What is the difference between a full face helmet, a flip up helmet and an open face helmet?

Choosing a new helmet can be very difficult. There are so many differences between all the different types of helmets, sometimes it can feel a little bit like a jungle. To create a little bit of clarity in your helmet chaos I?m going to explain the differences between the three most important type of helmets: full face, flip up/modular & open face.

I will also explain some of the most vital pros and cons per helmet to you.


Full face helmet

Let?s start with the most popular type of helmet in the history of brain buckets; the full face helmet. This is actually the most traditional helmet, featuring full face protection ? the chin bar is a fixed part of this kind of helmet. Only the helmet visor can be opened and closed.

A full face helmet is often looked upon as the safest type of helmet. This is due to the fact that it protects all the parts of your head. All of the helmets we sell are of course provided with a European certification (unless stated otherwise).

A full face helmet can be found in every price category. They start at just over ?100,- and they can go all the way up to ?3000,- for a handmade Arai racing helmet. Price differences occur due to different materials, different finishes and the quality requirements a manufacturer gives to its helmets.

Advantages of a full face helmet

-          Fully covers the face and head

-          Protects against wind, cold and rain

-          Can easily be made to be lightweight and aerodynamic

-          Can easily be made to be noise reducing

Disadvantages of a full face helmet

-          Can get very warm in summer

-          Can give people a claustrophobic and isolated feeling


Open face helmet

An open face helmet, An open face helmet (or ?3/4? helmet) is recognisable by the lack of its chin bar. The helmet is fully open at the front and bottom. That gives the helmet a unique look. All open face helmets sold by Fortamoto.com have a European certification (unless stated otherwise). Open face helmets are not less strong than full face helmets, the helmet simply covers a smaller part of the head and face than a full face helmet. Open face helmets are available in all sorts of different sizes and colours. Prices vary between ?99,- and ?599,-. The more expensive helmets are made from lighter and stronger materials, a higher level of finish and they often have a better fit. There will always be exceptions of course.

Within the category of open face helmets we can easily make a rough division: the modern open face helmets and the retro open face helmets. Large differences between the two are often the design and the visor. Modern open face helmets often have longer visors that go down as far as the chin. Retro open face helmets often do not feature a visor at all, or only a small visor in front of the eyes.

Advantages of an open face helmet

-          Offers the ultimate ?free motorcycling? feeling

-          Wide field of view

-          Lots of fresh air

Disadvantages of an open face helmet

-          Offers no chin protection

-          Can be very cold in winter

-          Often quite noisy

-          Not really designed for riding at high speed


Flip up helmet (or ?modular?)

And then we have the flip up motorcycle helmets. This is actually a combination between a full face helmet and an open face helmet. The (re)movable chin bar of the flip up helmet really makes it special. When the chin bar is closed it is a full face helmet. With the touch of a button and the move of a hand, it becomes a sort of open face helmet.

Let?s clear some things up safety-wise. In closed (and locked) position the chin bar offers just as much protection as a full face helmet. The clasps, buckles, locks etcetera are all thoroughly tested ? and they should not be able to open under any circumstances. Some flip up helmets are even tested and approved in both the open and closed positions. Flip up helmets receive a special ?open face helmet certification? for this. This is called a dual homologation approval. Would you like to know if your helmet has such a certification? The inside of the helmet should be labelled with the letter ?P?. This proves that the helmet is approved as a full face helmet. If it also has the letter ?J?, then it is also certified as an open face helmet.

A very special example is the Shark Evo-One 2. This helmet has an ingenious system which allows you to move the chin bar from the front to the back. The chin bar falls into place at the back of helmet as if it were part of the design. Thanks to this system, the chin bar will not bother you while riding with it open. All other (traditional) flip up helmets have chin bars which stand upright, like you will see in the video.

Advantages of a flip up helmet

-          The same benefits as full face helmets

-          Easy to open during a break or a fuel-up

-          Easier to communicate than with a full face helmet

Disadvantages of a flip up helmet

-          Can be heavier than full face helmets

-          Less compact

-          Not comfortable at high speed when chin bar is open


Check out our collection of motorcycle helmets.

2020-10-30 15:09:02
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