They say that silence is golden, but you’re not going to find it on the back of a motorcycle. While your helmet reduces motorcycle wind noise to some degree, how much noise it muffles depends greatly on what type of helmet you have. Here are some of the factors that determine how well your helmet will reduce wind noise.
Type of Helmet:
An open face helmet is going to let in the most noise, this will include the “skull caps” or half helmets that some prefer. While these helmets may cover your ears they don’t cover much else, so you have nothing directly in front of you to block the wind. There will be lots of noise if you choose one of these helmets and not much in the way of protection.
Air flow is another factor on how much noise you’re going to hear. Most helmets don’t have ventilation other than the full face variety. The amount of air that gets vented through a full face helmet will vary with the brand. Some have many outlets while others have very few. Where the vents are located also depends on the brand, some use a single vent in the forehead, others have two vents on the top of the helmet. Arai, puts their vents right around your eyebrows. No matter which brand you end up with they all move air differently.
Helmet design and aerodynamics will also be a factor in how much wind noise you’re going to have to deal with. The air has to move around your helmet and you will hear the noise of that. If your helmet has ridges and find that create turbulence and if the design isn’t good, you will have noise. Full face helmets are going to be far more aerodynamic than skull caps.
Your visor on a full face helmet will also have an impact on how much wind noise you’re going to hear. Some visors have a ratcheting system that allows the visor to open to varying degrees. If you don’t have a tight seal between your visor and your helmet it creates a vent for the entire width of the facial opening. Air doesn’t move through your helmet as well as it moves around it. Your face is going to cause turbulence that can become very noisy. Close the visor to eliminate the noise.
Before you drop a bunch of cash on a new helmet check out some helmet reviews to see which ones provide the best noise reduction. One brand of helmet, Schuberth even lists the decibal rating of their helmets on the spec sheets. Try the helmet on before you buy it, a good fit will go a long way in reducing noise as well.