The development of helmet technology started in the ‘30s, but it was in the ’50s when the carbon fiber technology began to stand out. Back in the day, the fiber technology was somewhat problematic, but it has proven to be one of the most reliable one in motorcycle helmet construction.
Is carbon fiber the only material in motorcycle helmets?
In all fairness, plastic is the most common option when it comes to motorcycle helmets. But it’s not just any plastic; it’s a specially engineered plastic that meets the regulation of remaining intact in case of an accident. Even if it’s not the safest choice, plastic coated helmets are reliable and save lives more often than one may think. Managing to balance the weight, strength, and reliability you want in a helmet, the plastic helmets are an excellent choice for many motorcycle riders.
Kevlar is another material also used in helmet’s construction. It’s a para-aramid synthetic fiber, and many consider that it’s the best choice for helmets in terms of protection. Kevlar is a standard option in bullet-proof vests, so that says a lot about its performance. Even if it’s a lightweight choice, it’s also an expensive one, and it does stand out as the priciest option out there.
Let’s not forget to mention fiberglass. In this case, the helmet is fused with glass fiber within its structure. A helmet made of glass fiber is durable and lightweight, but it may also empty your pocket too. Fiberglass is a standard material used in surfboards, car panels, thermal and electrical insulation. Fiberglass helmets are a better choice for the riders on slower machines that only pose a risk for minor spills.
Why is carbon fiber technology so particular?
The alignment of atoms within the material is what makes carbon fiber so unique. Carbon fiber is typically 5micrometers in diameter, and it’s made of mostly carbon atoms. The atoms are bonded in a crystal alignment that is parallel to the axis of the fiber. It’s this extraordinary composition that makes the carbon fiber so strong.
Thousands of small fibers are bonded together for making more substantial pieces of carbon fiber material. Plastic resin may be added, resulting in the carbon fiber reinforced polymer that we all know as carbon fiber.
What are the main benefits of carbon fiber helmets?
The introduction of carbon fiber technology in the helmet’s construction brought many benefits for the riders.
Let’s list them:
Motorcycle helmets made with carbon fiber are stronger than those made with other materials. For more power, they may be combined with other tough materials (Kevlar is one), resulting in the even stronger helmet shell.
Carbon fiber motorcycle helmets provide an astonishing level of shock absorption. In case of impact, the force is going to be distributed across the surface and doesn’t remain in the center of the impact zone.
Carbon fiber is a bit lighter than fiberglass. It’s another reason for which it’s a popular choice in sports car, aircraft and military equipment. A lightweight helmet is safer as it reduces the strain of the rider.
The lighter the helmet, the easier is for the rider to wear it. However, you don’t want it to be too lightweight, as it’s going to sacrifice the strength. But this isn’t a problem with the fiber carbon which manages to be durable and lightweight at the same time.
Even if fiberglass helmets are durable, they’re also brittle compared to carbon fiber. A fiberglass helmet is going to dissipate impact energy by shattering, which isn’t an issue for most impacts. You want the helmet to absorb the impact. However, when the rider takes two impacts in a crash, the helmet may be ruined by the first impact, worsening the second impact’s effect on the rider. This sort of effect doesn’t happen in the case of carbon fiber helmets. Due to their resiliency, the carbon fiber helmets protect the rider in both (or multiple) impacts.
- Longer lifespan
Not only that the carbon fiber helmets are durable, but they’re also long-lasting. They also present a higher resistance to scratch and cracks than the fiberglass helmets.
Lighter than other helmets, the carbon fiber helmets are sturdy and comfortable to wear all together.
- They handle weather very well
Carbon fiber motorcycle helmets are great for all sorts of weather conditions. More often than not, they feature breathable vents for better comfort during the warm weather rides. They adjust to cold weather conditions as well. Riding in cold weather poses a risk for “fogging,” reducing the visibility for the rider. However, most carbon fiber helmets come with anti-fog systems that reduce the risk for poor visor visibility.
- They increase the comfort
Another benefit of the carbon fiber motorcycle helmets is the ability to protect against noise. Lower wind noise is going to help the rider focus on the traffic sounds a lot better, reducing the risk of hearing loss as well.
Lightweight, noise protectant and breathable, the carbon fiber helmets ensure better comfort for the rider, no matter the weather conditions.
When compared to the fiberglass, the fiber carbon is more expensive, for sure. As it’s a robust, lightweight and exclusive material, fiber carbon comes with a higher price. Its costs of production and manufacturing are higher, which explains the higher rate for a carbon fiber motorcycle helmet.
People riding high-performance race-ready machines are going to choose a carbon fiber helmet, most of the time. At DrivrZone you’re going to find out which are the lightest options within the category. Also, you also get to take a look at everything that you may need for your motorcycle rides. Take your time to check the electronics, the tools& equipment, the clothing, and footwear, or other items you need for organization/performance. The chances are that you’re going to find everything you need for your motorcycle rides.
What’s the final word? Are carbon fiber helmets better?
More often than not, something’s got to give. Ideally, you’d want a motorcycle that is strong, reliable, weather adjustable, lightweight, resilient and doesn’t empty your pockets either. However, you can’t have it all.
A helmet that is too cheap isn’t going to protect you well enough. A motorcycle that is both lightweight and strong doesn’t come cheap, nine times out of ten. And if it’s a good helmet and cheap, chances are it’s not very lightweight.
Some say that the more you pay, the more you should expect in terms of performance and features for your helmet. However, that may not be the case all the time.
Are carbon fiber helmets better than other models? Honestly, it’s a “yes” most of the times. Are they the best ones out there? Well, that’s still debatable.