The difference between dirt bike gear and street motorcycle gear is never more apparent than with helmets. They look completely different because they address different needs. A dual sport helmet combines the best features of both into a single package that can be effectively used either off-road or on-road. And fortunately, helmet technology has advanced so much that you don’t need to feel like you’re making a such a compromise when you choose a hybrid helmet; you’re able to take a single helmet with you regardless of what terrain you expect to find.
One of the defining elements of a dual sport helmet is the visor (or peak). Dirt helmets utilize visors primarily to protect against roost or branches. With a little head tuck, the visor can catch debris and prevent it from hitting your face. If you do heavy off-roading on your dual sport motorcycle, you’re likely to utilize the visor to the same effect. But even if you don’t, many riders find the visor to be a great way to block out the sun, making it an excellent feature for pure road use as well.
So why don’t all street helmets have visors? Traditional visors – like those found on dirt bike helmets, for example – tend to catch the wind when going at speed. This makes travelling at highway speeds with a visor-outfitted helmet annoying or even exhausting. However, many modern dual sport helmets have circumvented this problem by strategically placing vents that allow the airflow to move past the visor instead of catching it. Some helmets even have adjustable visors, which can help with this same problem.
Another important element of a helmet is the face shield. It’s standard on all street motorcycle helmets, but dirt helmets do away with it altogether in favor of goggles. As a general rule, dual sport helmets do include face shields. They tend to be warmer in cold weather, and they’re important at higher speeds. However, face shields aren’t ideal for dusty environments because it creates something of a vacuum and doesn’t easily allow the dust inside to escape. It can also begin to layer dust on the inside of the face shield, making it difficult to wipe off. Some dual sport helmets include features to combat this problem, but others make it possible to simply remove the face shield altogether and use goggles instead, allowing the helmet to be customized to the type of riding you need it most for.
Another nice thing about dual sport helmets is the elongated chin bar and venting. While generally not as pronounced as on a full-fledged dirt helmet, this feature allows increased airflow. If you do any intermediate-to-advanced off-roading, this is an essential feature as it will make it easier to breathe in more physically demanding environments. It also makes you less likely to fog up your face shield through heavier breathing.
At Rocky Mountain ATV/MC, we’ve assembled a large selection of some of the best dual sport helmets on the market. You’ll find a wide range of brands, including names that have left a big mark on the industry with a long history along with well-regarded brands that have entered the dual sport motorcycle segment only recently but which are still putting out incredible and innovative helmets.
Reading the product descriptions is one of the most important things you can do when searching for the best dual sport helmet for you. This is where you’ll find out which features a particular helmet includes (such as those mentioned above). And if you want the opinion of fellow riders, make sure to check out the customer reviews as well. They often contain invaluable bits of information that can help you make a good purchasing decision.
Take a look at our selection of dual sport motorcycle helmets now, and pick one up today!
DIRK in UT
Hey Moto Fans, @dirkbike here. Let me start off by saying, I've owned numerous high end moto helmets over my life, and am on my 3rd dual sport helmet. I own the cheap, popular AFX FX-41, and my new favorite, the ICON Variant (still not perfect, the rear 'wing' or wind diffuser, causes the helmet to shake, get rid of it and it's all but perfect) This helmet looks awesome, has great packaging, a superb fit that is very comfortable. The flip up face mask works great. The field of view is awesome with not much distortion around the edges of peripheral vision, sounds great right? Here's where I have a problem. The visor vibrates so bad from the wind it's unbearable. Did anyone from Scorpion actually go out and ride in this thing? There isn't 1 brace on the visor to keep it stiff. I imagine this is so the shield can flip up, but they definately could have thickened up the plastic to eliminate this. Being a product designer, I know how important the little details are, and it's those that are often missed. If you have a bike with a big windshield that all but eliminates wind, you might be okay.Read All Reviews
Don in MT
It's great to be able to get a drink without having to remove my helmet! Really like how easily the chin button operates! Even with gloves on! Fast delivery from Rocky Mountain ATV. I liked mine so much I bought one for my wife. She loves it!Read All Reviews
DOUGLAS in AZ
I much prefer this helmet to the Arai XD4 it replaced. The interior is more comfortable than the Arai and the pads are easier to remove and wash. The Arai is only a few ounces lighter but much more expensive. I like the modular design---the flip down sunvisor is a great idea.Read All Reviews
Todd in CA
Good inexpensive dual sport helmet for tooling around town and local fire roads on my EXC-F. When I do serious off-roading I grab my mx helmet and goggles. I mostly ride hot climates so appreciated the good airflow. I wear earplugs on the highway so noise isn’t a problem.Read All Reviews
Babs in BC
Very comfortable and light. Face shield snaps shut easily for higher speeds but will stay partly open in any position I want it to. Sun shade is convenient and works well, though a little stiff. Decently quiet at highway speeds. Comparable to my shoei neotec modular that was wat more money.Read All Reviews