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When should you Go for a Half or Full Helmet?

September 17, 2019 8 min read 3 Comments

When should you Go for a Half or Full Helmet?

The decision of whether to choose a half or full helmet is one that many new riders and those looking to get into motorcycles ask themselves quite often. But no matter what type you eventually decide to go for, you might need to consider both at one point of your riding.

 What we’ve seen over the years is the demographic preferences for each type of helmet. It is pretty evident to anyone that the older generation of riders who are 45+ years old prefer half helmets to the more protective full-face helmets. On the other hand, younger riders opt for full helmets including those riding cruiser bikes.

 Why is this? The reason for the different choices in the demographics has to do with deep-lying perspectives of each age group. For example, the older generation is more inclined to the practicality of the ‘skull cap,’ or brain bucket or half-helmet. It does the job it is designed for. The old belief is that the purpose of a helmet is to protect the skull and the half-helmet does its job pretty well. Nothing more, not. The younger generation likes more style and comfort than practicality. A full-helmet is designed to offer better protection while rocking a stylish design.

 For the conservative rider the choice of a helmet, or any riding gear for that matter, is effortless and straightforward. The age-old mantra “All-The-Gear-All-The-Time (ATGATT)” is their guiding philosophy. And more often than not, they will wear a full-helmet for maximum coverage and protection.

Millennials have a different perspective when it comes to both types of helmets. For example, they see half helmets as being cool at times, even though they are likely to go for a full-face helmet. When wearing them, they see themselves as being more badass when atop their heads is a half-face helmet. So much for the coolness that some in will be willing to give up safety to appear cool.

 However, it is essential to note that each type of helmet is best suited for specific riding conditions. Knowing when to don your half-helmet or black full-face helmet could make all the difference for your protection.

 Nowadays, it is quite hard to notice the ‘brain buckets,’ but they are still very popular in certain parts around the world. Perhaps their rarity is what makes them tick among the younger generation while their more practical design is appealing to the older age groups.

Nevertheless, we are going to see when you should choose one type of helmet over the other and under what circumstances.

 But before we dive deep, let’s see the main difference between the two types of helmets.

What is the difference between a half helmet and a full-face helmet?

 A full-face helmet is a type of helmet designed to enclose the rider’s head while offering maximum face protection. It includes a chin bar as an extension of the shell that protects your chin. A face shield helps keep away wind, dust, and debris from reaching your eyes and nose.

Full face motorcycle helmets are the most protective type of helmet, but you will have to trade off the safety for excellent ventilation and in some cases, visibility. If you like the adrenaline-charged escapades with your motorcycle or like to take to the track, then this is the best helmet for the job. It is also the most common type of mask on the street.

 On the other hand, a half helmet is a much-simplified helmet design which covers half your head. More precisely, the top of your head up to the ears. Most riders will agree that riding is all about soaking in the atmosphere while having a robust protective helmet on your head. The half-helmet is practical in that sense, but not the most safety-conscious design. For motorcycle riding enthusiasts, this is the perfect helmet for the best riding experience. And it is easy to see why. First, it provides 100% visibility on either side of the rider while allowing free flow of air, especially in the hot summer. If you are more interested in reclaiming your motorcycle riding freedom, then a half-helmet is the best lid you can get.

 The half-helmet is also one of the earliest motorcycle helmet designs. During the old days, safety was not a top consideration like it is today. The protective features of the helmets were minimal. Nevertheless, the half helmet offers considerable coverage to the most crucial part of your body-the head.

 It is rather obvious that a full-face helmet protects better and will save your ass on many occasions when you are flying up like a limp noddle when a crash happens. At that time, when you are frightened, and your life flashes right in front of your eyes, you will thank your full-face helmet. But the wild-spirited folks will disagree with you, and argue that riding is not about playing it safe but feeling every bit of adrenaline with your half-helmet on. Of course, we advocate for safety first before anything else, and we want you to be as protected as possible. A half-helmet is the cooler one, but you will need to be extra careful on the road.

So, what are the pros and cons of full-face helmets?

 

Advantages and Disadvantages of full-face helmets

 Full face helmets provide full protection and are arguably the safest type of helmets in the market today. Modern full helmets come packed with convenience features and technologies that make them more desirable to the modern rider. They feature a face shield that protects your eyes from insects, dust, debris, and other projectiles when you are cruising on the highway. You are also likely to find a wide range of modifications and personal customization options that you can apply to your helmet.

Statistically, full-face helmets save lives by up to 29%, according to data from The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). When you look at it, this is a great deal for any motorcyclist. Besides, you also get protection from harsh elements like rain, wind, and hail, all of which could hamper your smooth riding.

When wearing a full-face helmet, you have considerable peace of mind that you can survive a fatal crash. Most people think that a helmet’s only purpose is to guard your head, but your chin, jaw bone, and face are equally protected. Most injuries that occur during a crash involve the chin and neck. For this reason, the full-face helmet most crucial feature is the chin bar.

These are the areas more likely to be affected in a crash, as illustrated in the image below.  

 Surprisingly, the chin is the most vulnerable part that gets injured during a crash. However, with a full-face helmet, you are likely to avert the danger and emerge safely.

In summary, the advantages of a full helmet include:

  • Full protection of your face and chin
  • Protection against harsh weather conditions
  • Less likely to fly off when cruising at high speeds
  • Can be customized to appear in all kinds of designs to suit your style
  • Comes with more features for added convenience
  • Reduces noise

 

 

What are the disadvantages of a full-face helmet 

If you are like me, the immediate feeling of wearing a full-face helmet is claustrophobic. I hate being confined or restricted to a place, and the full helmet feels pretty restricted when I am wearing it. Despite feeling less free, I still fall in love with the protection it has to offer when I am burning rubber. So what are some of the things I dislike about a full-face helmet?

  • Feels quite rigid and restrictive on my face
  • There is limited airflow which can be a pain in the hot summer days
  • You end up feeling tired on the long rides, your neck and head can feel quite heavy
  • Sometimes the visibility is not so great, especially if you have tinted visors
  • You can fail to hear vital sounds on the road which could compromise your safety

 

Generally, a full-face helmet is an excellent option for the long rides and the unpredictable rides. The ability to wear this helmet under all weather conditions is a significant plus for me. You can also choose how stylish your helmet is going to be, and no one will ask you anything.

 

The advantages and disadvantages of a half helmet

 A half helmet is all the rage for motorcycle enthusiasts who want something extra than just moving from point A to point B on their motorcycles. The freedom and ecstasy that comes with breathing in the atmosphere of the road, while hearing the throttle sounds of your bike are priceless. Many will argue that they can have the same with an open face motorcycle helmet or modular helmet, but I guarantee you the experience is not the same.

A half helmet shows you are a badass rider while tapping into the pioneering helmet designs. In short, you look cooler wearing the best half helmet. So, what are some advantages of wearing this type of lid?

  • Allows you to immerse yourself in the riding experience, feel the noises and the atmosphere around you
  • Comes with the best ventilation of any helmet. Even the most modified full-face helmet doesn’t come close to the level of ventilation of a half helmet. 
  • They are super cool to look at, and you will stand out from the crowd.
  • Convenient when you are talking to your riding colleagues as you will not have to remove your lid to be heard
  • A half helmet is light and less cumbersome to wear.
  • You can do a lot of things with your helmet on, including taking a drink or scratching an itchy part of your face.
  • Look in any direction with great ease since the helmet feels like part of your head
  • Can be worn with motorcycle sunglasses or goggles.

Conversely, there are tradeoffs to this spectacular lid. The disadvantages include:

  • You will have to give up on full safety. Most of your face is left open and exposed to all sorts of danger. Since the helmet does not have a chin bar, you are more likely to get severe injuries by up to 19.4% of your chin.
  • Dusty roads can get in the way of your riding and impact on your visibility. You will also need to watch out for smoke, debris, dust, and other flying objects that come off when you are riding.
  • Half helmets are not ideal for winter or the rainy season. Your neck and face will be exposed to the harsh elements which can make you freeze or get a cold.  

 

 

The Verdict: Which one should you choose and why?

 Generally speaking, it’s difficult to point which one of these helmets is the better one or a superior product than the other. Both have strengths and weaknesses which will influence your decision of which one to go for. It all comes down to your personal preference.

 At the same time, safety and protection need to be your priority at all times when deciding to buy a helmet. For example, if you are a stuntman or adrenaline junkie who likes the thrill of speed, we highly recommend that you go for a full-face mask.

However, if you are a more conservative rider who wants to cruise at slow speeds, a half helmet is the ideal choice. It provides more comfort compared to the full-face helmet and allows you to feel the sights and sounds while riding.

 The occasional cruiser should have no problem choosing the best half helmet. Plus it is a cool lid that will make you stand out from your peers. If prestige is something that you value so much, then you might consider getting this stylish lid.

 Overall, we recommend that you carefully assess your riding needs and choose the helmet that you will be most comfortable wearing when on the road. But if you can’t make a decision, you might want to get yourself a full-face helmet as it provides a higher level of protection.  

 


3 Responses

Jim Harris
Jim Harris

October 20, 2019

I crashed my bike doing about 70mph.lucky l was wearing my full face or right now l would not have a face

John Farren
John Farren

October 15, 2019

Full face break your neck makes quadriplegic when in a side hit takes your neck that couple inches past broken

Gary Coleman
Gary Coleman

October 13, 2019

i have both styles of helmets and choose which one i use depending on the ride.
If i’m going on a long ride where there will be high speeds and minimal stops i use the full face helmet.
If it’s a ride with frequent stops, like club rides or around town doing business, then i use the half helmet, which has better all around vision.
There is one main reason i think why older riders, myself included, prefer the half helmet, is because a lot of us wear glasses. You can put on and take off a half helmet wearing your specs, but not with a full face helmet.

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