While the incoming noise through the shell and undercarriage of your helmet is a definitely a secondary factor of importance (after safety) when looking for a helmet, for many riders road noise can ruin a long ride or weekend cruise.
Safety should always be your primary concern. If you haven’t already, read our article on helmet safety standards and testing procedures. An interesting fact from the US Federal Highway Administration shows that road noise can reach up to 80 decibels. This may not sound like much but imagine enough mosquitoes swarming around your ear to reach that noise. Quite a lot of noise now isn’t it.
Road noise can actually be amplified by the wind passing through and over your helmet pushing up the noise to 115 decibels. Road noise can be significantly affected by your choice of helmet, improving your ride and saving your hearing. The latter should actually be of more importance, choosing the quiets helmet is a by-product of saving your hearing. As riders we should all be wearing ear protection as a first defense to combating loss of hearing. Something simple like these eargasm motorcycle ear plugs are perfect as a first step.
If you already took the first step or are simply looking for a cooler and quieter helmet like the majority of the people reading this article, we’ve put our efforts together and done all the research to find the best options for you to ride in silence – or at least enjoy your ride in more peaceful conditions.
What To Listen For In The Quiet Motorcycle Helmet
Before we answer this, let’s first think about what is creating the noise in the first place.
Of course the sound of your wheels tearing down the tar or dirt is the main factor and we’ll get into that in a bit. We’ve also got to consider the wind noise brushing in and over your helmet. This means that the number of air intakes could be a factor in choosing the quietest helmet. We’ve got the surrounding noises which we have no control over so let’s skip that. But let’s not forget the sound of your engine. Now we’re not saying you need to downgrade your horses to ponies or your pipes to sticks. But when looking for a quieter motorcycle helmet the aerodynamics of the helmet play a major role in cancelling out some of the engine noise through the use of well designed isolation isolation features.
Possibly the most important factor when looking for a quieter motorcycle helmet. Think about it, when you stick your head out from behind the visor or change your tucked position, that wind really hits with force. Imagine riding with a square helmet. You’ve seen how wind tunnels work. Check out the video below of the HJC Factory utilizing highly specific wind tunnel testing.
Any fairly OK helmet will do a good job at blocking some sounds but if you really want to improve the quality of your ride you’re going to need something with a little more finesse. The good news is that a little extra finesse doesn’t come with a large price tag if you know what to look for.
Interior Padding and Fit
You wan’t the inside of your helmet to be tight enough to fit safely and securely and also provide a nice soft but firm closure around your eye and ear ports. A helmet that is too tight will ruin your ride more than a loud helmet. Make sure you get the fit right. Your ideal helmet will come with a neckroll which will shield your head and neck from both noise and also provide support to your neck and spine. Pretty important at higher speeds.
Wind Deflecting Chin Curtain
Not a popular choice for many riders, but those are just the guys the haven’t given a chin curtain a chance. It’s got multiple benefits. It does a great job at deflecting any engine and road noises coming from below you. It can also provide a shield for your neck against bits of flying debris or bugs.
The Quietest Motorcycle Helmets
Our Rating: 4.9
Warranty: 5 Years
Head Fit: Intermediate Oval
Sizes: XS – XXL
Starting with the most obvious and striking feature is the overall look and style of this helmet. It comes across as aggressive but calm at the same time – how is that even possible? It sports sharp features that are elegantly blended into a somewhat round and bubbly looking outer shell. Large improvements have been made to the air vents making them work with a lot more efficiency and ease of use. What set’s Shoei apart is their attention to detail placed in their helmet construction which allows us as riders to easily adjust the air intake vents on the go.
Of course safety features like quick release checkpads have not been overlooked. Allowing first responders to safely remove your helmet should you be involved in a crash.
Wind noise is exceptionally low on this model. Shoie have conducted extensive highly detailed wind tunnel testing to create just about as silent of a helmet that one could get.
With aerodynamic testing in mind, the shape of the Shoei RF-1200 along with the snug fitting liner, accompanying neck, and wind deflecting chin tunnel is what allows this helmet to be one of the stealthiest helmets on the market.
The built in speaker pockets around the ears are densely filled with a noise-cancelling foam which is just a brilliant use of space.
- Good Looks
- Good Quality
- Great Value
- Slight Fogging
- Small / tight fitting sizes
Definitely one the quieter helmets on the market, but the extra silence will cost a few extra bucks. The extremely aerodynamic shell is a major component of the noise cancellation. The cutouts around the ear pockets are deep enough for speakers to be fitted, however there seems to be no specific indent for speakers.The Signet-X is fully compliant with both the DOT and Snell helmet safety certifications.
It’s available in a few different shell sizes but is generally better fitted to people with a narrower more oval shaped head. Both the Signet-X and Quantam-X have a new ventilation port running across the top of the helmet which if left open, will generate a decent level of noise when cruising at higher speeds. It takes some time getting used to the new design but the air intake is really great and you couldn’t ask for much more.
The Signet-X sports a new soft chin curtain which is much more effective at blocking noise than the old design. The older chin spoiler type mechanism is still there, but will probably be removed in the next redesign.
At the end of the day, the Arai Signet-X is perfect for people with a more narrow head shape. This is one of the quieter helmets that brings the full Arai “X” factors to the table.
Our Rating: 4.6
Warranty: 5 years
Head Fit: Long Oval
- Improved chin curtain
- Air intake
- Wide field of view eye port
- New ventilation system takes getting used to
- Top vents can catch the wind deflected from the visor
- No specific cut out for speakers
The HJC RPHA 11 Pro is really a great choice of helmet for anyone. It has a few hidden surprises which some may like and some not so much. As far as being a quiet helmet goes, this is right up there with the rest of the great contenders on our list – at least for the most part.
The downside is actually the noise control that this helmet offers at higher speeds. Riding with a fairing seems to pick up the swoops of wind being deflected and channels the wind straight through the ventilation port, which it;s obviously designed to do. The problem is the accompanying noise. If you’re cruising around at average speeds or lower, you’ll find the RPHA 11 Pro helmet to be a great choice and a great contender as a quiet motorcycle helmet.
Technically speaking, the RPHA 11 Pro is categorized as a racing helmet. Which usually means that helmets sizes run a little tight. Things are not different in the case.
Most “racing” helmets don’t come with ear pockets, however the RPHA 11 Pro has ear cut outs designed to house your speakers, although the ear cutouts are a little smaller than one might expect.Average to good riding noise levels when riding a “naked” or unfaired bike. If you’re riding with a helmet that doesn’t have a noise cancelling design, this will be a huge improvement for you. The noise isn’t bad at all, but it’s not the quietest helmet on the shelf.
Head Fit: Neutral – Oval
Sizes: XS- XXL
- Lightest helmet in our list
- Outstanding ventilation
- Extremely comfortable
- High quality construction
- Variety of colors
- Moisture wicking liner
- Glasses friendly
- Front vent noise at higher speeds
- Sizing runs small
- Small ear/speaker pockets
When it comes to the premium modular flip-up helmets, the Shoe Neotec 2 is a great contender for the top spot. If you prefer the modular helmet style take some time to look into the Neotec 2
Shoei claim that the Neotec 2 is a much more comfortable and quieter model offering advanced aerodynamic features
The Neotec 2 offers a snug fit while not hitting too hard on any pressure points. The helmet offers a safe and secure fit that’s comfortable in any riding position with little to no irritation when shaking your head in all directionsThe inner liner fits firmly across your face offering a pleasurable interior fit. The snug fitting also adds to the noise cancelling features of the helmet. Doing it’s best to cancel out any unwanted noises and vibrations.
Good to note is how low the whistling of the wind is when riding at higher speeds. So much so that it’s worth mentioning that the Neotec 2 is a far quieter helmet than the Vemar Sharki I in case you were considering that as an option.
Head Fit: Neutral – Oval
- Noise cancelling technology
- Seamless bluetooth communications integration
- 8 solid colors, 3 colored variants
- Slightly uncomfortable chin strap
- Unintuitive bluetooth pairing
- Long term durability of the paint job
Another great helmet option if you like the modular flip-up design. The Shark Evo One 2 has the dual purpose of being both a closed and open face helmet with a quick flip of the front chin bar. What makes the Shark Evo One 2 standout as the sturdiness and functionality of the chin bar which has the ability to flip back all the way from front to back. A very clever feature that allows the helmet to maintain a low center of gravity while keeping the chin bar away from rushing wind.
The intricate shell design now also offers two different shell sizes for better fit over the older model. The shell design is arguably the most distinguishing feature of the Evo-One 2 when it comes to noise cancellation. It sports an aerodynamic design, integrated chin curtain and rigid locking chin bar.
The Shark Evo One 2 is perfect for any rider simply looking to get a taste of the convenience offered by a modular flip-up helmet. There are other helmets on the market (mostly more expensive models) that offer a more rigid design, although if you prefer riding with an open face style the Evo One 2 is a perfect choice.
Although not the quietest helmet on the list, the Evo-One 2 throws in a few extra bells and whistles like the anti-scratch sun shield, pinlock ready face shield as well the magnetic chin bar which really makes it a fantastic choice.
Head Fit: Round – Oval
- Adaptable flip-up chin bar
- Premium outer shell design
- Lighter than the Schuberth C4
- Removable and washable soft antibacterial liner
- Slightly uncomfortable chin strap
- Heavier than the Neotec 2
- Restricted front to back airflow
- Average noise cancellation
The Sena Momentum Evo is definitely one of the quietest helmets you should have your eyes on. It’s extra light weight – the second lightest helmet in the whole list and possibly the quietest helmets on the list too.
The narrow shape of the helmet allowed Sena to trim down on some of the interior fluff while also providing for a more aerodynamic design.
The air vents are somewhat simple in design, but the simplicity does not hinder its ability to provide effective air intake and airflow from the front right through to the exhaust at the back of the helmet.
The narrower profile of the Sena Momentum Evo over it’s Pro counterpart offers a much quieter ride. The aerodynamics behind the construct of it’s exterior lines really do work. This coupled with the well designed neck roll and chin guard make this one of the quietest helmets on our list.
It also copes really well under different riding positions and varying fairing positions. The deflection of the wind from the visor up towards the top air intakes is rather minimal compared to its rivals. This is in large part thanks to the narrower aerodynamics that enable the Sena Momentum Evo to channel the wind up and around the helmet, rather than directly into it.
At the end of the day, the noises you hear while riding will always be changing depending on the environment of the bike you’re sitting on. Regardless of these factors, this helmet really does handle different situations extremely well, both without or without ear protection.
Head Fit: Long – Oval
- Well fitted face shield offers great noise cancellation
- Slim design makes it quieter than the Momentum Pro
- Design is tailored to fit the North American head shape
- Removable liners
- Sena headset integration
- Battery life and charge time
- Light Weight
- Missing separate sun visor
- Interior Lining cutouts are not that comfortable.
- Communication features are not as advanced as the Sena Evo Pro
- Only available in Matte Black
Out of the box the Bell Race Star Flex helmet is extremely comfortable. This was one of the major focus areas of improvement over its predecessor. It also weighs in at 10% lighter than includes speaker pockets and density foam liners.
The looks are outstanding as well. The carbon fiber shell really does leave something to be desired about the design. The Bell Race Star Flex has been put through rigorous testing under harsh wind tunnel conditions making it extremely aerodynamic which plays a big role in improving the noise cancellation. The extreme aerodynamics of this baby can really be felt when sticking your head out at higher speeds.
Sporting a narrow neck roll and tight fitting inner cheek pads, noise cancellation is definitely evident with this model at high speeds. It does take a little time for the inner padding to wear in and properly fit to the contours of your face, but once you get there, you won’t be second guessing your decision.
Let’s not forget the extreme field of view through the Panovision viewport. Improving overall ride quality as well as safety. Further improving on rider vision is the automatic transition visor. This handy mechanism does not come standard on many other helmets. It’s a really neat addition that helps to automatically balance the amount of light coming into the viewport. The transition visor also clicks securely into place so there’s little to no hassle if you decide not to use it.