The Best Graphic Motorcycle Helmets Turning Heads
Helmet laws are what they are. Some people will go to extremes to get around them, though, as the burgeoning “novelty” helmet market proves. Those non-DOT-certified helmets may look cool, but they provide zero protection. Being an individual shouldn’t include risking your life. The following graphic motorcycle helmets are all fun, and all DOT-approved.
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Carbon Fiber and Fiberglass Composite
Removable and washable liners
Moisture-wicking and cooling, washable fabric
BELL Vortex Flying Tiger
Removable and washable cheek pad and interior
BELL Rogue Ghost Recon
Lightweight Composite Shell
Removable /Washable Interior
Scorpion Covert Ratnik
Polycarbonate top shell
KwickWick II anti-microbial liner
HJC CL-XY II – Avengers
The RPHA-11 is proof that HJC has outgrown its entry-level roots, and, judging by its current crop of graphics helmets, growing up is fun.
HJC has taken its collaboration with Marvel Comics to another level with the new-for-2017 RPHA-11 Venom model and its sister Spiderman model.
There is also a Star Wars collaboration underfoot.
It seems the RPHA-11 Boba Fett helmet and, as shown in an HJC YouTube video, upcoming Kylo Ren model likely signal more to come from that franchise.
RPHA-11s are DOT-approved, and have composite, carbon fiber and fiberglass shells.
They have revamped venting — with rubber-coated control switches — that keep the cranium cooler than ever.
They also have one-touch opening and closing shields with quick release and removable and washable liners with recesses for Bluetooth speakers.
- Race-level protection and performance
- Reworked ventilation system really works
- One-touch visor shows smart engineering
- Costs more than most others on this list
- Availability is hit and miss — because of popularity
HJC’s Marvel Comics line also has an affordable side, such as the IS-17 Iron Man model.
The shell is lightweight and aerodynamic polycarbonate, and is DOT-approved.
The Max Vision prepared shield blocks 99 percent of UV light, and is anti-fog and pinlock ready.
The IS-17 includes a one-touch interior sun shield, which has three positions.
The interior is lined with a moisture-wicking and cooling, washable fabric. The liner has grooves cut in to accommodate glasses.
- Affordable for any graphic helmet, especially one this unique
- Interior sun shield is the type of thing you can’t live without once accustomed to it
- Pinlock shields prevent fogging better than any chemical
- Polycarbonate less protective and heavier than composite
- Pinlock shield must be purchased separately
Bell Vortex Flying Tiger
For every rider who’s ever pretended he was a fighter pilot, Bell’s Vortex Flying Tiger puts your fun side on the outside.
Featuring iconic imagery from World War II-era fighters, the Vortex uses a polycarbonate shell and is DOT-certified.
The NutraFog II shield is anti-fog and anti-scratch, and there is also a drop-down sun shield.
The contoured cheek pads and interior are removable and washable, and the padded chin strap includes a smart magnetic strap-keeper.
A standard five-year warranty is one of the best.
- Strap keeper eliminates annoying strap slap at speeds
- Velocity Flow Ventilation system provides superior air flow
- Cheek pads provide secure fit without getting uncomfortable
- Quick-release shield system can become loose, though still functional
- Sizes tend to run small, but helmet breaks in more than some
Bell Rogue Ghost Recon
Half helmets unquestionably do not provide the protection of a full-face helmet, but they are far better than none at all.
These helmets, most often mimicked by novelty helmet makers, are never intrusive.
Their lack of full coverage does nothing to detract from the tough-guy image.
Riders who go for half helmets don’t usually like loud graphics, but the military-styled submissions such as the Bell Rogue Ghost Recon model may change a few minds.
The Rogue has the look and comfort of an open-face, with a composite shell and three different EPS sizes.
The muzzle, which has a cool skull graphic on the Ghost Recon, is strong and protective as far as the elements are concerned, though the shell is the only DOT-approved part.
It is also removable, and affixes with modern FidLock magnetic connections.
To see the Bell Rogue helmet in service, check out this video on YouTube.
- Legal protection with low, novelty-helmet ride
- Muzzle is one of the most unique features in a modern helmet
- Multiple EPS liners make for more personalized fit
- Lower shroud not DOT certified, but then, it doesn’t have to be
- No ventilation system curious on an essentially ¾ helmet
Scorpion Covert Ratnik
There is company in the militaria department, as Scorpion has issued its own half-shell, special-ops style helmet.
The Covert Ratnik is its own animal, though.
Its DOT-approve, polycarbonate top shell can be worn alone, or riders can utilize the detachable shroud and mask, which work seamlessly with the drop-down sun shield.
The interior is lined with Scorpion’s KwickWick II anti-microbial liner, and the Aero-Tuned Ventilation System does well keeping the scalp cool.
The EPS liner is dual-density for an extra layer of protection.
- Modular design can adjust to changing conditions
- Both clear and tinted (installed) drop-down shields included
- Ventilation uncommon in a half-shell helmet
- May look like a full-face, but only offers legitimate half-shell protection
- Wind noise may be an issue for those used to full-face protection
HJC CL-XY II – Avengers
Why should the big kids get to have all the fun? Now, with the HJC CL-XY II Avengers model, you can dress out your little dirt rider in full-face, off-road ready and DOT-approved helmet that has as much character as does built-in safety.
The polycarbonate shell provides lightweight protection, which should keep little ones from tiring of the helmet and riding without it.
The large eye port provides good visibility and is designed to accommodate a pair of MX goggles.
HJC took the initiative to provide a different EPS size for each shell size, maximizing the safety level for young brains, and the replaceable, changeable and washable liner is soft to keep little heads comfortable.
The CL-XY II is a sign of things to come.
- EPS optimized to shell size
- Light weight so young ones are not hefting it all day
- Coolest graphics on a kids’ helmet yet
- Only for the youngest riders — check sizing
- Pricey for a helmet that will be outgrown
As motorcyclists, we all like to embrace our individuality. Each helmet on this list add a splash of character to a rider’s gear, and each looks cool on the right individual. HJC’s new RPHA-11 is state of the art, and should be on the short list of graphic novel and Sci-fi fans, while the Scorpion Covert Ratnik puts some Black Ops in the game. Whatever lid you choose, make sure it has a DOT certification.