(…or how to find a helmet that vents well)
Why do you need good helmet ventilation?
First off, a crash helmet with great ventilation keeps your head cool in the summer or if you’re riding for long hours. No shit, Sherlock.
But that’s not all. It also slows down how quickly your helmet lining gets stinky (meaning you don’t have to wash it that often). And, of course, ventilation to the front of the helmet helps keep your shield fog-free and reduces misting – though if you live somewhere cold/rainy/humid, we advise you to stick a Pinlock on your shield too.
Of course, most helmets have sliders over the vent holes so you can open or close them at will – buy a helmet with good venting and you’re not committing yourself to spending the winter months with icicles hanging from your ears!
So, how do you find a helmet with great ventilation?
Well, to be honest, it’s not easy.
As we’ve discovered in our helmet reviews, some helmets that have a zillion vents on them get slammed by owners for crappy ventilation. Others only have one or two small vents but owners say they’re great.
Most helmets employ a similar system these days. They have one or more vent holes on the front or top of the helmet crown which allows air to pass through the helmet shell into the helmet. From there, air’s usually directed through channels in the polystyrene shock absorbing liner and onto the head. Of course, helmets have a fabric comfort liner inside, but these are usually perforated to allow air to circulate directly onto the head.
From there, most helmets have an exhaust vent or two on the back of the helmet to allow the stale warmer air out of the helmet – or so the theory goes: though we’ve actually seen one or two helmets without any obvious exhaust vents that get highly rated for ventilation by owners.
Helmets usually have a vent or two on the chin bar too. These route air onto the back of the shield to help stop the shield misting up – and sometimes route air to the chin for extra ventilation around the jaw.
So, given most helmets have a similar venting system, how do you find a good venting helmet?
Well, that’s why we review helmets and put all the helmets that owners say vent really well onto one page.