Ducati.ms - The Ultimate Ducati Forum banner

"Cheap" helmets vs mid/top of the range helmets

4021 Views 49 Replies 27 Participants Last post by  dilbeckw
I am in the market for a new helmet. I currently have a AGV K1. Its been a good helmet and I thought about just getting another K1 or K3. Ive owned the latter as well.

But, I made the mistake of trying on a Shoei X-14 which was far more comfortable and it felt like it was specially made for my head. I also tried on a Scorpion Exo-R1 but it didn't feel nearly as good imo.

Perhaps it isn't fair to compare the AGV K1/K3 line to the X-14 because the retail of the latter is more expensive by at least $500. Now that the X-15 is out, however, the X-14 is on sale for around the $600 mark in some places and i am tempted. I absolutely love the Marquez graphic one but I'm not sure i could wear a Marquez helmet. lol

This has led me to wonder just what is the difference in a good lower end helmet and a mid tier or upper tier helmet? If I did more track days as I would like, I would feel much safer in something like the Shoei. But is this just about comfort, fit, and marketing, and not so much about protection?

Ive been riding for only about 5 years now, so i know some of you guys have far more experience and wisdom.
41 - 50 of 50 Posts
Another reason I went with the Shoei X14 and considered other middle/upper tier (in terms of price) is because I started noticing which models of helmets MotoGP, World SBK, and Isle of Man riders were wearing. Frankly, none of them are wearing the AGV K1/K3 that I have been wearing. To be sure, AGV is very respected in all three paddocks but they are also wearing the flagship model which is cost prohibitive for me. I further noticed that many, many of the Isle of Man riders wear the Shoei X14. Arai is of course also very popular. One obvious exception is Hickman who wears a Suomy. I was also sold on the Shoei because one of the greatest crashers in history wears one, and all of his brain cells seem to be intact...ok bad example.

On the other hand, I am not a professional racer and further still, I only plan on doing a couple of track days this year. So I ride almost exclusively on the road so perhaps the cheaper helmets would be just fine. But, as someone said early on in this thread, buy the best helmet you can afford. I think I did that.
See less See more
  • Like
Reactions: 1
Thanks guys for the responses. As I said in an earlier post, I tried on the Shoei X-14 and loved the fit. I managed to find one for sale close to where the in laws live and my mother in law picked it for me. It was an absolute whale of a deal. The only problem is I’ve got to cover up the blasted ktm logos! Fortunately my wife is skilled with vinyl so it shouldn’t be too difficult
View attachment 1067758
Glad to see you got yourself a new lid at a great price. Assuming you’ve ridden in it at this point, are you happy with it so far?
I actually haven't ridden in it yet. Its still with my in laws, but my wife is heading there in a couple of weeks so i will need to wait until then. I could have them ship it, but I can wait I suppose.
  • Like
Reactions: 1
I have an XR-1000 Shoei helmet that I bought over 15yrs ago for my wife and it has been in a dry cool place with a cover in a box the entire time (it was maybe worn once or twice ever).

Opinions: okay to wear, or only good as an ornamental piece on my shelf?
Others might disagree, but I wouldn't risk it. Ive heard and read in multiple sources that helmets ought to be replaced every 5 years. But to be sure, yours is an exceptional case.

Perhaps it would be fine to wear, but I personally would not wear it.
  • Like
Reactions: 2
While anecdotal data like this has some value, it’s far less valuable than empirical data. In the absence of empirically validated evidence correlating clinical outcomes (i.e. injury severity) and helmet cost, we have no idea (unfortunately) whether or not the two are even related.

Anyone remember the “Blowing the Lid Off” article from the mid 2000’s? Motorcyclist magazine iirc.
Link to article:



And to fallout:

While anecdotal data like this has some value, it’s far less valuable than empirical data. In the absence of empirically validated evidence correlating clinical outcomes (i.e. injury severity) and helmet cost, we have no idea (unfortunately) whether or not the two are even related.

Anyone remember the “Blowing the Lid Off” article from the mid 2000’s? Motorcyclist magazine iirc.
I’d say the anecdotal data is worthless personally. It is obvious that the claim that he would have been dead or injured if he hadn’t worn an Arai is just fan boy supposition. I get it, I only wear Arai and now Shoei helmets and for me they are the best in part because they were the premium brands when I started riding and couldn’t afford them. I wouldn’t give Shark a second look but I’m sure they are fine. These days there is plenty of challenging data coming out that suggests that probably the Arais and Shoeis aren’t as safe as their price point implies because the shells are too hard.
I have an XR-1000 Shoei helmet that I bought over 15yrs ago for my wife and it has been in a dry cool place with a cover in a box the entire time (it was maybe worn once or twice ever).

Opinions: okay to wear, or only good as an ornamental piece on my shelf?
Only ornamental. The eps breaks down with time too. I have a pretty cheap helmet I brought in 2003 to have a spare that has never ever been outside but it wouldn’t be worth using.
  • Like
Reactions: 2
FWIW I found this video very helpful and largely based on it, assuming my heads fits, I'm heading out to get an AGV K1S.
Have had good experiences with AGV, Shoei and Shuberth in the past but the one thing that I can never work out is why some are bloody noisy and others less so ......and that you can never find it out until you've handed over the $$$.
  • Like
Reactions: 1
I’m currently wearing the k1 and I really like it. It will be interesting to compare the Shoei x14 when I get it in a week or so.
41 - 50 of 50 Posts
Top