Best Vintage Motorcycle Helmets You Should Buy in 2023

Vintage-motorcycle-helmet

This article delves into the realm of vintage motorcycle helmets, discussing their unique blend of classic aesthetics and modern safety features. It provides a detailed review of the top helmets in this category, including the Bell Bullitt, Biltwell Gringo & Gringo S, Arai Classic-V, Shoei Glamster, and HJC IS-5. The piece further provides useful tips for choosing the right helmet, covering factors like safety standards, fit, comfort, and ventilation. A FAQ section addresses common queries, concluding with the emphasis that a well-chosen helmet ensures safety while reflecting personal style.

Understanding Vintage Motorcycle Helmets

The term ‘vintage’ when referring to motorcycle helmets typically denotes designs that hark back to the early days of motorcycling. These designs bring a sense of nostalgia and style that has endured throughout the decades. However, vintage motorcycle helmets are not just about capturing a retro aesthetic; they also incorporate modern safety standards and comfort features that today’s riders expect and are compared with some best retro motorcycle helmets..

Vintage Motorcycle Helmets

Here are the different types of vintage motorcycle helmets:

  • Full-Face Helmets: Inspired by the grand prix racers of the ’60s and ’70s, vintage full-face helmets provide maximum protection, covering the entire head and face. They often feature a circular, bubble-style visor, contributing to their classic look while also protecting the rider’s eyes and face.
  • Open-Face Helmets: Also known as 3/4 helmets, open-face helmets cover the top, sides, and back of the head but leave the face exposed. These helmets were popular among everyday riders and touring riders back in the day. They allow a high level of visibility and offer a more open, airy feel than full-face helmets.
  • Half Helmets: Also referred to as ‘brain buckets’, half helmets provide the most minimal coverage, covering only the top of the head. These helmets, while not providing as much protection as other types, deliver on the vintage look with their low-profile design.

Despite the vintage tag, today’s vintage motorcycle helmets incorporate modern technologies and materials with an affordable average motorcycle helmet cost. Advanced materials like polycarbonate, fiberglass, and carbon fiber are commonly used to make the shells, while multi-density EPS liners help absorb impact. Ventilation systems, removable liners, quick-release buckles, and integrated visors are other modern features you’ll often find in these helmets.

Features to Look for in a Vintage Motorcycle Helmet:

When selecting a vintage motorcycle helmet, it’s essential to consider more than just the retro appeal. Apart from this, you can consider investing in motorcycle helmet lock for the safety of your helmet. The helmet must meet modern safety standards and provide a comfortable fit. Here are some key features to consider:

1. Safety Standards: Always look for helmets that meet or exceed the Department of Transportation (DOT) standards. Some helmets also have Snell or ECE certifications, which offer even more rigorous safety testing.

2. Helmet Materials and Construction: High-quality helmets often utilize advanced materials for the shell, such as polycarbonate, fiberglass, and carbon fiber. These materials provide excellent impact resistance while keeping the helmet lightweight. Inside the helmet, look for multi-density EPS liners that help absorb shock in case of an accident.

3. Comfort and Fit: A properly fitting helmet is crucial for both comfort and safety. Look for helmets that offer different shell and liner sizes to get a more customized fit. Removable and washable liners are a bonus as they help keep the helmet fresh and can be adjusted for a better fit.

4. Ventilation: A good ventilation system helps keep you cool and comfortable, especially during longer rides. While vintage helmets might not have as many vents as modern sportbike helmets, many still offer adequate ventilation.

5. Visors and Shields: Some vintage helmets come with integrated visors or shields, while others might require you to purchase them separately. Visors help protect your eyes from wind, dust, and sun, and can contribute to the overall vintage look of the helmet.

6. Aesthetics and Design: Lastly, consider the helmet’s design and aesthetics. Choose a helmet that matches your style and complements your motorcycle. From classic black to flashy metallics and even hand-painted designs, vintage helmets come in a wide range of styles.

In the next section, we will look at some of the top vintage motorcycle helmets that combine these key features of classic motorcycle helmets like classic aesthetics.

Here’s the summarized data presented in a table format:

FeatureDescription
Safety StandardsLook for helmets that meet or exceed DOT, Snell, or ECE certifications for rigorous safety testing.
Helmet MaterialsHigh-quality helmets use advanced materials like polycarbonate, fiberglass, or carbon fiber for impact resistance.
Comfort and FitSeek helmets with different shell and liner sizes for a customized fit. Removable and washable liners add convenience.
VentilationGood ventilation helps maintain rider comfort, even during longer rides.
Visors and ShieldsIntegrated or optional visors and shields provide eye protection from wind, dust, and sun.
Aesthetics and DesignConsider the helmet’s design and style, ensuring it matches your personal preferences and complements your motorcycle.

Review of Best Vintage Motorcycle Helmets

The selection of vintage motorcycle helmets is vast and varied. Each product offers a unique mix of design, comfort, and safety features. Here are five of the best vintage motorcycle helmets available today:

Bell Custom 500 Helmet

BELL Custom 500 Helmet

Bell’s Custom 500 Helmet is a timeless classic. It pays homage to the very first Bell Star helmet introduced by Roy Richter in 1954. This open-face, 3/4 helmet combines a vintage aesthetic with modern technology to meet the needs of today’s riders. It’s available in a wide range of colors and designs, offering something for every style preference.

Key Features:

  • Composite shell made with a mix of aramid, carbon fiber, and fiberglass for lightweight and sturdy construction.
  • Custom suede interior liner for added comfort.
  • Five shells and EPS liner sizes for a more personalized fit.
  • Integrated five snap patterns for aftermarket shields and visors.
  • Multi-density EPS liner for impact protection.
  • DOT-certified, meeting necessary safety standards.

Pros:

  • High-quality construction ensures durability and longevity.
  • The vast range of designs and colors allows riders to express their personal style.
  • Offers a comfortable fit, with different shell and EPS sizes available.
  • Lightweight compared to many other helmets, reducing neck strain during long rides.

Cons:

  • Lacks a built-in visor or shield; however, it has snaps for attaching an aftermarket visor.
  • Does not offer the same level of protection as a full-face helmet due to its open-face design.
  • Lacks a dedicated ventilation system, which could make it less comfortable in hot weather.

Torc T1 Retro Helmet

Torc T1 Retro Helmet

The Torc T1 Retro Helmet is a full-face helmet that channels a classic racing aesthetic while offering modern functionality. It beautifully captures the spirit of the 1970s racing era with its rounded design and circular visor, but doesn’t compromise on safety or comfort. It’s a great choice for riders seeking full-face protection with a vintage vibe.

Key Features:

  • Advanced Thermo Polymer Alloy Shell for durability and protection.
  • Multi-density EPS liner to effectively absorb impact.
  • Front chin vents with metal mesh intake and exhaust vents to promote airflow.
  • Removable and washable, anti-microbial suede liner for maximum comfort.
  • Integrated, circular visor with anti-fog and anti-scratch properties.
  • DOT and ECE certified, ensuring it meets safety standards.

Pros:

  • Offers the protection of a full-face helmet while maintaining a vintage look.
  • The built-in ventilation system helps keep the rider cool.
  • The visor provides eye protection and helps maintain the retro aesthetic.
  • The interior suede liner is comfortable and can be removed for cleaning.

Cons:

  • Heavier than open-face helmets, which might cause discomfort during long rides.
  • The rounded shape might not fit all head shapes comfortably.
  • The retro design might not appeal to riders who prefer a more modern look.

Nexx XG100 Helmet

Nexx XG100 Helmet

The Nexx XG100 Helmet is a unique blend of old-school design and new-school technology. With its full-face protection and uncompromising retro style, it stands out in any crowd. This helmet is perfect for riders who value style as much as they value their safety.

Key Features:

  • X-MATRIX Shell (multiaxial fiberglass, 3D organic fibers, special aramid fibers, and carbon reinforcement) for a strong but lightweight helmet.
  • EPS liner with different densities for better impact absorption.
  • Removable and washable lining, soft padding, and an adjustable padding system for a comfortable and custom fit.
  • Large, removable peak and PC Lexan Shield 60% smoked visor included.
  • Chin ventilation for effective airflow.
  • DOT and ECE/22-05 certified, signifying it meets essential safety standards.

Pros:

  • Combines the protection of a full-face helmet with a distinctive vintage design.
  • High-quality construction with an emphasis on safety.
  • Comes with a removable peak and visor, providing flexibility in how the helmet can be worn.
  • Effective ventilation system to ensure rider comfort.

Cons:

  • May be heavier than some open-face helmets due to the full-face design.
  • While the distinctive style is a plus for many, it may not appeal to all riders.
  • Might be on the higher end of the price spectrum compared to some other vintage helmets.

Shoei RF-SR Helmet

Shoei RF-SR Helmet

The Shoei RF-SR Helmet offers a more minimalist approach to vintage design, presenting a clean, streamlined look that’s both classic and modern. This full-face helmet is all about offering superior safety, comfort, and quality, making it an excellent choice for riders who prioritize performance over flashy design elements.

Key Features:

  • Advanced Integrated Matrix Plus (AIM+) shell construction, is a combination of fiberglass and organic fibers for optimal rigidity.
  • Dual-layer, multi-density EPS liner for enhanced impact absorption.
  • 3D Max-Dry System II Interior allows for excellent heat dissipation and offers a comfortable fit.
  • Four shell sizes for a more personalized fit.
  • Several intake and exhaust vents for efficient ventilation.
  • CWR-1 Shield provides a vast field of vision and comes with a robust sealing system.
  • Snell M2015 and DOT certified, ensuring it meets high safety standards.

Pros:

  • Superior build quality and materials ensure durability and safety.
  • The excellent ventilation system provides comfort even in hot weather.
  • The liner is removable, washable, and replaceable, allowing for a clean and comfortable helmet over time.
  • Offers a wide field of vision with its large, clear visor.

Cons:

  • Lacks the bold vintage design elements found in some other retro helmets, which might not appeal to all riders.
  • It may be on the expensive side, but its quality and features justify the price.
  • Heavier than some other helmets due to their robust construction and full-face design.

Biltwell Bonanza Helmet

Biltwell Bonanza Helmet

The Biltwell Bonanza Helmet is a classically styled open-face helmet that captures the timeless look of vintage motorcycling gear. It’s a no-frills helmet that focuses on simplicity and comfort while adhering to modern safety standards. It’s perfect for riders seeking a relaxed, old-school vibe.

Key Features:

  • Injection-molded ABS outer shell that is durable and lightweight.
  • Expanded polystyrene (EPS) safety liner for reliable impact absorption.
  • Removable and washable hand-stitched comfort padding and cheek pads for a comfortable fit.
  • BioFoam padding on the inside for additional impact protection.
  • Available in different sizes to fit various head shapes.
  • DOT-certified, ensuring it meets the necessary safety standards.

Pros:

  • The simple and classic design captures the retro aesthetic.
  • Comfortable fit with hand-stitched interior padding.
  • Lightweight compared to many full-face helmets, making it comfortable for long rides.
  • Available in various colors and finishes, allowing riders to choose one that matches their style.

Cons:

  • Lacks a built-in visor or shield, so eye protection must be purchased separately.
  • Does not provide the same level of protection as a full-face helmet due to its open-face design.
  • Lacks a dedicated ventilation system, which could make it less comfortable in hot weather.

Here’s a comparison table summarizing the features, pros, and cons of the five products discussed above:

Helmet ModelShell MaterialKey FeaturesSafety CertificationsProsCons
Bell Custom 500 HelmetAramid, Carbon Fiber, FiberglassComposite shell, Multi-density EPS liner, Custom suede interior, Integrated five snap patternDOTHigh-quality, Lightweight, Comfortable fit, Wide range of designsNo built-in visor, Less protection than full-face helmets, No dedicated ventilation system
Torc T1 Retro HelmetThermo Polymer Alloy ShellFront chin vents, Multi-density EPS liner, Removable and washable suede liner, Integrated visorDOT, ECEEPS safety liner, Removable and washable padding, cheek pads, BioFoam paddingHeavier than open-face helmets, May not fit all head shapes comfortably, Design may not appeal to all
Nexx XG100 HelmetFiberglass, 3D Organic Fibers, Special Aramid Fibers, Carbon ReinforcementEPS liner, Removable and washable lining, Adjustable padding system, Removable peak and visor, Chin ventilationDOT, ECE/22-05Full-face protection, High-quality construction, Visor and peak included, Effective ventilationFull-face protection, Built-in ventilation, Comfortable interior liner, and Visor included
Shoei RF-SR HelmetFiberglass, Organic FibersAIM+ shell construction, Dual-layer, multi-density EPS liner, 3D Max-Dry System II Interior, Multiple vents, CWR-1 ShieldSnell M2015, DOTSuperior build quality, Excellent ventilation, Removable and washable liner, Wide field of visionLacks bold vintage design, Higher price range, Heavier due to robust construction
Biltwell Bonanza HelmetABS Outer ShellHeavier than open-face helmets, the Design may not appeal to all, Higher price rangeDOTEPS safety liner, Removable and washable padding, and cheek pads, BioFoam paddingNo built-in visor, Less protection than full-face helmets, No dedicated ventilation system

Tips for Choosing the Right Vintage Helmet

Choosing the right vintage helmet involves considering several factors to ensure both style and safety. Here are some steps to help you choose the perfect vintage helmet:

  • Research Safety Standards: Look for vintage helmets that meet or exceed current safety standards. Ensure they are DOT, Snell, or ECE certified for reliable protection.
  • Determine Helmet Type: Decide on the type of helmet you prefer, such as full-face, open-face, or 3/4 helmet. Consider the level of protection and coverage each type offers.
  • Check Fit and Comfort: Try on helmets to ensure a proper fit. The helmet should be snug but not too tight, with no pressure points. Look for adjustable padding or different shell sizes for a customized fit.
  • Assess Ventilation: Consider the ventilation system of the helmet. Vintage helmets may have fewer vents, but adequate airflow is crucial for comfort during rides, particularly on hot days.
  • Evaluate Visor Options: Determine if the helmet has an integrated visor or if it is compatible with separate visors or shields. Visors can provide eye protection from wind, debris, and sunlight.
  • Consider Material and Construction: Look for helmets made from durable materials like polycarbonate, fiberglass, or carbon fiber. Ensure the construction provides impact resistance while maintaining a lightweight design.
  • Research Reviews and Recommendations: Read reviews from reputable sources and seek recommendations from experienced riders or helmet experts to gather insights and make an informed decision.
  • Style and Aesthetics: Choose a vintage helmet that matches your personal style and complements your motorcycle. Consider color options, classic designs, and retro patterns to achieve the desired vintage appeal.
  • Try it On Whenever possible, try the helmet on before purchasing. It’s essential to ensure comfort, fit, and suitability for your head shape and size.
  • Purchase from Reputable Sellers: Buy your vintage helmet from reputable sellers or authorized dealers to ensure authenticity and product quality.

Remember, while vintage helmets offer a nostalgic and stylish look, safety should always be a top priority. Choose a vintage helmet that not only captures the essence of the past but also meets modern safety standards to protect you during your rides.

Caring for Your Vintage Motorcycle Helmet

To ensure the longevity and performance of your vintage motorcycle helmet, it’s important to take proper care of it. Follow these guidelines to keep your helmet in top condition:

  • Cleaning: Regularly clean the exterior shell and interior lining of your helmet. Use a mild soap and water solution to gently wipe down the shell, and remove any stubborn dirt or grime. For the interior, remove the padding (if possible) and hand wash it using a gentle detergent. Allow everything to air dry before reassembling the helmet.
  • Storage: Store your helmet in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures. Avoid placing heavy objects on top of it, as this can cause damage. Consider using a helmet bag or case to protect it from scratches and dings.
  • Visor Care: If your helmet has a visor, clean it regularly using a non-abrasive cleaner specifically designed for visors. Be gentle when wiping the visor to avoid scratching it. Check for any signs of damage or wear, and replace the visor if necessary.
  • Strap Maintenance: Inspect the chin strap regularly for any signs of wear or damage. Ensure that the strap is properly adjusted and securely fastened each time you wear the helmet. If the strap becomes worn or frayed, replace it immediately.
  • Impact Protection: If you have been involved in an accident or if your helmet has experienced a significant impact, it is important to replace it, even if there are no visible signs of damage. The integrity of the helmet may be compromised, and it may not provide adequate protection in future incidents.
  • Replacement Schedule: Helmets have a limited lifespan due to wear and tear, as well as changes in technology and safety standards over time. It is generally recommended to replace your helmet every five years, or sooner if it has been involved in an accident or has experienced significant damage.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the FAQs and their corresponding answers presented in a table format:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)Answers
Are vintage motorcycle helmets as safe as German helmets or modern helmets?Vintage motorcycle helmets are one of the best helmets under $300 price and can meet the same safety standards as modern helmets. Look for helmets that are DOT, ECE, or Snell certified to ensure they meet the necessary safety requirements.
Can I wear glasses with a vintage motorcycle helmet for glasses wearers?Yes, many vintage motorcycle helmets can accommodate glasses. However, it’s recommended to try on the helmet with your glasses to ensure a comfortable fit.
Can I add Bluetooth communication systems to a vintage helmet?In many cases, you can add aftermarket Bluetooth headsets for helmets to vintage motorcycle helmets. Check for compatibility and consider a helmet with speaker pockets or built-in spaces for communication system installation.
Can I customize a vintage motorcycle helmet?Some vintage helmets offer customization options, such as interchangeable visors, shields, or accessories. However, modifications should be done carefully to ensure they don’t compromise the helmet’s safety features or certifications.
How should a vintage motorcycle helmet fit?A vintage motorcycle helmet should fit snugly but comfortably and should be perfect in a performance like some other best helmets under $200. It should not be too tight or too loose. Make sure the helmet sits level on your head, and the cheek pads provide a firm but not overly tight fit.
How do I know when it’s time to replace my vintage motorcycle helmet?It’s generally recommended to replace a vintage motorcycle helmet every five years, even if it hasn’t been involved in an accident. Additionally, if the helmet has experienced a significant impact, or visible damage, or shows signs of wear and tear, it should be replaced immediately.

Conclusion

Vintage motorcycle helmets such as the vintage motorcycle helmets for women offer riders a unique combination of timeless style and modern safety features. In this article, we explored the world of vintage helmets, discussing their various types, key features, and the best products available on the market. Whether you prefer the open-face freedom of the Bell Custom 500, the retro full-face design of the Torc T1, the classic appeal of the Nexx XG100, the performance-driven Shoei RF-SR, or the minimalist charm of the Biltwell Bonanza, there is a vintage helmet to suit every rider’s style and preferences.

When choosing a vintage motorcycle helmet, prioritize safety by ensuring it meets the necessary certifications and offers essential protective features. Comfort, ventilation, and a proper fit are equally important for an enjoyable riding experience. Consider the overall design and aesthetic appeal that resonates with your personal taste.

Remember, a vintage motorcycle helmet not only complements your style and innovative features such as adjustments of helmet speakers but also serves as crucial protective gear. Regular maintenance and care are essential to ensure its longevity and performance. Lastly, follow the recommended replacement schedule and consult with experts when in doubt.

Embrace the spirit of classic motorcycling while prioritizing safety on the open road. Discover the ideal 70s-style vintage motorcycle helmet that seamlessly embodies your passion for both unparalleled style and uncompromising protection. So, gear up, enjoy the ride, and make a statement with your timeless headgear.