Best Open Face Helmets [2020 – 2021 Edition]

Last updated:

Last updated: October 30th, 2020

Open face helmets are a great option for riders that want to experience the fresh air hitting their face first-hand while still maintaining a level of impact safety. Although an open face helmet will never reach the safety standards of their full-faced counterparts, companies have taken great care to develop their systems and technology to make sure your noggin is protected despite the addiction of feeling the wind on your face at speed.

For some riders, open face helmets are far more comfortable, lighter, and overall less cumbersome than modular or full-face styles making them perfect for commuting. They take up less space and have a greater ability to be stuffed in a backpack when on-the-go.

You won’t catch me cruising down the highway at 90 miles an hour with an open face helmet, but if I lived in a densely populated area and need a helmet suited for dodging through traffic at low speeds, I would have no qualms in selecting one of these lids. What else makes riding in a hectic and bustling city easier? Field of view. You may be sacrificing some impact safety without the added protection at the front of the helmet, but you also gain an important tool for dodging obstacles and staying aware when riding through your added area of visibility.


Entry-Level Open Face Helmets
(Priced Under $150)

LS2 Spitfire

  • Price: $109.98
  • Buy it: RevZilla, Amazon
  • Warranty: 5 years
  • Head shape: intermediate oval
  • Weight: 3.59lbs

The LS2 Spitfire is a great vintage-inspired lid for riding with style. The lightweight shell paired with the built-in drop-down sun visor makes this helmet a strong competitor in this price range. It’s DOT approved, and the ventilated padding should keep you cool despite the helmet lacking traditional vents.

Why you should buy this helmet:

  • Affordable
  • DOT approved
  • Looks great
  • Drop-down sun visor
  • 5-year warranty

Other considerations to make:

  • No ventilation
  • No option for face shield (the sun visor does do the trick, though)

Bell Custom 500

The Bell Custom 500 is the gold-standard of cost-effective open-faced helmets with its low price paired with classic styling to match your vintage motorcycle get-up. The new version of this helmet brings a total of 5 shell sizes, which is awesome if you’re trying to avoid the ‘bobblehead’ effect wearing a helmet with a larger shell that can give you. The helmet also accepts an attachable bubble face shield to complete the vintage look.

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 Open Face Helmets
(Priced $150-$300)

Bell Mag 9 Sena

Touring can be easier with an open face helmet if it comes with a good face shield. The Bell Mag 9 has a wicked amount of features for the $190 it’ll run you such as the drop-down sun visor and clear face shield. The face shield can be easily removable without any tools, and you can run the helmet with or without both visors. The biggest takeaway from the Mag 9 would have to be the seamless Sena SMH10 communications device accommodation (sold separately).

Why you should buy this helmet:

  • Ready for Sena Coms unit
  • Visors galore
  • Good fit
  • DOT certified

Other considerations to make:

  • Only comes in two shell sizes
  • Quite noisy

Shark Street Drak

  • Price: $299.99
  • Buy it: RevZilla, Amazon
  • Warranty: 5 years
  • Head shape: round oval
  • Weight: 2.61 lbs

The Shark Street Drak the helmet to buy if you plan on riding your motorcycle at Mach 5 speeds. Jet pilot? No. Motorcycle pilot. This insanely styled helmet will sure to be a head-turner. Although the styling may not be for everyone, that’s the other options on this list are for. The Street Drak is perfect for someone looking for a uniquely styled, DOT approved lid backed by hundreds of happy buyers.

The 3/4 thermoplastic shell keeps this helmet lightweight while the anti-fog and scratch-resistant goggles are sure to turn the intimidation factor to 11.

Why you should buy this helmet:

  • It’s by far the most badass helmet featured on this list
  • Comes with goggles and face protection mask
  • Fits well with riders who ride with glasses
  • Ventilated

Other considerations to make:

  • Only has 2 shell sizes
  • Style may not be for everyone

Scorpion EXO Belfast

If you like the styling found in the Bell Custom 500 helmet mentioned earlier and have a little more clink to spend on something nicer, the EXO Belfast is the next best step-up.

This DOT certified 3/4 open face option takes what the Custom 500 does, and adds a level of sleek luxury with the Nappa leather accents. With the extra money spent, you’ll also be getting a handy drop-down sun visor which is always a great benefit when exploring open-faced helmet options.

The cheek pads are designed to make the helmet extremely easy to put on / take off making this lid a great addition to the $200 bracket.

Why you should buy this helmet:

  • Napa leather quilted inner
  • Very high-quality appearance
  • Accommodates all eye-wear
  • Dropdown visor
  • Ready for attachable face shield

Other considerations to make:

  • Doesn’t come with a face shield
  • Warm due to poor ventilation

High-End Open Face Helmets
(Priced $300+)

Shoei J-Cruise II

  • Price: $549.99
  • Buy it: RevZilla, Amazon
  • Warranty: 5 year
  • Head shape: intermediate oval
  • Weight: 3.57lbs

The Shoei J-Cruise II is the top-dog of the open face motorcycle helmet world. Shoei is known for making insanely high-quality helmets you can find on MotoGP champions such as Marc Marques, and you aren’t losing any ‘Shoei’ features by buying their open-face option.

When I say this helmet comes with every feature imaginable, I really mean it. It’s pretty much a Shoei full-face helmet sans chin-bar. The lightweight, DOT approved, AIM shell comes in four sizes, so everyone can have a great fit.

The tool-free, removable face shield comes ready for pin-locks and is 99% protected from UV rays. If the visor isn’t enough to keep your eyes safe, the drop-down sun shield will.

It’s covered in vents and paired with the EPS liner makes for a very cool helmet ready for any warm weather riding. The helmet is designed for integration with Shoei’s SRL blooth headset (made by Sena) crowning this helmet ‘King of the Features’.

Why you should buy this helmet:

  • Pin-lock ready face shield (rare)
  • It’s a Shoei
  • Drop-down sun visor
  • Ready for Sena communication system
  • Superior ventilation

Other considerations to make:

  • Expensive
  • Full-face Shoei’s cost the same

Arai Ram-X

  • Price: $699.95
  • Buy It: RevZilla, Amazon
  • Warranty: 5 year
  • Head Shape: Intermediate Oval
  • Weight: 3.57 lbs

OK, I said the J-Cruise II is the top-dog, but the Arai Ram-X reaches maximum overkill levels when it comes to open face motorcycle helmets. This is one of the only helmets with both Snell AND DOT approvals making it the safest helmet on the list. And the price reflects that.

The helmet is extremely well ventilated with its large front-to-back vent system paired with the multiple foam interiors for comfort.

The sun visor design is very interesting, to say the least, with Arai opting to make a fold-down design ON TOP of the clear face shield to keep the helmet smaller and more compact (that drop-down visor has to hide somewhere, Shoei). It still lacks the pin-lock tech the Shoei has, and reviewers complain about the difficulty in integrating their communications device, but the Snell rating is worth every penny.

Reasons to buy this helmet:

  • Arai is highly regarded as one of the best helmets manufacturers on earth, next to Shoei
  • One of the only helmets on this list with Snell M202 approval
  • Great ventilation

Other considerations to make:

  • The visor design is quite odd
  • Wicked expensive
  • No pin-lock for $700

Shoei RJ Platinum-R

  • Price: $328.99-$373.99
  • Buy It: RevZillaAmazon
  • Review: webBikeWorld
  • Warranty: 5 year
  • Head Shape: Intermediate Oval
  • Weight: 2.91 lbs

The only helmet to feature a baseball-cap inspired sun visor, the Shoei RJ Platinum-R is the gold standard for good looking, high quality 3/4 helmet options.

Although simple, you’re paying for a barebones helmet that meets Snell’s M2015 and DOT’s standards without costing an arm and a leg. It’s comfortable, has a few vents, and puts safety before features.

Reasons to buy this helmet:

  • Snell and DOT certified
  • Removable/washable liner
  • Cruiser-inspired styling
  • Lightweight despite level of safety

Other considerations to make:

  • Almost no features

 

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