The first motorcycle helmet was co-developed in 1914 by a British doctor who ran the medical facilities at the Brooklands race track. After seeing countless head injuries caused by accidents during races he contracted a local man to build a hard shellac helmet with a slightly softer internal canvas lining.
These early helmets weren’t designed to absorb impacts, they were designed to resist glancing blows and spread any impacts over a larger surface area. The success of these early helmets saved countless lives, but as motorcycles got faster and faster, more protection was needed.
Bell Helmets developed the first mass-produced helmet with an impact absorbing polystyrene foam liner in 1957. This new design used a hard outer shell to resist impact and spread load, and the internal thick foam liner to absorb kinetic energy to reduce the blow suffered by the skull and brain.
This compilation of 8 helmets are my favourites from the current listings on eBay, they’re all built to modern safety standards and offer excellent protection – with a healthy dose of retro simplicity thrown in for good measure.