The Best Street Motorcycle Helmets Under $300

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You don’t need to spend big bucks to get a motorcycle helmet that will be safe, comfortable and stylish. Here’s our favorite lids — some of the best available at any price — under $300.

Full Face Helmets

AGV Skyline – $299.95

The Skyline is AGV’s new attempt to bring some of the features from the GP-Tech down into a more price friendly model. The shell is carbon and fiberglass (or carbonglass as they call it), making the helmet fairly lightweight. The internal sun visor is a nice touch at this price point, as is the Dry-Lex interior. We’re a big fan of the shape of the front of this helmet and think it’s one of the nicer looking “budget” helmets available. AGV have a specific fit, so make sure you try this helmet on before ordering. Like other AGVs, the Skyline meets the light, safe ECE 22.05 safety standard, the same standard used by all MotoGP racers.

Bell Vortex Flack Helmet – $179.95

We’re big fans of Bell helmets, and the Vortex is an incredible deal. With the inclusion of the Velocity Flow Ventilation and FlowAdjust systems, as well as a fully removeable liner, lightweight composite polycarbonate alloy shell, contour cheek pads, padded wind collar, and anti-fog shield; this helmet packs in a ton of features straight from the Bell Star at a sub $200 price. Bell also has some of the best graphics available right now, if you’re into that sort of thing, and the flack graphic scheme looks better than those offered on many $600 helmets.

ICON Alliance Dark – $150

We covered this helmet recently as it was released only a few weeks ago. A helmet we love, at a cheaper price, with an extra dark visor included. What else do I need to say?

ICON Airmada Stack Hi Viz – $260

Wes wrote an awesome review of this helmet. You should read it. I think it’s probably the most comfortable helmet on this list, and when I’m in the mood to be seen, this is by far my favorite looking of the bunch. Like all other Icon helmets, the Alliance meets the light, safe, superior ECE 22.05 safety standard.

Scorpion EXO 1100 – $289.95

My first helmet was a Scorpion Exo 750 and I’ve always been a big fan of the brand. The Exo-1100 is the newest model in the lineup and is absolutely packed full of features. ECE and Dot certified, a fiberglass/kevlar outer shell, and their patented AirFit put this helmet up there with the best of them while their everclear fog free face shield and KwickWickII lining are really nice bonuses. I’ve recommended this helmet to plenty of people and will continue to as long as they keep making awesome products at such incredible prices.

HJC FG-17 Force Helmet – $179.99

I had never really considered HJC helmets until Wes got (and loved) his RPHA Max Modular helmet. The FG-17 looks amazing and we’ve had a few guys we know get them and really be happy with them. As one of the cheaper helmets on this list, it’s definitely something I would be looking at along with the Alliance should you have just spent your life savings on a motorcycle and forgotten you’ll need to buy gear. $180 for a nice looking helmet that meets DOT an SNELL standards is incredible, let alone one with a lot of the features found in much nicer helmets.

Modular Helmets

Bell Revolver EVO Warp – $199.95

The level of finish on Bell helmets blows my mind. I usually only like all black helmets, but a part of me secretly loves the graphics on all of Bell’s new lineup. To pair those looks with Bell quality and fit, and then include flip up fanciness for under $200 just seems crazy. I think most modular helmets look pretty dorky, but this thing looks so cool. If it wears anything like the rest of Bell’s line, it’s an absolute steal.

Shoei Multitec – $299.69

That’s right. A Shoei for under $300 (just barely). This is the same modular the police wear (I think you can even order it in the black/white color scheme on Revzilla if you really want to be that guy). This thing packs all of the features you would expect from something wearing the Shoei brand.

HJC SyMax 3 Hi-Viz – $278.99

This helmet is the step down from the RPHA Max Modular Wes went down in. It has a ton of the same features and offers the same great and quiet fit as it’s big brother. It also comes in a nice Hi-Viz for those of you who feel the need to wear such things.

Scorpion Exo-900 Transformer – $269.95

As with the regular full face helmets in their line, the Exo 900 packs a ton of feautres normally found on much nicer helmets into its $270 price point. It also comes with a cool little beak you can attach should you want it to do a little more ADV type duty.

  • it_weenie

    I had a Bell Vortex for about a year and a half. I loved it. We had a really cold winter so I was riding with a thicker balaclava and stretched out the liner. I replaced it with a Shoei RF-1100 that I got on a great deal. I would’ve gotten another Bell or replaced the pads, but I couldn’t pass up the Shoei.

  • Ioannis Yiannis

    I am actually considering an Icon Airmada hiviz, i love the look of the hemet, the only problem is I have a round noggin and reading your review along with others on the net it seems a no no if you don’t have an elongated head. Is there any adjustability perhaps with the foam inside that would allow it to have a good fit if your name isn’t Beldar?

    • el_jefe

      I’m in the same boat. I was really excited to try on this helmet. Unfortunately, the large flops all over the place and the medium squeezes too much. I’m also curious if the fit can be customized. I never really looked into it.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      Nope, the Airmada is an intermediate oval, not spherical. Check out Laser, their helmets are super round.

    • Von

      HJC

  • Apple

    Any of these good for people that where glasses?

    • yakimushi

      Glasses wearer and owner of an EXO-1100, here. I wear “chunky” style frames and have no comfort issues with the helmet. No clearance issues with the built in sunscreen, either.

      • Twin Verb

        I have an EXO-1000 and in general, glasses are fine and this is almost the same helmet. However, I got some new prescription Oakley “Bucket” glasses with the longer, straight arms over the ears and they definitely don’t work and force me to use my backup glasses because the rubber ends and the length. Keep that in mind. I have a pair of prescription Predator Ray Ban sunglasses I wear in the daytime and they are about as perfect as it gets.

        Bottom line, make sure your prescription glasses fit on any helmet you buy.

    • Martin

      My EXO-700 + acetate eyeglass frames = no discomfort. YMMV.

  • motoguru.

    I know a few Scorpion reps that wouldn’t even put the EXO 900 on this list…

    • Martin

      For what reason(s)?

      • motoguru.

        Loud, uncomfortable, heavy, poopy overall. Friends of mine who own them have the same complaints. I’ve owned a 400, 700, and 1000 and have nothing but good things to say about them, so I am not hating on Scorpion. The 700 is still my go to track day helmet. I’ve heard many good things about their current line-up as well. If you must have a modular and want to stay under $300, go with the 3 other options above.

  • Ryan Chelberg

    My buddy had an exo 1000 and got in a bad crash that had him hit the ground head first slide, get thrown into the air head first into a tree, then he fell from the tree eye port first into a concrete underpass. No head trauma at all. He also wears glasses.

    • Sean Connery

      i didn’t know it was posibble to slam headfirst into 8 different things in a crash . . . sounds fishy

  • Mykola

    Another Scorpion fan here. I want to like Icon, but the Airframe I’ve got is immediately painful to wear, and relegated strictly to pillion-duty. Aside from the Shoei RF-1100, the Scorpions are the only helmets I’ve tried that fit my head right (and are good for at least 3 hours at a time in the heat and humidity at that). I’m on my second EXO-700 and will probably stick with them after this one gets too old.

    • Phil Mills

      I think we share the same head shape. The last time I went shopping it was either
      * another EXO-700 (which just didn’t excite me for some reason)
      * a Shoei RF-1100 at way too much money
      * the Bell Star at way too much money.

      I left the shop very sad and then I found someone doing a stellar deal on closing out some varieties of the Bell Star Carbon for $300 and that sealed the deal.

  • Mr.Paynter

    I often see an absence of Shark Helmets?

    Is there a reason? I havent owned heaps f helmets but I have become a fan boy after testing my Shark RSI Carbon a bit of a speed and I love them, but alway feel uneasy like maybe you guys know something I don’t?

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      Are Shark helmets available in the US?

      • Mr.Paynter

        Hmmm… Good point, I have no idea. I am out in Africa, but I have imported from ExtremeSupply in Cali, however they may be shipping direct from elsewhere…

    • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

      There was no intent to slight them. Believe I even sent them an email about getting some product to review and never heard back, so I just haven’t had any experience with them and therefor can’t recommend them.

      Glad you like them and anyone considering things on this list should probably check them out as well.

      • Mr.Paynter

        Thanks Sean, as long as there’s no outright reason I am endangering my melon in them etc.

        I hope they catch on and get some product to you, they’re definitely my favourite, although to be fair, I had really cheap, base-model helmets and the Shark RSI was the first more expensive helmet I paid out for, so I’ve stuck with them and never compared across brands as they just fit right for me.

        I am relly digging that Bell Vortex though and considering a leap of faith.

  • Lourens Smak

    For those looking for a new helmet, see a large collection of UK crash-test results here: http://sharp.direct.gov.uk/ Not all helmets are created equal, it seems… but buying a five-star helmet that fits badly is probably a bad idea too…

    • Dmitry Parshenko

      Interesting to know that 3 of 4 modular helmets mentioned in the issue have 3 of 5 stars SHARP rating (the 4th – Bell Revolver – seems to not have SHARP certificate).
      My personal choice for now is Caberg Duke. Highest safety rating from SHARP and price around $280.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      Sharp’s methodology is a little questionable. As you say, perfect fit is going to be a little more important than a side impact test that doesn’t account for speaker holes.

      • Lourens Smak

        It just seemed an extra bit of info that could be helpful for helmet-shoppers.

        Thanks by the way for a superb site! in my own language there are a dozen motorcycling-sites using the obvious and boring “copy & paste press-releases” method, so Rideapart fills a massive hole there… An Icon helmet is tough to find overhere but I don’t mind, it’s rideapart’s hands-on approach that does it for me; personal experience and opinion… Keep up the good work!

  • akaCarioca ..

    I really like my AGV GP-TECH Valentino Rossi “Wake Up”.

    • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

      that’s awesome, but it’s also twice the price of the helmets on this list…

      • CS_USA

        Sorry. The msrp is over $700 but I got it for $530 shipped, including a mirrored shield, so I couldn’t pass it.

  • LS650

    I don’t see any mention of eyeglasses fitting along with these helmets. I get that the writers might not need prescription glasses, but how about trying to wear these with a pair of sunglasses?

    • w0lfatncsu

      If the 1100 is anything like the 1000, prescription glasses work fine, especially wire frame ones. As for sunglasses, I have worn them in my helmet, but I tend not to and just resort to either the internal sunvisor or a dark shield that I switch out for a clear one when it starts getting dark out.

    • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

      Sorry about that. We haven’t extensively tested all of these helmets, it’s just a list of our best/favorites to give you a place to start when shopping. Obviously, you’ll want to audition anything you’re thinking of buying to make sure it fits your head shape and needs like that.

  • appliance5000

    Two questions:

    “superior ECE 22.05 safety standard.” superior to what?

    My take: as an industry/govt. initiative I’d trust it less than snell 2010; a private initiative.

    ” It also comes in a nice Hi-Viz for those of you who feel the need to wear such things.”

    I get the snark, but if I have the choice between being T-Boned and wearing a highlighter on my head I know where I’m going. If they’re laughing at you they’re seeing you.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      Do some reading on Snell and I think any reasonable person will come to the conclusion that its an inferior standard. You’ll find ECE to me a much more rigorous standard that’s grounded in science. Start here: http://jalopnik.com/5582380/how-the-truth-about-motorcycle-helmets-got-a-journalist-fired

      • appliance5000

        Hi wes – thanks for the reply – I had read that article and it was a good refresher – the gist though is that snell 2010 is an excellent standard and snell 2005 was not. I do think 2005 was based on the best criteria of the time – that criteria was flawed.

        Both ece and snell are grounded in science.

        If you look at this:

        http://ultimatemotorcycling.com/motorcycle-helmet-standards-explained-dot-ece-22-05-snell/

        I think the main differences between snell and ece is that ece tests larger production batches and snell requires recert if any changes are made. The snell impact tests also seem more rigorous and there are visor impact requirements.

        i might be too leary of ece – but wherever industry and money is involved (as shown in the article you linked to) I ask questions.

        They’re probably both better than dot – maybe that’s the take away.

        • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

          The gist is that Snell is operated by some of the helmet brands in order to give their products a USP in the American market.

          ECE is an objective safety standard developed by the EU in order to protect its citizens. Its test are more rigorous, more scientifically designed and harder to meet. They also result in lighter, softer helmets that are better able to prevent concussions.

          Every single MotoGP racer choses to wear an ECE lid, even those sponsored by companies that use Snell in America. Ben Spies’ HJC (which is ECE), is notably lighter than the version sold to Americans. Nicky Hayden’s Arai is ECE, not Snell. ETc etc etc.

          • appliance5000

            While Ford implies that Snell is funded by industry, an assertion that’s false, he never draws the conclusion you do. Snell’s rebuttal to that loose assertion:

            “Mr. Ford describes Snell as “financed by helmet makers.” In fact Snell receives no direct financial support. Snell certification services are conducted on a fee for service basis. Charges are levied for testing and for the Snell certification labels which go into each Snell certified helmet. These are the only revenues. Snell’s directors and staff (www.smf.org) are not allowed any financial connection with the helmet industry. This is customary for any not-for-profit organization serving the public interest. Further, Snell’s charges to the industry are minimal. The real costs of Snell certification go into the additional engineering and quality control necessary to meet Snell Standards. The value is in the helmets.”

            You might say I’m naive but would they really risk losing credibilty on an easily tested assertion?

            What he states clearly is he was no fan of snell 2005 and many issues were addressed in snell 2010.

            Ece tests don’t seem more rigorous – at least from what I’ve read. There are differences in approach but not rigor.

            Which is a better helmet I dunno but if you’re racing in Europe it better be ece.

            • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

              If you have a normal sized head M2010 is probably Ok. Those helmets will still be a little heavier than necessary, but not quantifiably less safe to a major degree.

              Buy why bother when ECE lids are lighter, safe across all sizes and subject to more rigorous quality control? Makers that apply for certification on a specific model have to submit more helmets to ECE on a more frequent basis (across the helmet’s production life span), thereby ensuring continuous quality.

              Snell is a tool used by certain US helmet companies to justify the premium they charge. Nothing more.

    • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

      Only the most minimal amounts of snark intended. I actually really support people wanting to be safer and wearing Hi-Viz because of it, but only until they start preaching from their high horse (which has been my experience so far with the Hi-Viz crew). I took flack in a previous helmet review with the implication that I shouldn’t give it high marks if it wasn’t hi-viz. I get that it helps, but it’s an area I believe we can say “to each his own.” I wanted to include Hi-Viz options for those people because I feel it’s important to try and meet everyone’s needs, even if I they annoy me.

      • appliance5000

        I hear you – I hate the preaching.

        I’m a newish rider in an urban area and got a hiviz brighter than the surface of the sun. I try to make up for it with my “the bitch fell off” T-shirt . I don’t think it’s working but I’m glad I have the lid.

      • Piglet2010

        I wear a Hi-Viz yellow Aerostich Roadcrafter Light for fashion, not safety.

  • Mark D

    Just picked up an Airmada in plain white. $180. Comfy, air-y, great visibility. Can’t beat that. Personally, I think plain white stands out better than hi-viz, though I have absolutely no data to back that up.

    • CruisingTroll

      Plain white LOOKS better than Hi-Viz, but Hi-Viz JUMPS out visually. A LOT of research has been done on the subject, and the Hi-Viz colors (the orange hi-viz and yellow-green hi-viz) have been identified as the two colors that stand out the most to the human eye/brain. White is good, but not as good. It’s too likely to blend/get lost in the background, especially in a sea of cars and trucks, many of which are white. Contrast with the background is the most important element, and backgrounds of Hi-viz orange and/or yellow-green are mighty rare. Of course, you know that somewhere out there is the guy who went all Hi-Viz, event repainting his GoldWing Hi-Viz, and then ended up getting creamed by a car turning left because directly behind the Gold Wing was one of those Hi-Viz firetrucks, and the poor sap didn’t stand out AT ALL.

      And then the black leather, black bike, no helmet crowd will say “see, Hi-Viz will just get you killed.”

  • clark

    I have the Shoei Multitec and I wear glasses. Works just fine.

    • Davidabl2

      I do too. But it’s big and noisy,and not ECE 22.05 All probably consequences of being a modular helmet.
      What it doesn’t have that I miss having is any sort of internal sun visor.

  • grb

    why the agv skyline instead of the horizon?

    • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

      I really struggled choosing between the two. Just went with the newer one since it included more features from the higher end helmets. Fan of both.

  • runnermatt

    Bell Helmets… let me tell you a story (sorry for the length). I was a long time fan of Bell helmets. Had one for bicycling (Mountain and road). When I started autocrossing I bought a Bell Racing (Sport model) helmet. So when I bought my motorcycle the first company I looked at was Bell. The local retailers don’t carry Bell and I didn’t, at that time, know which online retailers were good, so I went directly through Bell’s website. Based on the sizing of my Bell Racing helmet I was able to, what I thought was, accurately figure out my size. I ordered a Bell Vortex “Attach Red/White”. The order arrived on time and I was excited when it arrived. However, when I tried to put the helmet on it was so tight that I had a hard time even getting it onto my head. After getting the helmet on, after a couple of minutes it was actually painful to wear. My girlfriend, looking through the eyeport, said she could see the blood vessels starting to pop out of my cheeks. I pulled the helmet off and checked the sizing and it was the right sizing. I went back and verified the sizing between my Bell Racing helmet and the Vortex. According to the size charts there is only 1cm difference in sizing for the size range of each. So, obviously I decided return the helmet.

    The return. Bell has a nice system on their website for mailing back returned helmets… when it works. I filled out the form and waited for the e-mail confirming I wanted to return it. It didn’t come. Waited three days and e-mailed their customer service and asked them to e-mail me back because I can’t take personal phone calls during working hours. They called me… and left a voice mail. They are on mountain time so I was able to call them back after I got out of work at 6:30 pm EST. The girl I spoke to said the lady (The one and only person) who handles internet orders was on vacation. So I waited. After multiple attempts I sent a e-mail, that started out nice enough and turned profane rather quickly asking what I had to do to “return this fucking helmet”. Now, I’m not generally an angry person and don’t generally take out my frustrations on other because they don’t deserve; on top of that I’ve worked retail before, I know what it like. That said, I finally got a e-mail with the information to send the helmet back. I sent it back first chance I had and put it out of my mind because I was so mad I didn’t want to think about it any more. Three weeks later I checked to see if they had refunded my money and they hadn’t so I sent another profane e-mail threatening a lawsuit. They refunded my money and a guy called me to “talk about it”. I didn’t want to talk to them.

    Also, I paid about $10 more to have it shipped to me via USPS because I have had FedEx damage things. They charged me for the USPS and then shipped it FedEx.

    Sorry for the long comment. Lesson learned: Find a local dealer or order from Revzilla.

  • Piglet2010

    ” If it [Revolver EVO] wears anything like the rest of Bell’s line, it’s an absolute steal.”

    Very much like wearing a Vortex except a little bit heavier and more noise. Fit is the same as the Vortex (i.e. wear one size bigger than a Star). Less ventilation, since the Revolver lacks an eyebrow vent – but you can ride it around town during the day with the shield completely open (but chin-bar closed) and the sun-visor down to provide a huge amount of ventilation while still having impact protection from flying insects, gravel chips, etc. My favorite lid for running errands on the scooter, especially when using drive-up services.

  • Von

    Don’t forget that head shape is going to determine if any of these helmets is right for me and you. I have a round head so HJC fits me great. Someone with an oval head will want to stick with Icon though. Revzilla.com is a great place to find out if a particular helmet fits your head shape. The HJC FG-17 is a great helmet that I tried on, the Force graphics are cool and for under $200 it’s a steal!