Best Classic & Retro Motorcycle Helmets

The Best Classic & Retro Helmets [2022 Update]

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

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

For our list, we separated 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 categories.

Classic Open Face Helmets

Bell Custom 500

Bell Custom 500 Carbon RSD Checkmate Helmet

  • Price: Starting @ $134.95
  • Buy it @: RevZilla  /  Amazon
  • Review: webBikeWorld
  • Head Shape: Intermediate Oval
  • Weight: 2.17–2.41 lbs

The Bell Custom 500 is the latest descendant of the original granddaddy of them all, the Bell 500 TX. That helmet was the first truly mass-market motorcycle helmet. However, unlike the old 500 TX, you now have numerous color and design choices, including a solid color polycarbonate shell, a graphic shell, and a full-on carbon fiber shell.

It comes with 5 snaps to fit a wide variety of full or partial face shields, or it can be worn with goggles if you truly want to go all the way retro. There are 5 shell sizes that tend to run a bit small on American heads, 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 some 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 Carbon RSD Checkmate Helmet

We have worked closely with RevZilla and Amazon 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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LS2 Spitfire Rust

LS2 Spitfire Rust Helmet

The Spitfire series are LS2’s take on retro-styled open face motorcycle helmets. They are based on old-school bobber helmets, but they come with modern features. They’re also available in a great choice of colors or slick graphics, many inspired by WW2 fighter planes.

The lightweight Thermoplastic shell of the Spitfire meets all DOT specs and comes in 2 shell sizes. You can wear classic goggles with this lid, but it does have a very nice built-in drop-down dark visor. The chin strap is nicely padded and uses a ratcheting quick release closure. The liner is plush and washable and includes an Emergency Release Cheek Pad System.

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LS2 Spitfire Rust Helmet

We have worked closely with RevZilla and Amazon 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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Biltwell Bonanza

Biltwell Bonanza Helmet in Copper

  • Price: $99.95
  • Buy it @: RevZilla  /  Amazon
  • Head Shape: Round Oval
  • Weight: 2.43 lbs

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 has 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 previous Bitwell offerings, which should make it much more comfortable. The Bonanza is DOT certified.

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Biltwell Bonanza Helmet in Copper

We have worked closely with RevZilla and Amazon 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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Shoei J·O Helmet – Solid

Shoei J·O Helmet - Solid in Matte Black

  • Price: $379.99
  • Buy it @: RevZilla  /  Amazon
  • Head Shape: Intermediate Oval
  • Weight: 2.11 lbs

Very similar to the LS2 Spitfire in terms of shape and style, the “Jay-ooh” steps up the quality with industry-leading elements from Shoei. My only real complaint about this helmet is that I wish it sat lower down on the rider’s head.

The JO Helmet is constructed from Shoei’s AIM (Advanced Integrated Matrix) shell for an ultra-lightweight, rigid, and resilient shell structure, and seems to chase the look of a crash test dummy from the ’60s. This is kind of a fun look; it’s just not going to be a look every head can pull off successfully.

The Nubuck leather trim, glasses-compatible cheek pads, and a dual-layer EPS liner designed for improved ventilation provide a comfortable experience from start to finish. You can also get a graphic version for about $70 more.

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Shoei J·O Helmet - Solid in Matte Black

We have worked closely with RevZilla and Amazon 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: Starting @ $375.27
  • Buy it @: RevZillaAmazon
  • 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 it has adjustable pads so you can find the perfect fit.

Also of note is that 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 and Amazon 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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Nexx XG100 Racer Finish Line

Nexx XG100 Racer Finish Line on Black and White

  • Price: $429.95
  • Buy it @: RevZilla  /  Amazon
  • Head Shape: Intermediate Oval
  • Weight: 3.18 lbs

This beautiful ’70s racing throwback from Nexx is a premium build with a carbon composite exterior shell and a plushly lined interior. As was the classic way, this helmet doesn’t offer many extras, but the Lexan visor is high quality and the whole helmet has a premium feel in your hands.

Thanks to its modern build materials, the XG100 series is fully ECE/22-05, DOT FMVSS 218 certified. There are 2 shell sizes and many solid and graphic options to choose from with this light lid.

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Nexx XG100 Racer Finish Line on Black and White

We have worked closely with RevZilla and Amazon 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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Biltwell Gringo S ECE

Biltwell Gringo S ECE helmet in metallic grape

  • Price: Starting @ $219.95
  • Buy it @: RevZilla  /  Amazon
  • Head Shape: Round Oval
  • Weight: 3.54 lbs

The Gringo series is the helmet to choose when you want to fully embrace the retro look but retain all the modern advantages. With this one on your head, don’t be surprised to hear your mother say “oh my god, you look just like your daddy back in the day!”

Biltwell uses an injection-molded ABS outer shell and features a shock-absorbing EPS liner with hand-stitched interior padding, cheek pads, and a BioFoam chin bar cushion for comfort. The Gringo S shield boasts awesome optics and simple hinge mechanics for high style and easy removal, which is useful during replacement or cleaning. Thoughtfully, there are even speaker pockets included—so adding the latest Bluetooth system is no issue.

There are 15 choices for the solid colors alone, and for an additional $30, you can have a graphic option. If you find that the hinged visor still looks too modern, the standard ECE model has the snap on shield system so you can get crazy and switch it out for a bubble shield.

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Biltwell Gringo S ECE helmet in metallic grape

We have worked closely with RevZilla and Amazon 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 he’s been racing since the 1960s without stopping. Others say 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 with exhausts at the top rear of the helmet, as well as in the middle of the rear neck area. It can also 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 and Amazon 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.

RevZillaBuy AmazonBuy

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