The bike helmet. The single most important piece of protective equipment worn by cyclists. We appreciate you reading out BLOG on how to choose the best bike helmet and are excited that you're passionate about cycling. A helmet should be worn at all times while riding a bike, no matter how short or familiar the route may be. Certain cities have laws enforcing the use of a helmet and the United States enforces regulations ensuring all helmets sold meet a standard for impact protection. When shopping for a new bike helmet there are several factors to consider and selecting the right helmet can make all the difference this riding season.
Whether you're an avid cyclist or just starting out, finding a biking helmet that suits your preferences is one of the most important parts of being able to enjoy your ride. Not only can the wrong helmet prove cumbersome or uncomfortable, but wearing an improperly fitted helmet can even be dangerous should you find yourself in a crash. On the other hand, find a helmet with the right fit for your cycling discipline, and you'll be able to enjoy a safe, comfortable ride for a long time to come. Here are a few things to look for to help you find your best fitting helmet.
First, consider what kind of riding you'll be doing, as multiple design feature in biking helmets vary from application to application. As an example, here are a few differences between mountain biking helmets and road biking helmets:
Padding - Due to the rougher terrain of mountain biking and the fact that riders are more likely to fall backward than forward in MTB cycling, mountain biking helmets tend to be heavier and have more padding in the back of the helmet.
Weight and aerodynamics - Because road biking usually entails smoother surfaces and requires higher speeds, road biking helmets are often lighter and more aerodynamic. They also typically have more air vents for a more comfortable ride.
Visor and eye protection - While some riders just use a bicycle cap and sunglasses for protection, mountain biking helmets often employ a visor to keep the sun out of the rider's eyes, and some helmets that are more suited to downhill biking employ a full visor and faceguard similar to motorcycle helmets to provide facial protection as well.
Once you know what kind of helmet you'll need, the most important thing is to find one that best fits your head. To do that, first measure the circumference of your head at the widest point, which is generally about one inch above your eyebrows. The sizing specifications may vary slightly from brand to brand, but for the most part, size breakdowns are as follows:
As with shoes, different manufactures employee different helmet geometries, so be sure to try some out while at the store to make sure that the helmet fits your head shape, even if it is listed as being the right size. It should fit snugly without being annoyingly tight, and should sit flat on your head (rather than tilting back) with the foremost lip resting approximately one inch above your eyebrows for forehead protection. If you need further customized fitting options, feel free to adjust the fitting mechanism, which is often an adjustable wheel at the back of the helmet, or look for helmets that offer adjustable padding for extra custom fitting.
There are all sorts of add-ons that you could get for your biking helmet, like built-in mounts, light or action cameras, and much more, but what counts is that you find the best-fitting helmet that suits your cycling adventures, and that you enjoy a safe ride that goes the distance.
1. Proper Fit
Ensure your new helmet fits properly. Poor fit can compromise protection and cause discomfort. Helmets come in different sizes and many feature adjustment modulation within sizing to achieve a precise and effective fit.
2. Match Your Riding Style
Helmets come in different styles with features designed for specific riding styles. While any style helmet will protect you, the right style helmet will offer benefits in addition to protection that make the ride more enjoyable. We can break down bike helmets into three basic categories:
Recreational Bike Helmets are suited for casual riding. They come in at an economical price point while still offering basic impact protection.
Road Bike Helmets are the lightest weight, well ventilated, and the most aerodynamic options.
Mountain Bike Helmets tend to offer improved coverage of the rear/side of the head due to the increased probability of crashing. In addition these are well ventilated, often feature visors, and come in both half shell (traditional) and full-face options.
3. Technology & Features
Helmets are coming out with new technology each year. Designed to be lighter, cooler, more aerodynamic all while still providing the impact protection necessary for the rider. Helmets are coming with built-in mounts for lights and action cameras. Magnetic buckles have become popular for their ease of use while wearing gloves and their ability to stay buckled during impact. These types of features will increase the price point of the helmet, but many riders outweigh the benefits of modern features over the price of the helmet.
Cleaning your helmet is a great idea, especially during the hot season when you sweat the most. Here's three tips on helmet care to help you get the most out of your bike helmet this season.
1. Do not use chemicals to clean your helmet. Manufacturers recommend the use of mild soapy water and a soft cloth. It's common to remove the liner pads and wash them should the pads begin to smell or look discolored.
2. Keep your helmet stores in a cool, dry place. Avoid the attic, garage, trunk of your car or any area where heat is excessive as this can compromise the integrity of the helmet materials. A heat-damaged helmet should never be worn, signs of this can be seen as bubbling, cracking, or discoloration.
3. Avoid loaning your helmet to anyone, especially if it's a helmet you regularly rely on for safety. You need to know where your helmet has been and what's happened to it in order to confidently put your trust in the piece of equipment.