Arguably the most important piece of gear you can wear, a helmet can be the deciding factor between a serious injury or a minor dust-up on the track or trail. Choosing such an important piece of gear can be tough, so that’s why we’ve broken down some of our favorites for 2020. We don’t think you can go wrong with any of these helmets, but we’ll list some of the unique features of each to help you find the lid that’s best for you.

Premium Helmets

What makes a helmet premium is not only the standard of comfort it sets, but the level of protection it provides. These helmets represent the best mix of comfort, protection, innovation, and style.

Bell Moto-9 Carbon Flex

Price: $649.9-$679.95

Bell’s Moto-9 Carbon Flex helmet has been around for a while, and even then, the helmet is still one of the best-looking ones out there with its aggressive lines and shell design. Add that to spot-on sizing and a consistent true-to-size fit, and the helmet feels as good as it looks.

The real hallmark of the Moto-9 helmet, however, is its Flex Energy Management system. A first-of-its-kind three-layer impact liner, the system effectively manages energy in multiple crash scenarios. The three layers – EPO, EPP, and EPS – are each a different density to help absorb impacts at different speeds. A slip-zone at the top of the helmet accompanies this system, helping to “slip” or decouple the head to mitigate rotational forces. This, paired with the exclusive Magnefusion Emergency Removal System (MERS) in the cheek pads, makes the Moto-9 a safe and convenient option.

For a helmet with progressive layering, an adaptive fit, and a rotational energy management system, the Moto-9 is the best Bell has to offer in performance, comfort, and industry-leading innovation.

Bell Moto-9 Carbon Flex
Photo Credit: Kardy Photo

Bell Moto-9 Carbon Flex Helmet Colors
Hound Orange/Charcoal Solid White Syndrome Matte Black
Bell Moto-9 Carbon Flex Helmet Colors Bell Moto-9 Carbon Flex Helmet Colors Bell Moto-9 Carbon Flex Helmet Colors
Red/Navy Hi-Vis/Grey Black/White/Red
Bell Moto-9 Carbon Flex Helmet Colors Bell Moto-9 Carbon Flex Helmet Colors Bell Moto-9 Carbon Flex Helmet Colors
White/Black/Blue White/Orange/Sand Navy/Coral
Bell Moto-9 Carbon Flex Helmet Colors Bell Moto-9 Carbon Flex Helmet Colors Bell Moto-9 Carbon Flex Helmet Colors
Black/Silver Navy/Silver Green/Black/White
Bell Moto-9 Carbon Flex Helmet Colors Bell Moto-9 Carbon Flex Helmet Colors Bell Moto-9 Carbon Flex Helmet Colors

6D ATR-2

Price: $599.95-$695.00

6D’s first premium helmet, the ATR-1, changed the way the industry looked at helmet safety in 2013. Now their new-and-improved premium offering, the ATR-2, is continuing that legacy, delivering protection that is still on a different level.

Everything that you expect in a premium helmet – decent ventilation, an emergency cheek pad removal system, comfortable passing, etc. – is packed into the ATR-2. But the real defining feature of 6D’s premium helmet is the Omni-directional Suspension (ODS) technology. It’s unlike anything else because it’s exclusive to 6D. ODS works as a kinetic energy management system, displacing energy over a wider area on impact. Through a combination of low-friction discs, isolation dampers, and EPP damping towers, the ODS works with low, mid, and high-velocity impact for both linear and angular accelerations, mitigating the damages after a bad accident.

This unprecedented safety mechanism makes the helmet quite the investment, but 6D helps justify that with their unmatched customer service. For example, if you have a bad crash in your 6D helmet and crush the EPS liner, you can send the helmet back to the manufacturer rather than buying a new one. So long as everything else is structurally sound, 6D will replace the EPS liner and send it back to you. It’s a unique service that only 6D currently offers.

6D ATR-2
Photo Credit: Kardy Photo

6D ATR-2 Helmet Colors
Black Blue Matte Grey
6D ATR-2 Helmet Colors 6D ATR-2 Helmet Colors 6D ATR-2 Helmet Colors
Matte Neon Yellow Matte Red White
6D ATR-2 Helmet Colors 6D ATR-2 Helmet Colors 6D ATR-2 Helmet Colors
White Neon Yellow Red/Black
6D ATR-2 Helmet Colors 6D ATR-2 Helmet Colors 6D ATR-2 Helmet Colors
White/Black Black Black
6D ATR-2 Helmet Colors 6D ATR-2 Helmet Colors 6D ATR-2 Helmet Colors
Copper Neon Blue White
6D ATR-2 Helmet Colors 6D ATR-2 Helmet Colors 6D ATR-2 Helmet Colors
Matte Grey/Black Matte Orange/Blue Matte White/Black
6D ATR-2 Helmet Colors 6D ATR-2 Helmet Colors 6D ATR-2 Helmet Colors
Matte Black Matte White Blue White
6D ATR-2 Helmet Colors 6D ATR-2 Helmet Colors 6D ATR-2 Helmet Colors
Red Yellow Blue Neon Green
6D ATR-2 Helmet Colors 6D ATR-2 Helmet Colors 6D ATR-2 Helmet Colors
Neon Yellow Orange/Blue Red
6D ATR-2 Helmet Colors 6D ATR-2 Helmet Colors 6D ATR-2 Helmet Colors
Red/Blue/White Cyan/White Orange/White
6D ATR-2 Helmet Colors 6D ATR-2 Helmet Colors 6D ATR-2 Helmet Colors
Red/White/Blue
6D ATR-2 Helmet Colors

Troy Lee Designs SE4 Carbon MIPS

Price: $650.00

With the top-notch safety features you’d expect from a premium helmet in the distinctive colorways you’d expect from TLD, the SE4 Carbon MIPS helmet is the right blend of performance and style.

The foundation of the helmet is rock-solid; the lightweight carbon-fiber Kevlar shell is strong enough to be Snell certified on top of the standard DOT and ECE certification, 21 ventilation ports along the helmet provides optimal air flow, and the interior is comfy, easy to clean, and breathable. Building on that base are TLD’s protective measures, starting with their 3-piece EPS liner. Cut into separate pieces with different densities, the pieces are placed in optimized areas for the most impact absorption. According to TLD, there is 13% more padding above the brow area and 8% more in the back at the base of the helmet. In addition to this unique use of EPS, the SE4 also comes with a full Multi-directional Impact Protection System, otherwise known as MIPS. The tech lets the helmet slide relative to the head, helping to mitigate rotational forces on impact.

Troy Lee Designs SE4 Carbon MIPS
Photo Credit: Kardy Photo

Troy Lee Designs SE4 Carbon MIPS Helmet Colors
Black Black/Silver Blue/White
Troy Lee Designs SE4 Carbon MIPS Helmet Colors Troy Lee Designs SE4 Carbon MIPS Helmet Colors Troy Lee Designs SE4 Carbon MIPS Helmet Colors

Alpinestars Supertech M10

Price: $579.95-$649.95

For Alpinestar’s first attempt at a premium helmet, they came out swinging with the Supertech M10.

Right out of the box, a few features immediately stand out. At 3 lbs., the helmet is light, lighter than most of the other lids on this list. The visor is a breakaway, and there are several large vents across the front and back. There is also a routing system through the cheek pad and shell for a hydration pack, along with cutouts on the inside of the helmet for Bluetooth speakers or communication sets.

Less obvious but equally noteworthy is the helmet’s unprecedented A-Head Adjustment System inside the helmet. The patented technology provides the ultimate adjustability, allowing the helmet to be tuned to the rider’s height preference and angle at which the helmet sits on the head. By moving the upper piece of the comfort liner, you can get a more customized fit than you could with most other helmets.

Alpinestars Supertech M10
Photo Credit: Kardy Photo

Alpinestars Supertech M10 MIPS Helmet Colors
Anthracite Grey/Orange Black/Aqua/Orange Black/Grey/Yellow
Alpinestars Supertech M10 MIPS Helmet Colors Alpinestars Supertech M10 MIPS Helmet Colors
Carbon/Black White/Black Matte Black/White
Alpinestars Supertech M10 MIPS Helmet Colors Alpinestars Supertech M10 MIPS Helmet Colors Alpinestars Supertech M10 MIPS Helmet Colors
White/Red Silver/Black/Carbon/Gold
Alpinestars Supertech M10 MIPS Helmet Colors Alpinestars Supertech M10 MIPS Helmet Colors

Fly Racing Formula Carbon

Price: $649.95

Though Fly Racing’s Formula Carbon helmet only recently hit the shelves in early 2019, its easily earned its spot on this buyer’s guide. With an innovative shell and interior alike, the Formula Carbon is ushering in a new era of helmet performance and protection.

Starting with the outside, the helmet is a 12K carbon fiber shell, meaning that for each band of carbon fiber, there are 12,000 filaments. For perspective, most competitors’ helmets are 3K. That 12K constructions makes the Formula Carbon not only stronger in the shell, but extremely lightweight. At just 2 lbs. 12 oz., the helmet is lighter than any other helmet on this list.

Moving to the interior, the main talking point of the helmet are the energy cells enhanced by RHEON and the Conehead EPS technology. The seven RHEON cells inside the helmet have an active strain rate, behaving in accordance to the speed you are going, maximizing energy absorption to reduce force transmitted to the rider’s head. In conjunction, the Conehead EPS system provides a softer liner to help manage and absorb impacts more efficiently.

Of course, these features are all accompanied by sheering screws on the visor, great ventilation, and DOT and ECE certification.

Fly Racing Formula Carbon
Photo Credit: Kardy Photo

Fly Racing Formula Carbon Helmet Colors
Blue/White/Black Matte Hi-Vis/Grey/Black Matte Orange/Grey/Black
Fly Racing Formula Carbon Helmet Colors Fly Racing Formula Carbon Helmet Colors Fly Racing Formula Carbon Helmet Colors
Red/White/Black Black/Hi-Vis Grey/Orange/Blue
Fly Racing Formula Carbon Helmet Colors Fly Racing Formula Carbon Helmet Colors Fly Racing Formula Carbon Helmet Colors
Matte Black/Silver Matte Black/Teal Red/White/Blue
Fly Racing Formula Carbon Helmet Colors Fly Racing Formula Carbon Helmet Colors Fly Racing Formula Carbon Helmet Colors
Matte Black White
Fly Racing Formula Carbon Helmet Colors Fly Racing Formula Carbon Helmet Colors

Fox Racing V3

Price: $459.95-$519.95

Another all-new helmet for this year, the V3 from Fox Racing was years in the making before being released. But after years of research, developing, and testing, the V3 is here with exciting and innovative features.

Much like the helmets before it, the V3 comes with Fox’s Magnetic Visor Release System (MVRS), in four distinct shell sizes, and with DOT and ECE certification. Unlike the helmets that came before, however, the V3 contains two major safety benefits – Fluid Inside and the Varizorb liner. Fluid Inside is designed to give the least amount of resistance possible on impact so that the head can move as freely as possible inside the helmet. This helps to mitigate rotational forces and absorb linear impacts. As a complement, the Varizorb EPS liner works at different speeds to absorb the appropriate energy and spread the forces of impacts across a wider surface.

The V3 also features a unique shell design reminiscent of a mountain bike helmet, a separate cage to increase the strength of the chin bar, and cutouts in the liner to correlate with vents for maximized air flow.

Fox Racing V3
Photo Credit: Kardy Photo

Fox Racing V3 Helmet Colors
Carbon Black Matte Black White/Silver
Fox Racing V3 Helmet Colors Fox Racing V3 Helmet Colors Fox Racing V3 Helmet Colors
Multi Multi Orange/Blue
Fox Racing V3 Helmet Colors Fox Racing V3 Helmet Colors Fox Racing V3 Helmet Colors
White/Blue/Red Zebra Teal
Fox Racing V3 Helmet Colors Fox Racing V3 Helmet Colors Fox Racing V3 Helmet Colors

Helmets Under $300

We get it – not everyone has $500 to drop on a helmet. Some just don’t ride enough to warrant that kind of cost. If you’re looking for a helmet under $300 that still has some premium-level safety and comfort features, check out our buyer’s guide for motocross helmets under $300.

Fox Racing V1

Price: $179.95

At the lowest price point is Fox’s entry-level off-road helmet, the V1. Even at its low price, the V1 still delivers the key safety features you look for in a helmet. In addition to DOT and ECE certification, a polycarbonate shell, and multi-density EPS liner, there are a few features that set the helmet apart from other budget-friendly offerings.

For starters, the V1 continues Fox’s legacy of aggressive shell designs and cool colorways. The entry-level helmet also comes in four different shell sizes, not a commonality for helmets at its price point. Another stand-out feature is the 9 intake and 4 exhaust vents throughout the helmet for optimal, targeted airflow. The V1 helmet is one of the best venting sub-$300 helmets, and certainly one of the best ones on this list. A final premium-feature is Fox’s proprietary MVRS for energy dispersion in the event of a crash.

Fox Racing V1 Helmet Colors
White/Red/Blue Matte Black Stone
Fox Racing V1 Helmet Colors Fox Racing V1 Helmet Colors Fox Racing V1 Helmet Colors
White Iridium Blue/Red
Fox Racing V1 Helmet Colors Fox Racing V1 Helmet Colors Fox Racing V1 Helmet Colors
Multi Multi Yellow
Fox Racing V1 Helmet Colors Fox Racing V1 Helmet Colors Fox Racing V1 Helmet Colors
Flame Red Fluorescent Orange Navy
Fox Racing V1 Helmet Colors Fox Racing V1 Helmet Colors Fox Racing V1 Helmet Colors
White Black Blue
Fox Racing V1 Helmet Colors Fox Racing V1 Helmet Colors Fox Racing V1 Helmet Colors
Flame Red Fluorescent Orange Pink
Fox Racing V1 Helmet Colors Fox Racing V1 Helmet Colors Fox Racing V1 Helmet Colors
Camo
Fox Racing V1 Helmet Colors

Bell MX-9 with MIPS

Price: $159.95-$189.95

Year after year, the Bell MX-9 finds itself on lists like these, and for good reason. Packed-full of premium-level features, the helmet continually delivers exceptional value and pro-caliber performance.

With a similar shell shape to Bell’s Moto 9, the MX-9 is one of the best looking helmets on this list. Coming in at 3 lbs. 6 oz., though, it’s certainly not the lightest, but it does have a great safety feature to offset that: MIPS. The MIPS is a liner between the comfort liner and shell that creates a slip zone. This slip-plate technology is designed to reduce rotational forces in the event of a crash. MIPS is a stand-out feature that makes the MX-9 an especially desirable piece of gear at this price point.

A tough polycarbonate shell, MIPS energy management system, and Velocity Flow Ventilation system makes the helmet durable, safe, and comfortable.

Bell MX-9 w/ MIPS Helmet Colors
Marauder Matte Gloss/Blackout Matte Black Presence Black/Flo Orange/Camo
Bell MX-9 w/ MIPS Helmet Colors Bell MX-9 w/ MIPS Helmet Colors Bell MX-9 w/ MIPS Helmet Colors
Presence Black/Titanium/Camo Presence Black/White Presence Black/White/Red
Bell MX-9 w/ MIPS Helmet Colors Bell MX-9 w/ MIPS Helmet Colors Bell MX-9 w/ MIPS Helmet Colors
Tagger Asymmetric Blue/Pink Tagger Asymmetric Pink/Green Torch White/Blue/Yellow
Bell MX-9 w/ MIPS Helmet Colors Bell MX-9 w/ MIPS Helmet Colors Bell MX-9 w/ MIPS Helmet Colors
Matte Black/Green Matte Inferno/Green/Black Matte Grey/Black/Hi-Viz
Bell MX-9 w/ MIPS Helmet Colors Bell MX-9 w/ MIPS Helmet Colors Bell MX-9 w/ MIPS Helmet Colors
Matte Khaki/Black Grey/Black/White Orange/Black
Bell MX-9 w/ MIPS Helmet Colors Bell MX-9 w/ MIPS Helmet Colors Bell MX-9 w/ MIPS Helmet Colors
Red/Black White/Blue Navy/Coral
Bell MX-9 w/ MIPS Helmet Colors Bell MX-9 w/ MIPS Helmet Colors Bell MX-9 w/ MIPS Helmet Colors
Black/Green Black/Red Black/Green
Bell MX-9 w/ MIPS Helmet Colors Bell MX-9 w/ MIPS Helmet Colors Bell MX-9 w/ MIPS Helmet Colors
Black/Pink/White Grey/Black/Hi-Viz
Bell MX-9 w/ MIPS Helmet Colors Bell MX-9 w/ MIPS Helmet Colors

LS2 Subverter

Price: $199.98-$299.98

Just one glance and you can tell that the Subverter from LS2 is something unique. With an uncommon shell shape, a bright liner, and variety of eye-catching colorways, the Subverter is as bold as it is high performing.

There are a few distinct features that differentiate the Subverter from the other helmets on this list. First, vents along the chin bar, underneath the visor, and across the top of the helmet (accompanied by channels cut into the EPS liner) make the LS2 offering one of the best-venting helmets on the market. A second feature is the helmet’s kinetic polymer alloy (KPA) construction. LS2’s proprietary blend of polycarbonate, thermoplastics, and other durable materials makes the KPA shell lightweight, penetration-resistance, and noticeably flexible. A huge safety feature, the flexibility in the shell is designed to help with energy dispersion and impact absorption in the event of a crash.

In addition to these features, the LS2 Subverter is DOT and ECE certified. Coming in at 3 lbs. 5 oz., the helmet has an EPS liner and safety sliding structure, a security feature very similar to MIPS. Depending on color choice, the helmet’s price ranges from $199-$299.

LS2 Subverter
Photo Credit: Kardy Photo

LS2 Subverter Helmet Colors
Blackout Blade Krimson Khrome Blade Laser Blue Krome
LS2 Subverter Helmet Colors LS2 Subverter Helmet Colors LS2 Subverter Helmet Colors
Bomber Hi-Vis Yellow Chrome Glory Blue Krome TripleX Black/Pink/Hi-Vis
LS2 Subverter Helmet Colors LS2 Subverter Helmet Colors LS2 Subverter Helmet Colors
Voodoo Black/White/Red White
LS2 Subverter Helmet Colors LS2 Subverter Helmet Colors

Fox Racing V2

Price: $194.97-$269.95

Brand new in 2019, Fox Racing’s V2 helmet blends the safety features of the V3 with the affordability of the V1. In many ways, the V2 is reminiscent of the V1; with similar shell shape, weight, and DOT and ECE certification, the helmets look the same from the outside. The inside is where things change, though.

Previously only found in the V3, Fox Racing’s proprietary Varizorb EPS Liner and Fluid Inside are featured in the V2. Varizorb is a dual-injected, advanced EPS liner with strategic crumple zones for impact absorption – it spreads the forces of impact over its wide surface area. Fluid Inside works to mimic the fluid in our own brains through a matrix of pods oriented around the helmet’s interior. It “decouples” the floating of the helmet, mitigating rotational forces against our soft brain tissue.

For top-of-the-line protection at a middle-of-the-road price point, the V2 is a helmet worth investing in. Besides, Ken Roczen wouldn’t have chosen it over the V3 though the end of the 2019 MX season if it wasn’t durable, reliable, and functional.

Fox Racing V2
Photo Credit: Kardy Photo

Fox Racing V2 Helmet Colors
Blue/Red Flame Red Fluorescent Yellow
Fox Racing V2 Helmet Colors Fox Racing V2 Helmet Colors Fox Racing V2 Helmet Colors
Multi Blue Flame Red
Fox Racing V2 Helmet Colors Fox Racing V2 Helmet Colors Fox Racing V2 Helmet Colors
Matte Black White
Fox Racing V2 Helmet Colors Fox Racing V2 Helmet Colors

Fly Racing F2 Carbon

Price: $299.95

Just below the $300 benchmark is the Fly Racing F2 Carbon helmet. This was the premium offering from Fly for years before the Formula Carbon helmet was introduced in early 2019. Still with the premium features, the F2 Carbon now just comes at a budget-friendly price point.

Like the others on this list, the F2 Carbon is DOT and ECE certified and, like the Bell, has the safety-conscious MIPS liner system. Unlike the other helmets on this list, though, is the F2 Carbon’s shell. A carbon matrix shell made from a blend of carbon and Kevlar, the helmet is extremely durable. What’s more impressive, though, is how light it is for being so strong. Coming in at just 2 lbs. 15 oz. for a large, the helmet is by far the lightest helmet in our lineup. That loss of weight is invaluable, making the helmet very comfortable, too.

With an impressive ventilation system including quad vents above eye ports to reduce fogging, a custom rubber trim around the nose guard, and a fully integrated mouthpiece tilted to provide more space in front of the nose and mouth, Fly Racing’s F2 Carbon helmet has earned its spot on this list.

Fly Racing F2 Carbon
Photo Credit: Kardy Photo

Fly Racing F2 Carbon w/ MIPS Helmet Colors
Matte Black White Black/Pink
Fly Racing F2 Carbon w/ MIPS Helmet Colors Fly Racing F2 Carbon w/ MIPS Helmet Colors Fly Racing F2 Carbon w/ MIPS Helmet Colors
Hi-Vis/Yellow/Black Matte Black/Grey Seafoam/Port
Fly Racing F2 Carbon w/ MIPS Helmet Colors Fly Racing F2 Carbon w/ MIPS Helmet Colors Fly Racing F2 Carbon w/ MIPS Helmet Colors
White/Red Black/White Dark Green/Black
Fly Racing F2 Carbon w/ MIPS Helmet Colors Fly Racing F2 Carbon w/ MIPS Helmet Colors Fly Racing F2 Carbon w/ MIPS Helmet Colors
Red/Black/White White/Black/Grey
Fly Racing F2 Carbon w/ MIPS Helmet Colors Fly Racing F2 Carbon w/ MIPS Helmet Colors

Keep the Ride Going

If you’re looking to get geared up for the new year, check out our other buyer’s guides for 2020. You can also shop our full line of motocross helmets and MX helmets on closeout for more of the best products and deals in the industry.