After your bike itself, the next most important piece of gear you need to have is a sturdy helmet. This is true regardless of how much time you spend riding. Whether you’re going on a short or long journey, cycle helmets have been known to be the difference between a minor accident and a more serious one. In addition, you may be required to wear head protection by law in your area.
In making a decision on which head protection to buy, the first thing you’ll need to decide on is the specific type that is best suited for your needs. After that, you can make your pick from the array of cheap bike helmets offered by brands like MET, Specialized, Giro and Bell.
Products in this category are designed to be used by casual riders and commuters. They offer basic protection in a simple package, without features like increased venting or extra-strength protection which are required by people who do more rigorous riding or racing. Their relatively low cost are a major selling point, but if you’re ever tempted to try your hand at more adventurous riding, you might have to buy another style.
If you’re looking for a versatile product that you can use for your regular commuting while still being usable for the occasional race, you’ll likely find what you need in this category. Road bike helmets in Australia have to meet up with higher safety ratings than basic commuter products, so they are made of stronger materials. Combined with their aerodynamic shapes and increased venting, they are suitable for a variety of conditions.
The major distinction with this type is that they usually have substantially more protection in the rear to cater for the increased risk of crashing in mountain biking. Many products in this category have a visor and an advanced fit system to assure a snug, customised fit that will reduce the helmet’s shaking and sliding around while you ride on rougher terrains.
You can buy a BMX helmet in cap or full face form, similar to a full face MTB visor. They have even more protection, especially around the back and sides of the head. Due to the high standards of safety certification for BMX items, you’ll often find a cool product in this category that is certified for biking, skateboarding and even motorcycling.
Once you’ve decided on the relevant category, there are a number of things to keep in mind for you to make the best choice:
FIT - The fit is important because it’s the biggest factor in how comfortable you’ll feel when riding, along with making sure the helmet stays on right in the event of an accident. The first thing you’ll need to do, as with any other item to be worn, is to measure your head to ascertain the size you’ll need.
When going through the options from different brands on Bike Chaser, keep in mind that there are variations in the shapes and sizes produced by different manufacturers. Some favour spherical designs while others have a more oval look to them. You should also look out for ventilation and sweat control. A cool bike helmet would be immensely more comfortable than a hot, sweaty one, especially if you’re going to be riding longer distances regularly.
RETENTION SYSTEMS – Back in the day, cyclists had to trust the straps that come down in front of and behind the ears to keep the helmet on their heads properly. Now, an additional retention system is a standard feature that enables riders to adjust the fit more, so you can get the perfect fit for you.
The retention systems have a number of variations from item to item but generally, they all work by pulling at the webbing system across the inside of the helmet. Two common systems you’ll find are a thumb wheel on the top and a ratchet dial on the rear. Whichever system you’re picking, make sure it’s one that you’re comfortable adjusting with one hand while you cycle. That way, you’ll be able to adjust the fit to cope with temperature variations without having to lose valuable time or concentration in the course of a race.
Some brands like Specialized make women’s versions to accommodate longer hair, so be sure to keep an eye out for that because most standard products will not work quite as well with long hair, if they work at all.
WEIGHT AND AERODYNAMICS – The weight of the head protection you’ll be wearing is something that becomes increasingly important the more often you intend to go riding, and the longer your typical trip will be. Generally, you should go for the lightest product you can afford, though you should be careful not to be blindsided by the grams to the exclusion of other important design metrics such as protection rating, venting and aerodynamics.
Aerodynamics is most important if speed is a priority for you. When riding at high speeds, wind resistance can begin to result in some drag. However small, it will have an effect on your speed, which is something you want to minimize if you’re racing, whether short or long distance. Aero helmets usually have minimal venting to allow air flow around the helmet rather than through it, so consider that and how it will affect your comfort as you make your selection.
At Bike Chaser, we have a wide variety of bicycle helmets for sale. Whether you’re looking for men’s or women’s bike helmets, or even kids bike helmets, we cater to every possible need. Look around and choose the one that’ll keep you safe and comfortable as you have fun on your bike.