Power sports and high-impact activities come with their own set of gear and equipment, respective to the safety needs of the activity. It’s no different with snowmobiling and motorcycling. Both activities require helmets, but the differences in the design and construction equip them for each riding style. Let’s take a closer look at the differences to ensure you choose the correct helmet.
The Designs Are Different
A major difference between a motorcycle and snowmobile helmet is the design. It is visibly apparent and can help buyers or users choose the right one without much research. To understand the design differences more closely, it’s easier to peel back the reasons why a snowmobile helmet features the design elements it does.
For starters, a snowmobile helmet protects the wearer’s head, withstands variable weather conditions, and provides maximum rider protection in frigid colds or high heat. A primary design element that riders look for is the visor, as it allows for adequate wind blockage to assist in vision control. Most, if not all, motorcycle helmets do not feature visors, as they can obstruct the wearer’s vision.
Another primary design difference worth noting is snowmobile helmets always contain ear flaps or protective ear coverings that support ear warmth in the cold. Again, motorcycle helmets do not house this feature because most riders don’t need to keep their ears warm; optimal riding weather is generally warm.
Motorcycle helmets will almost always feature more ventilation than snowmobile helmets. The primary design concept for a snowmobile helmet is for warmth, and a motorcycle helmet is often worn in warm weather.
Motorcycle helmets have small vents to allow air to pass through evenly, keeping the rider comfortable. The placement for the ventilation differs based on the manufacturer, but a rider can usually find the small vent holes on the top of the helmet.
The Weight Varies
Each helmet’s weight varies, which is another relatively significant superficial difference between snowmobile helmets and motorcycle helmets. The design features of a snowmobile helmet add to the overall weight, making a snowmobile helmet much heavier than a motorcycle helmet.
A motorcyclist needs to be able to remove their helmet with ease, and a heavy helmet makes this difficult. The interior lining of each helmet type can drastically impact the overall weight and rider’s ability to remove the helmet easily.
Interior Lining Differences
Once we start looking at the interior of each helmet, the differences are significant. These materials and interfaces set each helmet type apart and provide the riders with the protection or ventilation necessary for optimum comfort.
A motorcycling helmet must be lightweight so the wearer can remove it easily. This means the interior should be protective but light in manner. Wearers can expect the interior materials to be foam or EPS foam. In contrast, the interior of a snowmobile helmet needs to provide the rider with thermal and impact protection. This means the interior materials are generally faux fur or fleece, wrapping the impact foam for optimum head protection.
Exterior Shell Differences
The exterior shell of each helmet delivers crash protection should an accident occur. Each type contains a specific material that supports safety. Motorcycle helmets must protect a rider in the event of a crash. Even though the chances are not high, they are still on the table, and the gear must support these instances.
Riders can expect and should look for a helmet with carbon fiber or fiberglass shell construction. They are much denser and harder than any other materials. If a crash takes place, these materials withstand the impacts.
Snowmobile helmets use soft shells, generally ABS plastics. While still hard in construction, ABS plastics are lighter in weight than most other exterior shell materials. They provide optimal durability for the rider in frigid conditions.
Security and Fastening Differences
The security and fastening features of each helmet are drastically different due to riding styles and removal demands. Additionally, the nature of snowmobile rides differs from motorcycle rides. A motorcycle helmet will always contain a short, quick-removing chin strap. This enables a rider to remove the helmet when they stop.
Motorcyclists don’t want the hassle of straps or fasteners during their travels. Instead, they want to be able to remove their helmet quickly and easily. Certain motorcycling helmets include face cages to prevent flying debris and particles from hitting the wearer’s face. Traveling at high speeds without a windshield can leave riders subject to impact from flying debris.
A snowmobile helmet features similar strapping and caging for different purposes. Snowmobile riders don’t typically remove their helmet as rapidly as motorcyclists and need more security while riding. The helmet must remain in position if they decide to embark on rugged terrain or take jumps. A larger chin strap can support these movements better than a small, quick-release buckle. These helmets also feature full-face shields to keep frigid winds, snow, or ice out of the wearer’s face.
DOT and ASTM Make a Difference
Outside of all the design differences and intent behind the construction, the safety standards of each helmet must comply with their respective industries. Motorcycles must meet DOT (Department of Transportation) requirements, as they make helmets road-safe for riders. In contrast, snowmobile helmets must comply with ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) specifications because they ensure the helmets can perform their protection directives best.
In general, motorcycle helmets must meet much stricter requirements than snowmobiling helmets before they are marketable. Impact resistance, abrasion, and penetration resistance are all key for helmets to pass safety inspections. Motorcyclists are at risk of more road accidents and impacts than snowmobilers, which allots them more safety standards to meet.
Peak Boys Helmets
Peak Boys is a leading CKX helmet dealer, and we feature the industry’s highest-rated power sports gear brands and safety compliance features. Each snowmobile and motorcycle helmet carries all DOT and ASTM specifications with the finest grade materials available. To learn more about our CKX line and other riding gear, partner with a member of our customer experience team today!