How to buy the safest modular flip-up helmet.

safest modular helmets in the usa

The best protecting Modular Helmets uncovered*.

*These results are based on ECE helmet test data only so may not be directly relevant for DOT helmets on sale in the US as manufacturers sometimes modify helmets for different markets. So the information’s for guidance only.

If you’re looking to buy a modular helmet, the chances are you’re hoping it’ll provide all the safety of a full face along with the benefits of being able push up the chin bar from time to time.

Wearing an open face helmet is definitely liberating on warm summer days. But when you need to press on, you need to know that pushing down the chin bar is letting you ride knowing your face is protected should the worst happen.

The problem is, that’s not always the case. Not all modulars are created equal and some manufacturers are better at making great protecting flip-front helmets than others.

All flip-up and modular helmets on the US market have to be DOT approved. So they should give a good minimum level of protection.

The problem is, which helmets go beyond that minimum level and offer the best protection? And do the chin bars on flip-up helmets give the same protection as full face helmets.

There’s no way to tell by looking at US only data unfortunately (including from Snell who haven’t approved any modular helmets to date).

But we can get an idea by looking at some data from Europe – especially SHARP helmet testing data that independently tests ECE helmets.

SHARP rates the helmet shell for protection on a score of 1-5 stars, with 5 stars being the best. So theirs isn’t just a pass/fail score like DOT and ECE testing, and it lets us compare how well each helmet protects compared to each other.

They also note down if the chin bar locking mechanism unlocks during testing. I mean, if it’s going to protect, then it needs to stay locked and closed in the first place, right?

So it’s probably safe to assume a helmet whose chin bar stays locked 100% of the time is going to be safer than one where the chin bar became locked half the time.

OK, that’s enough babbling. The bottom line is that all the helmets on this page scored 4 or 5 star SHARP ratings for overall protection along with a 95% or above score for the chin bar lock staying locked and closed.

*But note: these results are based on ECE helmet test data only so may not be directly relevant for DOT helmets on sale in the US. So the information’s for guidance only.


Modular Helmets rated best for Safety/Protection


SHARP 4 Star, 100% Chin Bar

AGV has consistently been towards the top of our Top 10 Safest Helmet Brands list for years. And since its launch, the AGV Numo Evo range of helmets has been shown to be one of the safest and most protective modulars on the market. The original AGV Numo Evo (as the AGV Compact as it’s known in Europe) scored 4 stars and 100% and the follow up Numo Evo ST scored exactly the same. Meaning you can put your faith in the AGV Numo Evo ST giving you excellent protection. Read the Full AGV Numo Evo ST review.


shark-evo-one-2-featured SHARP 4 Star, 100% Chin Bar

Like AGV, Shark’s Evo range of helmets that started with the Evoline way back, has always scored well overall in SHARP’s tests – though their chin bars haven’t always stood up quite so well to testing. The latest incarnation is the Shark Evo-One 2 which has scored a SHARP 4 star rating and its chin bar stayed locked and closed 100% of the time making it arguably their safest and most protective modular ever. Excellent job Shark. Read the Full Shark Evo-One 2 review.


xlite-x1004-featuredSHARP 4 Star, 100% Chin Bar

Italian maker X-Lite’s X-1004 is another modular with a great safety rating. It’s also dual-homologated and comes in composite or carbon fiber variants. X-Lite is part of the Nolan Group who have a reputation of making some of the best protective flip-front helmets out there. Unfortunately, none of Nolan’s best protective modulars are widely available now so the X-1004 is the sole remaining Nolan modular that offers excellent protection. Read the full X-Lite X-1004 review.


agv-sport-modular-motorcycle-helmet-featuredSHARP 4 Star, 97% Chin Bar

AGV’s top flight modular for sportsbikes scored an excellent SHARP 4 star safety rating but dropped a few percentage points for becoming unlocked just once during testing. The shell’s made from carbon fiber and, notably, so too’s the chin guard. Notable because many helmet makers tend to stick cheaper chin bars on an otherwise fancy helmet shells. Read the full AGV Sport Modular helmet review.


HJC IS-Max in Matt Black

SHARP 4 Star, 100% Chin Bar

The HJC IS Max II has been around for a long time now. But it represents such great value for money and offers such excellent protection that HJC keep on making it. Yes, it’s a polycarbonate helmet, but that just means it’s in the reach of more rider’s pockets meaning you can buy a really functional modular with great protection for not much money. Read our full HJC IS-Max II helmet review.



SHARP 4 Star, 100% Chin Bar

Caberg too has been in our Safest Helmet Brands Top 10 list for many years and the Droid perfectly represents what Caberg is about – great value helmets that offer excellent protection. The Europe-only Droid achieved both a SHARP 4 star rating as well as the chin bar staying locked and closed throughout SHARP’s 32 tests – and it’s also great value too. Read the full Caberg Droid review (UK site).


So there you have it, our full list of modular helmets that are known to offer the best impact protection on the market. Which is not to say others won’t offer such great protection of course – it’s just that they’ve not been independently tested by SHARP so we don’t know.

Other Modular Helmets

If you're after a new modular/flip-up helmet, they've never been more popular and there's a ton of choice out there. You can find our latest top 10 modular helmets list here or check out all our modular helmet reviews here. You can also visit our smart filters page where you can click the flip-up/modular check box then choose a few other features to find the best flip-up helmet for you.


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