The most important part of any motorcycle helmet is its construction. Carbon fiber motorcycle helmets combine the sturdy construction of fiberglass and composite carbon fibers with lightweight engineering. This reduces rider fatigue and enhances the overall comfort level of the helmet design, meaning a motorcyclist can wear a carbon fiber helmet for longer periods of time than she can helmets constructed of other, heavier materials.
In the past motorcycle helmets have been made of Kevlar. This is a very sturdy material and offers a high level of protection it is the same materials that body armor and military helmets are made of. It is strong enough to stop a bullet, but it is also considerably heavy.
Today’s helmet manufacturers are proud when they can reduce helmet weight from one model to the next by several ounces. When the industry switched from Kevlar to composite carbon fiber designs, it reduced helmet weight by more than a pound.
The switch from heavy Kevlar to lightweight carbon fiber did more than simply reduce the overall weight of the helmets. It also allowed for a layered design engineering that allowed the outer shell to be made of hard fiberglass with the carbon fibers on the inside. This design allows for more play between the shell and the inner layers and the liner.
That small amount of giving can mean the difference between a slight concussion and a fractured skull in the event of a crash. Naturally, this was taken into account in Kevlar helmets as well, but the introduction of carbon fiber motorcycle helmets made a big difference in the way that motorcycle helmets are engineered.
Major motorcycle helmet manufacturers all agree that carbon fiber construction results in the best, most comfortable and most protective motorcycle helmets. Department of Transportation (DOT) and (Snell) Foundation standards and testing practices also indicate that carbon fiber motorcycle helmets are more reliable than the older Kevlar designs.
In short, when the motorcycle helmet industry switched from Kevlar to carbon fiber motorcycle helmets, the entire motorcycle helmet industry made that switch and it is generally considered to have been a change for the better.
Kevlar motorcycle helmets are now few and far between as companies continually research ways to continue making helmets of carbon fiber.
Progress is important in every industry. Can you imagine what the world would be like if thermometers were still made with pure mercury, if automobiles did not have smog control devices, or if the Pentium computer processor was never developed? It would be a different world but in a lot of ways, it would be the same world with little progress.
It is natural for a human to want to make progress. Carbon fiber motorcycle helmets are not going to change the world on their own, but progress is rarely made in great leaps and bounds. It is made one step at a time.