If your helmet is going to stand a chance of protecting your head when you hit the road (in more ways than one), it needs to be firmly strapped to your head – and that’s the job of the retention system.

Some helmets use a “quick-release” retention system, which uses a ratchet mechanism to keep your helmet strapped to your chin (and, more importantly, your head).

It’s an easy system, but this post isn’t about helmets with this retention system – there’s another type known as the “D-ring retention system,” or just “D-ring” for short.

In this post, you’ll discover more about the D-ring helmet retention type. 

Specifically, you’ll discover:

  • What a “D-ring” helmet is – and where the name comes from
  • The 2 primary advantages D-ring helmets have which give them that solid edge over other helmet retention types
  • How you put on and fasten a helmet with a D-ring retention system

How D-Ring Helmets Work (And Where the Name “D-Ring” Comes From)

The first thing that might strike you about D-ring helmets is the straightforward design.

Rather than relying on a ratchet mechanism or friction, they’re secured to your head with two straps and one or two metal hoops (often made from stainless steel) shaped like the letter “D.”

And yes, you’re right – that’s how the D-ring helmet gets its name – the name comes from these D-shaped hoops.

Anyway, one of these straps is permanently fixed to the interior padding, while the other has an adjustable slider (that sometimes has a red snap-on button on the end of it) – when you pull it, it tightens the helmet to match your chin.

Does your helmet have a two-D-ring setup? Even better – then you can make tiny adjustments for an even more tight fit.

The 2 Primary Advantages of D-Ring Helmets

1. A more secure fit means more security

A secure fit is crucial for a helmet to protect your head. And with a D-ring retention system, you get more than just a secure fit – you get the secure fit-deluxe option.

Largely thanks to the D-rings themselves, the helmet can remain secured to your head firmly – much more firmly than its quick-release counterpart.

2. Less wear and tear means a more long-lasting helmet

Aside from securing your helmet better, D-ring helmets are also more reliable.

Although quick-release helmets are undoubtedly simple to put on and can still be secure, the mechanism might wear out over time.

And when it does, the quick-release helmet will not secure itself properly – in some extreme cases, it might disengage itself.

Pretty scary, right – just imagine having your helmet fly off your head when you need it the most.

This is not a problem with D-ring helmets – as long as the straps themselves aren’t chafed or one of the D-ring hoops has somehow come off (which is unlikely), you’ve got a secure setup.

Speaking of the hoops, do you remember what material they were often made from?

Stainless steel, right? Well, stainless steel is an excellent rust resistor – making it more effective in the long run.

Essentially, a D-ring retention system is something you can trust with your life.

How To Fasten A D-Ring Helmet 

Despite these advantages, the first time you go to put one on isn’t as straightforward.

I know that it wasn’t for me – the first time I went to put one of these helmets on, I needed someone else to help me – quite embarrassing.

But just like anything in life, everyone has to learn sometimes, and it all comes down to good, consistent practice.

Although I could tell you through it in text how to secure a D-ring helmet, it’s much more effective to show you with this sample video from the Motorcycle Helmet and Gear Basics – From Fitting to Washing” course:

Practice this several times until you feel comfortable strapping the helmet on.

I also highly recommend that you use a mirror while you practice – I did, and after just 4 tries of putting the helmet on and off, I could do it in as little as 30 seconds.

But knowing how to put on a D-ring helmet is just one piece of the puzzle.

To make sure you get the most out of your helmet (and other pieces of protective gear like jackets and back protectors, too), there are a few more things you must know.

For example:

  • What are the indicators that your helmet, jacket, etc. fits you?
  • Is it worth getting a racing suit?
  • How do you clean your helmets and gear? What should you use, and what should you NOT use?

Interested in discovering the answer to these questions (and many more)? Then enroll in the Motorcycle Helmet and Gear Basics – From Fitting to Washing course today.

motorcycle helmet and gear basics from fitting to washing online course image