It is often overlooked, but you will rarely, if ever, see any of us behind the wheel of a UTV without a helmet on. It is just a smart thing to do. Many of us have had our very lives saved by wearing a helmet, or at least know someone who has. The old arguments against wearing them no longer fly, either. Today’s modern off-road helmets are lightweight and have enough airflow to keep you cool on hot days. You simply have no excuse.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
There are two basic forms of outer shells when it comes to today’s helmets. Most of your moderately priced helmets use a polycarbonate outer shell. These are high-density composite plastics that have much more impact resistance than you’d think. In addition to reducing cost, they also reduce weight. Higher-priced helmets mostly use a Kevlar/carbon fiber/fiberglass weave. This makes these helmets extremely resistant to impacts and they add additional impact disbursement. Thanks to the materials used, the weight is as low or lower than polycarbonate shells.
Inside the helmet is some form of foam liner that absorbs the impact and keeps most of the force from being transferred to important things like your skull and brain. The latest design incorporated MIPS, a new layer of protection designed to help deflect jolts to the brain from odd-angle impacts to the head.
Here is the truth to owning and wearing a helmet. They’re disposable and only single use. That means that if you take a shot to the noggin while wearing a helmet, and it’s strong enough to cause the interior of the helmet to compact, the helmet is toast. That can be a hard pill to swallow when you spend a couple hundred bucks on a helmet or more, but look at the bright side. If you weren’t wearing that helmet, that impact would have gone right to your head. No one wants to think about that. If you think your helmet has been used up, have it inspected and replace if need be.
Now that you’re in the market for a new skid-lid, let’s take a look at some of the newest and best available.
FXR RACING – www.fxrracing.com
The Blade is one of our favorite helmets. It has an outer shell made from a carbon fiber/Kevlar/fiberglass weave, making it incredibly strong and lightweight. The interior features a dual-density liner for impact protection, and a comfortable and adjustable liner that can be removed for washing. Ten vents keep your head cool and air moving around. Not to mention, the styling is very cool.
The FXR Boost offers a great amount of protection with a lightweight shell for a modest price. The shell is made from a new polymer alloy that keeps both the cost and the weight down while still giving your noggin the protection it needs. A dual-density liner protects during impacts and the liner is treated for hygiene and completely removable for washing.
The Torque helmets from FXR have been favorites for being lightweight and nicely priced. The Torque X helmets, with a flip-down face shield are extremely nice for times when you just don’t want to wear goggles, or for those with glasses. There is an option for an electric shield for winter riding. The outer shell is thermo-molded plastic composite with a dual-density inner EPS liner. The shield has FXR’s Lock + Seal technology to keep dust out as you’re driving and the shield is anti-fog and anti-scratch.
CKX – www.ckxgear.com
Maze Quest RSV
The best of both worlds, the Maze Quest RSV helmet has the features of an off-road helmet and a dual-sport helmet all in one. The injection-molded, thermoplastic shell protects your head from impacts and the removable smoke-colored shield makes this a great helmet for those that don’t always want to wear goggles, or those who wear glasses. The best part is the price. This helmet is packed with features for the price!
The TX696 is a great helmet at a greater price. For around $100, these stylish-looking skid lids have an injection-molded plastic shell with a dual-density liner. These helmets meet DOT FMVSS218 and ECE 22.05 standards for safety and protection and come in several sweet color combinations. The price on these helmets combined with the light weight remove any excuse you have for not wearing one.
Sometimes an open-face helmet is just what you need for a ride. It’s not always easy to find a good, comfortable open-face helmet, though. That’s what we love about the Origin from CKX. This helmet has an injection-molded thermoplastic shell and full ventilation. It meets or exceeds DOT standard FMVSS218 for impact protection. Plus, as an added bonus, they look pretty sweet too.
FLY RACING – www.flyracing.com
Fly Racing has quickly risen to the ranks of elite off-road gear makers with great products that fit well, perform extremely well and remain affordable. The F2 is a carbon fiber and Kevlar blend outer shell helmet with a Coolmax liner and dual-density inner shell. These skid lids have an outstanding ventilation system and are available with the MIPS system for additional brain protection.
The Fly Kinetic is an entry level helmet in price, with features that aren’t entry level. The Kinetic has a durable polymer shell with a dual density EPS inner shell for absorbing the blows from impacts. An outstanding ventilation system keeps your head cool and the stylish options mean you’ll have a good-looking melon when you ride. These helmets are so good, one of our good friends bought them for his kids, when he can get any helmet for them he wants.
The Trekker is a sleek helmet with a snap-down face shield for those that don’t always want goggles, or that wear glasses. The shield has full UV protection and is fog and scratch resistant. The vents all close down for days when the temperature is a bit on the freezing cold side. The polymer shell is ECE and DOT approved and the inner shell is dual-density EPS with a removable liner. You can remove the visor and there are reflective stickers you can add for increased visibility.
BELL – www.bellhelmets.com
Bell Helmets have been one of the best on the market for decades. Their top model, the Moto-9 is one of the most advanced helmets on the market today. They use a Trimatrix shell with a full MIPs-equipped inner EPS liner. It has a Magnafusion emergency release system to get you out of the helmet in a hurry in case of something very bad. The helmets are DOT, ECE and Snell 2015 approved and the helmet carries a 5-year factory warranty. Plus, they are available with styling designed by leading helmet painters.
The MX-9 is Bell’s “bargain” helmet. There’s a lot of features for this to be a true bargain-level helmet. It has a polycarbonate ABS shell, full MIPS protection EPS liner and exceptional ventilation for cooling you off on a hot day’s ride. DOT and ECE rated protection and light weight make this a great helmet for any use.
The MX-9 Adventure takes all of the outstanding features of the MX-9 including the polycarbonate ABS shell, MIPS protection EPS liner and overall good fit, and adds a shield for eye protection. But it’s not just a shield. These shields have Nutra-Fog II anti-fog coatings and scratch resistance, making them extremely durable. The smoke color helps tame the bright sky and it’s removable for those times when you want to switch back to goggles.