What Are Motorcycle Helmets Made Of?

Have you ever wondered what superhero-like materials go into making those badass motorcycle helmets? Strap on your curiosity because we’re about to dive into the fascinating world of helmet construction! 

When it comes to protecting your precious noggin, motorcycle helmets are made up of two basic types of materials: composite fiber materials and plastic-based helmets

Composite fibers, like carbon fiber and fiberglass, make strong, impact-resistant helmets. Lightweight helmets let you feel the wind in your hair without sacrificing safety. Plastic helmets are durable, affordable, and reliable for all riders.

Whether you’re a speed demon or a casual cruiser, understanding what your helmet is made of is crucial for your safety. 

Anatomy of Motorcycle Helmet Construction: How They Keep You Safe?

Helmets protect your head by absorbing and redirecting impact energy. Approximately 1,872 U.S. lives were saved by helmets in 2017, which shows how important motorcycle helmets are.

Here’s how they work:

1. Outer Shell: The First Line of Defense

The outer shell of a motorcycle helmet protects the head by distributing and dissipating impact force. This sturdy shell provides strength and rigidity to the helmet, helping to protect your head in the event of a collision.

2. Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) Liner: Absorbing Impact Energy

Beneath the outer shell, all helmets feature a thick layer of Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) foam. EPS foam absorbs impact and reduces the force on the head.  This critical liner material cushions and protects your skull from the brunt of a collision.

3. Thermoplastic or Thermoset Resin: A Robust Shield

Some helmets employ thermoplastic or thermoset resin materials for their outer shell. Durable plastics add protection against direct impacts. The resilience of these materials ensures a reliable defense for your head.

4. Energy-Absorbing Materials: Innovative Protection

In addition to EPS foam, certain helmets incorporate advanced energy-absorbing materials. For instance, Koroyd is a proprietary material consisting of small tubes or cores. Upon impact, these tubes compress, efficiently absorbing and dissipating energy. This innovative solution surpasses traditional foam liners, offering enhanced protection to riders.

5. Design and Construction: Maximizing Safety Features

The design and construction of a helmet greatly influence its protective capabilities. A well-fitted shape, proper ventilation, and impact-absorbing padding enhance helmet protection. Manufacturers optimize helmet protection by ensuring snug fit and strategic design elements.

Type of Motorcycle Helmets by Material

Composite fiber and plastic helmets are the two broad categories of motorcycle helmets, respectively.

Composite Fiber Materials

Composite fiber helmets use woven fibers for a strong, durable shell. Here are some examples of composite fiber materials used in motorcycle helmets:

1. Composite Fiber materials: Blending Strength and Versatility

Composite fiber materials create a strong, durable shell for motorcycle helmets. Composite helmets are made of multiple fiber materials, such as fiberglass, Kevlar, or carbon fiber. Helmets are stronger and more versatile, providing riders with optimal protection.

2. Carbon Fiber: The Featherweight Powerhouse

Carbon fiber stands as the epitome of high-performance materials. Carbon fiber helmets are the lightest and strongest, made from woven carbon filament threads coated in resin. High-end helmets offer the best protection, but they’re also more expensive. Performance-oriented riders are willing to pay more for the best protection.

Also Read: Who Makes Harley-Davidson Helmets?

3. Fiberglass: The Affordable Guardian

Fiberglass is a composite material made by interweaving glass fibers and coating them with resin. Fiberglass is less rigid than carbon fiber, but still strong and impact resistant. Fiberglass helmets are affordable, lightweight, and protective—a popular choice for cost-conscious riders.

4. Kevlar: The Resilient Reinforcer

Kevlar is a strong, durable synthetic fiber that is often combined with carbon fiber or fiberglass to reinforce helmet shells. Kevlar in helmets enhances impact resistance and structural integrity, ensuring maximum protection. It is possible to reach high safety criteria using helmets that are up to 20% lighter than fiberglass due to Kevlar’s additional strength.

5. Synthetic Reinforced Shell (SRS): Affordable Assurance

SRS helmets use fibers and resins for a strong, flexible shell. These cost-effective helmets strike a balance between affordability and protection. These helmets offer reliable protection against road hazards, even though they’re not made of carbon fiber or Kevlar.

Also Read: Special Cruiser Motor Helmets

Plastic Based Helmets

Plastic motorcycle helmets are popular for being durable, affordable, and protective. Let’s delve into the three most common types of plastic-based helmets: ABS, Polycarbonate & Lexan, and Advanced Thermoset Resin (ATR).

1. Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS): The Affordable Workhorse

Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) emerges as a popular thermoplastic material extensively used in helmet construction. Its wide adoption is due to its remarkable durability and impact resistance. 

ABS helmets are the go-to choice for many riders, offering a good balance of price and performance. A composite fiber helmet offers more reliable protection for a higher price point.

2. Polycarbonate: The Lightweight Guardian

Polycarbonate is a lightweight, impact-resistant material used in helmet construction. These helmets are strong and lightweight, making them a good choice for riders.

For those seeking prolonged use and longevity, polycarbonate helmets justify the slightly higher price point over ABS helmets.

3. Thermoset Resin: The Resilient Guardian

Thermoset resin is a popular choice for helmet construction because it is durable and impact-resistant. Thermoset resin helmets offer better protection than thermoplastic helmets.

Thermoset resin helmets are more expensive than thermoplastic helmets, but they offer better protection.



A motorcycle helmet can be made out of a variety of materials, including fiberglass, carbon fiber, and Kevlar, as well as thermoplastics like ABS and polycarbonate.

Materials are chosen for strength, durability, impact resistance, and lightweight properties. To minimize the risk of head injuries on the road, motorcycle helmets are designed and constructed with safety in mind.

About David Riedel

I am David Riedel founder of Bikerwhizz, I'm a technician at Keystone Harley Davidson with more than 10 years of industry experience. I’m here to help you solve motorbike problems, customizations, tweaks, and easy fixes to enjoy your rides more.

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