Commerce Content is independent of Editorial and Advertising, and if you buy something through our posts, we may get a small share of the sale. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.
There was once a time when helmets were a thing for construction workers and motorists. But time has changed, and now even cyclists use them.
The transition from not wearing headgear to using the best bike helmets means that, like motorbike riders and construction workers, cyclists need to take their safety seriously.
Because they can protect your head from impact in case of an accident, bike helmets can be the difference between a costly head injury and getting home safely.
In fact, studies by Academic shows that bike helmets have the potential to reduce bike accidents by up to 65% percent, therefore making them one of the most important bike accessories yet.
Having known just how important bike helmets are, how exactly do you choose one? Here’s a guide to help you.
- 1 1) Cost
- 2 2) Fit and Comfort
- 3 3) Type of Bike Riding
- 4 4) Weather and Terrain Condition
- 5 5) The newness of the Helmet
- 6 6) The Design of the Helmet
- 7 7) Safety Standards
Price is a crucial part of any transaction, and it plays a significant role in determining the choice of what to buy. Different manufacturers provide different prices for their helmets. Mostly, this depends on the design and the unique features of the helmet.
However, you need to remember that expensive doesn’t necessarily mean good quality. Some experts have even gone as far as to caution that an expensive helmet might not necessarily imply a good one as far as safety is concerned.
Remember, some helmets can be pricey because of factors such as increased visibility or aerodynamics to reduce air resistance. As such, you should pay more attention to the safety of the helmet first. If it’s cheap but promises safety, go with it. Otherwise, don’t buy it.
2) Fit and Comfort
At the end of the day, you want to have a helmet that fits well on your head. You want to have a helmet that can provide the comfort you need as you cruise down the road or up a hill.
To get the right fit, use a clothing tape measure to get your head circumference. Then use the measurements to buy a comfortable helmet from a near bike shop.
If you want to buy online, you can check out our guide on the best bike helmets reviews and see some of our top recommendations.
3) Type of Bike Riding
The type of riding you exercise also determines the choice of the helmet that suits you. Manufacturers design different helmets that suit different weather conditions and terrains. Here are some examples:
1. Road Bike Helmets
There are many road bike helmets out there. And they are quite popular among road bike owners.
One of the things that stands out when you compare different road bike helmet is the design. Primarily, they’re lighter and provide more than ten vents for air circulation.
They have an EPS foam lining inside, a polystyrene material that has the strength to withstand any shock from a hit. They feature plastic shells, made from polycarbonate, provide maximum shielding in the event of an accident.
2. Urban Bike Helmets
Urban helmets are quite common these days. Many commuter bike owners use them for head protection when going to work, school, shopping, or running personal errands.
Some of these commuter helmets have reflective stripes, bright colors, and company logos for night visibility.
The problem with commuter helmets is that they offer less ventilation, which makes them only suitable for occasional use. The assumption is that they don’t necessarily need many ventilation holes since you won’t use them for an extended period anyway.
3. Mountain bike helmets
Mountain bike helmets provide more safety to the back and sides of the head. They’re suitable for those who ride up and down steep terrains.
The extra effort taken to boost safety is because such riders risk more injuries than road bike riders ever do.
There’re also full-face helmets that protect not only the head but also the face. These are good for those bikers who ride downhill a lot. However, their major trade-offs are that they don’t have enough ventilation, they’re heavy, and they have little streamlining effort.
4. Triathlon Bike Helmets
We also like to call them time trial helmets. They are for riders who are in high-speed cycling. They streamline towards the back and have few large vents to boost aerodynamics by reducing air resistance.
5. Bike Helmets for Kids
Kids Bicycle Helmets are very lightweight and designed with special focus on the back and sides of the head. They also have a front that protrudes to protect the forehead, not to mention chin pads for added protection.
4) Weather and Terrain Condition
Bike accessory brand builds a different helmet for various weather conditions and terrains. Some have more colors and reflective stripes for visibility purposes while others have little vents for aerodynamics purposes or for use in rainy conditions.
It’s therefore important to determine your riding style beforehand so that you don’t end up getting one that does not suit your needs.
5) The newness of the Helmet
Sometimes, a used helmet might be available for cheap, and you can get the temptation to invest in it. However, we don’t recommend buying a second-hand helmet because the damages already caused may not be visible. For example, the inner foam might not show a crack that exists, and the seller may not recall the crash.
Even if you’re on a budget, make an effort to find a new, cheap helmet that won’t break the bank.
6) The Design of the Helmet
The standards of designing a bike helmet largely dictate having a durable shell and liner construction. However, the other design features of the helmet dictate areas that the helmet can be favorably well put to work. Below are some features that one should consider as they choose the right helmet:
- Ventilation: which weather are you most likely to cycle in? If, for example, it’s in hot weather, you would need one with more ventilators.
- Room at the back: If you have a ponytail, check if the helmet has a room for that at the back.
- Retention system: Such a system makes it possible to adjust until you get a good fit. However, it might come at an extra cost.
- Type of padding: A removable one means you can occasionally wash it, thus maintaining hygiene.
7) Safety Standards
Markets in developed countries have standards, which determine the manufacturing processes of helmets. A product that abides by such rules usually has safety ratings to assure buyers of their quality and helmet safety.
Markets in developing countries typically import such products. Be sure to look out for standards such as the European standard of EN1078, Canadian CAN-CSA-D113.2-M, Japanese’s JIS T 8134, and American’s ASTM F1952 -15.