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alan Katkich

alan Katkich

Best Inexpensive Motorcycle Helmets: Top 7 picks

Do you need to spend $700, $800 or even $1000 dollars or more to get a good, safe helmet? Thankfully you do not. There are plenty of helmets in the $300 and lower price range that offer safety and comfort with a ton of style mixed in.

Here we will look at the best, most stylish inexpensive helmets on the market.

Icon Airflight

AGV K3 SV

Bell Moto 3

Biltwell Lane Splitter

Scorpion EXO Blefast

Bell MX 9 Adventure MIPS

Biltwell Gringo S

There’s an old saying in the motorcycle world. “Only buy a $200 helmet if you think your head is worth $200” or something like that. I’m not so sure that’s the case today. Yes there is a valid reason an $800 helmet is priced the way it is. Usually this comes down to fit and finish, materials, better face shields and paint quality. They are usually very safe but safety is not the exclusive domain of premium lids. 

To make a helmet safe is not rocket science. Every helmet sold in the USA and Canada must meet minimum standards  and carry a DOT sticker on it. Where the expensive helmets excel is how they achieve their safety. They use exotic materials that require less materials overall which means less weight. 

 EPS liners are pretty much the same throughout all helmets regardless of price. They are extremely important to the impact mitigation of a helmet. But the EPS in a premium priced helmet is virtually the same as a less expensive one.

All but two of the helmets in this roundup are polycarbonate shells. A.k.a, plastic. This is not a bad thing. It’s just not the latest and greatest but it will get the job done when you need it and hopefully you don’t. Some may not be the quietest, warmest or best ventilated. But in my experience all of these are very subjective experiences. No two riders will experience noise or temperature quite the same. The type of bike you ride can drastically change the experience you have in a helmet. A naked bike will experience wind and noise very differently than a full fairing touring bike. 

 At Moto Affliction we sifted through the dozens upon dozens of helmets in the $300 and under price range. We came up with a list that we believe offer great value in terms of comfort and safety. We also took style into account because hey, who doesn’t want to look good in the helmet they ride in!

We sifted through the specs, reviewed hundreds of customer reviews and leaned on our personal experience that we’ve had with a couple of these through the years. In the end we came up with a list of the seven best inexpensive motorcycle helmets on the market today.

Icon Airflite

Nobody can pick up the Icon Airflight and not think it’s badass when they see it. This helmet makes a very unique statement. There isn’t anything quite like it out there. The visor is what gets your attention first. It extends all the way down to the chin and has chin vents incorporated into it. It reminds me of Boba Fett from Star Wars fame. Very cool and will look intimidating no matter what bike you ride.

This helmet comes with a drop down sun visor. Let’s face it, you will want an iridium shield to really make this thing stand out.

It is DOT and ECE rated proving that safety can come in all price points. 

There is a comfortable, removable moisture wicking comfort liner. I will confess I find Icon comfort liners a bit on the stiff side for my liking but many do not. 

The venting is quite good in this helmet This is a common trait with Icon. They do make well vented helmets. 

It comes in three shell sizes and is suited for a long oval head shape. 

Moto Affliction rating 4.5/5


AGV K3 SV

For a mid range helmet the AGV K3 SV packs a punch. It’s derived from a winning bloodline. Stemming from AGV’s Pista and Corsa helmet designs, the K3 SV keeps the tradition alive. 

This is a polycarbonate shell helmet that comes in two shell sizes. Not gonna lie, I wish it was at least three. I found in my personal experience that the K3 can look a little bulky depending on your helmet size. Having said that this is a DOT and ECE helmet. It’s a very aerodynamic, aggressive shape with a sharp, pointy chin. 

The comfort liner is comfortable. Not Arai comfortable but comfortable nonetheless. 

The SV stands for sun visor so you get one of those in drop down style. 

The coolest thing about the K3 are the Rossi graphics. Who amongst us doesn’t love Valentino Rossi MotoGP graphics? Maybe some don’t but I certainly do. With the AGV K3 SV you get five Rossi graphics plus a couple others and some solids if you want to remain low key. This helmet comes highly rated. I love mine and still own it. I’ve ridden thousands of comfortable miles in it.

Moto Affliction rating 4.6/5

Bell Moto-3 

I love helmets and goggles. Some might see it as trendy but I don’t care. The look  just exudes motorcycle coolness. A ready for anything type of attitude. The perfect helmet to pull off that combo is the Bell Moto-3. It’s a retro dirt bike style helmet that harkens back to the 1970 ish era. The snap button, removable sun shield totally reminds of the helmets I had as a kid on my dad’s bikes. 

This helmet has a fiberglass composite shell. It is DOT and ECE rated. Tough to beat that at this price point! It has three shell sizes. 

Venting isn’t an issue obviously. 

The comfort liner is stiff. Almost on the hard side. It makes up for it with a very soft terry cloth liner. 

Street or dirt. Garage build or Japanese standard. This helmet will get you noticed no matter what you ride. 

 Moto Affliction rating 5/5

More: Best Motorcycle Shoes

Biltwell Lane Splitter

Another helmet that brings me back. Who remembers Honda Interceptors, Suzuki Katana Turbos and Kerker exhausts? Just me? Anyways, despite its super cool retro looks, the Lane Splitter is firmly grounded in the here and now. Unlike myself. 

The Biltwell Lane Splitter is a simple helmet. This helmet is all about its mean looks. It’s an injection molded ABS shell. Nothing fancy but it does come ECE and DOT rated. It’s finish is hand painted by the good folks at the California based company. This helmet doesn’t concern itself with fancy ventilation. One big mean chin vent that exhausted out of the back. That’s it. Oh, and it doesn’t close. I don’t begrudge this approach. It’s a simple motorcycle helmet for those that want nothing to do with the mundane. 

The comfort liner is 70’s velvety soft brushed Lycra. Of course its interior is sewn in a diamond pattern to match the seat of every cafe racer out there. It’s fun details like this that I love. 

This helmet is best suited for the round oval heads out there. 

Moto Affliction rating 4 / 5

Scorpion EXO Belfast 

Classy. That is the first word I think when I see this helmet. 

The tan, hand stitched Nappa leather and matte black paint finish looks distinguished. It also comes in a denim blue and a white that looks equally as classy. It has a nice stitched Nappa leather lining around the edge of the helmet as well. I love this helmet and it makes me wish I had a bike that would suit it. 

This is a composite, fiberglass shell that is lightweight and DOT rated. It comes in three shell sizes. 

It features a drop down sun visor if you don’t want to rock goggles with it. 

If you want the wind in their face and a connection with a bygone era of motorcycling, the Scorpion EXO Belfast is a great choice 

Moto Affliction rating 5/5

Bell MX-9 Adventure MIPS 

We couldn’t leave the ADV crowd out of the mix. 

The Bell MX-9 MIPS is a polycarbonate DOT, ECE lightweight helmet. It comes in three shell sizes.

MIPS stands for Multi-Directional Impact Protection. It gives you an added layer of rotational force protection. It has a slip plane inside the helmet. It’s basically an added shock absorber for your brain in certain Impact scenarios. I love seeing this in a budget friendly lid. 

It has your standard adventure peak that is removable to make it a more street able helmet. This helmet is also comfortable in the dirt as well. 

Venting is above average with its velocity flow system. 

It’s best suited for an intermediate oval head shape 

Moto Affliction rating 4.2 / 5

Biltwell Gringo S

Biltwell does retro and they do it so well. The Gringo is a modern classic. Riders that want something different from their helmet get that from the Gringo S.

It’s a thermoplastic shell that is DOT and ECE rated and comes in two shell sizes.

The interior comfort liner stands out with a hand stitched diamond pattern. Biltwell is known for this. It’s comfortable with its brushed Lycra lining. 

The S stands for shield, which it has and the standard Gringo doesn’t. 

Around the eye port is a nice chrome trim accent. 

The one glaring feature that is missing is any sort of venting. This is the price you pay to look so good. The design of this helmet would not be as smooth as it is if there were vents all over it. Nevertheless this still makes a great urban helmet on all kinds of different styles of bikes. I just wouldn’t recommend it for touring. 

Moto Affliction rating 4.5/ 5

To wrap it up

You do not need to spend a fortune on your next helmet. These seven helmets offer a lot of what a more expensive helmet offers but for less. These helmets offer style and most importantly safety. All but the open face Scorpion EXO Belfast are ECE as well as DOT rated. We believe these seven offer the best value at the $300 and below price point. It depends on your personal taste and the type of bike you ride. That will determine which of these seven helmets best suits you. Whichever one you pick will give a good helmet that will get you out there enjoying the thrill of motorcycle. They will also leave a bit of room in your wallet for some other needed gear. 

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