Bicycle Helmet Guide - Why Should You Need One

Bicycle Helmet Guide: Why Should You Need One.

This article discusses bicycle helmets and why you need one in 2021. Learn which are the best bicycle helmet that is currently available in the market.

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Why are bicycle helmets important, how do bike helmets protect us, what are the different types of bicycle helmets that are available, how to wear a helmet properly, are there any standards for bicycle helmets, which are the best bicycle helmet to buy; these are the questions that should come into your mind before buying a helmet.

As you see, there is a lot to know when it comes to choosing the best bike helmet for yourself.

You need to understand what type of helmet you need, how to choose one that perfectly fits you and different safety standards that comes along with it.

Wearing a cycle helmet will protect your head in the event of a crash or an accident.

This protection can prevent superficial bumps and bruises and even serious brain injury.

So how a piece of plastic that you wear could save your life?

The foam in the helmet crushes when you hit hard on the road. This cushions the blow and usually saves your brain.

The shell makes it skid on the street, so your neck does not get jerked.

A helmet is just a piece of plastic if you don’t know how to wear them properly (most people still don’t know).

So before we go further into the topic, let’s start from the beginning, shall we?

How does a bicycle helmet work?

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How a helmet saves your life, let’s see.
When you hit your head, the hard outer shell spreads the impact over a wide area.

The whole of the soft inner liner then absorbs the energy evenly so there is minimal damage to your head.

Without the helmet, the entire impact would be focused on a small region of your head, which may lead to a fractured skull and possible brain damage.

In a lab test, graphs of the impact energy the brain see look like this, with a smooth curve extending over 6ms for the good helmet.

bicycle helmet test result 1
source:helmets.org

This figure shows a huge spike for a bare head. About halfway up that spike, is where the permanent brain damage begins.

bicycle helmet test result 2
source:helmets.org

It can be a life-saver for children. Tests on children’s bicycle helmets show that helmets offer up to 87% reduction on the acceleration experienced by the skull during impact.

So, now you know the benefits of wearing a helmet, now let’s see what are they made off.

What are cycle helmet made off

What are cycle helmet made off

Most cycle helmets are made from expanded polystyrene foam with an outer layer of thin, hard plastic.

The foam absorbs the force of any impact, often resulting in cracking.

As you already know, cycle helmets are not designed to take repeated blows, so even if there is little visible damage after an impact, the helmet should be replaced.

Most manufacturers offer a crash replacement discount.

Protective Parts of a Bicycle Helmet

Shell

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Shell is the outermost part of a helmet, the layer which takes all the force on impact.

It plays a big tole in helmet’s weight, shape and price. It can be made from various materials:
Polycarbonate
Fiberglass or composite fibre
Carbon fibre or Kevelar

Fiberglass is one of the most popular materials used in a helmet as it is hard and long-lasting.
Carbon fibre or Kevlar is a robust and lightweight material.

Usually, the shell has a coating of paint the reflects heat to ensure that it is comfortable as well.

EPS Liner

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EPS or Expanded Polystyrene is a thick, high-density foam the forms the second layer of your helmet.

It cushions your head and adds better protection from impact.

They are fitted on the inside of the shell. An important part of the helmet that is designed to absorb all kinds of shocks, from minor to dangerous ones.

You may know that rotational force can also cause brain damage. As a result, many cycle helmet manufactures have developed a wide range of technologies with a different name.

If you are a frequent rider or is someone who wants a piece of mind will riding, you may want to opt for some of these technologies.

MIPS: Multi-directional Impact Protection System technology is found on helmets from several brands.

It features a low-friction layer that redirects rotational effects by allowing the impact-absorbing foam liner to rotate slightly during an impact.

WaveCel: This technology found on some Bontrager helmets features a honeycombed liner material that is engineered to create a sophisticated “crumple zone” that absorbs primary impact forces and rotational energy from an impact.

SPIN: Shearing Pads Inside is found on POC helmets, features silicone-injected pads in a structure that moves inside the shell to redirect rotational forces during an impact.

Types of Helmet

Types of bike Helmet

For a city cycling, a mid-range helmet will suffice. It will have to be robust enough to take knock and scrapes as you carry around.

A basic mountain biking helmet would be fine but not so expensive so that you won’t be heartbroken if stolen or lost.

Road Racing

Ventilation and weight are the key criteria if you want to buy a helmet for your road bike. Most of the top range road cycling helmets are light, under 250 grams.

Mountain Biking

These offer more coverage, extending further down the back of the head and around the sides. Downhill bikers often war full-face helmets for extra protection.

Bicycle Helmet Size

Bicycle Helmet Size

When choosing a bike helmet, a good fit is vital because a loose fit can actually compromise effectiveness in a crash.

Since you will be wearing the helmet most of the time, so comfort should be the main factor while choosing a helmet.

Bicycle Helmet Size Chart

To find your head circumference, wrap a flexible tape measure around the largest portion of your head, that is one inch above your eyebrows.

If you don’t have a tape, wrap a string around your head, then measure the length of string with a yardstick.

Bicycle Helmet Size Chart For Adults

 XSSMLXLMen (One Size)Women (One Size)
In Inches20" – 21.75"21.75" – 23.25"23.25" – 24.75"24.75" +21.25" – 24"19.75" – 22.5"
In Centimetres51 cm51 cm – 55 cm55 cm – 59 cm59 cm – 63 cm63 cm+54 cm – 61 cm50 cm – 57 cm

Bicycle Helmet Size Chart For Children

 ToddlerS/MM/LOne Size
In Inches18.5" - 20.5"20.5" - 22.5"22.5" - 23.75"18" - 22.5"
In Centimetres47 cm - 52 cm52 cm - 57 cm57 cm - 60 cm46 cm - 57 cm

Note: The size number above varies slightly among helmet brands, so always double-check head circumference on the size you are considering.

If you are between two sizes, go with the smaller size. A good-fitting helmet should be snug but not annoyingly tight.

How to Adjust a Bike Helmet

How to Adjust a Bike Helmet

First, adjust the tightness. Many helmets have an adjustment wheel that you can open fully to put the helmet on your head and then twist until you get a snug fit.

Next buckle and tighten the chain strap. The straps should form a V as they rest under each ear. If they don’t from a comfortable V, adjust the buckle under each ear until they do.

With the chain strap buckled, open your mouth wise. The helmet should press against the top of your head as you do so. If not, tighten the strap a little and repeat. Just don’t over tighten the strap until it’s uncomfortable.

 

You could also read my advice on how to wear a bicycle helmet properly on Gear Patrol.

Bike Helmet Care

Bicycle Helmet Guide: Why Should You Need One 4

Avoid using chemical solvents to clean bike helmets. Usually manufacturers recommend only the use of a soft cloth or sponge, plus mild soap and water. Remove pads may be washed.

Do not store helmet in a garage, or car trunk or other places where heat can accumulate. Excessive heat may cause bubbles to form on helmet parts. Do not war heat-damaged helmet.

Avoiding loading your helmets to others. You always want to know exactly what kind of use your helmet has experienced during its lifespan.

When to replace a bike helmet

Bike helmets are designed to absorb a single impact/blow, so always assume that a helmet involved in any type of accident is damaged.

And if you are lucky enough (crash-free), you should replace your helmet after five years. Pollution, UV light, and weather may weaken key components over time.

Best Bicycle Helmet

Thousand Heritage- Best Helmet for Urban Committing

Thousand Heritage- Best Helmet for Urban Committing


Want a great looking, comfortable helmet for your daily commute? I know most of the commuters or urban cyclist refuse to wear their helmet because they think it makes look lame

Thousand Heretigae bike helmet has a clean and sleek design; it comes with 8 attractive colors. It also features 7 vents that will prevent you from seating too much and make you look good even when you take the helmet off.

Thanks to the injection-molded construction and a dual-fastening system, you will be safe from any impact of a crash.

Giro Scamp Youth Recreational- Best Helmet For Kids

Giro Scamp Youth Recreational- Best Helmet For Kids

You kids deserve as much protection as you, if not even more. A kids helmet should have all the technology and functionality of a helmet that is intended for adults.

The Giro Scamp is outfitted with MIPS technology and placed in an in-mold polycarbonate shell with EPS Liner. Therefore, it provides plenty of protection from the severest of crashes.

Kali Maraka XC- Best Bicycle Helmet for XC

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The Kali Protectives Maraka is the perfect choice for long and tiring XC rides. It is made with the Composite Fusion Plus technology, which is intended to lower the weight and increase the strength of a helmet.

The helmet is made by combining carbon fiber, fiberglass, and polycarbonate materials.

It also features anti-microbial pads, a break-away vision, bug liner locking, buckle, and sliders.

The integrated airflow system featuring 25 vents will keep your head cool and prevent your neck from getting turned and sore during long-cross-country rides.

Bern FL-1 XC- Best XC Helmet For Women

Bern FL-1 XC- Best XC Helmet For Women


Bern FL-1 is one of the best women’s XC bicycle helmets out there. Its structure is made from a combination of in-mold polycarbonate and EPS foam which absorbs and dissipates the blow of an impact directed at your head.

The premium Boa dial adjustment system gets the perfect fit and thus get the most protection. It’s called Boa because it wraps around your head and does not let go, like a Boa snake.

Bell Sixer MIPS- Best Enduro-Style Cycling Helemt

Bell Sixer MIPS- Best Enduro-Style Cycling Helemt

If you are a person who goes for the trails, then Bell Sized helmet is the model you should be considering. It features the well known MIPS technology, so your head and brain will be better protected in case of rotational impacts.

The Bell Sized MIPS helmet provides a snug enduro-style fit, google-compactible design, and a strap gripper at the rear end of the helmet.

This model also offers three-way adjustability (height, pad width, and tension), so no matter what, you will easily find the right fit. It also comes with as many as 26 vents, so it’s ideal for warm, humid days.

Giro Saga- Best Women's Road Bike Helmet

Giro Saga- Best Women's Road Bike Helmet

Giro Saga is one of the most popular women’s road bike helmets out there. It features a beautiful design that perfectly matches the design of your road bike.

It provides more than enough protection for you thanks to the in-mold design and MIPS technology, which reduces the risk of injuries caused by multi-directional forces.

Roc Loc adjustment system which is simple to operate gives you a perfect fit and keeps the helmet firmly on your head even during high-speed crashes. It also comes with as many as 22vents, so it’s ideal for warm, humid days.

Giro Aerohead- Best Aero/TT Helmet

Bicycle Helmet Guide: Why Should You Need One 6

This helmet will make you faster and save you some precious watts. This Aero?TT helmet is made from an in-mold polycarbonate shell with an EPS liner that absorbs the impact from all sides and keeps your head safe.

It has 4 wind tunnel vents that facilitate aerodynamics while still preventing your head from boiling. This helmet also comes with a vision that can be attached and detached in seconds thanks to a magnetic lens anchor attachment system.


According to a US study, helmets cut the risk of severe traumatic brain injury by half, when ridders suffer a brain injury. The report, in the American Journal of Surgery, also concluded that riders with helmets were 44% less likely to die from their injury.

Also, they were 31% less likely to break facial bones.

There is no doubt helmets cannot resist substantial impact and cannot save everyone. Nevertheless, common sense suggests surrounding your head with some degree of protection must offer some cushioning from a head impact. Neurological studies support this view.

So it is better to buy a helmet right now, than feeling sorry later.

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