Top 3 Helmets of 2016

2016 Editors' Choice

Your helmet, your skid lid, your brain bucket- it's the only thing between your head and the road in case of an accident, and you better make sure it's a good one. Our editors went from Arai to Z1R, testing out the helmets with the most comprehensive protection and the best styling. Here are their picks of the best helmets of 2016!

Shoei Hornet Cruiser
Morgan on the Ducati XDiavel in his much loved Arai Hornet X2Ducati

Online Editor: Morgan Gales

A bad helmet can ruin any ride. You can be in the most gorgeous place on the planet, but if your noggin is being squeezed by an ill-fitting lid, it's hard to focus on anything other than that. Having tested out a bunch of helmets this year, from the hyper-cool Moto 3 to the new Arai Signet and Quantums, 2016 saw a lot of companies moving helmet technology in a positive direction. But of all the hats that sit in my garage, the one I reach for most often is the Shoei Hornet X2.

I know, it's an adventure helmet, right!? Who cares!? That just means it has a little more room in the face, a sun visor, and it looks badass. The visor flows air so efficiently that it doesn't really catch wind on unfaired bikes. Having a little room in the chin is nice for those than might get a little claustrophobic in a full face, and lets a little air flow if you take the guard off, which I do. But the main thing that sets this apart from the rest of the Shoei line, it just has its own brand of aggressive and tough style.

The graphics are simple, but reflective and increase visibility at night. The chrome shield works really well with the design and also blocks out the goofy faces I am constantly making while riding. And it's unique! This might change in coming months, but I have never run into someone that wasn't on an adventure bike wearing the same helmet, which is awesome! Gotta love being able to get something off of the shelf and still be unique in your circle of riding buddies.

The facts are: it's not SUPER lightweight, but it's definitely not heavy. Aerodynamics are great, don't get a lot of pull. It is actually substantially quieter than most of my other helmets. It's just a great all-around lid that I have been using and abusing and loving the hell out of.

6d helmet
Jon in his choice, the Omni-Directional Suspension of the 6D helmetStaff

Associate Editor: Jon McDevitt

I have been running my 6D ATS-1 for a while now, and I am beyond pleased with this helmet. From styling to performance down to the advanced ODS technology; this helmet is not only rad looking, but also groundbreaking.

If you get down to the main, and truly only important reason to why we actually wear full-face helmets, you realize it is because we want to be as safe as possible out there. I mean that is the entire reason we wear helmets, to save our lives if something were to go wrong.

So what is ODS,? Well first of,f it stands for Omni-Directional Suspension and to explain it as simply as I can, it is like adding tiny shock absorbers between your noggin and the ground, or whatever your dome is being threatened by. In the standard helmets that we all have been running our entire lives, the helmet is a molded EPS liner and the outer shell. So when your head hits the ground the only give for your head to transfer that force is into that EPS liner. If you have never looked in and felt that, do so because it is almost as solid as a rock. Yes it keeps your head from splattering all over the ground, but you will be slamming your brain into the side of your skull at a brutal force.

The technology in the 6D give me confidence in the helmet in case anything were to happen, and that's why the 6D ATS-1 is my choice for 2016 Cruiser Editor’s Pick in the helmet category.

Cruiser Arai
Jordan Mastagni riding the Indian Scout in his choice, Arai's Defiant helmet.Bridgestone

Editor-In-Chief: Jordan Mastagni

No one pays more attention to the subtle variations and infinite possibilities of the human head shape than Arai. Why? Because it's the secret to getting the best comfort and fit. And Arai's Defiant in Base Orange Frost was definitely my go-to for 2016.

I probably have 20 helmets I can pull from the shelf when I go for a ride. The Defiant definitely won out more times than not based on its sheer comfort alone. It’s lightweight, which helps with neck fatigue on long trips, and it’s brilliantly ventilated when riding in warm climates. Especially with the visor closed. But when it’s cold outside, the vents close pretty tightly to keep the airflow out.

I’m also a big fan of the Pro Shade visor system, which eliminates the need for riding with sunglasses when the sun peers through the visor around sunset or sunrise. The Pro Shade is an optional accordion style sun visor that mounts to the exterior of the visor to easily lift up or down when trying to keep the sun’s rays at bay. And it stays in place no matter what kind of headwinds you get!

For more than three decades, Arai has pioneered different shapes – and even different proportions within those shapes – in our various helmet models, working to offer a better fit for more people. The Defiant features the Intermediate Oval R75 shell shape, which is Arai’s rounder, smoother, stronger shell.

Another great feature is that Arai Helmets give you the option to interchange cheek pads for the utmost in custom fit. After I received my Defiant, it fit still fit pretty tight after the break-in period so I’d asked for a tad thinner cheek pads and the result was exactly what I needed.