Searching For A Quiet Dual Sport ADV Helmet
Dual sport helmets serve the purpose the name implies – dual sports – duh. Usually worn by adventure riders where it’s useful to have a visor to block the sun on a hot day and cover your visor on a wet rainy day.
The problem with a dual sport helmet is that they are more a jack of all trades, master of none. This is especially true when it comes to fulfilling specific needs riders like myself are looking for. One of my frustrations is the constant noise, or rather lack of noise reduction.
The first step to reducing noise for any rider should always be to try a pair of noise cancelling earplugs. This will definitely help to reduce both engine noise and the sound of the wind at higher speeds. The flip side of riding with ear plugs is that it can make it a bit more challenging to chat to your buddy through your bluetooth comms device. Check out this post of mine for advice on dual sport helmets with bluetooth capabilities.
The second point worth mentioning is that a dual sport helmet will not be as quiet as a full face helmet. Here’s an article where I’ve tackled the topic and found the quietest motorcycle helmets. So if you don’t really need a dual sport helmet I’d suggest taking a look at that article. Full face helmets are generally better at higher speeds and for daily commuting.
Off road helmets are your worst chance at finding a quiet helmet. Riding at any speed over 35mph or around 50km/h will likely result in you not being able to hear your own voice and going to bed with a marching band playing nonstop right in your frontal lobes.
Now if you’re specifically looking for a dual sport helmet, either because you like the style, or because you actually intend on riding both on and off the road here are your best options when it comes to the quietest dual sport helmet.
The Bell MX 9 Adventure helmet is one of the most popular dual sport helmets on the market. It’s a great lightweight adventure helmet that’s quieter than your typical dirt bike helmets while still offering the protection you need for both road and off road riding.
The MIPS system helps to displace rotational forces. Backed by the DOT certification and a 5 year warranty through most outlets you know you’re in good hands – or in a good lid rather. Another perk is the visor shield which is anti-fog and anti-scratch and also offers your eyes protection from UV rays.
The other nice thing about the visor is that it’s detachable so if you’re into some serious off-roading you can swap the visor for a set of goggles for extra protection from dust and dirt. At this price point, you’re getting a great package. The MX 9 has also featured in my review of the best ATV helmets as well as making the top 5 adventure bike helmets.
The AFX is another great adventure helmet if you’re looking for something quieter than most rivals. The FX 41 has a neat little device that makes this dual sport helmet extra quiet. It’s called a chin curtain. Check it out on Amazon.
If you’re ever riding your bike, stick your hand under your chin to block the wind and notice how big of a difference it makes. Well, AFX have made an awesome chin guard to help deflect wind and road noise from creeping up into your helmet. The Chin curtain is sold as an addon for the FX39 model, but it fits the FX41 perfectly as well.
In addition this helmet meets both DOT and ECE safety standards. It weighs in at a modest 1.68 kg or 3.69 lbs in a size large. There’s also plenty of room for you to fit a set of bluetooth speakers in the ear cutouts and a wide variety of tinted face shields are available.
All in all, this is an excellent DS helmet that surely makes for a comfortable and quiet ride.
Stepping up the competition into the mid level of the price range we have the latest SHOEI Hornet helmet. The goal of the new Hornet X2 was to make improvements over the already great first version of the helmet. It targets serious dual sport riders eager to take on the wild rocky trails and the high speed twistys alike. It definitely meets all the dual sport criteria one could look for.
The Hornet X2 incorporates a well designed mouthpiece and chin bar which offers vast improvements when it comes to air intake and ventilation while still offering enough breathing room for when the riding gets rocky.
The visor has been given the fancy name “v-460”. Perhaps it took 460 iterations to perfect the aerodynamics in SHOEI’s wind tunnel. It’s said the visor has been designed in such a way as to strike the perfect balance between functionality and stability all the while minimizing any drag and reverberation from the wind. The strategic placement of the vents allows the wind to pass through at higher speeds which lowers both lift and drag forces and improves overall ventilation.
The other features are just as impressive. The easy to operate quarter turn screws which allow for simple removal and application of the visor on the fly. As a brand, SHOEI rarely disappoints, and this helmet is no exception. Especially if you’re looking for one of the quietest adv helmets on the market. To top it all off, you can also buy a separate wind curtain to further reduce noise levels.
While Nexx may not be a brand that personifies dual sport helmets, or even motorcycles for that matter, it’s certainly not a brand to be overlooked. Rising in popularity since inception, and even more so since the development of the X.WED 2 model.
It sports a lightweight fiberglass shell that’s both DOT and ECE certified. It’s Lined with advanced ventilation strips and both anti-sweat and anti-allergic inners. The inners are removable and washable just like the rest of the top DS helmets.
What’s great about the new version of the helmet is the improved aerodynamics, vents and anti-noise pads which all work together to keep you safe, comfortable and offer a quiet ride. NEXX even claim on their website how riders consistently comment on the impressive quiet nature of this helmet
To top of the list of quiet adventure dual sport helmets, I suggest the Arai XD4. A highly popular helmet among adv riders, and for good reason. The XD4 looks very similar to its predecessor – the XD3, but outperforms in just about every performance related aspect.
Arai are know to be most fitting for the Intermediate Oval interior fit shape which works well for most riders. The XD4 improvements come in the form of a new comfort headliner with micro-fitting 5 mm peel-away temple pads, It also includes the patented cheek pad design, which also has 5 mm peel away layers.
Exceptional panoramic viewing through the large eyeport makes riding ultra pleasurable. Not to mention the insane ventilation options with plenty of intakes and exhaust vents allowing air to circulate throughout the helmet.
Many riders have found the Arai XD4 to be one of the quietest dual sport helmets on the market. When you buy Arai, you buy into a brand of excellence and become part of an elite set of riders that choose top quality over a wishful thought that’s likely to end up lost in a lesser helmet.
At the end of the day, you’re either going to be left with a pounding headache or pleasant night’s sleep. The difference comes in the form of which helmet you decide to ride with. As I said in the begin, dual sport helmets are a Jack of all trades, but a master of none, although if there could only be one, it’d have to be the Arai XD4.