Everything you need to know about cycling helmets
Helmets, like their wearers, come in all different shapes and sizes. Some are versatile while others are specialised for the type of riding the wearer is planning on doing. But, in essence, all helmets provide the same shock-absorbing layer of crushable material around your head.
What helmet will suit your kind of riding? What should you look for when buying a new helmet? Weâ€™ll answer those burning questions right nowâ€¦
Different kinds of cycling require different kinds of protection. If you donâ€™t pick the right helmet for the job then not only will you look a dork because of it, but you may also be putting your safety at risk.
Road: Standard road helmets are versatile helmets and can be used for many different cycling disciplines. Theyâ€™re lightweight, well-ventilated and offer great all-round protection, making them perfect for long rides.
Aero road: The aero road helmet sits somewhere between a standard road and time trial helmet. Theyâ€™re designed with aerodynamics at the forefront and often sacrifice a little ventilation to achieve such super-speeds. Aero road helmets are just as light however and offer the same amount of protection as your standard road helmet.
Time trial: Shaped like a teardrop, these helmets are designed to be as aero as possible â€“ allowing you to reach top speeds in road time trial events. Theyâ€™re often a little heavier but, again, provide the same all-round head protection.
Mountain bike: These helmets offer a little extra protection, especially around the ears and back of the head. Theyâ€™re often well-ventilated and come with a handy peak attached, making them perfect for riding through dense forests.
Full-face: Offering all-round protection to your head, chin, teeth and cheeks, these full-face helmets are a must-wear when youâ€™re doing any kind of aggressive trail riding or downhill events.
Kids: Small, lightweight and comfy, these helmets are designed to encourage kids to wear them and make wearing them feel like second nature.
What to look for
Ventilation is a big one to look out for, especially if you often find yourself getting hot and sweaty on longer bike rides. Adjustment straps and buckles are another big selling point â€“ a dial at the rear of the helmet makes mid-ride adjustments a lot easier.
Internal reinforcement and quality of padding are difficult features to assess, but if in doubt look for the word MIPS â€“ Multi-Directional Impact Protection System. This is a tried, tested and trusted protection layer that is offered on many reputable brands of helmet.
Finally, one thing we often look for on a new cycling product is the price. The cheapest helmets can be bought for around Â£10, but theyâ€™re not going to offer any sort of quality protection, ventilation or comfort. The Â£30 mark is the best place to start looking, especially for entry-level helmets from the big name brands like Specialized, Lazer and Bontrager.
If youâ€™re on the look out for super-special helmet that blurs the lines between a standard helmet and a live tracking device, then look no further than Specializedâ€™s new ANGi equipped helmets. Theyâ€™re the perfect choice for riders who often ride alone, beaming a constant signal to loved ones to either reassure them that youâ€™re safe or warn them that youâ€™ve had an accident.
When should I replace my helmet?
One final, and crucial piece of advice is when exactly should I replace my old helmet. A good benchmark, provided you havenâ€™t had any big crashes or knocks to the head, is every five years as a lot of the glues, resins and finer fabrics that make up the inner helmet can gradually degrade through wear and tear.
If you do have a crash however, itâ€™s best to ditch the helmet you were wearing and treat yourself to a new one. Even if the impact isnâ€™t visible, the integrity of the protective padding inside could be compromised, putting you at risk the next time you tumble. If in doubt, bring it into our store and weâ€™ll have a good look at it to see if itâ€™s road-ready.
To view our entire helmet range, click here.
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