a quick look at helmet prices

I read Wired (wired.com) just about every day, and when you read a website every day, you get used to the kinds of articles they run. Color me surprised, then, when they ran a piece on the Schuberth C3 Pro helmet! As regular readers know, I wear a Schuberth S2 most of the time (my backup is a Shoei RF1100) and really like it. Last month I was discussing helmets – and helmet prices – when the subject of expensive helmets came up.

“Do I really need a $700 helmet?” he asked.

“No,” I answered, “but there’s plenty of people who will throw that old adage ‘if you’ve got a $100 head, buy a $100 helmet’ at you. Instead of listening to either bullshit or hype, go to a couple motorcycle shops and try on a bunch of different helmets and see what fits best. Buy that one & use it for 3 months, 6 months, a year, whatever. Then decide if you need a different one.”

The only difference between a “good” helmet and a “bad” one is that ANY helmet is better than no helmet. Your head, therefore, is a bad helmet. There are some typical differences between inexpensive & costly helmets, though. As you go up in cost, the helmets tend to get lighter (compared to other models of the same style), the shells get more high-tech (more composites & less fiberglas), the components (lining, cheek pads) get nicer or have more healthy qualities to them (removable/washable, anti-bacterial) and, perhaps more important than anything else, really, is the elitism factor.

“Oh, you use an HJC?” you can sneer at somebody when you wear an Arai helmet. “How nice for you.” You can feel superior to him if you like, but the bottom line is his HJC probably protects his head just as well as your Arai. Your Arai might feel nicer, look better and last longer, but the core of most motorcycle helmets – the EPS foam inside the shell – is nearly identical across all manufacturers.

I decided to put this quick comparison list together.  I looked at base model (solid color) helmets across a variety of manufacturers. (flip) = flip-up/modular; (DS) = dual sport. The helmets are listed with their MSRP (manufacturer’s suggester retail price) and, if I was able to find one, a street (or rather, web) price. Some manufacturers – like Schuberth and Bell – don’t discount their helmets, but you may find them on sale at this dealer or that dealer.

Schuberth SR1, 899
Arai Corsair V, 800 (600)

Schuberth C3 Pro (flip), 770
Arai RX-Q, 720 (648)

Schuberth S2, 699
Shoei X-Twelve, 682 (614)
Shoei Neotec (flip), 649 (585)
Schuberth C3 (flip), 630
Arai Defiant, 620 (558)
Arai Signet Q, 620 (558)
Arai XD-4 (DS), 600 (540)

Shoei GT Air, 550 (495)
Shoei Hornet (DS), 511 (460)
Arai Vector 2, 500 (450)

Shoei Multitec (flip), 430 (300)
Nolan N104 (flip), 450 (405)
Shoei RF1100, 440 (400)
Bell RS-1, 400

Nolan N90S (flip), 370 (243)
Scorpion EXO-R2000, 370
Shoei Qwest, 367 (330)
HJC RPHA-10, 360 (324)
HJC RPS-10, 360 (270)
Nolan N43E Trilogy (flip), 360 (324)
Icon Variant (DS), 350
Nolan N90 (flip), 300 (270)

Icon Airframe Construct, 295
Scorpion EXO-1100, 290
Scorpion EXO-900, 270
Nolan N85, 250 (225)
Bell Revolver EVO, 200
Scorpion EXO-500, 200

HJC FG-17, 190 (171)
Bell Vortex, 180
Icon Airmada, 180
HJC IS-16, 170 (153)
Icon Alliance, 160 (128)
Scorpion EXO-R410, 160
HJC CL-Max II (flip), 140 (126)
Fly Trekker (DS), 136 (126)
AFX FX-39 (DS), 135 (122)
AFX FX-140 (flip), 130 (117)
HJC CL-16, 130 (117)
Scorpion EXO-400, 130 (100)
Bell Arrow, 100
Speed & Strength SS700, 100 (90)

AFX FX-90, 80 (72)

IMG_2777(this is my Schuberth S2 helmet – love it!!)

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