CHOOSING THE RIGHT UTV HELMET
CHOOSING THE RIGHT UTV HELMET
For us, wearing a helmet when driving a UTV is second nature; we feel naked without one. Beyond head protection, some of the basic benefits of a helmet include sound-deadening, sun, eye and wind protection. Furthermore, the right helmet can provide fresh air and driver-to-passenger or car-to-car communications, along with cell-phone connectivity. If you think you don’t need a helmet, think about this: smacking your unprotected head on a rock or roll-cage tube in the event of a crash is like hitting a watermelon with a baseball bat. You must wear a helmet at all times while your UTV is in motion. Choosing the right UTV Helmet will get you the comfort and features you want.
Choosing the right helmet doesn’t have to be a complicated process. A couple of things you want to consider are the kind of riding you do and your budget. If you already own a full or open-face helmet for ATV or dirt bike riding, that is fine for now. Use the helmet with a good pair of goggles; however, keep in mind that helmets with visors grab a lot of wind when sitting in a UTV versus standing in an attack position on a bike. After a long day, you will notice a sore neck or at the very least be tired of the wind and noise. So, when it comes time to choose a new UTV helmet, this guide will help.
Choosing the right UTV Helmet for kids is a must. You wouldn’t believe how many photos people send us with kids not wearing helmets, and yet the parents in the photos are wearing them. How crazy is that? Safety should be your first priority when it comes to your child, and besides that, a helmet with goggles or a shield will keep wind, dust, sun and bugs out of a child’s eyes. The best helmets for young drivers or passengers are from GMAX. This is a house brand for Western Powersports, so these helmets can be purchased at any WPS accessory shop. The GMAX youth products are made with smaller shells and are lighter than adult helmets. On average, the GMAX MX helmets for kids weigh under 3 pounds, and the full-face helmets weigh just over 3 pounds. The $89.95 Youth GM-49Y comes in green, blue or orange with cartoon graphics and red, blue and yellow without, or black for $79.95 in small, medium and large.
We know there are times you don’t need the full protection of a race-style helmet. A simple open-face helmet can still protect your head from accidental impact. It can be used with sunglasses or goggles, and the GMAX helmet can accommodate communications as well. All the top helmet makers have a line of open-face helmets with pretty cool designs.
These helmets, which feature a visor and a full shield, were made popular by dual-sport adventure motorcycle riders. Like normal MX helmets, they catch a lot of wind, as the shield pushes the wind up towards the visor; however, they are good for people who want to wear sunglasses or RX glasses while they ride. Also, if you don’t have a roof on your machine, the visor will help block the sun. These helmets work better for slow-speed driving and less dusty conditions.
In the last decade of testing UTVs, we’ve come to prefer full-face helmets over all others for fast driving. They have minimal wind resistance, and the modern DOT versions are lightweight and super comfortable. In this category, you can choose from a street bike helmet, car racing helmet or a modular design. A modular design is typically worn by snowmobilers and has lots of features, such as heated shields, extra pull-down smoked shields and comms. But, the biggest asset of a modular helmet is that the front of it flips up out of the way, so you can talk without screaming or take a sip of your favorite tasty beverage.
Choosing the right UTV helmet for group rides and/or rides in dusty conditions means getting one equipped with a fresh-air port. Klim has a DOT-certified helmet with a clear outer shield and a drop-down, 80-percent-darker inner shield. A lower dust skirt comes with it and helps keep the dust out, whether or not you are hooked into a fresh-air system. We have a complete buyer’s guide of fresh-air systems here:
www.utvactionmag.com. PCI Radios offers this helmet wired for communications. It works with most radio/intercom setups for an additional $150.
GMAX: www.gmaxusa.com, (800) 999-3388
Klim: www.klim.com, (208) 552-7433
Solid: www.solidhelmets.com, (928) 302-1244
Racing Plus: www.racingplus.com, (951) 360-5906
PCI Radios: www.pciraceradios.com, (800) 869-5636
See UTV Action’s test on Arai’s XD-4 helmet here: https://utvactionmag.com/arai-xd-4-helmet/