Even though the main purpose of motorcycle helmets is to protect your head, choosing the right one from the great variety can be puzzling. Each of the types available on the market serves a distinct purpose so it’s important to do the necessary research before you buy a helmet.
If you’re going to be riding on the street at high speed, you need one type of helmet and if you drive off-road, you need another. And this is what we’ll discuss today: the differences between a dirt bike helmet and a motorcycle helmet.
What Are Dirt Helmets?
Dirt bike helmets are a variation of motorcycle helmets suitable for dirt bike riders and ATV racers.
Dirt Bike Helmet versus Motorcycle Helmet
The main difference between Dirt bike helmets and motorcycle helmets because they are designed to serve different purposes. When motorcycle helmets are suitable for riding on the street, dirt bike helmets are appropriate for riding off-road such as fields, hills, or cliffs.
1. Mud and dust protection
Dirt bike helmets provide better mud and dust protection than a motorcycle helmets. They are designed and structured particularly to serve this purpose better. This is because when you ride off-road, you fly a lot of dust and dirt so wearing a dirt bike gives you better protection against it.
Plus, you can also accommodate a pair of goggles in a dirt bike helmet to see clearly in dusty conditions. The goggles also stop the dust from entering your eyes because of their tight-fitting.
2. Chin and jaw guard
Dirt bike helmets better protect the chin and jaw from injury because they feature a rigid structure. If you land face first in the dirt after being knocked from the bike or plant your face on the handlebars after a jump, you will thank this feature.
You will have a chin guard on motorcycle helmets too but it’s just not as strong as the one you have on dirt bike helmets.
3. Better airflow
One of the main advantages of a dirt helmet is that it offers better ventilation. The helmet has huge vents all over, including one in the chin guard, to allow for maximum airflow.
You will appreciate this feature a lot if you try out some challenging off-road rides or some laps around the racing track on a hot summer day.
You have vents on motorcycle helmets as well but they can’t bring in enough air to keep you cool. Another drawback of motorcycle helmets is that you have to breathe straight into the inside of the visor, leading to fogging when you are hot.
You can keep the visor fog-free by keeping it halfway open to scoop in the air, but then you have no purpose of having a screen to keep your eyes safe from dirt.
In a dirt bike helmet, the goggles’ area and the vents on the goggles themselves are adequately ventilated. It helps the helmets from not fogging up.
4. Sun protection
Dirt bike helmets have a beak that you can adjust slightly to shade your eyes. Motorcycle helmets, on the other hand, do not have this feature but some of them have a flip-down style tinted visor to protect the eyes from the sun.
The motorcycle helmet is designed to tackle high speeds of up to 200 mph or more. The helmet’s aerodynamics are important at these speeds because it keeps the head stable without stressing the neck muscles.
The aerodynamics on a dirt bike helmet is not good because of the peak and the large face opening. So, it’s quite difficult to ride at speeds over 70 mph with dirt bike helmets.
6. Noise protection
If you want better noise protection, motorcycle helmets are the way to go. At high speeds, wind noise can be an issue. The motorcycle helmets’ aerodynamics and fully enclosed design do a much better job of keeping things quiet.
With dirt bike helmets, wind noise is quite noticeable at high speeds but many dirt bike racers actually enjoy this feature. This is because it helps them locate their opponent.
Some of the dirt bike helmets also have vents on the sides to let in the sound. If you, however, use the helmet on the highway at high speed, this feature is useless because the wind noise would be unbearable.
7. Impact protection
While motorcycle helmets are designed to provide protection at high-speed impacts, dirt bike helmets are generally not.
The dirt bike helmets are designed to serve different purposes, and providing protection at high speed is just not one of them.
Dirt bike helmets are lighter than motorcycle helmets. This is useful because if you ride on a bumpy track, carrying the extra grams of a heavy helmet will feel like extra kilos at the end of the day. And if you run into an accident, any additional weight only maximizes the risk of neck injury.
9. Design and looks
When the chin guard and sun visor are distinctive features of dirt bike helmets, motorcycle helmets are easily recognizable for full face shield and smooth aerodynamic design.
Dirt bike helmets also have cool graphic designs because of the vast majority of young riders they attract. Although some motorcycle helmets also have impressive designs, the design should not compromise high visibility in traffic.
Motorcycles are small, and cars and trucks can easily miss them. So if you want the other driver to spot you, choose a yellow, red or white helmet.
In conclusion, both of these types of helmets are safe and secure if they are dot approved. Choosing between the two really falls into the type of ride you’re planning on taking. We hope knowing these differences between dirt bike helmets and motorcycle helmets will surely help you pick the best one.