Bike helmets are one of the most important safety equipment in a cyclist’s gear and though most of them are certified for safety, it is important to consider a few more factors so the helmet is customised to your use case. In this blog, we break down all the steps so it’s easy to zero in on one at the market.
Consider Your Style of Bike Riding
First, narrow down the endless list of bike helmets by searching for a specific category. There are three types of bike helmets:
Road Bike Helmets
Made for racing, recreational cycling, utility riding and daily commutes, road bike helmets such as Kask Protone, Giro Synthe and Lazer Z1 MIPS are sturdy and well-ventilated but they aren’t as impact protective and do not have a visor.
Mountain Bike Helmets
Made for low-speed climbs up a steep trail and high-speed downhill riding, mountain bike helmets like Fox Proframe and Giro Manifest are exceptionally durable, impact protective with the compromise of ventilation. They do have a visor.
Gravel Bike Helmets
Made for off-roading on unpaved roads, gravel bike helmets such as the Kask Rex and 100% Altis feature the best of both worlds i.e keep the head cool like a road cycling helmet and showcase incredible strength similar to a MTB helmet.
Get the Right Fit on a Bike Helmet
Next, check off the boxes of measurement so the bike helmet can sit comfortably and effectively prevent impact injuries. Simply, take a tape measure and wrap it around the head, an inch above the brow, horizontally. Match the size to the estimated sizing range given.
If you have a rounder head and your size falls on the upper end of the fit, size up. Bike helmets usually fall in the range between 50cm to 60cm but there are bike helmets for large heads that have a greater sizing range.
If you’d like to wear your hair up in a bun or a high ponytail, find a bike helmet that has a specific gap in the back. This is usually present in bike helmets for women – they tend to be narrower too.
If you’d like to avoid a ‘mushroom head’, look for low profile bike helmets as they are made to hug the head and sit lower than a traditional bike helmet.
Look for the Safety Features
Impact protection is a helmet’s main job so make sure to factor in the safety features. Bike helmets with MIPS integrated tend to be more durable, this is especially important for road cycling helmets. Don’t forget to ensure they are certified by CPSC (USA/Canada), CE EN (Europe) or AS/NZS (Australia)
Choose the Supplementary Features
Lastly, look for bike helmets that have great ventilation – especially necessary for MTB helmets. Factor in adjustable visors, reflective accents for nighttime riding and camera or light mounts.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a bike helmet be used for more than one activity?
Yes, a bike helmet can be used for skateboarding and roller skating but it cannot be employed to ride on a motorcycle. Bike helmets are designed to handle impacts at a different angle than motorcycle helmets plus they are certified under different standards so use wisely.
How do I know my bike helmet is too small?
You’ll know your bike helmet is too small if it’s causing red marks on the forehead or hot spots on the top and back of the head. A well-fitted helmet is snug but comfortable, it does not lead to a headache or strain even after long hours on the saddle.
Is MIPS better than SPIN?
Broadly speaking, the two safety technologies work in a similar fashion. MIPS disperses rotational impact forces and POC’s SPIN does too, with the addition of reducing linear forces. They, on average, cost the same too i.e Bell Z20 MIPS is priced $199 while POC Ventral Air SPIN costs $169.
When to replace a bike helmet?
According to SNELL experts, a bike helmet must be replaced every five years as the padding starts to wear down and the head comes into direct contact with the outer shell. If the bike helmet has been involved in an accident, it must be immediately replaced even if there are no visible dents.
They say little efforts create big wins so before you go into the market and pick out a random bike helmet, jot down the head circumference, narrow down the bike helmets designed for your use case, match the fit and choose the features. There you have it, a bike helmet customised to perfection.