factor when choosing an adventure bike helmet, as a road lid can sometimes appear a bit out of place on a big adventure bike with a peaked off-road style helmet far more suiting.

So which is the best adventure bike helmet to buy? We have rounded our favourite options and answered all of the important buying questions at the bottom of this article to ensure you make the right decision.

Tested by Saffron Wilson for 14 months, 4000 miles. This aggressive-looking helmet was my introduction into off-road kit, and with the price, it’s a fabulous option if you’re looking to get started off road. There are a range of colours to choose from including block colours to the outlandish. Depending on the graphics, some of them can cost from around £120 and if you shop around you may be able to find them on offer, too. But be aware, they may not always come with the peak accessory so have a check before you buy.

The long oval design makes the helmet extremely comfortable, even after using it off-road all day on training schools, and it’s thoroughly ventilated too to keep the sweat at bay. There are intake vents on the chin and at the top with plenty of exhausts at the back, and it also has channelled EPS liner to help with airflow. The liner itself can be removed and washed, and the emergency release cheek pad system is always a comfort.

The helmet meets ECE 22.05 standards and has a double-D ring fastening with a reinforced chinstrap. The only thing is I wish the peak could sit higher up so you can pop a pair of goggles under it easily. Admittedly, you could just take the peak off, but that’s my only niggle.
Quality: 4/5
Value: 5/5

Any helmet can work off-road, but the best ones are those designed to do so. A large aperture and a peak to help keep debris and sunlight out of the rider's eyes can mean more noise on the road. The Tourmax from Caberg seeks to address this and we've given it a thorough testing in our review.

Best for features
Price: £309.99

The Nexx is an outstanding lid in terms of its features. As well as an integrated sun visor, you get a Pinlock, peak extender, visor pouch, pads to alter the lining's fit, different front vent cover and a selection of covers to allow you to fit an intercom, helmet camera and even remove the visor entirely for street or off-road use with goggles. An excellent do-it-all adventure lid that has very few negative points and is also tremendous value for money.

The Hornet ADV retains a visor-release mechanism similar to Shoei's road bike lids use, meaning removing it takes seconds, ear pads to reduce noise levels, an intercom-ready interior, removable chin guard and breath deflector, an emergency quick release lining system and a highly vented (non-adjustable) peak to reduce turbulence. Although not recommended for use with goggles, as a road-biased adventure lid it is superb. A Navigate version costs more but comes in a choice of colour schemes.

Like so many Arai products, the Tour-X 4 is fairly basic in its operation but does tick all the right boxes and feels typically well-made and safe to wear. The visor system is retailed by plastic screws which will snap off in an accident and therefore needs a coin/screwdriver to remove but once off the screws helpfully remain attached to the peak and the lid can be used with goggles.

Read our in-depth Arai Tour-X 4 review here.
Best for comfort
Price: £258.99 (was £399.99)

The AGV has a feeling of quality with metal visor screws and an overall high level of finish. It's pleasingly light, making it even more comfortable over distance, and has a wide field of vision with a very plush lining and lots of vents. The peak's position can be adjusted and the lid is ready for AGV's Ark Intercom system to be fitted. Compatible with goggles, there isn't an integrated sun visor but you do get a Pinlock as well as a removable lining.

A lid pleasingly stacked full of features considering its low price tag, the Nolan has a removable chin bar that means it can also be used as an open face lid. Compatible with goggles, the peak is adjustable, there is an integrated sun visor, simple visor removal system (a Pinlock comes fitted) and the lid is ready for Nolan's n-com communication system. A great value lid that comes in a wide range of colours.

Best flip-front adventure lid
Price: £269.99 (was £449.99)

One of the very few flip-front adventure bike lids on the market, the Schuberth is also one of the few adventure lids to carry a SHARP rating. The Pinlock arrives fitted to the visor and you can add an Schuberth's E1 intercom if you wish. Although it can't be used with goggles, the E1's peak is two-way adjustable. To wear it feels just like a normal flip-front road lid, just with adventure styling.

Viper has a reputation for decent products at low prices and this adventure helmet is no different. Fully approved to ECE22.05 and the ACU Gold standard, the RX-V288 features a huge visor aperture with vents either side of the chin and there is a smoked drop-down internal sun visor. The main visor can be removed for use with goggles, according to the manufacturer and lining is designed to reduce noise to the head and is removeable for washing.

Price: £206.99 (was £229.99)

This helmet from HJC is a genuine dual-sport version like so many adventure bikes, in that with the peak attached, it is very much at home on a big adventure or off-road but remove the peak and it becomes a more road-orientated flip-front lid with the advantages that brings.

The shell is formed in polycarbonate and the interior is designed to keep the rider cool and can be removed for washing. The large main visor is Pinlock ready and cuts out almost all UV rays while the drop-down sun visor is actuated by a side-mounted lever. There are large air inlet vents as well as exhaust at the back to create through-flow.

Price: £182.75

Riders of a certain age may remember the video game Halo and the hero, Master Chief. He wore a uniform that included a helmet that is remarkably similar to the ADX-1 from Scorpion (or perhaps more accurately, the ADX-1 is remarkably similar to Master Chief's helmet). Whichever way round, it's a flip-front helmet that can be used either with the peak attached or it can be removed for touring.

The visor aperture is vast and can be removed for use with goggles instead and there’s a drop-down sun visor. Air vents at the chin and the top allow air in and exhaust ports in the rear create a through-flow. Both the main and sun visors are treated with EverClear anti-fog treatment.

Not a cheap helmet but Klim has an excellent reputation amongst hardcore off-roaders and adventurers. The shell is formed in carbon-fibre so it is light and strong, weighing just 1319g when RiDE tested it. Instead of a drop-down sun visor, it comes with a Transitions responsive visor which automatically darkens in direct sunlight, though a clear visor is included. The visor can also be removed if you want to use it with goggles and it uses a Fid-lock mechanism to fasten, based on a magnetic catch.

Price: £93.49 (was £109.99)

The Intrepid from Spada is amazing value at less than £100. It uses a moulded thermoplastic shell so it's heavier than some here but it is both ECE22.05 and ACU Gold approved and the peak can be removed for turbulence-free road use. The large visor can be opened in various positions and there is a drop-down sun visor. Vents at the front and the top could be more effective but reviews online are excellent.

We've given the Klim Krios Pro a full in-depth review.

The important questions

Is it road legal?

To conform to UK law a helmet must either:

Reach British Standard BS 6658:1985 and also carry the BSI Kitemark.

Meet UNECE Regulation 22.05

Meet a European Economic Area member standard equivalent of BS 6658:1985 and also carry a mark equivalent to the BSI Kitemark.

Most lids will have ECE 22-05 printed on them, usually at the back of the lid.

Is it SHARP rated?

SHARP’s five-star safety rating is an independent helmet testing scheme ran by the Department of Transport. Where most full-face lids are rated, few adventure lids have been assessed by SHARP but those that have been can be located via the SHARP website.

Is it ACU gold-approved?

An ‘ACU Gold or Silver’ sticker means that the lid is approved for use in motorcycle sport by the Auto Cycle Union in the UK. Generally adventure lids aren’t work in competition, so few will carry this sticker.

Can I wear goggles with it?

When you are riding off-road, visors tend to get covered in mud, reducing visibility. Also, a visor is more likely to mist up when you are breathing hard due to exertion than goggles and has less ventilation. A lot of adventure lids allow the visor to be removed completely and goggles worn instead. If you plan on riding your bike off-road, look for a lid that allows the use of goggles.

Does it have a Pinlock insert?

One of the best anti-fog inserts on the market, many lids come with a Pinlock included in the box while others simply have its fixings and you need to purchase the Pinlock itself separately. If you need to buy it, factor this extra expense into your buying decision.

How much does it weigh?

A heavy lid can put extra strain on your neck, leading to fatigue when worn for a long period of time, so a lightweight lid can be an advantage when it comes to touring.

Is the lining removable?

Helmets get sweaty and removing the lining and cleaning it thoroughly is the best way of reducing smells and keeping it nice to wear. This is especially important if you are planning off-road use where you will exert yourself more and possibly even get the lid’s lining dusty.

Is the visor easy to remove?

A fiddly visor removal system can be very annoying when it comes to removing the visor to give it a good clean and remove and stuck on flies. Look for a well-designed system that will allow you to quickly remove the visor with minimal effort or use of tools.

Does it have an integrated sun visor?

A ‘flip-down’ sun visor is a really handy addition for when the sun is out as it means you can simply flip it down while on the go rather than stopping to fit a pair of sunglases.

What is its ventilation like?

A hot head is an uncomfortable head, so see if the helmet has vents and if they are easily operated by a gloved hand. The more vents, the cooler your head will be, however they can create extra wind noise.

Is it ready for a communications system?

Many helmets are ‘communications ready,’ which means they are designed with extra recesses around the ear areas so that you can insert headphones for a communications system. Without these recesses, the headphones can press irritatingly on your ears.

Is it designed for glasses?

If you wear glasses, a lot of helmets have special areas in them to allow the glasses’ arms to sit comfortably between the lining and your face, stopping them pressing on you or getting deformed and also making them easy to remove and put on.

What kind of strap fastener does it have?

There are two general types of helmet strap fastener – a D-Ring and a ratchet-style. The D-Ring requires manually threading and then tightening the strap where a ratchet-style system is a simple push-fit. It is a matter of choice with some riders preferring the ease of the ratchet-style and other opting for the secure feeling offered by a D-Ring.

Can I move the peak?

Adventure lids have a peak to help shade your eyes from the sun. Can it easily be moved to alter its position? Also, does it have cut-outs or aerodynamic features to stop it getting caught in the wind at speed, potentially putting extra strain on your neck.

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