best adventure motorcycle helmets

Adventure motorcycle helmets meld the features of on-road and off-road lids to provide adventure riders with a level of versatility that mirrors that of the machines they ride all over the great outdoors. Manufacturers of all sorts have jumped into the ADV helmet market to give us riders a smorgasbord of options to choose from. We’ve put together the list below to give adv-curious riders a one-stop article to check out the full range. From budget-minded to expensive feature-packed lids, these are the best adventure motorcycle helmets on the market in 2022, and there’s something here for everyone.

Shoei helmets carry their own standard. Loved by those around the world, the first iteration of the Hornet enjoyed success as Shoei’s first adventure helmet and the Hornet X2 follows in its footsteps. The Hornet X2 uses four shell sizes for its XS-2XL size range. The new peak has been aerodynamically designed to provide less buffeting and distortion at speed. The visor and shield can be removed to allow users to fine-tune their configuration and the shield can be removed without removing the peak to make things easier. The liner is removable and washable and features an emergency quick-release system should the rider have an accident and be in need of help. Tons of ventilation can be adjusted to fine-tune the airflow through the helmet and a removable breath guard and chin curtain are included. The face shield is Pinlock-ready and the Hornet X2 comes with the Pinlock insert. The Shoei Hornet 2 is DOT and SNELL 2015 rated. The helmet is so loved around MO that both Tom Roderick and Evans Brasfield have both reviewed the Hornet X2. Many graphics are out of stock, but the Sovereign, pictured, is available in many sizes.

Bottom Line/Famous for their fit

The AFX FX-41 DS is a bargain of a helmet. Packed to the gills with features, the AFX FX-41 helmet incorporates comforts absent from more expensive competitors, but at a very affordable price point. The FX-41 DS helmet incorporates a drop-down internal sun visor, 17 points of ventilation, a removable peak visor, a large eye port with optically correct UV and scratch-resistant face shield, and a hypoallergenic and antimicrobial removable inner liner. The AFX FX-41 DS also meets DOT and ECE 22.05 safety ratings.

Bottom Line/Small price big features

The Bell MX-9 Adventure MIPS helmet is based on the company’s MX-9 motocross helmet, with added features such as a sealing face shield for adventure riders. The helmet and shield are designed to work with goggles with the shield in the up position. The polycarbonate shell comes in three sizes keeping extra heft to a minimum. This version of the helmet is equipped with MIPS, the Multi-directional Impact Protection System which is designed to more efficiently disperse rotational impact energy. The MX-9 Adventure uses Bell’s Velocity-flow ventilation system to keep riders cool and the moisture-wicking liner is removable for washing. The Bell MX-9 Adventure MIPS is DOT and ECE rated. It comes in a shedload of graphics and solids – Marauder Blackout pictured.

Bottom Line/Excellent bang mitigation for the buck

The AGV AX-9 replaced the AX-8 last year, which had been a great adventure helmet for AGV since 2011. With this new model, AGV has redesigned the ventilation system on the chinbar, giving users venting which can be closed from the front or back as well as being able to completely remove the front closure system to allow for a more dirtbike-esque open chin vent. As before, there is still an open-cell foam type filter in the chin bar vent. The AX-9 is made from a tri-composite blend of carbon, Kevlar, and fiberglass as before and can also be had in full carbon for $150 more. One visibly noticeable difference between the newcomer and the outgoing model is the peak. The peak on the AX-9 is, to put it lightly, large. Larger than the AX-8 by a decent margin. AGV says this allows the peak to better do its job of keeping the sun out of your eyes and the shape and design of the new piece is more aerodynamic. The AX-9 also comes with a pinlock-ready shield and, has dedicated cutouts for a communication system to be installed.

Shalimar materials among others give a more premium and comfortable interface with your skin. The fit of the helmet itself has also been refined to fall more in line with the standard intermediate oval head shape which is most prevalent in the U.S. whereas the previous version was a bit tighter in the crown. All kinds of graphics are sketchily available, but the Siberia pictured seems to be in stock right now in everything but XS.

Bottom Line/Nuovo and improved-a

The Arai XD-4 is a staple in the adventure motorcycling community. It has been around for quite some time and protected the likes of Ewan and Charlie during their around the world explorations as well as countless other adventurers. The XD-4 has an intermediate oval head shape and a liner that allows the user to peel away 5mm layers of foam in specific areas to help adjust the fit. Ventilation is managed by two brow vents in the shield which can be opened or closed, two top vents, an adjustable chin vent, two chin bar vents, and a total of four exhaust vents. All of the vents aside from the lower exhaust vents can be closed. The shape of the peak and helmet itself has been aerodynamically designed to reduce buffeting and increase comfort when riding at speed. The Arai XD-4 is SNELL and DOT rated. A victim of its own success, XD4 supplies are limited now, unless you have a Small or Xtra Small noggin. Read our review from last October here.

Bottom Line/Handmade in Japan

HJC offers a large line-up of products from budget-friendly to premium. The DS-X1 adventure helmet can easily be converted for street or dirt-biased use. The peak is easily removable with a Phillips head screw for pounding out the miles at highway speed, and the shield can be removed quickly to use goggles for off-road work. The DS-X1 uses a polycarbonate shell and comes with a pinlock-ready shield. Closable chin vents and top vents allow air to channel through to the exhaust ports on the back of the helmet. The HJC DS-X1 is DOT rated.

Bottom Line/Premium helmet at a pedestrian price

The KLIM Krios Pro is the latest offering in the KLIM helmet lineup. This new helmet packs a ton of tech and versatility inside its hand-laid carbon fiber shell. The use of carbon fiber isn’t the only weight-saving measure though. After seeing Koroyd material used in the KLIM F5, the use of this new material in the Krios Pro is the first time Koroyd has been used in a street motorcycle helmet. Koroyd is a lightweight composition of welded polymer tubes and claims to absorb up to 48% more energy than traditional EPS during an impact. Not to mention it ventilates quite well, too.

The Krios Pro features fully adjustable chin and forehead vents as well as KLIM’s KLIMATEK removable antimicrobial moisture-wicking liner. Refined aerodynamics from the previous Krios model is said to provide a quieter ride and better stability at speed. A Pinlock-ready shield and Transitions shield is included with the Krios Pro. The Fidlock magnetic closure found on the Krios Pro is a feature we raved about in our F5 helmet review. The helmet is easily converted into four different riding styles: adventure, dual-sport with the use of goggles with the shield still attached, off-road with goggles and the shield removed, and street with the peak removed. The Krios Pro is also compatible with Sena’s 10U unit or other comm systems. The KLIM Krios Pro is DOT and ECE rated.

Unfortunately, nearly all versions are out of stock right now in nearly all sizes, but you might get lucky if your melon is unusually small or large.

Bottom Line/Light, full-featured, serious gear for serious riders

The latest from LS2, a Spanish helmet maker, is this lightweight, carbon-fiber shelled design, with an ultra-wide eye port for maximum vision and ventilation, and there’s a drop-down sunshield behind it. The peak also gets large ports for maximum air flow, and all the vents are adjustable to maintain comfort at speed, also.

Three shell sizes encompass seven helmet sizes from XS to 3XL, all of them weighing within 50 grams of 3.2 pounds, says LS2. Pinlock MAX insert for optimal fog resistance included. The interior boasts 3D laser-cut cheek pads, a longer oval shape than most intermediate ovals, and the Explorer Carbon Frontier carries DOT and ECE 22.05 stickers.

Bottom Line/Spanish flyweight

Nexx’s new X.WED2 replaces the X-Wild Enduro helmet, and is claimed to have double the air inlet ventilation of its predecessor, along with a beak that’s been redesigned for better aerodynamics at speed. A drop-down internal sun visor enables a smooth transition from sunny morning jaunts to dimly-lit evening excursions. Three shell sizes made up of X-Matrix material, which is a tri-blend of fiberglass, aramid, and carbon fiber, keep the helmet lightweight. The helmet is set up to use the Nexx X-Com communication system or whichever comm unit you prefer. The shield is Pinlock-ready although the Pinlock itself is sold separately, and the CoolMax 3D lining and cheek pads are of course removable and therefore washable. We’re DOT and ECE 22-05-compliant. Not all graphics are available in all sizes right now, but the Columbus pictured is available in Medium and Large.

Bottom Line/The Nexx best thing

Schuberth’s E1 is based on its highly successful C3 Pro modular helmet. Another modular, you say!? Yes, and this isn’t the last on this list. The C3 Pro modular helmet from Schuberth is touted as one of the quietest helmets on the market and we’re told this carries over into the E1. The chin bar has received a new vent to allow for more airflow and a three-position adjustable peak to protect from sun and roost. The peak or shield can be removed for the rider’s preferred setup. The outer shell is offered in only two shell sizes for a seven size run between XS-3XL. The COOLMAX and Thermacool liner materials work together to keep the rider comfortable and are fully removable for washing. The E1 uses Schuberth’s Anti-Roll-Off System which is incorporated into every Schuberth helmet to ensure when the ratcheting chin strap is adjusted correctly, that the helmet will not roll off the rider’s head. The E1 can be used with the Schuberth SRC system or other communication systems. The Pinlock ready shield and included Pinlock keep the shield fog-free no matter the weather outside. The Schuberth E1 is DOT rated and available in many solids and graphics – Tuareg shown. Check out John Burns’ full review of the Schuberth E1 here.

Bottom Line/Teutonophile’s choice

The Scorpion EXO-AT950 gives riders the versatility of an adventure helmet with the convenience and freedom of a modular. This polycarbonate lid is offered in three shell sizes for its XS-3XL size run. Riders can choose to remove the peak or shield to configure the helmet to their adventure. The shield features an anti-fog coating and an internal sun visor is also included. A dual configurable chin vent gives ventilation options while the top vent and exhaust vents route air in and out of the helmet. The KwikWick liner is antimicrobial and is designed to keep the rider comfortable in cold and hot weather. The AT950 has dedicated speaker cutouts to allow for comfortable installation of your preferred comm system. The Scorpion EXO-AT950 is DOT rated and available in a bunch of graphics. Check out Troy Siahaan’s full review here.

Bottom Line/A great do-it-all modular at a great price


Which features do I need to consider when choosing adventure motorcycle helmets?

This mostly depends on what and where you ride as well as personal preferences. If you live in a climate that is hot, ventilation might be an important feature. Or, if you live in a rainy climate, you may want to consider a helmet with a Pinlock-compatible shield to reduce the chance of fogging. Weight is also a factor that often correlates to price, which is itself another important point. The helmets listed above provide a wide range of options for curious ADV riders.

What’s the difference between adventure motorcycle helmets and regular helmets?

The biggest difference between adventure helmets and other street helmets is fairly obvious just from looking at the two side by side. Adventure helmets meld off-road and street helmet features into one. The peak, large viewport, and pointed chin guard all help bridge the gap for performance on and off-road.

What are the advantages of a modular adventure helmet?

Being able to flip up the front of the helmet to eat, drink, and talk to people is less of a big deal on most ADV helmets, because most ADV helmets already give you a much bigger eye port and more airflow that a traditional full-face. But if you’ve gotten used to a modular, it’s hard to go back, since eating, drinking, and talking is mostly what you do on your motorcycle anytime you’re not riding it. So far, Schuberth and Scorpion are the only helmet makers on our list to offer a modular.

Recent Updates: Nexx X.WED 2 replaces X-Wild Enduro, LS2 Explorer Carbon Frontier replaces LS2 Metro V3, Added link to Arai XD4 Review. Updated September 2022: Updated images and text.

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