Best Flip Up Motorcycle Helmet [2020 Edition]


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Last Updated: 4th September 2020

Flip up helmets are cooler, quieter and better fitting than traditional full-face helmets.

And these days they offer comparable protections too.

Here’s our picks.

Budget Pick

HJC IS-MAX 2 side view

HJC IS Max 2

Quality, budget-friendly and quiet

The HJC IS Max 2 feels like a premium, high end helmet complete with all the features, but comes in at a much lower price point. Check SportsBikeShop

Premium Pick

Shoei Neotec black

Shoei Neotec

Beautiful, light and quiet

The Shoei Neotec will fit just about anyone thanks to the 3 differently sized shell inserts. If you’re looking to treat yourself or buy a gift for someone else – look no further. Check SportsBikeShop

Best Flip Up Motorcycle Helmet Reviews

Lets look at our top options.


HJC IS Max 2

This polycarbonate flip up helmet is light, comfortable and quiet for its price.

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HJC IS-MAX 2 front view

Quality straps, pads and a removable lining are all present.

Front and rear air vents keep it cool, and its drop-down sun visor has three settings to suit a variety of head shapes.

This is a lot of helmet for the money – easily the best at its price point.

The groove for riders who wear glasses is also nice touch.

(HJC IS Max 2 Review)

Pros

  • plus iconCompetitive price point
  • plus iconDecent build quality
  • plus iconIncludes sun visor.

Cons

  • minus icon Tight fitting for some people

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Shoei Neotec

This is a classic example of a premium flip up helmet with all the expected frills.

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Shoei Neotec black

Composite fibre construction means it’s lightweight and highly shock absorbent.

The drop down visor mechanism has a nice tactile feel, as do all the controls.

Vents are breezy when open and silent when closed – these switches are also satisfying and easy to use with gloved hands.

This is a high end helmet and it feels appropriately plush, is super light and very quiet.

Three shell sizes are included to help you dial in a perfect fit, this is a nice touch – a premium helmet that will fit absolutely anyone.

Pros

  • plus iconExcellent build quality
  • plus iconVery versatile fit

Cons

  • minus icon Expensive (but worth it)

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Caberg Duke II

For a budget flip up helmet, this is an excellent value proposition.

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caberg duke 2

Quality straps, lining, pads and sun visor mean it feels like a helmet from a higher price point.

It’s also fairly quiet when closed and has a noticeably wide viewing angle.

At its price this is hard to argue with.

It’s comfortable and rates at an impressive 5 stars from Sharp.

Slightly fiddly controls and moderate noise levels are the only real complaints we can think of.

(Caberg Duke II Review)

Pros

  • plus iconReally well made for the price
  • plus iconComfortable and quiet

Cons

  • minus icon Fiddly open face button

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MT Flux

For a flip-up helmet, this is priced really low.

Despite this low price point, the MT Flux has been well received by lots of riders and feels surprisingly decent.

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MT Flux Solid

Vents, straps, lining and pads all feel well made, and it even has a drop-down sun visor.

Reports suggest this isn’t the quietest option on our list, but is more than tolerable without ear plugs for urban riding.

This helmet is about half the price of the highest-end flip ups on the market.

And it feels really well made at this price – worth considering if you’re on a budget.

Pros:

  • plus iconReally good price for new riders

Cons

  • minus icon Not the same build quality as higher end options

Check SportsBikeShop


Roof Boxer V8

The original Roof Boxer was a well regarded helmet and a classic for street fighters.

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Roof boxer

Fibreglass shell construction means it’s lightweight and offers excellent protection.

Air vents at the front and top work really well.

Removable cheek pads and liner are comfortable, and we like the look of the seat belt style chin strap.

This is a quality helmet, but also a niche product.

It’s made for urban riding on muscle/streetfighter type bikes and might be too noisy for motorway riding.

Cool-looking flip up though.

Pros

  • plus iconExcellent build quality
  • plus iconLooks great paired with Street Fighter type bikes

Cons

  • minus icon No sun visor
  • minus icon Looks aren’t for everyone

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Buyer’s Guide

Considerations, cost and safety.


Flip up helmets offer a number of advantages over traditional full face ones.

With a full face, closed helmet your head has to fit inside, dictating how large the opening must be.

Flip up helmets are put on in the ‘open’ position, meaning they can offer a snugger, more comfortable fit and a smaller bottom opening – eliminating a lot of wind noise and draught.

Related: How to make your motorcycle helmet quieter

It’s also one of life’s simple pleasures to jump off your bike, flip up the face and chat or buy a coffee.

Safety Ratings

Flip up helmets will typically have two safety ratings, one for the closed position and one for the open position.

A ’P’ rating is usually given to a full face helmet which covers the chin and chin strap.

A ‘J’ rating is given for open helmets with the chin uncovered.

Flip up helmets have a ‘PJ’ rating because they can be used in the open and closed positions.

Sharp tests show that some of the helmets on our list offer comparable protection to full face helmets when in the closed position.

Traditional helmets have a safety advantage – the hinge on a flip up is a potential weak point not present in full face helmets.

For this reason, cheap, poorly made modular helmets are to be avoided.

Check the statistics for each helmet on Sharp’s website – they even show how often the front opens in simulated tests.

Riding Position

The sight of a motorcycle courier smoking a cigarette with his helmet in the open position will be familiar to many.

But most manufacturers recommend against using flip up helmets in the open position.

Statistics show that the chin is the most likely area of the helmet to suffer impact in a crash.

Keep it closed when riding.

Retention

D ring retention systems are dependable and work well with the one caveat that loosening or opening them is usually a two-handed affair.

Quick release ratchet straps are slightly more expensive to manufacture, but open one-handed with no fuss – most helmets use this type.

Typically, the controls on more budget helmets will be where you can feel the difference.

Cheaper options will have rattly, unresponsive switches and buttons.

Premium options will feel smooth and tactile, letting you know when you’ve pressed a button.

Visor

A drop-down sun visor is a nice touch, but its omission isn’t a deal breaker for us.

We’ve deliberately avoided listing any helmets with inferior, unreliable visors.

We’d rather have no visor than a poorly-made one.

Conclusion

If you’re finding full face helmets noisy, uncomfortable or both, it might be a good idea to check out a flip up one.

They are generally a better fit thanks to their design and there are several options on our list that are quite affordable.