I've used HJC, Bell, Shoei, and Arai over the years. Keep in mind there are many other companies nowadays, these are just ones I've had experience with.
Was dissapointed with Arai's quality control, for the amount of $$$ I spent.
Shoei's quality is TOP NOTCH, no-one comes close in my opinion.
Bell is always heavier and bulkier, have had multiple, I guess it's an American thing.
HJC is suprisingly good value for money, quality is VERY decent for what you get.
If you can spare the extra $$$, I think Shoei is the answer. If you need other gear (boots, jacket, etc.), save your money with a cheaper brand and put the savings towards the other pieces you need.
Dedicate a whole afternoon and go to a helmet shop and try some on, no harm trying on some lids. Take your time, will get you an idea of what you want and let you form your own opinions. Don't feel pressured to buy, leave the wallet in the car. When you feel the right one on your head you'll know. Thank the staff for their time, tell them it's been helpful and that you're going to sleep on it.
I will run Shoeis for as long as my budget allows. I'm eagerly awaiting a new helmet in the mail, you can guess what brand.
Sidenote, I hear Scorpion is the the now go-to bang for buck helmet company, supposedly very high quality for very little money. Heard nothing but good things.
Also, if you don't know what to look for in terms of fit, wear, age, and damage. I reccommend you DO NOT buy a used helmet, especially if you're riding a Fireblade. A brand new cheap helmet that fits you correctly is SIGNIFICANTLY safer than an ill fitting worn helmet, no matter how expensive it was when new.
Helmets are consumables just like tires, oil, and brake pads. Hard pill to swallow but it's true. So think twice before dropping the dough on a carbon fibre one.
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