Your bike helmet might be the most important piece of safety equipment that you can invest in as a cyclist. It protects your head in the case of an accident and can often be a difference-maker in preventing a serious head injury. It is important to find a high-quality bike helmet that is a good fit for your needs and the type of cycling that you do. With this said, it is important to know what to look for when buying a bike helmet.
What Should I Look for In a Bike Helmet?
What should I look for when buying a bike helmet? This is a common and highly important question that is asked by today’s cyclists. Some of the key considerations include:
Choose a Helmet That Is Comfortable and Fits Correctly
Your bike helmet must fit you correctly for it to be effective at protecting your head. To do its job, a helmet must stay in place and should not move forward and backward on the head. It should also not be too tight. You will need to determine your head circumference to know the size of helmet that you need. This can be done by using a flexible measuring tape around the largest part of your head. This is located roughly an inch over your eyebrows. Bike helmet sizes include:
- Xtra Small – Under 20 inches
- Small – 20 inches to 21.75 inches
- Medium – 21.75 inches to 23.25 inches
- Large – 23.25 inches to 24.75 inches
- Xtra Large – Over 24.75 inches
It is important to note that many lower-cost bike helmets come as a one-size-fits-all. It can be much more difficult to truly get a proper fit with these helmet options.
Consider What Level of Protection a Helmet Offers
Given the fact that a bike helmet’s primary purpose is to protect a rider’s head in the case of an accident, it is important to look at the level of protection that a helmet offers you as a cyclist. The main components of a bike helmet that allow it to protect the cyclist’s head are:
- The Outer Shell – This plastic shell makes it possible for a bike helmet to slide when an impact occurs. It also provides some protection against punctures.
- The Liner – Helmet liners are made from high-grade styrofoam known as polystyrene. This material allows the helmet to dissipate the force of an impact. It also slows the head down on impact.
While cheaper bike helmets tend to use glue to attach the liner to the outer shell, more expensive models mold the liner into it. It is also a general rule of thumb that higher-end bike helmets will be made from higher quality materials.
Consider Extra Features That You Want in a Helmet
You also want to consider whether a bike helmet offers the types of extra features that you want. Some of the extra features to consider include:
- Visor – Visors can be a highly beneficial feature to add to a helmet. They offer additional shielding from the sun which makes them a popular extra feature for mountain bikers.
- Helmet Mounts – Many cyclists want their bike helmets to have mount capability so that they can add an additional light or a camera.
- Chin Bar – Another popular additional feature that you might consider is a chin bar. This provides additional protection for your face.
- Optimal Ventilation – You want to select a helmet that has an ideal amount of ventilation. This will ensure that your head stays cool. The more vents that a helmet has, the lighter it will also feel on your head.