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When it comes to maximum protection and safety, experts recommend only the full-face style as a motorcycle helmet. However, these full face helmets are often deemed too expensive (usually retailing between one hundred to six hundred dollars) and too bulky. Most sport bike helmets are made from aluminum or polycarbonate shells. A lot of innovative brands are coming up with lighter and more comfortable materials for their helmets, to make wearing such a helmet not such a troublesome ordeal.
A full-face helmet will cover your entire head and face versus a half-helmet, which does not provide much protection as it covers only the top of your head, similar to how a baseball cap would. As for the price factor, you are really paying for the workmanship, materials and the technology that go into the production of a full-face sportbike helmet. To this day, it is the only type of helmet that provides the best protection against head and brain injuries resulting from motorcycle accidents. In short, it can save your life.
What should you look for when buying a full-face helmet? First of all, if you are in the United States, it is really important that your helmet is DOT certified. The Department of Transportation has a set of rules and requirements that regulate the manufacture and production of motorcycle helmets, such that no motorcycle helmet may call itself as such unless it has passed the DOT testing. Another institution called the Snell Foundation, which is a privately-owned and non-profit organization, also provides for a certain set of standards to which a motorcycle helmet must meet. These standards are more rigorous than that of the DOT. Therefore, you know you have a winner when your helmet is both DOT and Snell certified. However, a DOT approved sportbike helmet is more than sufficient for your protection needs.
Other features you should look out for are a good and comfortable fit. This will entirely depend on your being able to measure your head properly and fit the helmet versus just purchasing a random sportbike helmet from a newspaper ad. It is highly recommended that you take your time in trying on and fitting your full-face helmet, ensuring that it is comfortable to use, it sits well on your head, that it does not pinch your head and does not rattle or fall off when you shake or roll your head.
Apart from a good fitting helmet, you should buy one that has a high-quality face shield. A good face shield can spell the difference between your safety, and an accident. Other face shields can impair your vision by blurring your view or not being able to prevent glare. Look for one that is optically correct, and test your helmet in and out of the store for a few minutes and in varying light conditions. Most full-face helmets also provide protection against ultra violet rays. There are even more advanced helmets that have anti-fog face shields. This is really a plus because you will find yourself breathing heavily inside your sport bike helmet at times, thus a fog-free face shield is a must.