Special Feature Helmets

Posted On 13 May 2024
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This entry is part 14 of 25 in the series AusMotorcyclist Issue#31


Are there some cool helmets out there? Are there what. But there is still a lot of contention about helmets in Australia. It ought to be oh so simple, rather the way it is in Unzud. If a Kiwi rider is wearing a helmet that displays the stamp of approval of any major international testing lab, it is legal and his or her feathery little head is considered safe. Which, you’d have to say, it is.

Things are different here in Oz.

Helmets do not have to meet with the approval of any international testing labs, except those who test for a spurious Australian standard.

Make no mistake: the Australian standards are not “better” than any of the international ones. They’re only different.

But hey, it’s not all doom and gloom. There are some most worthwhile innovations in helmets from various manufacturers – we look at those below – and there are some interesting new helmets both at the top of the market and further down in the economy seats. We look at some of those, too.

And we know that some of you are not even remotely interested in the whole helmet kerfuffle; all you want is an idea of which bloody brain bin to buy so you won’t get hassled by the cops. Well, we’re addressing your requirements, too.

As you’re probably aware, the helmet “situation”, in other words the legality of the bubble of fibre glass, carbon fibre or plastic on your head, has been precarious lately. Some helmets have been legal here but not there, some have not been legal at all but were happily accepted by Mr Plod, some… well, it’s been a bit like Free Money Day at the Stock Exchange, except in reverse.

As always you can rely on us for a sensible and considered explanation – so here it is. If such a thing is possible…


Beware – you will probably need a lie down after reading this. We did.


Currently, none. Sounds dumb? Read on. There are plenty of safe helmets on sale and in use by riders, but none of them are “legal” when in use on roads.

You don’t need an obvious accessory to have a “non compliant helmet”.

Recently, we have seen riders being issued infringements for “non compliant helmet” when riding with an accessory on their Australian certified helmet, such as a dark visor or a sports camera. This attracts three demerit points and fine of around $300.

In some cases where riders have chosen to have the fine contested in court, the Police prosecution has withdrawn the infringement. Others have been offered a “Section 10”, where they are required to plead guilty, but have no offence recorded. These latter ones have been claimed by Police as having proven their case, yet the matter was never argued.

We’d like to thank LHD Lawyers for assistance with NSW cases and Maurice Blackburn with Victorian cases. It’s a costly business to contest a fine of dubious merit.

Compliance with Road Rule 270 is impossible due to impossibility of compliance with the helmet standard when the helmet is being used.

Road rules require “compliance with” the helmet standard. Compliance with the standard requires ALL clauses to be met. Included in these Clauses are “Informative Labelling” and “Instructions for Use and Care”, which accompanied the helmet at point of purchase. These may be on a printed film across the visor, or a booklet attached to the chin-strap with a rubber band, or on the bottom of the box. Detaching these renders the helmet non-compliant with the Standard when in use.

Compliance with the Standard is required for helmets offered for sale.

Section 194 of the Australian Consumer Law 2011 is very clear. It is an offence to offer for sale, any helmet that does not comply with the C’th mandatory standard. The ACCC website provides details.

To add confusion, the Commonwealth mandatory standard makes variations to a specific voluntary standard (AS 1698-1988) to create the mandatory standard. (A voluntary Standard is any Standard published by Standards Australia.) Helmets available in local shops are not compliant with either of these.

Helmets in shops comply with the quite different voluntary Australian standard AS/NZS 1698:2006, which uses different head forms and different test methods.

States and Territories have changed their road rules to include AS/NZS 1698:2006, despite conflict with the Australian Consumer Law 2011. In every case, the change to add AS/NZS 1698:2006 to road rules was done without any public consultation or any effort to follow COAG principles of Better Regulation.

Hence, a rider must be party to an illegal transaction in order to buy a helmet that might comply with the road rules.

Road Rules in NSW and Victoria have additional requirements for stickers from a limited group of certifiers.

Again, this change was done behind closed doors, with no public consultation.

This has failed to improve helmet safety and restricted market participation by simply ejecting a number of companies from the market.

SA, ACT, WA and Tasmania require helmet stickers that simply don’t exist.

Attempts to justify this situation are laughable and unacceptable, but only riders have been penalised for this cluster muck of bad law.

There are no “in-service” regulations for accessories like communicators, dark visors, cameras, Mohawks, fancy paint jobs, etc. There is no requirement for a visor to have a compliance mark.

The Australian Motorcycle Council (AMC) has doubts as to whether a number of helmets in shops actually comply with the standard claimed.

At the time of writing the ACCC is investigating these.

The AMC and its member organisations have made headway in resolving some issues. These include blocking an Amendment to AS/NZS 1698:2006 that would have weakened the standard and obtaining intervention by the Commonwealth to do so, resulting in the Helmets Forum held in February this year. The ACCC is currently reviewing the mandatory standard and road authorities are also considering change. Queensland now allows use of European helmets (ECE 22-05), but these are just as illegal to sell in shops as helmets in compliance with AS/NZS 1698:2006 and not legal to use in any other state.

The AMC has brought attention to misleading so-called advice and progress is now being made, at glacial pace. See the Motorcycle Council of NSW website at for further details. Common sense must be your guide.

Currently it is impossible to have a discussion on helmet safety. We’re reduced to discussions about stickers.

All we really have at present is brand reputation.

The AMC sees little need for market protectionism for helmets. But the AMC does see a strong need for enforceable reliability and transparency of helmet certification processes. As riders, we put enormous faith in our helmet. We want a provable reality.

The Australian Motorcycle Council Helmets Committee comprises State rider delegates from MRA WA, Victorian Motorcycle Council (VMC), MCC of NSW and MRA Qld.

Our thanks to Guy Stanford, who made (some) sense of the madness for us all.

In short:

• No certainty at law for helmets

• Riders issued fines for non-offences

• Road Rules impossible to comply with

• Conflict between Sale and Use laws

• Review of Sale and Use laws under way


Many of the helmets sold in Australia are legal overseas anyway. If you do have one that has no approval other than the Australian one, you should still be okay. Generally speaking, it is fine to wear a helmet that’s legal in the country whose bike licence you are using. But then I have never had my helmet checked overseas. It might be worth talking to the NRMA or your local auto club if you’re going somewhere unusual, like Iraq…


Helmets improve all the time, just like tyres. Better aerodynamics, materials and features. Here is the latest and greatest from most of the helmet manufacturers available in Australia. Some distributors didn’t get their information in on time, hence they are not here. Next time. Oh, and we’ve taken the manufacturer’s or distributor’s word for the features and so on – for obvious reasons we couldn’t test all of the helmets.


Price – From $509.90 (Solids) to $679.90 (Lorenzo Monster Replica)

This is the top of the line helmet from HJC, as worn by Jorge Lorenzo. It features advanced P.I.M. construction (Carbon Fibre, Aramid, Fibreglass and Organic Fibre), is Pinlock prepared with a flat racing visor with centre lock, has ACS (Advanced Channelling Ventilation System), a silver cool plus interior and is available in sizes XS-2XL.

Price – From $379.90 (Solids), $389.90 (Force Graphic) $399.90

This is the top of the line helmet from HJC, as worn by Jorge Lorenzo. It features advanced P.I.M. construction (Carbon Fibre, Aramid, Fibreglass and Organic Fibre), is Pinlock prepared with a flat racing visor with centre lock, has ACS (Advanced Channelling Ventilation System), a silver cool plus interior and is available in sizes XS-2XL.

Price – From $379.90 (Solids), $389.90 (Force Graphic) $399.90

(Mamba and Lorenzo Replicas) Made from a fibreglass composite construction with a wind tunnel tested design, Pinlock prepared centre lock visor, silver cool plus interior and available in sizes XS-2XL.

Price – From $309.90 (Solids), $379.90 ( Graphics, Genesis, Spark,Intake) $399.90 (Lorenzo Replicas)

visor, Pinlock equipped centre lock visor, tool-less visor replacement system, sunglasses groove, silver cool interior and available in sizes XS-2XL.

Price – From $189.90 (Solids), $199.90 ( Graphics, Guardian, Injector, Intake) $249.90 (Lorenzo Spartan Replica).

Made from an advanced PC composite shell with a tool-less visor replacement system,advanced ventilation system, plush Nylex interior and available in sizes XS-2XL.


X-TWELVE Price – $929.90 (Solids), $1049.90 (Graphics), $1099.90 (Replicas)

A full MotoGP spec helmet, as worn by Marc Marquez, the X-Twelve is made from an AIM+ composite shell with multi-density dual layer EPS, MotoGP level ventilation and aerodynamics, removable 3D max dry race liner, EQRS safety system, CW-1 visor (Pinlock included), 5 year warranty and available in 4 shell sizes and fitting sizes ranging from XS-XL.

Price – $839.90 (Solid/Metallic colours), $899.90 (Graphics)

A premium sports/touring helmet that features an internal QSV-1 sunvisor, AIM+ composite shell, 4 shell sizes, removable 3D Max-dry liner, EQRS safety system, noise cancelling technology, 5 piece multi-density dual layer EPS withchannelled ventilation, CNS-1 visor with Pinlock included, a 5 year warranty and is available in sizes XS-2XL.

Price – $749.90 (Solids), $779.90 (Metallic colours), $849.90 (Graphics)

A light sports/race helmet with an AIM+ composite shell, compact lightweight aerodynamic design, 4 shell sizes, removable 3D Max-dry II liner, dual layer multi-density EPS with channelled ventilation, EQRS safety system, new rigid CWR-1 visor, Pinlock included, 5 year warranty and is available in sizes XXS-2XL.

Stuart uses an NXR on the road and racetrack – he loves it!


Price – $879.90 (Solids), $899.90 (Metallic colours), $999.90 (Graphics)

Shoei’s new leader in the adventure helmet category, this new helmet surpasses all others (according to Stuart), and features an AIM+ composite shell, super aerodynamic design with enhanced peak and shell stability, 4 shell sizes, dual layer multi-density EPS with channelled ventilation, removable 3D Max-dry II liner, EQRS safety system, new CNS-2 visor with the new premium Pinklock EVO included, a 5 year warranty and is available in sizes XS-2XL.


Price – $629.95

The real wild child available in a full carbon finish. An even more assertive look for lower weight. The wind tunnel tested double blade air spoiler allows the air to flow above and below the blade for great stability.

This helmet is constructed from carbon aramid fibre and multiaxial glass fibre featuring Shark’s easy fit comfort lining which also accommodates all types of glasses, and the Speed R is Sharktooth Bluetooth compatible.

Price – $349.95 (Graphic), $329.95 (Blank)

The Heritage open face is equipped with all of the market leading technology that the Shark name is synonymous with. Constructed from carbon aramid fibre and multi axial glass fibre, bamboo based material interior, Shark tooth compatible, easy fit system, so you can comfortably ride while wearing glasses, and a quick release visor system with a tinted sun visor.

Price – $799.95

Evoline Pro Carbon is a flip front helmet constructed from a combination of carbon aramid fibre and multi axial glass fibres, with a natural bamboo fibre. It has an outside visor with an anti-fog coating and an integrated internal UV380 anti-scratch sun visor.

Price – $599.95 (Graphic),$579.95 (Blank)

A versatile helmet designed to keep your head safe no matter how challenging the conditions are. Whether you’re commuting to the office, adventure riding through the hills, touring with your mates, cruising alone, racing on the track or riding in the pouring rain the Explore R is the helmet that offers as much in performance as it does in style.

The Explore R can easily change between a full-face and trail-style helmet by simply attaching the visor and goggles. The Explore R features a lightweight carbon aramid fibre and multi-axial glass fibre shell with a removable peak, drop-down sunglass visor and removable clear visor.


Price – $799

Designed exclusively for Ducati and produced by Arai on the Vector-II shell. The graphics on the ‘Theme’ have been styled to pair with technical riding apparel from the Ducati Sport collection, while the Corse SBK14 incorporates the Ducati Corse logo. Available in sizes XS-2XL.

Price – $899

Three nice variations of this Ducati designed by Arai helmet. The external shell is created with ScLc (Super complex Laminate construction) technology, it has a removable chin spoiler, chin air vent and free flow system, emergency release system and is available in sizes XS-2XL.

Price – $1250

The Racing Stripe brings a new look to the Ducati Corse riding apparel collection. The graphics take style cues from the 2014 Ducati Corse leather suit and will look great when paired with any of the Ducati Corse technical apparel. Available in sizes XS-2XL.

Price – $699

Designed for an urban riding position, the Logo 14 helmet is produced in laminate fibre glass and has a removable and washable interior. The total black look and embossed Ducati logo add a touch of unmistakable Ducati style.

Available in sizes XS-XL. STRADA TOUR 2
Price – $899

The Strada Tour 2 helmet in its 4th generation, used with or without peak, with or without visor, or with the combination of both, is versatile and suitable for multiple riding styles. Available in sizes XS-2XL.


N-104 EVO
Price – $499-$549

A flip-up helmet with sporty looks and high levels of features and comfort like a drop down internal tinted visor. Available in sizes XS-2XL.

Price – $299-$369

A true sports helmet with the added comfort of touring features such as a drop down internal tinted visor. Available in sizes XS-2XL

Price – $199-$249

A sports helmet with an exceptional quality / price ratio. Available in sizes XS-XL.

Price – $379 – $419

A Multi-Configuration design with aggressive styling and high feature levels. The Bear wears his N44 every day and just about everywhere he goes on a motorcycle! Available in sizes XS-2XL.

Price – $349

A modern classic styled helmet with multi-configuration design that makes it the most versatile helmet on the market. Available in sizes XS-2XL.

Price – $179

The N-41 has been a long term favourite open face helmet in the Australian market. Available in sizes XS-2XL.

Price – $199-$309

A classically designed open face helmet with the added protection of a full visor or available as a Vintage look short cut look. Comes in sizes XS-2XL.


Price – $99

This helmet is one of the lowest profile legal for road use helmets in Australia. It has a comfortable lining and is available in Matt Black with or without studs and sizes XS-2XL.

Price – $89.95

Combo of an open face with a full face shield. Fitted with extra front and rear absorbent padding to keep your head cooler, this helmet is a good all rounder. Available in sizes XS-XL.

Price – $99

A jet fighter styled helmet with an interchangeable multi position visor. Available in flat black or gloss white with carbon look inserts. Available in sizes XS-XL.

Price – $69.95

A minimalist style helmet which is great for those hot summer days or rides around town. The strap is designed so that the helmet won’t lift while riding. Available in sizes XS-XL.

Price – $99

For those who like a full face helmet at a very attractive price, the Road Rager comes with good features, three different colour schemes and is available in sizes XS-XL.


Price – $149.95

Classic pudding basin or café racer style helmet made from fibreglass to allow easy repainting in your favourite design. It also has a goggle strap retainer at the rear of the helmet. Available in sizes XS-2XL.

Price – $69.95

ADR approved German style helmet with attitude and style, made from a fibreglass composition. Stuart has one but oddly only wears it rarely. Available in sizes XS-2XL.

Price – $149.95

Lightweight touring and commuting helmet with a ¾ length integrated flip down visor. Made from a lightweight ABS construction and features a removable comfort liner. Available in sizes XS-XL.


Price – $449.95-$499.95

The AX-8 EVO Dual is an extremely versatile helmet for both on- and off road use with all the performance and comfort of a road model. Available in sizes XS-2XL.

Price – $949.95 – $1049.95

A helmet that combines the performance of the ‘Pista GP’ helmet with road features such as adjustable air vents, variable aerodynamics with a removable spoiler, and increased comfort – yet achieves this without sacrificing the performance standards of the GP model. Available in sizes XS-2XL.

K-3 SV
Price – $259.95 – $299.95

The K-3 SV was developed from the experience AGV gained during the design process of the Pista GP and Corsa helmets at a more affordable price point. Available in sizes XS-XL.

Price – $179.95 – $199.95

The design of the RP60 is absolutely faithful to helmets from the ‘50s and ‘60s, characterised by a clean, rounded shell, on which there are three press studs in the front and a ring to hold the goggles on the back.

Edges and coverage of polystyrene in faux leather accentuate the vintage effect and further enhance the product. Available in sizes XS-XL.


Price – $549.95

The new CT-Z has a radical peak design which channels air while providing day-long shade and also features Arai’s exclusive 5mm peel away custom-fit layer, giving you even more ability to craft the perfect fit and comfort for your face. Available in sizes XS-2XL.

Price – $629.95 – $729.95

A claimed new benchmark in comfort, quiet, stability and ventilation in a street helmet. The helmet you’d build if you wanted to treat yourself to a dream, they say. Available in sizes XS-XL.

Price – $699.95 – $799.95

All new with loads more features, excellent aerodynamics and Arai’s 5mm peel-away temple pads, which add another level of customisation, providing a little extra width when needed. Available in sizes XS-2XL.

Price – $549.95 – $649.95

Featuring a new fully-removable liner,new chin vent design, new Hyper Ridge design, new oversize front intake vent + larger side exhaust ports and a new wider eye port, the Vector 2 has all that you want and nothing you don’t. Available in a massive range of sizes – 2XS-3XL.


Price – $189.95 – $209.95

Features of this well priced adventure helmet include an aerodynamic and lightweight shell construction, adjustable mouth, brow and rear vents for a total of 17, and an integrated flip-down inner sun visor.

The shield can be removed to allow open face riding or goggle use, a removable and washable comfort liner and cheek pads are included and it’s available in sizes XS-2XL.


Price – $79.95 – $89.95

The new T-70 is the latest shorty design helmet to replace the older T-5 and T69 helmets in the THH range. Available in sizes XS-2XL.

Price – $69.95

A basic open face helmet available in a range of styles and sizes 2XS-3XL.

Price – $119.95 – $129.95

A low cost adventure helmet with a removable and washable liner. Available in sizes XS-2XL.


Price – $319.95 – $339.95

Constructed with state of the art carbon fibre technology – stronger and lighter and featuring a 5 point multi-position ratchet visor system, aerodynamic shape and Aerotech technology that reduces noise and turbulence, 3 air vents and 2 rear air exhaust vents, removable and washable interior lining, tool-less visor removal, Pod-less anti-scratch clear visor and optional dark tint, light tint and coated silver visors. Available in sizes XS-2XL.

Price – $149.95 – $159.95

A well-priced helmet with all the latest features including an internal drop down tinted visor. Available in sizes 2XS-3XL.

Price – $139.95 – $149.95

The new Rjays Navona is the latest in European design. Action packed with its super light weight construction, TSS internal shield and removable head liner and cheek pads. Available in sizes 2XS-2XL.

Price – $99.95 – $109.95

Another well-priced helmet with all that you want and nothing you don’t. The Apex also features a 3D Coolmax removable and washable liner. Available in sizes 2XS-2XL.

Price – $199.95

A flip-up helmet for this price! Rjays give you the TSS Tourtech which has the features of helmets costing lots more along with the drop down internal tinted visor and space for an intercom unit in the left cheekpad. Available in sizes 2XS-2XL.


What helmet should I buy?? It is literally impossible to answer this question, even if we sit down with you for an afternoon of beers and try to winkle out every bit of even remotely relevant informash…

infromar… interfore… But when did the impossibility of a task ever stop us? Never! Well, not at first, anyway…

So let’s look at the mega data here, that is the things we need to consider, stripped of relevance to any particular brand. Isn’t government propaganda wonderful?

Except for them, we would never have known about mega data!

What do you mean, a good thing too?

For a start, if you already have a helmet and it is more than three (3) years old, consider replacing it. Various bits of it deteriorate at different rates, but after three years or so, the entire helmet is no longer as safe as it was when you bought it. The foam liner will have been compressed, the shell has likely had a few bangs and scratches, and at one time or another, various solvents have worked their evil tasks on the shell too, even if only in dilution. Stickers (we know you; of course you put stickers on the shell – we do) may have weakened the material of the shell and repeated tugging and inaccurate clicking has buggered the straps and the lock. Buy a new helmet, all right?


And so we segue into our main story: which new helmet, Bear?

There are, of course, a lot of different reasons for choosing a particular helmet. They range from personal vanity and delusions of grandeur – expressed by buying a replica Rossi helmet – to a critical shortage in the wallet area – expressed by buying a non-branded plain flat black open-face… thing.

All of these things matter, and if I’ve made it look as if I disdain people who buy Rossi helmets then I take it back. Motorcycling needs heroes, and if you want to express your hero worship in the colour of your helmet (and want to contribute a few extra bucks to the manufacturer and the hero whose helmet is replicated – then go for it. Think of this – replica helmets will generally be of good quality because only big companies can afford to sponsor top riders – and big companies tend to make good helmets.

But what is a good helmet? Well, I have only ever visited one helmet factory, Nolan, and I reckon I’m safe in saying that Nolan helmets are good ones. They make everything – shells, liners, visors, foam liners – themselves, in Italy, they have clean and efficient assembly lines and they test their own helmets with a thing like a small air pressure cannon.

Bang! Whoo!


I presume that any other reputable helmet factory will look much the same, and that as a result helmets from Shoei, Arai, BMW, Zeus, Shark and so on will also be good ones. They all need to pass the Australian Standards test, too, if I understand the legal confusion at the moment. And although I have my problems with that test, it does set a minimum of effectiveness for helmets approved in Australia.

So all helmets meet a minimum standard. Why pay more than the few bucks for which you can get a crash hat, if it doesn’t add to the value?

Well, because it does add to the value. Just because something meets the same basic standard as something else doesn’t mean that it’s the same. More expensive helmets offer more comfort, higher quality, additional features and an opportunity to support your favourite racer. As I’ve suggested above, you can buy one of their replica helmets. More comfort comes from better materials and additional research into shape and details;

higher quality means lower weight and longer-lasting paint jobs and so on; and additional features include such things as the exceptional peripheral vision of my Nolan N44 and improved ventilation.

Which is not to say you shouldn’t buy a less expensive helmet. That’s certainly better than continuing to wear an old and unsafe one.

There is a place in the market for every helmet, at every price point.

I personally wear specific helmets because they offer particular features – like peripheral vision, low weight or good ventilation – and they usually end up being moderately expensive. I also wear helmets to test them, and that includes stack hats at all sorts of prices.


Now, you might have noticed that I didn’t include “quietness” as one of the features to consider. There is a simple reason: sound levels vary inside a helmet depending on your bike (does it, for instance, have a fairing?), your seating position (do you sit upright or slouch), the shape of your head, the speeds you normally do and so on. There are some helmets which are definitely quieter than others, but there’s always the danger that they might, under certain circumstances, be too quiet… It’s a can of worms.

And of course the trouble is that no shop will allow you to ride off for an hour or so to test a helmet for noise on your bike, with your riding style and at your speeds. Just think of what the next potential buyer would think if he was offered a helmet that someone had already worn for a significant time. I think not.

So can we make any recommendations at all? Try helmets from different manufacturers until you find one that fits – or is preferably a little too tight, allowing it to wear in.

Choose one that suits your budget, keeping in mind that you will ideally be replacing it in three years. Don’t buy a second-hand helmet, and don’t buy purely on price. You could be very sorry indeed if it proves to be uncomfortable. PT

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