all about fiberglass motorcycle crash helmets

Fiberglass was the wonder material of its age. Originally developed in the 1930’s it was their carbon fiber moment.

It’s a cheap, light weight, strong and mouldable material that’s very suited to making into motorcycle crash helmets and has been the go-to material for heaps of manufacturers over the years in their quest to make the best helmet.

First stage of making an Arai helmet – creating a superfiber fiberglass shell

Indeed, many older dudes (like me!) still equate fiberglass helmets with top-of-the-range lids.

And with good reason – because in many cases it still does. Arai still uses it, so does Shoei and Scorpion, for example. But mostly, fiberglass is used as one of a number of components in a composite fiber helmet. These usually include other materials such as carbon fiber and kevlar in the mix.

In the picture, you can see an early stage of making an Arai helmet – creating a ‘straw hat’ of high-grade fiberglass (what Arai call superfibers) to form into the helmet shell before layering in other materials.

Fiberglass can be used as ‘ordered’ mats similar to carbon fiber weave. But, as you can see in the picture, it also has multi-directional strength when used in the ‘chopped strand’ method where fibers are chopped then laid down in random directions before being set in resin. This gives it great stability and multi-directional strength.

So don’t let fiberglass put you off – it’s an excellent material that displays lots of the properties we like to see in a helmet – light weight, strength with tunable flexibility and abrasion-resistance being but four.

And as you can see from our helmet materials table, fiberglass helmets are only a smidge heavier on average, and a tiny bit poorer SHARP safety performing, than composite helmets.

Helmet ShellAvg SHARP safety score (Max 5)Avg weight Lbs (Kg)
Carbon4.253.0 (1.36)
Composite3.763.2 (1.46)
Fiberglass3.63.3 (1.49)
Polycarb/thermoplastic3.33.46 (1.57)
Full Face3.63.24 (1.47)
Modular/flip3.353.75 (1.7)

Visit our fiberglass crash helmets section to see the wide variety of top-performing helmets that are sold as fiberglass helmets (or as composites containing fiberglass).


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