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What helmet brands and specific helmet models would you recommend to get?

I will be buying one for the first time and would appreciate whatever advice I can get on them. Won't mind spending a bit to get a really good helmet but ones on the cheaper end would be preferred.

Thanks!
 

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I love my Simpson helmet. I have a SA2020 Viper helmet and it’s fantastically comfortable and not a “break the bank” price. I use it regularly when I’m at the drag strip.
 

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I'd recommend that you decide what style you like (closed-face, open-face, with or without Hans device accommodation, etc) and then pick your favorite from an established brand. I went closed-face because I had a Miata at the time, if you're running in closed cockpits and you prefer easier communication and a lighter feel an open-face option might work for you. Check with the organizations you plan to run with to make sure you comply with their helmet requirements.

I bought a Bell Sport (classic entry-level helmet) and it served me well for about 10 years of admittedly infrequent use. Thankfully I never had to put it to the test. That one expired and I've bought the same thing again, a Bell K1 Sport, just with a Snell 2020 sticker.


It's important to get the right size, so try them on in person if possible. Bring your usual pair of sunglasses while trying on to make sure they play nice with the padding. Wine Country Motorsports is the best place for that in the SF Bay Area, their shop is at Sonoma Raceway. If you see something you like, they actually have a 15% off sale going through July 5th - discount code is on the home page of their site.
 

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If there is a shop in your area that stocks them, I highly recommend trying a few on to figure out which one is the most comfortable. I ended up with a Racequip PRO15 that I have been using for a couple of years that fits me really well. Also recommend going carbon fiber if you can swing it, just for the reduced weight on the head.

As far as open v closed face, I was given the advice that a closed face will help with the airbags if you do crash, with an open you will just eat the airbag.

Other brands that have been recommended to me in the past:
GForce
Zamp

Good Luck!
 

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I’m a road racer (SCCA and NASA) and have had a bunch of helmets over the years. My fav was a Shoei closely followed by the Zamp which I’m currently using. Be sure to get the right size (extremely important) and if you wear glasses get the large eyeport. Definitely get full face (much much safer in event of crash and fire). Definitely get one with HANS (I won’t go out on track without my HANS)
 

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As mentioned, look for a shop that stocks helmets and go try one on. If anything, for the correct size. Also possible, go to an autocross with a new headsock and try other people's helmets.

Random notes:
- Find one with removable liner. You will sweat. That sweat will go somewhere. Headsocks help, but that sweat eventually gets into the liner. Three years down the road and you're gonna start hating putting on a sweaty, old helmet.

- Find a helmet built for HNRS (Head, Neck, Restraint Sytem), aka "HANS". This will save you from having to drill the helmet later to adapt one if you ever want to do Lemons, or W2W, or just have more safety.

- Full face vs open face is more of a personal choice. I personally like where my jaw is, having a visor, and the added fire protection that a full face helmet provides. I've had pebbles get kicked up and tossed thru a FRS's open window and smack me in the helmet while on track. I also don't like looking like I'm cosplaying as a Spaceball character. Additionally, I've only see open face helmets used abundantly at autocrosses. So, consider the motorsport activity when choosing a helmet.

- Removable cheek pads are nice if you plan on wiring in comms or want to shave them down for a better fitment.

- Carbon fiber helmets are nice, but the real weight savings isn't really seen until you start spending +$1000. So, if you are eyeballing that fancy CF helmet, but it's $200 more, just save that $200 on a track day. CF lids are very helpful in cars that generate a lot of lateral Gs (ie. aero heavy cars) and where you are doing enduros.

- For fitment, if you shake your head with the helmet on, and it moves more than your head, it's too big. If your cheeks are pretty red after wearing for 10 minutes, it's too small.

- Once purchased, wear the helmet for an hour around your house. It'll help break it in.



I've personally used Pyrotech, Bell, and Arai. The Pyrotech felt like a Budget rental car. Bell feel really nice and have a decent size eyeport, but they lack removable liners. Arais feel great, but can be pricey once you go up the feature list.
 
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Gotta determine if you want/need an open face vs closed/full face. Some clubs require full, most are ok with an open face. I have a closed face helmet so I can use it with go-karts, no open face helmets allowed.

My helmet is an SA2015, meaning it was an outgoing model and I'll need to get a new one soon. Because of that though I bought it for $300ish when it was normally $700. Pyrotect ProSport Carbon Fiber, I like it and have already gotten new cheek pads for it to make the fit more comfortable. In a couple years when I need to get a new one I'll check out Pyrotect again. Good value helmet.
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Also not all ratings are the same. With SNELL SA is for cars, M is for motorbikes, K is for karting. Some places are fine with M but some require SA so check what you need for what you want to do before you buy anything. I wasted a bunch of time going to shops that said they had SA helmets and when I got there all they had were M. Off the top of my head there's also ECE and DOT but I think those aren't as commonly used here?

Get an open face. More airflow to keep you cool. It gets hot QUICK. and you don't need a full face in a closed car. As far as best goes, get something that's SNELL rated within your budget. That's all you need.
I thought SNELL required closed-face? It was a long time ago that I was looking into it though.
 

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I have the Bell K1 which is entry level but has the capability to add vents and a FHR system. I went full face just in case of a crash because debris doesn't stop moving.


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Lots of good advice, i have a carbon SA rated Pyrotech. Its utilitarian and carbon looks cool. SA means more for autosports, more flame retardant (straps are a aramid type material) and supposed to take bumps sgainst the like of roll bars better. I think peripheral vision is not as large as MA (motorcycle).
You have to spend serious money before you get real weight saving in a “carbon” helmet. The budget brand/models like mine, its basically cosmetic. I actually weighed it vs earlier model i was replacing, no measurable diff. If you take same thing made of fiberglass and simply substitute carbon fabric, your not going to make it much lighter. You need to redesign for the additional strengtg of carbon to use less.
Removable liner id a feature i like. In addition to sweat, we get dirt.
I remeber a few years ago lusting after a nice TLD carbon motorcycle helmet, but ir was only DOt rated and needed SNELL.
 

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Yes nice. But those are multi $1000 helmets.
Purchased April 2014 from HMS Motorsports and as configured $2,223.78.
My head is worth it.
Integrated Eject is highly recommended for a full face helmet and option was $60.00 for the Stilo in 2014.

For cycling I use the same head so Giro Vanquish MIPS Helmet.
You can buy a $59 cycle helmet or you can buy a $300 cycle helmet - The difference is with one your chances are much better you will be able to get up should your head bounce off the asphalt.
 

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Purchased April 2014 from HMS Motorsports and as configured $2,223.78.
My head is worth it.
Integrated Eject is highly recommended for a full face helmet and option was $60.00 for the Stilo in 2014.

For cycling I use the same head so Giro Vanquish MIPS Helmet.
You can buy a $59 cycle helmet or you can buy a $300 cycle helmet - The difference is with one your chances are much better you will be able to get up should your head bounce off the asphalt.
What about Snell rating? Won't it expire in a couple yrs?
 

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What about Snell rating? Won't it expire in a couple yrs?
Helmet is Snell and FIA certified but yes Snell rating would expire completely at 10 years if taking the 5 year grace period.
The Integrated Eject should be replaced every 24 months, it was not as this was a back up helmet.
I no longer do track days, this was my back up helmet. I sold my other helmet, so this one has never been used on track.
The photo is of the sold helmet. The back up I think looks better as does not have the scoop on the top or Stilo on the sides.
It is medium+ (58). Stilo helmets are so snug that by customer demand they had to go to a plus size.
It is for sale - make offer if interested. Comes with never used Stilo helmet bag and original Stilo box for helmet.
 
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