What’s the first thing you look for when buying a helmet? It’s not enough to strap on a helmet. You need to get the right one. Helmets increase your survival chances in a crash by protecting you from head injuries. So what type of bike helmet should I get?
Consider the Fit
Helmets come in different sizes. The wrong size not only causes discomfort but also exposes you to injury in case of an accident.
The following tips will help you get the perfect fit.
Measure your head size beforehand. This is particularly useful when shopping online. You can measure the circumference by tying a tape measure around your head ensuring it passes slightly above the ears and eyebrows. You can also use a ribbon or string and confirm the measurements using a ruler.
The helmet should sit tight on your head without feeling uncomfortable. Ensure there’s no gap between your head and the padding.
It should not lean backwards or tilt too low over the forehead.
Try the helmet with the same hairdo you wear when riding. Ponytails and deadlocks may alter the fit. Alternatively, buy a design with a hair port.
In addition to minimizing impact, a good helmet must remain steady on the rider’s head in the event of a crash. Similarly, it shouldn’t obscure vision or have inner projections capable of causing injury.
MIPS technology is also an added advantage. A MIPS helmet has a low-friction liner that reduces the shell’s movement on impact. As a result, the helmet twists independently to cushion the brain from injuries resulting from the rotational force.
Also, ensure the helmet meets the applicable local or international safety standards. For proof of certification, check the stickers inside the helmet.
Some helmet certifying agencies around the world include:
Consumer Products Safety Commission
Canadian Standards Association
European Committee for Standardization
British Standards Institution
Japan Standards Association
Snell Memorial Foundation
Ventilation not only prevents your head from overheating but also expels moisture during cold weather. In addition to external holes, newer designs have channels cutting through the helmet’s polystyrene.
Helmets vary in size, structure, position, and number of ventilation slits. Models with more vents are cooler, lighter, and more comfortable.
However, increasing ventilation compromises the helmet’s rigidity. Manufacturers, therefore, incorporate features such as thick foam, internal bracing, and tough shell materials to meet the required safety standards. This increases production costs and makes high-end helmets more expensive than basic brands.
Note that hair increases insulation. Reducing your hair size or tying it into a ponytail creates a cooling effect by allowing entry of air through the channels, vents, and sides. You can also splash water on your head through the vents to reduce temperatures.
Apart from enhancing comfort, helmet paddings also absorb sweat. Generally, absorption capacity increases with the thickness of the liner. Most liners contain narrow cutaways extending into the surface. These channels not only facilitate sweat evaporation but also allow fresh air to reach your scalp.