Currently there are 20 states and the District of Columbia which require all motorbike riders to wear helmets. Twenty-seven states require only some riders to wear helmets and three states have no helmet law at all. Some of these state laws vary depending on the cubic engine size, so chances are most riders will be faced with the decision of what type of cheap motorbike helmet to purchase. There are three basic types of motorcycle helmets: full face, three quarters, and half shell. Personal taste may be the major factor in deciding on a helmet but what kind of bike may also determine the right helmet to choose.
Full-face helmets are a hard shell that covers from the back of the neck to the brow with a wrap around section covering the cheeks and chin with a chinstrap. They have a clear visor which comes down over the opening to protect from dirt, wind and rain. The inside of the shell has a thick padding to protect the entire head and lower face. The major advantage of a full helmet is safety. Full helmets are considered to be the safest helmet made but the disadvantage is they tend to be heavy which can cause some neck pain after prolonged riding. Full helmets also limit mobility and sight.
The three-quarter helmets are similar to the full helmets except they do not wrap around the cheeks and jaw as the full one does, and it also has a chinstrap. This type of helmet is popular among police officers because it allows for easier communication and is usually fixed with a headset. They are easily removed and still afford the same protection as the full helmet. The three-quarter helmet is typically seen on riders of full dress bikes such as the Honda Goldwing. They are rarely used by riders of cruisers.
The half shell motorbike helmet covers the top half of the head and does not block the ears. They may be the lightest of all three types and the most comfortable but they also offer the least amount of protection. Half shells are usually worn on cruisers or by those who would wear no helmet if not for a mandatory law. Half shells are never used on touring bikes as most touring riders want more protection on long trips.
Which ever helmet is one’s personal choice remember to consider the state laws, the type of bike being ridden, and safety.