How much does an MTB helmet weigh?

How much does an MTB helmet weigh

The weight of a mountain bike (MTB) helmet varies depending on several factors. But generally, they range between 250 grams (8.8 ounces) to 400 grams (14.1 ounces). We also have lighter models that weigh less and others that are slightly heavier due to additional features or reinforcements. So what determines how much does an MTB helmet weigh?

In this article, we will explore the different factors contributing to your helmet’s weight. We will also debug the myth of whether or not weight is a measure of safety. Let’s dive right in.

What Factors Contribute to a Helmet’s Weight?

What Factors Contribute to a Helmet’s Weight

Key Material Used in the Manufacture

Some helmets feel lighter than others, mainly due to the key materials used in the shell manufacture. Polycarbonate, a thermoplastic, is the most widely used material in helmet outer shells. It offers high-impact resistance and transparency. Polycarbonate weighs around 1.20 to 1.22 grams per cubic centimeter (g/cm³).

Compare that with Carbon fiber, renowned for its exceptional strength-to-weight ratio, which weighs about 1.76 grams per cubic centimeter (g/cm³). We mostly see Carbon fiber used in high-performance helmets and most of them are relatively heavier. However, note that the weight of carbon fiber-based materials can vary depending on the specific construction and weave pattern.

Then we have the heaviest option, Fiberglass, a composite material made up of fine glass fibers embedded in a polymer matrix. Fiberglass weighs about 2.40 grams per cubic centimeter (g/cm³). Similarly, the weight of fiberglass can vary depending on the specific formulation and the density of the glass fibers used.

Most helmet interior is made of Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) Foam. E

PS foam is a lightweight material with a typical density range of 10 to 100 grams per liter (g/L), depending on the required level of impact protection. This translates to approximately 0.01 to 0.10 grams per cubic centimeter (g/cm³).

It’s worth noting that these weight values represent general averages and can vary depending on the specific composition and manufacturing processes employed. Additionally, helmet construction often involves a combination of materials, such as using polycarbonate for the outer shell and EPS foam for the impact-absorbing liner.

While the weight of these materials is essential for considerations such as overall helmet weight, most manufacturers strive to strike a balance between weight, impact resistance, and overall performance to ensure optimal protection without sacrificing comfort or usability.

The Helmet Design

Sometimes, the shape and structure of a helmet are crucial in determining its weight. Helmets with sleek and aerodynamic designs may feature streamlined outer shells, which can reduce drag but also minimize material usage, making them lighter. Conversely, helmets with more complex designs, additional features, or extended coverage may have slightly higher weights due to the use of additional materials.

Moreover, additional helmet features, such as integrated visors, MIPS technology, camera mounts, communication systems, or LED lights, can add weight to a helmet. These features often require extra materials or components, which contribute to the overall weight.

Finally, the ventilation system design can also influence the weight of a helmet. A well-designed ventilation system integrates strategically placed vents to allow airflow while reducing weight through the removal of excess material. However, more ventilation might necessitate additional materials to maintain structural integrity, which can affect weight to some extent.

The Construction & Technology Used

The construction and technology used in a helmet have a significant impact on its overall weight. Helmets often employ multi-layered construction, combining different materials to optimize performance. This can include combining materials with varying densities, such as a fiberglass outer shell with an EPS foam liner. Strategic layering and laminate construction techniques help distribute forces and absorb impacts effectively while minimizing weight.

Similarly, advanced helmet designs might incorporate hollow structures or air channels to reduce weight without compromising protection. These features strategically remove material without sacrificing strength, creating a lightweight yet rigid architecture that can withstand impacts.

The weight of a helmet may also be influenced by integrated technology such as MIPS (Multi-Directional Impact Protection System), WaveCel, or Koroyd. These technologies add additional layers or structures to improve impact absorption and reduce rotational forces, contributing to overall helmet weight. However, the benefits of safety and protection often justify the additional weight.

On the contrary, techniques like autoclave molding, precision machining, or 3D printing enable the creation of intricate structures, customized components, and optimized geometries. These techniques help eliminate excess material or achieve specific design goals while reducing weight.

Finally, the choice of components, such as straps, buckles, or retention systems, can impact helmet weight. Technological advancements in lightweight material choices, such as aluminum or carbon fiber buckles, help minimize weight while maintaining functionality and durability.

Size of the Helmet

Kiddies helmets are much lighter compared to adult helmets, right? The smaller the helmet size, the fewer the material used and consequently, the lighter it becomes.

The Helmet Design

External Elements

The weight of a helmet may also be influenced by the inclusion of elements like visors, and extended coverage for increased protection. For example, elements like visors and extended coverage typically require the addition of extra materials to the helmet’s construction. The visor may be made of materials like polycarbonate or other plastics, while extended coverage areas might require additional layers of impact-absorbing foam or reinforcement. The inclusion of these extra materials adds to the overall weight of the helmet.

Moreover, when incorporating elements like visors or extended coverage, designers and engineers need to ensure that the helmet maintains its structural integrity and conforms to safety standards. This often involves reinforcing the helmet or adding supportive structures to accommodate these features. The additional structural components contribute to the overall weight of the helmet.

In addition, visors and extended coverage areas affect the distribution of forces during an impact. They can shield the face, and eyes, or provide added protection to vulnerable areas. While these features enhance the helmet’s safety and offer increased protection, they can increase the weight due to the necessary materials and reinforcements.

When selecting a helmet, riders must consider their specific needs and prioritize safety while considering factors such as the type and level of protection required, the intended use of the helmet, and personal preferences. It’s a balancing act between added features, weight considerations, and individual comfort.

In Conclusion

It’s worth mentioning that while the weight of a helmet is a consideration, its protective capabilities and proper fit should be primary factors in selecting a helmet. The helmet should meet safety standards, have sufficient impact absorption properties, and provide a secure and comfortable fit for the rider. Moreover, if you are looking for a specific MTB helmet, I would recommend checking the manufacturer’s specifications, as they often provide the weight information for each helmet model and size. Remember, finding the right balance between weight, protection, fit, and comfort is crucial when choosing an MTB helmet that suits your needs and riding preferences.



2 thoughts on “How much does an MTB helmet weigh?”

  1. Thank you for this informative article.

    Obviously, safety is the number one priority and therefore must be the top consideration. However, a helmet should ideally be convenient and comfortable. It is therefore a big design challenge to incorporate such elements while ensuring they do not come at the expense of safety.

    • Hi, Yusuf, and thank you.

      Thank you for your kind words.

      Yes, there is a lot to have in mind. And in my opinion, it works all together. Safety is always the base, but more is needed.

      As you said, it needs to be convenient and comfortable; the design needs to be in a style you like, to mention a few things. But the weight is a really important part of this too. It is not good for the health to have it heavy.

      We wrote an article about personalizing your helmet without reducing safety. It is all part of helping people to use it with the goal that they like it.

      It’s great to hear about the benefit of the article, too.

      Don’t hesitate to contact me to help you with anything else or if you have any questions.


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