Exploring Motorcycle Helmet Materials: A Comprehensive Guide

Riding a motorcycle comes with a great sense of freedom and adventure, but it’s crucial to prioritize safety. One of the most important safety gear items for any rider is a motorcycle helmet, many types of helmets are available. In this article, we will explore the materials that motorcycle helmets are made of and help you choose the right helmet for your needs.

Pro Tip: As an experienced motorcyclist, I have some valuable insights to share about Shoei, Bell, and Shark motorcycle helmets, which are known for their construction using fiberglass, resin, and polycarbonate materials. When it comes to helmet materials, fiberglass is a popular choice due to its strength and affordability. Shoei helmets, for instance, often utilize fiberglass shells that provide a good balance of protection to me and cost-effectiveness. The fiberglass construction ensures durability while maintaining a reasonable price point.

On the other hand, Bell helmets are known for their advanced construction using polycarbonate. This material allowed me optimal strength and impact resistance, making Bell helmets a reliable choice for riders seeking enhanced protection on the road. Shark helmets, meanwhile, incorporate fiber glass, carbon fiber and resin as a key materials in their construction. Fiberglass is highly regarded for its impact resistance, durability properties and helped to protect during emergencies. Shark helmets offer a balance of protection, comfort, and affordability, making them a popular choice among riders.

Common Motorcycle Helmet Materials

Motorcycle helmets are constructed using various materials, each with its own set of advantages and characteristics. Here are some common helmet materials:

Animal skins are not typically used in the production of helmet materials.
Animal skins are not typically used in the production of helmet materials…

NOTE: The majority of helmet materials are synthetic or derived from non-animal sources, such as various types of plastics, fiberglass, carbon fiber, and other synthetic compounds.

a. Polycarbonate

Polycarbonate is a lightweight and durable material commonly used in motorcycle helmets. It provides excellent impact resistance, making it a popular choice for riders seeking a balance between affordability and protection.

b. Fiberglass

Fiberglass helmets offer high strength and impact resistance. They are lightweight and provide effective energy absorption during an impact. However, they may be relatively more expensive than helmets made from other materials.

c. Carbon Fiber

Carbon fiber helmets are renowned for their exceptional strength-to-weight ratio. They offer superior impact protection while remaining incredibly lightweight. Carbon fiber helmets are often favored by professional riders and enthusiasts who prioritize both safety and comfort.

Benefits of Different Helmet Materials

Understanding the advantages of different helmet materials can help you make an informed decision when choosing your motorcycle helmet. Here are some benefits associated with each material:

a. Polycarbonate

  • Affordable option for riders on a budget.
  • Lightweight and comfortable for extended wear.
  • Good impact resistance for everyday riding.

b. Fiberglass

  • Excellent impact absorption for enhanced safety.
  • Lightweight design reduces strain on the neck during long rides.
  • Durable and long-lasting.

c. Carbon Fiber

  • Unparalleled strength-to-weight ratio for optimal protection.
  • Exceptional impact resistance even in high-speed crashes.
  • Enhanced comfort and reduced fatigue during long rides.

Choosing the Right Helmet for Your Needs

When selecting a motorcycle helmet, consider the following factors to ensure maximum safety and comfort:

I'm with my pet while paddle boarding (missing my motorcycle helmet)
I embarked on a daring paddleboarding adventure, only to realize I left my helmet behind, risking a potential encounter with mischievous seagulls out for revenge.
  1. Fit: The helmet should fit snugly without being too tight or loose.
  2. Certification: Look for helmets that meet safety standards such as DOT (Department of Transportation) or ECE (Economic Commission for Europe) certification to ensure they provide adequate protection.
  1. Type of Riding: Consider the type of riding you’ll be doing. Different helmets are designed for specific purposes such as street riding, off-road adventures, or track racing. Choose a helmet that suits your riding style.
  2. Ventilation: Check for adequate ventilation in the helmet to keep you cool and comfortable during rides, especially in hot weather conditions.
  3. Visor: Look for a helmet with a clear and scratch-resistant visor that provides a wide field of vision and protects your eyes from debris and UV rays.
  4. Retention System: The helmet should have a secure retention system, such as a chin strap, to keep it in place during impact.
  5. Additional Features: Consider additional features like removable liners for easy cleaning, built-in communication systems, or anti-fog coatings on the visor for added convenience.

Remember, your motorcycle helmet is a vital piece of safety gear, so investing in a high-quality helmet that meets your specific needs is essential for your protection on the road.

Top Helmet Brands and What Are They Made of?

Top Helmet Brands and What Are They Made of?
(Image Source)

Always go for best motorcycle helmet brands. Here are the top 10 motorcycle helmet brands and the materials they commonly use in their helmet construction:

1. Shoei

Materials used: Shoei helmets often feature an advanced composite shell made of a combination of fiberglass, organic fibers, and resin. They utilize Multi-Ply Matrix AIM+ (Advanced Integrated Matrix Plus) technology for a strong and lightweight shell.

2. Arai

Materials used: Arai helmets are known for their hand-built craftsmanship and use a proprietary shell construction technique called Super Fiber Laminate (SFL). SFL incorporates a blend of fiberglass and other organic fibers to create a durable and lightweight shell.

3. AGV

Materials used: AGV helmets employ a range of materials depending on the helmet model. They commonly use a combination of fiberglass, carbon fiber, and aramid (a high-strength synthetic fiber) to achieve a balance of strength and lightness.

4. Bell

Materials used: Bell helmets utilize various materials based on the helmet’s design and purpose. Their helmets often feature a lightweight polycarbonate shell for affordability and impact resistance. In higher-end models, Bell incorporates materials like carbon fiber or a composite blend of fiberglass and carbon fiber.

5. HJC

Materials used: HJC helmets employ different shell materials across their product line. They commonly use an advanced polycarbonate composite shell, which offers a good balance of durability, impact resistance, and affordability. Some of their premium models may also incorporate carbon fiber or fiberglass composite shells.

6. Schuberth

Materials used: Schuberth helmets are known for their high-quality construction. They typically utilize a combination of fiberglass and resin to create a lightweight and strong shell. Some of their helmets also feature a multi-layered fiberglass-reinforced duroplastic matrix for enhanced safety.

7. Shark

Materials used: Shark helmets utilize various materials depending on the helmet model. They commonly use a combination of fiberglass, carbon fiber, and resin for their shells. These materials provide excellent strength, impact resistance, and lightness.

8. Nolan

Materials used: Nolan helmets often feature a lightweight polycarbonate shell, which offers a good balance of affordability and impact resistance. Some of their higher-end models may incorporate a composite shell construction, combining materials such as fiberglass, carbon fiber, and Kevlar for enhanced strength and weight reduction.

9. LS2

Materials used: LS2 helmets commonly use a lightweight polycarbonate shell construction, which provides a good balance of durability and cost-effectiveness. They also incorporate additional materials like fiberglass for improved strength and rigidity in certain models.

10. Scorpion

Materials used: Scorpion helmets employ various materials in their construction. They typically use a combination of fiberglass, resin, and polycarbonate to create a durable and lightweight shell. Some of their higher-end models may feature a fiberglass composite shell for increased strength.

Please note that while these materials and brands are commonly associated with motorcycle helmets, specific models and designs may vary within each brand’s lineup. It’s always recommended to refer to the manufacturer’s specifications for precise information about helmet materials.

Frequently Asked Question

Q1: What materials are commonly used to make motorcycle helmets?

Motorcycle helmets are typically made from a combination of various materials. The outer shell is commonly constructed using polycarbonate, fiberglass composite, carbon fiber, or a blend of these materials. The inner layer, known as the liner, is typically made of expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam or a similar energy-absorbing material. The inner comfort padding may include materials such as fabric, foam, or synthetic fibers.

Q2: Why are polycarbonate, fiberglass composite, and carbon fiber used in motorcycle helmet shells?

Polycarbonate is a durable and impact-resistant material that offers good protection. It is commonly used in entry-level helmets due to its affordability. Fiberglass composite is lightweight, strong, and provides excellent impact absorption. Carbon fiber is even lighter and stronger than fiberglass, offering superior strength-to-weight ratio. Helmets made with carbon fiber are often used in high-end models, providing enhanced protection.

Q3: What is expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam and why is it used in helmet liners?

Expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam is a lightweight material with excellent shock-absorbing properties. It is commonly used in helmet liners due to its ability to dissipate impact forces and protect the rider’s head from severe injuries. EPS foam is designed to compress upon impact, absorbing and dispersing energy to reduce the force transmitted to the head.

Q4: How does the comfort padding in motorcycle helmets contribute to safety?

The comfort padding in motorcycle helmets serves multiple purposes. Firstly, it provides a comfortable fit and cushioning for the wearer, enhancing overall comfort during long rides. Additionally, it helps in absorbing sweat and moisture, keeping the rider’s head dry. Furthermore, the padding assists in holding the helmet securely in place, ensuring optimal protection during impacts or sudden movements.

Q5: Are there any other materials used in motorcycle helmet construction?

Apart from the main components mentioned earlier, motorcycle helmets may also include additional materials such as chin straps made of nylon or other durable fabrics, adjustable retention systems for a customized fit, ventilation systems using mesh or foam inserts, and visors or face shields made of polycarbonate or other shatter-resistant materials.

Q6: Are all motorcycle helmets made with the same materials?

No, motorcycle helmets can vary in terms of materials used depending on their intended purpose and price range. Higher-end helmets often incorporate advanced materials like carbon fiber for improved strength and lightness, making them more expensive. Lower-priced helmets may use materials like polycarbonate or fiberglass composite, which still provide adequate protection but at a more affordable cost.

Q7: How can I ensure the quality and safety of a motorcycle helmet?

To ensure the quality and safety of a motorcycle helmet, it is essential to look for helmets that meet or exceed safety standards set by organizations such as the Department of Transportation (DOT) in the United States, the European standard ECE 22.05, or the Snell Memorial Foundation. Check for certification labels or markings on the helmet to verify its compliance with safety regulations.

Q8: Can I customize or modify my motorcycle helmet with different materials?

It is generally not recommended to modify or customize a motorcycle helmet with different materials. Alterations to the original design, including adding or replacing materials, can compromise the helmet’s structural integrity and safety features.


Motorcycle helmets are crafted using different materials, each with its own advantages. Polycarbonate offers affordability and impact resistance, fiberglass provides strength and energy absorption, while carbon fiber offers exceptional protection combined with lightweight comfort. Choosing the right helmet involves considering factors such as fit, certification, riding type, ventilation, visor quality, retention system, and additional features. By understanding the materials and features available, you can make an informed decision and ensure maximum safety while enjoying your motorcycle adventures.

Remember, always prioritize your safety by wearing a helmet every time you ride. Stay protected, stay confident, and enjoy the thrill of the open road!

That concludes our blog post on what motorcycle helmets are made of. We hope you found it informative and helpful in selecting the right helmet for your needs. Ride safe and enjoy your journeys!

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