5 Of The Best 5 Star Rated Helmets

If you’ve read our article from last week you’ll know that an expensive helmet doesn’t automatically make it a good helmet. But are all 5 star rated helmets created equal? In this article we look at what we think are the five best 5 star rated helmets, both budget and premium. Money might not buy you extra safety in the case of some helmets, but it can buy you comfort, quality and features.

Nitro Aikido – From $139.95

Given its rock bottom price the Nitro Aikido is one helmet that just can’t be ignored. If you want good head protection at the cheapest price then the Nitro Aikido is the helmet for you. And despite the cheap price, the majority of rider feedback is that it’s a decent all around helmet.

Positives:

  • Value for money
  • Comfortable
  • Aerodynamic. Minimal drag when turning the head at higher speeds
  • Misting/Fogging clears up quickly when at speed
  • Removable liner

Negatives:

  • Noisy – earplugs are a must
  • With vents open there is a fair bit of turbulence inside the helmet
  • Average to poor vision. The eye slot is shortened on the ends, cutting off peripheral vision and requiring the rider to turn their head more than other helmets.
  • Pinlock compatible but does not include a Pinlock insert

Nitro Aikido Five Best 5 Star Rated Helmets

Caberg Vox – From $125

Caberg is a helmet manufacturer you’ve probably never heard of which is a real shame – they have six helmets rated at 5 stars by SHARP and the most expensive is only £145 ($226). The Caberg Vox can actually be purchased at some online retailers for only $125 which actually makes it cheaper than the Nitro Aikido.

Positives:

  • Possibly the cheapest 5 star helmet you can buy
  • Built in sun visor
  • Removable liners

Negatives:

  • Average ventilation
  • Sun visor is prone to fogging
  • Average noise

Caberg Box Five Best 5 Star Rated Helmets

Shoei Qwest – From $366.99

Even though most helmets all look the same, Shoei somehow just manages to make their lids look that much better.  And while the Shoei Qwest is one of Shoei’s cheaper helmets, it still pretty much has all the features you’d want.

Positives:

  • Very lightweight
  • Very quiet

Negatives:

  • Some fogging of the visor when stationary
  • Venting not as good as the Shark Race R Pro or AGV Corsa

Shoei Qwest Five Best 5 Star Rated Helmets

Shark Race R – From $599.95

The top of the line helmet from Shark, it combines lightweight materials, race track aerodynamics and minimal wind noise in a highly attractive package. Shark might not have the same brand credentials as Arai or Shoei, but they make helmets just as good.

Positives

  • Minimal wind noise
  • Excellent ventilation
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable
  • Almost as good as the AGV Corsa, but $200 cheaper

Negatives

  • Slight fogging in humid conditions
  • Padding tight around the cheeks

Shark Race R Pro Five Best 5 Star Rated Helmets

AGV Corsa – From $799.95

The most expensive helmet featured here at a RRP of $799.95, which means for the price you could buy around 6 Caberg Vox’s. But that’s the same as saying you could buy a dozen Toyota Camry’s for the same price as a Porsche 911. You get what you pay for and while the AGV Corsa has the same 5 star safety rating as the other helmets here, it’s leaps and bounds ahead in quality and other features compared to some of them.

Positives:

  • Excellent ventilation
  • Lightweight
  • Anti-lift rear spoiler (that dislodges in a crash)
  • Expanded eyeport for improved visability

Negatives:

  • Price
  • Better suited to the track than the street

AGV Corsa Five Best 5 Star Rated Helmets

 

Is An Expensive Helmet a Safe Helmet? A Look at Helmet Safety Ratings and Price

“If you have a $10 head, buy a $10 helmet. If your head is worth more, buy a Bell.” That was the famous ad that Bell ran in the 1970’s and it’s still often quoted today when people talk about motorcycle gear, especially motorcycle helmets. It sounds right – who puts their faith in something cheap over an expensive item, especially when it comes to safety? But how true is that today? Is that $700 Shoei really what you need to keep your head safe or can you get away spending only $150? We’ve collated as much data as we can and analysed the correlation between helmet prices and their safety and the results are pretty surprising.

We took our data from the UK Government organisation SHARP, the Safety Helmet Assessment and Rating Programme. It provides by far and away the most comprehensive motorcycle helmet safety testing data available freely online. It’s obviously UK centric though, so we’ve stripped out the helmets that aren’t readily available internationally. We also removed all models that appear to be discontinued and finally only included brands that had at least three helmets rated once the above criteria was met.

Below we have charted those remaining helmets, and you can them see by each helmet listed individually and by a brand as a whole. Hover your mouse over the individual circles to see the helmet name, its rating and its price. Note that the prices on the Y-Axis are in Pounds Sterling (£).

Now let’s do some analysis.

If we put a trend line through the graph like below, you can see that the trend is that the higher the helmet rating the higher the price, but only marginally. In fact the most expensive helmet in our data, the Arai RX-7 GP only receives a 4 star rating from SHARP, but costs £589, or around $1,000. Compare that to either the G-Mac Pilot or the Viper RS-33, both of which are the equally cheapest helmets in our data and cost only £40 or around $65. Like the Arai, they also receive a 4 star rating.

Helmet Safety and Price All Helmets

To demonstrate it even more starkly, the Schuberth S1 Pro is listed at £450 and only received a 2 star safety rating from SHARP. It received ‘Poor’ results for both left and right side impact tests and yet it is more expensive than all the 5 star rated helmets except three.

The cheapest 5 star helmet you can buy is the Nitro Aikido which costs £70 or around $120 on Amazon. The Nitro Aikido was first released back in 2011 and is still produced today. They’re a good example of why you shouldn’t take brands on face value either. If you’d previously heard about the Aikido and it’s great value for money, you may have assumed that the rest of the Nitro range was as good.  And while the Aikido is damn good for the price, it’s the company’s only 5 star helmet – they even have a few 2 star rated helmets for sale. In fact,  the safety of Nitro’s helmets almost increases as the price decreases:

Helmet Safety and Price Nitro Helmets

On the flipside, the most expensive helmet money can buy if you want a 5 star rated helmet is the AGV Corsa.  The AGV Corsa is listed at £550, or around $750 at Revzilla.  But if safety is your only concern and you really want to wear the same brand Rossi wears, you can save yourself $450 and buy the AGV Stealth. Again, this shows that helmet price doesn’t necessarily correlate with helmet safety.

Helmet Safety and Price AGV Helmets

Of the major brands by far and away the most disappointing is Schuberth. Not only is the average price of their helmets the most expensive of all the brands featured here, they also have no helmets with a safety rating of 5.  But they do have two helmets with a safety rating of 2. If there’s any example of expensive helmets not equalling safety then Schuberth is it.

Helmet Safety and Price Schuberth Helmets

So how much is your head worth? Well, if you’re short on funds, about £70 for a Nitro Aikido. But while a helmet like the Nitro Aikido provides the same amount of safety as the AGV Corsa or Shark Race R Pro which cost up to seven times more, does it make it necessarily a good helmet?

Of course not, and safety and price are just two of many factors you should consider. But don’t be fooled by the price (or brand) of a helmet. Never is the phrase ‘Buyer Beware’ more important than when it comes to protecting your head. If someone had asked you before reading this article if you thought a $700 Schuberth S1 Pro was safer than a $120 Nitro Aikido, I’m sure you would have gone for the former.

In part two of this story which will be published later in the week, we’ll take a look at the best five helmets that are rated 5 stars, including comfort, noise levels and price.