No matter what biking activity you prefer, one thing is for certain: a quality bike helmet is essential every time you ride.
While it wasn’t as mandatory or common back in the day to wear intensely protective helmets (usually just a cap of Styrofoam would do) the importance of truly protective and powerful bicycle helmets are becoming even more necessary in the modern era.
Picking the best bike helmet can be tricky since there are so many different styles and brands available these days. However, there are a few key characteristics that can help you decipher which brands truly stand out from the others.
Head shape, personal preference, riding style and key features are aspects you should look out for. Let’s dive into these key attributes in more detail so that you can shop for your bike helmet with more confidence and professionalism!
Considerations When Purchasing Your New Bike Helmet
Whether you’re shopping for mountain bike helmets or road bike helmets, the key elements you should be looking for remain the same.
By looking out for these five key characteristics, you’ll be able to ride faster, more confidently and of course, more safely. A helmet is the most important part of bike riding, so your purchases should show it!
Helmet Safety Standards
Every bike helmet sold in the US is required to meet the minimum safety standard of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), by law.
While there are other certifying organizations that still exist such as Snall, ASTM, and CE, these are not required, however they can help legitimize bicycle helmets even more.
If you’re shopping online for a helmet to beat some hefty costs, it should be noted that other countries do not use the CPSC standard, however they use others that are similar. You should look out for these when shopping.
Most standards and certifications follow protocols that are quite similar. The bike helmet must be secured onto a head form that provides measurement of g-force (G) measurement upon impact once being dropped at one to two meters.
Permanent head injuries happen at 400 Gs and unconsciousness including possible neurological issues happens at 300 Gs.
Proper certifications will also check for helmet straps, stability and amount of head coverage.
Bike Helmet Fit
Proper helmet fit equals proper safety.
Determining the proper helmet fit is up to you. Bike helmet molds differ from one manufacturer to another, which is the reason why some bike helmets will fit better than others.
While it’s difficult to tell right away if a helmet fits properly or not, there are some tricks to help you make the right decision.
First, the inside part of the helmet should touch your entire head and be stationed level, right above the brow. Also, bike straps should be just tight enough to ensure the bike helmet moves no more than one inch.
Lastly, any ring system or adjustment system should be tightened enough so that your scalp moves along with the helmet.
Check out this video for more fitting tips!
Bike Helmet Materials
While there are many different shapes and tensioning systems, features and vents, the most important aspect of your bike helmet is the foam liner between the outside shell and your head.
These liners are made of polystyrene beads that push around energy of impacts to help slow the stop of your head.
These beads can be adjusted to a specific density in order to match the application — softer beads for slow impacts and harder for higher.
Keep this in mind when shopping for your bike helmet.
Bike Helmet Ventilation
These ventilation areas are places on the helmet specifically to bring air in and funnel it towards exits, thereby cooling the system.
If your helmet has larger front vents, it more likely has a better ability to cool.
The reason why cooling is important is because your helmet’s ability to protect your head determines how cool it is. Increased ventilation with larger or more air ports actually needs a denser foam which may result in greater impact. In this case, more isn’t better.
Now that you’ve narrowed down your choices, it’s time to choose the absolute best helmet based on key features that will truly make it an enjoyable and long-lasting bike helmet.
First, make sure the bike helmet has a chin bar that can be removed. Also, your bike helmet should have lens compatibility. Most high-quality helmets work with glasses, but some may not. Make sure to bring your glasses or goggles to try on at the store when deciding.
Take Your Time to Choose the Best Bike Helmet
Even though a quality bike helmet is vital to your safety and peace of mind, the process of choosing and purchasing a bike helmet doesn’t have to be strenuous.
By taking note of these key characteristics and tips, you’ll be able to shop like a pro and be in and out of the store with an awesome, reliable and sleek looking bike helmet in no time!