Best Dual Sport Helmets [2020 – 2021 Edition]

Last updated:

Last updated: October 30th, 2020

Dual-sport and ADV motorcycling is a niche riding-style that requires specialized motorcycles and even more importantly, specialized gear.

Your equipment must equip you with the durability and functionality to withstand long highway rides followed by off-road mud-flinging action. With off-road riding being a highly intense and quite the workout, having a comfortable helmet option that won’t restrict your breathing and will keep you cool when sweating is highly important. Protection from the elements, and most importantly protection from hot-spots when your entire body is jostling around on a dirt path is key when selecting a helmet for long-term ownership.

We have collected the top-rated dual-sport helmet options for riders to buy in 2020 based on the level of safety, features, reviews, and tech in hopes to streamline the process when the time comes for you to purchase a new lid. Spending countless hours comparing helmets can be arduous, so we’ve taken the liberty of sorting through the data and presenting it here in this list, so you don’t have to. That means more time on the saddle and more adventures to be had.

Entry-Level Dual Sport Helmets
(Priced Under $250)

Bell MX-9 Adventure MIPS

  • Price: $219.95
  • Buy it: RevZilla, Amazon
  • Warranty: 5 years
  • Head shape: intermediate oval
  • Weight: 3.74lbs

What makes the MX-9 so special? MIPS. MIPS technology is Bell’s ‘Multi-Directional Impact Protection System’ that allows for the helmet inner to slip to a degree and keeps your head far safer in any rotational impact you may encounter. Linear head impacts are typically rarer than rotational ones, so with the MIPS technology, you can breathe a sigh of relief in knowing Bell went the extra 10 miles with this design to keep you safe.

The MX-9 comes fully equipped with all the dual-sport goodness, too! An integrated face shield, removable peak visor, removable/washable liner (great for muddy off-road days), speaker pockets, and even allows for any dirt goggles to be worn with the shield flipped up.

Along with the MIPS tech, you’re also getting a DOT and ECE certified lid, so you know it’s safe. A great choice for any ADV rider.

Why you should buy this helmet:

  • MIPS
  • DOT and ECE
  • Great price
  • Aggressive styling
  • 5-year warranty

Other considerations to make:

  • On the heavy side
  • ‘Visor/bill’ can catch wind, although it is removable

LS2 Pioneer V2

The Pioneer V2 is the cheapest helmet on this list, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it has less to offer than other options. This DOT approved lid features a Kinetic Polumer Alloy shell and pairs it with a removable dual-density EPS liner that is machine washable so you can get all the grub out after a long hard day of riding. Oh yeah, the cheek pads have energency release as well in the event someone needs to remove it from you in a quick manner.

At $159.98 it’s stunning that LS2 has managed to package a drop-down sun visor in addition to the scratch and UV resistant face shield.

Why you should buy this helmet:

  • Affordable
  • Bubble Shield ready
  • Light
  • Five shell sizes
  • 5-year warranty

Other considerations to make:

  • Might not be for riders seeking a more ‘tech-y’ helmet
  • Styling is undeniably vintage

Mid Range Dual Sport Helmets
(Priced $250-$500)

Scorpion EXO-AT950

The DOT approved Scorption EXO-AT950 features an ‘Advanced LG Polycarobonate’ shell exterior with a dual density milti-layer EPS liner. It has a drop-down sun visor, is comfortable to wear with eyeglasses, and is designed with more than enough room for speakers (communicatoin system) to be added down the line.

This helmet is actually modular (with a very easy release mechanism that works great with gloves), so the face shield has a much better overall seal meaning your helmet will be quieter at high speeds. The ‘peak’ (physical sun visor) is removable, giving this helmet perfect dual-functionality for street riding as well. There is also a carbon fiber version for riders willing to shell out a few more dollars.

Why you should buy this helmet:

  • Modular
  • Drop-down sun visor
  • Great all-rounder
  • DOT certified

Other considerations to make:

  • Fits better on thinner faces
  • Quite noisy

AGV AX9

  • Price: $499.99
  • Buy it: RevZilla, Amazon
  • Warranty: 5 years
  • Head shape: intermediate oval
  • Weight: 3.69 lbs

The AGV AX9 has a ton of different configurations to tailor it specifically for the day of riding you may have ahead of you. The peak, chin guard, and visor are easily removable without the use of tools, and there’s plenty of room to wear goggles with it meaning the total combinations are endless. The neckroll of this helmet is completely water-resistant to prevent water from entering the helmet when riding through harsh conditions. The huge peak will cast a large shadow on even the sunniest of days and is fully adjustable/removable to prevent sail effect at high speeds.

Why you should buy this helmet:

  • AGV is known for making high-quality helmets
  • DOT and ECE approved
  • Fits well with riders who ride with glasses
  • Quiet

Other considerations to make:

  • $500 and no drop-down sun visor is a disappointment

Klim Krios Karbon

Carbon fiber is really cool. That’s just a fact. Being the guy that shows up to the group-ride with a carbon fiber lid is an easy indicator of how serious they are about the sport. The Klim Krios carbon fiber construction provides an ECE and DOT approved helmet that tips the scales at almost a half-pound lighter than most other helmets in this list.

In addition to the big carbon-fiber main course, the helmet comes with the typical sides you will find in most middle-ground dual-sport helmets: chin curtain, removable peak, quick-release face shield, good ventilation, pin-lock face shield, and for an extra $250 you can get a Sena communications system integrated from the factory.

Why you should buy this helmet:

  • Carbon fiber is extremely safe
  • It’s both DOT and ECE approved
  • Pin-lock ready face shield
  • Dropdown visor
  • Ready for attachable face shield

Other considerations to make:

  • Not the best fit
  • The liner can be a struggle
  • Designed for Klim Radius goggle (may not work with all goggles)
  • Only 2 shell sizes

High-End Dual Sport Helmets
(Priced $500+)

Arai XD-4

  • Price: $609.95-$619.95
  • Buy it: RevZilla, Amazon
  • Review: ADV Moto
  • Warranty: 5 year
  • Head shape: intermediate oval
  • Weight: 3.66lbs

When buying a premium dual sport helmet, the same standards apply as they would in any other helmet style. Arai and Shoei dominate the high-end market. That’s just the way it is, but it makes it very easy to narrow down your selection when deciding to shell-out upwards of $500 for the most important piece of safety equipment.

The XD-4 has been designed with aerodynamics in mind and comes with all the features you would expect (except for a drop-down sun visor. I’m not sure why Arai omits this on almost all helmets they provide). The liner is removable and washable, the ventilation is great, and the face shield is sturdy and high-quality. The main feature your precious $600 will be going towards is the Snell M2020 safety certification that won’t be found in any other helmets under this price bracket. Extra safety for a risky riding-style is always a plus.

Why you should buy this helmet:

  • Snell M2020 approved
  • Arai is a leading manufacturer of high-quality helmets
  • Great ventilation
  • Comfortable’
  • Almost 500 reviewers on RevZilla despite higher price tag

Other considerations to make:

  • Reviewers say the visor has scratched up the helmet over prolonged use
  • You’d prefer to take the Shoei route

Shoei Hornet X2

  • Price: $594.99-$603.99
  • Buy It: RevZilla, Amazon
  • Warranty: 5 year
  • Head Shape: Intermediate Oval
  • Weight: 3.92 lbs

Every time you say the word ‘Arai’, a Shoei angel falls from the sky. We couldn’t have the top 2 helmets on this list without them being red vs blue. If there’s a great Arai helmet option available for your riding style, you can bet your ass Shoei has an amazing helmet ready to compete.

I’m not sure if Shoei’s marketing team is stronger or what (it is), but the feature list for this helmet reads like a terms and conditions contract with the sheer amount of stuff crammed into this helmet. That’s probably why this helmet comes in at almost four pounds, making it the heaviest on this list.

If you can face the symphony of weight, you will be handsomely paid off with an array of features such as the easily removable CNS-2 pinlock-ready face shield (comes with pins and insert, phew), emergency release system, Snell and DOT approval, removable liner, peak, and earpads, and a  plethora of other stuff that will make sure you don’t regret your $600 helmet purchase.

I wouldn’t let the 4-pound weight scare you away, 1/3 of a pound increase in weight compared to competitors will be almost negligible and many riders mention they adjusted very quickly. Personally, a little extra weight is fine for me when I know my head is being protected by a Shoei.

Reasons to buy this helmet:

  • Snell and DOT approved
  • Very quiet
  • Pin-lock ready face shield (comes with inserts and pins!)
  • Made by Shoei

Other considerations to make:

  • Heavy
  • Weaker ventilation than the Arai

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