How to Choose a Bicycle Helmet?

How to Choose a Bicycle Helmet?

One of the best ways to protect yourself while cycling is to wear a helmet. However, there is a lot in terms of models and brands to choose from. It is also important to remember that not everybody has the same size head. With all of this in mind, how do you go about choosing the right bicycle helmet for you?

When choosing a bicycle helmet you need to get the right size. The helmet must never be too loose or too tight. Then you also need to make sure that the helmet has passed the standards set out by certain associations. Finally, you need to make sure that the helmet fits properly and is comfortable.

In this article, we are going to talk about almost every factor that you need to consider when buying a bicycle helmet. Unfortunately, this article is not really aimed at the look of a helmet because that is something that is subjective. As an added bonus, we will give you what we consider to be the safest helmet. So, let’s get into it.

Bicycle Helmet

Make Sure The Helmet Fits Properly

The first thing that we are going to talk about is the fit of any potential bike helmet that you get. The fit of a bicycle can play so many different roles. From comfort to safety, getting a bicycle helmet that fits properly is extremely important.

The helmet should not be loose. If the helmet is loose it will not be very comfortable as it could cause itching and chafe when it moves around a lot. Also, if a helmet is too loose, it won’t be as efficient at absorbing any impact if you were to fall. A helmet should be on firm enough so that it breaks when you fall.

It should not be tight. In terms of comfort, if the helmet is too tight it will be uncomfortable. It could also end up giving you headaches and make you feel dizzy. You also do not want the helmet to be exerting any added pressure on your head if you fall.

When you put your helmet on, this is a rule that I want you to follow: The helmet should feel a little bit loose but when you shake your head, it should not move much. 

The straps should have a little bit of play but you should not be able to fit more than two fingers in between your chin and the strap. If you can fit more than 2 fingers that means it is too loose.

 

This Is How You Size A Bicycle Helmet

Before we finish off with this section, I just wanted to take some time to give you a brief overview of how you size a bicycle helmet. This is just in case you decide to buy your helmet online. It is important to remember that some brands size their helmets differently and we cannot account for that

You need to start off by measuring your head. You can do this with a standard fabric measuring tape. Here’s what to do:

  • Use a standard fabric measuring tape.
  • Start on your forehead, just above your eyebrows, and below your hairline. 
  • Wrap the tape around your head but aim slightly down so that the tape goes just above your ears.
  • Make sure that you wrap the tape around the little bump at the back of your head. 
  • Try and do this in centimeters. 

Here is a quick bicycle helmet size chart

Head Size in CM Recommended Helmet Size
52 to 56 cm Small
57 to 60 cm Medium
61 to 64 cm Large

 

Get A Good Quality Helmet

This might seem pretty obvious. However, there are some guidelines that I feel are important to point out. So, let’s get into it.

Every country has its own standards associations. The most common ones for helmets in the USA and Canada are ASTM, CPSC, ANSI, Snell, ASTM, and/or CSA. You should know what yours is if you live outside of North America.

To pass the requirements set out by these associations, a few helmets will be randomly selected. They will then be put through rigorous tests to determine if they meet the standards. 

To tell whether or not a helmet that you are interested in meets these requirements, you should look for a sticker that has the acronym for one of those associations. 

As long as a bicycle helmet meets those requirements, you can be sure that the helmet should offer you some protection if something bad ever happens to you while cycling.

Please note that just because a bicycle helmet is more expensive than another one, it does not necessarily mean it offers more protection. It might just be more efficient at doing some things than the cheaper helmets.

 

A comfortable Helmet Is Important

When we spoke about the fit of a bicycle helmet, we put quite a big emphasis on comfort. With that in mind, the comfort of a helmet is a little bit more complex than just the fit. 

The inner lining plays one of the most important roles when it comes to how comfortable the helmet is. In fact, it is so important that we are going to discuss the inner lining in-depth and we are going to talk about the different types of materials.

We are also going to talk about the straps. The straps are something that gets overlooked a lot. However, if you buy a helmet with low-quality straps, you might find that it scratches and chafes your chin.

The Inner Lining

The inner lining of your helmet plays an important factor in regards to its overall comfort. Yes, some materials are better than others and in this section, we are going to talk about the best materials for inner linings. 

EPS is currently the best in terms of comfort. It has also shown that it is effective at providing protection and safety. EPS stands for “Expanded polystyrene”. It is soft and comfortable.

The Importance Of The Straps

Earlier in this article, we spoke about how the straps of a helmet should fit and how if they do not fit properly, they could cause some irritability, especially on longer bike rides. We also need to mention that the quality of what the strap is made from also plays an important factor.

You want to feel the strap and hope that it is not too abrasive. You also get “vented” straps which is great for riders who cover a lot of mileage. If you are buying your helmet online, check the reviews. Normally, if people have a bad experience with the straps, it will be one of the 1st complaints.

 

Get The Right Helmet For Your Needs

Everybody uses their bicycles in different ways for different things. Some people use their bikes as their main mode of transportation for their commute back and forth from work. Others use their bikes for recreation. Regardless of how you use your bike, you need to get a helmet that suits your needs.

You also need to factor in where you live. If you live in a hot and humid area, you want to get a helmet that has a good amount of breathability. However, if you live in a cold area, you want the helmet to offer at least a little bit of warmth.

Then you need to consider what kind of mileage you do on your bicycle. If you are cycling between 20 and 30 miles every other day, you don’t want a helmet that is heavy, you also don’t want one that is going to not help in preventing perspiration. 

Only you know what your needs are and how much you use your bicycle. You need to take a hard look at your needs, write them down, and choose a helmet based on that.

Breathability

We already touched on readability briefly. However, it is something that constantly gets brought up when we are talking to people about helmets. 

If you wear a helmet that does not have good airflow, you will find that you will start to become uncomfortable the minute you start sweating. This is because the helmet will trap heat and moisture.

Because the helmet traps the moisture, it will also not be as efficient at drying out when you take it off. See, these are just a few complaints that people bring to our attention when discussing helmets. So, now that you know about these, you can go out and get a helmet knowing that you should try and avoid this problem.

 

Make Sure That Your Helmet Is Visible To Motorists

When discussing almost anything, I always like to think about safety. It is so important and a lot of times, people tend to overlook it. This is especially true when it comes to minor things such as visibility. I say “minor” but in reality, being visible to motorists is probably one of the most important things you can do when cycling.

You can either select a helmet that is reflective or you can choose a helmet that has bright colors. 

  • The best way to be visible to motorists is to have a helmet with some reflective properties. I understand that this is not always possible.
  • If you cycle a lot at night you want to get a white helmet. 
  • if you cycle during the day, you want to get maybe a red color just so that motorists can see you clearly.

If you want to get a reflective helmet but cannot find one, don’t worry because there are a few aftermarket reflective straps that you can place on your helmet. Now, this actually gives you a chance to be quite creative. Don’t just go sticking reflective straps over the helmet and especially, you should never cover the holes that allow for airflow.

Take your time and cut the straps so that you have at least some reflective straps in the front and the back of the helmet as well as on the sides.

 

Are Cheap Bicycle Helmets Safe?

In this article, we have touched on certain standards that bicycle helmets should meet in order to achieve quality assurance. Now, as long as your helmet meets those standards, it should offer a good amount of protection.

Although some helmets are cheap, most of the time they do offer the same protection that an expensive bicycle helmet will offer. Most companies will not sacrifice the safety features of the helmet. 

So, with that said, you might find that cheap helmets might not be as comfortable, they might not feel as premium, and the quality of the materials used in their build is not as good as expensive ones but at the end of the day, if protection is your priority,cheaper helmets should be no problem.

With all of that being said, a cheap helmet is better than no helmet at all. So, if you can only afford a certain helmet, you should definitely get one.

 

Are Walmart Bike Helmets Safe?

Walmart is known to sell a wide variety of goods. Oftentimes you might find that these are not the most expensive goods, especially when it comes to things like bike helmets. However, if you do your research, you will find some really good quality brands at Walmart. 

So, if there is a Walmart close to you and you are looking for a bike helmet, there is absolutely no harm in going out and having a look at their range or selection.

 

Do You Legally Have To Wear A Helmet When Cycling?

This is another question that we get asked a lot. In fact, when it comes to the legality of anything, people like to ask this question. I must admit, I am not a huge fan of trying to answer this because the answer differs depending on what state or country you live in.

Generally, in most states and countries, it is not illegal to cycle without a helmet. I will say that just because cycling without a helmet in your state or country is not illegal, it does not mean that you should not wear a helmet. 

You cannot predict what motorists and pedestrians are going to do on the road. So, even though you are an aware cyclist who is skilled enough to get themselves out of most situations, you don’t want to gamble with what other people are going to do.

 

What Is The Safest Bike Helmet?

I did mention that safety is very important to me. In this section, we are going to try and determine what the safest bicycle helmet is. So, here is our safest bicycle helmet you should buy right now, at least in my experience.

Giro Aether Spherical Adult Road Bike Helmet

Giro Aether Spherical Adult Road Bike Helmet: $225 to $380

This unisex, lightweight, and durable helmet contains a technology called MIPS. This is an advanced technology that offers superior protection and is focused on protecting your brain. The MIPS technology works by redirecting any impact away from critical parts of your head.

It offers omnidirectional protection and it allows you more play in terms of how much you can move your head while wearing the helmet. It also offers great ventilation just in case you do a lot of mileage.

Some reviewers have stated that this helmet has saved their lives. Others have complemented its comfort and breathability.

 

Conclusion

Wow, that article was a lot to get through. Who would have thought that such a small object can require such thorough thought? To close this article off, I just want to place one last emphasis on your safety. Remember to look after yourself while cycling, be aware of your surroundings, and just wear a helmet.