Whether you’re going for a short ride or a super-long ride – don’t sit on your bike without a quality helmet.
In most situations, a helmet can save your life and prevent serious injuries in the case of a crash or collision. Therefore, you shouldn’t only need to have a bike helmet, but you should also know how to choose a bike helmet properly.
In this post, I’ll be showing you the easiest ways to choose a bike helmet, learn what’ important when it comes down to the helmet choice – and even how to properly fit your helmet so you stay protected as much as possible.
I believe this is a post every cyclist should read – so cut no corners, take some time, and you’ll thank me later!
When to Replace a Bike Helmet?
It’s most likely many of you already have their bike helmets – but the most common question is when should you actually replace a bike helmet?
In case of a crash where your helmet was put under stress or even has visible damage – helmet should be immediately replaced.
Because, even if there’s no visible damage on the outside, helmet’s structure could’ve been damaged and weakened. And when you would need the helmet the most, it might not be as durable & safe the next time.
But what if you were lucky enough and your helmet wasn’t involved in an accident?
In this case, a bike helmet should be replaced every 3 years. Depending on the wear & use of your helmet, you might want to do it sooner – but never later than 3 years.
Therefore, let’s get straight into the help guide that will help you choose a bike helmet even if you’re purchasing your first helmet ever!
How to Choose a Bike Helmet & Even Purchase One Online
Even though there are many different helmet brands and helmet types & styles, the process is very simple as long as you know what you should look into.
Here’s the list of the most important things to look for:
- Helmet Type
- Helmet Size
- Fit System
- Ventilation & Cooling
The first thing you should do even before you start browsing the stores is to find out which helmet type would you need.
This is very simple and it will mostly depend on the cycling discipline you’re into the most. Therefore, here are the 3 most common helmet types:
These are pretty self-explanatory – but what you should know is that there are plenty of subtypes to these 3 main helmet types.
If you’ve watched professional cycling – you must have noticed the very ergonomic aero helmets used for the time trial. That’s just one subtype of road bike helmets.
Remember that one time you saw a mountain bike who participated in a downhill discipline and he had a full-face helmet? This type of helmet is just one of a couple of subtypes of mountain bike helmets.
But if you can’t make a decision and you’re enjoying both road and mountain biking – a recreational bike helmet might be a great decision.
Most people think that in order to fit & purchase a helmet – you have to do it in-store and definitely try it out. This approach isn’t wrong – but it’s not the most correct approach you can take.
The correct way to properly fit a helmet is to first measure your head. This is best done with a flexible tape measure. Aim to measure the size of the head circumference.
Then, you should look at the sizing chart provided by the manufacturer to find out which size fits you the best.
This can help you find a helmet that will fit your perfectly without even trying it out before the purchase. Needless to say, this is ideal for purchasing your helmet online. Every cyclist knows that cycling equipment is almost always cheaper online due to the discounts.
Helmets come in 6 different sizes which are:
- Extra Small – below 51 cm (20″)
- Small – 51 to 55 cm (20″ – 21.70″)
- Medium – 55 to 59 cm (21.70″ to 23.20″)
- Large – 59 to 63 cm (23.20″ to 24.70″)
- Extra Large – above 63 cm (24.70″)
- One Size Fits All – comes with a highly adjustable fit system
Every helmet has its own fit system – and depending on the quality of the helmet, it will provide a different level of fit system support.
If you decide to go for a one size fits all bike helmet – you’ll have a highly adjustable fit system that will feature plenty of adjustable points to fit the helmet to your head.
Therefore, you should fit your helmet by adjusting the following points:
- Tightness – located at the back of the helmet
- Chin strap – buckle it up and tighten it up making the straps comfortable around your ears
- Test the tightness – open your mouth wide. If helmet presses your head, untighten the straps a bit
The tighter fitted helmet doesn’t provides better security. You should aim for both decent tightness and comfort.
Ventilation & Cooling
Depending on your location, you might be riding in really hot weather. If this is the case, you’d want to look into the ventilation system of the helmet of your choice.
Depending on the brand and model of a helmet, it will come with vents that will overflow over your head and make you cooler throughout the ride.
Also keep in mind, the more vents you have – the lighter will the helmet be, but no worries, this doesn’t affect the durability.
The helmet is made to provide safety – and it does so in two ways. Helmet consists of a plastic shell (the outer of the helmet) and liner (inner part of the helmet).
The plastic shell is made to provide puncture resistance but also to allow the helmet to slide on impact (in order to protect your head & neck).
The liner is usually made with an expanded polystyrene foam which has a role of slowing the forces down but also scatter impact forces.
The more expensive helmets introduce better materials and better safety systems. Therefore, helmet is one thing you shouldn’t save your money on!
Additional Things to Consider
Even though there is a sizing chart for each helmet you will purchase – you should keep in mind that all charts are provided by the manufacturers. Therefore, charts will vary from helmet to helmet.
It’s very common to find yourself in between the size of the helmet sizing chart. Should you go for the smaller or larger size then?
If you’re in doubt – always go with a smaller helmet because you will be able to adjust it far more comfortable than a larger helmet.
And the golden rule to fitting your helmet is to make sure your helmet is snug to your head – but that it’s never too tight!
If you didn’t know how to choose a bike helmet – I hope this post showed you that it’s not a complicated process as long as you approach it properly.
In this post, I’ve listed everything you should in order to find your next helmet & fit it to your head.
It can be a bit tricky for some cyclists to get the sizing right, but with a proper adjustment – you shouldn’t have a problem!
What helmet brand is your favorite and why? Would you recommend it to other cyclists?
Feel free to leave a comment down below, share your thoughts & experience or just ask a question!