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The Best Vintage-Style Motorcycle Helmets

Riding a café racer with a modern helmet is just plain wrong. Here’s how to go properly retro.

man wearing open face crash helmet and sunglasses riding cafe racer motorcycle along rural road
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Vintage style and motorcycles are good bedfellows. From Italian styling to luxuriously reconditioned rides, there's a raw, utilitarian beauty to be found on two wheels. Superfluity is kept at a minimum, and styles of yesteryear echo a time when motorcycling had an ethos and feel all its own — individualistic and raw with an attitude that was a natural flow out of the two-wheeled renegade spirit.

And that spirit lives on today, as more motorcycling gear manufacturers see value in vintage styling. More than just leather jackets and boots, helmets also imbue riders with retro aesthetics — and modern safety.

So, with all that said: it's time to let the beard grow out, tune-up your sweet little café racer, and get your vintage style ready for a Sunday ride.

The Best Vintage-Style Helmets

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The Best Vintage Style Motorcycle Helmet
Biltwell Gringo S ECE Helmet
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Though the Gringo S doesn’t have the most flattering name, its ’70s feel — with the kind of striping that makes you feel like you’re watching Soul Train on a Saturday morning — more than makes up for it. The full helmet has a simple, no-nonsense shape but bears a hand-painted finish and an interior lining with hand-stitched diamond-quilted padding. Comfort is enhanced by an Internal BioFoam chin pad. DOT approved.

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Bell Bullitt Reverb Helmet
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  • Low-profile fiber composite shell
  • Removable, washable and antibacterial interior
  • 3D cut cheek pads with speaker pockets
  • DOT and ECE approved
  • Five-year warranty

Bell released its iconic star, the first full-face helmet in the 1960s. The Bell Bullitt — yes, it's named after Steve McQueen — pays homage to that classic style while adding the latest in modern tech, like a low-profile fiber composite shell, multiple density EPS liner, and 3D cut cheek pads with speaker pockets.

Bell Rogue Helmet
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  • Magnetically mounted muzzle for easy removal
  • DOT approved
  • Lightweight composite shell
  • Speaker compatible

This dome is the clear bad-ass of the group, looking very much like an extra from Mad Max: Fury Road. But the toughness isn’t all show. It’s a half helmet with a matching adjustable muzzle to keep debris and other road junk off your pretty face. Plus, the muzzle is magnetically mounted, making your reveal or concealment a snap. The matte black composite shell cuts the wind and protects your cranium, and the overall look will scare the dickens out of pretty much everyone short of law enforcement. DOT approved.

Shoei RJ Platinum-R Helmet
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  • Dual-layer liner for improved cooling
  • DOT and SNELL approved
  • Removable and washable interior

If you want the wind in your face, but you hate the noise and drag, the RJ Platinum R helps by incorporating forehead intake and exhaust vents (which also aid in reducing rider fatigue), along with a removable visor that allows use of a face shield for protection and additional wind-cutting. The profile is enhanced by a ridge at the back, and narrowed temple sections thin it out and even give your goggles a place to rest. It is both DOT and SNELL approved.

HJC IS-Cruiser Helmet
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  • Moisture-wicking and antibacterial liner
  • DOT approved
  • Adjustable smoked-out sun shield

The IS-Cruiser takes the basic half helmet and adds a convenient (and protective) visor and a smoked-out sun shield, which can slide up or down as needed. This allows open-air freedom, with additional road and weather protection when you need it. The advanced polycarbonate shell is light and strong, and the liner is both moisture-wicking and antibacterial. The Darth Vader homage part is free of charge. DOT approved.

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