It is somewhat ironic that most people who gravitate towards half-shell helmets aren’t newbies but often experienced riders. Why is this ironic? If you’ve ridden around the block a few times, you’re bound to have taken a tumble. This experience, in theory, sharpens your perception of personal safety and the type of gear that will offer some level of protection.
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So why choose a half-helmet that offers so little coverage? Again, it’s all about personal choice. We have put the miles in, which means we are aware of this type of helmet’s shortcomings. As experienced riders, we have assessed the situation and made an informed choice based on many different factors.
Thankfully, since my last big ride around France wearing little more than a coconut with a chinstrap, half-shell helmets have evolved a lot.
We chose these eight awesome carbon fiber half-helmets because they are at the top of their game. To begin with, they are all constructed from carbon fiber. And this makes the helmet light, highly abrasion-resistant, and five times stronger than steel of a comparable thickness.
In addition, every helmet comes with safety certification, stating that it’s undergone testing and is fit for its intended purpose. A far cry from the ‘Novelty- use Only’ sticker that accompanied mine!
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Carbon Fiber Daytona Half Helmet Skull Cap- DOT Approved
Daytona boasts that this helmet is the smallest, lowest profile half-shell in the world, offering DOT approval, a lofty claim indeed. Yet, as with everything in life, you get what you pay for and the Daytona Skull Cap is an impressive helmet.
Getting the correct fit is essential with this type of helmet. And Daytona has got this more than covered, offering an impressive range of sizes from 3XS-4XL.
Securing the helmet is also of high priority, and once again, Daytona appears to have gone the extra mile. Flush-finished rivets to the body of the helmet secure the chinstrap and are fully adjustable. This adjustability allows the strap to move forwards and backwards to achieve the perfect fit. What’s more, the custom quick-release lock is a one-finger operation.
Daytona advises paying close attention to your precise head measurement and their sizing chart. The helmet is intended to be a snug fit to the head but will bed-in and become more comfortable with wear.
Adult Carbon Fiber Half Motorcycle Helmet, ECE/DOT Approved
If you’re looking for a half lid with lots of features and safety credentials covering both sides of the Atlantic, then this helmet is the one for you.
This retro-style helmet comes with a peak and also benefits from a sun visor. The peak is somewhat abbreviated, though, which may lessen its overall performance.
The added benefit of a tinted visor is a big plus, as weather conditions can change quickly, and being able to flip the visor down on the move is most welcome. Also, winged tabs on either side of the visor simplify its operation.
Particular attention to detail is also paid to the interior of the helmet. Here, the high-density EPS liner comes with a breathable comfort liner, which is removable for washing.
The helmet features padded Y-shaped straps, and the adjustable section under the chin has a quick-release safety buckle.
The only limiting factor for this feature-filled half-helmet is the available size range. But if you fall into the M-2XL size category, you’re in luck.
VCOROS Carbon Fiber Motorcycle Helmet with Sun Shield
This carbon fiber motorcycle helmet is available in two finishes and three designs. For me, the gloss black version of the VCOROS makes the carbon fiber weave pop.
Once again, this is a half-helmet that features a small peak and a pull-down sun visor. Buyer feedback suggests that the sun visor is too short and produces a lot of turbulence under the visor. The thing to remember about sun visors on half- helmets is that they are often short due to the lack of space when the visor retracts.
Pull-down visors on all half-helmets are more of a backup item to a primary form of eye protection. The visor appears deeper than most, though, and should be capable of doing a decent job.
Inside, the helmet is a good combination of looks and practicality. There is a padded leather-look finish on the side straps and a faux suede finish on the comfort liner. The comfort liner is also removable for washing.
An adjustable chinstrap features a fast-action ratchet-style closure with a quick-release buckle. Better yet, the helmet tips the scales at a mere 1.54lb. However, sizes run small, so suppliers suggest increasing by one size.
Woljay Carbon Fiber Motorcycle Helmet with Drop Down Sun Lens
Aimed more at the budget end of the market, the Woljay still manages to offer plenty of features for riders looking to buy a budget carbon half-shell.
This DOT-certified motorcycle helmet comes in a matt black finish. Together with black fasteners and straps, it has the whole mean and moody look down to a fine art.
The interior EPS liner looks thick enough to provide reasonable shock proofing. However, there is no information available advising whether the nylon comfort liner is removable.
Supplied with a short removable peak, the tabs on each side of the drop-down tinted sun visor appear large enough to be easily accessible with gloved hands. The padded side straps offer comfort to the wearer and as with most ear coverings with cut-outs, wind noise will be an issue.
The helmet features an adjustable chinstrap, a quick-release fastener, and an all-in weight of 1.87lb.
QZMX Retro Carbon Fiber Open Helmet Matt Black
This handsome-looking half-helmet has a similar interior color and finish as the VCOROS model mentioned earlier. Unfortunately, the description does not state whether the QZMX’s lining is removable.
Considering that this helmet is almost three times more expensive than the majority of our selection, I would like to have seen a lot more detail.
A short removable peak joins a pull-down UV-resistant sun visor, which the wearer can only operate on the left side of the helmet. The adjustable chinstrap features a ratchet closure, and thanks to an extended tab it’s possible to open the fastener using only one hand.
No information regarding overall weight is available for this helmet. Sizes cover Medium through to 2XL, and according to the manufacturer, “For people with facial obesity, it is recommended to buy a larger size.” So we can only assume sizes run small.
DEWUFAFA Carbon Fiber DOT-Certified Motorcycle Helmet
The manufacturer’s name may be a bit of a mouthful, but there is no doubt they do make a good-looking helmet. The carbon fiber weave with its black finish stands out from the crowd giving this half-shell a purposeful look.
The DEWUFAFA is not just a pretty face either. According to the manufacturers, the carbon fiber used is aerospace standard and provides excellent anti-penetration and shockproof qualities.
The short peak is detachable via two screws. The drop-down sun visor is also detachable for cleaning and the wearer can flick it up or down on both sides.
Once again, a combination of black leather-look material and faux tan suede features on the padded cheek flaps and comfort liner. The liner is also removable for washing.
The fully adjustable chin strap gets a quick-release fastener. As the DEWUFAFA helmet is only available in four sizes, double-check your head measurement before purchasing.
Fulmer 301 Tac Carbon Fiber Half-Helmet
If you’re after a no-frills half-shell helmet, where priority is on build quality rather than accessories, this may well be the helmet to tick your boxes.
It is encouraging to see that Fulmer offers the 301 in three shell sizes, which means you’re pretty much guaranteed a safe, secure fit throughout their XS–4XL size range.
It’s not unusual for manufacturers of this style of helmet to merely produce one shell, with the difference in size taken up by the EPS liner. This construction method often results in wearers succumbing to mushroom head syndrome, which leaves riders with the profile of a domed nut. Not a cool look, but not something you have to worry about with the 301.
With padded Y-shape cheek flaps, an adjustable chin strap, and a double D-ring retention system, the emphasis is on fit and comfort. Combined with an all-up weight of just 1.7lb, these features mean the 301 should remain stable at speed, thereby reducing rider fatigue.
Vintage Style Carbon Fiber Skull Cap DOT/ECE Approved
From a practical point of view, this helmet is very streamlined, and with no peak or visor, turbulence will be minimal. In all probability, the lightest half-shell of this review, it tips the scales at just over 1lb! If you want anything lighter on your head, you’ll be looking at a bandana.
Just because this helmet weighs about the same as a decent pair of leather riding gloves doesn’t mean it offers little or no protection. According to the manufacturers, this half-shell is made from five layers of resin bonded carbon fiber cloth, giving it excellent abrasion and collision damage resilience.
You will find a ratchet mechanism and quick release buckle on the adjustable chinstrap. Meanwhile, the comfort liner is made from a breathable material.
One particularly nice feature of this vintage-style helmet is the color range available. Apart from the standard black version, this helmet is also available in a green and red tinted clear coat and eye-catching blue.
S – 2XL
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Do Half Helmets Protect the Wearer?
Let’s cut to the chase. Half-shell motorcycle helmets don’t offer much in the way of protection. As a result, they are often the choice of those looking for the most minimal way of keeping just inside the law.
Having said this, safety statistics reveal that the majority of motorcycle accidents occur at 29.8mph. With all of our eight helmet choices having a minimum of DOT safety certification, the chances are high that you will live to tell the tale.
Be aware that the lower face is wholly exposed though, and road surfaces don’t give a damn how cool your helmet makes you look!
Pros and Cons of Half-Helmets
Cons: No protection to the lower half of the face and head. Wind noise. Limited eye protection if fitted with a visor.
Other Names for a Half-Helmet
Bone dome, half shell, jockey helmet, skull caps, shorty, pudding basin, novelty lid and mushroom head.
Full Face Vs. Open Face Vs. Half-Shell Helmet
The full face will offer the most protection, both from the elements and crash damage. Some riders, however, claim that this type of helmet is too restrictive and feels claustrophobic.
When it comes to protecting the back of the head, the safety features of an open-face helmet are comparable to those of the full-face option. However, they do leave the front of the face exposed. Nevertheless, a high-quality open face with a good quality visor still offers excellent protection and better visibility.
The half-shell offers the least protection of the three. Yet, it is rarely regarded as a viable alternative to either a full or open-face helmet. The half-helmet offers the best option for visibility and freedom of movement but must have a minimum of DOT-certification.
What is DOT-Certification?
DOT refers to the US Department of Transportation, and DOT-certified means the helmet has met or exceeded specific test criteria. All motorcycle crash helmets sold in the United States must, by law bear a DOT sticker.
What is ECE-Certification?
ECE relates to the Economic Commission for Europe. A helmet with an ECE sticker means it has undergone and passed a rigorous standard of safety tests.
The Bottom Line
Whatever style of motorcycle helmet you choose to wear, whether the decision is down to safety considerations or personal freedom, make sure it’s the best it can be for your riding needs.
Each of our eight awesome carbon fiber half-helmets benefits from a material that is both lightweight and stronger than steel. In addition, each has undergone testing to allow it to bear the American DOT-certified safety stamp. While some of the featured helmets also have European ECE certification.
Whichever you choose, if you want a carbon fiber half-helmet, we’ve got you (half) covered.
*Products in our Buyer’s Guide section are carefully chosen and we recommend only the best for our loyal audience. Bear in mind that this article contains affiliate links and if you purchase via our links – Old News Club will earn a commission.