What Are The Quietest Motorcycle Helmets? Our Top 9 Affordable Lids

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I don’t know about you, but I love the sound of my bike.

The deep burble of the v-twin.

That slight air of malice upon idle.

The sleek and slender face of a cheetah, combined with the roar and anger of a lion.

Consequently, it truly lives up to the ‘Africa’ in its name.

But whilst I cherish the sound of my Africa Twin, I don’t want to be bombarded by it when I tour.

honda africa twin in the desert - quietest motorcycle helmets
Louder bikes and longer touring need the quietest motorcycle helmets (Image via Honda)

I love the feeling of the wind on my skin. But I don’t want it pummeling my ears for hours on end as I make my way from one country to the next.

It was only through doing it a few times that I realised the effects.

The incessant ringing in my ears when I got to my location. Unable to switch off. Still hearing the roar of the engine in my head as I tried to drift off to sleep.

Because whilst it’s nice to bask in the note of your engine on a Sunday morning blast, it becomes a weapon on your hearing when you tour over long distances.

And that’s a risk that none of us can afford to take.

What Are The Quietest Motorcycle Helmets?

1 Schuberth C3 Pro
2 Schuberth C4 Pro Carbon
3 Shoei Neotec 2
4 Shoei GT Air 2
5 Shoei NXR (RF-1200)
6 HJC R-PHA 70
7 Shark Evo ONE 2
8 Arai Tour X4
9 Bell Qualifier DLX
shoei helmet on bike - quietest motorcycle helmets
Our top 9 list of quietest motorcycle helmets are below (Image via Roadracingworld)

1. Schuberth C3 Pro – Modular, Approx. £350

Pretty much all Schuberth helmets are known for being among the quietest motorcycle helmets money can buy.

And for many years now, the C3 has been the most popular helmet in Schuberth’s line-up – and for good reason.

Developed as a flip front (modular) helmet, the C3 Pro is functional, comfortable, and loaded with quality protection.

Furthermore, it’s as happy on long tours as it is on weekend blasts.

The main reason Schuberth is at the top of this list is that it’s the only helmet manufacturer that publishes noise levels.

But that isn’t to say that other manufacturers don’t hold this aspect in high regard. But Schuberth also develop their lids in wind tunnels.

As a result, the C3 Pro provides exceptional comfort through minimising contact pressure, reducing lift, improving directional stability, and reducing wind buffeting.

schuberth make some of the quietest motorcycle helmets
Schuberth are known for producing some of the quietest motorcycle helmets on the market (Image via Schuberth)

Schuberth C3 Pro: Comfort

As well as the comfort advantages above, the development of this helmet in the wind tunnel ensures it’s quiet, too. In fact, it’s one of the quietest helmets in the world producing around 82 decibels of noise at 100 kph (62 mph.)

Additionally, the neck cushion has been ergonomically designed and includes a precisely placed wind deflector. The rear spoiler was also designed through progressive wind tunnel testing to ensure greater comfort and aerodynamics.

The overall shape of the helmet has been designed with aero-acoustics in mind. And this results in extremely low levels of noise whilst riding.

For a modular helmet, it’s light, too. At 1,570g, it’s lighter than many of its full-face counterparts. And if you’ve read any of our previous articles, you’ll know we are big believers in the reduction of weight!

Other features include an integrated Pinlock, a drop-down inner visor, a removable interior liner, and an excellent ventilation solution.

For touring, we’re struggling to find anything better than the Schuberth C3 Pro.

Pros

  • Exceptionally quiet
  • Built with noise-reduction in mind
  • Quality design
  • Modular
  • Lightweight
  • Drop-down visor
  • Great ventilation
  • Stable in turbulent conditions
  • Compatible with Schuberth’s SRC communications system

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Can seem tight around the cheeks

2. Schuberth C4 Pro Carbon – Modular, Approx. £450

If you’ve got the extra cash, it might be worth looking at the more expensive version of the C3 Pro above – the C4 Pro Carbon.

With cutting-edge technology, high-end materials and build quality, it’s up there as a gold standard lid that is also one of the quietest motorcycle helmets on the market.

The C4 Pro Carbon is built with comfort and quietness in mind. And this is evident in the interior fittings and optimised acoustics.

Like the C3, the C4 Pro Carbon has been optimised through extensive development in the wind tunnel. And the result is an incredibly stable helmet that rides quiet no matter what speed you seem to go.

quietest motorcycle helmets by schuberth
The Schuberth c4 Pro Carbon is one of the lightest and quietest helmets available (Image via thevisorshop)

With its optimised neck roll and noise reduction at the mechanical attachments, the C4 Pro Carbon rides at around 85 decibels at 100 kph (on a non-faired bike.)

As well as the acoustics and build, it’s also comfortable to wear thanks to its thoughtfully crafted head padding. And we like the grooves in the sidewalls for the accommodation of glasses.

Finally, the ventilation system does a fabulous job of keeping continual air circulation within the cockpit. And we love the extra-large Pinlock 120 that comes in the box upon purchase.

The C3 Pro and the C4 Pro Carbon make for two of the quietest motorcycle helmets money can buy.

Pros

  • Excellent protection from wind noise
  • Stable in high winds
  • Wide field of view
  • Includes Pinlock 120
  • Pre-installed with comms
  • Lightweight at 1,415g (medium)
  • Great ventilation

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Some riders have reported whistling through the vents

3. Shoei Neotec 2 – Modular, Approx. £495

One of the things we like about Shoei’s Neotec 2 is its no-nonsense approach!

It’s a simple-looking helmet that is built from quality materials, is light, and is durable.

As well as this, it has a Sharp 4-star rating, and is one of the quietest motorcycle helmets on the market.

The big button-release on the front makes the flip front easy to use with bulky bike gloves. And the same can be said for the internal visor button on the side of the helmet.

shoei makes some of the quietest motorcycle helmets
Shoei are regarded as a leader in the production of the quietest motorcycle helmets (Image via Shoei)

It also comes with a washable inner and a Pinlock anti-fog system.

Additionally, the Neotec includes an integrated communications system that was designed by Sena specifically for the Neotec 2. This makes a great addition for touring!

The neck pad on the Shoei is thick and works as a seal between your face and the outside world. And the design of the cheek pads dampen environmental sounds by filling the gap between your cheeks and the wall of the helmet.

Pros

  • Glove friendly
  • Reasonably lightweight
  • Very high quality
  • Comms compatible
  • Quiet
  • Built on the success of the Neotec 1

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Doesn’t come with the Sena comms system made for the helmet
  • Lighter helmets available

4. Shoei GT Air 2 – Full-Face, Approx. £495

As with all Shoei helmets, the GT Air 2 is extremely well-built. This results in increased aerodynamics, noise reduction technology, and harmonious integration with the Sena SRL2 communications system.

In addition, the GT Air 2 is available in various shell sizes which can be combined with 4 different inner pad sizes. This not only aids in better fit and comfort but also the improvement of noise reduction.

The removable inner also offers a contoured fit, enhanced comfort, and noise control.

quietest motorcycle helmets - shoei on back of motorcycle
The GT Air 2 has long been regarded as one of the quietest motorcycle helmets (Image via Shoei)

As mentioned, there are various sizes of cheek pads that are ergonomically designed to help improve fit and reduce wind noise.

Furthermore, an integrated spoiler in the chin bar helps provide a quieter ride whilst the chin curtain further reduces wind noise. Both go a long way to making this one of the quietest motorcycle helmets on this list.

As with the above helmets on this list, the GT Air 2 comes with a Pinlock anti-fog system included. There is also an emergency quick-release system, and venting inlets on the brow and chin.

Finally, the integrated spoiler aids in aerodynamics and acoustics.

Pros

  • Low noise levels
  • Good ventilation
  • Campatible with Senna comms system
  • Pinlock included
  • Very high quality
  • Cheek pad variations

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Lighter helmets available
  • No chin vents
  • Doesn’t come with the Sena comms system

5. Shoei NXR (RF-1200 Outside EU) – Full-Face, Approx. £345

We’re big fans of this helmet because it’s the no-frills version of the more expensive helmets in Shoei’s range.

But the cheaper price doesn’t take away from its quality, and it’s still one our quietest motorcycle helmets.

Its compact shell design and build mean the NXR is lightweight whilst maintaining structural strength. And its noise reduction technology is highly effective.

one of the quietest motorcycle helmets by shoei
The NXR is one of the quietest motorcycle helmets available at an affordable price (Image via Shoei)

Unlike its bigger siblings, the NXR doesn’t come ready to install comms systems. But it does come with a great fit and a variety of cheek pad options to personalise comfort and reduce wind noise.

We also really like the venting system, which has 4 inlets on the brow, and 6 outlets at the rear.

The integrated spoiler at the rear improves the dynamics of the helmet. And in turn, it helps with wind noise, buffeting, and acoustic control.

Pros

  • Good price
  • All-round helmet
  • Excellent build
  • Lightweight (1,350g)
  • Very good ventilation
  • Optional ear pads to reduce ambient noise
  • Pinlock included

Cons

  • Not comms ready
  • Quiet, but better helmets available for noise reduction
  • No drop-down visor

6. HJC R-PHA 70 – Full-Face, Approx. £300

The R-PHA 70 is a mid-range, sports touring all-rounder. It’s slightly heavier than its Shoei rival (the NXR) coming in at 1,485g.

But it’s still lighter than many others on the market at this price point thanks to its carbon and carbon-glass hybrid fabric shell.

The main reason for its lightweight properties is that this HJC is based on previous racing helmets.

Moreover, the racing properties carried over don’t just keep it lightweight. They also affect the aerodynamics and noise-reducing features.

budget options by hjc make for some of the quietest motorcycle helmets
The HJC makes it into the list of quietest motorcycle helmets (Image via HJC)

Is it the quietest helmet we’ve ever worn?

No, it isn’t. But for a full-face helmet, it’s quieter than many of its similarly-priced competitors.

Despite not being up there with the Schuberth’s of the world, this lid is still pretty quiet on a range of bikes, and in a range of riding conditions.

The large cheek pads do an excellent job of preventing wind from ricocheting through the gaps.

On the whole, this is a mid-ranged helmet that is quiet, light, and well ventilated. It deserves its place on our list of quietest motorcycle helmets.

Pros

  • Decent noise protection
  • Price
  • Very lightweight
  • Great all-rounder
  • Comfortable
  • Good ventilation
  • Skipfrog anti-fog included

Cons

  • Other helmets on this list have better noise protection
  • Front vent slider is small and difficult to find with gloves
  • No integrated comms

7. Shark Evo ONE 2 – Modular, Approx £220 – £300

We were fans of the original Shark Evo ONE, so it’s no surprise to see further improvements on the Evo ONE 2.

Noise-reducing designs are prevalent on the new design thanks to virtual simulations. As with the Schuberth’s above, the Evo ONE 2 has been designed with stability and noise reduction at its core.

Even the breath guard on this helmet is removable, retractable, noise-absorbant, and magnetised. As a result, it’s one of the quietest motorcycle helmets in its price bracket.

shark modular - quietest motorcycle helmets
This revolutionary design by Shark ensures it’s one of the quietest motorcycle helmets on the market (Image via SportsBikeShop)

To improve noise isolation radiating from the rear vent, Shark has incorporated a clever lower lip joint which increases airflow and quietens noise.

Furthermore, the chin guard locking system is optimised for improved ergonomics, flexibility, and prevention of wind whistling through the joint.

The Evo ONE 2 doesn’t come with an integrated comms unit. However, it comes with allocated cutouts in the padding to accommodate the Sharktooth Bluetooth system.

Additionally, Shark has designed the helmet to provide better comfort for those wearing glasses. And it also comes with a Pinlock Maxivision included.

Pros

  • Price
  • Excellent noise isolation
  • Unique modular design
  • Auto-Up system
  • Includes Pinlock

Cons

  • Lighter helmets are available
  • No integrated comms unit
  • Visor removal is fiddly
  • Some people struggle to close with one hand

8. Arai Tour X4 – Full-Face, Approx. £450

The first thing we noticed about the new Tour X4 is the improved wind flow and noise reduction. The neck roll combined with the flattened bottom edge does a great job of keeping out the wind.

Being an adventure-inspired lid, we loved all the strategically placed vents to keep you cool on the trails.

But we feared this could lead to heightened wind noise.

We needn’t have worried as the helmet stayed quiet even with the vents open.

Arai produce some of the quietest motorcycle helmets
Despite the vents and adventure styling, this Arai makes it onto our list of quietest motorcycle helmets (image via DriveTribe)

The removable visor is great for swapping out for goggles. But probably not great for keeping out the noise! If you want a quieter experience, keep the visor on.

That said, the peak is a great addition for blocking out the glare as the sun sets in mid-July.

On the whole, this helmet is strong, durable, well-made, and weighs in at 1,710g.

The peripheral vision is great thanks to its wide field of view. And the removable cheek pads go a long way to personalising fit and reducing noise.

Are Arai helmets quiet? On the whole, yes. And this one is no different!

Pros

  • Great design
  • Low noise considering the design
  • Removeable peak and visor
  • Field of vision
  • Good build quality
  • Looks good
  • Pinlock included

Cons

  • Lighter helmets are available
  • Quite expensive
  • No dedicated area for comms
  • Quieter helmets available

9. Bell Qualifier DLX – Full-Face, Approx. £120

The Bell Qualifier DLX is our favourite helmet on a budget.

Overall, it’s lightweight, comes with a transitions adaptive visor as standard, and has good noise protective features.

From the off, it was evident that the padded wind collar did a good job of reducing road and wind noise.

Bell Qualifier - quietest motorcycle helmets on a budget
The Bell Qualifier makes it onto our list of quietest motorcycle helmets in a budget range (image via Bell)

And we felt the aerodynamic profile prevented wind buffeting and lift whilst riding.

The transitions adaptive visor on this helmet is not available on any of the other helmets on this list. And it also comes with integrated speaker pockets and accommodates the Bell Sena SMH10 comms unit.

As a package, this is an excellent budget helmet that provides good noise protection and a lot of features for the money.

Pros

  • Price
  • Great noise protection
  • Transitions adaptive visor
  • Speaker pockets
  • Lightweight
  • Accomodates comms

Cons

  • Lighter helmets available
  • Better noise protection available
  • Old technology

Are Modular Helmets Noisy?

You’d think so, wouldn’t you?

But modular helmets offer better noise protection than full-face lids. And they generally make for the quietest motorcycle helmets.

The head hole on a full-face helmet has to be large enough for you to fit your head through. And once it’s on, it leaves a large, gaping hole underneath your chin where wind and noise can make their way up.

With a modular helmet, the helmet has to be put on with the chin section in the upward position.

This means that once it’s closed, the chin section can wrap further under your chin. And this in turn reduces wind noise and draft.

In our opinion, the quietest modular helmet in 2020 came in the form of the Schuberth C3 Pro. For 2021, our opinion would be the same.

As mentioned above, if you are looking for the quietest modular helmet in 2021, we would go for either the C3 Pro or the C4 Pro Carbon.

Scorpion modular - quietest motorcycle helmets
Modular helmets generally make the most quietest motorcycle helmets (image via Scorpion)

Quietest Motorcycle Helmet Under $200 (£145)

It’s all well and good suggesting helmets that cost £500 and above. You would sort of expect them to provide everything you would ever need at that price.

But what about if you’re a new rider? Or what if you’re simply on a budget?

We figured that most people on a budget would consider somewhere around $200 to be a reasonable price for a do-it-all helmet.

In this price range, the Bell Qualifier DLX offers some unique features whilst being lightweight and protecting you from unwanted noise.

Sure, the technology is a little old now. But the transitions adaptive visor has always been a crowd-pleaser. And for the price, we’re struggling to find a better one.

If you’re looking for the quietest motorcycle helmets on a budget, you can’t go far wrong with this one from Bell.

bell helmets - quietest motorcycle helmets on a budget
This helmet by Bell proves that budget lids can also be some of the quietest motorcycle helmets (image via Bell)

How To Make A Motorcycle Helmet Quieter

If you’re not in a position to spend a fortune on a super-duper helmet (or you already own one that you’re not ready to part with) there are plenty of things you can do to make your riding experience quieter.

Try some of these suggestions:

Good Screens Accompany The Quietest Motorcycle Helmets

People get themselves into all sorts of trouble when they start messing with screens!

Yes, there are aftermarket screens for pretty much every bike known to humankind.

But hardly any of them have had the time, money, and resources thrown at them than the ones developed by manufacturers.

If your bike came with a screen from the manufacturer, then you’re usually best off sticking with it. Pair this with one of the quietest motorcycle helmets above for great results.

If you ride a naked bike, chances are you won’t be doing much touring on it anyway.

But if you do ride long distances on a naked (or any bike without a screen), a modular helmet in combination with a thick neck roll or windjammer will serve you well.

suzuki v-strom screen in combination with quietest motorcycle helmets
A decent screen can turn noisy lids into the quietest motorcycle helmets (image via Padgetts Motorcycles)

The Quietest Motorcycle Helmets Still Need Earplugs

Regardless of how quiet your helmet may be (including the ones above), it’s still highly recommended that you wear earplugs.

Earplugs are the only surefire way to reduce noise damage.

Pair your helmet with some earplugs and do your ears a favour!

There are all sorts of plugs available these days; from disposable to fitted, and even ones that are custom made.

For more information on earplugs and the types available, check out our dedicated post here: A Guide To Motorcycle Earplugs: Protecting Your Lugs!

earplugs worn in combination with the quietest motorcycle helmets
Even if you own one of the quietest motorcycle helmets, earplugs are still recommended

The Quietest Motorcycle Helmets Fit Well

It doesn’t matter how quiet your helmet is if it’s too big.

The smaller the gaps, the less chance you have of wind getting in them and rattling around inside.

Not only this but once the wind gets inside, it starts pulling your head this way and that as it tries to escape.

As it tries to dislodge your head from your shoulders, your neck will take the strain and you’ll up in some serious pain.

Moreover, helmets that are too large won’t protect you in a crash either. The quietest motorcycle helmets are the ones that fit well.

Always, always, ALWAYS try your perspective helmet on in a store before you buy.

Most people try helmets on in-store, and then buy them online for a cheaper price when they get home.

correct fitting helmets makes for the quietest motorcycle helmets
Well-fitted helmets make for the quietest motorcycle helmets. (Image: Razvan Mirel)

Get Yourself A Windjammer

We’re big fans of the Proline Windjammer 2 here at Motorcycle Tourer HQ.

If you’re unfamiliar with what a windjammer is, it’s a piece of technical material that acts as a draught excluder for your helmet.

Once fitted, it stops a whole lot of wind (and noise) from entering your helmet and damaging your ears.

It also prevents pulling on your neck.

After earplugs, we find a windjammer is the best thing for reducing wind noise and riding-related fatigue.

Oh, and if you’re into making videos or vlogging, a windjammer helps a lot with your audio, too! Especially if you’re already wearing one the quietest motorcycle helmets to begin with.

windjammers worn in combination with the quietest motorcycle helmets
Windjammers can make ordinary helmets into the quietest motorcycle helmets

Quietest Motorcycle Helmets: Conclusion

Riding a motorcycle is loud. Even though you might not think it at the time.

Because it isn’t just the noise coming from your bike.

It’s your bike in combination with the wind, and other environmental factors along the way.

Prolonged exposure to this noise damages your ears – there’s no doubt about it.

And the worst bit?

It’s irreversible.

As yet, hearing damage is irreversible. Once it’s happened, it cannot be undone.

As I said at the top of this post, I love the sound of my Africa Twin. But in a few years when the bike is long gone, I don’t want to be suffering from the damage it did to my ears.

And neither do you.

Get a noise-reducing helmet and some earplugs. That’s all you need.

Want more on helmets? Then you might enjoy these posts:

Title image via The Bike Insurer

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