Fake Motorcycle Helmets

As many of us know, there has been a sharp rise in fake helmets on the market recently and it’s becoming harder and harder to tell what’s real and what’s not.

Photo from ITV News UK

We’ve all been there, bored on a quiet day in work or sat at home with nothing to do, so naturally we head online to browse what’s available. I often end up looking at new gear, helmets, jackets, gloves, even if I don’t need anything new.

Then we stumble across a bargain, I repeatedly end up seeing deals on big brands such as AGV, Arai and Shoei helmets, often prices that seem too good to be true

-If it looks too good to be true, it usually is!

So with this in mind, I decided to look further into this growing industry of fake motorcycle helmets

Safety Ratings and meanings

A lot of more experienced riders will be familiar with what to look for, with many believing it has to have a Gold ACU sticker to be classed as roadworthy.

An ACU Sticker on your helmet is actually the requirement for use on a track in the UK- the gold sticker means that they’re approved for racing.

Although this is commonly believed, the requirement for a helmet on UK roads is actually that is complied with BS6658:1985 and displays the BSI kitemark and is ECE 22.05 approved for sale in the EU. 

– You can read the official information on UK standards here..

A photo taken of my own helmet

I know this just seems like letters and numbers without meaning, but to achieve this, a helmet has to go through some stringent testing to ensure its safety, which then ensures your safety

-Well, the safety of your head..

How to spot a fake motorcycle helmet

I’ve compiled a bit of a list of what to look for in a helmet to make it a little easier when it comes to buying a new lid

Navigating the helmet industry can be a difficult task with there being so many makes, models and styles for sale, with this increasing day by day.

It’s always best to take a look online on a manufacturers website to ensure you’ve got the correct information and check it against the information available in the place or on the website you plan to buy from.

Photo taken from BBC News UK

Some things to look for may seem obvious, others may be things you’ve never previously considered;

– Poorly applied stickers
– No “E” numbers
– Correct weight (this can be checked on manufacturers website)
– Lack of labels/instructions/tags/information
– Check the vents (for example, Arai have easily identified vents)
– Check the visor (Shoei have a unique visor system)
– Check the chin strap (should it have a D ring?)
– Missing original box, or box not looking as it should
– Poor quality paintwork such as runs in design or bubbles
– Scratches, even small and light ones
– Lack of visor sticker
– Does it look like it should? (check a manufacturers photos online)

There seems to a trend for more well known and reputable brands to be fakes than lesser known or cheaper brands, which can also damage brand reputation and customer relations, leaving you with less faith in the brand you once favoured.

Some bad examples of fake helmets are below;

However, some more convincing fakes are a little harder to identify;

SHARP testing

A commonly thrown around word when discussing helmets and their safety is it’s SHARP rating

SHARP stands for Safety Helmet Assessment and Rating Program, it was launched by the UK department for transport and is in place to show the real differences between the safety performance of motorcycle helmets in the UK.

It is not a legal requirement and is in place as a consumer information program, so there’s no need to bin your lid if you can’t find the fating for it.

It’s commonly believed that the more expensive the helmet, the higher the rating, which is in incorrect

For example, the highest rated helmets under £100 shown below

Helmet Price Rating
Duchinni D832£59.995 Stars
MT Revenge£64.995 Stars
Nitro Aikido£705 Stars
Lazer LZ6£705 Stars
Lazer Bora£79.995 Stars
Caberg Trip£90 5 Stars
Caberg V2 407£90 5 Stars
Marushin 777 £99.99 5 Stars

You can check the SHARP rating of your own helmet here..

Testing fake helmets

To take the knowledge on fake helmets one step further, the team at FortaMoto have put them to the test in the video below

FortaMoto being a reputable dealership means I can happily recommend them for any safe and genuine helmet or clothing purchases

In the video the fake helmets are well shown and discussed, with the issues such as incorrect sizing, improper ventilation, incorrect inner shells and faulty and dangerous visor systems.

The helmets were then taken to an Arai test center to put them through their paces by the professionals

Photo courtesy of FortaMoto

They also discussed testing them by standing on them, the real and fakes then being stood on. If you watch the video your self the fakes are scarily weak.

The real Arai holding up extremely well to the testing, and the fake not even withstanding 17MPH (28KMH) putting it in the critical band and the AGV fake resulting in the same fate

Photo courtesy of FortaMoto

Next the helmets were put through a penetration test at 18MPH (30KMH) in which the genuine Arai survives with ease over and over.

The fake Arai cracked immediately, the helmet split in half leaving you fearful for anyone riding around in one of these helmets.

The AGV then suffered the same fate, cracking through the middle entirely

Photo courtesy of FortaMoto

Watching this video prompted me to write this post, although I was already aware of fake helmets existing and knew they would be dangerous, I never really looked much into it.

I thought I knew better and could easily tell the difference between something that’s genuine and something that isn’t, but the fakes are getting more realistic and there is a good potential to end up with your life in their hands

Although crashing isn’t something I’ve ever been please to do, I’m more than happy that I did it in the real deal and walked away relatively unscathed

Feel free to let me know what you think in the comment box below..

Special thanks to Fortamoto for providing me with the inspiration and information needed for this post


Where am I located?

Cardiff, Wales, UK