Best Classic & Retro Motorcycle Helmets

The Best Classic & Retro Helmets [2021 Update]

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Helmet technology has gone through several evolutions in the past few decades, with new materials, new technologies for design and manufacture, and more safety awareness all part of the driving force towards modern helmets. However, there are those that yearn for the simpler days, even though back in the day helmets were nothing more than a hard shell with a liner for comfort.

While we don’t recommend you actually go out and buy a real vintage or classic helmet to use as your daily. However, you can for sure buy one that looks like those classic helmets, and still keep your brain inside your skull!

For our list, we separe the helmets by type, either full face or open face. As there were no true modular helmets back in yesteryear, that limits the options to just those two types.

Classic Open Face Helmets

Bell Custom 500

Bell Custom 500 helmet

The Bell Custom 500 is the latest descendant of the original granddaddy of them all, the Bell 500 TX, the first truly mass market motorcycle helmet. However, unlike the old 500 TX, this one is made out of polycarbonate and EPS dual-density foam to keep your head safe.

It comes with 5 snaps to fit a wide variety of full or partial face shields, or can be worn with goggles if you truly want to go all the way retro. There are 5 shell sizes, that on American heads tend to run a little small, so if you find a LG a tad tight, move up to an XL and give that a go.

You get a classic looking padded chin strap that fastens with a good old D-ring in stainless steel, but it is much better anchored than the original Bell 500 TX’s. The Custom 500 comes in a variety of solid colors, as well as fun retro graphic versions. And best of all, the helmet is thin and light enough that it does not make you look like a bobblehead while riding!

The Custom 500 is DOT certified.

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Bell Custom 500 helmet

We have worked closely with RevZilla, Amazon and 2Wheel over the years to provide our testers with products to review. They are all great partners and unique in their own ways, so make sure to check out their prices. Please don’t forget we may get a commission if you buy from them.

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Bitwell Bonanza

Biltwell Bonanza Helmet

Much like the Bell Custom 500 above, the Bitwell Bonanza harkens back to a period when a helmet was a shell with padding and a chinstrap. Where it differs significantly from the Bell is that it is a far more rounded shape, giving those with round oval fitments a classic helmet they can enjoy.

The Bitwell can accept half and full face shields, but is primarily designed to be used with goggles or sunglasses. The padding is non-adjustable, but is removable and washable. The shell is made from polycarbonate reinforced ABS plastics, and is lined with EPS foam. It is much lighter than Bitwell offerings in the past, which should make it much more comfortable. The Bonanza is DOT certified.

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Biltwell Bonanza Helmet

We have worked closely with RevZilla, Amazon and 2Wheel over the years to provide our testers with products to review. They are all great partners and unique in their own ways, so make sure to check out their prices. Please don’t forget we may get a commission if you buy from them.

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Scorpion EXO Belfast

Scorpion EXO Belfast

    • Price: $199.95
    • Head Shape: Round to Intermediate Oval
    • Weight: 2.62 lbs

In recent years, Scorpion has been making stellar helmet after stellar helmet. The Scorpion EXO Belfast is no different. Paying homage to the Irish and British riders of the 1960s, with a plush and comfortable nappa leather lined liner that sits against dual-density multi-layer EPS foam, which backs up the hand laid fiberglass shell.

The EXO Belfast hides a full sun visor in its crown, and can accept half and full face shields. The liner is of Scorpion’s own KwikFit padding, allowing for the customization of the fit to suit individual heads. The chinstrap is also quite comfortably plush, and attaches via a standard D-ring. The EXO Belfast is fully DOT certified.

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Scorpion EXO Belfast

We have worked closely with RevZilla, Amazon and 2Wheel over the years to provide our testers with products to review. They are all great partners and unique in their own ways, so make sure to check out their prices. Please don’t forget we may get a commission if you buy from them.

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Classic Full-Face Helmets

Bell Eliminator

Bell eliminator helmet

    • Price: $419.95
    • Head Shape: Intermediate Oval
    • Weight: 3.09 lbs

When you think of the 1970s and the rise of drag racing as a national-level sport, you think of those big, beefy helmets that the drivers wore. The Bell Eliminator is designed to look like those, except with motorcycle riding in mind.

Featuring a full fiberglass composite shell with dual-density, multi-layer EPS foam, the Eliminator has a wide and tall visor, allowing for excellent peripheral vision. The helmet is lined with anti-bacterial and antimicrobial cloth, and has adjustable pads so you can find the perfect fit.

Of note, the helmet, as designed for motorsport, carries speaker and communication device pockets inside without changing the protection or padding at all compared to older Eliminator models. The Bell Eliminator is DOT and ECE certified.

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Bell eliminator helmet

We have worked closely with RevZilla, Amazon and 2Wheel over the years to provide our testers with products to review. They are all great partners and unique in their own ways, so make sure to check out their prices. Please don’t forget we may get a commission if you buy from them.

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AGV X3000

AGV X3000 helmet

Throughout the late 1960s and all of the 1970s, there was a man that racked up a total 15 world championships and 122 Grand Prix wins, before the Grand Prix was called MotoGP. His name is Giacomo Agostini, and he wore an AGV helmet.

The X3000 is based entirely on the look and style of that racing helmet, with a huge visor for the best view, and the rounded shape that was seen peeking over the top of an aerodynamic wind deflector down many front straights. But while the exterior may look positively classic, the technology within is bang up to date.

The shell is made of advanced composite fiberglass, and is lined with modern EPS foam. The interior is made of genuine leather and suede, just like the helmets back in the day. The liner is fully removable and washable. The chin strap attaches through the classic double d-ring. Although it doesn’t look like it, the helmet is also well ventilated.

The AGV X3000 is DOT and ECE certified.

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AGV X3000 helmet

We have worked closely with RevZilla, Amazon and 2Wheel over the years to provide our testers with products to review. They are all great partners and unique in their own ways, so make sure to check out their prices. Please don’t forget we may get a commission if you buy from them.

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Street & Steel Raider

Street and Steel Raider Helmet

    • Price: $129.99
    • Head Shape: Intermediate Oval
    • Weight: 3.43 lbs

The Street & Steel Raider is a helmet that throws it back to the mid-1970s and the rise in popularity of trials riding. It comes with a three snap peak visor that you can wear if you wish, however the helmet in general is designed to be worn with goggles. The integrated sun visor is a modern convenience found much more often on touring helmets.

The shell is made of lightweight polycarbonate with EPS foam underneath. The interior lining is hand-sewn leather trimmed fabric, which is moisture wicking and removable for washing. The eyeport is intentionally oversized so even the largest of goggles can be run with the helmet. A classic double d-ring closure keeps the helmet snug on your head.

The Street & Steel Raider is DOT certified.

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Street and Steel Raider Helmet

We have worked closely with RevZilla, Amazon and 2Wheel over the years to provide our testers with products to review. They are all great partners and unique in their own ways, so make sure to check out their prices. Please don’t forget we may get a commission if you buy from them.

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Simpson Street Bandit

Simpson Street Bandit

Some say that he’s been racing since the 1960s without stopping. Others say that he uses the car racing version of this helmet. All we know is that he’s a very famous tamed racing driver, and you can have a helmet as badass as his with the Simpson Street Bandit.

Yes, the Stig does wear the car racing version of the Street Bandit, and it’s not hard to see why. It has a light but super-strong injected polycarbonate shell, that is specially shaped to cause the top venturi vent to suck as much heat and air from the interior as possible. The incredibly huge visor and opening allow for excellent visibility, and you can buy a mirrored visor to pretend to be the Motorcycle Stig if you so desire.

In terms of fitment, the lining is fully hypoallergenic and removable for washing. The helmet is ventilated by front chinbar intake vents, that exhaust both at the top rear of the helmet, as well as in the middle of the neck area at the rear. It also can accept pretty much any bluetooth comms unit on the market.

The Simpson Street Bandit is DOT and ECE certified.

Get Yours from a Badass Helmet Partner

Simpson Street Bandit

We have worked closely with RevZilla, Amazon and 2Wheel over the years to provide our testers with products to review. They are all great partners and unique in their own ways, so make sure to check out their prices. Please don’t forget we may get a commission if you buy from them.

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