Whether on the road or off, the most important piece of equipment a rider can have is a motocross helmet. Its primary purpose, of course, is to protect your head in the event of a spill. By using the latest technology, the external shell of the helmet will absorb the force of the impact and not the rider’s head.
The development of the helmet is believed to have begun because of the crash and subsequent death of T. E. Lawrence. The famed Lawrence of Arabia wasn’t wearing a helmet when he crashed his motorbike and received serious head injuries. One of the neurosurgeons who attended to him started a long investigative study on the advantages of wearing a helmet. This study has led to the wide spread use of helmets by civilians and military riders.
Motocross helmets were developed after the sport began to take off in the late 60s and early 70s. These original helmets were not a full face design. Riders had to wear goggles. Now, riders can choose from full face, ¾ face, or modular designs. Motocross helmets usually feature an elongated sun visor and chin bar.
There have been several major advancements in the technology and materials used to make MX helmets over the last few decades. Helmet makers are using up to date manufacturing techniques and modern technology to produce equipment with improved protection characteristics. These improvements have been to both the outer shell and the inner linings. Most outer shells are made from advanced plastics, but high-end models are reinforced with fiberglass or Kevlar. Inner linings now utilize “expanding Polystyrene foam” or EPS. These advancements, along with the introduction of neck braces and spinal protection, have increased the safety of the sport and greatly reduced the risk and number of serious injuries.
Although mandatory now, helmets were optional in the early years of motocross racing. Thankfully, racers must now wear an MX helmet, or they won’t be allowed to race. Over the years, this safety measure has reduced the amount of serious injuries caused by crashes and accidents. And with today’s light weight composite materials and the myriad of colors and styles available, it’s possible for you to have safety with a personal flair.