The primary goal with motorcycle helmets is to keep your head protected in the event of a crash, but they’re all vastly different in how they help you perform when riding. Varying visor sizes, helmet shapes designed to move wind effectively, fit, weight, and internal padding compositions all play a massive role in the user experience, something that’s only amplified at the high speeds of a racetrack.

It’s worth noting that the most important thing in finding a helmet is fit. It doesn’t matter how many features it has, how low the weight is, if your favorite racer wears one, or if you think it looks beautiful and matches your bike—the best helmet is the one that fits your head. Full stop. Here are four helmets I think are perfect for the track.

Disclaimer: Each of the helmets below were weighed as I wear them. The Schuberth and Icon are stock with tinted shields, while the Shoei and Bell both get one-size-thicker cheek pads and tinted visors.

Schuberth SR2

Schuberth SR2 motorcycle helmet
Schuberth SR2Courtesy of Schuberth

Schuberth SR1/SR2: $800, 1.495kg (Medium)

Schuberth uses an acoustic wind tunnel during the design and development, which it claims helps improve the helmet’s aerodynamics, downforce, and lack of lift.

The biggest thing I notice about the SR1 isn’t the lack of weight as it is the lack of size. Both in your hands and on your head, the helmet feels as if it’s about 80 to 90 percent the size of most full-face helmets. This makes a huge difference to the rider experience, especially at high speeds, as it drastically reduces wind drag.

Schuberth also made the opening as small as it could so the helmet would have a more snug fit and let in less air from underneath. This makes it great at speed but a pain for popping on and off for work or running errands—and if you have ears like mine, you’re in for some pain.

The SR1 is being replaced with the SR2, available in some markets but won't see US stores until the beginning of 2018. It has a new visor, revised aerodynamics, and improved airflow.

Shoei X-Fourteen

Shoei X-Fourteen motorcycle helmet
Shoei X-FourteenCourtesy of Shoei

Shoei X-Fourteen: $700, 1.675kg (Medium)

The Shoei X-Fourteen isn't the lightest or most aerodynamic and it doesn't have some of the new internal technology implemented in some helmets, but it's still my favorite sporty helmet to date.

The appearance and finish of the helmet is top-notch, taking elements from the crazy aerodynamic wing on the AGV Pista but with a slightly more subtle look more appropriate for everyday use while retaining some of the aerodynamic benefits.

More importantly, the fit of the Shoei is perfect for my intermediate oval-shaped head. Personally, I bump the cheek pads up a size, but the crown fits well and, with the new pads in, the X-Fourteen is comfortable for eight-hour days touring or hurtling down the track at 150 mph.

Shoei makes my favorite interior of any helmet ever. The pads are firm like a Bell helmet but softer on your face like an Arai, which helps keep it comfortable with use. If you think of a helmet like a mattress, the Shoei is the one that gives me the best night’s sleep night after night.

Lastly, some kid named Marc Marquez wears one.

Shoei X-Fourteen in action
Shoei X-FourteenPhoto: Joe Salas

Icon Airframe Pro Ghost Carbon

Icon Airframe Pro Ghost Carbon motorcycle helmet
Icon Airframe Pro Ghost CarbonCourtesy of Icon Motorsports

Icon Airframe Pro Halo Graphic: $375, 1.545kg (Medium) | Airframe Pro Ghost Carbon: $600, 1.434kg (Medium)

The Airframe Pro is Icon's first foray into the world of performance or track helmets. This is achieved through giving it an "angle of attack," which is fancy talk for designing it to be used in an aggressive riding position or tuck with the eyeport positioned higher on the face.

Despite a fairly economical price point, the Airframe Pro is plush yet firm inside and comes with rather nice finishes. The eyeport is wide and allows for great visibility, the helmet lets plenty of air flow in through its vents, and the interior feels a bit like a neoprene wet suit which, while not exactly soft, does disperse moisture well.

Icon Airframe Pro Ghost Carbon worn by rider
Icon Airframe Pro Ghost CarbonPhoto: California Superbike School

Icon claims the Airframe Pro is the lightest, mass-produced helmet on the market and the benefits of that are felt when wearing. While not the most aerodynamic design available, the lack of weight helps it wear like a much more premium helmet by lessening the effects of wind buffeting.

Bell Star MIPS Helmet

Bell Star MIPS motorcycle helmet
Bell Star MIPS HelmetCourtesy of Bell

Bell Star MIPS Helmet: $470, 1.683 kg (Medium) | Race Star Flex: $700, 1.662kg (Medium)

Bell Helmets has made leaps and bounds with the Star line that was revamped in the fall of 2015. Before the revamp, the Star was a sporty helmet—but this new version is a proper race/track helmet thanks to a completely new head shape and massive eyeport.

The Stars flow air well, especially with the rubber tab in the chin bar removed, but they also allow a great deal of air to enter underneath the helmet which cannot really be controlled or limited. This is not an issue on hot days but is definitely noticed on colder ones.

Bell creates a range of helmets instead of just a new model, investing one sum of money into the research and design of a helmet and then spreading what it has learned across several helmets at several price points by altering the materials and other features.

Such is the case with the new Bell Star line, which has the Pro Star Flex ($1,200)—designed for Josh Herrin, Cameron Beaubier, Jake Gagne, and Hayden Gillim—sharing the same outer shell shape and size as Bell's more economical Star ($470).

I think the sweet spot is the Race Star Flex. At $700 gets it gets the more expensive Pro Star's Flex Impact Liner (rather than MIPS) but is made from different carbon fiber so it doesn't shed quite as much weight yet is still lighter than the Star.

Bell Race Star Flex in action
Bell Race Star FlexPhoto: Josh Sawyer