According to the US Federal Highway Administration, highway traffic noise can reach up to 70 or 80 decibels. You may think that’s not that bad. However, this noise can be amplified if you’re on a motorcycle. This is due to the sound of the wind whooshing past while you rip through the traffic. Other sources have also claimed that the noise levels on a motorcycle can reach 115 dB in some instances. Whatever the case may be, motorists have to deal with the brunt of noise pollution.
Wearing the right helmet can significantly reduce wind noise, enhancing your riding experience and allowing you to ride in silence, without the roar of your bike and traffic in your ears, and a minimal amount of wind. Not only do these types of helmets improve rider comfort, but it can also help to prevent hearing loss or tinnitus.
While most people think about slides and impacts when thinking of helmet safety, hearing protection should be a concern as well. When you ride a bike, you’ll be dealing with plenty of road noise from other riders and drivers, not to mention wind noise. Additionally, the sound of your own engine can be deafening. For these reasons, you should consider purchasing a helmet that comes with an aerodynamic design and noise isolation features.
A Quieter Ride
Wearing a traditional helmet that doesn’t come with any special features designed to reduce noise can make for one uncomfortable ride. I’ve reviewed several models of noise isolation helmets on the market, and I’ve narrowed it down to five that come with special features, including an aerodynamic design, all of which work together to reduce helmet noise, providing a more enjoyable, comfortable ride. I’ve also created a comparison chart, which will showcase some of the similarities and differences between each of these models, to give you a better idea of which model will work the best for you based on helmet style, rating, and cost.
|Arai RX-7V Helmet||Full-face||Yes||$|
|HJC RPHA 11||Full-face||Yes||$$$|
|Schuberth C3 Pro||Full-face||Yes||$$$$$$|
|Shark EVO-ONE 2||Modular||Yes||$$$$|
|Shoei GT-Air Helmet||Full-face||No||$$$$$$|
Here are five of the quietest full face Motorcycle helmets you can buy right now.
Arai RX-7V Helmet
The visor of the Arai RX 7V is great for noise isolation. The variable axis system built into the helmet locks the visor in when shut. This prevents the outside noise from getting inside the helmet and causing damage to your hearing. The inner liner provides excellent cushioning and promotes user comfort. The thick lining also prevents excess air from rushing in, thus improving noise isolation.
The liner is also eco-friendly, contains antibacterial properties, is washable and made out of moisture-wicking material. However, the helmet’s glossy paint job can become damaged if it’s not secured to your bike properly. For more information, click here to read my article on How to Secure your Helmet to Your Motorcycle with a Holder.
- The noise isolation on the helmet is great for normal road use
- Lightweight design
- Low price
- Removable washable liner
- Noise isolating visor
- The visor can be difficult to open
HJC RPHA 11 Helmet
The HJC RPHA 11 is the perfect choice for the rider who loves to race. It’s packed with impressive noise isolation technology that works to minimize both wind and road noise. It has a great ventilation system that helps to improve airflow, yet it won’t negatively impact the helmet’s noise reduction technology.
The helmet also features an aerodynamic design. It’s meant to be aerodynamically slick and is the result of extensive wind tunnel testing. There is even a rear spoiler that channels the air. This gives the helmet a lot of stability at high speeds, which will come in handy when racing. The top and rear vents allow for maximum ventilation and the forehead vent adds to it. The optimized shell design reduces the wind noise, despite the extensive ventilation system. The visor has a built-in anti-fog lens and there is even an enlarged eye-port for improved visibility.
- Noise isolation visor
- Excellent ventilation system
- Moisture-wicking liner
- Visor is equipped with anti-fog coating
- While great for noise isolation, it may require earplugs at high speeds.
Schuberth C3 Pro Helmet
The original Schuberth C3 was one of the quietest motorcycle helmets ever made. The Pro improves on that quality, offering some great noise canceling features compared to past helmets produced by this manufacturer. The rear spoiler has been optimized through extensive wind tunnel testing. It has turned the Pro into a helmet designed for hi-octane motorcycle enthusiasts. Its enhanced aero-acoustics make sure that even at 100mph, the noise doesn’t grow louder than 82 decibels.
The helmet has been designed for improved downforce and less buffering. Hence, a bike can fly through traffic without the rider experiencing high wind noise. It also doesn’t hurt that a wind deflector has been installed for improved noise cancellation. The helmet’s sound levels rarely go above 82 dB, a cap that holds steady from 100 km/h onwards. While this is a slight improvement over the C3 (cap = 84 dB), the difference is night and day.
Despite the helmet’s noise isolation, the improved ventilation allows for 60% better air inlet. The distribution channels around the helmet make sure the air is distributed evenly throughout. This makes it one of the quietest helmets for motorcycles.
- Noise levels max out at 82 dB at 100 km/h
- 60% better air ventilation than the C3
- The helmet is designed for stability in the presence of turbulence
- High price tag
- The helmet’s shape makes it a little tight around the cheek area
Shark EVO-ONE 2 Helmet
The Shark EVO-One is a past model that earned high marks for its excellent noise cancellation features. The EVO-One 2 improved upon these features even further. Through computational design and virtual simulations, this helmet’s noise reduction has been made exceptional. What that means is the helmet has been designed to remain stable during high speeds. The breath guard installed in the helmet is retractable, removable, magnetized, and noise-absorbent. Hence, the wind lashing at the helmet won’t be as irritating or as noticeable as it is with a traditional full-face helmet.
For extra noise isolation, there is even a lower lip joint which improves airflow from the rear. This will not only help with noise reduction but can also help to keep out rain, dirt, and debris. The sun shield features an anti-scratch coating and also helps to improve visibility. Wind noise is further reduced due to the thick face shield design. The chin and exhaust vents make sure that there is an uninterrupted airflow even with the top of the line noise isolation features. There is even a pair of independent top vents in front of the exhaust that is designed to promote air circulation.
If you’re looking for a way to upgrade the lens for improved nighttime visibility, read my article on How to Select the Right Visor for Your Motorcycle Helmet.
- The front flip design and the included set of earplugs allows for incredible noise isolation
- Visor has an anti-scratch coating
- The main visor can be difficult to remove
- When not closed correctly, the visor will need to be reset
Shoei GT-Air Helmet
This is a fantastic helmet. It’s not only built for all face shapes and head sizes, but it’s also designed to reduce wind resistance. The shape of the helmet has been made tighter near the bottom, which helps with noise isolation. The retainer system is also spring loaded which helps to tightly seal the eye-port gasket and keep out water and wind-related noise.
The eye port gasket also has a dual seal and this seems to make a huge difference when keeping out wind noise. Considering the price, I recommend checking out my article on how to lock your motorcycle to your helmet, for protection against thieves when you’re traveling across the country.
- Excellent built-in ventilation
- Stylish design
- Double eye-port gasket
- Low noise levels
- High price tag
- There are no vents through the chin bar, hence subpar ventilation
- Chinstrap padding is a bit wanting
What Makes a Motorcycle Helmet Quiet?
One of the biggest issues you’ll run into when you ride is wind noise. When the wind is flying over your head at speeds of seventy-five miles or more, it’s going to get incredibly loud inside your helmet. Many models can help to shield you from most of the noise, but not all helmets are created equal. Because of this, it’s important to choose a helmet that features a more aerodynamic design, which allows the wind to basically slide over the surface of the helmet, easily. This results in a significant drop in wind noise.
Neck Rolls and Cheek Pads
Additionally, the cheek pads, neck roll design, and the helmet’s interior can also play a role in noise reduction. These components can help to minimize road noise and wind noise, allowing you to ride in a near-silent environment instead of trying to enjoy your ride over the sound of cars honking, the roar of your bike, and the sound of other vehicles on the road. A top of the line noise reduction style helmet should come with a neck roll that’s designed to seal up the space between the neck and head, thus reducing the sounds of the outside world. The cheek pads can have a similar impact on noise reduction.
A top of the line chin curtain works to repel noise and wind, keeping it away from the front of your face. This feature works wonders in terms of noise reduction and allows you to ride in peace, even at higher speeds.
Wind Tunnel Testing
How quiet a helmet is often depends on aerodynamics. When you’re shopping for a helmet, you should be wary of the overall design more than anything else. If it’s the shell designed to help air slide over it, then it should be good at noise isolation. This is done through painstaking modeling and wind-tunnel testing. This is not only done at one angle but several. It ensures that when you tilt your head at different angles, the helmet will not experience a lot of drag.
What the wind tunnel testing ultimately determines is the stability of a helmet when the wind is constantly hitting it. The less it wobbles on your face, the better chance it has of minimizing noise on the road. All this is evident when you see the design of a helmet. If it’s smooth, = curved, tighter at the bottom and wider at the top, it’s probably got great noise reduction.
Keep in mind, an ill-fitting helmet will not only fail to provide proper protection, in the event of an accident, but it can also increase wind noise and road noise. The helmet should fit correctly, especially around the neck. Pay close attention to a manufacturer’s sizing chart, before you buy.
If the helmet you’ve purchased fits well and comes equipped with the right type of noise-isolating features, but you’re still struggling with wind noise, then I recommend purchasing some earplugs. Earplugs can be an affordable, and effective way to ride your bike in silence and work well to protect your hearing from harmful noise levels. Additionally, many styles of earplugs these days are totally comfortable to wear and are available at a reasonable price.
Using this list of the 5 quietest helmets, you can find a great helmet designed with noise-canceling capabilities that will allow you to enjoy a quieter ride. Not all helmets are specifically designed with noise reduction in mind, which can be a major issue, if you’re looking for a helmet you can use for cross country rides, or if you’re a daily rider. In the end, the choice is yours. Make sure you choose a model that works with your riding style, personal preferences, and of course, your budget.