Eric Swahn Racing

Motorcycle Roadracing


Helmets in a Nutshell #22

Posted by epswahn on September 27, 2014 at 6:20 PM

Helmets in a Nutshell

AGV – Arai – Bell – Icon – Schuberth – Scorpion – Shark – Shoei


Ordering a helmet online can seem intimidating, but it doesn't have to be. For every brand and model helmet we carry, there is a corresponding size chart and our staff personally knows the helmets. We've also completed a full review video on how to the proper fit and shopping guides that are broken down by price range. Whether you are taking a trip around the block or racing for a championship, comfort is paramount. You need a helmet that will be comfortable yet snug.


One of the great things about working with STG is that I get to try on all the new products as they come into our shop. As a racer, I'm always looking for the best gear to save me the next time I hit the ground. Over the years, I've had six full face helmets that I started with street riding and then all the way up to National Expert racing. Thus far, I have had four Scorpion (two Scorpion EXO-700’s, two Scorpion EXO-750’s) and two Shoei (two Shoei X-Twelve’s) helmets total. I have crashed a total of eleven times on the track and out of those crashes, my helmet has hit the ground three times. Each time I was able to walk away without injury.


AMA Pro Roadracing along with WERA and many other race organizations require riders' helmets to be within five years of their manufacture date. This is due to the fact that as time passes, helmet glue, resins and other materials degrade. Petroleum based cleaning products further degrade performance along with normal wear and tear. Regardless of physical damage, technology today advances at such a fast rate that after five years, any helmet is simply out-dated. You wouldn't want to have a five year old flip phone - it's not going to be as efficient, and your helmet is the same way.



I have tried on just about every brand helmet we have in our store and have learned quite a bit about them. I wanted to try them all to get a better understanding of fit but I'll be honest, I love that new helmet smell! Most brands are very similar in sizing but I found that a few didn't fit me at all. My head circumference is 21.5 in / 55 cm, with an Intermediate Oval head shape. I consistently fit into a small with these brands, AGV, Arai, Bell, Schuberth, Scorpion, and Shoei were all comfortable. The Icon and Shark didn't fit my head shape, in my opinion they have more of a “long oval” shape to their helmets.


Shoei X-Twelve - best fit and my favorite helmet;

Arai Corsair V - very close 2nd to the X-Twelve;

Scorpion R-2000 - good race fit and similar to the EXO-750;

AGV Corsa and Pista - good fit but had to go to a medium-small;

AGV Horizon and K4 - fit a little on the tight side in a size small;

AGV K3 and Grid - decent fit in a size small;

Bell Star - was a little loose in a size small;

Bell RS-1 - more of a tight fit, possibly the wrong head shape;

Schuberth’s SR1 and S2 - high quality helmets and good fit;

Icon - too long oval and did not fit my head shape;

Shark - too long of an oval shape did not fit my head.



The higher quality helmet you purchase, the more “bells and whistles” you get. The air flow in the helmet improves, along with aerodynamics and stability. If a helmet is not properly wind tunnel tested, its possible to be unstable at high speeds and rock from side to side. Helmets made with carbon and other lightweight materials reduce fatigue while riding and creates a stronger, lighter helmet. Every helmet we sell follows strict safety regulations through DOT, ECE and SNELL. However, we all know that in the end, you get what you pay for. If all helmets have the same safety requirements then what makes one helmet better than another? Most people don't realize that many companies go above and beyond these minimum requirements to be certified. For example, Arai and Shoei have been at the top end of the market for over a century combined and don't bother making “entry level” helmets. This is contrasted by many younger companies who choose to make cheaper helmets for customers who don't want to spend top dollar on a helmet. How much is your life worth?


Out of all the brands and models available, I decided to go with the Shoei X-Twelve helmet. Shoei is a world class company and my number one helmet brand to wear. I have one Shoei X-Twelve B-Boz 2 TC-2 and one Shoei X-Twelve Solid Matte Black graphic. The helmet is very stable at speed, and is pretty quiet but, I always wear earplugs on the track which helps reduce wind noise even more (highly recommended). I really like the tinted shields that are available and I chose the mirrored silver/chrome look. The internal liner is padded nicely and is a near perfect fit for my head shape. Shoei spared no details with this model and this is literally the same helmet that world champions like Marc Marquez in MotoGP wear.


A very informative website on helmet certification standards is


-Eric Swahn

Owner / Racer

Categories: 2014