Racing on a two-wheel motorbike is an exhilarating experience. It comes in two forms: motocross and street racing. Off-road (motocross) racing is done with a 150cc or 250cc dirt bike on dirt or sand. Proper equipment and accessories are mandatory in this sport and a quality motorcycle racing helmet is as essential as the bike itself. Besides the motorcycle racing helmets, other essentials for motocross include gloves, boots, jerseys and pants.
Street or road racing is different. In this form of the sport, you ride very fast on concrete or asphalt. This also requires a high quality helmet, gloves, boots, leather pants and a leather jacket with spine supports. Off-road motorcycle race tracks can be found outside most metropolitan cities, as well as throughout suburban communities. Designed with jumps, hills, valleys and extreme corners, these tracks are exceptionally popular with young and older motorcycle racers.
Street racing requires a closed track. Often street racers choose long stretches of back roads or neighborhood streets as their courses. This, of course, brings extreme danger to the sport and observers as well. Riders who decide to avoid closed tracks built specifically for street racing, risk contact with the police, trucks, cars and pedestrians. A closed track means riders have only the track and other bikes – all the fun of the sport with a lowered chance of accidents and the unknown.
Technology plays a key role in both forms of motorcycle racing. Today’s designs and materials help riders dress more comfortably without affecting their run. Of course, safety remains the primary focus but comfort and style are also important considerations.
Different types of motorcycle racing events have different safety requirements. Thus, before you purchase a motorcycle racing helmet, be sure to check with your sanctioning body to learn about the standards they have set. All racing helmets must be Snell SA rated. This means “Special Application” for racing. They have .120” thick shields, a fire resistant interior, and are subjected to different crash tests than M rated “Motorcycle” helmets.
While most racing helmets are made of fiberglass, other more expensive models use a special laminating process or other materials such as carbon fiber or Kevlar. This makes them lighter – causing less neck fatigue.
Correct helmet fit is essential to racing helmet safety. Headwear should fit as snug as possible without giving you a headache. A good test is to watch a half-hour TV show with the helmet on. If it feels snug but you don’t have a headache after the time passes, then you’ve chosen the right helmet for you.
A Thousand Manufacturers?
When it comes to manufacturers of motorcycle racing helmets, there are basically many more than you can count. Some are large companies that make everything from motorcycles themselves to heavy but durable leather gloves (Harley Davidson, for example) to small businesses that specialize in custom-made, hand-crafted headwear. Besides basing your purchase on the manufacturer, it is also important to make your decision based on affordability, design, comfort and, of course, personal appeal (color, style, etc.).
Shoei, Arai, Bell, HJC, Pyrotect, Spaco, Simpson, Breffe, Impact, MQ, OMP, MDS, AFX, Grex, Cyber, O’Neal, Scorpion, Z1R, Fox, HGV, Gforce, Oakley, Icon, Suomy, AGVSpot, Joe Rocket, and F.A.S.T are just a handful of the motorcycle racing helmet manufacturers that are popular today. These are in addition to the manufacturers who do not offer racing-specific headgear.
Those biking enthusiasts, who favor off-road or street versions of their sport, should always choose the highest quality motorcycle racing helmet they can afford. A high quality helmet may very well save them from a dangerous head or neck injury.