- Best Bluetooth Motorcycle Helmets for 2023 – A Real List - October 6, 2023
- Top 10 Unique and Practical Gifts for Motorcycle Riders in 2023 - September 27, 2023
- Cardo Spirit HD Review: The Best Bluetooth Headset? - September 11, 2023
Ah, half helmets. Legally a helmet without the trouble of anything covering your face or head. I’ll spare you the lecture on motorcycle helmet safety.
What you came here for is the lightest, most out of your way lid on the market. You know how to ride a bike, and you’d rather not do it carrying a bowling ball on your head.
Here’s what I learned in searching for the best ultra low profile motorcycle helmets:
- DOT doesn’t care about safety at all – you can get a slim helmet with 1 inch of foam and still be covered in US states with helmet laws. A win for freedom of choice, but not your head.
- New styles of modular helmets provide flexibility – essentially a half helmet with side pieces and a mouth guard, they provide protection from road debris and fresh air all in one lid – check out the Bell Rogue or Scorpion Covert X below.
- Low profile helmets are cheap – Turns out cutting half the helmet off really reduces the price. Expect to pay about $100 for an ultra low profile helmet.
- You’re SOL in Europe – You’ll need a 3/4 helmet at least to ride in Europe, because the ECE won’t certify a slim half helmet.
All the helmets below are DOT approved so you can ride legally in US states with helmet laws.
If you want to pop a Bluetooth communicator on your new half helmet without ruining the look, check out our review of all the best communication systems for half helmets.
Here we go.
- Best Ultra Low Profile Motorcycle Helmets
- Low Profile but Safe Motorcycle Helmets
Best Ultra Low Profile Motorcycle Helmets
Okay, here it is: all the most badass half helmets that are DOT approved and legal to wear in the United States. You can tell any cop to shove it with one of these on your head.
That said, none of these are going to help you out much in a crash. But I’m assuming you aren’t here looking for the safest helmet. You’re looking for a tough lid that will keep you legal and NOT looking like a mushroom head.
Each helmet on this list is going to be DOT approved, have 1 inch of EPS foam under the shell and cost around $100 to $150.
And any of these helmets will easily fit inside the saddlebags on any Harley Davidson. They’re all about only 5 or 6 inches tall.
Let’s get in to it.
MicroDOT Beanie Helmet
The MicroDOT helmet is so well regarded in the biker outlaw and cruiser communities that its now confused for the category of ultra slim motorcycle helmets.
This is the helmet that defined that category.
The MicroDOT Beanie helmet weighs less than a bottle of water at just 1 pound, comes with a blacked out quick-release chinstrap, and fits every rider like a glove.
Be sure to measure your head before ordering – you’ll want the exact right size to avoid the mushroom head look.
They have a variety of styles on their site, from this Blister style to a Beanie and others with peaks.
Order on their site below:
Crazy Al’s Beanie Helmet
Inspired by Sons of Anarchy, you might finally lift out of Prospect status with a Crazy Al’s Beanie on.
The chinstrap and quick release buckle are all black, adding to the sleek look of this lid. There’s a nice rubber trim around the edge. And the shell is made of fiberglass and ABS plastic.
All of this weighs in around 1 pound, so you’ll barely notice the helmet on your head. Ride like the wind, and feel it on your face too.
Pick up Crazy Al’s helmet on Amazon or their site.
West Coast Leather’s Beanie helmet is another that claims to be the ‘smallest and lightest’ DOT approved skull cap. However, where WCL edges out Crazy Al and MicroDOT are in graphic options. If you want a design on your low profile helmet, WCL might be a good place to start.
One difference you get on these is a red quick release buckle, which doesn’t fade in to the background like the black buckle on the others.
It weighs around 1 pound, so no sore neck. You can also pick up the WCL Beanie in carbon fiber instead of the usual ABS plastic.
Products ship from the West Coast of Canada within 24 hours, so if you’re in a rush, this one might be for you.
Low Profile but Safe Motorcycle Helmets
Okay, you love your wife and kids and you want as much safety as you can get while still enjoying the wind in your face and the raw experience of a half helmet.
These picks are for you!
Bell Pit Boss – Safest
Are you ready to feel like the boss of the road with the Bell Pit Boss? This helmet fits like a glove and will banish the dreaded mushroom head look.
Somewhere between a half helmet and an open face, the Bell Pit Boss provides a bit more protection than your average half helmet. What’s even better for protecting your skull is the Trimatrix shell, made from a blend of fiberglass, Kevlar, and carbon fiber. That smokes any ABS plastic helmet.
So, whether you’re cruising down the highway or popping wheelies on your 131ci Street Glide, you’re about as safe as you can be in a half helmet.
But that’s just the beginning. The Pit Boss includes a sun peak to protect your precious peepers from the sun’s blazing rays. And if that’s not enough, the dropdown sun visor gives you that added bit of protection so you won’t be blinded by the light.
Riding with a Bluetooth headset? Most half helmets have no way to mount speakers over your ears. The good people at Bell have you covered: they put speaker pockets designed to fit your Bluetooth communicator into the Pit Boss.
Take a look at my comprehensive guide on the benefits of investing in motorcycle helmets with Bluetooth technology.
Best part about the Pit Boss? The fit is PERFECT every time. How did Bell achieve this? With a simple adjustment system just like on a bicycle helmet. Spin the wheel to snug the lid right down on your head.
Oh, and did I mention the weight? This beauty clocks in at a mere 2.44 pounds, so you’ll hardly even notice it’s there! It’s like having a feather on your head, except it’s not ticklish and it’s way more badass.
The Bell Pit Boss is the ideal lid for old school cruiser riders that want the wind in their face, but still want to make it home to their wife and kids if the unthinkable should happen.
Show the road who’s boss with the Bell Pit Boss.
Bell Scout Air – Slimmest
Another one from Bell. They keep making good lids, and I’ll keep putting them on my list. This one also has that Trimatrix shell for heavy impact absorption without extra weight.
The Scout Air doesn’t have that drop down sun visor or removable neck curtain of the Pit Boss, which makes it a bit slimmer than the Pit Boss and less prone to that mushroom head look.
On top of being slimmer, the inner lining is removable and washable. That’s rare on a half helmet, and boy your wife is going to thank you for keeping that liner clean.
Where the Scout Air really shines is in its fit. This baby has not one, not two, but FIVE shell sizes and FIVE EPS liner sizes! That’s like having tailor-made helmet, for every head. A slim, fitted look whether you’re an XL or a XS.
And don’t worry about the weight – this helmet is light, coming in at just 1.98 pounds. A lot lighter than the Pit Boss.
And it’s not just DOT rated, it’s ECE safety rated as well. Which is EXCEPTIONAL given this is somewhere between an open face and half helmet.
So what are you waiting for? Get your hands on the Bell Scout Air and ride off into the sunset.
One recent reviewer wrote, “Excellent helmet, well made and very comfortable, lightweight so it hardly feels like you’re wearing it, low profile compared to other open face helmets so doesn’t look as odd on larger heads” (2).
Scorpion EXO-C110 – Airflow
Finally, we’re off Bell and on to another well-known brand: Scorpion. The EXO-C110 builds on previous Scorpion half helmets like the EXO-C90, retaining the classic look while implementing some nice-to-haves.
For one, you get a dropdown sun shield and peak to protect your eyes from the sun. And the huge flies that like to cross country roads right as you cruise past at 80 mph. And you get pockets for speakers, which is rare on half helmets. It weighs in at 2.47 pounds, near the Pit Boss.
But I can hear you yelling at me now: “Evan, the Bell Scout Air and Pit Boss have all this covered already. What’s DIFFERENT about the EXO-C110?”
And I have the answer for you – in two parts:
First, this half helmet has a ventilation system. If you’re one of those riders that gets a sweaty scalp on a warm afternoon, the C110 is going to help flush all that hot air out to keep your scalp cool.
Second, the EPS foam in this lid is dual-density. That means one section absorbs softer knocks while another, with denser foam, absorbs harder knocks. Much safer in a crash. Now I know most half helmet riders don’t give a flying f*** about safety, but if your wife cares, you might be able to meet in the middle with the C110.
And like the Bell Scout Air, you get a removable sweat wicking liner. This is definitely built for long, hot summer rides.
Pick up the Scorpion EXO-C110 for a cool ride no matter the heat. And get back on the road.
Those are the top three low profile helmets that are still relatively safe. Now on to a few honorable mentions.
First up for honorable mentions, we have the LS2 Rebellion. While the look is a bit more modern and chunky than some of the previous half helmets, its Kinetic Polymer Alloy shell is light – helping the LS2 Rebellion clock in at just 2.09 pounds.
You get a drop down sun shield and peak, plus dual density EPS and a quick release chin strap. This one also features ventilation. Very comparable to the Scorpion EXO-C110 at the same price point.
Bell went for a bit of post-apocalyptic vibe here with a touch of German WWII helmet style. This helmet is for those who are not afraid to stand out from the crowd.
The flared half helmet shape connects to a mask via magnets, giving you a Bane in WWII look. That mask won’t do much in a crash, but it’s good for stopping bugs or surprise hailstorms (been there, done that – won’t do it again).
Weirdly, the Rogue is heavy at 3 pounds. Shedding that mask will drop some weight, however. You’re trading off protection here versus the Scout Air or Pit Boss, but in return you get a much different and eye-catching look.
There are a lot of novelty helmets on the market with a flared German helmet look, but only Bell gives you a DOT approved lid that’s also solidly built. Pick one up today.
Scorpion EXO Covert X
Moving on to the Scorpion EXO Covert X. This helmet is a chameleon. You can wear it umpteen different ways: half helmet, open face, full face. It’s everything in one.
All together its just 3.31 pounds, but once you shed the extra bulk down to a half helmet it has the weight and classic swoop of some of the ultra low profile lids.
The Covert X isn’t just a looker either – it has Scorpion’s Ultra-TCT Fiberglass shell, which is far better than most half helmets at absorbing impact. It also packs a ventilation system to keep your scalp cool in scorching weather.
And you get two visors for the dropdown visor setup: one clear and one tinted.
Toss all the extra parts in your saddlebags and cruise with just a half helmet. Hit some rain? Or the sun sets and your face starts to freeze? Just pull over and pop all the parts back together for the protection of a full face.
That’s something no other helmet can do.
Pick up the Scorpion EXO Covert X so you can ride in any condition.
What is a low profile helmet?
Low profile helmets are one that you barely notice on your head. You’ll see it called a beanie, shorty, or skull cap as well. It’ll generally have a not-so-thick layer of padding and you’ll tend to see them on a biker riding a chopper or other cruiser motorcycle.
They’re light and slim, so you don’t look like a mushroom head.
The best you can expect for a low profile motorcycle helmets is that they’re DOT approved. Other certification standards like ECE, Snell, and FIM don’t certify this type of helmet ever, due to safety concerns. Snell and FIM don’t even certify modular helmets; half helmets have no chance!
Are low profile or beanie helmets safe?
Low profile or shorty helmets offer less protection for your head than a full-face or half-head helmet. The padding isn’t as thick and doesn’t cover as much of you, plus the retention straps are longer so you have to take more strain if you do have an accident. Some ultra low profile motorcycle helmets won’t even meet DOT standards, and are of little more use than a baseball cap in the event of a crash.
Be sure to wear beanie helmets that meet DOT standards – features like padding for protection are more important than factors like being lightweight or a cool, novelty shape.