I haven't been riding to long but the biggest difference I can find between helmet and their prices would be were they are rated for as well as the name. If you look at alot of helmets with there ratings, DOT, SNELL, and european ones, the european ones cost more but the rating is alot better. Europes tests are more strict. The name also affects the selling price, Shoei, Suomy, and Aria are at the top. I hope that answers the price question. If your looking for a good cheap first helmet look at HJC. HJC owns Shoei (or vise versa) so it is a good helmet. My current helmet is an HJC but I'm looking to replace it with something lighter and a little plusher inside. What ever you do just make sure that it is atleast DOT approved. Most if not all HJCs are both DOT and SNELL approved. I wouldn't reccomend spending big bucks on a first helmet, you will probly hit the ground a few times and scuff up your helmet, atleast I did. The best prices I've found on a helmet have been at helmetcity.com or Ebay. Just buy new.