Whether to pick a half face or a full face helmet is a tough decision, especially for the new rider. Besides concerns about safety, protection and comfort, one major factor influencing the rider’s choice is usually aesthetics. We’ve been brainwashed by media that the cool kids are the ones, riding either without helmet or with half face helmets. Especially when it comes to scooters, you never see scooter riders wearing full face helmets on TV, unless they are delivering pizza. But, let’s leave that aside.
The major difference between a half face and full face is, that the full face covers the complete head. It comes with an extra section on the front, covering the chin and with an extension on the rear covering the base of the skull. When it comes to safety, both helmets will protect the top of your skull during a collision, but only the full face one will protect your chin, jaws and teeth. Research shows a high possibility of impact on the chin during a crash. So, for better protection, it is obviously better to pick the full face helmet. In addition to providing extra coverage during a crash, its visor will provide your eyes protection against sunlight, rain, dust and bugs.
But are there any disadvantages to a full face?
If you are concerned about comfort, in means of restrictiveness and air ventilation, a full face won’t be able to provide you as much comfort as a half face. Also, most likely, for a full face helmet, you will end up paying much more money.
If safety is priority, which it should be, one doesn’t have to be a genius to figure out that it is better to pick a full face helmet. It is only one life to live, so why risk it? But if you insist on not wearing a helmet, than it is obviously better to wear a half face helmet rather than no helmet.
There is a great image showing the distribution of impact locations on motorcycle helmets, it is based on a study by Dietmar Otte: http://imgur.com/uk71q.jpg