ADVENTURE TOURING and DUAL SPORT riding have quickly become one of the most popular forms of motorcycle riding globally. Embraced across several different riding styles, they’re popular amongst sport bike riders, street fighters, adventure riders, tourers and many forms of endurance riding. As a simple definition, dual sport is where a rider will use their bike and gear for both riding on the street and also out in the dirt. The best dual sport helmets and adventure touring helmets have a multi functional performance factor accommodating dual riding scenarios. Whether it be high speed on the road to that of a ‘dirt upright riding position’ for off-road adventures. Just how the dual sport helmets evolved was due to Arai taking key dirt bike riding helmet features and combining with street helmet characteristics. The result is a more aggressive prominent physical profile – mainly due to the higher volume of ventilation channels. A slight downside is that the more vents, the greater the noise will be. It’s a tradeoff for the versatility this type of helmet offers. In Summer or hotter days, the visor can be raised up and locked whilst riding so with goggles on, riders will have more airflow. Most of the dual sport helmet shapes are intermediate oval, slightly longer front to back, but always check your own fit first because head shapes vary.
Here are the reviews for the Top 10 Dual Sport Helmets and Adventure Touring Helmets:
Starting our dual sport helmet review with a favorite, the AGV AX-8 DS EVO GT . To break it down, the AX-8 is the dirt helmet part, the DS stands for Dual Sport, the GT is for the grand touring graphics component and the EVO is the model. The shell itself is made from lightweight fiberglass, kevlar and carbon which comes in 3 shell sizes and 3 graphics styles (white-gun metal blue,white-gun metal red and a black-silver-red as shown in the image). The shell shape is an intermediate oval head with an integrated ventilation system (IVS) that directs airflow channels to the outer shell. The inner lining has the Dry-Lex fabric with sanitizing treatment, which can be fully removed and washed. The dual visor made from polycarbonate is flat and has a non-scratch, anti-fog shield which provides 100% UV protection.It is DOT and ECE certified. What really sells the AGV AX-8 DS EVO GT is the graphics, with a tech-style blended honeycomb design that oozes Italian class with an aggressive profile. It’s a nice combination and if you want to mix the look up, remove the peak.
- The graphics are sharp, cool and smart
- Flat dual face shield – non-scratch and anti-fog
- High performing ventilation system
- Strong shell made from fiberglass, Kevlar and a light carbon – making it a light helmet despite size
- 3 shell sizes
- removable and washable liner
- Rating 4.5 / 5
- Mid to upper range price for a Dual sport helmet
- Limited space for Bluetooth comms speakers
- Face shield requires force to raise and lower, plus it fogs up
ARAI who were pioneers in dirt bike gear and the development of the dual sport helmet, have produced a superior DS helmet in the ARAI XD4 model. At first glance, the front ridge of the helmet profile has been reduced, resulting in a more aerodynamic shape promoting improved balance and stability. Brow vents have been introduced on the shield which vent to channels that push air directly to the forehead. The chin ventilation has been increased with more vent slots and the lever to adjust the vent is more prominent and glove-friendly. ARAI obviously listened to feedback because the chimney vents also have a more prominent lever to adjust airflow. (It is great that ARAI consider rider feedback when designing their future improved helmets). The back diffusers of the ARAI XD4 have a aerodynamic shape and are now sporting cut-in vents at the crown. This results in more air flowing in a streamline fashion over the top and creating the vacuum which pulls cool air through the front and sucks out warm moist air through the diffusers (known as venturi effect).
Goggles can be worn comfortable under the UV resistant locking face shield. An adjustable chin curtain with a small lever that allows for the free flow of air (FFS). There are 3 configurations with this helmet – (i) Fully configured with shield and peak, (ii) Remove shield and peak – strip it back, or (iii) Remove shield or peak. Overall, a very popular helmet with a stable, well designed shell for a comfortable riding experience.
- More aerodynamic and balanced (stable) shell shape than previous ARAI XD3 model
- Snell rated helmet
- Improved and higher performing redesigned ventilation system
- removable and washable interior
- Comfort head liner with temple pads that can be peeled away
- Dry-Cool material technology – greater rider comfort
- Rating 4.7 / 5
- Higher price point
- FaceShields in the previous model (ARAI XD3) are not compatible with the XD4 – so cannot be swapped in or out
- Also, the XD4 faceshield fogs up on cold days and a breath deflection or fog reduction design element would be well placed in this helmet
- Can get a whistle-like noise when turn head to the side at speed
- On Hi-viz model – helmet paint can get stratched easily
The AFX FX-39 is a larger helmet with an obvious aggressive profile. It is an entry level dual sport, dirt bike, enduro style sport helmet with its big shell, flip up visor and adjustable peak. Using the visor is optional with good space to insert goggles underneath the shield and a nice external groove that allows the strap to wrap neatly around the outer shell. The visor which is flatter than its predecessors, can be worn down or up allowing for a open face experience. The optically correct faceshield has a quick release system (with a screw plug tool) and is UV-ray and scratch resistant. There are a several several shield options available. The aerodynamic intermediate-oval shaped shell is made from an advanced lightweight composite poly-alloy. It is a nice comfortable fit with enough space to easily insert speakers in purpose-built cavities. The ventilation system performs well with 9 big channels of air flowing through chin, side, forehead, top and rear vents with more passive venting built into the design. Also, now the option to open or close the vents is built in with prominent levers that can be easily operated with gloves.
The neck spoiler has 2 diffusers that pull cool air into the front vents, over the top of the head and vent out through these 2 lower diffusers. The chin strap can be adjusted through a European style ratchet system which makes the AFX FX-39 super easy to remove with a single pull for on and off. The top peak can be adjusted into several positions which is great for adjusting to eliminate the sun hitting your eyes at certain angles in the day.
- A solid entry level helmet into Dual Sport
- Excellent ventilation channels with many more passive airflow vents that promotes excellent airflow.
- DOT and ECE certified
- Helmet liner and cheek pads fully removable and washable
- Face shield can be removed for open face riding
- Easily fits speakers in cutout ear cavities
- It’s lighter in weight than it looks
- Rating 4.4 / 5
- The big ventilation system – sometimes mean too much air and wind comes through. Can be cold in Winter or cooler days
- Also, the big vent system makes it a noisy helmet
- Again on the vents, because they can now be closed or open, some of them jam right in the middle – so they are not closed or open.
- Issues with the shield staying down at speed – can be a challenge. Needs a stronger locking system
Bell has entered the Adventure Dual Sport market with a very keenly anticipated helmet in the aggressive looking Bell MX-9 Adventure Barricade. This dual sport enduro helmet is made from a lightweight polycarbonate shell and is just at home on the street as it is in the dirt. It comes in 3 x shell intermediate oval shaped sizes as does the EPS’s which, like many things Bell does, is for rider comfort. A drop down shield has been added which seals with a added ridge-like lip. The more premium helmets will go for a flush seal without extra design features to achieve same results. The included peak is removable for a more ‘street-like’ look. Bells’ signature velocity-flow ventilation system keeps air moving comfortable through the helmet with a venture force pulling cool air in the front and sucking warm moist air out the back. The helmet couples well with most dirt-goggles and are preferential in the dirt with the visor flipped up. A drawback is the lack of speaker cavities and thought into the attachment of a communications unit. More than likely, velro will be the best way to attach a comms system as the integration will not be as seamless as it is with other helmet brands. Overall, a good effort for Bell’s first ADS helmet, which is functional and affordable – coming in under the price of Shoei’s and Arai’s higher ADS models.
- Affordable price point
- ACE and DOT certified
- Lightweight polycarbonate shell
- High performing ventilation system
- 3 x size shells
- 3 x size EPS – 3D and multi density
- Removable and washable wicking liner
- Adjustable mouth vent
- Note although the peak is removable, it is not adjustable. The only peak option is off or on. Unlike other helmet peaks where they can be moved further up or down the crown, this peak is fixed in the one spot.
- Again, the peak – if it is left on whilst riding at speed on the street, it can be felt at head checks – making the overall helmet slightly less aerodynamic
- Although the Bell MX-9 has great ventilation, it is not possible to close the front air vents – in the wet, you will get wet.
The Shoei Hornet DS was specifically designed with the dual sport and adventure touring riders in mind. Like most dual sport helmets, an off road helmet designed with a peak that will work at speed and gives you the choice to have a shield. You can take this on the road at speed and also, off road for some hard core ground work, giving riders the best of both worlds. The head shape is intermediate to oval and is slightly narrow. Similar to the ARAI XD4, it can be configured 3 ways(i) Full configuration with shield and visor, (ii) Remove shield and visor a – strip it back, or (iii) Remove shield or visor. As true with many dual sport helmets, it is lightweight with an Advanced Integrated Matrix Plus (AIM+) shell – made from different composite materials. The larger than average visor has a sizeable air intake vent to channel air to the top of the helmet and it is wide. The greater width means the 3D curved shield completely seals or is flush against the eyeport beading. Behind the nose, there is a shutter that covers the direct air flow to clear and reduce fog on the shield. Like with most helmets these days, the inner lining and 5 layers of cheek pads are completely removable and washable. With a breath guard and chin curtain included, this is a good quality helmet made by a brand synonymous with premium helmets. The Shoei Hornet is exactly that, a fine quality helmet.
- High performance ventilation and venturi system
- Peak is designed for safety – on impact it will sheer away as opposed to cracking and slamming into riders face
- Peak can be easily removed
- Shield can be popped out with a coin
- DOT and Snell certified
- Rating 4.6 / 5
- Higher price point
- The peak could be longer and wider as a sun visor
- Larger physical profile – buffets at higher roads speeds
- Shield fogs in the cold
When it comes to the Icon Variant Dual Sport helmet, it is common to hear the phrase ‘a crossover helmet’. This in fact means the same as ‘dual sport’ because the rider is crossing over from one riding terrain to another, generally from street to off-road dirt riding. The long intermediate oval shaped shell is made from a lightweight composite of fiberglass, dyneema and carbon fibers. (Dyneema is a lightweight high strength orientated gel that is spun through a spinneret to increase the overall strength of the strands). The strength of the shell is further complimented by the dual density EPS impact absorption foam. Similar to many dual sport helmets, the Icon Variant has 9 serious ventilation channels. These channels pull air in through the top, side, chin and front and suck warm moist air out the back. There is of course the removable and washable HydraDry wicking liner, which, when in position, enhances the fitment of this helmet. This helmet has a bad-boy look to it, like a battle is about to be waged. Part of this is due to the static aerodynamic hard-working peak which directs air through embedded air vents at the top supporting warm air being sucked out the back.
The extended eyeports are larger than usual and give the helmet a ‘menacing’ look. The Icon Variant Dual Sport helmet visor is signature Variant style and to remove, requires a tool to pop it out from the side, a little more challenging to remove than other visors. Also important to avoid over screwing as the threads can be damaged easily. Overall a good premium helmet from Icon.
- DOT and ECE certified. Plus SAI (Australia), and SG (Japan) standards met
- Redesigned anti-lift visor and wind tunnel tested
- Super strong shell with high quality impact EPS absorption foam
- Optically correct anti-fog shield
- Removable chin curtain
- Interior wicking liner can be removed and washed
- Rating 4.2 / 5
- Hard to remove the shield – need tools to pop it out – and avoid tightening screws too tight – wrecks the thread
- Can be a noisy helmet
- Drags at speed (when on highway)
The Fly Trekker Hi-Viz dual sport helmet is an entry level adventure touring option which suits those riders getting into the sport for the first time due to its affordable price point. Fit is intermediate oval and it performs great both on and off road. DOT rated. Big vents (some adjustable) flow a lot of air through the chin, brow top vents and passive vents. This keeps the interior nice and cool whilst warm moist humid air is sucked out the back. The low distortion face shield can easily accommodate goggles underneath for normal riding and can slip down over the goggles when bad weather rolls in. The single screw peak can be adjusted up and down with a glove on. Everything is removable and washable with a good wicking material and cheek pads are replaceable. The Fly Trekker Hi-Viz dual sport helmet comes in a range of colors including matte black and gloss and is a good affordable helmet from Fly.
- Affordable entry price for an solid adventure dual sport helmet
- Poly alloy shell construct – strong, durable and lightweight
- Dual density EPS liner
- 16 air vents – with some adjustable including front mouth, brow vents and rear vents
- Multi-position ratcheting face shield
- Adjustable peak – 1 x inch movement up or down
- Goggles can easily be worn when shield is up or down
- Rating 4.4 / 5
- Noisier helmet at speed
- With 16 vents can be cool in Winter and on colder days
- Visor fogs in the cool
The GMAX GM11D is a entry-level dual sport helmet that maintains its popularity amongst ADS riders dues to its functionality, performance and price point. The shell is made from a lightweight thermo-plastic poly alloy with a neutral to round shape. The ventilation is good with 4 main intakes – the chin, 2 x chimneys under the visor, and 1 x at the top where the peak is attached. The back exhaust and passive vents create the venturi effect where cool air is sucked in through the helmet whilst warm moist air is sucked out the back exhausts. The face shield is made from poly carb shield and has the advantage that when it is raised up, it can be pushed up all the way so that no part of the shield hangs down and is visible. The interior is made up of CoolMax mesh wicking, anti-microbial liner which is fully removable and washable. The attachments is designed so that none of the pressure points are affected by uncomfortable protruding attachments. All in all, the GMAX GM11D is a affordable helmet which is a good starting helmet if you are getting into ADS riding.
- Great price point for a ADS helmet
- Lightweight shell which can be configured with or without the visor
- large eye port that accepts large goggles when visor removed
- Good ventilation through 4 big air channel intakes, with jaw, front and top vents easy to adjust with gloves on
- Space to integrate speakers into ear cavities
- Rating 4.3 / 5
- Despite the big eye ports, the space can be cramped with both goggles on and visor down
The ARAI XD Explore has a reputation for being one of the top adventure touring helmets on the market, and it doesn’t come cheap. The intermediate oval shaped shell has achieved one of the highest Snell ratings possible. This is through Arai’s focus on safety from materials, shape and other design features. The shock absorbing pad layer that is sandwiched between Aria’s signature proprietary super fiber and the aerospace grade fiberglass is at the core of this safety focus. It results in a shell shape that is extremely strong, rigid and can deflect off items with little to no impact to the helmet. From a riders perspective, little to no deformity in the helmet means there is less chance it will catch on curbs and concrete – thus minimizing injuries to the neck, shoulders and spine. The ARAI XD Explore’s aerodynamic design supports high performance ventilation channels that are crafted to minimize buffeting. Chin vents, large side cowls, brow vents, and exhaust ports support the free movement of cool air in and warm moist air out.
The comfortable interior houses fully removable and washable 5 mm peel-away cheek and temple pads that can be tailored to a riders head size and fit. The liner material is that of Dry-Cool technology which keeps a rider dry and cool especially in Summer and hotter days. Any exterior addition such as the peak, vent cover or any other extrusions are attached with nylon screws and are designed to pop off in a crash maintaining the safer round design shape of the shell. The Arai XD Explore includes a shatter-proof poly carbonate face shield similar to those on street helmets. There is also a sunshade visor that can be used by itself or with the shield down. Overall a excellent premium helmet for riders into serious dual sport riding.
- Achieved Snell M2010 safety rating – only a few helmets have achieved this high rating.
- Ventilation system – high performing
- Excellent safety design features and materials- from the EPS to composite layers that make up the core of the inner shell – to minimize shell deformity. Shell shape is based on a core intermediate round shape – the exterior extrusions peel away upon impact to maintain safety-designed features of oval round shape
- Extra comfort in head liner, cheek and temple pads – all removable and washable
- Choice of colors, graphics and shield options
- Rating 4.7 / 5
- The is one of the best ADS helmets on the market so there is little to no negative feedback on this helemt other than the high end price
The AFX FX-41 dual sport is not a replacement for the AFX FX-39. The AFX FX-39 is more of a dirt or off road bike with street capability whereas the AFX FX41 is the opposite. It is focused more on its street capability with off road abilities. The intermediate oval shaped shell is made from an advanced poly alloy and is light in weight. Higher performing ventilation has resulted from the 17 points of entry and exit. Starting with the chin vent divided into 6 ports to funnel air down the side of the chin bar and into the helmet. With the shield raised, cool air flows through the eye brow vents to cool and dry the interior wicking liner. The eye brow vents are also responsible for reducing fog across the shield. If the shield is closed, the venturi process sucks in cool air via the front vents and exhausts warm moist air out the back. This steeper curve of the helmet design around the neck has the functional advantage of increasing a riders head mobility especially when checking blind spots. The shield and visor has 2 separate mounting points unlike the FX-39 which is on the 1 axel. The downside is that the FX-41 face shield needs to be removed if a rider wants to wear goggles.
The visor is smaller and lighter in the AFX FX-41 and the peak is reinforced by its bumper – which strengthens the visor and makes it more rigid and quieter at speed. The shield has been contoured to flatten out the viewing area whilst the front nose shape makes it more aerodynamic. There is also a removable internal sunshade which is operated by a lever on the exterior. A lot of the comfort in this helmet lies within the liner which is a softer material than that in t eFX-39. However, the removal of this liner takes some getting use to as it is not the simplest process. Overall this helmet is affordable and will meet any needs for ADS riding.
- Excellent ventilation with 17 entry and exit vents
- Affordable entry price point
- Flip up, flush it, quick release, single turn screw face shield with side covers.
- Optically correct shield, compound curved, scratch and UV resistant
- A quieter ride with the stabelized peak attachment
- DOT and ECE certified
- Shield can be used without the visor
- Quick release retention system
- Good ear cavity space for speakers
- Removable and washable interior
- Rating 4 / 5
- Slightly difficult to remove the inner liner
- If rider wants to wear goggle, the face shield needs to be removed
- Trade-off for the ventilation in it is a noisy helmet
- May not be warm enough for Winter or cooler day rides
Also known as Flip Up helmets have become an extremely popular helmet choice amongst dual sport riders, cruisers, adventure off road and tourers. They are versatile and can be changed into a multitude of positions for varying riding scenarios, which includes open face [..read more…]