There’s a lot to be excited about when you look at some motorcycle helmets entering the market. Not only do they include smart technology like bluetooth communication and emergency location broadcasting, but some have improved aerodynamics, are composed of exceptionally lightweight materials, and have enhanced head protection.
Let’s have a look at what’s new in motorbike helmet technology, and what to consider before you fork out for a state-of-the-art helmet.
Some new helmets have in-helmet communication systems that use bluetooth and wireless mesh networks (WMN). Not only can you use these helmets to communicate via bluetooth with other devices like your smartphone, but the WMN enables you to communicate with other riders on the same network.
Imagine being able to use voice commands to request a music track while you ride, use GPS navigation to find your way without needing to stop and pull out your phone, and being able to chat with riding companions—all in the one ride.
New smart technologies in some helmets offer visual information about what’s up ahead. One example includes LED lights displayed in the peripherals of your visor, that deliver information related to navigation and road alerts. (When a left or right turn is coming up, the LEDs light up on the left and right-hand sides of your visor. They also indicate if you’re approaching a speed camera, police vehicle, traffic, or a hazard.) These visual displays offer that little bit of extra information to help the rider, without impeding vision and being distracting.
Many motorbike riders attach cameras to their motorbike, allowing them to capture footage of their ride for later entertainment, and also to record road incidents.
New helmets on the market are building the cameras in, so riders won’t need to buy and attach separate tech. Additionally, attaching a separate camera to your helmet affects aerodynamics, so integrating the camera within the helmet is preferable.
Intelligent noise control
Riding a motorbike can get pretty noisy. Not only is there the sound of your own bike to contend with, but also other vehicles, plus wind noise.
Helmets don’t offer much noise protection for riders, though manufacturers are trying to improve things. Some helmets already include ear muffs that reduce decibels for the rider, or extendable chin curtains to minimise wind and road noise.
New helmet designs from some brands are offering noise cancelling features within the helmet. This will mean those listening to music in their helmet won’t need to raise the volume in order to block out external noise.
Riders still need to think about taking extra measures to protect hearing whilst riding (earplugs for example), but these improved helmet features are a step in the right direction.
Emergency Location Broadcast
Some new helmets have crash detection capabilities that recognise when a rider has come off their bike. Alongside this, they can also broadcast a rider’s location via an SOS beacon. This will be especially helpful for solo riders with nobody nearby to assist them after a crash.
Some new helmets include LED lights on the exterior of the helmet so that riders can be extra visible to other road users. Motorcyclists often struggle with having other drivers claim they didn’t see them, so additional lights on the helmet will help. (These lights also look super cool!)
Improving the design of helmets so that they are more aerodynamic can make for a smoother ride, reduce draughts entering the helmet, reduce turbulence, and limit wind noise. That’s why modern motorcycle helmets continually strive for better aerodynamics.
Each new version of a helmet will usually boast some sort of aerodynamic improvement, and one recent development is chin spoilers that redirect airflow around the bottom of the helmet to achieve all the reductions mentioned above.
Many new helmets are manufactured using carbon fibre. Carbon fibre is extremely strong and durable, yet lightweight, so a carbon fibre helmet is more comfortable to ride in for long periods.
The lightness of carbon fibre does not mean a reduction in a helmet’s protective capabilities , however. Some new carbon fibre helmets are able to deflect shock differently to regular helmets, as they distribute the force equally across the surface area, rather than only on the impact site, making for a more protective helmet.
So you want a high-tech helmet…
When looking at the latest helmets on the market, take a breath before you commit your money. Firstly, you want to ensure that the helmet meets Australian safety standards for motorcycle helmets. You also want to be sure that the brand is reputable, and that you have the option of receiving customer support and access to a warranty if anything goes wrong.
Helmet cover with your Comprehensive Motorcycle Insurance Policy
Under our Comprehensive motorcycle insurance, you can add Helmet Cover* as an extra. Helmut Cover insures your helmet if it’s accidentally damaged as a result of an accident involving your Motorcycle, up to the cover limit selected (the maximum being $1000).
* When you take out your insurance you can select a cover limit of $500 or $1000. The most we will pay is the amount you select.
Insurance issued by Insurance Australia Limited ABN 11 000 016 722 AFSL 227681 trading as Swann Insurance (Swann). The advice on this website is general advice only and does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs (“your personal circumstances”).
Before using this advice to decide whether to purchase the insurance policy, you should consider your personal circumstances and the relevant Product Disclosure Statement and Target Market Determinations available on this website.. Also checkout our useful guide on how to wear motorcycle helmet correctly.