Best Retro Motorcycle Helmets Under $400

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There’s something about retro motorcycle helmets that brings back nostalgic memories. Many riders also like how cool these helmets are. What are the best retro motorcycle helmets around?

The best vintage and retro motorcycle helmets under $400 today are:

  • Bell Custom 500 Helmet
  • AGV X101
  • Bell Bullitt Helmet
  • HJC V60 Helmet
  • Arai Classic-V Helmet
  • Bell Moto 3
  • Nexx XG200

In this post, I’ll list some of the best retro motorcycle helmets on the market today. I’ll share their features and what makes them a good buy.

7 Best Vintage & Retro Motorcycle Helmets Under $400

Helmet Style Features Shop Now
Bell Custom 500 Helmet Open face
  • Low-profile design
  • Composite fiberglass shell
  • Five snap points


AGV X101 Dirt bike/adventure
  • Fiberglass shell
  • Modern features
  • Intermediate oval fit.


Bell Bullitt Helmet Full Face
  • Fiberglass shell
  • Removable face shields
  • Five intake vents with a Venturi exhaust


HJC V60 Helmet Dirt bike/adventure
  • clean, smooth design
  • integrated drop down visor
  • fiberglass shell


Arai Classic-V Helmet Open face
  • well-hidden vents
  • goggle strap holder
  • five snap points


Bell Moto 3 Dirt bike/adventure
  • Fiberglass shell
  • Large eye port 
  • Terrycloth interior lining.


Nexx XG200 Dirt bike/adventure
  • X-Matric fiberglass shell
  • Quick-dry liner
  • Adjustable peak visor


Retro Motorcycle Helmets - Bell custom 500

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1. Bell Custom 500 Helmet – Best Open-Face Retro Helmet

Bell Helmet Company, founded in 1954 by Roy Richter, pioneered many motorcycle helmet designs. The brand is known for its long history and blend of safety, innovation, and style. 

The Bell Custom 500 retro motorcycle helmet remains one of Bell’s best-selling helmets and is also one of the best retro helmets you can get today.

This newest helmet features significant updates while retaining its classic aesthetic. You will notice its lower-profile design, which makes it different from other DOT open-face helmets. 

There are also five snaps, three at the top and two at the side. This should allow you to snap in peaks or flat shields easily. 

The updated composite fiberglass shell gives better protection in crashes, and the  enhanced EPS liner makes it more comfortable for you to wear. Bell uses five different EPS and shell shapes for the six helmet sizes. Only the X and XS share the same size.

I highly recommend this retro motorcycle helmet if you are into customization. It has a flat, blank canvas that you can use to put in graphics you enjoy.

If custom arts are not your thing, Bell also releases many designs for the Custom 500 from time to time, and you can pick those up instead.

adventure motorcycle helmets - AGV X101

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2. AGV X101 – Best Adventure Retro Helmet

Many people recognize AGV as Valentino Rossi’s helmet of choice. AGV, short for “Amisano Gino Valenza,” has a rich history of producing top-tier helmets. 

Many of their designs are still hand-crafted in Italy, though some production has moved to Asia to keep costs low and prices competitive.

The X101 retro motorcycle helmet’s design goes back to the earlier days of adventure motorcycles, evoking images of riders pushing through sand dunes in, say, a Paris-Dakar rally. The helmet comes in three shell sizes to fit various head sizes. 

You’ll also find a snap visor and comfort liner with removable cheek pads. The pads and liner can be removed for cleaning.

This retro motorcycle helmet also uses a lightweight fiberglass shell, which is a bit of a premium over, say, regular polycarbonate plastics. The material also keeps the helmet light, around 2.7 pounds (1.2kg). 

This retro motorcycle helmet also comes with many modern features, like an intermediate oval fit, chin bar vent, and  Double D-ring closure. Its major competitors include the Bell Moto 3 and Nexx XG200.

Despite its retro look, I think the AGV X101 remains competitive as a vintage helmet. Its minimalist design should work well with riders seeking a classic look but still wanting modern safety standards. 

Bell Bulitt

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3. Bell Bullitt Helmet – Best Full-Face Vintage Helmet

The Bell Bullitt helmet is probably one of the most iconic retro full-face helmets. The modern Bell Bullitt retro motorcycle helmet is a tribute to the original Bell Star 120, keeping the retro looks while adding modern features. 

As a start, the Bullitt is made with a lightweight Fiberglass shell, which helps to keep the helmet light and adds more rigidity and protection. The helmet is also designed to have an intermediate oval head shape, ensuring a snug fit for most riders. 

The interior of the helmet is packed with premium materials to look retro and cool. The inner pads are suede-lined, while the neck roll is made of full-grain leather. 

You get five vents here: one at the chin and four at the brows. There’s a Venturi vent at the back of the helmet for smooth airflow.

One thing I like most about the Bell Bullitt is the customization opportunity. You can start by deciding between a flat or bubble face shield. 

The helmet surface is also smooth, which means you can easily lay in your own designs. Bell also releases the Bullitt in many graphical designs.

Retro Motorcycle Helmets - HJC V60

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4. HJC V60 Helmet

HJC is a South Korean helmet manufacturer that has been in business since 1971. It is renowned for producing high-quality helmets at a wallet-friendly price. Some of its most successful models include the V10 full-face helmet.

The V60 resembles a 70s-era dirt bike-style helmet, offering a nostalgic look. You should look good wearing this retro motorcycle helmet if you ride cafe racers, bobbers, and Sportsters. It has a fiberglass shell construction, giving it a premium feel while helping it meet DOT standards.

You can choose from three shell sizes, from extra small to 2XL. The helmet’s shape is intermediate oval, and it weighs 2.97 pounds, about 1.35kg in metric. 

I like how the helmet comes with a drop-down internal sun visor that extends almost to the chin bar. It provides excellent coverage and can almost function as a face shield. The peak visor is removable, and no tools are needed.

One issue I have with the V60 is ventilation. There are six vents on the chin bar, meaning the air will enter your helmet from your mouth. Moving two vents up on the brow will help. There are also no exhaust vents. 

Retro Motorcycle Helmets - Arai Classic-V

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5. Arai Classic-V Helmet

I decided to include the Arai Classic-V vintage motorcycle helmet in the list to offer another alternative to the Bell Custom 500. This is also one of Arai’s most iconic helmets, with safety ratings from DOT and Snell 2020.

Arai is one of the best brands your money can buy for motorcycle helmets. The company is also known for its high-quality, durable, and safe motorcycle helmets. Arai’s Classic-V helmet is a 3/4 helmet, keeping a retro-inspired design but with modern performance and features.

The Arai Classic-V retro motorcycle helmet is lightweight at 2.6 pounds (about 1.1 kg). The helmet is also made in an intermediate oval shape, or in Arai’s terminology, the Continuous Curve R75 shell shape. The interior comfort liner is treated to be antimicrobial and moisture-wicking. The cheek pads are removable for cleaning, unlike the main comfort liner.

This retro motorcycle helmet is also well ventilated, with three well hidden forehead intake vents, and a Venturi exhaust vent. There’s also five front snap points for various shield and visor options, sold separately. If you prefer goggles instead, there’s also a goggle strap holder at the back of the helmet. 

Retro Motorcycle Helmets - Bell Moto3

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6. Bell Moto 3 Helmet

Want a retro dirt bike and adventure helmet from the OG? Look no further than the Bell Moto 3. The Bell Moto 3 is a stylish retro motorcycle helmet – a throwback to the 1970s. It brings together retro looks with modern safety and comfort. 

This helmet is quite pricey compared to the other similar helmets on the list, but you get more in return, too.

You get fiberglass shell construction, which is a premium over regular polycarbonate plastics. The Moto 3 also carries both DOT and ECE safety ratings, ensuring high protection standards. The inners features a terry cloth interior lining, which is removable and washable.

The helmet’s intermediate oval fit caters to the majority of head shapes, providing a snug and comfortable experience. The Moto 3 is rather heavy, at 3.09 pounds (about 1.7 Kg). The Bell Moto 3 comes in five color options and many graphics.

What I like with the Moto 3 is the large eye port which should mean it can accommodate many types of goggles. It also helps with peripheral vision, important for riders. 

My only complaint is that the helmet does not have goggle strap holder grooves, although I do not see it as a dealbreaker.

Retro Motorcycle Helmets - Nexx XG200

Nexx XG200: Buy on
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7. Nexx XG200

The NEXX XG200 retro motorcycle helmet is another option for a retro-looking dirt bike helmet, and you can easily turn this into an adventure helmet with a goggle.

NEXX made the XG200 with an X-Matrix fiberglass composite shell, giving it good rigidity and protection. I tested this by pushing the helmet in from the sides, and I do notice less flex on the helmet chin bar. 

The interior features the X-Mart Dry liner, for quick moisture wicking, and good ventilation. 

Other key features include an adjustable peak visor, and channel cutouts in the EPS liner for some airflow. Choose from two shell sizes, one for sizes from extra small to medium, and another for large to 2XL.

My issue with this retro motorcycle helmet is that the interior lacks speaker cutouts, and there are no groove lines to function as a goggle strap holder. I think these are likely intentional to keep the retro aesthetic of the helmet. 

Vintage Motorcycle Helmets: Classic + Modern Safety Features

When choosing the seven retro motorcycle helmets featured in this article, I try to offer a blend of classic style, modern safety features, and affordability. The idea is to ensure you don’t have to compromise on quality or aesthetics. 

Whether you like the timeless appeal of open-face designs or the rugged charm of dirt bike helmets, there’s something for you here. If you are looking for more motorcycle helmet reviews, feel free to check out my other lists, including:

Michael’s Summary and Conclusion

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


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.

Click Here for Michael’s LinkedIn Profile

Click Here for the Complete AGV Helmet & AGVSPORT History

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