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Nolan Garcia
Nolan Garcia

Buy Bike Helmet

Look for a bike helmet that matches your style of riding: Helmet categories simplify the selection process by steering you toward options more suited to your needs (but a road helmet can be worn on a dirt trail and a mountain bike helmet can still be worn on the road). Bike helmets fall within three basic types:

buy bike helmet

Consider what specialized features you may want: Are new protection technologies and advanced designs (lighter, cooler and more aerodynamic) important to you? Do you need special features like built-in mounts for a light or an action camera? Keep in mind that these will all increase the price of the helmet.

Finally, with the chin strap buckled, open your mouth wide. 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 overtighten the strap until it's uncomfortable.)

A good-fitting helmet should be snug but not annoyingly tight. It should sit level on your head (not tilted back) with the front edge one inch or less above your eyebrows so that your forehead is protected. Push the helmet from side to side and back to front. If it shifts noticeably (one inch or more), you need to adjust the fit.

Mips: Multi-directional Impact Protection System (Mips) technology, found on helmets from a number of brands, features a low-friction layer that redirects rotational effects by allowing the impact-absorbing foam liner to rotate slightly during an impact.

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

More visits to hospital emergency departments for traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) involve bicycling than any other sport or recreational event, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (TBI is a term used to describe a spectrum of head injuries from concussions to skull fractures.) A 2021 CDC study found that there were almost 600,000 emergency department visits for bicycle-related TBIs between 2009 and 2018. The researchers pointed out that this is probably an underestimate of the true number of head injuries related to bike riding because many people would see a doctor instead of going to the hospital, or not seek care at all after an accident.

All bike helmets sold in the U.S. must meet safety standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission and have a label to that effect. Consumers can usually find this label on the liner inside of the helmet, on the exterior surface, or attached to the chinstrap, according to the CPSC.

Remember: A bike helmet should be replaced every five years, or sooner if it is damaged. If the helmet has been involved in an accident, replace it, even if it does not appear to be damaged. The expanded polystyrene foam that dissipates the energy from the impact may still look intact, but bike helmets are designed to do the job just once.

Bike helmets are designed and tested for their ability to protect against severe head injury, such as a skull fracture. But there are a few different helmet technologies that aim to reduce rotational force, which correlates to how much the brain moves inside the skull in the event of an impact and is thought to be a factor in concussions. The two most common are Multi-directional Impact Protection System (MIPS) and WaveCel.

MIPS is a thin, low-friction liner inside the helmet that allows the outer shell to slide a few millimeters across the skull on impact, reducing rotational force and the amount of energy transferred to the head. It was first released in a cycling helmet in 2010 and can now be found inside hundreds of different helmets made by companies including Cannondale, Scott, Bell, Trek, and Giro.

Our Bicycle Helmet Ratings are dedicated to Marc McEntee, a Consumer Reports testing employee for 25 years who died unexpectedly in May 2016. Marc lent his talents to many important projects during his tenure with CR, including bicycle helmets, heart rate monitors, and strollers. We honor him and his contributions.

1. The front edge should be no more than 1 inch above your eyebrows. With the straps fastened, push up firmly on the front edge of the helmet. If it moves back, the straps are too loose.

Bern helmets are round in shape, in the style of skate or ski helmets. In fact, many Bern helmets are multisport models, and some even come with interchangeable liners so that they can be used in winter or summer. Sold at specialty retail stores and online. Prices range from $50 to $120.

Lazer, a helmet company based in Belgium, has been in existence for many years. Models are priced from $50 to $250 and are brightly colored, lightweight, and highly ventilated. They are sold mostly through sporting goods stores and specialty bike shops.

Owned by C-Preme, a company based in Los Angeles, Raskullz makes helmets that feature popular toy and cartoon designs meant to appeal to kids. Raskullz helmets are sold in sporting goods and mass retail stores. Prices range from $25 to $28.

Scott is a high-end brand sold primarily at bike shops and sporting goods retailers and e-tailers. Scott sells both hard- and soft-shelled helmets at prices ranging from $100 to $220. The top-rated Arx Plus helmet model employs MIPS technology.

Known for sunglasses, ski helmets, and snowboarding helmets, Smith makes bicycle helmets with liners that use Koroyd technology (a honeycomb-style cluster of plastic tubes that collapse on impact). Sold online and at specialty retail stores. Prices range from $80 to $260.

If you choose to spend more, the helmet won't necessarily be safer but instead may be lighter, and more breathable. The retention system often becomes more comfortable and adjustable on a more expensive helmet.

A safety system called MIPS, Multi-directional Impact Protection System, will often be referred to when discussing the level of protection. It's considered the industry gold standard of helmet protection and you can read all about it below.

This means that the helmet has passed a number of tests that look at helmet's construction, field of vision, impact absorption, retention system, chin strap and buckle. In order to ride in races, sportives, gran fondos and triathlons it is often a requirement to have a helmet that adheres to the relevant local standard.

In recent years, we've seen more and more bike helmet brands adopt MIPS. MIPS stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection System; MIPS is actually a brand in itself, and helmet providers using it build the layer into their own helmets. Some brands like Bontrager have their own similar systems.

All helmet manufacturers will have a size guide on their websites, and we highly recommend following each brand's recommendations of how to measure for its own helmets before investing in a purchase.

You are going to be wearing the helmet a lot, potentially for over five hours at a time, so it's imperative that the fit suits your head, no matter what a review says. It is also advisable to try on a variety of makes and models to see which is most comfortable and the best road bike helmet for you, as they are often different shapes internally. You may find pressure points on a helmet even if it's technically the right size for you.

Yes. A retention system is used to adjust the fit of the helmet to your specific head size. These are commonly adjusted by a dial or some kind of ratchet system. The best road bike helmets can be operated with a single hand, which is useful for making slight adjustments on the move.

It should be possible to loosen the retention system on a helmet to allow for a thermal skull cap or cycling cap to be worn underneath. This is done for added warmth, and the bill of a cycling cap can be useful for deflecting rain from the eyes. Because of this, caps are a common sight in the spring classics, such as Paris-Roubaix. If when you try on a helmet the retention system is on its limit, it is probably the wrong size for you.

Yes. Padding makes a helmet more comfortable but also helps to wick sweat away from your head. An ideal road bike helmet design will feature padding that can be removed for washing and replacement. The style and thickness of padding varies between helmets, so again, it's worth trying a few models on to see which work the best for you.

As is common with cycling kit, as weight decreases price tends to increase. The best road bike helmets will be lightest in their given category, making them the most comfortable option because they place less strain on your neck.

If you're a competing cyclist the other advantage of a lighter helmet is increasing your power to weight ratio, 50g might not make much difference to most of us mortals, but to a top professional looking for any marginal gain, it becomes significant.

If you suffer the misfortune of falling off your bike and taking a head impact, the chances are that the damage to your helmet will be visually obvious, leaving no question about the need to replace it.

However, it's really important that even the best road bike helmets are replaced even if it looks just a minor scuff on the outer casing. This is because the integrity of the EPS, and other safety features which are designed to absorb the impact are highly likely to have been damaged by doing their job perfectly. This means that the next time you crash, there won't be anywhere for the energy to go, making a head injury more likely.

While the EPS foam in a bike helmet won't just deteriorate with age, it's over that time span that it will suffer with minor knocks and bumps from being stored, dropped from handlebars, popped in a kit bag. The aggregation will add up to volume loss and require a new helmet to be purchased.

Extreme temperatures can affect the plastic shell too, and while the safety standards will mean it's been tested to the unlikely riding conditions which are as high as around 122F / 50C, and as low as -4F/ -20C, it could be more likely in places that you store your helmet. 041b061a72


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