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!
Mitch in IA
I wear an Arai XD4 most of the time. However, for hot sweaty dirty training rides I bought the DS-X1 with low expectations. I was very pleasantly surprised. Fit and finish are surprisingly good. The helmet is comfortable, vents fairly well and isn't too heavy. Cons include a peak that does not come down far enough and a face shield that snaps close and is tough to pop back open. But I fixed both of these issues in 5 minutes with my Dremel and a grinding wheel. I just removed a little material on the slot on the peak and it now slide down where I want it. On the face shield I just ground down the nub that holds the shield closed to the point where it still seals nice and tight, but not too tight. I like this helmet. When the time comes to replace it, I hope they still have it. I'd definitely buy it again.Read All Reviews
Kyle in IN
I was worried about buying an $500+ helmet online without ever trying one on. I guess I got lucky. It fits great and I love this helmet thus far. I can say that my expectations were tempered. I knew it wasn't going to be the quietest helmet out there. I also knew that it would flow air through the open vent on the front even if I didn't want it to (since there is no control). But it meets my requirements: it's comfortable, it's light, I feel safe wearing it, it cuts through the air fine in my application (highway commuter), and it looks super intimidating!Read All Reviews
Trail maker and breaker in NJ
Great helmet for the $! I live the buckle clasp and Easy visor use. Good venting in summer, chilly in winter months when hauling down the road. Not bad on trails at all.i highly recommend this helmet for on and off road use.Read All Reviews