Click here to view the full Vintage Motorcycle Helmet Collection.

Legal Disclaimer: Silodrome doesn’t recommend wearing vintage helmets on the road, years of shell degradation can lead to them being relatively weak, even in mint condition they’re still antiquated from a modern safety perspective.

History

The concept of the motorcycle helmet has been around almost as long as the motorcycle itself, early riders often suffered head injuries and so the obvious solution was some protection. The first helmets were little more than slightly padded leather or canvas affairs that offered a little impact protection as well as some rudimentary abrasion protection.

Stylistically, the humble motorcycle helmet has been through a series of major shifts – the early leather caps made way for the half-helmets so beloved by the British Mods of the ’50s and ’60s, around the same time we saw the first 3/4 face helmets which were often paired with a visor – offering motorcyclists the semblance of real protection for the first time. Shortly thereafter we saw the introduction of the almost astronaut-like full face motorcycle helmet, a single unit that offered eye and face protection from the elements as well as full head protection from accidents – motorcyclists wearing full face helmets quickly ascended to the very top of the “survival curve” in every conceivable type of motorcycle accident.

Collecting

This rich and varied history has led to vintage motorcycle helmets becoming highly collectible, we’re even seeing modern helmets being made in the style of vintage helmets – like the Bell Bullitt and Biltwell Gringo. There are also fantastic specialist companies like Hell Mutt’s who specialise in refurbishing vintage helmets – from the foam interior to the lining and exterior paintwork, often finishing the helmet to better quality than it was when it was first manufactured.

The largest marketplace for all things vintage motorcycle related is eBay – The sheer breadth of variety is mind-blowing and there’s something for everyone’s pay grade, which is more than can be said for most motorcycle-related collections. Personally, I’m partial to the full-face helmets from the 1970s – before the fluorescent hodge-podge of weird and wacky patterns of the ’80s made their way onto helmets, clothing and everything else.

It’s possible to spend hours, days, weeks, months and even years clicking your way around eBay so in order to save time I suggest finding a buyer or buyers with a high positive feedback score and then focussing on their individual eBay-based stores. Once you find the helmet you want to add to your collection you’ll need to set your maximum bid and consider waiting to hit the Bid button until 10 minutes or so before the auction ends. Once you’ve acquired your new lid you’ll need to decide if you want to keep it in its original condition, refurbish it yourself or send it off to a place like Hell Mutt’s – I’d recommend against doing the refurb yourself unless you know what you’re doing, as it’s a lot more tricky than it first appears.

To get you started, I’ve put together a Collection on eBay of vintage motorcycle helmets – all of which are for sale at the time of writing.

Click here to view the full Vintage Motorcycle Helmet Collection.