Motorcycle Rider Basics

Helmet Locks: My $200 Helmet, Gone In 60 Seconds

Half Helmet After the first two weeks with your new motorcycle and your new helmet, the day will come when you start getting tired of carrying your helmet into the grocery store or flopping it down on the restaurant table, announcing to the world that , "Yeah Buddy, that's my bike outside and I am the real deal!" Relax, nobody is noticing you and your helmet is not turning any heads. The helmet thrill is gone and now you want to know what do you do with your helmet when you leave your bike unattended at the cinema, the grocery store or the swap meet. You first solution is to take your new, expensive, shiny helmet with you when you leave your bike. But after lugging your helmet around with you for a couple of hours, you start looking for a more practical solution.

You have seen bikes parked all over the place with the helmet either sitting on the seat or hanging from the handlebars. OK, problem solved, just leave your helmet on the bike and put your faith in human nature that it will still be there when you return.

We (us riders) all understand that no-one will want to steal a used helmet because savvy riders would never trust their skull to a helmet with unknown history. Maybe it has been dropped and the lining has cracked inside, rendering it dangerous when you need it the most. However, non-savvy riders and all others, either do not know about the cracked liner theory of they just do not give a darn. It is shiny, obviously expensive, looks cool and even if there is no street sale value, it would look good hanging on the wall, so it is at risk.

If you just cannot part with your helmet, let's go shopping for a backpack that will hold your helmet, leaving you hands free to enjoy the swap meet.

There are three (3) ways to secure your helmet, carry or backpack it with you, install a helmet lock or use a security cable. Let's take a look at the backpacks.

Firstgear Helmet Backpack 2 Firstgear Helmet Backpack Icon Squad Backpack Icon Urban Tank Bag Shoei Helmet Backpack

Shoei, Firstgear and Icon (Urban & Squad) backpacks, above, are three examples of helmet backpacks. There are a lot more out there and they will run you between $80 and $100.

I was looking at buying a backpack when I first started riding again. Not just for the helmet issue, but to use a backpack instead of saddlebags for my daily work commute. Gotta put your lunch somewhere, eh? And a couple of times I used my old hiking backpack to carry my helmet while I was walking around at the local swap meet. I didn't like it. Not your cup of tea either? I like riding to the cinema or shopping for the inherent motorcycle freedom, not to be saddled like a donkey, or worst yet, a goofball. OK, OK, just my opinion, whatever floats you boat is good with me.

So, we are back with leaving your helmet on the bike. How about locking it to the bike itself? At least it will keep the honest people from stealing your helmet.

Let look at some helmet locks. First of all, you may already have a helmet lock on you bike. If your bike is Japanese, it may have a lock. I had a Suzuki Intruder 1400 (Harley knock-off) which had two helmet locks, right and left side on the rear fender. Unfortunately, after I put on saddlebags, the locks ended up under the bags and were difficult to use.

Some bikes (like my 2003 Sportster) use a padlock on the front fork neck to lock the bike (the newer Harley's have built-in locks) so you are already dealing with an extra lock every time you want to leave your bike somewhere. The hassle is not with locking the bike, its carrying the lock around with you everywhere you go. The old style bikers usually lock it onto their Levis belt loop but if you are sporting a cell phone and the rest of the urban biker stuff, this is a pain.

However, if you have a lock and must use it, the easiest way to lock your helmet is to use a lock extension.

This is the M/C ENTERPRISES helmet lock extension #492. There are two (2) lock extensions (so you can lock two helmets, of course) in this kit. Simply stick one through the "D" rings and the other end goes on the padlock. You may be able to padlock directly to the "D" rings but usually, there is not enough room to get your helmet in close to the padlock. These extensions solve that problem. About $40 and you need to carry these extensions with you when you ride.

Next choice is add-on locks. There are two basic types, clamp on and screw on.

Clamp OnScrew On

Some of these photos are from JC Whitney's catalog. There are a lot of different choices and manufacturers out there. The basic idea with these locks is to attach the lock to your bike and then lock your helmet with the "D" rings in the lock. You need to carry a key with you when you are riding.

Kuryakyn KewLock 

This Kuryakyn KewLock attaches to your handlebar ends and is pretty cool. I would get two, one for each end. Not just for cosmetic reasons but to balance the handlebars.


Next comes a simple metal leash or cord that you run through the "D" rings (or chin guard) and then around some part of your bike.

G_10201G_CL_1There are a number of choices with this approach. Whatever works for you.(Here is a simple cable and lock setup.)

Whatever you do choose, remember, you will need to carry the lock with you when you are riding.

So if you choose a fixed helmet lock (see the clamp on and screw on types) all you have to carry is an additional key. If you chose the security cable style, you have to carry the cable and key (or combination style lock).

MasterLock 2 ft recoilThis Masterlock model has a 2 foot retractable cable and combination lock. Lock your helmet and maybe your jacket. No keys to worry about but you need to carry the lock with you when you are riding.

Researching this article, I came across the Bolt Lock. Interesting and at $60 it should be interesting. Clean look and depending on your bike and your style, it can look like factory.


What's cool about this Bolt Lock setup is the cord comes in varying lengths, the short one stays with the lock and is always ready for your helmet.


So you can replace the Bolt Lock short cord with a three footer and lock you jacket at the same time.


So what do I use? Which one of these marvelous solutions do I actually use? Well, none actually. I usually leave my helmet hanging on the handlebars and cross my fingers that it will still be there when I return. I do carry a small tool bag combo handlebar bag (12" X 18"), which attached to the rear of my sissy bar and rests on the small fender rack. When my wife and I ride to the cinema, we squeeze both of our half-helmets into this bag and hand carry it into the cinema.

When we go to the swap meet or some other crowded event, I bring along my heavy-duty locking cable which is intended to lock the motorcycle to a pole of some other handy, unmovable, item. We lace it through both helmets and occasionally, both jackets and may or may not loop it around a pole. However, after writing this, I have my security juices going again and that retractable Masterlock combination security cable is looking pretty good.


Comments (29) Trackbacks (7)
  1. well, I don’t know – maybe thieves are more practical in the states?

    Over here in the UK, thieves will steal anything (a bit like a magpie). If you leave it, and it can be taken, I guarantee you, it will be taken – LOL!

    An example:

    I left my cycle computer on my push bike. You cant use it without the system that is permanently attached to my wheel, however, this didn’t stop some fool from stealing it, despite it being useless to them! If you leave a helmet on the bike here, I guarantee, it will disappear.

  2. this is the best information i came across on helmets

  3. The honeymoon being over after buying my first scooter, I too am getting tired of lugging around the helmet. I didn’t weenie out and get one of those dinky little helmets that can fit under the seat like most moped riders do (because frankly it doesn’t look like it protects much). I got a 3/4 face helmet, and it’s too big to fit under the seat. So, I was thinking there’d be some company that made a lockable helmet bracket holder or something which you could mount on the back of the bike, plop the helmet on and lock it in place so it not only sits snuggly, but sits so it won’t be an issue if it’s rained on. But haven’t found anything like that (would have liked to had that as my scooters “trunk”). I figured the next best step is to get a large enough “trunk” that I could fit the helmet in. But, that being a $200 option, I figured I’d try the less expensive $10 option first. My scooter came with a “helmet hook” below the seat. You can use this along with a padlock to lock the helmet to the scooter via the D rings. But it’ll be sitting top down, so any rain coming down will soak the inside. My alternate idea was to get a cheap-o plastic storage box / tool box from Wal-Mart that’s big enough to fit the helmet and is lockable and weather proof (or at least pad-lockable), cut some holes in the bottom and fasten it to the back of my scooter’s mounting with zip ties or some kind of security bolting system. With $30, I could have a large, make-shift trunk for helmet or other cargo. But, it would look really dorky.

    Any of these options beats lugging around the helmet, though.

    Also wanted to mention that with the advent of “free” selling sites like Craigslist, folks could be on the prowl to swipe a motorcycle helmet just to hock it on there for quick cash. They don’t need to know the details of your helmet, except maybe the size. They just post an ad for “Slightly used XL Sohei helmet, cheap $50”, and within a day they got $50. This is what worries me about just loosely locking the helmet to the bike.

    Plus, I never thought about padlocking the scooter to anything, but it makes sense. Even with the steering locked in unridable position, someone could still show up with a truck and two guys could easily haul off with my 300lb scooter (hell, that’s how my brother and I got it home from the place I bought it at.) Good info!

  4. I left my helmet attached to the bike through a cable and they stole my visor.

  5. Hi! My choice was Shoei RF-1000 helmet five years ago. And I don’t regret about my choice. Helmet is great in general!

  6. The lock works great. I have been using it for more than an year.

  7. who wouldn’t buy a $20 helmet lock to secure a $200 helmet? crossing fingers doesn’t do the job in Philly anymore!

  8. Seems like a no-brainer to use a helmet lock these days. I always use a lock, even in the nice neighborhoods!

  9. I simply could not depart your site before suggesting that I actually loved the standard information
    a person provide to your guests? Is going to be back regularly to inspect new posts

  10. depending on where you are in america people leave their cars running and go into stores

  11. I used a lock for awhile but when I started working at my new building I ended up going with the backpack route. Luckily it doesn’t get in the way of what I do and I can carry it most of the day. Helps with a bit of a work out, honestly, too!

  12. It’s hard to trust anyone these days. Locking your helmet is definitely a good call

  13. Just bought a new Duke 390 and the Shoei phantasm helmet, about $800… Thanks for the lock option info.. Really great.. Just nervous about locking it to the bike still.. Some people are just arsehole and would scratch the heck out of it if they couldn’t take it.. I worked hard to get this bike and some people take a morbid enjoyment out of messing with other people’s shit.. For no reason, they are just an arsehole. I think I’ll do the back pack option and see how I go.. Thanks again..

  14. Marius brought up a good point. Even if you lock your helmet, your $80+ Visor can be taken off the helmet with ease. (I own a Shoei RF 1200) and use the Mirror Chrome Visor during the daytime.. It takes 2 seconds to remove a visor off of a Shoei helmet.

    Makes me want to rethink my security options and store it in a container where it cannot be accessed (under lock and key)

  15. I stopped leaving my helmet on my bike after the first year. Three incidents changed my mind and now I carry it with me at all times.

    1st. Montana- Coffee poured into my helmet while I was in a store.

    2nd. Arizona- Helmet pissed in while I was on a date.

    3rd. Massachusetts- Straps cut (it was locked like it always was) and helmet stolen. Making the helmet useless, but allowing those riding dirty to evade getting pulled over for not having a helmet.

    People like to screw with people. I no longer want piss on my head so I carry it everywhere.

  16. Who cares? We all die someday. They are only hurting themselves, not others. Do- goodies, most of the non riders only want to tell others what to do. Then after helmets it will be ” well there really isn’t any real reason to ride a bike, cars are safer, we should outlaw bikes. Just like they want to outlaw guns etc. “safer”

    Do-gooders should be ignored and restricted

  17. I bought a D ring with a combo lock on it. Flip it around a bolt or bar and slide you helmet on it click, and your good. Just lock the D ring on the bike when your not using it $18.00 PS. Don’t forget the combo! Mike

  18. As a professional rider i never ever forget to take my bike helmet what ever i am going .Your story is such a important one for a rider who forget to take his helmet .

    SOmetime this forgetness can the issue to lost .So we should carefull

  19. I have used a lot of helmet locks over the years including the helmetsecure which is reasonable – it’s quite tough & fairly secure but the problem is that the cable is not very long. And also the 4101 Helmetlok which is rubbish (you can only attach the carabiner to the helmet strap). The Ninja is a heavy duty cable lock & key and it’s very secure – cable is difficult to cut through. The problem with it is that the cable is short and it’s kindly heavy to carry around when not in use. My preferred helmet lock is made by BigPantha. This one is lightweight carabiner combination lock with a nice long cable (180 cm). Means that I can attach both my helmet as well as my wife’s helmet at the same time to my motorcycle! here it is – And also as it’s made from aluminium and zinc it won’t rusted (unlike others that I’ve used).

  20. Very good information. Its actually very interesting!

  21. As a rider i never ever forget to take my bike helmet. One of my friend did same thing, within a minute, his helmet is gone !!!

  22. I never leave my helmet with my bike, just seems like trouble to me.

  23. When I was just starting out on my own I had a vt1100 that I put a padlock thew the disk break and locked the helmet to the break as a reminder to unlock it

  24. I lost two helmets to damn thieves before I did anything about it. This helmet lock here works pretty good. Nice and simple to use. And is good for 2 helmets as well. It’s really a carabiner lock with a PIN code and a nice long cable to attach your helmet to your bike.

  25. Thanks for good article

  26. There is very helpful post.. Its a better reminder for everybody.. thank you for your goods articles…

  27. all locks are good and very important for protect our helmet b/z i’m already left one helmet in parking

  28. same happened with me last time

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