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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Wondering if helmet color notably affects how cool or hot a helmet might be in hot weather with strong sunshine. I live in the Florida panhandle and have always used full face helmets since the 70s. I have greatly reduced riding from about June 15 thru September 15 for the past several years as it is too hot.
When I was stationed in Orlando for four years in the early 80s, I had a motorcycle and my wife who worked had the car. At that time I was using white Bell Star full face helmets if I remember correct. Being younger the heat wasn’t as much a factor but I don’t remember too many issues even in early to mid 80s Orlando traffic.
Now I have a half helmet on order to see if that can help me extend my riding season. I have ordered matte black but wondering if gloss white might make a big difference. Realize you have a pretty good styrofoam insulation in the liner.
Has anyone done any true comparisons to see if helmet color can affect how hot a helmet is in strong sunshine? Realize a black helmet may (?) be beneficial for cooling when it is cloudy- black body radiation. Sorry, I am an engineer.


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Not for the heat issue, although I’m sure lighter colors help, I’m a fan of silver/greys. Its not typical black, but also not cop white. It is more visible, but neutral to riding gear. I know black helmets are hot to the touch when sitting in sun, some of that has to pass through to you. Newer helmets fit much tighter and have more surface to skin contact then older ones did, but also have more venting options to offset that. The biggest factor I’ve noticed with age is we tend to use more wind protection, which greatly limits airflow to the helmet. I never would have considered a mesh jacket before I bought a full fairing bike. Back a few years ago my snowmobile helmet began having fogging problems from one year to the next. The problem ended up being I bought a higher windshield and there wasn’t enough air movement to keep it clear at low to moderate speeds. A rollover, quickly fixed that problem, so the next new windshield was stock height again. The other factor I have noticed is more traffic, more congestion leads to longer commutes and more time riding at slower speeds.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Not for the heat issue, although I’m sure lighter colors help, I’m a fan of silver/greys. Its not typical black, but also not cop white. It is more visible, but neutral to riding gear. I know black helmets are hot to the touch when sitting in sun, some of that has to pass through to you. Newer helmets fit much tighter and have more surface to skin contact then older ones did, but also have more venting options to offset that. The biggest factor I’ve noticed with age is we tend to use more wind protection, which greatly limits airflow to the helmet. I never would have considered a mesh jacket before I bought a full fairing bike. Back a few years ago my snowmobile helmet began having fogging problems from one year to the next. The problem ended up being I bought a higher windshield and there wasn’t enough air movement to keep it clear at low to moderate speeds. A rollover, quickly fixed that problem, so the next new windshield was stock height again. The other factor I have noticed is more traffic, more congestion leads to longer commutes and more time riding at slower speeds.
That is true, my first bike with a true windshield was an FJR1300 I bought new in 2008. My Challenger has a more substantial fairing.


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Wondering if helmet color notably affects how cool or hot a helmet might be in hot weather with strong sunshine. I live in the Florida panhandle and have always used full face helmets since the 70s. I have greatly reduced riding from about June 15 thru September 15 for the past several years as it is too hot.
When I was stationed in Orlando for four years in the early 80s, I had a motorcycle and my wife who worked had the car. At that time I was using white Bell Star full face helmets if I remember correct. Being younger the heat wasn’t as much a factor but I don’t remember too many issues even in early to mid 80s Orlando traffic.
Now I have a half helmet on order to see if that can help me extend my riding season. I have ordered matt black but wondering if gloss white might make a big difference. Realize you have a pretty good styrofoam insulation in the liner.
Has anyone done any true comparisons to see if helmet color can affect how hot a helmet is in strong sunshine? Realize a black helmet may (?) be beneficial for cooling when it is cloudy- black body radiation. Sorry, I am an engineer.


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Have you tried any good new helmets? My Airframe is pretty much the coolest part of my gear on hot days.

Color matters. I live in the northeast and still have zero black summer gear. Silver helmet, brown coat, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Have you tried any good new helmets? My Airframe is pretty much the coolest part of my gear on hot days.

Color matters. I live in the northeast and still have zero black summer gear. Silver helmet, brown coat, etc.
I do use lighter colored clothing and one mesh jacket is silver and the other white w/red&black trim. I have been using various HJC full face recently usually silver but my current is a matte blue.


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Have you ever been to Saudi Arabia? You'd be hard pushed to find any every day use vehicles in any other colour but white for a very good reason.

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Lighter colors would seem to be cooler. But I've not ridden with anything but black helmets over the years and haven't had heat issues with them. My last two have been black with hi-vis yellow stripes. As long as they have good venting, heat shouldn't be an issue unless you're just sitting in one place for an extended period. That's partly why my wife and I like the modular helmets. You can open them up if you get stuck in traffic on a hot day.

Just for reference, we live in Texas and do most of our riding in the south so it's pretty warm between June and September. Also started shaving my dome about 10 years ago partly because I wanted to feel the airflow when the helmet vents were open..Don't judge.. it works! :)
 

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After riding in Nevada, my white Shoei Neotec I modular helmet sure felt cooler in the hard sun.
My head would sweat into the liner, and the air coming through the vents provided a small cooling effect. Bald head required!
The Shoei Neotec II is supposed to vent better, though I have not tried it.
If you leave the helmet on the seat, you don't burn your ass when stopping for gas/break/lunch.
As for visibility, a white helmet is proven better than hi-vis helmets and clothing.
 

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A white helmet is definitely cooler then a black one. I switched out my black Shoei for a white one 4 years ago. Big difference on a sunny 90 degree day. Now, if I can only convince my boss to get rid of the black bikes & uniforms!
 

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White helmets should not only be cooler in heat, but the added benefit of visibility is better than any color helmet.
This picture is from a BMW toy ride I did several years ago. Notice that the helmet is more visible than the hi-viz jacket I am wearing. After seeing this photo, I was convinced that a white helmet is the single best thing a rider can wear to make themselves be seen.
12-15-13-4.jpg
 

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I’ve got white and black helmets, and have never really noticed much difference. Always assumed it was the 1 inch of styrofoam insulation.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I’ve got white and black helmets, and have never really noticed much difference. Always assumed it was the 1 inch of styrofoam insulation.
I was told the same thing. My current blue helmet is the darkest I’ve owned that I remember which won’t absorb sunlight like black or red. I have black half helmets on order and they will also be the first non Snell approved helmets I have had at least since the early 80s and likely early 70s.


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White reflects heat. Proven fact, whether it is clothes or a helmet. White cars are cooler than dark colors. Science, plain and simple. And the visibility is a true bonus!
 

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I live in Central Florida...the heat is too much for me personally. Wearing a white helmet has been a godsend
 

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Matt black in Vegas. More of a difference between which style helmet you wear. Full face for my Sena with shield up 90% of the time, or brain bucket for short trips. Looking to try a new Sena 1/2 helmet with hidden mic, and built in unit.
 
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