Kuryakyn & Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Helmet Locks – Long-Term Review/Comparison
As cheap as some of my old, small Hondas were, most of them had one feature I came to like — helmet locks or helmet holders, as Honda called them.
They were simple hooks under the seat that you hung your helmet on by the retention strap D-rings, then locked the hinged saddle down over.
Ironically, most of the bigger, pricier and much newer bikes I’ve had in recent years lack this feature. Fortunately, it is possible to add an aftermarket helmet lock in most cases, but there are a couple of things to keep in mind.
I’ve used several of the helmet lock products over the years and have kept them in continuous use for several years, so we offer a long-term review comparison of two—the Kuryakyn license plate helmet lock (PN 4248) and Harley-Davidson universal helmet lock (PN 45732-86).
At first glance, the operation of the two would appear to be the same: there is a steel hook that has a locking notch on the end of it that pivots out from the base of the lock to allow the d-rings of the helmet to be placed in the lock, then it pivots to lock into the base.
There is, however a difference between the two mechanisms that would seem minor at first, but does affect the ease of use of the lock. The Kuryakyn license plate lock has a spring-loaded release mechanism that allows the key to be removed after opening the lock so the helmet can be put in place and the hook to be closed without having the key in the lock.
Just push the hook into the base and it locks without having to close the catch with the key. The Kuryakyn lock uses a bi-directional key, another minor detail that adds to ease of operation.
The H-D helmet lock, on the other hand does not have a spring-loaded mechanism, so the key — and your key fob and other keys—has to be left in the way so you can manually turn the key to the locked position.
It seems a minor point, but if you want to keep the helmet lock key on the same ring with the bike key and perhaps other keys and a fob, due to the short d-ring strap on most helmets it can make getting the helmet locked on difficult.
In addition, the H-D lock has a uni-directional key, so you have to have the key positioned the right way to get it into the lock, which can be a little tricky when the helmet is locked on and in the way when you are trying to get the key into the lock.
The H-D lock is finished in a high-quality chrome plate, and the Kuryakyn lock is finished in black paint. The finish on each has held up very well. The moving parts in the lock mechanism of each have also held up well; each gets a short squirt of WD-40 each spring and fall and that seems to keep things working very well.
Star drive fasteners are used on the Kuryakyn product, while uni-directional screws are used on the H-D product. Both style of fastener have theft prevention properties. Star drives tend not be be something the casual person carries around, making helmet theft as a crime of opportunity less likely and removal and replacement can be done with the right tools.
Uni-directional screws cannot be removed, once tightened down. Threadlocker was used during the installation of each product and neither has had anything shake loose.
Location of the lock is dictated by the design of the Kuyakyn product—back by the license plate.
The lock mechanism is on the left side of the bike away from the pipes on the Sportster, but in other instances, the helmet may hang very close to the mufflers, so care must be taken when locking a helmet on to keep it from resting on hot pipes that could damage the helmet.
The H-D lock can be located anywhere there is an appropriate sized tube such as frame or handlebar. However, consider the location carefully before putting the screws in, because once you drive the uni-directional screws, getting them out is difficult to say the least.
Some illustrations of the installation show the lock mounted on a front down-tube of the frame—right next to the front header pipe. Avoid that type of location to prevent the helmet from hanging against the hot pipes that could damage the helmet. Also, consider whether the lock will be in the way of anything else after installation.
Being able to secure your helmet to the bike is much more convenient than having to carry the helmet with you in order to prevent theft. Of course, no lock can absolutely guarantee a possession won’t be stolen, but a good helmet lock can at least reduce the likelihood of it happening.
- H-D Universal helmet lock: $27.95 (MSRP)
- Kuryakyn License Plate helmet lock with mount: $49.99 (MSRP)