One of the more frustrating aspects of riding can be finding good gear. Or, well, that’s not totally true: good gear is relatively easy to find, but affording it is a different issue entirely.

We make no apologies for suggesting good gear that costs a lot; sometimes that’s just the way of things. An Aerostich Roadcrafter, for example, is a demonstrably awesome product. Yes, you could probably buy a handful of old Honda Rebel 250s for the price of a tailored version of the suit, but that doesn’t make the product not good.

Still, you don’t always have to spend top dollar for the best gear. Take helmets for example. Recently we spent some time digging through the SHARP archives to find helmets that sit at that happy intersection where safe and affordable meet.

Also known as the Safety Helmet Assessment and Rating Programme, SHARP was set up by the UK Department for Transport to provide additional guidance on the safety of motorcycle helmets. The program seeks to go above and beyond the standard testing that is required for helmets to be be sold in certain countries (for example, the DOT standard in the United States). It does this by subjecting helmets to a series of high-speed impact tests: top, rear, and side. Additionally, SHARP supplements its research with information gained from hundreds of motorcycle accidents.


It should be noted that some folks feel SHARP testing doesn’t quite mimic real-world incidents as well as it could. Usually these are people who own helmets like the Schuberth C3 Pro (three stars) who don’t like the idea of their expensive helmet not being rated the best in everything. Since every single motorcycle accident is different, there’s no foolproof way to test for every possible scenario, but we feel that SHARP ratings are a solid guide.

So, we’ve put together a list of the most affordable high-rating lids we could find – each of these costing less than US $200. Obviously pricing will vary depending on where you shop, but for this particular article we’ve based our selections on the prices listed by our pals over at Revzilla.

Original Article Published June 30, 2017. Updated April 22, 2018.

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