Difference Between Karting/Motorsports and Motorcycle Helmets

I’m wondering if anyone has any information regarding the differences between motorcycle and Karting crash helmets?

I know car helmets have fire proofing, and some of the helmets have head restraint attachments. I’m guessing there are other features, but is there a difference particularly in terms of safety?

AFAIK there’s only 2 specifically Karting helmets, the SK-6 and the Bell Whatsitscalled. The difference between them and their brethren was indeed no fire resistance, no hans coupling. That’s it, basically.

These 2 “karting” helmets are held to the highest standard,Snell,I think. I believe helmets used in auto/moto racing have their own thing like snell. Street bike helmets are another standard, I believe. So its all a bit confusing. Basically, racing = safest. Karting = Safest. Street Bike: Very Safe Unrated: depending from Good to dangerous.

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Thanks Dom. That makes a lot of sense. Are there any specific shape changes to provide protection to different areas? I’ve always kind of thought we are more closely related to motorcyclists than cars when it comes to crashing. We want good sliding and as high impact protection as possible.

It really is not more or less safe. Snell has SA, K, and M. They may have others. SA, K, and M are all tested with the same corner and flat anvil to the same levels. SA, and I think K add a round anvil. It is intended to be a roll bar. I am not sure it makes sense for K, but to my understanding it still used. Snell website has full information. SA has nomex or other fire resistant material while K and M do not.

The other difference most do not realize is the face sheild. The SA sheild is thicker than M and the opening is smaller than M. I assume again K follows SA. So M requires larger eye opening, because that is safer for on the road where periphial is valuable. SA requires smaller where periphial is less important more front protection is valued higher. I think the thicker may just be more burn through.

For me I prefer M for karts. Without mirrors I think the periphial wins out. M rating is the rating the MotoGP guys use. I am sure the safety is appropriate for our racing.

For sure. Theres different shapes for different purposes. I am no helmet expert, however. I think we are more in the race car/moto category but with hopefully better peripheral.

Theres a lot of different shapes, too. They all fit different, apparently. The are categorized by head shape too.

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I looked it up. K rated helmets may be based on SA or M helmets. Also it is not clear that SA limits periphial. SA requires at least 180 degree. M requires at least 210 degrees.

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I wouldn’t recommend a motorcycle helmet, the riders heads are at a different angle than karters. They have their body down and head tilted a bit up so they kind of look up so the visors are gonna be a little higher. Where as we sit straight up, the visor is right in the middle. Im sure it would be fine to get one but I think a kart specific helmet is best.

Todd’s info is pretty much spot on.

Generally, almost every manufacturer makes a karting-specific helmet, and it’s almost always based on their SA-rated helmet, often using the exact same shell. The main difference is the Nomex interior. For example, the Arai SK-6 is the exact same shell as all their GP helmets, just has different interior fabric. The SK also has different a ventilation configuration to get more air in at the lower speeds you see in karting.

Some helmets are balanced a little differently as well for how the helmet will be worn. For example, a motorcycle helmet will sit a little differently on your head, as it’s intended to be ridden with the rider leaning forward and looking up. A karting/auto helmet will sit tilted down more, as more drivers will be sitting upright and back, looking forward.

I always prefer karting/auto helmets for karting, but plenty of people use moto helmets as well and love them equally. The main thing is making sure you’re buying a safe, proven helmet, regardless of it’s original intended use.

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Zamp also make Karting helmets, and I find them to be good quality and very well priced. I purchased one for my son and he loves it

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From years around auto racing, the biggest differences were impact ratings versus slide ratings when comparing auto (SA) to moto or kart (M/K). Auto also had fire protection. That was 20 years ago. These days with the advancement in materials, the difference between impact and slide ratings is null and has more to do with design. Eye openings and aero. SA is still only one that is fire rated. For karting all will work as long as they adhere to date range. I believe current is 15 (SA15). Also, try on the helmet before buying. Consider features like removable liners, weight, viability and of course shape. Different manufacturers have different shapes in the same size, with more or less oval crown. It can play a factor in a long race if your head is pinched front or sides. Cheaper helmets tend to be heavier to achieve the same rating.