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There are various types of motorcycle helmets, and they each provide differing levels of protection. Not surprisingly, the level of protection each helmet provides is inversely proportional to the comfort that they afford, so you will want to choose your helmet based on a combination of protection and comfort.
Half helmets cover just the upper part of the head, and do not descend any lower than the tops of the ears. These are generally the most comfortable helmets because they provide the most freedom of movement to the head and neck regions. Full-face helmets are more constricting, but unlike half-helmets, they cover the entire head and provide extremely good protection against road hazards and accidents.
While they are a bit uncomfortable, this added protection is well worth the cost. Some helmet models are modular, meaning that the front faceplate flips up, allowing the rider to see better when stopped and provides better adjustment of the helmet. All in all, full-face helmets provide much better protection than half-helmets, but at a reduced comfort level.