There are two main styles of ¾ or open face helmet styles that almost all of
these helmets can be put into these days; retro, or vintage, and touring. There
is also a new emerging category of hybrid open face helmets that we will cover
in video just for the hybrids, but will hint at near the end of this video.
Today we are going to look at 7 successful designs, 3 retro styles and four of
the more sophisticated touring styles. All of the helmets we will check out
today carry at least a DOT safety rating. Let’s start with a few retro models.
The first helmet I want to show you is the famed Bell Custom 500. This is a
retro or vintage style helmet that incorporates modern safety design, materials,
and technology. The Custom 500 is celebrating its sixtieth birthday and received
a celebratory overhaul.
This new version has a whole new head shape combined with 5 individual EPS’s,
one for each size helmet, which helps the helmet to look smaller on your head. I
would love to show you how much better it fits, but this helmet has not yet been
released as we’re filming this video, so this sample is a medium, which is
obviously not happening on my head.
My friend Arfas, though, has a twenty two inch head circumference, and typically
wears between a medium and a small. This medium fits well and sits nice and low
on his head. This redesigned shape is also more accommodating to oval head
shapes like mine, where the previous version was very round.
The custom 500 is available in seven colorways including this Matte Brown
Metallic, and in sizes extra small to double extra-large. It features a retro
looking quilted liner and snaps for adding a face shield. As far as quality
goes, this is going to be the top of the line in the retro segment, and carries
a five year warranty to back it up.
The next helmet we’re taking a look at today is the Speed and Strength SS600.
This helmet doesn’t have quite the fit and finish that the Bell does, but is
still nice looking for the money, and available in some sick looking graphics,
like this Rooke Customs model. It has an ABS alloy shell as opposed to the
fiberglass shell of the Bell. But, while ABS possesses less impact absorption
than fiberglass, it’s more durable, and does a better job of handling daily
riding abuse. The price is also about twenty five percent less in certain
The SS600 is available in sizes extra small to two x and, like most retro open
face helmets, is designed for a round to intermediate oval head shape. I can
wear it, but I need to go to a size larger than the fitment chart recommends for
my head circumference. My head measures twenty three and half inches around, so
I should fit in a large according to the chart, but I would be pretty
uncomfortable in anything smaller than this XL.
Another feature not often found in the vintage segment is ventilation. The SS600
features intake and exhaust vent ports to keep you cool and dry in warmer
Next, we have the value priced HCI-10. While this isn’t one of the premium
helmets in this retro category, it is a good value for the budget conscious, and
I like to try and offer a full specrum of price points, so you can get the most
helmet for the dollars in your pocket. It also makes it easier for you to see
the differences between a value-priced helmet and a premium helmet.
Like the other two retro helmets, this lid also has an intermediate oval shape.
The fitment calls for an extra-large for my head measurement, which is correct
front to back, but leaves a little too much room for side to side movement. Even
with a rounder head, this helmet isn’t going to have as precise of a fit as a
premium helmet. Time spent on research and development translates into higher
helmet cost. Perfection isn’t the goal with a value priced helmet, affordability
A couple of other features you’ll have to do without are a wicking liner and
ventilation. Also, my example here also is only equipped with three snaps,
instead of five, which limits you a little bit on shield choice.
There are obviously numerous other retro ¾ helmet choices to consider as well,
this is a rapidly growing market. If you have any questions about this helmet
style, give our customer service a call at 1-877-GO-Helmet.
The next group of helmets we’re going to look at have a more modern styling,
with modern features that are beneficial to a more touring oriented rider. I’m
going to show you four of my favorites, including two of the most premium
First, we have the Shoei J Cruise. This is an ultra-premium choice from Shoei
that really is one of the most feature packed open faced helmets available
today. This helmet is designed to offer the wearer all of the best in each
feature category. No cut corners with the J Cruise. The fit of this helmet is
exactly what you would expect from Shoei. It’s precise. You feel the firm grip
of the helmet on your head but there’s no hotspots. The size chart calls for a
large for my head and this is definitely the right size. It’s pretty snug for
now, but remember, you lose about a third of a size to break in. It’s available
in a ton of colors, and the finishes on Shoei products are excellent.
One of the issues commonly had with open face helmets is buffeting and wind
noise. Riders on all different styles of bikes like open face helmets, so the
challenge for the helmet manufacturer, is creating a helmet that is going to
ride smooth and quiet regardless of the motorcycles windshield setup, or lack
thereof. The J Cruise was designed in a wind tunnel, and features like the
ventilation, this new Integrated Air Dam design on the optically correct shield,
the spring loaded baseplates, and the twin blade eye port gasket, work together
to provide a surprisingly quiet ride.
You’re also getting premium features like an AIM shell with four shell sizes, a
multi-piece EPS liner, and a retractable internal sunshade, not to mention the
work of art that is the 3D Max Dry liner. The padding is actually contoured and
constructed out of different thicknesses and densities of padding to provide the
Next we have another top of the line selection from the touring segment of open
face helmets, the famed Arai XC. If you closed your eyes and had someone put
this helmet on your head for you, you would swear it was a full face. That is
because of this unique shell design where the jaw area actually extends over an
inch farther than previous Arai open face models. The fit is a little bit
rounder with the Arai than the Shoei. I don’t have quite as much room for my
forehead with this model then I had with the Shoei. I have a long oval head
form, though, so this helmet will fit great on most folks with more intermediate
oval heads, Of course it’s an Arai, so you’re getting a hand laid fiberglass
shell and a plush three dimensional liner construction.
There are two areas where the Shoei and the Arai do a give and take. The Arai
gets a Snell safety rating, the Shoei does not. This definitely isn’t a deal
breaker for me, but I know many riders get a lot of piece of mind from the Snell
rating, so one point Arai. The area where the Shoei shines over the Arai is the
shield system. There really is no comparison. There is so much feature tech put
into this Shoei they’re going to be hard to catch. Every aspect of the Shoei’s
shield system is smooth, and refined. The Arai’s just isn’t. The shield is
difficult to remove, and the locking mechanism requires the wearer to tug firmly
on fairly delicate baseplate components. One point Shoei. Choosing between these
two helmets would be definitely be a tough job for any rider, I’m glad I don’t
have to do it.
The last two helmets I want to compare are the HJC FG-Jet and the Gmax GM67S.
Some might say that this is an unfair comparison because of the fairly dramatic
difference in price points but I look at it this way, whatever the less
expensive helmet gives up in quality, it makes up for in price. They both get a
point. The fit between the two is very similar, and accurate per the size chart,
although some customers did complain that they had to return their Gmax for a
bigger size, so if you are in between sizes, definitely pick the next one up.
The FG-Jet has many truly top of the line features, but at price that is about a
third of the Arai. It has a Kevlar and fiberglass composite weave shell that was
designed in a wind tunnel, so the aerodynamics is quite good. The ventilation
also benefits from wind tunnel testing. Both of these helmets have well designed
drop down visor systems, but I have to give this feature win to the HJC. This
sunshade system works great. The shape of the visor and how far down it goes are
crucial. If you are stuck looking at the bottom of a sunshade shade, you will
definitely get a headache. The three position shield on the FG works excellent.
The buttons are easy to use, and they’ve added a cushioned release to ease the
noise. The face shield system on the FG-Jet is also quite nice. A simple push of
this lever and the shield pops right off, and reinstalling is just as easy.
The Gm67S has its strong points as well. Where this helmet really shines is
versatility. This helmet can be set up with three different configurations. You
can wear the helmet with a peak visor installed, a face shield, or you can
purchase a supplementary chin bar setup that actually gives this helmet some
full face style debris protection. You also have the option of adding a rear
light kit that can tap into your bike’s brake light circuit, giving the helmet
true brake light functionality. The Gmax also has excellent ventilation, and the
finish on these helmets is automotive quality.