Dual Sport Helmets Vs. Full Face Helmets – The Guide You Need

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When it comes to motorcycle safety gear the helmet is hands down the most important thing. But with all the options out there choosing one can feel overwhelming. 

Among the many helmet types available, dual sport and full-face stand out as popular choices for riders. Each type offers distinct features and benefits tailored to different riding styles and preferences. 

It’s important to note here that both Dual Sport Helmets and Full Face Helmets are actually full-face helmets, they are both designed to cover your head fully and protect it completely in case of a crash. 

The difference is that Street full-face is designed for everyday use, while dual-sport, full-face helmets can be used both for offroading and everyday use. 

So, when we say “full face”, what we mean is basically Street or Road Full Face Helmets, and when we say “Dual Sport”, we basically mean “Dual Sport Full Face Helmets”, but we’re just keeping it short and simple. 

Now that this is made clear, let’s delve more into dual sport helmets vs full face helmets. We’ll take a close look at key features, pros and cons, as well as some things to consider to help you pick one over the other.

Top Picks for Dual Sport and Full Face Helmets

Made your choice but still not sure which helmet to get? I have some recommendations for you.

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AGV AX9Dual SportBest Overall Dual SportRevZilla | Amazon
O'Neal SierraDual SportBest VentilationRevZilla | Amazon
ScorpionEXO AT960Dual SportBest Value for MoneyRevZilla | Amazon
BELL MX-9 Adventure MIPSDual SportBudget PickRevZilla | Amazon
Arai XD-4Dual SportPremium PickRevZilla | Amazon
Schuberth E1Dual SportBest Comm SystemRevZilla | CycleGear
AGV K6 SFull FaceBest Overall Full FaceRevZilla | Amazon
Arai Corsair-XFull FacePremium PickRevZilla| Amazon
Scorpion EXO-R1Full FaceBest SoundproofingRevZilla | Amazon
AGV X3000Full FaceBest Value for MoneyRevZilla | CycleGear
Bell Qualifier DLX MipsFull FaceBudget PickRevZilla | Amazon
HJC RPHA 11 ProFull FaceLightest WeightRevZilla | CycleGear

Dual Sport Helmets Vs. Full Face Helmets: Full Comparison

Dual Sport Helmets Vs. Full Face Helmets

Both dual sport helmets and full face helmets serve the primary purpose of protecting your head in the event of a crash or accident. However, they are designed with different riding styles and environments in mind.

Here’s a quick overview of dual sport helmets vs. face helmets:

FeatureDual-Sport HelmetsFull-Face Helmets
DesignHybrid design, blending features of off-road and full-face helmetsTraditional full-face design
ProtectionProvides good coverage for on/off-road ridingOffers maximum protection with full head coverage
VisibilityWide field of vision for better visibilityStandard field of vision, may be narrower
Sun PeakYes, similar to motocross helmetsNot standard, but some models may include visors
Goggle CompatibilityVisor can be flipped up to accommodate gogglesVisor typically not designed for use with goggles
SoundproofingEnhanced soundproofing for reduced wind noiseVaries, may have some soundproofing features
WeightGenerally lighter weightSlightly heavier due to full coverage design

Now, let’s break down each helmet type in more detail.

Key Features of Dual Sport Helmets

Bell-MX-9-Adventure-Mips-Stealth-Helmet

Dual-sport helmets are the ultimate crossover gear for riders who want the best of both worlds: the rugged durability of off-road helmets combined with the versatility and protection of street full-face helmets.

Here's a closer look at their design and key features:

  • Hybrid Design: Dual-sport helmets blend the features of off-road or motocross helmets with those of full-face helmets, offering a unique hybrid design optimized for both street and off-road use. This versatility makes them ideal for riders who enjoy exploring various terrains.
  • Sun Peaks: Similar to motocross helmets, dual-sport helmets often feature sun peaks or visors that provide shade and protection from glare. These peaks are designed to withstand higher speeds while maintaining aerodynamic efficiency, ensuring optimal performance on the road.
  • Wide Field of Vision: One of the standout features of dual-sport helmets is their expansive field of vision. Unlike traditional full-face helmets, dual-sport variants offer a broader perspective, allowing riders to have better visibility of their surroundings, whether cruising on the street or navigating rugged trails.
  • Goggle Compatibility: Dual-sport helmets typically feature visors that can be easily flipped up to accommodate goggles, a staple accessory for off-road enthusiasts. This versatility allows riders to seamlessly transition between street and off-road riding, adapting to different environments without compromising safety or comfort.
  • Soundproofing: Enhanced soundproofing is a hallmark feature of dual-sport helmets, providing riders with a quieter and more enjoyable riding experience, especially at higher speeds.
  • Chin Bar: Like full-face helmets, dual-sport variants come equipped with a permanently integrated chin bar, offering robust protection for the jaw and lower face. Some models may even offer the option of a removable chin bar, providing added versatility for riders who prefer a more customized setup.
  • Lightweight Construction: Despite looking rugged, dual sport helmets are surprisingly lightweight. This is thanks to advanced materials like polycarbonate or fiberglass composite. Less fatigue on long rides and better comfort overall.

Pros and Cons

Now, let’s take a look at the pros and cons:

ProsCons
Versatility for street and off-road ridingMay not be as aerodynamic as dedicated full-face helmets.
Wider field of vision with goggle compatibilityPotentially more expensive
Enhanced soundproofing
Lightweight construction

Key Features of Full-Face Helmets

AGV-K6-Full-face-helmet-red-green-white

Full-face or street helmets are the go-to choice for riders prioritizing maximum protection and coverage while out on the road. These helmets are widely recognized and readily available, making them a popular choice among motorcyclists. 

Here's a closer look at their design and key features:

  • Comprehensive Protection: Full-face helmets offer unparalleled coverage, encompassing your entire head and featuring a sturdy chin bar. This design provides crucial protection for your jaw and face in the event of an accident, reducing the risk of serious injury.
  • Chin Bar: The defining feature of a full-face helmet is its integrated chin bar, which is seamlessly incorporated into the outer shell. This component plays a vital role in shielding your jaw and lower face from impacts, enhancing overall safety.
  • Visor: Full-face helmets are equipped with fixed visors, serving multiple purposes. These visors shield your eyes from dust, debris, and wind, ensuring clear vision while riding. Additionally, they help prevent your eyes from drying out, especially during high speeds, promoting comfort and safety.
  • Ventilation System: To combat fogging and maintain optimal airflow, high-quality full-face helmets are designed with effective ventilation systems to enhance air circulation, preventing fogging on the visor and ensuring a clear view of the road ahead.
  • Aerodynamics: Full-face helmets are engineered for maximum aerodynamic efficiency, minimizing wind resistance and reducing noise and buffeting at high speeds. The sleek, streamlined design cuts through the air with minimal drag, allowing you to maintain control and stability even at top speeds.
  • Soundproofing: Many full-face helmets are equipped with soundproofing features to minimize external noise, allowing for a quieter and more enjoyable riding experience.

Pros and Cons

Now, let’s recap the pros and cons:

ProsCons
Maximum protection for the entire headLimited field of vision compared to dual-sport helmets
Enhanced aerodynamic design for high-speed stabilityIf not properly ventilated, may trap heat and moisture, leading to discomfort during hot weather conditions
Effective ventilation to combat fogging and maintain optimal airflow
Wide availability in various styles and price ranges

Michael’s Summary and Conclusion

In conclusion, when it comes to choosing between a dual sport helmet and a full-face helmet, there's no one-size-fits-all answer. It really depends on how you like to ride and what's important to you. 

If you primarily ride on the streets and prioritize maximum protection, aerodynamics, and comfort during high-speed rides, a full-face helmet may be the ideal choice for you. These helmets offer comprehensive coverage, lightweight construction, and effective ventilation, making them well-suited for street riding and racing scenarios.

On the other hand, if you enjoy a mix of street and off-road riding and value versatility, a wider field of vision, and goggle compatibility, a dual-sport helmet could be the perfect fit. These helmets provide the flexibility to tackle diverse terrain while offering enhanced soundproofing and chin bar protection, catering to riders who crave adventure and exploration.

Whichever option you decide on, prioritizing safety and comfort should always be paramount. So, take your time, evaluate your needs, and choose the helmet that gives you protection and aligns with your riding goals.

Information for this article was partially sourced and researched from the following authoritative government, educational, corporate, and nonprofit organizations:

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Picture of About the Author:

About the Author:

Michael Parrotte started his career in the motorcycle industry by importing AGV Helmets into the North American market. He was then appointed the Vice President of AGV Helmets America. In total, he worked with AGV Helmets for 25 years. He has also served as a consultant for KBC Helmets, Vemar Helmets, Suomy Helmets, Marushin Helmets, KYT Helmets, and Sparx Helmets.

In 1985, he founded AGV Sports Group, Inc. with AGV Helmets in Valenza, Italy. For over 38 years now, the company has quietly delivered some of the best protective gear for motorcyclists in the world.

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