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!
Timothy in WV
I got this helmet to ride in the woods and open trails. I don't like wearing goggles because they are a pain to take on and off when you stop. The visor is easy to pull down and take off without having something else to worry about. My head felt like it had enough air and I felt comfortable for the 2 hours I rode.Read All Reviews
Flynn in AK
Really really like this helmet. I ride a WR250R and wanted something that looked the part but had a built in shield and drop down sun visor. This did both. The quality is stunning for the price. I could easily see paying 250 or more for this helmet. It has a quick on off chin strap. takes literally like 2 seconds. on the side of the helmet there's a slider for the sun visor, which is really nice. On the inside the foam feels great on my head. I wear a Large 509 helmet for my sled and got a large for this and it fits really well, a little snug but its still new so it'll break in perfect. The only thing I would change is the sun visor extending down a little further, there's a pretty obvious break in your vision from where it stops. Not super distracting but I know its there.Read All Reviews
Rich in Nevada
Great helmet for the money, fits good, shield is pretty distortion free. It is noisy but most dial sport helmets are. Complaints Eye glasses are almost impossible to wear due to padding. One other weird thing, I have been stung by bees/wasps multiple times while wearing this helmet. I think it has to do with how the air flows with the shield up, very strange.Read All Reviews
Damon in NY
This is a great helmet, very comfortable and good ventilation. The overall construction quality is good and faceshield seals great. The fit is a long oval. In my size (XL) I would say the fit is slightly smaller than the equivalent shoei.Read All Reviews