Cruising around town or the countryside on your motorcycle is always a good time. It’s just you, your bike, and the open road, which you can enjoy at your leisure and your own pace.
As you're riding, you may think that you're "only cruising," which makes you safer than when biking on a busier road. The truth is that many of the same threats facing motorcyclists on the road today are experienced even while cruising.
All motorcyclists should wear full protective attire anytime they hit the road. Even if it isn’t required by any local or state law, your motorcycling wardrobe should always include a sturdy, fitted cruiser motorcycle helmet. These crucial pieces of protective gear can keep your most valuable asset safe, even if an accident on the open road takes you by surprise.
Without question, investing in a cruiser motorcycle helmet should be at the top of your priority list. But today’s market for these kinds of helmets has been flooded with models of all shapes and sizes. To navigate it, you’ll need this guide to the best cruiser motorcycle helmets.
Though it may go without saying, a motorcycle helmet is a crucial piece of protective gear- even when cruising at moderate speeds. Even at these speeds, a sudden change in your bike's stability could throw you off and permanently injure you (if not worse).
At the very least, a properly fitted helmet can protect your most valuable asset, your head, during an accident. If it ends up saving your life, you’d be among the 1,772 motorcyclists whose lives were saved by their helmet in 2015.
But you may say, “I’ll be safe at low cruising speeds.” While you are indeed safer at cruising speeds, you are not adequately protected from the uncertainty of the open road. After all, numerous motorcycle accidents each year are caused by other motorists who fail to see bikers when merging.
A helmet can help ensure that if an accident of this or any other kind does occur, it doesn’t spell the end of your riding days or your life.
Cruiser Helmet Size Guide – How to Fit
Wearing a helmet alone can't protect you from injury while cruising. Your chosen helmet must fit you properly to ensure maximum protection against impacts, in particular.
To select a helmet that will fit you properly, start by finding a model with a shape that matches your head’s shape. This can be done by trying on long to find the perfect motorcycle helmet fit for you.
Cruiser Helmets Compared
70's style synthetic suede interior
Advanced Channeling Ventilation System
Comfort Tech Wick-Dri Liner System
EverClear Drop-Down Sunvisor
Padded Wind Collar
Choosing A Quality Cruiser Helmet
There are numerous motorcycle helmet types available to consumers today, each of which provides respectable levels of protection on the road. This starts with half helmets, which most resemble a reinforced version of a traditional bike helmet. These provide the least protection overall and only offer minimal protection for your eyes while in motion.
Next up, there are open face or ¾ helmets. These models cover the top, neck, and back of the head while leaving the face open (often with a visor). These offer consistent protection without fully encasing the rider's head. Full face helmets, meanwhile, do just that while providing top-tier protection from impacts on all sides. When it comes to protection, these are the best kind to buy – even when you plan on cruising.
However, you may also consider buying a modular or flip-up helmet. These helmets take the best parts of a full face and an open face helmet and combine them into a singular unit. They often provide full wrap-around protection and a flip-up visor (hence their name).
Helmet Shell Construction
There’s a lot to take into account when it comes to a helmet’s construction. Its shell, however, must be built from an ultra-durable material, such as lexan polycarbonate, fiberglass composites or, carbon fiber. Ideally, your chosen helmet should include an inner and outer shell construction that provides additional protection against impacts and heavy friction.
Many bikers forgo wearing a helmet due to its perceived weight. However, a helmet you leave at home cannot protect you. So, be sure to look at each model’s weight while comparing it to other options. If possible, visit your local motorcycle supply shop and try on a few helmets. This can give you an idea of how much weight is “too much” by your personal standards.
Motorcycle helmets aren’t just solid blocks of hard material. Often, they are equipped with a variety of safety features design to maximize your personal protections at the moment. For example, one very productive feature is a multi-directional impact protection system. As the name suggests, these systems include built-in padding that can absorb shocks from all directions, which prevents certain kinds of accidents from causing more harm to you.
As with seatbelts in cars, motorcycle helmets in the US are subject to approval by the federal Department of Transportation (DOT). To earn this approval, a helmet must undergo rigorous stress tests and meet the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 218. This approval must then be printed on the help's exterior. All helmets that lack this approval should be avoided.
Comfort (Ventilation) & Hygiene
Many riders also cite discomfort as their main reason for forgoing a helmet while cruising. To avoid that problem, try to seek out a helmet with proper ventilation from the get-go. This will ensure that you are more comfortable while riding while also keeping your helmet’s interior more hygienic.
Your chosen motorcycle helmet may also come with a bevy of extra features designed to make your riding experience smoother and safer. For example, tinted or anti-fog visors can help maintain your visibility, even under adverse conditions. Your helmet may also include some built-in technology, such as a Bluetooth microphone. This can allow you to speak with your fellow riders without taking your hands off of your bike’s controls.
Price & Warranty
Don’t be afraid to look for a bargain while shopping for a motorcycle helmet. After all, you should be getting everything you pay for with a motorcycle helmet. But by the same token, you shouldn’t skimp out on features and specifications just to get a cheap helmet that may not truly protect you in an accident. One such feature you shouldn't cut corners with is a warranty that can save you money down the road if your helmet turns out to be defective.
6 Best Cruiser Motorcycle Helmets Reviewed
1. TORC T1
Our Top Pick!
70's style synthetic suede interior
DOT, ECE, SG, CCC, KC
As a long-time biker myself, I want to start with our top pick – the TORC T1. For many years, this was my go-to cruising helmet thanks to its top tier durability and classic stylings. With regards to the former, this helmet utilizes fiberglass tri-composite material for its shell, making it resilient against both impacts and high volumes of friction. While that does cause this helmet to be a bit heavier than average, that extra weight is a solid tradeoff for added protection.
Meanwhile, with regards to style, few helmets on the market today can match the TORC T1 while remaining certifiably safe. To this end, the TORC T1 takes cues from 1970s style biker helmets to provide a streamlined biking experience that will catch the eye of passersby.
In fact, this particular helmet comes in tons of colors and even a variety of specialty finishes, including retro sparkle flakes and modern carbon fiber. Even this helmet’s suede interior is made to feel like a 1970s helmet while still providing considerable ventilation.
No matter where you live and bike, the TORC T1 will be certifiably safe for you to use as well. That’s because the TORC T1 has been tested and approved by most major worldwide safety standards groups, including the US DOT, European ECE, Japanese SG, Chinese CCC, and Korean KC. With that many certifications to back it up, you can bet that this helmet will keep you safe through and through.
2. HJC 824-614 CL-17
Best Full Face Helmet For Cruiser Motorcycle
Advanced Channeling Ventilation System
If I had to pick a contender for the best full face helmet for a cruiser motorcycle, I'd likely put the HJC 824-614 CL-17 near the top of my list. That's because this model provides solid safety features while keeping its user comfortable during long cruising adventures. This model's shell is made up of a pure polycarbonate composite. As such, you can count on it to resist everyday wear effectively and still maintain a comfortable fit through 5+ years of use.
Speaking of comfort, the HJC 824-614 CL-17 takes user comfort seriously. This can be seen in its use of a SuperCool moisture-wicking interior, which prevents sweat from collecting in the user’s hair and on their neck, causing discomfort.
Instead, this helmet effectively channels that moisture out using its Advanced Channeling Ventilation System. Even when stationary, this helmet manages to precipitate smooth airflow from the front end of the unit all the way through the back.
This helmet is also relatively user-friendly, especially when it comes to manipulating its visor. To that end, this helmet utilizes a 2-stage face shield closure system that can be opened with just a single touch at its center. When placed down, however, that same shield creates a tight shield that won’t let bugs or rain in at all. It can even be switched out for a specialty anti-fog shield, which is sold separately.
3. Vega Helmets Warrior
Best Half Shell Cruiser Motorcycle Helmet
Comfort Tech Wick-Dri Liner System
You might not have expected the best half shell cruiser motorcycle helmet to also be one of the top women’s cruiser helmets, but in fact, it is! The “it” in this case is the Vega Helmets Warrior, a relatively lightweight helmet that most riders who only want a simple helmet can appreciate. In fact, at only around 2.2 lbs., you'll hardly feel this helmet on your heat. Better yet, it won't squeeze down hard on your cranium thanks to its new custom fit dial adjuster.
The Vega Helmets Warrior’s Comfort Tech Wick-Dri Liner System will also ensure that you rarely think about your protective gear while out on a cruise. It manages to wick up a lot of moisture and trap it until you have a chance to air out once again.
Meanwhile, all of the straps on this helmet are padded to ensure that you don’t feel any undesirable pressure points or friction during a long trip. Those straps, by the way, can be easily adjusted with your gloves on!
I’ll be the first to admit that this model’s manufacturer is not the biggest or best-known name in the industry. Perhaps that is why they failed to list this model’s shell material or describe its durability properties. But even so, they did package a 5-year warranty with this model. So long as they honor that warranty, Vega may become a new go-to option for affordable biking helmets.
4. ScorpionExo Covert
Best Looking Cruiser Motorcycle Helmet
EverClear Drop-Down Sunvisor
“Radical by Design” is one of the core concepts behind the ScorpionExo Covert, which stands out in this collection as the best looking cruiser motorcycle helmet. There’s certainly no question that this particular helmet manages to combine style with an array of outstanding helmet features. First among these is this model’s LG polycarbonate shell, which is made from a proprietary formula used exclusively by this brand to maximize durability and minimize weight.
At first glance, you’re sure to notice this model’s EverClear Drop-Down SunVisor, as well. This tinted visor makes it easy to keep a clear view of the road ahead, even in direct sunlight. However, at night, you’ll have the option to switch out in favor of the ScorpionExo Covert’s clear night-riding visor. Both are easy to detach and reattach, too, so you won't need to pull out any tools. In fact, all you'll need to switch these visors is to adjust a few built-in neodymium magnets.
The ScorpionExo Covert also goes the extra mile when it comes to user comfort. This can best be seen (or rather, felt) through this model’s KwikWick II Anti-Microbial Comfort Liner. This padding layer can be removed with eased and washed, thus ensuring it is always sanitary before each new trip.
This helmet’s Aero-Tuned ventilation system also assists in this effort by preventing the inside of this helmet from becoming muggy and uncomfortable in the heat.
5. Bell Qualifier
Best Rated Model
Padded Wind Collar
Would it surprise you to know that a Bell brand helmet has taken the top spot for best rated model in this collection? Likely not, especially after you check out the Qualifier Full-Face helmet that earned Bell its high position in user ratings.
To start, this model’s shell is made from a polycarbonate-ABS composite material that is ever-so-slightly lighter than its competition. As such, you can count on this helmet to not burden you while on an extended ride.
The Bell Qualifier Full-Face helmet also deserves some recognition for its attention to internal and external detail. One such practical addition to this helmet is its padded wind collar. While this collar is comfortable and prevents friction on your neck, it also cuts down on wind passing into your helmet while you ride.
As such, this small feature makes for a quieter ride, no matter what speed you’re traveling at. With that kind of quiet, you’ll be able to easily hear your fellow bikers if you make use of this helmet’s built-in speaker pocket.
If you like some variety in your visor options, then the Bell Qualifier Full-Face is also for you. That’s because this model can be purchased with up to 18 different visors that are optimized for different lighting conditions as well as racing. Those face shields can be easily flipped in and out without any tools, too, thanks to this helmets ClickRelease attachment system.
6. Shoei Solid J-Cruise
Best Shoei Cruising Motorcycle Helmet
I’ll come right out and say it – the Shoei Solid J-Cruise is one expensive cruising motorcycle helmet. At the same time, it is currently the best Shoei cruising motorcycle helmet on the market, so it deserves some of your attention.
Specifically, you should pay some close attention to this model's reliable polycarbonate shell. If you buy this helmet at the right time, you may even be able to get it in a number of designer colors and styles that match your favorite motorcycle.
After checking out its shell, you should quickly move on to the Shoei Solid J-Cruise’s CJ-2 Shield. This visor is a major upgrade over previous iterations, especially when it comes to blocking out UV rays and glare from the road.
This helmet's creators even shaped this visor such that it would barely distort your view at all. That can be a significant plus for a lot of riders, especially those that need to wear glasses to drive safely and legally.
Also, the Shoei Solid J-Cruise’s ventilation system will ensure that you can always feel a relaxing breeze rolling through your helmet. At the same time, though, this helmet’s ventilation won’t slow you down. That’s because this model features an Aero-spoiler that is integrated directly into the shell. In practice, this feature dramatically improves this helmet's aerodynamics, regardless of your cruising speed.
Cruiser Motorcycle Helmet Care Tips
Your new motorcycle helmet must be taken care of properly for it to take care of you on the road. This includes cleaning debris and bug guts off of its exterior while also properly drying and cleaning the internal fabric lining regularly.
You may even need to clean out the helmet's interior vents to maintain proper ventilation while in use. This handy guide can teach you how to do that with just a few simple materials.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
How long does it take to break in a cruiser motorcycle helmet?
A new motorcycle helmet isn’t usually all that comfortable right after purchasing it. Like a good baseball glove or a pair of shoes, you do need to break it in with practical use. Often, a new helmet can be broken in in as few as 15-20 hours of riding. While this may take some time if you only ride occasionally, the end result is well worth the wait.
How do I know if a helmet is really DOT certified?
When it comes to DOT certifications, a helmet’s manufacturer is required to print if a particular model meets the DOT’s standards on the exterior of the helmet itself. So, if you see a DOT sticker, you should be good to go. However, if you want to be doubly sure that you aren’t buying a sub-par motorcycle helmet, then check out this NHTSA guide.
Do helmets loosen over time?
To a certain degree, yes. This can be caused by several factors, including some deflation of the internal lining resulting from regular wear. If this is causing your helmet to shift in place while you are wearing it, then either that lining or the whole helmet need to be replaced. This is considered part of a bike helmet’s natural life cycle.
Do motorcycle helmets expire? What do you do with old motorcycle helmets?
Motorcycle helmets do not "expire" in the same way the milk in your fridge expires. Instead, a motorcycle helmet may "expire" due to regular wear and tear that causes its fitting to degrade. Most often, a motorcycle helmet will “expire” after 3-5 years of regular wear. You’ll know it is time to make a change when your helmet’s internal lining is no longer comfortable or effective when it comes to providing a snug fit with proper ventilation.
Where is the best place to buy helmets for cruising adventures?
When it comes to trying on motorcycle helmets before your next cruising adventure, your best bet is an in-person try-on at a local motorbike shop. This can get you a good ideal for the fit and style that you like best. However, when it is time to buy, be sure to check Amazon first. They always have great deals on top motorcycle helmet brands, ensuring you can get the helmet you want without paying a premium.
Safety on the road is paramount for a motorcyclist like you, even while you’re cruising. This means always wearing a properly fitted helmet on all of your cruising adventures. As you've seen, there are many great quality, affordable models to choose from right now. Consider picking one up today so that you can remain entirely safe, regardless of what the uncertain road may throw at you.
If you’re still unsure of which model is the best motorcycle helmet for cruising is, then I’d like to redirect your attention to the TORC T1. This helmet’s fiberglass tri-composite shell is ultra-durable and comes in a variety of stylish colors. What’s more, this helmet comes standard with an anti-fog and anti-scratch visor that will surely protect your visibility in all road conditions.