Aside from smart driving and proper machine maintenance, your helmet is the number one thing between you and a life-changing riding accident. While only some states require them on the trails, we at CFMOTO, as an ATV company and side by side manufacturer, recommend you get your hands on one and wear it faithfully throughout each trip on the trail.

Head injuries are nothing to be sneezed at. According to the CDC, 166 Americans die from a traumatic brain injury each day.

Helmets can and do save lives. However, not all riding helmets are suitable for all riders. Though there is a certain threshold of quality the device must possess, different people need different protective features out of their helmets in order to maximize safety and comfort.

So let’s have a chat about helmets! Here’s a brief primer on helmet features so you can pick the perfect one for your needs.

Must-Have Helmet Features

Equestrian helmets, bike helmets, motocross helmets—there are so many noggin-protectors out there, so what makes a helmet fit for the riding life? Certain features are a matter of personal choice, while others are must-haves for the rider who truly cares about their safety.

Keep in mind that ATV and UTV helmets are not as popular in some regions as other types of helmets. So you might need to shop in the “motocross helmets” category to find all the features you need to stay safe on your CFMOTO ATV or side by side.

Safety Certification

This is a hands-down way to know a helmet has been put through the wringer and is sturdy enough to serve you well on the trail.

Two primary certifications are used to denote this sort of strength: Snell and DOT. The former refers to a private organization and is generally regarded as the gold-standard of helmet safety, though DOT—which stands for Department of Transportation—is also obviously trustworthy.

Not all helmets will meet Snell standards, but they all should meet DOT standards.

Sufficient Ventilation

Airflow isn’t just a comfort requirement—it’s a safety one, too. It’s hard to stay cool in the summer under bulky riding clothes, so to prevent heatstroke, your helmet needs to breathe.

Likewise, excessive humidity inside the helmet in the wintertime can make frostbite more likely. According to the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, “Humidity can shorten the time it takes for frostbite to occur.” Those who live in extreme climates will need to pay more attention to this factor than those who don’t, but regardless, it’s a feature that all helmets should have.

A Washable Liner

Something not a lot of riders like to talk about: how sweaty it gets under all that heavy headgear!

Indeed, even with great ventilation, you’re bound to sweat while on the trails, whether it’s from the adrenaline rush or simply from the physical strength riding takes. Because your helmet liner soaks up all this sweat, it can get pretty grungy pretty quickly, so you’ll need to clean it regularly, which becomes a whole lot easier if you can simply take the liner out and toss it in the wash. There’s only so much fabric freshener can do, after all!

Optional Features

Depending on how you ride and your personal comfort preferences, sometimes you may need additional performance features from your helmet. While it’s not necessary to have every feature if that’s beyond your budget, it is necessary to invest in headgear that actively enhances your ride.

Face Shields / Visors

To protect against dirt, stay cool, or simply because they appreciate the look, many riders opt for a pair of goggles with their riding helmet. However, helmets with visors offer more convenience and also provide more warmth and weather protection.

While it’s ideal to have separate helmets for winter and summer riding, this of course isn’t always feasible, so choose whichever option seems to make more sense for your riding needs.

Raisable Chin Bars

Often seen on what’s called modular helmets, a raisible chin bar enables you to communicate with your buddies in the midst of a ride without fully removing the helmet. While it might not be necessary for extreme events where riders aren’t particularly chatty, it’s quite the convenience on trail rides, enabling you to do everything from check in with your caravan to ask for directions.

How to Know If Your Helmet Fits

Simple: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions!

Different brands fit differently and are better for certain head shapes than others, so to account for this subjectivity, most manufacturers will have online information or in-store charts on how to fit their products.

Generally, though, the helmet should fit snugly and evenly around your skull, and you should not be able to fit your fingers inside it when it’s on, as it will stretch slightly.

CFMOTO ATVs and Side by Sides: Experience the Ride of a Lifetime

When you’re all geared up and ready to hit the trails or track, our powerful machines will be ready right alongside you. Use our online CFMOTO dealer locator now and get in the driver’s seat today!