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Top 8 Lightest Motorcycle Helmets You Should Buy in 2021 Review

When riding a long distance, or any kind of distance, wearing a motorcycle helmet can be tiring and strain neck and shoulder muscles. There’s no doubt that all things being equal; a lightweight helmet is always preferable.

Thankfully, modern materials allow for the manufacturing of very light helmets. These are often made with expensive materials like carbon fiber. However, it’s still possible to get a light helmet made from less expensive materials like fiberglass.

We’ve selected eight top-quality lightweight helmets in order to find the lightest motorcycle helmet for your budget and needs. So, let’s get straight to it and find the perfect option for you…

Lightest Motorcycle Helmet

Top 8 Lightest Motorcycle Helmets on the Market in 2021 Reviews

  1. NEXX Helmets G100R – Best Carbon Composite Lightweight Motorcycle Helmet
  2. Scorpion ST1400 – Best Crash Protection Lightweight Motorcycle Helmet
  3. Bell Eliminator – Best Retro Lightweight Motorcycle Helmet
  4. Shoei RF-SR – Best Value for the Money Lightweight Motorcycle Helmet
  5. GDM DK-140 – Best Budget Lightweight Motorcycle Helmet
  6. AGV K-5 S – Best Aerodynamic Lightweight Motorcycle Helmet
  7. Nolan N100-5 – Best Modular Lightweight Motorcycle Helmet
  8. HJC i70 Karon – Best Polycarbonate Lightweight Motorcycle Helmet

1 NEXX Helmets G100R – Best Carbon Composite Lightweight Motorcycle Helmet

NEXX makes this helmet in both a composite and carbon fiber material. Since we’re exclusively looking at lightweight helmets, we’ve gone for the lightest model and chosen the carbon version. This is a full-face helmet, and considering its vintage heritage, it weighs in at slightly over 1.3kg.

Goes the distance…

Despite its lightweight, thanks in a large part to the carbon fiber outer shell, it’s strong and durable. It is DOT FMVSS 21, ECE/22-05, and NBR-7471:2001 certified. As a result, it’s one of the most durable lightweight motorcycle helmets available.

Although it has retro styling, there will be no doubt that you are wearing a modern helmet. This is because of the carbon fiber finish. You get a vintage-style helmet with a modern twist. Frankly, it’s something that works well and looks pretty good in our eyes.

Built for speed…

Because this is essentially a racing helmet, it doesn’t have the bulk and size of some older helmets like the Bell Bullitt. This can make it a bit of a squeeze to get into but does give you the advantage of better aerodynamics. Furthermore, this is one of the best lightweight racing motorcycle helmets on the market.

The NEXX G100R has no venting on the top of the helmet. A throwback to the past, which is a bit of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it cuts down on noise. On the other hand, it does little to cool you down on long rides or warm days.

Some like it hot… not!

The lack of ventilation on the top is also compounded by poor venting at the chin. It’s not big enough and is ineffective. The upshot is poor venting all around. Not a great helmet for you guys living in warmer climates.


NEXX Helmets G100R

Our rating:5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Pros

  • Strong carbon fiber shell.
  • Modern/Retro styling.
  • Great aerodynamics.
  • It’s quiet.

Cons

  • Poor ventilation.
  • Sizes run small.

2 Scorpion ST1400 – Best Crash Protection Lightweight Motorcycle Helmet

Next up, in our Lightest Motorbike Helmet reviews, we have another strong carbon-made motorcycle helmet. In fact, it’s even lighter than the NEXX helmet we just reviewed. The Scorpion helmet weighs in at just 1,250g, which is remarkable when you take into account that it’s a touring helmet.

Quality construction…

The outer shell uses the latest Thermodynamical Composite Technology. This provides unparalleled levels of protection by gradually folding to cushion the impact in the case of an accident. There’s no doubt that this is as good as it gets outside of the race-track.

The helmet has speaker pockets built-in to make it tour-ready. One of the things that make it very suitable for touring is the fact that it’s very quiet. This is one of the best lightweight touring motorcycle helmets we’ve come across.

Quiet and comfortable…

It achieves excellent noise insulation from the high-quality, thick padding on the inside. This is backed up by an Airfit inflation system which pushes air into the cheek pads to secure a better closure. It’s operated via a pump positioned near the chin guard. We have to say, this one of the quietest motorcycle helmets on the market.

Another big plus…

High-quality ventilation. The top of the helmet and the chin guard has deep inlets that route the airflow over the top of the helmet and out through the rear via a generous-sized exhaust outlet. To help you keep your cool, there is a removable and washable liner that has a high wicking ability.

The face shield comes with a Pinlock insert so you can be assured of your visor staying clear. The drop-down sun shield is also coated with an anti-fog coating. Great features all around.

However…

While we don’t have an issue with the face shield, we can’t say the same for the drop-down sun shield. It drops to a slightly awkward position depending on the face shape. Plus, the optical quality is not up to the standard for the rest of the helmet. Happily, this can be easily rectified with better-quality replacements. Though at a cost.


Scorpion ST1400

Our rating:4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)

Pros

  • Thermodynamical Composite Technology on the outer shell.
  • Airfit system.
  • Built-in speaker pockets.
  • Pinlock is integrated into the face shield.
  • Good venting.
  • It’s very quiet.

Cons

  • Low-quality drop-down face shield.

3 Bell Eliminator – Best Retro Lightweight Motorcycle Helmet

Like most Bell helmets, the Eliminator comes with more than a touch of retro styling. The looks are very race-focused, and the graphics have more than a hint of the 1970s about them. However, other than this nod to its incredible heritage, it enjoys most of the features of a modern helmet.

It weighs in at 1.35kg, which should satisfy just about everyone. However, it is a relatively expensive helmet. So, if you don’t mind an extra 150g and a slightly lower level of protection, you can always opt for the same helmet but with a fiberglass outer shell.

On the outside…

You get a 6K composite shell. The inside is well-padded and does an excellent job of dissipating energy in the case of impact. One of the things we like about it is that you can get a good choice of EPS liners to choose from.

The helmet also has a great selection of sizes to go with the EPS liners. However, the range of colors is poor, to say the least. With just two to choose from, it’s disappointing.

On the inside…

It comes with an anti-bacterial liner that’s removable and washable. It has recessed speaker pockets. Plus, it also comes with a quality ProVision anti-fog, dual-pane, face shield. All of this we like.

What we don’t like is the poor-quality ventilation. This is the part of the helmet that is firmly rooted in the past. Ventilation is close to non-existent and serves very little useful purpose. If you live in a warmer climate, this isn’t a helmet we’d recommend.


Bell Eliminator

Our rating:5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Pros

  • 6K composite shell.
  • Choice of EPS liners.
  • Micro bacterial removable and washable inner liner.
  • Provision face shield.
  • Speaker pockets.

Cons

  • Poor ventilation.
  • Poor color choice.

4 Shoei RF-SR – Best Value for the Money Lightweight Motorcycle Helmet

The Shoei RF-SR is a less expensive helmet than most carbon fiber alternatives. However, although it’s not made from carbon fiber, it manages to tip the scales at just 1.36kg. Additionally, the hard composite fiberglass outer shell and EPS layer is sufficiently strong and cushioning to gain a maximum 5/5 SHARP rating.

There are very few helmets that reach this standard…

This, like all Shoei helmets, is hand-made in Japan. 50 people will lay their hands on every helmet during the manufacturing processes. You can therefore be guaranteed that the quality and attention to detail are world-class. It’s also why this is one of the most popular lightweight motorcycle helmets around.

The styling makes it a great all-rounder. It could be used when touring, on a sports bike, or adventure riding. The wide choice of colors also makes it easy to find something that marries up to your style.

We like the ventilation…

The vent under the chin is large, and the two above the face shield are well-placed and effective. This will go a long way to help to keep you cool when things get sticky. As a result, it’s one of the best venting lightweight motorcycle helmets you will find.

Other things we like are the Pinlock, quick release check pads, quality clear visor with an easy release system, and the removable liner. It doesn’t have a pull-down integrated sun shield, but frankly, we don’t miss it. They’re often poor quality and need replacing anyway.

Nice and quiet…

One final positive is that it’s a quiet helmet. This is due to a combination of its low profile, aerodynamic design, and well-fitting, snug liner. The Shoei RF-SR is quite simply one of the strongest and just about the lightest motorcycle helmet in its class.


Shoei RF-SR

Our rating:4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)

Pros

  • Hand-made.
  • Inexpensive.
  • Multi-layer composite super tough outer shell.
  • SHARP 5/5 rating.
  • It’s quiet.
  • Effective ventilation.

Cons

  • No integrated sun visor.

5 GDM DK-140 – Best Budget Lightweight Motorcycle Helmet

If you have a tight budget, but a lightweight helmet is a priority, then look no further. The GDM DK-140 is the best cheap lightweight motorcycle helmets on our list. Although it’s not as light as some of the more expensive options, it still weighs in at close to 1.7kg. It’s also DOT certified and offers plenty of features.

It comes in either back or white with different face shield options. It’s good to see that whatever option you choose, you get two face shields. This includes a clear shield that will keep you on the right side of the law wherever you live. Now, why don’t more manufactures do this?

Ready for those long rides…

The shape is aggressive and race orientated. It’s very aerodynamic and extremely well-vented. There are five points of ventilation, so you should have no problem keeping cool on long rides and hot days.

It has a lightweight composite alloy outer shell and a removable inner liner. The cheek pads are also removable, and they can all be put in the washing machine.

More positives…

Another feature we like is the scratch-resistant visor. There’s no anti-fog or Pinlock included, but at this kind of price, it’s something we can overlook. Plus, you get two of them.

We also like that the click release system for the visor is smooth and easy to use. A surprise for such an inexpensive helmet. Finally, you get a good selection of sizes, though you should be aware that the sizes do run small.


GDM DK-140

Our rating:4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)

Pros

  • Two visors included.
  • The visors are scratch-resistant.
  • Removable and machine washable liner and cheek pads.
  • Inexpensive.
  • Aerodynamic shape.
  • Good venting.

Cons

  • Sizes run small.
  • Poor color choice.

6 AGV K-5 S – Best Aerodynamic Lightweight Motorcycle Helmet

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The shape makes this one of the best sports motorcycle helmets available. Likewise, it’s also great for high-performance bikes. This 1,480g helmet is aerodynamic with a highly angled and pointed chin guard to aid airflow. The small-sized visor is also a feature predominantly seen in racing helmets.

The visor has an anti-scratch and anti-fog coating. Plus, it’s UV-protected and has a micro-opening to assist in demisting on those hotter days. As if all of that isn’t enough, it also features XQRS, which is a super-quick release system for rapid shield removal.

So, all good as far as the visor is concerned?

Well, not quite. The one issue is that since the shield is so small, if you’re tucked in, your vision will be slightly limited at the helmet’s brow. It’s only a slight impediment to the vision and far from a deal-breaker but is worth taking note of.

Let’s move on…

The outer shell is made from a combination of fiberglass and carbon fiber. As you expect from AGV, this is well put together and is fully DOT and ECE 22.05 certified. It’s combined with an EPS liner that comes in four sizes to assure you of the best possible fit.

Aerodynamics and ventilation are both first class. The AGV K-5 S has an integrated ventilation system. This consists of recessed and high-capacity ducts that are linked to ducts within the hollowed-out EPS shell. All of these have been wind tunnel tested for maximum performance.

Keep in touch…

Surprisingly for such a sports-focused helmet, it’s also AGV communication-ready and has a drop-down sun shield. It wouldn’t be our first choice for a touring helmet, but if you factor in the 110.8dB noise rating, it’s a possibility.


AGV K-5 S

Our rating:5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Pros

  • Wind tunnel tested aerodynamics and ventilation.
  • Quick-release rapid shield removal
  • DOT and ECE 22.05 certified.
  • Four EPS shell sizes.
  • AGV communication ready.
  • Quiet.

Cons

  • The small visor may restrict your field of vision.

7 Nolan N100-5 – Best Modular Lightweight Motorcycle Helmet

Next in our Lightest Motorcycle Helmet reviews, we have a modular flip-up helmet that represents one of the best in the Nolan range. Nolan has an excellent reputation for safety, and this helmet does not disappoint. It has an impressive faultless record for the chin guard staying locked during testing. Plus, it also comes with a four out of five SHARP score.

So, what about venting?

There are vents at the chin guard and the top of the helmet. The vents on the top are poisoned relatively high to make room for the drop-down visor. This robs a little as far as aerodynamics is concerned but doesn’t diminish its venting properties.

When the top vent is opened, it moves back to expose a large vent. This lets in plenty of air as part of the Air Booster Technology system. It works brilliantly, which is just as well since the chin guard vent is not very effective.

Despite the position of the top vents and the fact that this is a modular helmet is surprisingly quiet. Not so much that we’d consider it as an alternative to more established touring helmets. But sufficient to make shorter rides a much more pleasurable experience.

Pretty tough, too…

The helmet comes with a five-way ratchet system for the visor, which includes a cracked position. The optical quality of the scratch-resistant visor is excellent, and it comes with a Pinlock insert.

The drop-down sun shield is easy to operate and also has an anti-fog and anti-scratch coating. It weighs just 1,700g which is reasonably lightweight for a modular helmet of this quality.


Nolan N100-5

Our rating:4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)

Pros

  • Excellent venting on the top of the helmet.
  • 4/5 SHARP score.
  • 100% secure chin guard.
  • Quiet.
  • Quality visor.

Cons

  • The chin guard vent is not very effective.

8 HJC i70 Karon – Best Polycarbonate Lightweight Motorcycle Helmet

This is more at the budget end of HJC’s helmet line-up and comes in to replace the hugely popular IS-17. It has a polycarbonate shell which means it is heavier than fiberglass and carbon fiber helmets. However, it still comes in weighing a creditable 1.51kg.

It’s a strong helmet that scores a highly impressive four out of five SHARP rating. However, what is disappointing is the fact that the outgoing helmet scored five out of five. The HJC i70 is still a very safe helmet. But, in our opinion, it should have improved its safety, not reduced it.

But, there’s good news…

Ventilation has improved thanks to the twin vents on the crown, with separate sliders and the twin vents on the chin bar. The channeling inside the helmet works well to keep you cool. The good news is that they’re also smooth and easy to operate.

The visor can be moved into six positions which include a cracked option to keep fogging at bay for load-speed city riding. The visor is Pinlock ready, but no insert is included. Fair enough at this kind of price, we think.

Very comfortable after a while…

This is generally a comfortable helmet. However, the one issue is that the cheek pads can feel a little tight at first. Fortunately, they do wear in so just be a little patient for the first few rides. Finally, other features include a drop-down visor and speaker-pockets.


HJC i70 Karon

Our rating:4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)

Pros

  • 4/5 SHARP score.
  • Improved crown venting.
  • Six-position visor.
  • Built-in speaker pockets.
  • Drop-down visor.

Cons

  • Reduced level of safety over the outgoing model.
  • Cheek pads feel tight at first.

Lightest Motorcycle Helmet Buying Guide

Lightest Motorcycle Helmet Review

Outer Shell Material

The material for the outer shell will undoubtedly have a big impact on weight as well as price. The four main choices for a motorcycle helmet’s shell are carbon fiber, fiberglass, polycarbonate, and ABS. Helmets are lighter and more expensive at the start of the list.

Another important feature of lighter helmets is that they also tend to have a lower profile. In turn, this means they have better a better aerodynamic profile. Something we’ll look at a little later.

Carbon fiber is an expensive and very strong material. However, you can get a fiberglass helmet that can match and beat a carbon fiber helmet for strength.

Venting

Poor venting can lead to a very uncomfortable and miserable ride. If you’re riding for any distance, or you’re riding when it’s hot, this is even more so the case. Happily, these days most modern helmets have excellent venting.

The most important vents are usually on the crown and are channeled through the internal shell before being vented out the back. Most full-face helmets will usually have a vent somewhere on the chin guard though they are much less effective than crown vents.

Modern full-faced helmets generally have better vents than vintage-inspired retro helmets. These are wider, deeper with better exhaust venting at the rear. Therefore, before you buy any helmet, check it carefully for the number and size of the vents and rear exhaust vents. Also, check if they are easy to adjust and turn off on the fly.

Aerodynamics

Lighter helmets lend themselves to better aerodynamics because they are made from stronger and less dense materials, so consequently take up a smaller profile. Carbon fiber helmets usually have the lowest profile of all.

More aerodynamic helmets have more aggressive styling and are more commonly adopted by motorcyclists who graduate to performance and sports bikes. A helmet with good aerodynamics has the benefits of creating less buffeting and of also being quieter.

Face Shield

There are several things we look for when we look at face shields. The first is that it should have good optical quality. Additionally, it should have an anti-scratch and an anti-fog coating.

Ideally, it should also be Pinlock ready and preferably have a Pinlock lens included. Finally, the face shield should be easy to adjust whilst riding, have a cracked option for riding in the city and be easy to swap out.

Lining

Good quality lining helps you keep your cool on the hottest days. The thing to look for with any helmet is a removable liner that has had an anti-bacterial coating and can be machine washed. Ideally, it will also have strong wicking properties to help take excess moisture away from your head.

Looking for Something Else?

We have all your motorcycle needs covered. Check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Motorcycle Helmet Cameras, the Best Scorpion Helmets, the Best Motorcycle Tank Bags, the Best Motorcycle Cleaners, and the Best Motorcycle Gloves you can buy in 2021.

Also, take a look at our comprehensive reviews of the Best Full-Face Motorcycle Helmets, the Best Vintage Motorcycle Helmets, the Best Motorcycle Riding Suit, the Best Dirt Bike Helmets, and the Best Motorcycle Shocks currently available.

What is the Lightest Motorcycle Helmet?

So, there you have it. Our review contains a broad section of lightweight helmets to cover most budgets and eventualities. They’re all good enough that we would trust any of them to go out for a ride. However, if we had to choose the lightest helmet for motorcycle to take home, it would be the…

Shoei RF-SR

We like the Shoei RF-SR because of its flawless 5/5 SHARP rating. Additionally, despite being a hand-made, quality helmet, it’s surprisingly inexpensive. Plus, it is quiet and has first-rate ventilation.

Until next time, keep the rubber on the road.

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