Motorcycle helmets protect riders' heads in the event of an accident. Helmets comprise two basic parts: the hard outer shell and the shock-absorbing inner shell. The weight of the shell material is a key factor in selecting a helmet.
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Kevlar and carbon fibre shells weigh the least while offering the most protection. These lightweight composites, also used in body armour, offer superior performance. This performance comes at a cost, however, and Kevlar helmets can be costly.
Moulded Thermoplastic Shells
Helmet shells may also incorporate moulded thermoplastics such as polycarbonate or acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS). Though these helmets are less expensive, the materials are not as strong or lightweight as Kevlar. F-16 canopies and face shields incorporate these materials, however, so they certainly offer a high degree of protection.
Selecting a Helmet
The weight and strength of the outer shell play important roles in the selection of a helmet, as does cost. Helmet buyers should also take the inner lining of expanded polystyrene (EPS) into strong consideration, since this material cushions the brain from impact.
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