How are Motocross and Street Bike Helmets Different?
A quality helmet is essential no matter what type of motorcycle riding you do. Whether it’s offroad or street riding, each helmet type protects your head in different ways.
Why are Motocross Helmets and Street Helmets Different?
Helmets are not created equal, because neither are riding conditions. Riding a dirt bike is far more physically demanding than riding a street bike, and that drives the design choices on dirt bike helmets. They’re lighter, and are shaped differently than their pavement-tailored counterparts.
Lightweight motocross helmets allow the rider to expend less energy holding the helmet up on their head through the physically demanding process of riding a dirt bike. Heavy street helmets, on the other hand, would be exhausting on the trail, resulting in neck pain over the long term.
Field of Vision
Whether you’re on a closed course with other riders or out on a trail in the woods, you need more peripheral vision on a motocross bike. Most dirt bikes don’t come with side mirrors, so you need to be able to pivot your head around to see what’s going on around you. On a street motorcycle at higher speeds, your primary focus is forward, into traffic and down the road since you’re covering more ground faster.
A big eye port, a lower chin, and lots of vents offer superior airflow through a dirt bike helmet. As you exert yourself and get hot, that airflow is critical to keeping your head cool inside the helmet. You need more air openings to get air through the helmet at lower speeds on a motocross bike than you would on a street bike.
Helmet Face Shield
With no closed face shield on a dirt bike helmet, there’s no way to fog up the helmet when you’re riding hard on the trail or track. The large opening keeps you cool, helps mitigate sweat, and allows you to wear offroad goggles instead of a face shield to protect your eyes. The raised mouth guard keeps dust and rocks away from your mouth while still giving you great ventilation.
Keeping the Helmet Clean
Since a motocross helmet is reliably used on the trail, it’ll get much dirtier than a street helmet. Most manufacturers make helmets with a liner that is at least partially removable so that it can be cleaned by hand or even thrown in the washing machine. Cleaning kits are also available to keep either type of helmet looking like new.
Related: Street Helmets vs Offroad Helmets