Carbon fiber helmets are not just another type of motorcycle helmets, but they are considered as a pinnacle in the industry of safety helmets. Carbon fiber helmets are better in many ways because they are lighter and stronger than most of the standard motorcycle helmets. This lightness is not only seen in open-face helmets but in full-face helmets as well. Plus, CF helmets fulfill the most important role of distributing the energy upon impact and transferring it equally across the entire fiber liner. This is the main reason why this type of helmets is extremely popular among professional motorcycle racers such as Valentino Rossi.
Carbon fiber is made by weaving carbon threads into a fabric and combining it with a plastic resin to create an extremely strong and flexible shell. The HJC RPHA 11 Pro helmet is a great example of such a carbon fiber shell, which is comprised of Aramid fibers, fiberglass, and the organic non-woven fabric. HJC named this technology the Premium Integrated Matrix Plus (PIM+), which is available in a premium line of HJC helmets.
In this review, I am going to show you some of the lightest and safest carbon fiber motorcycle helmets that you can buy in 2021. Furthermore, I will also tell you what are the benefits of wearing a carbon fiber helmet and why carbon fiber helmets may be the right type of motorcycle helmets for you.
List of the Top 10 Carbon Fiber Motorcycle Helmets
Best Carbon Fiber Motorcycle Helmet Reviews 2021
As you can clearly see, there are three helmet brands (Bell, AGV, HJC) that are absolutely dominating the niche of carbon fiber motorcycle helmets. Apart from them, you won’t find that many companies specialized in making this type of helmets. In this article, I will compare the helmets to each other and show you some differences between them, so it will be much easier for you to decide whether the carbon fiber helmets are the right type of helmets for your riding style and which one is the best carbon fiber motorcycle helmet for you.
Bell Race Star Flex DLX Carbon Fiber Helmet Review
Bell has already released a couple of race-oriented motorcycle helmets in the past, the Bell Star and the Bell Race Star. They were both excellent helmets, but there was one aspect that could be improved even further and that was their weight. The Bell Race Star Flex DLX has all those good things that the Race Star helmet had, but on top of that, it also features a lightweight carbon fiber shell, which makes it 10% lighter (3,5 lbs) than the original.
Shell Design & Protection
The Bell Race Star Flex DLX helmet is both DOT and SNELL approved for safety, which means it is truly designed for a race track. Its 3K Carbon Fiber shell is super-light yet extremely durable. It is equipped with the Flex Impact Liner that has three layers of protection. This technology will protect your head against three different types of impacts (slow, mid and high). On top of that, the helmet is available in 5 shell sizes, so you can be 100% sure it will fit you perfectly.
Face Shield & Visor
The helmet comes with the Panovision ProTint Photochromatic face shield, which will provide maximum visibility and UV protection. The Panovision Viewport of the helmet will make it much easier for you to see your surroundings in tighter positions on the road or racetrack. The vision from the Bell Race Star Flex DLX helmet is simply amazing and it is one of the best aspects of this helmet.
Interior & Comfort
Apart from the lower weight, the Bell Race Star Flex DLX also offers a much better comfort thanks to the newly added speaker pockets and triple-density cheekpads. The cheek pads have a quick release mechanism that will allow anyone to safely take off the helmet in an emergency situation. The interior comfort liner called VIRUS Cool Jade Power Mesh is fully removable and washable, which is a must have feature of every premium motorcycle helmet. It is super durable, moisture wicking and it provides a natural cooling effect to the rider. The fitting of the helmet is pretty snug but not too snug in any way.
I have decided to give the Bell Race Star Flex DLX helmet the 1st place because of multiple reasons. Even though it is not the most expensive carbon fiber helmet on this list with a price tag of around $600, it outshines almost all other helmets by a mile. It is super light, extremely safe and the comfort is phenomenal. It is not only a good carbon fiber helmet for motorcycle racing, but in my opinion, also one of the best motorcycle helmets in general. So, it is really difficult to find anything bad to say about this carbon fiber motorcycle helmet and you should definitely check it out.
Bell Race Star Flex DLX Helmet
Pros: Extremely lightweight, DOT & SNELL Rating, Raceview Orientation, Panovision Face Shield, Speaker Pockets, Triple-Density Cheekpads
Cons: Still a Bit Pricey
AGV Pista GP R Carbon Fiber Helmet Review
The Pista GP R helmet is the top of the line carbon fiber motorcycle helmet of the famous Italian brand AGV. It was designed specifically for professional MotoGP racing and some of the attributes of the helmet are not that practical for street use. The version of the helmet I have reviewed is called “Soleluna” and it features cool blue and yellow Valentino Rossi graphics.
Shell Design & Protection
The AGV Pista GP R carbon fiber helmet has an aggressive design with aerodynamic shape and a huge spoiler in the back. There is no other motorcycle helmet that looks similar to the Pista GP R and that is one of the reasons this helmet became an icon of motorcycle racing. The outer shell of the helmet is made from a 3K Carbon Fiber and it is extremely light in weight. The helmet comes in many different graphic designs, it is available in 4 shell sizes and it is DOT and SNELL certified for safety. Inside the shell, there is an EPS liner with 5 layers of density, which makes it one of the safest motorcycle helmets on the market.
Face Shield & Visor
The AGV Pista GP R helmet comes with an optically correct face shield that is equipped with the 100% Max Vision Pinlock technology. It is designed to eliminate fogging issues and it will also provide maximum horizontal and vertical view from the helmet. The shield is ultra-thick (5mm), it has an anti-scratch coating and it will ensure sufficient protection during a high-speed racing situations. Other than that, the shield also comes with the Visor Lock System, which will prevent opening of the shield during a crash. You can easily replace the visor of the Pista GP R carbon fiber helmet without any tools thanks to the Rapid Visor Release System, which will allow you to take the visor off the helmet within a few seconds.
Interior & Comfort
The interior padding of the helmet is fully removable and washable. The material used in the cheek pads is called “Shalimar” and it is a very soft antibacterial and moisture wicking fabric. The helmet features a quick release mechanism that can be used to remove the cheek pads in a case of an accident. It is also equipped with an integrated hydration system, which is a feature you won’t find in many motorcycle helmets. The ventilation of the AGV Pista GP R carbon fiber helmet is provided by 5 large front metal intake air vents and 2 rear exhaust vents. It is without a doubt one of the best ventilated full-face helmets you can buy.
The AGV Pista GP R is a truly amazing carbon fiber motorcycle helmet. In fact, it is a perfect helmet for professional track racing and, as some may even say, a “work of art”. It is super-light (3 lbs), extremely safe and it also provides crazy amounts of airflow to the rider. Unfortunately, due to its shape and the long spoiler in the back, the helmet is very noisy and you will hear all kinds of sounds coming into the helmet. So noisy, that they even included ear plugs! Because of this, I wouldn’t recommend the helmet for daily use. Another downside is clearly its price tag, as $1000+ is definitely not what most motorcyclists can afford to spend on a helmet.
AGV Pista GP R Helmet
Pros: Extremely Lightweight, Aerodynamic Design, DOT & SNELL Rating, 5 Layers of EPS Liner, Integrated Hydration System, Excellent Ventilation
Cons: Noisy, Way Too Expensive
HJC RPHA 11 Pro Carbon Fiber Helmet Review
Another helmet of our list of the top rated carbon fiber helmets is the HJC RPHA 11 Pro Carbon. This is an upgraded race-ready version of one of the most popular HJC’s helmets, the original RPHA 11 Pro. Compared to the fiberglass composite version, the carbon fiber one offers reduced weigh and improved airflow.
Shell Design & Protection
The helmet has a minimalist design with a beautiful carbon fiber texture all over its shell. The HJC RPHA 11 Pro Carbon is about 10% lighter than the original helmet as it only weighs around 2.9 lbs (1.3 kg). The helmet has DOT certification but it hasn’t been approved for SNELL safety rating. The outer shell is constructed from a combination of carbon fiber and carbon-glass materials, which will provide enhanced shock resistance to your head. The finish is of a high quality and the weave of the carbon fiber creates cool reflections in various lighting conditions. It will look especially good on your head if you wear some other carbon fiber gear or if you have carbon fiber parts on your bike such as an exhaust.
Face Shield & Visor
The ultra wide eye port area of the helmet is equipped with an optically superior face shield that is pin lock ready and provides 95% UV protection against the harmful sun rays. To make the shield replacement process easier, HJC has equipped the helmet with the Rapidfire II Shield Replacement System that is both very safe easy to use. The HJC RPHA 11 Pro Carbon can be combined with many types of eyeglasses and sunglasses thanks to the shape of the inner EPS liner.
Interior & Comfort
Comfort is another important attribute of every motorcycle helmet and the HJC RPHA 11 Pro Carbon helmet doesn’t lag behind its competition. It is equipped with the MultiCool interior comfort liner that has antibacterial properties and that you can easily remove for washing. It wicks all kinds of moisture and it is extremely breathable at the same time. Inside the helmet, you will also find a pair of built-in speaker pockets that can be used for a Bluetooth communication device. The airflow of the HJC RPHA 11 Pro Carbon is provided by the Advanced Channeling Ventilation System which consists of multiple intake and exhaust vents and it is very efficient. So, if you sweat a lot during your rides, you can be sure your face stays cool and dry in this helmet.
To sum things up, I would say that the HJC RPHA 11 Pro Carbon helmet is a very good option for you, if you are looking for an affordable carbon fiber motorcycle helmet with tons of features. It has a lot of things to offers, but doesn’t cost as much as some other premium helmets in this category. For a price of below $500, you will get a super lightweight carbon fiber shell, a really good protection and sufficient airflow. The visibility is also excellent and the helmet comes with both clear and dark smoke shields in the box. On top of that, the carbon fiber texture looks simply fantastic and it will definitely attract a lot of attention!
HJC RPHA 11 Pro Carbon Helmet
Pros: Extremely Lightweight, Optically Superior Face Shield, MultiCool Interior, Advanced Channeling Ventilation System, Speaker Pockets
Cons: No SNELL Rating
Types of Carbon Fiber Motorcycle Helmets
Carbon Fiber Full-Face Helmets
Full-face helmets are the most common type of motorcycle helmets. Having a lightweight full-face helmet is extremely important if you want to use it for touring or track racing. With the increased popularity of both motorcycle riding styles, there has been enormous demand for lightweight carbon fiber helmets. That is the reason why you will find plenty of these helmets available on the market today. Manufacturers are investing tremendous amounts of time and money to develop the lightest and the most perfect carbon fiber full-face helmet that is both comfortable and protective.
Carbon Fiber Half & Open-Face Helmets
Wearing a motorcycle half helmet or an open-face helmet might not be as safe as wearing a full-face helmet, however it is still better than having no head protection on your bike. If you are looking for an open-face helmet, one of your main concerns should be the helmet weight. These motorcycle helmets are already significantly lighter than others and adding a carbon fiber shell construction makes them feather-light. So, if you want to own the absolute lightest motorcycle helmet, you should go for an open-face/half carbon fiber helmet.
Carbon Fiber Modular Helmets
There are many reasons why you would need a modular helmet. They are great for touring or long-distance commuting and you will feel really comfortable while wearing a modular helmet. Because of their flip-up chin bar mechanism, these motorcycle helmets are usually on the heavier side and they weigh around 4 lbs. However, there is a sub-category of modular helmets that feature a lightweight, aerodynamic design. They are called sport-touring helmets and their weight is up to 1 lbs lower than weight of a regular modular helmet. This can only be achieved by adding carbon fiber instead of fiberglass into the outer shell.
Why You Should Buy a Carbon Fiber Helmet
The Importance of Carbon Fiber Helmets
Carbon fiber is a developed technology that has been around for half a century. Back then, it was recognized as black stuff that was quite popular in the aeronautical industry where it was used for aircraft components. But, it’s only been over a decade since it was first introduced to motorcycle helmets.
The Strength of Carbon Fiber Helmets
Nowadays, carbon fiber is used by many top helmet manufacturers to create motorcycle helmets that have the strength to protect against severe impacts and lightweight enough to wear all day. Plus, a motorcycle helmet must have a certain amount of flexibility that can absorb energy from an impact without causing a severe head injury. After all, it is a material strong enough for a plane. So, of course, it will be strong enough to protect our head. Tensile strength is not the only reason to buy CF helmets. Carbon Fiber is not only beneficial for providing crash and impact protection but also offers an added level of noise protection that is certainly important, so motorcycle riders can concentrate on traffic sounds and safe riding.
The Lightness of Carbon Fiber Helmets
Carbon fiber is almost three times lighter than steel and has the atoms bonded together in a crystal form, which is why it first appeared in top-level motorsports like Formula 1 racing where low weight and extreme strength are necessary attributes for safe driving and maximum performance. Carbon fiber motorcycle helmets are up to 25% lighter than regular motorcycle helmets and this makes them the perfect choice for professional racing or adventure touring. So, if you would like to own the lightest motorcycle helmet possible, then a carbon fiber helmet is an appropriate type of helmet you should be looking for.
I am sure that after reading our review of the Best Carbon Fiber Motorcycle Helmets of 2021, you will have a general knowledge about the use of carbon fiber in motorcycle helmets and its pros and cons. Overall, I can say that carbon fiber motorcycle helmets have added more value to riders’ safety, durability, and comfort during a long ride. You can select from a wide range of carbon fiber helmets available on the market in a variety of styles, shapes, and sizes. But remember, whether you choose a carbon fiber helmet or a regular one, you should always make sure it is safe enough for your riding style and conditions.