Best Dirt Bike Helmets - Entry Level

6 Best Dirt Bike Helmets (2020 Update) – Entry Level

Most people would agree that your helmet is the most essential piece of protective gear in your dirt bike riding arsenal.

Prices range vastly and while it is always advisable to select the best you can afford, not everyone can spend $500-600 on a helmet.

With this in mind, I have spent considerable time searching for the best dirt bike helmets available today in the under $300 price range.

The good news is that advances in helmet technology and materials coming down in price have meant that safety features once found only in top-of-the-range helmets are now finding their way to the lower-priced helmets.

Quick Summary

Helmets in this lineup range in price from $90 to $300. Here’s a quick look at the best dirt bike helmets reviewed here:

1. Bell MX-9 MIPS Helmet  – Top Pick
2. Fly Racing F2 Carbon Helmet
3. 2020 Fox Racing V2 Helmet
4. LS2 MX470 Subverter Off-Road Helmet – Most Ventilated Helmet
5. Troy Lee Designs SE4 Polyacrylite helmet
6. Vega VRX Advanced Off-Road Dirt Bike Helmet

My lifetime of riding dirt bikes stretches back to the late seventies when full-face helmets were making their first appearance with the iconic Bell Moto 3.

Until then if you wanted full-face protection there were a variety of clip-on attachments to fit to open face helmets, most of which would come off in a spill.

Thankfully today there is a huge range of excellent helmets to choose from.

Top 4 Things To Consider When Purchasing a Helmet:

1. Protective Features:

Obviously, priority number one of a motorcycle helmet is to give you protection from impacts to your head in the event of a crash. There have been significant advances in helmet technology in recent years, most notably MIPS (Multi-Directional Impact System) technology which is included in several of the helmets in this review.

Other features like breakaway visors to help reduce rotational forces to the head, emergency release cheek pads, and multi-density EPS liners are also being seen in helmets today.

2. Correct Size and Shape:

All the safety features in the world are wasted if the helmet doesn’t fit properly to do the job it’s designed to do. Selecting a correctly fitting helmet is essential. Most manufacturers provide different shell sizes and design the helmet for different head shapes.

Head Shape is just as important as Head Size. A perfectly sized helmet may fit comfortably on one rider, but be uncomfortable on another. This is because of different head shapes.

A lot of manufacturers offer the following head shapes when manufacturing their helmets: Long Oval, Intermediate Oval (This is the most common offered by manufacturers) and Round Oval.

Helmet head shape guide

To get the maximum protection from your helmet it must be correctly sized and fit your head shape. Take your own measurements and factor in your head shape when selecting.

Match your head size with the helmet manufacturer’s size chart to find a match. Each helmet manufacturer will have a different sizing chart, so you will need to follow each brand’s sizing.

I’ve included each manufacturer’s helmet sizing chart here for ease of selection.

3. Ventilation and Comfort:

Plenty of ventilation ports are always a necessity in a dirt bike helmet, even if you don’t always ride in hot weather. If you ride a lot of tight, slower technical terrain you can really work up a sweat.

Look for a helmet with entry and exit ports, to allow the flow of air through your helmet and draw the warm air away from your head. Basically, the more vents, the better.

A liner that is removable for washing and made of moisture-wicking fabric is also desirable to keep your helmet fresh.

4. Budget:

While it’s easy to say ‘what is your brain worth’, we all still have a budget to live by. The good news is that with advances in helmet technology a lot of the safety features of the upper-end helmet price range are now finding their way into the sub $300 price range.

So even if you are new to dirt bike riding and don’t want to go to a top-end helmet right away, there are very good options available, as shown below that incorporate plenty of safety features once seen only in top-end helmets.

For a complete buyer’s guide to selecting the right dirt bike helmet, refer to my post: Buying A Dirt Bike Helmet – What You Need To Know

1. Bell MX-9 MIPS  Helmet

Bell MX-9 MIPS helmet

Bell would be one of the most widely known and respected companies in the helmet world. Personally, I have used Bell helmets for racing as far back as the Bell Moto 3 days in the eighties.

Bell has added MIPS (Multi-Directional Impact System) technology to all of its MX-9 helmets. It’s good to see the technology of $500 helmets making its way into this sub $200 helmet.

MIPS is an innovative system which is designed to allow small amounts of shell movement in rotational and angular impacts and reduce the sudden stopping motion of the brain within the skull.

This happens a lot in the dirt riding world, and Bell is also taking this technology to the street bike world. It is widely regarded as a truly revolutionary step forward in helmet technology.

The MX-9 is designed for the intermediate oval head shape and is considered the baby brother of the Bell Moto-9.

Trading the composite materials of the Moto-9, the MX-9 uses a proven Polycarbonate shell which is strong and light. These materials are some of the best for lower-priced helmets.

Another feature of the MX-9 is the ‘Velocity Flow Ventilation System’ which is designed to provide maximum airflow through your helmet for those hot days riding.

The ‘Flying Bridge Visor’ also aids in channeling air through the helmet and leaves you free to adjust exactly how much air comes through the forward intake vents.

If you still get sweaty the interior comfort liner is anti-bacterial and removable when it’s time for a wash.

There are also nice features like the EPS lined chin bar and a removable channeled liner.

Features:

  • 3 Shell and EPS sizes for a personalized fit
  • Fully adjustable ‘Flying Bridge Visor’ with air intake vents to help reduce uplift at speeds
  • Lightweight Polycarbonate/ABS Shell construction
  • MIPS (Multi-Directional Impact System) Equipped
  • Integrated Vented Roost Guard
  • Padded chin-strap with D-Ring closure
  • Removable/washable anti-bacterial interior lining
  • ‘Velocity-Flow Ventilation System’ for maximum cooling
  • Weight: 3.3 lbs 1.5 kgs
  • Certification: DOT, ECE

2. Fly Racing F2 Carbon Helmet

Fly F2 Carbon MIPS helmet

Fly Racing is another well-known and respected company in the dirt bike world.

The Fly Racing F2 Carbon comes in at the top end of the sub $300 price range but is a premium helmet with features you find in a more expensive helmet.

The shell is constructed of a Carbon Matrix composite which is a high-end material that gives great durability and protection.

Like the Bell MX-9, it also features MIPS technology, which is good to see in lower to mid-range helmets and makes the F2 a great choice.

The F2 also includes Fly Racing’s trademark ventilation system TFV (True Function Ventilation) which includes 11 intake vents that force the airflow through the EPS lining and out of the helmet through 4 exhaust vents.

A neat feature is the ‘Tri-vent’ system over the brow area which is designed to pull air up and away from your goggles helping to prevent fogging.

The helmet includes a Dual-density EPS lining for extra protection and also integrates ‘CoolMax’ materials for the lining which works well for moisture-wicking to draw any sweat away from your face.

The lining is also fully removable for washing to keep your helmet feeling fresh.

Features:

  • Carbon Fiber and Kevlar composite shell
  • Dual-density EPS liner
  • MIPS (Multi-Directional Impact System) Equipped
  • Eleven intakes and four exhaust vents
  • Tri-vent goggle anti-fog system
  • Molded trim and nose guard
  • Stainless steel rivets and D-rings
  • Two shells and Three EPS sizes for a precise fit
  • Washable liner and cheek pads to keep it fresh
  • Weight: 3.3 lbs 1.5 kgs
  • Certification: DOT, Snell M2010

Fly Racing Helmet Size Chart

3. 2020 Fox Racing V2 Helmet

Fox Racing V2 helmetThe Fox Racing V2 helmet shares a few of the safety features of its premium level big brother, the V3. For more on the V3: 5 Best Dirt Bike Helmets 2020 – Top Of The Line

The first feature is the Varizorb EPS liner system. The dual-density EPS allows the inner softer layer to absorb the softer impacts, and the harder outer liner absorbs more high-speed impacts.

The second feature common with the V3 is the ‘Fluid Inside’ system. It is designed to mimic your brain’s Cerebral Spinal Fluid – your body’s own natural brain protection. It is a matrix of 5 fluid pods oriented around the head and attached to the helmet interior. It in effect ‘floats’ or ‘decouples’ the helmet on the head and each fluid pod acts like the Cerebral Spinal Fluid around your brain to manage the linear and rotational forces of an impact.

The third common feature is the Magnetic Visor Release System or MVRS which replaces the 3 screw type fixing and is designed to release from the helmet in the event of a crash and reduce the chance of causing any rotational type forces to the rider’s head.

It’s good to see Fox including the safety features of their premium helmets into their lower-priced helmets.

The V2 also offers excellent airflow through the helmet via 11 intake and 4 exhaust vents to keep you comfortable in the warmer weather riding.

The liner and cheek pads are removable and washable and made from antimicrobial moisture-wicking fabric to help keep your helmet fresh.

Fox offers 4 shell and EPS sizes to choose from so that the fit is just right for you.

Features:

  • Fluid Inside™: Designed to help dissipate rotational and linear energy transmitted to the rider’s head in the event of a crash
  • Lightweight Injection molded Polycarbonate & ABS shell construction
  • Magnetic Visor Release System™ (MVRS): allows the visor to detach during a crash helping to prevent additional rotational forces to the rider’s head
  • Dual-density Varizorb™ EPS liner: Provides improved protection by spreading the forces of impact across a wider surface area
  • 4 shell and 4 EPS sizes for a precise fit
  • EPP/PU Chin bar to help maintain a lower weight while still providing impact protection
  • 11 intake and 4 exhaust vents for maximum airflow through your helmet
  • Removable and washable XT2 comfort liner and cheek pads which are antimicrobial and moisture-wicking
  • Weight: 3.31 lbs 1.50 kgs
  • Certification: Meets or exceeds ECE22.05 and/or DOT certifications

4. LS2 MX470 Subverter Off-Road Helmet

LS2 MX470 Subverter helmet

The LS2 MX470 Subverter is unique in the world of off-road/motocross helmets for several features.

The shell uses LS2’s proprietary Kinetic Polymer Alloy (KPA) construction. It is a lightweight, ultra-strong material that offers just a little bit of flex as part of its energy management system.

It is reported to test as well as the best composite materials in the world which are used in much higher priced helmets.

The LS2 uses 3 shell sizes (for sizes XS to XXL) to ensure you get the best possible fit for your size.

The most noticeable feature of this striking helmet is that there are no less than 35 vents! The airflow is channeled through the EPS liner for maximum cooling.

This would make it the most ventilated helmet on the market today, so if you ride a lot in hot weather and staying cool is high on your priority list, this is the helmet for you.

The LS2 also has its own impact protection system similar to the MIPS system on other helmets that rotates in the event of a crash. LS2 calls it the ‘Synthetic Slip System’.

Also on the subject of safety, the Subverter also features an Emergency Cheek Pad Removal System. This feature allows emergency medical personnel to easily remove the cheek pads from an injured rider’s helmet. The helmet can then be gently removed with minimal load placed on the rider’s neck.

Another unique feature is the visor. It is adjustable not only up and down, but also forward and back to give you that little extra roost protection if you choose. It is also very flexible.

The comfort padding uses a thermo-weld system, eliminating the need for glues and allowing the fabric to be more breathable. The moisture-wicking antimicrobial liner is naturally removable and washable so you can keep it as fresh as new.

The Subverter is available in a huge range of colors and graphic patterns and comes with a soft helmet bag.

It is an intermediate oval head-form shape, but the sizing runs small so if in doubt go a size larger.

The LS2 is a lot of bang for your buck in a helmet in the $200 price range.

Features:

  • Shell is a light, strong Kinetic Polymer Alloy (KPA) which offers a bit of flex as part of the energy management system
  • 3 shell sizes for a precise fit to your size
  • 35 separate ports for the ultimate ventilation
  • Emergency release system to cheek pads for easy helmet removal
  • Removable and washable breathable hypoallergenic laser-cut foam liner
  • Huge eye-port to accept virtually any brand of goggles
  • Adjustable visor in up and down direction, and also forward and back
  • Metal security plate reinforcing to chinstrap rivet
  • Weight: 3.2 lbs 1.45 kgs
  • Certification: Exceeds ECE & DOT standards

5. Troy Lee Designs SE4 Polyacrylite Helmet

Troy Lee Designs SE4 Helmet

The Troy Lee Designs SE4 Poycrylite Helmet is the base model in a range of 3 SE4 helmets. The difference between the SE4 Polyacrylite Helmet, the SE4 Carbon and the SE4 Composite is only in the shell construction.

They share the same internal features, so with the Polyacrylite helmet riders get all the perks of a premium helmet at an affordable price.

The Carbon helmet uses a full carbon fiber shell, the Composite helmet uses a combination of carbon fiber and fiberglass.

The SE4 Polyacrylite helmet uses a sturdy plastic material that reduces the price of the helmet. It is slightly heavier, weighing in at 1.5 kg and has a bit more give than the other materials, but aside for the shell, it is still equipped with all the same great features as its higher-priced brothers.

Despite being about two hundred dollars cheaper than the Composite and about four hundred dollars cheaper than the full Carbon, the Polyacrylite helmet is equipped with the revolutionary MIPS technology.

MIPS (Multi-Directional Impact System) consists of a low friction layer that allows the helmet to move & slide along with the direction of the impact, reducing the riders’ risk of head injuries due to rotational forces.

This helmet is also loaded with other features like a total of 22 intake and exhaust ports to provide plenty of airflow through the helmet.

The 3D contoured cheek pads help to ensure you get a snug fit, and they are also equipped with an emergency release system that allows emergency responders to remove the cheek pads prior to removing the helmet from an injured riders head.

Combine that with other safety features like triple-density EPS liner, breakaway visor protection, EPP chin bar and you’re getting a lot of helmet for an entry-level price without compromising on safety.

The entire inner lining is also removable, washable and replaceable so riders can keep their helmet feeling fresh.

“With the help of the amazingly talented and creative people I’ve worked with over the past 35 years at Troy Lee Designs, my name has been placed on millions of products, designs, and innovations. The SE4 helmet is the greatest single thing we’ve ever done.” – Troy Lee.

Features:

  • MIPS (Multi-Directional Impact System) reduces rotational forces to the rider’s head in the event of a crash
  • Technologically advanced polymer shell construction
  • Three separate EPS liners inserted with varying low and high-speed impact-specific densities
  • EPP (Expanded polypropylene) chin bar which provides lightweight, durable protection to the face
  • Three shell sizes across 6 helmet sizes to more accurately fit various rider head sizes
  • Anatomical – 3D contoured cheek pads with an emergency release system to aid helmet removal by emergency responders
  • 16 Intake & 6 Exhaust ports to channel air through the helmet to cool the head and draw hot air away from the head
  • Removable snap-in washable comfort liner with Cool Max and Dri Lex moisture-wicking materials to keep the helmet feeling fresh
  • Plastic visor screws and brass inserts to allow the visor to break-away in a crash and reduce rotational forces to the head
  • Weight: 3.31 lbs 1.50 kgs
  • Certification: Exceeds DOT certifications

 

6. Vega VRX Advanced Off-Road Dirt Bike Helmet

Vega VRX Advanced Off-road

Vega is a company that has been around since 1994 and is known for producing high-quality helmets at a reasonable price. Affordable protection is their mission.

The VRX Off-Road helmet is a great choice for riders looking for a proven design, comfortable fit, cool graphics, and maximum value.

The shell is a lightweight and durable Polycarbonate construction.

The Multi-adjustable visor allows you to raise it up or lower it to get some roost protection.

The VRX helmet has a Multi-channel air-flow system with nine vents to ensure maximum ventilation through the helmet to keep you cool.

The padded liner and cheek pads are removable, washable and replaceable to keep your helmet fresh, and the double D-ring strap system is padded for comfort around your chin.

The VRX is suitable not only for dirt bikes but ATV, Quad and snowmobile use. Vega even offers a face shield for snow use (Part# 93-4306)

The Vega comes in a choice of six colors. There’s even a Pink Venom graphic for the ladies.

Features:

  • Shell is a lightweight and strong Polycarbonate construction
  • Multi-channel air-flow system with fully vented EPS liner to keep you cool
  • Detachable and adjustable visor with venting ports to reduce uplift
  • Lightweight design to help reduce fatigue on long rides
  • Removable, washable and replaceable max-flow liner system
  • Padded D-Ring strap system with snap
  • Smooth, glossy shell with off-road graphic design
  • 5 Year Limited Warranty and guaranteed to be free from defects in materials and craftsmanship for the lifetime of the helmet
  • Weight: 3.2 lbs 1.45 kgs
  • Certification: Meets ECE22.05 & DOT standards

Currently unavailable on Amazon. Alternative link to Vega Helmets

Final Thoughts

Irrespective of price, there is no one helmet you can say is the best. Each manufacturer has their own approach to providing what they feel are important protective features.

The helmets in this review are all excellent in their own right, you would be fine with any of these. They all have overwhelmingly positive reviews from users. Follow the links to read what users have to say.

Top Pick: If I was to choose one it would have to be the Bell MX-9 with MIPS.

It shares a lot of the features of its higher-priced big brother, the Bell Moto-9, and all for well under the $200 mark.

Most Ventilated Helmet: The LS2 MX470 Subverter. This unique helmet deserves a special mention. Aside from being the most ventilated helmet on the market, it also features higher-end safety features like LS2’s Rotational Impact Protection (Synthetic Slip System), an Emergency Cheek Pad Removal System, and Kinetic Polymer Alloy (KPA) shell construction. It’s a lot of ‘Bang for your Buck’.

Buying A Dirt Bike Helmet - What You need To Know

Buying A Dirt Bike Helmet – What You Need To Know

 

 

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Bell Moto 3 Helmet Review Bell Moto 3 Helmet Review – A Classic Retro

 

 

Have you used any of these helmets reviewed here? Is there a helmet you can highly recommend? Please feel free to leave your thoughts below.

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4 thoughts on “6 Best Dirt Bike Helmets (2020 Update) – Entry Level”

  1. The content construction of the post looks good. I don’t know much about your topic so hard for me to comment on that area. 

    Right off the bat when you put the list of the top helmets I would as a buyer like the links right there in the list so that I could click through and compare if hard pressed for time. 

    Also someone made a good point to me that if you have your links sprinkled through like ads in a tv show then you will likely grab more people. 

    Hope it helps.

    Reply
    • Hi Jane. Yes, I sometimes do that. But now that you mentioned it I will add the links to the Summary list if you think it helps. Thanks for your comments.

      Greg

      Reply
  2. Hello; as a dirt Bike rider you have the experience of the kinds of protections that are needful for safety when riding a Bike. The Head size and shape are really important areas to consider in the selection of a biker’s helmet, as every head could have a different shape.

     And we all know that heads have different sizes. An oversized helmet could be as dangerous as no helmet at all. 

    Would you say that a helmet without ventilation can cause a health hazard? 

    DorcasW

    Reply
    • Hi Dorcas. Thankfully almost all helmets are well ventilated now, especially off-road helmets. I wouldn’t say no ventilation is a health hazard, but it just adds to the comfort of the rider, especially in warmer weather. Thanks for dropping in.

      Greg

      Reply

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