The ECE 22.06 Helmet Standard Explained

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The new ECE 22.06 helmet safety standard is here to improve helmet safety. This is done by ensuring manufacturers helmets are subjected to more thorough and stringent tests before they can be sold to the public.

But before we get onto ECE 22.06 and the way it differs from ECE 22.05 – what is an ECE standard?  Administered by the UN, ECE standards (or regulations) are designed to create a uniform system of safety regulations. This is to ensure all helmets sold within the EU comply to a specific safer standard.

How is ECE 22.05 different to ECE 22.06

ECE 22.05 replaced the old BS helmet standard and has been around since 2000. So it’s pretty fair to say an upgrade was only a matter of time!  As new materials, technologies and science arrives, it can help to make better, more protective motorcycle helmets. ECE 22.06 helps to increase the standard and ensure we can purchase helmets with the highest levels of protection available.

ECE 22.06 first emerged in 2020, there are some new helmets already in the market that conform to the new standard, but as of January 2024 all new helmets to go on sale must conform to ECE 22.06. Do not worry if you are still wearing a ECE 22.05 approved helmet, as these will still be both legal and safe to use.

So as more and more ECE 22.06 helmets start to appear on the market, we thought it would be good to have a brief look at what’s involved in the new standards and how they differ from the previous ECE 22.05 standards.

The main changes in the standards are split between more stringent impact tests (which include a new rotational impact test) and more focus on other areas, such as flip-front helmet testing, visors, internal sun visors and even helmet accessories such as intercoms!

Impact Tests

When the impact testing is carried out – the helmet is filled with a head form and dropped onto a range of hard test surfaces at a set speed to replicate flat surfaces or kerbstones etc, measuring the linear force. For ECE 22.06, this linear test has changed, and as well as the 7.5 m/s speed used in the previous standard, a high-speed test of 8.2 m/s is now also carried out, along with a slow speed test of 6 m/s to replicate secondary impacts.

The slow speed test was added as research shows some helmets are made super stiff to cope with high-speed impacts, but they cannot deform enough at slower speeds to absorb the impact.  The number of impact points per helmet has also increased from 6 to 18, ensuring the shells must be a lot more advanced than in the past.  The chin bar impact test speed has also been raised from 5.5 m/s to 6 m/s and visors too, now have a new impact test where a 6mm steel ball is fired at them at 60 m/s to ensure protection from flying stones etc.

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The new impact test that has been included for this new standard is an oblique impact test, which measures how much rotational force the helmet can absorb, before its passed onto your brain. This test replicates a “glancing” blow scenario, such as a kerb, speed bump or car bonnet etc where the forces can inflict serious brain injuries in an accident. This test also includes the fitting of any original manufacturer extras, such as intercoms etc, which can increase rotation if they get caught. 

To combat these rotational forces, a lot of helmet manufacturers have already started to smooth out the outer shells of current helmets and look for a more rounded shape to avoid excessive rotational forces.  Arai has been one of the main brands to study this over the years with their R75 helmet shape.

Flip Helmets

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Flip helmets for ECE 22-05 were only subject to a rear to front roll off test, but for 22.06, they will now have to pass a reverse roll off test from front to rear, a roll off test in the open face position and an impact test to with the chin bar in both open and closed positions.

Visors & Accessories

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Outer visors will all be subject to the new penetration test we mentioned earlier but will also be tested optically with a pinlock fitted as well to ensure vision isn’t distorted – as well as a new anti-scratch test.  One little gem for some from these new tests is that road legal tinted visors can now be made slightly darker to reduce the amount of light transmitted through them!  

Internal sun shields will also be tested for light transmission, diffraction, tint and anti-scratch properties.


It can get a little confusing when things change and this is certainly no different, but we feel the new standard is a good thing. However, there is no need to panic if your current helmet is 22.05, or if you need to replace it now and cannot find or afford a 22.06 version. ECE 22.05 helmets are still legal to ride in and can still be legally sold by retailers in the UK – even after ECE 22.06 comes into effect in January 2024. If you think about how many 1000’s of helmets are on the shelves in the UK today, it may be a while until you see all helmets on the shelves 22.06 certified.

In all reality, the updated ECE regulations must be a good thing for rider safety and ensures we will get better, safer helmets to wear from now on.

Some current helmets that are ECE 22.06 approved

Arai Quantic

Arai RX-7V Evo


Shark Spartan RS

Shoei NXR2

Shoei X-SPR Pro

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