In many parts of the world helmets are optional. Unfortunately, not all of us have the freedom to choose whether or not we put on before going out for a ride. So if you’re going to have to wear one, why not choose from the best motorcycle helmets out there? We’ve put together a list of the year’s best motorcycle helmets for cruising.
What is cruising?
Let’s be clear: cruising isn’t the act of riding a cruiser motorcycle. Cruising is the act of riding a motorcycle in a calm, laid back manner. If you’re keeping the revs low on a supersport just putting over to your friend’s house for an oil change, you’re cruising. If you’re taking in the scenery on some two lane back-country road on a supermotard, you’re cruising. If you’re on a cruiser just appreciating a ride in the sunshine with no real rush and no destination, you’re cruising.
Personally, I ride a cruiser for the most part. And I ride it aggressively. I scrape pegs, deliberately, and I twist the throttle with the same force I’d twist the nipple off of my worst enemy. But sometimes I do cruise, and these are the new helmets that I like for that kind of motorcycle riding. Helmets meant for laid back riding, and looking cool.
This air fighter looking helmet features a fancypants goggle and mask system. The goggles are made by high end camera lens manufacturer Carl Zeiss. Check your Sony digital cameras, odds are your lens is made by Carlyboy. The goggles are what we call OTG Goggles, or Over The Glasses Goggles, meaning you can wear your prescription lenses under these goggles, and they’ll fit. Best of all, the lenses are dual-pane, scratch resistant and fog-free. Allegedly.
The shell is a made from a thermoplastic resin, with a dual-density EPS liner.
The Shark Raw helmet comes with an additional smoked lens, so you can swap your lens out based on whether you’re riding in daylight or in the dark.
The helmet also comes with a moisture-wicking and hypoallergenic bamboo liner, which is removable and washable. Perfect for people with allergies, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or just motorcyclist clean-freaks (I’m told these people do exist, somewhere).
The head shape is universal oval, and the Shark Raw helmet is available in sizes XS to XL.
The Nolan N20 is Italian-made and it’s no surprise. Nolan’s N20 open face three quarter helmet is reminiscent of the old AGV / Diesel Mowie helmets.
The N20 comes in almost a dozen variations including the Rider, the City, and the Outlaw. Surprisingly, the N20 open face helmet weighs only 2.5 lbs.
The N20 comes with a handful of cool features. Most obviously there’s a built in half shield, but when we dug a little deeper we found a liner system held in place with only hooks and loops, making it easy to remove. Finally, there’s a quick release strap system, which might look impressive at first, but universal variations can be ordered for any motorcycle helmet.
The N20’s head shape is round. Maybe this flies in Asian and even in Europe, but in North America, it could be an odd fit for most riders. If you have an oval head, you may have to order a size larger than planned. Realistically though, you should only buy a Nolan N20 if you find it designed for your head’s shape.
The Rogue is a mix between a half helmet and a three quarter helmet. The Rogue, like early Fords, comes in basically any colour you want, as long as it’s black. It does come in a matt green though. I like that.
The Rogue made headlines for its mouthpiece, which can quickly and easily be magnetically attached and adjusted to fit all riders. The muzzle fits all, no matter the size and shape of your snout. The Rogue’s liner is removable and washable and it features built in speaker pockets, and a 5 year warranty from Bell.
Bonus: AFX FX200 Dual Shield
The construction of the AFX FX200 Dual Shield caught our attention. While it’s a plastic shell, it claims to be “fibreglass reinforced.” We’re hoping AFX will send us one to test out, and cut down the middle with a mitre saw to have a better look. Just kidding. Kind of.
What’s the Dual Shield about? Simply put, two shields, at once. One for day time, one for nighttime, or a semi-split for those hazy days. Gimmicky? Sure, but also a little practical.
The trouble is that too much stuff can add weight and bulk for a helmet, but if you’re on a budget and looking for a cruising helmet that fits the bill and comes with extra features like the shield system and ear muffs to keep you warm, this is it. Just watch out, North Americans, the AFX FX200 Dual Shield has a round shape.