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Top 5 Best Racing Helmets of 2021

Helmet. The most important garment there is. Safety and good looks ought to be the two primary factors most affecting peoples choice for racing helmet. Price also probably is a factor for many, however this article is going to be about the best of the best in the helmet world. As the top-of-the-line helmets tend to be expensive, I guess few are looking for a bargain option when also wanting the best. Keeping that in mind, I won’t be talking much about the prices of these helmets today.

The best helmets are made by well established brands and there is a good reason for it. When company has been making helmets for as long as 50 or 60 years, they have amassed such a wide variety of knowledge that it’s almost impossible for newer companies to beat that in any regard. When on top of that there are, quite literally, lives at stake, we see the same manufacturers persisting year after year.

Let’s begin the list!

5. Bell Race Star Flex DLX

Bell is one of those companies that were making “modern” helmets when majority of people were racing with leather or cork capes. Once a great pioneer, the Bell still has a inexorable place in the helmet market and the new Race Star Flex DLX is a great statement for that. It has all the latest quirks of an ultra protective, lightweight and comfortable racing helmet. That includes

  • Full carbon fiber shell
  • All of the latest safety requirements DOT (US), SNELL (US) and ECE (EU)
  • Scattered with cleverly placed and designed vents
  • The new flex liner. It makes use of three polymers of varying densities (EPO, EPP, and EPS) to better manage low-, mid-, and high-speed impacts.
  • Really lightweight (1540g +/- 50g according to Bell)
  • Great sleek looks
  • The new DLX visor system that adapts automatically to different lighting conditions.

As one can clearly see above, the helmet definitely rests there with the best. Complaints regarding the Track Star are mainly about the fit. Bell does not offer great deal of different fits, so the helmet either fits or doesn’t fit. Fit being one of the most important contributing factors regarding the safety of the helmet, this is one thing you should keep in mind.

4. 6D Helmets ATS-1R

6D? “Omni-Directional Suspension”? That latter term alone makes this helmet an extraordinarily interesting piece of equipment. I don’t regard myself as being qualified to try to explain what the technology in this revolutionary helmet is all about, so I’m using a direct quote from the homepage of the company:

6D’s Omni-Directional Suspension (ODS) embodies a fully active, in-helmet suspension and kinetic energy management system. The suspended dual-liner assembly will displace and shear omni-directionally when subjected to impact. This capability provides significantly improved performance against both linear and angular accelerations.

That is truly something new and the independent data is backing the claims made by 6D. How about other features of the helmet? Aerodynamics are on par with the competition as is the ventilation system. It doesn’t have all of the safety certifications that other brands have, but it already boasts the DOT and ECE certifications. On paper it looks excellent and racing drivers have confirmed this on the road. It remains to be seen how 6D’s technology will sustain time and extreme conditions year after year.

I was talking about the established brands in the introduction. Well, as it so happens, our second addition to best helmets of 2021 turns out to be from a newcomer company. I’m stoked about the innovations of the company, but there is just something to be said about doing beforementioned 50-60 years of field testing. Seeing people suffer horrific injuries before your very eyes and after that having the courage to go back to the drawing board. That’s what the old-timer brands have been doing and when it comes to safety, I don’t think there is any way around it.

3. SHOEI X Fourteen

The third position is going to the other Japanese superstar of quality helmets. Hand-made, comfortable as anything and worn by the Marquez brothers. That’s a impressive resume for a helmet.

The build quality of X 14 is something that you can only feel yourself. The very moment you lay hands on the helmet, you know what word quality means. Every detail is just so well polished and carefully thought out. The helmet is light, but not as light as some of the other carbon shell helmets. This is due to SHOEI still counting on multilayer fiberglass shell production which they have engineered to perfection. It also makes the helmet feel very robust in comparison to some of the competition.

Inside it’s a luxury gig too. The interior system is made of a “3D Max-Dry Custom” material which feels awesome and helps wick the moisture on those hot track days. The EPS shell itself is comprised of dual-layer multi-density EPS foam construction which once again is familiar, yet proven to be one of the best ways to go.

It has all the other latest features and safety ratings as you might suspect from a top dog from the land of the rising sun. Where it excels though, is the aerodynamics. It has one the most streamlined profiles in the whole sphere of helmets and you can really notice it, be it on the track or on the freeway. Going fast or slow, it’s going to be quiet and turbulent free comfort. Line changes, checking on the competition or other activities that require turning your head are not a problem either as they also generate minimal resistance and very little turbulence.

All in all SHOEI X Fourteen is a stellar choice for a helmet for anyone looking maximum aerodynamics and overall excellent build quality.

2. AGV Pista GP RR 

His name is Valentino Rossi. And yeah, as you probably know, the guy is literally one of the best riders in the existence. If the helmet is good enough for him, well I’m not going to be the one arguing against it. Rossi has rocked AGV helmets made in his home country for his whole career. There’s no shame rooting your own nation’s products, if the said products are one of the best in the world. Pista GP RR is no exception and offers a staggeringly great helmet from one of the best and longest-established manufacturers around.

It has all the necessary flagship model quirks and features covering ventilation, comfort, looks and safety. If I had to highlight some features I would make a statement about it being the lightest helmet in this list with the weight of 1450 grams. In addition it has maybe the most flamboyant design looks of all of the top helmets out there, not forgetting the paint job which is exact replica of Rossi’s signature graphics. And I have to say, the looks of the helmet are out of this world.

Throughout the course of its history, AGV has sometimes fallen to the victim of trying to embed too much of the good stuff in one helmet. Sometimes this has led to to the helmet being finicky or in other way polarizing. Whereas that has been the case for some of the cheaper models, Pista GP RR is not riddled with any of those shortcomings and it is objectively one the best helmets money can buy.

1. Arai Corsair X

If there is somebody in the racing world who hasn’t heard about Arai helmets.. Well, he/she must be deaf, blind and mute! Being one of the all-time great manufacturers, Arai has more than earned its spot in the lead. They have stayed true to their heritage and to this day, every helmet is handmade in their factories in Japan. That tells something about the quality control of the company. Year after year they shatter all the safety records and time and time again many champions sweat their asses off while Having Arai badge on their forehead.

The Corsair X is a beast of a helmet and the DOT and SNELL regulations are just a starting point for this flagship model. As with SHOEI, Arai is counting on tried and true technologies such as EPS liner and a tough-as-nails polycarbonate exterior shell. The ventilation is phenomenal and engineered to the utmost perfection. There is two channels that run the length of the helmet along the top, with an added third intake vent in-between. You’ll find brow vents and a chin vent, with interior channels running along the inner liner. All these combined provide direct airflow to the wearer’s head and the end result is brilliant combination of silent and fresh.

It is also one of the best fitting helmets out there largely due to Arai’s own fit system. Knowing the Importantness of fit, Arai has different kind of presets for the different kind of heads. There is long oval, round oval, or intermediate oval. They have even made it possible to do micro-adjustments by peeling off layers in the inner liner. This way with a little bit of research and trying on the different shapes, you should find Arai to fit you perfectly no matter what.

Only possible complaint about the helmet is the looks. Arai has a distinctive look to their helmets, which doesn’t appeal to every eye. Some say that the helmet looks dated or lacks aggressiveness. When it comes down to style everybody is entitled of having their own opinion and if Arai’s styling is not for you, then it’s totally understandable. The interesting fact is though, that their distinctive styling is actually largely consequence of yet one more safety measure. It’s named R75 shape and it means that the shell of the helmet has a continuous curve radius of at least 75 mm. Arai has explained that this is due to it helping to disperse kinetic forces. It also helps to lessen the potential for the helmet to catch on rough surfaces or obstacles. According to Arai, this may introduce unwanted rotational forces. Few can say that about their helmet design!

Conclusion, conclusion

There you go, that was my comprehensive list of best helmets around. Do you agree with me? Or do you think some other helmet should have won the comparison? Let me know your thoughts in the comments field below!

And as always, ride safe (Well fitting as of this article)

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