motocross helmet vs motorcycle helmet

Difference Between Motocross Helmet and Motorcycle Helmet

A motocross helmet and an on-road motorcycle helmet are pretty different from one another, and you can notice the difference clearly at first glance. Besides the aesthetic difference, the overall design is also unique in both types of helmets, as they are made for different terrains.

Generally, there are three types of helmets, off-road, on-road, and dual-sport helmets. In this blog, we’ll differentiate between the off-road and on-road helmets i.e (difference between motocross helmet and motorcycle helmet) so when you are going to get a helmet, you’ll know which will be the best for your type of riding.

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Difference between the motorcycle and motocross helmets

Have a quick look at the list given below showing the different features of each type of helmet.

Chin GuardExtendedNot Extended
Goggles CompatibilityLarge opening for gogglesNo
Noise CancelationNoYes
SafetySafe for Off-RoadSafe for On-Road
Protection from DustGogglesSlighter
Air FlowYes (plenty of)Not That Much
Protection Against ElementsLesserFull-FAce Design
Sun ProtectionExtended VisorTinted Shield in Some

The table shows that the on-road motorcycle helmets are aerodynamic for high speeds, heavier, and have less dust protection and airflow; however, it is well-suited for on-road motorcycle riding.

While the motocross helmets come with a large opening for your goggles to keep your eyes safe from dust, extended visors for sun protection, and extended chin guards, which is best for maximum protection on the rugged terrains.

Now, let’s go through the details and the reasons behind the differences between these two types of helmets.

Jaw and Chin guard

motocross helmet

The chin guard of a motocross helmet is sturdy and beefy, and it is extended outwards as well. On the other hand, the on-road motorcycle helmet also features a chin guard, but it is not that much beefy and extended. The reason for this difference is that the motocross riders need more protection and airflow as compared to the on-road riders.

For any aggressive style of motocross biking, this type of chin guard will give the utmost protection to keep your face safe from injuries. Moreover, the pointed chin will provide the area for ventilation, which makes the helmet breathable during the ride on rugged terrain.


motocross helmet with visor

The huge visor at the top of the motocross helmet is the most distinctive feature of this type of helmet, and it has two main functions:

  • Firstly, it is to protect the rider’s eyes from direct sun to provide a clear vision on trial.
  • Additionally,  it offers protection against the debris and dirt during a race or group riding, as if you are riding behind another biker, then the debris and dirt from the ground will fly up towards you.

The on-road motorcycle helmets are not equipped with huge visors since they are made for the paved road, where you’ll not have the issue of debris etc.


motorcycle helmets

When it comes to overall protection, each kind of helmet provides the best protection on the terrain it is designed for. The motorcycle helmets are much more rigid because they are worn on busy roads and are designed to keep you safe in the high-speed impacts.

This doesn’t mean that the motocross helmets are not safe, as they also come with some cool safety technologies, including MIPS and breakaway components. Anyhow, you have to check out for the standard safety certifications before getting any helmet,


motocross helmet ventilation

The off-road riding or racing is exceptionally challenging, just like a full body intense workout. So the motocross helmets are pretty good in ventilation to increase breathability and also to prevent excessive sweating during summers. It features large vents all through the helmet and also in the chin guard to offer maximum airflow.

However, the motorcycle helmets do not come with a lot of vents because, at higher speeds on the paved roads, there is enough wind to keep you cool. Although there are some vents on these helmets, which are enough for the terrain they are worn on, but when compared with the motocross helmets, these helmets are built with lesser vents, consequently, provides a small amount of airflow.

Noise reduction

The motorcycle helmets are much better in this case, as you’ll need some serious noise cancelation when you are riding your motorcycle at a high pace on a highway. Otherwise, the wind noise can be extremely disturbing and distracting, which will make your whole ride uncomfortable.

In the case of motocross riding, some helmets are quieter if you prefer a quiet ride. However, there are some helmets with the vents on the sides to keep you aware of your fellow riders during a race or group riding. Thus, these helmets are not made to cancel out all of the external noise.


Both of these helmets are made as lightweight as possible because every bit of added weight can cause extreme fatigue during the ride. Also, if a helmet is heavy, it can cause neck strain and injuries, which is not pleasant at all. To prevent all this inconvenience, every type of helmet is made incredibly lightweight.

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Water and snow resistant

The motorcycle helmets are designed to keep your head and face safe from rain and snow on a highway. The full-face design keeps the water out so you can have a convenient long ride in rainy weather.

In contrast, motocross helmets do not have this advantage, and you can’t get full protection against rain and snow.  It is not well-suited for winters, as it can’t keep your face and head warm and dry. All of the frosty winter air will enter the lid due to the plenty of vents in these kinds of helmets.

Protection from sun

motorcycle and sun

Both helmets protect against the direct sun effectively. The motorcycle helmets feature a clear face shield for nighttime riding, and also a tinted shield, which can be used on sunny days to keep the sun out. You can switch between these two shields.  

The extended huge visor of the motocross helmet provides full shade over the open face area of the helmet to protect you from direct sun. Further, you can use tinted goggles as well for this purpose.

Protection from dust

motocross helmet dust protection

It is quite challenging to ride in an off-road terrain where dust and dirt fly everywhere around you. Therefore, the motocross helmets come with a large opening to accommodate your goggles, which helps in keeping away the dust and mud from your eyes. This reduces the risks of accidents since dust can blur your vision and can be a cause of some serious crash.

On the contrary, you can not wear any riding goggles with most motorcycle helmets, as there is no such dust and mud protection needed in this case.


The motorcycle helmets are used for higher speeds of up to 200mph, which means the aerodynamics matters a lot to minimize the air drag and to keep your head stable. The smooth surface with less area for the hitting wind makes a motorcycle helmet more aerodynamic.

While the motocross helmets are less aerodynamic due to their extended chin and large visor. But, at the lower speeds of motocross riding, the aerodynamics is not that crucial. 

Final thoughts

After getting to know all the major differences between a motocross helmet and a motorcycle helmet, you are now able to choose a helmet that will suit well your riding style.  Both types of helmets are built especially for their respective terrains and are appropriate for the type of riding they are manufactured for and have their unique and remarkable specs. Keep in mind that you should check for the safety certifications before getting any helmet, as safety is the primary function of a helmet.