Dirt bike helmets have an open face design with a visor and pointed chin. One could say that in comparison to other types of motorcycle helmets, they look a little weird.
Why do they have the long chin and that visor sticking up like that?
Dirt bike helmets are designed to provide maximum protection while having minimal weight and good ventilation for off-road racing. There are perfectly valid reasons for their odd shape.
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Purposes of a Visor
These helmets are usually paired with goggles or glasses that fit tightly on the rider’s face. The visor, also known as a peak, fits snugly against the rider’s goggles. The lack of a full face shield prevents fogging, which would obstruct the rider’s vision.
Additionally, the pointed chin vents allow high airflow as well as protection for the rider’s face.
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So, to answer the question of why dirt bike helmets have visors, quite simply the visor on a dirt bike helmet helps shield the rider from debris & mud (roost), tree branches as well as protect the rider against the sun and rain.
Roost encompasses the various objects, debris, dirt, etc. that are thrown up by the rear tire of a bike directly in front. Generally, if there’s a rider in front of you and spraying up roost, you can just tilt your head down to use the visor.
The visor will shield your head from any hard objects that might cause injury, and also prevent mud and dirt from getting into your goggles.
The visor of a dirt bike helmet also acts like a cap or a hat. It can block direct sunlight and keep the glare off, especially if your goggles are dusty. Additionally, it also keeps the heat of the sun off your face.
Conversely, if it is raining, the visor will prevent rain from obstructing your view and help keep your face and the inside of your helmet drier than without a visor.
When riding in rough wooded terrain, it’s important to have protection against various thick brush or branches that might get in your way. Visors work well against bigger objects while goggles help protect against smaller objects.
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When riding a wooded trail, just adjust the visor as low as possible. Before hitting a branch or any brush, make sure to lower your head so that you don’t get hit in the face.
If you do not lower your head, the visor of your dirt bike helmet might catch on the branch and break.
Different Types of Visors
Although visors can vary in style and shape, there are generally two main different types of visors.
As the name suggests, built-in visors are built as a permanent fixture of a dirt bike helmet. These types of visors tend to be shorter; however, they still offer some protection from the sun and rain.
There’s another reason for the shorter visors. During a crash landing, longer visors might break and cause damage to the head or eyes. Shorter visors offer protection in accidents and crashes.
It’s important to note that these types of visors are not recommended for riding on harder tracks or harsher weather conditions. Instead, helmets with break-away visors are more suitable.
These are helmets with removable or detachable visors that tend to be wider. Having a variety of visors with different shapes and styles allows the owner to switch between visors for different trails or situations.
The wider shape of the removable visors provides greater protection against weather, tree branches, and roost.
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Which Visor is Better For Your Dirt Bike Helmet?
Depending on the track or trail, picking a suitable visor is of the utmost importance. For casual mountain biking, a built-in visor is a good choice as they offer some protection but do not get in the way while riding.
For MX, single-track courses, rougher terrains, or harsher weather conditions, a removable visor is the better option. Because these visors will detach if they get caught on something, they prevent the rider’s head or neck from getting pulled on and causing injury.
In addition, this means it will not be in the way if a rider falls or if the visor breaks potentially causing injury to the rider’s head or eyes.
On the other hand, visors can narrow a rider’s vision, so on flat or easy roads, not having a visor is always a viable option.
Visors on dirt bike helmets offer benefits such as guarding against various conditions and environments. The type and style of visor should be chosen depending on the type of dirt bike trail or road on which you will be riding.
Whichever helmet you end up choosing, make sure it is fit for the right situation and appropriately certified for your safety.