Best Cafe Racer Helmet in 2023 (Reviews and Comparison)

by Alex Meyer

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Did you know motorcycle helmets are not mandatory across the United States? In fact, some states require them, but not all do. 

When you’re riding, you not only want to ensure your head is protected, you also want to ensure that as you’re traveling the country, you’re abiding by the state laws when it comes to helmets.  

Adorning a hat that doesn’t keep you safe is risky but a risk many are willing to take. Not everyone wears a helmet for safety reasons. 

Some just like how it makes them look, or they like the look of the helmet. Today, we’re looking at the best cafe race helmets, their highlights and features, and their overall safety.

Comparison CHART


Shark HE3306DGMAL Unisex-Adult Full Face Helmet (Matte Green, L - 59-60 cm - 23.2-23.6'')

Shark Raw
  • Microfiber padding
  • Lightweight construction

ScorpionExo Belfast 3/4 Open Face Helmet (Matte Black, X-Large)

Scorpion EXO Belfast
  • Genuine leather lining with hand stitching
  • Internal SpeedView sun visor

Scorpion Covert Helmet - EVO (Large) (Titanium)

Scorpion Exo-Combat Evo
  • Ideal for almost any terrain.
  • Impeccable design and style.

Biltwell Gringo Full Face Helmet (Gloss Black, Large)

Biltwell Gringo
  • Vintage design
  • Rugged thermoplastic shell

Biltwell Unisex-Adult Full face Lane Splitter Helmet (Flat Black, Large)

Biltwell Lanesplitter
  • Sturdy construction.
  • Competitive price point

AGV 20001154I000210 Legends X3000 Black Helmet (Black, X-Large)

AGV X3000
  • It flows lots of air
  • It’s aerodynamically designed in a way that reduces

BELL Eliminator Street Helmet - Gloss Black - Medium

BELL Eliminator Street Helmet
  • Cool two-tone styling Excellent ventilation
  • Comfortable fit Good style options

NEXX X.G100 Record Black Grey Gold Motorcycle Helmet (S)

Nexx XG 100 Motorcycle Helmet
  • Comfortable, removable, hypoallergenic liner
  • Smooth and lightweight

BELL Custom 500 Helmet (Matte Black - Medium)

Bell Custom 500
  • ¾ coverage helmet comes in many sizes
  • Detachable sun visor

1 Shark Raw

Is it something from another time? No, it’s the cool and sleek Shark Raw helmet.  

Shark Raw has a helmet that not only gives that futuristic vibe but has a reputation for quality. All of their helmets are top-notch, and this one’s no different. 

This helmet comes highly rated.

Highlights and Features

The front has a unique shape and is made up of anti-fog goggles. Total cool design that gets you noticed instantly. 

Some of the features include a “bite zone” above the eyes, small cutouts on the sides to allow air to flow through, and a light insert in the visor with adjustable pads, which improves overall visibility. For the most part, the ride is quiet around town. 

But once on the highway, the noise leaks in. EPS offers some relief that overall, makes it a quieter experience than most helmets. 

The EVA foam liner also offers a little relief from the heat. But expect sweat and moisture on really hot days.

Negative Feedback

It’s recommended to order a helmet slightly larger than your head size, as the size feels a lot smaller when wearing it. 

Overall Safety

Although considered an open-face helmet, the Shark Raw meets all DOT and ECE requirements. It meets all the minimum requirements and is safe to wear. 

The internal liner features a mesh design that also protects the neck.

2 Scorpion EXO Belfast

Scorpion EXO Belfast

The Belfast Helmet is a cross between classy and cool. If you remember the days of the cool Fonz in the black leather jacket, yeah, that's how Belfast makes you feel.

This handsome open-face helmet stands well against its competitors.

Highlights and Features

The hand-laid, multilayered, fiberglass outer shell on this helmet comes in four colors: Matte black, candy red, pearl white and metallic blue denim. The inside is just as nice with hand-stitched, genuine leather accents and a napa leather lining. 

This is made for comfortability. The foam lining covers nearly your entire head and cradles it like a memory foam pillow.

Great visibility is what you get with Belfast. The three-quarter, open-face is a great feature for the helmet, and it allows the rider to have good peripheral vision. 

An internal SpeedView sun visor is an added feature that you don’t see in most helmets. It also provides padding along the bottom back that protects the spine. 

Negative Feedback

There's little ventilation in the fiberglass shell, so heat and moisture will build up under the foam padding. Cleaning this helmet may be a challenge due to the foam. 

Part of the lining can be removed to clean it, but it is still difficult to clean through the foam. While the snug fit of the helmet and lining keeps noise out, the foam padding doesn’t insulate well, so you still get quite a bit of noise. 

Overall Safety

As for certifications, Belfast seems to have only the bare minimum, the Department of Transportation certification. But don't let that fool you.

This is overall a safe helmet, although it has not been tested against other major standards. You genuinely feel safe with the extra head protection, and the padding is low enough to give additional protection to the back of the neck also.

Once you're strapped in, it's a secure snug fit thanks to the double D-ring chin strap. That gives the helmet the right amount of adjustment you need to ensure it isn't going anywhere.

3 Scorpion Exo-Combat Evo

Scorpion Exo-Combat Evo

The spectacular design of the Scorpion is one of the best on the market! This cool, open-face helmet with a plastic faceguard is good to look at. If the radical look is what you go for, this is the helmet for you. 

Highlights and Features

The shell is made of an advanced polycarbonate compound, with a premium build and excellent finish. The Scorpion not only looks cool but has some cool features — removable features come to match your bike and riding style. 

The helmet gives a full-face look but, it’s an open-face helmet with a removable faceguard. Strong magnetic strips keep the faceguard sturdy and in place. 

There’s also a removable neck roll for style and comfort. It converts the helmet from the half helmet to the full-face look. 

The antibacterial lining is removable making it easy to keep clean. The tented, detachable visor comes in two shades — clear and black smoke. 

The scorpion provides good ventilation in the heat. The open face allows for ventilation to come through when you remove the faceguard and push up the sun visor.

Negative Feedback

The overall comfort is a bit questionable. It has a snug fit that allows limited space for the ears, ensuring sure you have the right size is a must

There’s no space for audio devices or earphones. Also, the EPS-liner often shoves the padding into your ears, and that can make the entire riding experience uncomfortable. 

The sun visor has an opening tab on both sides. This can be a good thing however, the opening is not very big and can make visibility challenging. It can also make shoulder checks difficult.

The open face of the helmet means it’s easy to let air in, and with the air coming in through the vents at the top and bottom o the helmet, it can be a bit noisy.  Still, not as noisy as some helmets, but it has its moments. 

Overall Safety

This helmet is DOT approved but, it hasn’t been tested for ECE, SNELL, or SHARP. The open-face helmet is only made to protect against accidents, and the chin bar doesn’t protect against chin hits. 

The faceguard also offers no protection, it’s easily removable and plastic.

4 Biltwell Gringo

Biltwell Gringo

If you've ever wanted to take a step back into time, just put on the Biltwell Gringo, and you might feel like you are. The Gringo is sleek, it's practical, and it's safe. 

Everything you want in a helmet. Let's look a little closer at it.

Highlights and Features

This simplistic style consists of a single shape with two holes. The exterior is rugged and dependable.

The helmet is a bit rounder than most models, which means it will most likely fit the average Joe a little better than most. It'll fit almost any head with sizes ranging from XS to XXL.

The Gringo isn't just nice to look at, it also feels good. The padding is soft and plush against your head. 

Even at high speeds on a bumpy road, you'll feel the comfort. This helmet is customizable, as it has snaps that you can attach a sun visor to, which means you can swap it out whenever you want. 

Note that you will need to purchase your own visor. The padding is also convenient because it's removable, which makes it easy to wash.

Negative Feedback

While the helmet feels good to the head, the neck strap is a bit abrasive. Fair warning, this could be a problem on long rides. 

That is something you will want to adjust as appropriately to make your ride as comfortable as possible. Noise is also something you'll want to be wary of. 

With only one front opening and no vents, road noise is an issue. Not having a built-in sun visor doesn't help in this regard; it only makes it worse, as there's likely to be a lot of wind in your ears.

Overall Safety

Gringo has been certified and fully approved for the highway. It has the DOT certification and has been cleared for European roads and tested and rated by SNELL.

Between the ABS thermoplastic and the padding, you're pretty safe with this helmet. The D-ring strap adds a layer of snugness to help prevent slippage or shifting during your ride.

5 Biltwell Lanesplitter

Biltwell Lanesplitter

The Biltwell Lanesplitter is a cool, retro helmet with upgraded technology. It’s not just great to look at, but it’s great to wear. 

Lanesplitter is the next evolution in Biltwell’s redesign, a more modern look than their Gringo series.  Let’s learn more about its features and highlights.

Highlights and Features

Right off the bat, we can identify a lot of good features about this helmet. The oval shape conforms to the shape of most heads. 

This helmet is even a comfy fit for round heads. It’s available in multiple sizes from XS to XXL and is available in seven different colors. 

It’s a lightweight helmet, weighing just over 3 pounds, but the impact-absorbing outer cover and EPS inner shell are designed for long-term performance.  

The inner liner is removable and washable, and the cheek pads can be exchanged into different sizes. Being able to remove, adjust and replace interior linings and cheek pads guarantee a snug, conforming fit. 

Negative Feedback

If a fast, quiet ride is what you enjoy, you won’t find that with this helmet. The front ventilation lets in a lot of road noise. 

You’d have to be going under 65 mph, to lessen the noise volume, otherwise plant to have earplugs on during your ride. The ventilation system is okay, and ideal for dry summer days. 

But the triple vent chin bar is problematic. It lets air in, and the vents are good for anti-fogging and demisting, but there’s no way to close them during the cold weather.

Overall Safety

The Lanesplitter is DOT and ECE certified, passing the necessary safety standards. Although it has not been tested in the SNell or SHARP test, you can feel confident that this helmet will keep you safe.

6 AGV X3000

AGV X3000

Since 1924, AGV has been producing motorcycle helmets and has been a leader in the field. The X3000 series is no different. 

In 2018, the X3000 series hit the scene behind the AGV X-Scar. Let’s take a peek at their review.

Highlights and Features

The AGV X3000 helmet is Italian-made and constructed from one of the toughest materials out there — carbon fiber. The shell consists of two pieces (most helmets are constructed with one piece). 

The liner is comfortable, thick micro-suede material, and is machine washable. The X3000 is among the first helmets to use the Pinlock anti-fog system. 

This helps prevent fogging on the inside of the helmet. Overall, this helmet has a very comfortable feel. It’s light, secure, snuggly, and fits well around the ears. 

There’s even plenty of room for headsets. It blocks out sound excellently and has good ventilation.

Negative Feedback

It’s much harder coming up with something negative on this helmet. But here’s a little something - some might find it pricey, and the chin bar design may present a little too much exposure for some riders.

Overall Safety

The best part about the X3000 is that it is safe to use on the roads. It is DOT certified and fully ECE compliant. 

These are the only two that are necessary. The X3000 is not SNELL certified and doesn’t have to be. SNELL certification is mainly for racing and track helmets. 

The X3000 is not made for either of those. Also, it doesn’t have to be SHARP certified because the certification is not a U.S. standard. 

SHARP is a British government-led effort to enhance helmet safety.

7 BELL Eliminator 

BELL Eliminator Street Helmet

This is not a new name on the scene. The Bell eliminator has been around for decades. Its oval-shaped fiberglass composite shell features a broad chin bar, a wide viewport, and comes in three sizes. 

Let’s look more at its highlights and features.

Highlights and Features

The Eliminator comes in three sizes, from XS to 3XL, and the EPS removable liner is available in those same sizes. The liner is comfortable, breathes well, and the cheek pads can be switched out for more of a custom fit. 

The helmet is also well ventilated. Air comes in from the small vents on the chin bar as well as through the nine metal-reinforced holes on the helmet’s crown. 

From there, the holes go through the shell and EPs and deliver the air directly to your head for a welcome cooling. The helmet has an anti-fog insert. 

This provides a wide, clear field of vision with little to no distortion. And if you happen to need another set of eyes when you’re riding, The Eliminator has shallow cutouts in the EPS liner to make it easy to get your frames on and off. 

The visor also snaps down to keep the wind and rain out of your face. 

Negative Feedback

As easy as it is for air to get to your head for cooling, it’s as equally easy for other things to like rain, bugs, and grit to also get to your head. If you love noise, this is the helmet for you. Once you get above 50 mph, the wind is extremely noisy. 

Overall Safety

The Eliminator is DOT and ECE certified, meaning it’s safe to use on the roads.

8 Nexx XG 100 

If style and comfort are important to you when you ride, you’ll want to hear the review for the Nexx XG100 helmet. We’ll cover all of that and more that this 70s look helmet has to offer in this review.

Highlights and Features

The XG100 screams cool with its retro style. It stands out from most hats today, and the dome-shaped head is a plus. The shell is made from composite fiberglass and weighs a light 2.8 pounds. 

This makes it easy to carry around, in your hand and on your head. It has a removable liner that does a pretty good job of keeping you cool. 

The liner creates a comfortable wearing experience. It fits comfortably on your head and rests well there. 

This helmet comes in different design patterns, from matte black and white to different graphic packages. Most riders report a quiet riding experience. 

It offers a quiet ride since it only has one ventilation slit. And the snug fit around the ears helps keep sound out. Now, here’s to that technology mentioned earlier. 

The liner has a wicking technology that keeps the sweat from building up and causing the helmet to slide off. It also features air channels in the liner. 

These create an airflow to keep temperatures from getting too unbearable. 

Negative Feedback

Although the XG100 has a good seal on the built-in face shield, some users report limited peripheral vision. Unfortunately, with only one ventilation slot located in the middle of the chin guard, there’s no way to cool your head on an extremely hot day. 

The wicking technology tries to compensate for that … a little.

Overall Safety

Given the XG100 is certified by ECE and DOT, it is safe to have on the roads. You can also trust the locking system, meaning that the helmet will slide around while you’re riding.

9 Bell Custom 500

Bell Custom 500

The Bell Custom 500 is a no-nonsense helmet that's popular with many. It's a new take on an iconic helmet that has many heads turning.

Let's learn more about this iconic helmet.

Highlights and Features

The shape and style of this timeless creation have won the hearts of many. The outer shell is made of highly durable fiberglass.

The interior padding is a custom fit. The finishes aren't all that bad either. The finish is durable and is said to not show any ugly scratches or signs of fading for years to come.

This helmet is designed with the rider in mind. Your field of vision is unrestricted due to the lack of a face shield and chin bar.

Since the helmet is only three-quarters in size, there are no air vents. That can be a problem when it's hot. But when you want a nice quiet ride, it works out well since there are no air vents to generate noise.

Negative Feedback

One of the biggest drawbacks is that there are no vent ports on the helmet. Also, a lack of a chin bar does not sit well with many.

You would also need to purchase any add-ons like goggles, sunglasses or a face protector to protect against the weather.

Overall Safety

The Bell Custom 500 is certified for use in all 50 states and Europe and has all of the safety certifications except for a SHARP score. Despite the certifications, there are concerns about not having a chin bar to protect against crashes.

Although laws differ by state, one thing you want to be sure of — that your helmet is at least meeting the minimum standards. In addition, it’s good to know some cool stuff about the helmet you’re sporting as well.