Differences and Options
I have been selling "skid lids" since the late 70's and have seen the evolution of helmets evolve over the years. Today there are dozens of helmet manufacturer's, many more helmet options and like LCD Tv's they have gotten better and the price has come down. I am going to break down the design differences for you so you can better decide what may fit your riding style or maybe help you choose the type of helmet that you may be looking for. It is not uncommon for riders to have at least a couple of helmet options.
Half Helmet-Minimal: Biker, Skid lid, Meets the minimum eps thickness for DOT approval. No frills, no vents, no visor.
Half Helmet-Touring: A more substance half helmet. Some have features like a drop down shield, ventilation, visor, zip or covered ears, and removable liners.
3/4 Open Face Helmet - Bobber: Basic open face helmet with a removable visor. A smaller shell, minimal or no venting. Inner liner is fixed. Has snaps for a faceshield to fasten on.
3/4 Open Face Helmet - Touring: A much more thought out helmet with more features. Many utilize a internal drop sunshield system, offer good ventilation, some have a removable visor, faceshield systems, removable liner and most are communication bluetooth friendly.
Modular Helmet: A fullface helmet that the whole chin cover hinges to an open position allowing relief and the ability to drink or talk with helmet on. Not designed to ride at speed this way. These helmets have a feature rich design.
180 degree Flip Modular Helmet: A relatively new design with rotating chin bar flipping all the way back making the helmet a pseudo 3/4 design. You can ride a normal speed in this position.
Fullface Helmet: A Full coverage helmet with shield system. From helmets with all the bells and whistles to minimum "retro" style
Convertables: The new kid on the block. Converting from a 1/2 to a 3/4 and incorporating a chinbar system for coverage.
Today with this many options it can be confusing and if you are a new Rider you may not be sure which way to go. Understand that it is all a compromise. You trade the freedom of the open air for more protection all through the scale. The saying "better to have something than nothing" is true, and more is better when it comes to safety. Options are nice, if you are going to the zoo do you wear your dress shoes? Having an option on your table to pick from is helpful, if nothing else but for weather. Safety and comfort are available for any riding style.
The good news here is pricing has come way down and features have increased considerably. The days where you had to spend $300-$500 to get a good helmet are long past. When you finally decide on the best option for you, make sure that you are working with a knowledgable salesperson that can fit you properly.
Chris-team member at Riders Biker Gear & Supply, Lewisville, Tx