The great thing about open face, or 3/4 helmets, is theyâ€™re open faced. You can talk to people, make funny faces, laugh out loud, drink things. The bad thing about open face helmets is also that theyâ€™re open faced. You can get pelted with gravel, stung by bees, find out how sharp raindrops feel at 70 mph, and have your face scraped off in the right kind of crash. We mostly wear them for short hops around town and on scooters and motorcycles that encourage us to take it slow, but thatâ€™s just us. Youâ€™ll have to make up your own mind when it comes to balancing style and convenience with safety. In any case, here are a few of our favorite open face lids.
Bell Custom 500 $119.95 to $399.95
The word â€œiconicâ€� is way overused lately, but it actually applies here. The original Bell 500 came out 60 years ago, and this new interpretation keeps it up with five unique shell sizes for a compact fit, an anti-bacterial micro-suede interior with contrast stitching, and your choice of carbon fiber or fiberglass composite shells (c-f is quite a bit pricier of course). Itâ€™s available in more than a few graphics and custom designs; the classic five snaps accommodate a range of face shields and beaks.
Davida Jet Â£289 to Â£399 ($374 to $516)
Hand-built in England using the finest materials including a leather lining (Davida says more than one square meter of the finest grade aniline dyed leather is used to create the supremely comfortable and luxurious quilted leather lined interior of every Jet helmet), each interior is then finished with a pure satin crown for a superb level of comfort. â€œThe Jet is Davida’s ultimate CLOSE FIT helmet. A far superior fitting helmet which delivers a supreme level of comfort & unrivalled performance, eliminating lift at speed & ensuring an exceptionally quiet ride.â€� The Jet is kind of the Rolls-Royce of open faces, and is available in a huge array of color schemes, including whatever you come up with, for a few pounds more. Donâ€™t forget your goggles and face mask while youâ€™re there.
Learn more at Davida‘s official website.
Shoei J-O $379 to $449
Shoeiâ€™s usual attention to detail and excellent craftsmanship are on display in this modern retro lid. The swellest thing about this one is its aerodynamic CJ-3 shield, which retracts up inside the shell using either hand. Itâ€™s superquiet, for an open face, and the shield negates the need for goggles or eyewear.
Scorpion Belfast $200 to $210
Scorpionâ€™s entry in the retro hip-cat open face category is the Belfast â€“ with a â€œnappaâ€� leather liner inside a handlaid fiberglass shell. An internal dropdown sun visor means you can ditch the goggles and glasses with this one, too. Scorpionâ€™s EXC-CT220 is a more modern open face for those so inclined.
HJC IS-5 (X-Wing Rebel Fighter Pilot graphic) $179.99
Just because youâ€™re old enough to ride a motorcycle doesnâ€™t mean youâ€™re too old to act like a kid, in a genuine Star Wars licensed helmet. Youâ€™re looking at an advanced CAD-designed polycarbonate composite shell. Yes thereâ€™s an integrated sun shield, and a 3-snap visor is also included. HJC makes a slew of other open faces lids if Star Wars is not your thing.
Fly .38 (Gloss Black Scallop graphic) $129.95
If this Â¾ helmet is as good as Flyâ€™s offroad stuff, it should be pretty good. Thereâ€™s a Coolmax interior inside the fiberglass shell â€“ which only comes in two sizes to make 12 helmet sizes â€“ so youâ€™d definitely want to try this one on before purchasing it.
Arai Ram-X (Fluorescent Yellow) $689.95
And at the complete opposite end of the stylish hipster open face thatâ€™s lately all the rage, would be Araiâ€™s completely modern Ram-X, which uses all that companyâ€™s latest tech including the ventilation system from the flagship Corsair race helmet. Designed for intermediate oval heads, if this one fits you probably wonâ€™t find a more comfortable open face for extended play.
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