The Best Café Racer Helmet
- Cafe Racer Helmets Under $300
- Cafe Racer Helmets Over $300
As much as we hate to admit it, accidents do happen and when they strike you want to give yourself the best chance of survival. Having the proper attire to survive a fall is critically important.
With that said, it’s why experts advise riders to wear a helmet when they are on a motorcycle. These 300-pound death machines are only fancy until you go rolling with pain from a hard fall. Being safe doesn’t have to mean looking unfashionable though, you can retain your own character and individuality by the clothing and cafe motorcycle helmet you choose. There’s no need to get one of those over the top helmets that look more like an accident in a paint factory than a stylish cafe racer helmet. You can be true to your vintage look and retro style and still stay comfortable and protected. Here are some tips that will help you land the right helmet.
Cafe Racer Helmet Design
There are plenty of designs of café racer helmets with a great deal of them being open faced. Most people are familiar with Bitwell Gringos and Bell Bullits. Bitwells are a good choice because they are cheap and easy to come by compared to the Bell Bullits. But in terms of class and style, the Bell Bullit does it perfectly.
The design of cafe racer helmets do not usually vary greatly from the norm and will usually include or have some bumps and lines for a more aesthetic appeal. However, there are others that have a shield right above the brows. This is meant to help shade the eyes when there is some sunshine and such deviations in design can prove to be the deal breaker when you’re choosing your helmet. The most important thing is to keep an open mind and choose the helmet that fits you the best – after all safety over style has to be the deciding factor.
Cafe Racer Helmets Under $300
Here we list a few of our top cafe racer helmets, complete with pros and cons for each.
The Biltwell Gringo S weighs just 3.16 pounds. One step up from its little brother, the Gringo Standard, the attractive design features a face shield but still retains its retro character with a round oval head shape.
The hand painted outer shell is formed from injection molded ABS with an EPS inner shell. A Lycra liner offers comfort while the quilted padding is finished with attractive diamond stitching, great for warmth. The chin strap features a double D-ring and an internal BioFoam chin pad.
With no added frills and approval from DOT, this helmet gives you everything you need for safety and comfort.
Featuring a lightweight fiberglass shell at just 2.41 pounds and ¾ face design, the Custom 500 open-face cafe racer helmet is the latest release from Bell. Available in five shell and EPS sizes, you’re guaranteed to find a great fit and the price of $119.95 means it’s an affordable choice.
If you want to add a face shield, the five snap positions on the outside of this oval helmet mean it is customisable for comfort. The EPS features a multi-density layer for warmth too. For reassurance as to safety credentials, this helmet comes with DOT approval.
The Bell Moto-3 takes its design inspiration from the original open-faced version which first appeared in the 1960’s. With the most up to date safety and comfort features, such as the light weight oval fiberglass composite shell which weighs 3.09 pounds, this helmet is a great choice.
Available in 3 sizes with a choice of 4 EPS sizes and an EPS chin bar, the anti-microbial, washable terry cloth interior is both hygienic and functional. As well as the expected DOT approval, this helmet is also ECE approved.
The Bell Riot cafe racer helmet is a good choice if messing around with a snap-on face guard is too much work. It features an open face style with a built in face shield. The oval design is stylish and comes in 5 shell sizes, as does the multi density EPS layer.
The padded chin strap is comfortable and the double D-ring closure is secure while the NutraFog anti-fog UV-protection face shield offers a bit of high-tech gadgetry. This helmet weighs just 2.84 pounds and the price is nice and affordable.
Imagine the styling of a motorcycle helmet back in the 1970’s, add the most up to date technology and you have the Simpson Street Bandit.
It’s a little heavier than some of the other choices of full face cafe racer helmet at 3.43 pounds but it also offers a few more features. The vents in the chin bar and at the brow are a nice touch as is the extra large eye port which allows for excellent visibility. The attractive oval design is a definite throw-back giving a nice retro look.
Certified by DOT and Snell M2015, the safety credentials are impressively reassuring.
Cafe Racer Helmets Over $300
The fiberglass composite shell comes in 3 sizes with an additional 5 EPS sizes. The list of extras is long, a ProVision dual pane anti-fog face shield, an anti-bacterial liner, contoured cheek pads, recessed speaker pockets, an optional peak visor, and a Magnefusion strap keeper. This 3.09 pound full face cafe racer helmet is approved by DOT and ECE.
It can be argued that one of the most iconic motorcycle helmets is the Bullitt Star. If you loved the look of this 1960’s classic, the Bell Bullitt might be the best choice for you. Offering a new level of technology packed into its 3.24 pound shell.
The low-profile carbon-fiber shell comes in three sizes with multi-density EPS, a removable and washable interior, vents throughout, a flat face shield, and a five-year warranty. It’s also DOT and ECE approved.
This beautifully iconic style is bang up to date with its advanced composite fiberglass outer shell available in three sizes. The EPS inner offers a touch of luxury as it is fabricated with removable and washable genuine leather and suede. Safety is assured too, this full face helmet is DOT and ECE certified.
The Nexx XG100 Racer Purist might look very retro, but the technical features are totally 2020. The oval fiberglass shell has hi-tech carbon reinforcements which means it ticks all the relevant safety boxes being ECE and DOT approved.
Available in 2 sizes, the interior of the helmet has soft padding and features anti-sweat and anti-allergen fabric that’s removable and washable. The PC Lexan face shield is a lovely addition and there is added vents at the chin for extra comfort. The cost is good too considering the list of added extra.
It’s a lightweight lid weighing 2.87 pounds.
The CoolMax fabric liner draws moisture away from your skin, keeping you cool while you ride. The fiberglass composite shell comes in 2 sizes and features an EPS liner. The DOT rating is a testament to the quality.
This helmet uses a Free Stop Pivot system that allows the shield to be open at any angle which is a nice feature.
You should know that not all of the helmets on sale are legal and choosing a cafe racer helmet based on its high price does not mean it is the safest. There are certain standards that the helmet has to meet for it to be legal. The rating a helmet is given will guarantee it will protect you if you have an accident. A legal classic helmet will have a DOT or ECE label and this is your assurance that you’re investing in something that is worth the money, one that not only looks the part but can also take the heat.
Vintage Motorcycle Helmet Material
There are plenty of materials that can be used to make café racer helmets. Ideally, it is these same materials that dictate how well the helmet is able to protect you. As you would expect, if the material is of a higher quality, typically the price will shoot up. However, you have to know the benefits each material has to offer especially when it comes to things like the lining and so forth.
Better quality materials will ensure that the helmet is easier to maintain and healthier to use.
For instance, it is important to check if the inner lining can be removed for cleaning. If not, is it easier to wipe it down and get most of the dirt out? While an interior made of leather is not conducive during hot weather, it is much easier to clean.
The comfort offered by the inner lining material is crucial if you are looking for the best cafe racer helmet. These are some of the things that you should be considering.
This refers to the color and the exterior painting style of the helmet. In most instances, you want this to be the same as your café racer. However, it tends to get quite expensive to have one custom made or custom painted for you. But, you can always opt for one that has the same color structure with minor differences. Alternatively, you can also choose the one that is most appealing to you or select a plain black or white helmet which will go with anything.
There are certain features that are not a must-have but definitely make riding much safer. A bubble shield offers some protection although cheaper shields can be flimsy. You might prefer to replace a shield with goggles to avoid getting a mouthful of bugs.
You might choose to use the snaps featured on some lids to add a visor to your cafe racer helmet. Some helmets have inbuilt speaker recesses which are not vital but are a nice touch.
It is important to remember that the helmet is not only for safety but also an extension of your riding spirit. Being able to show off your vintage style while you ride is a great way to show off your individuality.