Ever been hit in the face by a June Bug going 70 mph? Me too. (if you haven’t, you have not been riding long enough). It sucks, but it is like a small badge of honor to tell the tale. The one split my upper lip wide open; THAT was a story. Biker beard styles.
Goggles will keep them out of your eyes, face masks will keep them out of your mouth.
So if you have not had yourself a june-bug breakfast, you must not be riding enough
Because I like to wear a Half-Helmet ( or no helmet at all, depending on the laws), I started looking around for a cool face mask to go with my custom helmet; here is what I found.
The are 7 different categories of masks that you can wear on your head should you choose to protect it with a face-mask. In no particular order these are:
Custom Face Masks (we are going to put everything that does not fall into the first 6 categories here.
We’ll get into the pro’s and con’s shortly. Here is a quick visual of these types of masks:
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1- Leather Face Masks
Where do you get yourself one of these masks? Glad you asked. Check out these.
2 – Neoprene Face Masks
These are typically worn in cold weather because they have a really good wind resistance to them. One drawback to the neoprene mask is that they do not off much coverage of the neck area like a full baclava does. Aside from that, the material is suitable to be printed on so some cool designs are made with this style of face mask.
Pronounced “bal·a·cla·va” – the term comes from an early early British war referred to as the Battle of Balaclava. In short, the troops were cold and need something to protect freezing cold faces, necks, and noses. Today, these are very popular to wear while snowmobiling, skiing, and motorcycling. “If you wait for the perfect day, you will always be waiting.”
Tube style face and neck wear is more lightweight than the balaclava or neoprene mask. These are made from Polyester Microfiber that is easy to print custom designs onto. Being very small and easy to pack, I always keep a few tucked away in my bags for when I’m riding at night (bugs) and if I get caught in the rain and want to push through. They really take the edge off of that needle point rain (you know what I’m talking about if you have ever gotten caught in the rain).
Made out of a blend of cotton and usually another synthetic material, these lighter-weight mask pull a medium duty right in the middle of the balaclava and the tube style mask.
More of a “classic” look, “Harley-guys” wear these the most in not-so-favorable conditions.
Also easy to print, the styles on these are only limited by the imagination. Some have velcro added so you don’t even have to bother tying them up just right.
6- Hard Plastic Face Masks
Sometimes a 2D print on a cloth facemask just isn’t going to stand out the way that you want it to. Enter the 3D plastic mask. These started as paintball masks because of the impact resistance that they have and quickly migrated into the motorcycling world. I mean, just look at them….
7 – Custom Face Masks
The removable facemasks off of the Bell Rogue Helmet and the Shark Raw Helmet are easy to customize with a little creativity and some paint.
Summing it up.
With a face mask you are able to beat back those bat-sized June bugs in the early summer. Depending on the size and shape of your head, there is no one that is better for you than the other. Too cold, get a warmer thicker one. Too hot, pick up a tube-style thinner mask. Your just going to have to experiment and see what works for you. Besides the wind and bug defense, these will take the bite out of the next rain storm you will get caught in.
One more: The Beardski
While it’s technically not a face mask for a motorcycle (neither are the airsoft masks above), I did see a guy wearing one last spring and it looked awesome on the road. He may have beefed up the straps a little just to keep it on.
Regardless of what you choose to wear, there are plenty of different and/or unique options. For just a few bucks, I would suggest that you keep something available to throw on your ugly mug.
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Sometimes, when you can’t find anything you like on for sale, you just need to go ahead and make one for yourself.