Is A Dual Sport Helmet Right For You?

Dual sport helmets have become increasingly popular for more than just ADV, and enduro riders. These helmets really help to bridge the gap between off road, or MX styles of helmets, and the typical full face street helmet making them versatile for true dual sport riders who use their bike to get to the trails and back home.

For those on dual sport bikes geared for off road riding, a dual sport helmet helps to solve the dilemma of choosing between an off road helmet or full face helmet.

Some of the advantages that this style of helmet offers:

  • Increased field of view both laterally and vertically
  • Most dual sport helmets are designed to fit MX goggles, or be worn with the included face shield
  • Increased interior airflow compared to traditional full face helmets
  • Prescription glasses fog a lot less behind a face shield than OTG MX goggles
  • Lots of ventilation

Photo courtesy of gpsKevin

Dual sport helmets can be found from just about every brand covering every price range from sub $100 to multiple hundreds of dollars. High end, more expensive models, can be found with premium features with Sena Bluetooth headsets built in, modular flip-up chin bar designs, MIPS liners, fiberglass composite shells and so on. Less expensive models offer up similar versatility, while allowing for upgrades down the road like headsets, double pane shields, and other accessories while still keeping that dual sport style.

Dual Sport Helmets On The Highway

If you’re used to wearing a more traditional full face helmet you might find that wearing a dual sport helmet on the highway can be a bit of a different experience. The peak, or visor, attached to the top of the helmet will influence aerodynamics to an extent. Expect to get slightly more buffeting than a standard helmet at legal highway speeds. Speeds above 60 mph are really when the aerodynamics of a helmet start to show. Not every helmet shell and peak are the same, but a dual sport helmet in general might not be the first choice for extended highway riding.

If your mixed riding involves short stretched on the highway from time to time, but primarily back roads, dirt roads, or city streets don’t cross a dual sport helmet off your list. The pros might far outweigh the cons in your situation. We just wouldn’t recommend a dual sport helmet for adventure touring riders who might hit the highway for longer periods (hours).

Urban/Suburban Street Riding

Back roads, city streets, and short commutes. You will have no issue wearing a dual sport helmet in these situations. Getting to and from work, or just exploring new neighborhoods, getting to the trails, or hitting some dirt roads are also where a dual sport helmet might be what you prefer over a standard full face helmet or even off road helmet. The increased vertical field of view is a nice bonus at speeds less than 50 mph when trying to avoid obstacles like potholes, and roadkill.

Getting Caught In The Rain

Riding in the rain sucks a lot less with a full face shield instead of an off road helmet with goggles. With that said, a face shield will keep more rain, dust, and flying insects off your face than an MX helmet with goggles can. You always have the option to detach the face shield and wear goggles if you prefer that for maybe more off road riding than mixed riding.

Photo courtesy of gpsKevin

Dual Sport Helmets For ATVs, UTVs, & Other Off Road Vehicles

All of the previously mentioned advantages apply. A dual sport helmet will have a little more weight to it than an off road helmet. Those who wear glasses or sunglasses might appreciate having a well vented off road ready helmet without having to mess with goggles or ordering specialty goggles designed to fit over their glasses (OTG). If your riding style is more physically demanding or you ride fast and hard, then a more off road style helmet might be a better choice for you as it will be a bit lighter and offer more ventilation that you might appreciate.

Dual Sport Helmet For Snowmobiling

Typhoon XP14 Dual Sport Snowmobile Helmet

The added peripheral and vertical field of view really benefits snowmobile riders. Being able to have your skis more in your sight without looking up or down quite as much makes days on the sled less fatiguing. Obviously, you will need the necessary upgrades for cold weather riding to reduce fog and keep warm in extremely cold conditions. Things like a double pane heated shield, breath box and balaclava should not be overlooked. Not every dual sport helmet has these accessories available, so if you are fortunate enough to ride in all four seasons on various vehicles, a dual sport helmet could be all that you need. Simply swap the face shield and install the breath box once enough snow is on the ground and you’re set!