How to Make a Motorcycle Helmet Quieter
Learning how to make a motorcycle helmet quieter is a simple task that will unquestionably improve your overall riding experience.
We all know that prolonged exposure to wind noise is detrimental to our hearing, but just how serious is it?
Let’s assume you’re travelling at ~60mph without any hearing protection. At this speed, you’ll be experiencing wind noise levels of around 90-105 dB, depending on the day. To put this into perspective, a jet flying above you at approximately 1000ft will exert a sound of around 100 dB!
Suddenly those earplugs don’t seem like such a faff after all.
In this article, we’re going to cover eight solutions to make a motorcycle helmet quieter. Let’s dive in!
1. Adjusting Your Visor/Vents
On a hot summers day, nothing beats slightly cracking your visor and flicking open the air vents on your helmet. Aside from the refreshing breeze, the first thing you’ll notice is just how much louder everything becomes.
Unfortunately, more airflow equals more exposure to wind and road noise.
Most full-face helmets come with a rubber strip around the bottom of the visor opening. With your visor in its fully-closed position, a seal should form between the two, eliminating a considerable amount of wind noise.
Tip: Some helmets let you crack your visor open slightly through the use of a slider on the chin. Making sure it’s set to its lowest position should allow your visor to sit flush with the rubber seal.
Adjustable vents are usually located above your visor and in front of your chin. Keeping them closed at higher speeds will allow less air to enter your helmet, reducing your exposure to wind noise.
2. Adjusting Your Riding Position
Sitting bolt upright on any motorcycle is going to put you directly in the firing line of turbulent air.
By adopting a more aerodynamic riding position, you should notice a significant drop in the amount of windblast you’re experiencing.
In layman’s terms, bending your arms and leaning forward should allow more air to pass over the top of your helmet, reducing the amount of wind noise.
3. Memory Foam
This solution is aimed specifically at riders with slightly loose-fitting helmets. If your lid is too large to begin with, we’d highly recommend investing in a replacement instead.
The cheek pads and inner lining of your helmet should provide a snug (not necessarily tight) fit. If they don’t, this will allow air to circulate through your helmet, bringing up the dB level at higher speeds.
Some brands offer replacement lining options that vary in thickness to combat this issue, but this isn’t always the case.
If you can’t get your hands on a replacement, thin strips of memory foam may be a cheap alternative. Placing the strips behind the lining of your helmet will help to pad them out, providing a more secure fit.
If you give this method a go, make sure your helmet doesn’t become too tight in the process!
Balaclavas are one of our favourite riding accessories bar none.
As well as reducing wind noise, balaclavas are great for protecting your helmet’s inner lining, insulating your head from the cold, and stopping your jacket from rubbing against your neck.
As for wind noise, balaclavas work by sealing up any gaps between your head and the lining of your helmet. This stops turbulent air from entering underneath and acts as another layer for road noise to filter through.
If you don’t happen to have one lying around at home, we’d highly recommend the one above from Alpinestars. Constructed from moisture-wicking material and designed specifically for motorcycle helmets, this is a great year-round option!
Earplugs are by far the most effective solution on this list. Whether you ride once a fortnight or commute daily, we heavily recommend investing in a pair.
Moldable silicone earplugs were the industry standard for many years, and honestly, they were far from perfect. They worked by specifically dampening all noise rather than wind noise, which is nothing short of dangerous on the road.
Thankfully, brands like Alpine stepped in and solved the issue by creating earplugs that only targeted wind noise. This is achieved by using an acoustic filter specifically designed to block out harmful noises more than others.
The Alpine earplugs are the official choice for MotoGP, Formula 1, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, so they must be doing something right.
For less than a tank of fuel, it’s a no-brainer.
6. Helmet Windjammer
The Windjammer is a product we recently tested and have heard mixed opinions on over the years. Some riders swear by them, while others end up swearing at them!
Windjammers work by reducing the size of the opening on your helmet. This helps lessen the amount of air entering from underneath, similar to a balaclava in that respect.
Installation doesn’t require any adhesive (unlike the cheap copies), which is ideal if you’re not a fan of having glue marks on your helmet!
We found the Windjammer to be more effective with certain helmets over others, but it’s definitely worth a shot for less than £15.
7. Windscreen or an Extension
Motorcycle windscreens work by directing airflow up and above the rider. Touring bikes usually come equipped with rather large windscreens as standard, whereas some motorcycles aren’t fitted with them at all.
If you fall into the second category, investing in a windshield will likely make a noticeable difference. This is especially true on naked bikes like the MT09, for example.
If you’re taller than average or the screen already fitted to your motorcycle isn’t very effective, installing a windscreen extension may be the solution.
Windscreen extensions typically clip onto your existing screen, helping to further direct airflow up and over you instead of straight at you.
There are plenty of official and aftermarket solutions out there for most motorcycles, so have a browse, and you’ll usually be able to find a great deal.
8. Choose The Right Helmet
Unfortunately, some helmets are just better at keeping the wind noise down than others.
Aerodynamic helmets are more efficient at cutting through the air and create less friction as a result. This usually results in a quieter riding experience, but there are always exceptions.
Ultimately, we recommend choosing a helmet based on the riding you do most regularly. For instance, buying a track-focused helmet for commuting to work and back is probably overkill. Likewise, choosing a touring helmet if you spend most of your time on track isn’t the best idea.
Head down to your local motorcycle shop, watch videos online or read product reviews. Whatever you do, make sure to pick a helmet that fits your needs as well as your head!
Overall, utilising even one of the methods on this list should help make your motorcycle helmet quieter. Combing two or more, especially earplugs if you don’t already use them, should completely transform your riding experience.
Have you got any other methods to add to the list? Perhaps you tried one of our suggestions and fancy giving us some feedback? Either way, feel free to get in touch!
If you enjoyed reading this article on how to make a motorcycle helmet quieter, consider checking out the other tips we’ve covered on our blog!