We tested 10 dirt bike helmets and found Fly Racing Kinetic Thrive Dirt Bike Helmet to be the best dirt bike helmet overall.
A motorcycle helmet is a critical riding gear where you should not compromise on the quality for money. Dirt bike helmets are not an exception! Because the helmets protect you from severe injuries as you do off-road riding.
The best dirt bike helmets promote safety and confidence. It offers superb impact absorption, retention, and peripheral vision. I have had the pleasure of riding with many helmets over the years and this experience helps me identify the best dirt bike ride helmets on the market.
My top choice is the Fly Racing Kinetic Thrive dirt bike helmet. This is a high-quality DOT-approved model that is guaranteed to keep you safe. Kinetic Thrive features a unisex design that is available in an assortment of colors and sizes. Further, premium helmet construction ensures you are comfortable, cool, calm, and protected.
But that is not the only dirt bike helmet I’ve tested.
Many brands are on the market with various dirt bike helmet models. But don’t worry, I have done most of the hard work and found the top 10 best dirt bike helmets. I’ve broken down our list of top contenders by what they do best. Below is a list of the best and safest helmets by comfort, technology, user level, and much more.
Read the reviews and decide which one is right for you.
Table of Contents
Top 10 Best Dirt Bike Helmets
Without further ado, let’s explore the top ten motocross racing helmets on the market.
Fly Racing Kinetic Thrive Helmet—Best Overall
I’ll kick things off with the Fly kinetic motocross helmet. This model features a polymer shell construction, a great material that is lightweight, durable, and helps reduce neck fatigue. A double-density EPS liner inside reduces energy transfer in high-speed impact situations. The liner is detachable for washing.
This dirt bike helmet is DOT-certified to keep you safe during rides. All Fly Racing helmets come with the True Functional Ventilation (TFV) system to keep you cool and comfortable. There is a cheek pad in the helmet to absorb sweat and increase comfort to your cheeks.
This Fly Racing model is available in a limited number of colors and graphic options. However, multiple sizes and three shells mean you can get a precise fit.
- A lightweight polymer shell
- True Functional Ventilation (TFV)
- Dual-density EPS liner
- Multiple shell and EPS liner sizes
- A DOT-certified design
- Limited color and graphic options
Fox Racing V3—Best Ventilation System
Fox V3 comes with four exhaust vents and 14 intake vents to allow cool air into and out of the helmet. Many air vents and a suitably designed EPS liner combine to offer you good airflow during off-road riding.
The V3 can protect you against a nasty impact. It comes with the proprietary Fox Multi-Directional Impact Protection System (MIPS). The system absorbs shock to counteract sideways impact, which reduces head movement and chances of a concussion.
The V3 also boasts a magnetic visor release system for reducing the chances of the helmet “grabbing” the ground upon impact by detaching. Dual-density Varizorb EPS liner helps spread the impact forces over a wide surface area.
- A sleek design
- Excellent ventilation
- Multi-Directional Impact Protection System (MIPS)
- Magnetic Visor Release System (MVRS)
Bell Moto 9 Carbon Flex – Best Ladies Dirt Bike Helmet
No manufacturer has a dedicated women’s dirt bike helmet range. But from an anatomical standpoint, women may require a smaller version of the helmet. The Bell Moto 9 is not only safe, but it also brings an extra-small size and fine-tuning for smaller heads. So I feel it is the best premium dirt bike helmet for ladies.
This model features a three-core layering system that absorbs kinetic energy. A segmented construction automatically conforms to the rider’s head, so the impact management system works more effectively.
Bell helmets boast an effective Velocity Flow Ventilation system that provides high-quality airflow inside. The system sends air flowing onto the chin and forehead. Built-in rear vents help maintain a constant airflow at all speeds.
- MIPS Safety system
- Carbon Composite shell
- Excellent ventilation
- Emergency release cheek pads
- Available in sizes XS to XXL
O’Neal 2Series Spyde Adult Helmet—Best Off-road Helmet
O’Neal 0200-S14 features a durable ABS plastic construction that is perfectly adaptable for dirt bike riding. The material is strong and durable, providing lasting impact resistance. At the current price value, the helmet is strong.
The 2Series has an impact absorption system. A dense layer of padding inside the helmet protects your head in case of a spill. An interior plush liner wicks away moisture and keeps you cool. The liner is removable for washing in a machine.
An adjustable visor helps keep the sun out of your eyes no matter where you are riding. The integrated double D release chin strap helps keep the helmet in place.
- Great impact dissipation
- Good ventilation
- Secure fit
- DOT and ECE 22-05 certified
- Sizes are small
Bell MX-9 Helmet—Best Affordable Dirt Bike Helmet for Beginners
Bell brings you a moderately priced dirt bike helmet with a modern MIPS system. The polycarbonate shell makes the MX helmet only 3.2 pounds. You can wear this great helmet off-road and even on the highway thanks to a removable face shield.
The helmet uses the Velocity-flow ventilation system that helps keep it quiet. Front intake vents bring in cool air through an EPS liner before it is released through back exhaust vents. The system does not come with as many air vents you’d find in higher-priced helmets—but airflow is effective.
The interior comfort of the Bell MX-9 dirt helmet is comparable to some of the premium motocross helmets on this list. The interior comfort liner is removable for washing when dirty. A padded chin strap in the neck area ensures the helmet stays on your head throughout.
- MIPS technology
- Velocity-flow ventilation system
- Good value
- Lightweight polycarbonate shell
- 5-year warranty
- Cheek pads are too snug
Leatt GPX 5.5—Best Technology
This Leatt helmet is one of the most feature-rich, advanced dirt bike helmets on this list. A reduced outer shell offers protection against rotational forces transferring to the brain, head, and neck. A V-shaped impact foam that is directly molded to the shell helps reduce G-forces.
The built-in 360-degree Turbine Technology has several energy-absorbing moving discs to reduce head impacts and rotational acceleration to the head and brain. A breakaway visor attachment system dissipates rotational energy transfer.
This GPX 5.5 helmet is suitable for riders wearing neck braces to prevent or reduce injury. A moisture-wicking, breathable Dri-Lex inner liner keeps off odors and ensures you are dry. The liner is removable for washing.
- Quality built-in technology
- A compact helmet design
- Compatible with Leatt neck braces
- Mid-range weight
Shoei VFX-WR EVO Helmet—Best Guarantee
The VFX-WR features an Emergency Quick-Release System (EQRS) for fast helmet removal when a rider requires medical attention. This system allows the safe removal of lining and cheek pads to avoid moving or jolting the head.
Multi-Ply Matrix AIM technology combines fiberglass and organic fibers for a durable and lightweight shell. The helmet is wind-tunnel tested to ensure aerodynamic stability, while a large eye port offers an extensive field of vision. You can wear oversized goggles during off-road riding with this helmet.
The manufacturer is so confident in these Shoei helmets that it offers one of the best guarantees on this list. There is the option of a 7-year warranty starting from the manufacture date or a 5-year guarantee from the purchase date.
- Excellent ventilation
- Customizable fit
- AIM+ Shell
- Motion Energy Distribution System (MEDS)
- High noise levels
Troy Lee Designs SE4 Helmet—Best Design Dirt Bike Helmet
This TLD model features a comfort liner with Dri-Lex and CoolMax moisture-wicking materials. The liner is easily removable for regular cleaning and maintenance. Included anatomical cheek pads have an emergency release system that adds comfort.
The SE4 helmet has oversize voids for the rider’s ears. This space enhances hearing when riding and contributes to the helmet’s lightweight feel. The ability to hear during a ride is a significant safety feature that cannot be overlooked.
It’s easy to see Troy’s artistic skills in this helmet. The TLD SE4 is available in a variety of attention-grabbing designs and colors. These are the best dirt bike helmets that lead the pack in terms of good looks.
- Racing-inspired graphics and colors
- MIPS liner
- Chin bar reinforcement with EPP foam
- Removable liners
- Exceeds DOT and ECE 22.05 certifications
- The sweat pad may not be adequate
Arai VX-Pro4 Helmet—Best for Professional Dirt Bike Riders
This Arai helmet model comes with an Improved Facial Contour System (FCS) for an adaptive fit and a foam spring that adjusts itself as you remove and wear the helmet. The helmet is ideal for multiple dirt biking riding types. Its design allows a comfortable fit without being too tight, which increases performance during hard rides.
The VX-Pro4 has a polycarbonate outer shell and a three-layer inner shell with impact-absorbing EPS foam. An inner shutter helps keep debris and dirt out of the helmet. There is also a Fluid Inside protection system that imitates the cerebral fluid to dissipate impact energy.
There are no protruding edges, which help reduce the risk of lower head injury. The manufacturer also provides replaceable insides for almost all parts of the VX-Pro4, so you don’t need to purchase a new motocross helmet in the future. Finally, the helmet is DOT and SNELL certified.
- Advanced technology features
- Quality product
- SNELL and DOT certified
- Few solid color choices
Alpinestars Supertech M10—Best Shell Design
The Supertech M10 features very flat sides and top, which helps reduce impacts and promote safety. The helmet’s outer shell is made from carbon fiber, while the inner EPS liner features different densities. Top liner of the helmet’s MIPS system has three attachment options, so you can position the shell to sit high, low, or biased to the front or back of your head.
A rubberized gasket along the base of the Alpinestars Supertech M10 provides extra safety. This suspension panel has an absorbent core that protects your collar bone from the helmet. The helmet weighs in at a little over 1260 grams, making it one of the lightest motocross helmets in its class.
The Supertech M10 keeps air away from your head using multiple channels for directing warm air through a porting system. This design helps improve your performance and comfort levels even when you are riding hard.
- MIPS technology
- Excellent airflow
- Emergency release cheek pads system
- No visor adjustment
- Fitment issues
Reasons You Need the Best Dirt Bike Helmet
Dirt bike injuries are the worst. There is an increased risk of fall on anything, from mud to stones to trees and even downhills.
You should take protective gear—helmet, goggles, neck brace, chest protection, knee braces, and boots— seriously, whether you are a professional or a new dirt bike rider.
However, never compromise on the quality of the helmet or any other motocross gear. Here are reasons you should always wear a dirt bike helmet while off-roading.
Head and Brain Protection
Your dirt bike helmet protects the head and brain from injuries. These injuries can be so fatal they may lead to death.
The helmet also protects your face from debris, dirt, and mud while riding. This is the main reason dirt bike helmets have provisions for goggles.
Protection from Harsh Weather
The regular dirt bike rider is riding motocross bikes under different weather. The conditions may abstract vision, increasing the chances of an accident.
Using the right helmet helps keep your face warm in cold weather and dry in the rain. Further, the helmet also helps protect you from the harmful UV rays of the sun.
It’s The Law
Wearing a helmet while riding a bike is a legal requirement. Many states make it mandatory for riders to have protective gear.
Some places have laws that mandate helmet wearing for individuals under 21. In case of an accident, you are partially guilty if you didn’t have a helmet on.
Visibility during the day may not be an issue, but we can’t say the same for the night. Cliffs and trees reduce other dirt bikers’ visibility. So wearing a helmet increases the chances of being seen by others.
The best motocross helmets for visibility are those with built-in reflectors or are brightly colored. But you can always add a few reflective tape lines to your helmet.
Mounting a headlamp on the helmet also increases your visibility. The light makes others aware that you are behind or ahead of them.
The best dirt bike helmets come in different colors and have different prints on them. Your dirt bike helmet is an excellent way to show off your style. Plus, it offers other dirt bike riders a glimpse into your personality.
Sports lovers can choose colors that symbolize their favorite teams. Or, science enthusiasts can choose to have a chemical equation or element on their motocross helmets.
Overall, wearing a helmet does not mean you need to look out of place and unattractive.
Set an Example for Younger Riders
If you want your kids to wear helmets when riding bikes (not dirt bikes necessarily) show them how. Wear yours to serve as a model for the next generation of riders.
The Difference Between Motocross Helmets and Street Bike Helmets
You may have noticed that dirt bike helmets look quite different compared to street and traditional bike helmets. The right type of helmet for your riding style is essential, so it is worth looking at the differences.
Dirt bike helmets have an extended chin while street bike helmets have a chin guard that is close to the face. The extended chin helps improve airflow compared to the chin guard.
You are often not riding your dirt bike as fast as a street bike. The low speed means you get hot fast and breathing can be difficult when you have the wrong helmet on. An extended chin ensures improved airflow while keeping you cool.
Street bike helmets feature an aerodynamic design, while their dirt bike cousins are bulkier and less aerodynamic. Of course, top speeds are not important while riding a dirt bike.
A street bike helmet will usually cover your ears because you are riding at higher speeds and for longer. However, the sound is not such a big concern when riding a dirt bike.
Some riders prefer hearing the engine, so they know what’s going on with the bike at all times. Wearing a dirt bike helmet can be uncomfortable because of the deafening road noise.
Dirt and street bike helmets offer superior protection in case of an impact. But helmets for street bikes offer slightly better protection because of higher speeds.
Your dirt bike helmet has a large visor for blocking the sun from getting in your eyes. Off-road riding can be dangerous, so you need to concentrate and have good reflexes without worrying about the sun’s glare.
The visor also helps prevent debris and dust from reaching your eyes. This is especially critical when riding behind another rider.
There is some weight difference between dirt and street bike helmets, but negligible. Regardless of the type, manufacturers are trying to make each helmet as light as possible.
A lighter helmet makes it easy to go over jumps or bumps on a trail because your head is not moving around so much. Heavy helmets make riders tire sooner as it requires more effort to keep the head straight.
How Do I Choose a New Dirt Bike Helmet?
There’s a lot to consider when buying a new dirt bike helmet. Some helmets are fantastic for some people while others are not a good fit for other riders.
Think about these factors to decide which dirt bike helmet is best for you.
What Will the Helmet be Used For?
For a beginner, a high-priced and high-end first helmet with lots of features might not be the best buy. Choose a helmet that is comfortable, safe, and that you like wearing. Some basics you should look for include lightweight construction, good ventilation, and certified safety equipment ratings.
Replacing a well-used or damaged helmet is critical. Further, consider upgrading your choice if dirt bike riding is now more than a hobby.
The helmet’s material influences several factors, including comfort, weight, cost, and safety rating. The most common helmet shell materials are:
- Polycarbonate—Flexes when absorbing energy and is the least expensive material.
- Fiberglass composite—A flexible material that will crush and split as it absorbs impact energy, slightly more expensive.
- Carbon fiber shell—These helmets distribute impact energy. They are the lightest and most expensive shell materials.
- EPS—The foam material is compressed into the inside of a helmet. It helps absorb shock from impacts.
The typical weight range for the best dirt bike helmets is from 1400 to 1800 grams.
A heavy helmet leads to a poor dirt bike riding posture and causes a sore neck. Heavy helmets get hot to ride in, leading to an uncomfortable, sweaty riding experience.
I recommend you stay within the 1600 grams range or below. However, you may come across one that weighs slightly more, and with all the specifications below, go for it. But 1600 grams is an excellent starting point.
Helmet Size and Head Shape
A proper helmet fit plays a critical role in the outcome of an accident. Your head size is a big determinant of the right dirt bike helmet for you.
Find your head size with these steps:
- Use a soft measuring tape to measure your head a half-inch above the eyebrows, over the ears, and to the back of the head at the largest point.
- Compare head size to specific motorcycle helmet manufacturer size charts for a match.
- A perfectly sized helmet should sit squarely on the head with the eye-port just above your eyebrows. A new properly fitted helmet will fit snug at first and loosen as it is broken in.
- If your fingers can fit between the helmet and your head easily or if the helmet is moving, consider getting a smaller size.
Another major consideration is the shape of your head. Some manufacturers will account for these head shapes:
- Round oval—A head that is longer side to side.
- Intermediate oval—A short front to back and wide side to side. Manufacturers of most helmets offer intermediate oval motocross helmets.
- Long oval—Long front to back and narrow side-to-side
Will Customization Improve Helmet Fit?
You can never be certain of a perfect fit along the jawline even with the right head size and shape measurement. A good option is to consider customization of the helmet.
The best dirt bike helmet will come with removable padding that allows for customization. This added feature lets you make the most out of the unit’s safety features.
Good ventilation lets you ride better. The helmet also feels lighter while providing the recommended level of safety.
Air vents in the helmet help cool you off. Lack of or poor ventilation can make you sweaty and hot, which reduces your stamina and may cause you to become confused while riding.
Advanced Safety Technology
Some technologies are proprietary to a manufacturer, and others are industry standards. Make sure that each safety technology is DOT approved.
Cheaper helmets may not have advanced technologies. Instead, they use the shell’s construction and internal padding as the protection mechanism.
More expensive dirt bike helmets will have these technologies.
Multi-directional Impact Protection Systems (MIPS)
MIPS is an industry-standard. The technology has two layers inside a motorcycle helmet that slip past each other. This allows your head to rotate slightly in the helmet during a motocross crash, reducing rotation forces reaching the brain.
Magnetic Visor Release System (MVRS)
A Fox Racing technology that helps manage rotational forces on impact. The visor is attached to the helmet using a magnet, so it detaches itself in a crash instead of exacerbating the situation by adding rotational forces.
The company, Fluid Inside, has developed a technology that mimics the cerebral spinal fluid inside pods. The strategically placed pods in a helmet absorb some impact. Fluid Inside has licensed helmet manufacturers to use their technology.
Emergency Cheek Pad Removal
This system allows easy cheek pads removal after a crash with much less movement of the rider’s head and less effort. Helmets either have a magnetic or clip system for removing the cheek pads.
Kinetic Polymer Alloy (KPA)
KPA is an LS2 proprietary helmet shell material that flexes on impact. While most shells are rigid, a KPA shell moves a bit to absorb some of the energy.
This Leatt technology features a series of small circular turbines that deform to absorb impact. The material in turbines hardens instantly on impact to dissipate rotational energy and deflect impact energy.
Helmet Safety Ratings
Pay attention to the little sticker on this side of a helmet or box. The sticker contains information on the safety standards the helmet conforms to.
Each safety standard organization carries out rigid procedures on the helmet, including:
- Making sure the helmet provides a minimum side vision of at least 105 degrees on both sides;
- Chin straps remain fastened without stretching or breaking;
- Minimum safety standards that ensure optimal impact protection.
The safety standards are:
- DOT by the United States Department of Transportation
- ECE 22.05 by the U.N. Economic Commission for Europe
- Snell (M2020) a United States non-profit founded after the death of Peter Snell
How Much Does a Good Dirt Bike Helmet Cost?
Price is usually the first thing people look at. However, the price reflects the materials used and the features included.
Avoid cheap helmets to save some bucks by compromising on your safety. The recommended buying price for a good quality helmet ranges from $200 to $400. But pro-level dirt bike helmets can cost as much as $800.
This article is an excellent guide on what you should expect from the best dirt bike helmet. As previously mentioned, my preferred choice for the best dirt bike helmets is the Fly Racing Kinetic Thrive Helmet.
The helmet features a unisex design for both adults and kids. You can also use the Thrive helmet on a snowmobile, UTV, and ATV. Fly Racing is a well-known brand for its commitment to designing functional gear and other dirt bike helmets that offer superior comfort and protection.
Make sure you tap here for more details on where to find the Fly Racing Kinetic Thrive Helmet.