<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1428396443888464&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

RIDE Adventures Blog

8 Best Adventure Motorcycle Helmets: Unbiased with Pros and Cons

Posted by Kurt Spurlock on February 27, 2024
Kurt Spurlock
Kurt Spurlock is a writer for the motorcycle and outdoor industries with 15 years of experience in the saddle. When it comes to adventure bikes, he’s all about keeping it fast and light, and has taken his “street legal” DR650 just about everywhere from Big Sur to the Smokey Mountains.

Eric pointing at what he thinks are the best adventure motorcycle helmets.Disclosure: RIDE Adventures is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program as well as other affiliate programs, designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon and affiliated sites at no extra cost to you. Please see our Disclosure for more details.

You've got plenty of choices for an adventure motorcycle helmet in 2024... but what really makes a helmet worth your hard-earned money?

Quick List of Adventure Motorcycle Helmets

Helmet: Summary: Price:
Arai XD4 arai-xd-4


The helmet that started it all. Arai's premium handlaid shell gives a premium look, fit, and feel. An excellent combination of on and off-road manners. CHECK PRICE
Klim Krios Pro klim_krios_pro


Super lightweight carbon fiber shell with even better ventilation than the original Krios. Includes premium perks like a Fidlock buckle and Koroyd impact protection. CHECK PRICE
Shoei Hornet X2 shoei-hornet-x2-white


Eric's helmet of choice. Stable and quiet at speed while still offering excellent offroad manners and a premium handlaid shell.  CHECK PRICE
AGV AX9 Carbonagv-ax9-dual-sport-helmet


The lightest carbon helmet we've tested to date. Excellent ventilation for offroad work with a large, goggle-friendly eyeport. Great aerodynamics.  CHECK PRICE
Klim Krios KarbonKlim Krios Karbon Adventure Helmet product shot.


Klim's original carbon fiber masterpiece. Lacks some of the refinement of the Pro model, but delivers a superlight feel for less cash. CHECK PRICE
Scorpion XT9000 scorpion-xt9000-adventure-motorcycle-helmet


A full 3K carbon shell at a fraction of the price. A value leader for a premium lid that includes two shields and a pinlock insert for the money.  CHECK PRICE
Bell MX9 ADV Mips bell-mx9-adventure-mips


A dirt-cheap adventure lid that delivers unrivaled bang for your buck. Not the quietest, but impressively lightweight and well ventilated.  CHECK PRICE
Scorpion EXO AT960 scorpion-exo-at950


The best option out there if modular helmets are your bag. Another excellent budget-friendly option that's oozing with added features and creature comforts.  CHECK PRICE


What Makes A Good Adventure Motorcycle Helmet?

About 20 years ago, Arai invented the adventure motorcycle helmet when they dropped their original XD model to a... lukewarm... reception. 

The public didn’t really know what to make of it. 

Some folks took it as a “supermoto” helmet thanks to its dirt-meets-street styling. A few testers even tried using it on the track with less than encouraging results. 

That was back in 2003. Lucky for us, Arai knew they were on to something, and stuck to their guns, introducing an improved XD2 in 2005. The helmet started popping up in ADV forums more and more, and slowly but surely the style began growing alongside the dual sport segment in general.

Garrett giving a thumbs up while riding down the highway.

By the time the XD3 was introduced in 2008, the adventure motorcycle craze was well underway, and every major helmet manufacturer in the market had an ADV lid in the works. Arai’s current XD4 is still one of the best adventure helmets on the market, and many consider it the benchmark in the industry. 

In the article below we take a look at what makes an adventure motorcycle helmet like the XD4 “good”, and see how well the more budget-friendly helmets in the market today compare to Arai’s gold standard. 

New call-to-action

Our Take On Adventure Motorcycle Helmets

When the original Arai XD was released, a few key features made it unique. Most notable was the fact it’s shell was shaped like a motocross helmet.

What I mean by that is the XD had an extended chin bar, a massive eyeport, and a sizable sun/dirt/roost peak jutting out the front. We consider all of those things essential to a good adventure motorcycle helmet. 

In addition to the overall form of the helmet, there are a few other features that we consider must-haves to sit at the ADV table: 

  • Compatible with goggles (preferably with the shield up or down)
  • Flow enough air for comfortable off-road use
  • Good enough aerodynamics for highway speeds
  • Significantly quieter at highway speed than a motocross helmet

Generally speaking, any adventure motorcycle helmet is going to be a tradeoff between touring and off-road features. 

Even some of the quietest ADV helmets out there like Shoei’s Hornet X2 simply don’t compare to the sarcophagus-level quiet of touring helmets like the RF-1200.

Free Motorcycle Trip Kit

Still, we prefer helmets in this segment to be reasonably quiet (earplugs should be optional, not mandatory) on the tarmac without sacrificing too much ventilation for sweaty off-road shenanigans. 

The choice of whether or not to wear goggles is often debated, but anytime you’re riding through areas that are: (a) hot, and (b) dusty, you’ll wish you could ride visorless without sandblasting your retinas in the process. 

Row of ADV riders cheering while on our Baja tour.We do a fair amount of desert riding like this on our “Baja On Down” tour, and can’t recommend goggles enough out there.

Assuming all that sounds reasonable to you, here are some of our favorite helmets that check all those boxes.

Our Favorite Adventure Motorcycle Helmets of 2024

Although the ADV helmet market has blown up over the past decade, it’s still a relatively small offering compared to segments like touring or racing helmets.

For the list below we included both budget picks and premium offerings, but weeded out lids that are both cheap and cheaply made. 

*(helmet number order is random)

#1  Arai XD4

As we said above, Arai effectively invented the adventure motorcycle helmet with their original XD model.

Now in its fourth iteration, the XD4 is widely considered the helmet to beat in this segment. 

It does everything well, has the most well thought out padding system in the industry, and packs a ton of premium safety and comfort features. 

Ventilation has been further improved over the previous model with added or enlarged ports at the chin, upper exhaust, and side cowl areas.  

Motorcycle Trip Kit

Safety in this helmet is exactly what you’d expect from Arai, and includes their handmade superfiber shell, integrated zylon mesh fabric, and a multi-density EPS liner that saves weight without sacrificing structural integrity.

It isn’t quite as quiet as the Shoei on the highway, but it does flow air better in off-road situations, and weighs about 200 grams less. 

They’re both great helmets, so if you’re torn between the two I recommend choosing based on your preference for on-road versus off-road comfort.


  • All day comfortable on and off road
  • SNELL rated, tons of safety features
  • Super simple visor adjustment
  • Vented face shield
  • Adjustable liner guarantees perfect fit



  • Premium features = premium price
  • Little louder than the Shoei

Arai XD4 adventure motorcycle helmet close up product shot.


Arai XD4


#2  Klim Krios Pro

Klim heard the prayers of the adventure motorcycle community and launched the upgraded Krios Pro helmet in 2019. 

They kept all the features riders loved, fixed all the things they didn’t, and added some serious technology to boot. The superlight carbon fiber shell is still there, for instance, as are aerodynamic (and removable) peak and goggle-friendly shield.

New call-to-action

The chinbar vent got a much-needed update, which resolved the achilles heel of the original Krios. Klim also incorporated Koroyd impact protection into the Pro model. That’s a big deal. 

If you’re not familiar with the folks at Koroyd, they’ve developed an impact absorbing material made from heat-welded hollow tubes (you may have seen their bright-green honeycombs peeking out from select motocross or mountain bike helmets) that outperforms traditional EPS foam protection. 

The Pro also has magnetic Fidlock helmet straps, which allow you to take your helmet on and off with gloves without fumbling with any D-rings. 

Garrett riding with the Kim Krios Pro while on CABDR."Garrett our team rider, ripping CABDR with his helmet of choice the Klim Krios Pro"

Aaaaaaand Klim threw in a Transition shield for the money, which seriously sweetens the deal considering it’s a $150 upgrade on the original Krios adventure motorcycle helmet. 

Some folks that do a lot of transitioning in and out of dense woods don’t care for the Transitions system, but Klim includes a regular clear visor in the box with the Krios Pro as well, so those folks can just go ahead and keep it to themselves.

Still, if you’re not a Transitions fan, you might have a harder time justifying the extra cost of the Pro model. 


  • Vastly improved ventilation
  • Upgraded safety features
  • Fidlock system is SO SWEET
  • Koroyd impact protection is top-shelf
  • Still one of the lightest helmets to ever do it


  • $200 more than the original Krios
  • $100 more than the Arai
  • Transition visor isn’t added value for everyone



Klim Krios Pro

SHOP RIDE ADVENTURES Online Store Button Image


#3  Shoei Hornet X2

If you’ve been following our Youtube channel, you know we’re huge fans of Shoei’s latest version of their flagship adventure motorcycle helmet, the Hornet X2. 

They’ve got their fitment down to a science (they offer four different shell sizes), their detachable peak feels non-existent even at highway speeds, and Shoei has also managed to make one of the quietest dual-sport style helmets on the market. 

Eric sporting the Hornet X2 helmet while tour guiding in Patagonia."Eric the founder of RIDE, tour guiding Patagonia equipped with his helmet of choice the Shoei Hornet X2"

The visor works seamlessly with goggles and there’s no drama opening or closing it with them on. It also provides a huge field of vision and is “optically correct” meaning there’s little to no visual distortion along the bottom of the shield. 

We don’t have any serious complaints about the Hornet if I’m telling the truth. If I had to pick at something it would be the overall weight of the helmet, which is a full nine ounces heavier than the Klim helmets on our list. 

motorcycle trip packing banner

The large vents along the helmet peak also allow a decent amount of sunlight through, which can create dark spots on your shield if you opt for the Transitions lens.

Like that sticker wrap and RIDE Adventures design that you see on Eric's helmet in most of our videos and the photo above? Check out the custom graphics installations being done by Ryan Abbatoye Designs out of California.


  • Super quiet at any speed
  • Best highway manners on our list
  • Sufficient ventilation for off-roading 
  • SNELL & DOT safety certifications



  • Heavier helmet, nearly 4lbs
  • Peak vents make dark spots if you use a Transitions lense
  • Doesn’t vent as well as Arai


Shoei Hornet X2 adv motorcycle helmet product shot.


Shoei Hornet X2

SHOP RIDE ADVENTURES Online Store Button Image


#4  AGV AX9 Carbon

While Shoei and Arai may get the lion's share the of the "premium brand" love, the Italians aren't to be outdone when it comes to luxury goods. We've been wearing AGV's flagship adventure motorcycle helmet, the AX9 Carbon, for the last year and some change, and we're convinced it belongs on every riders short list of all-terrain helmets. 

We love the AGV for it's full-carbon construction, which tips the scales at a scant 3.3lbs, undercutting even the sprightly Klim Krios Pro when it comes to weight savings. We also appreciate that despite the AX9's fatigue-fighting carbon layup, it's a surprisingly quiet lid at highway speed, a feat made that much more miraculous considering how large it's sun peak is compared to most ADV helmets. 

Free Motorcycle Trip Kit

Speaking of the peak, another place the AGV AX9 Carbon has surprised us is its above average aerodynamic performance. We've found the peak flies true with minimal buffeting at speeds up to 80 mph, which means we rarely (if ever) even considering taking the time to pull it off before hitting the road. 

We've worn the AX9 everywhere from the streets of Spain to the mountains of Chile, and if you're into a goggle-friendly adventure lid with style and quality in equal measure, it's a great option. In fact our only real issue with the AX9 is its asking price, although we'll also note that the space between the eyeport and the visor can make squeezing larger goggles into position a hassle. 


  • Light yet quiet
  • Pinlock setup included
  • Goggle friendly
  • Outstanding ventilation


  • Expensive
  • Visor can get the way of larger goggles

Close up of AGV AX9 Adventure Motorcycle helmet.


AGV AX9 Carbon

SHOP RIDE ADVENTURES Online Store Button Image


#5  Klim Krios Carbon

Klim’s Krios helmet was a huge step forward for adventure motorcycle helmets when it dropped in 2016.

It had a host of premium features like a hand-laid carbon fiber shell, a goggle-friendly visor system, and a peak that didn’t drag at highway speeds. 

Tyler riding through a puddle in Baja while wearing the Krios Karbon helmet.

"One of the tour guides riding through some water on our Baja tour while sporting the Karbon helmet"

Weighing in at just 3.4 lbs, it was also one of the lightest helmets ever made, and hands-down the lightest adventure helmet you could buy. 

The original Krios was almost perfect, save for one glaring detail: The ventilation just wasn’t on par with other helmets in the segment like Arai’s XD series. 

Motorcycle Trip Checklist

The main culprit was found to be the chin bar vent, who’s massive intake vents shot air straight under the rider’s eyelids because it had no other path to travel.

Still, at about $100-$200 less than other “premium” adventure motorcycle helmets out there, this is a fantastic lid with premium features that punch way above the asking price.


  • Low weight = minimal fatigue
  • All day comfortable on or off road
  • Visor design is perfect for use with goggle



  • Doesn’t vent as much air as we’d like
  • Would like to see a few more safety features

Klim Krios Adventure Motorcycle Helmet product shot.👇CHECK PRICE👇

Klim Krios



#6  Scorpion XT9000

As a general rule of thumb, the words "affordable" and "carbon fiber" aren't to be used in the same sentence. The folks at Scorpion are looking the change all that with their new XT9000 adventure motorcycle helmet, which sports a full 3K carbon shell for just $500. 

3 adventure riders offroad high up in the mountains of Colombia.

Now we know that $500 won't be everyone's idea of a budget-friendly helmet, but if lightness is what you're after, there's no better bang for your buck out there. Even in a size large, the XT9000 tips the scales at a scant 3.6lbs, which is damn close to featherweights like the Klim and AGV above, and a cut above true "budget" carbon lids that typically aren't worth owning in the first place. 

In addition to its low weight, we also love that the XT9000 sports Scorpion's typical above-average fit and finish, so despite the low asking price, no part of the XT9000 feels cheap. The XT also includes the unique advantage of including an integrated action cam mount and chin plate accessory, so if you like to film while you ride, you'll find additional value there.  

Join us in Baja CTA

Other highlights include two pinlock-ready face shields in every box (smoke and clear) as well as an actual pinlock insert, so you won't need to spend extra for dead-reliable fog protection. The XT9000 also borrows the unique  "air-fit" system borrowed form the brand's flagship MotoGP lid,  all but guaranteeing a perfectly snug fit for the most head shapes. 


  • Three words: Affordable. Carbon. Fiber.
  • Two shields and a pinlock included
  • Sweet air-pump fit system


  • Still a $500 lid
  • Graphics cost extra
  • Ventilation can struggle for aggressive offroad work

Close up of Scorpion XT9000 Adventure Motorcycle helmet.


Scorpion XT9000


#7  Bell MX-9 Adventure MIPS

Bell’s MX-9 Adventure helmet is the most popular “entry level” offering in the adventure motorcycle segment, and for good reason. 

At just 3.7 pounds, it’s lighter than everything on our list except the Klim Krios. 

It’s also the only helmet on our list using MIPS technology, which is a safety feature borrowed from the world of mountain biking. 

MIPS (or Multi-directional Impact Protection System if you’re in no hurry) is a sliding plastic plate between the comfort liner and EPS layer of a helmet that reduces the rotational forces of impacts. There’s a long scientific explanation you can dig into here, but the short explanation is it reduces the likelihood of brain injuries. 

New call-to-action

It’s also worth mentioning here that the MX-9 Adventure keeps getting less expensive every year despite its safety improvements and ongoing popularity.

The MX-9 Adventure also shares a good bit of its DNA with the popular MX-9 motocross helmet including its ludicrous amount of airflow.

Motocross-level ventilation is both a plus and a minus though, because some of the wide-open vents can’t be closed, which means you might feel a little moisture coming through them when riding in heavy rain. 


  • Ventilation works great
  • MIPS technology = safer helmet
  • Most helmet for the money in this segment



  • Peak starts catching air around 60 mph
  • Motocross ventilation = louder helmet

Bell MX-9 Advengture MIPS close up product shot.


Bell MX-9 Adventure MIPS



#8  Scorpion EXO-AT960 (Modular)

If you’re a fan of the Bell MX9 Adventure’s price but prefer a modular helmet with some touring comforts, Scorpion’s EXO-AT960 is a great helmet for the money. 

Modular systems have a huge fanbase, but options are severely limited in the adventure motorcycle helmet market.

The AT960 is pretty much the only choice out there for modular/adventure unless you’re looking to drop two or three-times as much money on a Schuberth E1. 

Ricardo at a viewpoint overlooking a mountainous town in Colombia.

"Ricardo our tour guide on our Colombia tours, taking a moment to enjoy the view"

Honestly though it’s a better helmet than the Schuberth for anyone planning on spending any real time off-road as it vents a good bit more air and weighs in at the same four pound mark. 

Four pounds puts it in the same weight range as the ultra-quiet Shoei, and while the Scorpion can’t quite compare to the Shoei in that regard, it’s much quieter than other adventure motorcycle helmets at this price point. 


  • Drop down internal sun visor included
  • Quiet on the highway
  • Easy to use modular system if you’re into that
  • 5 year warranty!
  • BEST bang for your buck if you're on a budget


  • Less ventilation than the other helmets on our list
  • Can’t close the shield while wearing goggles.

Scorpion EXO-AT950 adv motorcycle helmet close up product shot.


Scorpion EXO-AT960


Our Final Thoughts On What Makes A Good Adventure Motorcycle Helmet…

Ultimately, we feel the same way about helmets that we do about any other piece of adventure motorcycle gear: Safety is the priority, creature comforts are secondary. 

But that’s good news for helmet shoppers because you actually don’t have to spend a ton of money to have a great ADV helmet with serious safety baked in. 

New call-to-action

I’m a huge fan of the Bell MX-9 Adventure, for instance, but I’m also willing to put up with some road noise to save a couple hundred bucks. 

Helmets like the Arai and Shoei are 100% quieter with the visor down, and if that’s important to you, you should spend the money on it. After all, you’ll be spending a lot of time inside your helmet on tours like our seventeen-day epic through Southern Peru. Had to fit in one more shameless plug since we live off tips from tours after all ;) 

You really can’t go wrong with any helmet on this list. If your current helmet situation is less than confidence-inspiring, pick one up before your next ride and drop us a comment to let us know what you think.

Read More→ Shoei Hornet X2 Review: The Best Dual Sport Helmet Yet? and Klim Krios Pro Helmet: Long Term Owner Review


New Call-to-actionNew call-to-action

Start Your Reservation Process Now.
Contact Us!