Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Kamloops, BC, Canada
Rep Power: 1
I sold a lot of helmets (HJC, Icon, Arai, G-Max, etc.) and I there's basically only two types of helmet: the cheaper brands, that are mostly the house-brands of the big M/C suppliers (for example, HJC and Icon are Parts Unlimited/Parts Canada house brands) that are pretty much all made in China; and the 'high-end' brands (Shoei, Arai, Suomy) that are not made in China. Basically, if you have $100-$150 to spend, find the best-looking and best-fitting Chinese helmet. If you have $300 to spend, buy a solid-colour, base-model Arai or Shoei instead of a fancy graphics Icon or HJC.
Don't get me wrong - the cheap brands are very safe if you get one that fits your right; it's just the details (faceshield hinges, inner lining, quality control, etc.) that are better on the high-end models. But I've ridden Chinese dirtbikes and I've ridden Japanese and Euro dirtbikes, and based on that experience alone, I would say try to find a helmet that isn't made in China if you have the option. Their quality control sucks, and I'd hate to have a helmet that falls apart like a Chinese pitbike.
Having said all that, I had a full-face HJC that definitely saved my face, if not my life, in a moderate-speed (70 km/h) street accident (cut off by left-turning car, clipped the rear bumper, and face-planted). The faceshield and chinbar had 1/4"-deep gouges running down the front, but I was fine.