As the world of motorcycling experiences an unprecedented surge in popularity, particularly in street riding, the demand for riding gear—most notably, helmets—has grown in tandem with this exhilarating trend. In the United States alone, we’ve seen a 38% increase in enthusiasts from 2007 to 2022 and a consistent 11% year-on-year rise in motorcycle registrations since 2010, a phenomena that resonates not only across North America but also through Europe, Asia, and Africa as well.
Yet, this surge has brought along an unfortunate side effect: a stark increase in motorcycle accidents. Despite making up just 3.5% of registered vehicles and contributing 0.6% to total vehicle miles traveled (VMT), motorcycles strangely account for an alarming 80% risk of fatality in accidents, compared to the reasonably lower 20% for passenger vehicles—a fourfold difference that grew by 8% between 2021 and 2022. The chief culprit behind this shocking statistic? Head injuries! Helmets play a pivotal role in mitigating this risk by significantly reducing the likelihood of head, brain, severe brain, and even facial injuries, by between 63% and 88%, consequently decreasing the overall risk of death by 37%.
A revelation that underscores the critical importance of dressing appropriately while engaging in any motorcycling activities, both for the rider and the pillion. And with that in mind and with insights from my extensive 50+ years of motorcycling experience, allow me to share with you my today’s selection of the best helmets for naked motorcycles:
|Helmet Model||Category||Weight||Get Yours|
|AGV K6||Best Overall||2.75 lbs.||RevZilla | MotoSport | Amazon|
|Shoei RF-1400||Best Quietest||3.62 lbs.||RevZilla | J&P Cycles | Amazon|
|Arai Regent-X||Best Track Day||3.41 lbs.||RevZilla | CycleGear | Amazon|
|Shark Race-R Pro||Best Road/Street||3.68 lbs.||RevZilla | MotoSport | Amazon|
|HJC RPHA 11 Pro||Best Sport-Touring||3.12 lbs.||RevZilla | MotoSport | Amazon|
|Scorpion EXO-R420||Best Budget-Friendly||3.8 lbs.||RevZilla | CycleGear | Amazon|
|Sedici Strada II||Best Bluetooth-Enabled||3.3 lbs.||RevZilla | CycleGear | J&P Cycles|
More on these top picks, but first, let me explain my selection process real quick.
Key Factors When Buying The Perfect Naked Motorcycle Helmet for Street Riding
A motorcycle helmet protects the head and, in many cases, the face, to reduce the risk of injuries. A mission accomplished through a sturdy outer shell, an effective impact-absorbing liner, a secure chin strap, and luxurious comfort padding. But our primary focus here is on naked motorcycle helmets designed for street riding, and thus, the following are the factors I consider most important for this application:
Meets Safety Certifications
Full-face helmets with Double D-ring closure are the top choice for high-speed street riding, aligning with the FIM safety standard’s requirements. FIM only considers lids with SNELL, ECE, SHARP, or ECE certification for homologation. Yes, I kicked DOT to the curb because self-certification doesn’t hold as much weight in an openly competitive market, and even half-shell lids can obtain that sticker.
Lightweight Aerodynamic Design
Prioritize helmets made of carbon fiber, fiberglass, and advanced polycarbonate shells. They save on weight and still offer a strong first line of defense in a crash. After all, who wants a helmet that weighs 11 pounds? Not even if it’s the safest and most protective helmet ever made – neck and chin fatigue can be quite the pain past the 14-mile marker.
Besides, you want to effortlessly transition from three-quarter to full tuck-ins and to shoulder-check while navigating bustling highways. A helmet can feel either front-heavy or balanced (neutral weight distribution) depending on its design, but it’s important to factor in aerodynamics in the weight factor. To address this, I considered a weight limit of 3.8 lbs., with the sweet spot being around 3.25 lbs.
At Least 2 Shell Sizes
Having any helmet model available in more shell sizes leaves no room for ending up with a fit that’s either too loose or too tight. You want a headgear that fits snugly without causing any pressure points for enjoyable longer hours in the saddle. I wouldn’t rate any model that goes below two shell sizes.
The AGV K6 sets a remarkable standard with its four distinctive shell sizes (XS-SM, MS, ML-LG, XL-2XL), each paired with a five-density shock-absorbent EPS lining – the most I’ve seen in any helmet. Exceptional work, AGV!
|Shell Sizes||Cheek Pads (Actual Size)||Compatible With||Crown Pad (Actual Size)||Compatible With|
Noise fatigue is often overlooked, but I consider it a critical consideration, especially when riding a motorcycle on busy city streets, where any lapse in concentration can end up in carnage. Noise-canceling comfort liners and vortex generators help to break up the wind, while good-quality seals around the shield mechanism make a lid that is much quieter and safer.
A neckroll (chin skirt) feature is a plus to prevent wind entry through the chin area—a key source of helmet noise, more so at speeds exceeding 75 mph.
Bright Graphics Choices
Bright graphics aren’t just for show. While they often pay tribute to our favorite sport and MotoGP’s finest, they also serve a practical purpose by making you more visible on the road. And I couldn’t agree more with the findings of the 1981 NHTSA detailed investigation of 900 motorcycle accidents at the University of Southern California Traffic Safety Center, which concluded that the median speed of motorcycles involved in crashes was 29.8 mph, with poor visibility by other road users being a contributing factor.
That’s why all my helmet choices are available in various graphics.
Sun Visor, Anti-Fog, and Photochromic Face Shields
I consider a sun visor and pinlock inserts to be great additions to any helmet, especially if I will be sitting still in traffic. Normally, I prefer a stepped-visor lift mechanism that allows me to crack it open just enough to prevent fogging inside while keeping rain droplets outside. But if you must use your anti-fogs, then a pinlock-ready visor makes your helmet versatile for street riding in all weather.
Adaptive photochromic lenses are effective for up to 3 years, but I’ve found that most of them can be hazy under low light, both inside and outside city tunnels, as they take time to adjust. They may be better suited for open country roads.
Best Helmets for Naked Motorcycles
|Helmet Model||Category||Safety Certification||Heat Reduction Technology||Shell Sizes||Weight|
|AGV K6||Best Overall||DOT, ECE 22.06||Advanced Ventilation System||4: XS-SM, MS, ML-LG, XL-2XL||2.75 lbs.|
|Shoei RF-1400||Best Quietest||DOT, SNELL M2020, ECE 22.06||Dual Exhaust Ventilation||5: XS/S, M, L, XL/2XL, 3XL||3.62 lbs.|
|Arai Regent-X||Best Track Day||SNELL 2020, DOT||Effective Channeling of Airflow||5: XS, S, M/L, XL, 2XL/3XL||3.41 lbs.|
|Shark Race-R Pro||Best Road/Street||ECE 22.05, DOT||Optimized Ventilation Pathways||2: XS-M & L-XL||3.68 lbs.|
|HJC RPHA 11 Pro||Best Sport-Touring||DOT, ECE 22.05||Aerodynamic Ventilation Design||3: XS/S, M/L, XL/XXL||3.12 lbs.|
|Scorpion EXO-R420||Best Budget-Friendly||SNELL M2020, DOT||Enhanced Heat-Eliminating Channels||2: XS-MD, LG-3XL||3.8 lbs.|
|Sedici Strada II||Best Bluetooth-Enabled||DOT, ECE 22.05||Integrated Cool Air Intake||3: XS-SM, MD-LG, XL-3XL||3.3 lbs.|
Undoubtedly, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to helmets, given the vast diversity in head shapes and riding preferences among us. Some riders prioritize noise reduction, while others seek lightweight, low-heat designs, and everyone shares a desire for luxurious interior comfort. And with hundreds of brands and models available, selecting the right one can be a daunting task.
That’s why I’m committed to offering recommendations based on personal experience. In my reviews, I’ll only recommend naked motorcycle helmets that I’ve personally encountered and tested. My belief in providing insights from hands-on experience, rather than relying on hearsay underscores my dedication to ensuring you gain the utmost advantage from my expertise. Here goes:
1. AGV K6 – Best Overall
I’ve always known AGV as a racing helmet brand, and that’s exactly what you get with the new AGV K6, a stellar finished road racing helmet that can do it all. In the AGV lineup, the K6 replaces the K-5 and bridges the gap to the now-defunct Veloce S.
The AGV K6 is the lightest full-face helmet in its class, certification level and still exceeds regulatory requirements by up to 48%. Its weightlessness feels deliberate once you factor in the carbon-aramid fiber shell, which offers high protection and resistance at a low weight with the ECE 22.06 version tipping my scale at a measly 1,255 grams (2.75 lbs.). And the fit is perfect for every intermediate oval head with 4 shell sizes.
But perhaps my main reason for picking the AGV K6, as the best overall street riding helmet, has to do with its optimized aerodynamic design for a variety of riding positions for cruising, sport touring, and racing–in line with most naked bike requirements.
For its quietness and comfort, the K6 takes a dead aim at the likes of the Shoei RF-1400 or the Arai Regent-X (still to come) but offers a competitive mid-range price, so you don’t have to break the bank while seeking the ultimate do-it-all brain bucket. Oh, and did I mention the recesses for the AGV Ark Intercom system which also make it ready to integrate most other popular Bluetooth comms systems?
2. Shoei RF-1400 – Best Quietest
AGV takes the first spot for the lightest, most versatile helmet on my list, but Shoei still takes the prize for the quietest most plush street helmet, the RF-1400. From Shoei’s longest-standing RF line of full-face helmets (since 1984), the NXR 2 (European name) represents the results of repeated “Evolution of Perfection,” as the Japanese lid powerhouse puts it.
An embodiment of the Japanese Kaizen, the 1400 is sleeker through air with 4% less viscosity and 6% less lift than its predecessor, the RF-1200, speeding through highway traffic. But perhaps what is not very obvious when you first pick up the lid is how absolutely muted it can feel at 75+ mph. I guess those precious hours of R&D at Shoei’s state-of-the-art wind tunnel facility really paid off.
The epitome of Shoei’s success in helmet design has been their compact aerodynamic shell, which is part of the noise cancellation system that blocks off ordinary road noise, but permits the right frequencies for road informative sounds like horns etc. The RF-1400 (3.62 lbs.) is the lightest helmet that meets both the SNELL M2020 and ECE 22.06 standards. And while it’s a head turner, the Shoei RF-SR offers a traditional minimalist-shaped lid that is not as aerodynamic but much cheaper.
3. Arai Regent-X – Best Track Day
There is no way a list of top helmets is complete without Arai’s workmanship, following very high-quality materials and finish. The Regent-X is the entry-level helmet that Arai doesn’t make. You get the same super-smooth peripherally belted “egg” shell that the company has perfected over the years to glance off objects in a fall, moving as one with your head.
With this lower trim, you miss out on a few perks such as the superior ventilation of the more-racing oriented Corsair-X. But being an Arai, it fits like a glove and is comfy for long hauls.
What else I like about the Regent X is the less pronounced hyperedge on the side, which allows me to mount my Cardo PackTalk Edge Air Mount (a must-have on the highway and city group rides) with ease compared to some of the more expensive Arai’s. Round or oval head-shaped riders can opt for the Quantum or Signet X helmets, respectively, as the Regent-X is an intermediate oval-shaped lid that fits me true to size.
4. Shark Race-R Pro – Best Road Race
As the legendary Randy de Puniet once said,
“The Race R PRO concentrates all what I am looking for in a helmet when riding my bike. In fact, it contributes to my riding performance.”
And I couldn’t agree more. If you take your naked motorcycle out to the track often or simply fancy weekend warriors culture where there is spirited riding involved, you might want to consider the Shark Race-R Pro, a full-blown racing helmet for street riding. It’s FIM homologated in case you are wondering.
Why I fancy a track/high-performance helmet for street riding is the obvious superior aerodynamic appendices like the rear spoiler and deliberately sculptured shell to slice through air with minimal turbulence. This model sports the VZ100 visor, which has zero optical distortion using a clever variable thickness shield with 2.5 mm at the edges and 4.5 mm at the center.
The Race-R Pro is not even cheap, but it’s the regular. They also make a Shark Race-R Pro Carbon with carbon-themed finishes on the shell even though both are made from the same shell. But you can dial it up another notch still and go for the Race-R Pro GP version complete with a rear spoiler just like their professional racing models. Other stars like Scott Redding, Aleix Espargaró, and Tom Sykes also helped refine this helmet specifically for the track.
5. HJC RPHA 11 Pro – Best Sport-Touring
Built on the shoulders of the hugely successful RPHA10, the HJC RPHA 11 Pro is a solid track-day and sport helmet, with a lighter and sturdier Advanced Premium Integrated Matrix Plus Fiberglass aerodynamic shell. To match the quietness of the cabins of latest luxury sedans, HJC uses 3 shell sizes for their RPHA 11 helmet to reduce the hollow space inside of each helmet size and thus minimize road noise.
Other apparent improvements include a wider view port guarded by the pinlock-ready HJ-26 shield with up to 95% UV filtering, which I find useful for sunrise and sunset rides when the sun is in my face. I like that the eye-port favors an upright riding style as well, which is great for street riding when you are unsure of the road conditions ahead unlike on the track. I also wear eyeglasses with my helmets, and the RPHA 11 Pro feels among the most comfortable with them. And besides, the interiors are swappable across the whole size range.
The RPHA 11 Pro in “Texen MC3 Yellow” comes with a dark smoke visor, which I reckon looks pretty cool. Yet it is just one of the many racing and film tie-in color schemes you can choose from with this and many other HJCs. There is even a crazy Otto Minions replica, licensed from Universal, which I would love to have just for show.
P.S.: There is a lighter (3.06 lbs.)version of the RPHA 11, which is the carbon shell model with all the same features, but the price is considerably higher, so I would still recommend the Pro.
6. Scorpion EXO-R420 – Best Budget-Friendly
Made in the United States, the Scorpion EXO-R420 feels nothing like an under $200 lid despite the cost-saving LG Polycarbonate shell, which covers it. The confidence-inspiring SNELL M2020 D sticker pervades the entire range of sizes from XS to XXL.
But what Scorpion was able to save in shell construction, they passed on to us with an Ellip-Tec 2 face shield, which hugs the shell closely, making it insanely slick and providing a 100% optically clear view of the surroundings. Throw in the KwikWick II comfort liner with moisture-wicking and antimicrobial properties as well as their KwikFit® cheek pads, and I am sold on this under $200 helmet with an expensive feel.
I would say the level of fit and comfortability as well as the safety rating of the Scorpion Exo-R420, matches that of lids like the AGV K3 and the pricier Shoei RF-SR.
7. Sedici Strada II – Best Bluetooth-Enabled
The Comoto brand with an Italian name, now makes the Sedici Strada II with fiberglass and DuPont™ Kevlar® fiber shell construction, upping the lightweight and superior protection game from where the previous generation, the Strada, left off. They produce 3 shell sizes and fit them with 4 EPS liner sizes, ensuring a better match to your head size and shape, which also marks a significant upgrade from the first generation.
Other notable features of the Strada II is their high-flow ventilation and plush interior with moisture-wicking properties, making the ride blissful.
But the main reason I picked the Sedici II Strada for one of the best helmets for naked motorcycles ever made is the value for money packed in this lid. It doesn’t look, feel or perform like a $200 helmet but rather seems like a cross between the Shoei X-Fourteen and the streetable GT Air, both of which are at least three times more expensive.
On another review, I would probably pit the Sedici II Strada vs AGV K5, which is further up the food chain and the immediate parent of the K6 discussed above. Oh, and the Sedici Strada II Parlare variant comes with a built-in Sena DWO-6 Bluetooth headset!
Michael’s Summary and Conclusion
I have two favorite helmets for naked bikes: one is the AGV K6. I like the K6 because it is lightweight, comfortable, and the aerodynamic shell reduces buffeting. Since naked bikes don’t have much or any fairing, I want a helmet that doesn’t bounce around at speed.
Depending on the type of riding, I might also want to use my AGV AX-9. If I’m going to ride on roads with debris, gravel, dirt, or even in the rain or snow, I prefer to wear the adventure-touring style helmet. The AX9 is also one of the most comfortable motorcycle helmets I’ve ever worn.
Between the AGV K6 and the AGV AX9, I am prepared for every situation.
I've diligently categorized my motorcycle gear recommendations into all available categories, with the aim of providing you with a comprehensive analysis that showcases the absolute best options for all your needs. These items are the culmination of in-depth research, extensive testing, and personal use throughout my vast experience of 50+ years in the world of motorcycling. Besides being a passionate rider, I've held leadership positions and offered consultancy services to reputable companies in over 25 countries. To See Top Picks and the Best Prices & Places to Buy: Click Here!
Information for this article was partially sourced and researched from the following authoritative government, educational, corporate, and non-profit organizations:
- National Institutes of Health | The National Center for Biotechnology Information
- Smarter USA Org | Skilled Motorcyclist Association
- European Commission
- Shoei Helmets