Advice on choosing the right one for you
Cycling helmets are an important means of protecting your head as the result of a collision or a fall. Developments in helmet technology have resulted in greater protection than ever, with the likes of Koroyd, WaveCel and MIPS technology setting new standards.
Whether you are commuting, taking on a major road trip, tackling off-road trails or kitting out your kids, your helmet needs to be comfortable, keep you cool and most of all offer the safety features to keep you protected.
When should I buy or replace it?
If you are buying a new bike or getting back into cycling, a helmet is a must. Helmet technology has evolved but the principle for wearing one remains the same, they can reduce the impact or severity if you are involved in a crash.
Should the worst happen and you are involved in an accident, you should replace your helmet. Even if your helmet is not involved in a crash, helmet parts lose strength over time. As with all helmets, they should be replaced every three years to ensure the integrity is not affected.
What are the differences between helmets?
There are lots of different types of bike helmets, with features, weight and style varying depending on your discipline. What works on the road isn’t going to offer the same level of comfort if you’re into downhill mountain biking. Road or commuter helmets will generally offer a greater degree of ventilation.
Mountain bike helmets provide more protection at the back of the head and may include a visor to help keep the sun out of your eyes. MTB helmets used to be sturdier versions of cycling helmets but have now evolved to offer the same quality, protection and ventilation as other disciplines but specifically suited to the requirements of off-road riding.
Whether you ride downhill or on trails, there will be a helmet to suit, from full face to MIPS (read below to understand more about MIPS), men’s or women’s specific.
Helmets for commuting are based on style and fit rather than aerodynamic performance. Still offering all the levels of safety and protection you would expect but in a different finish.
What features should I look for?
All helmets will offer a degree of adjustment, to ensure the fit is right. You don’t want the helmet slipping forward or backwards or feeling too tight. The strap will either do up under the chin or to one side but will have an adjuster to make sure this sits well. Most straps will use a clasp closure but some helmets may have a magnetic buckle for easy closure.
The fit can be fine-tuned further with a dial on the ‘basket’ or ‘fit system’ at the back of the helmet. This can be tightened or loosened to get the fit and feel just right.
Ventilation is key on any helmet. Road specific helmets will tend to have more vents to keep riders cool in conjunction with aerodynamic performance. Other features include eyewear docks – the ability to use some of the vents to house your glasses, visors to provide protection against the elements, removable pads that can be washed to prevent bacteria build-up but add to the comfort factor.
Some commuter helmets will have reflective elements or the ability to attach lights and, in some cases, they are integrated into the helmet.
How does MIPS work? What is Koroyd or WaveCel?
Many brands will offer MIPS or in some cases, crash detection sensors that alert your selected contacts should you be involved in an accident. Other technical advancements revolve around the materials used in the construction of helmets. Brands have developed their own or use industry-leading technology, Koroyd, WaveCel and MIPS (Multi-Directional Impact Protection System) to improve the safety and strength of their helmets. These latest technologies improve helmet protection levels over a standard design helmet that are designed to protect against direct impacts by dispersing the rotational forces across the helmet.
Mips® safety system is intended to help reduce rotational forces to the head when falling at an angled impact.
The low-friction layer inside the helmet allows multi-directional movement of 10-15mm on certain angled impacts, this helps to spread the force of impact.
WaveCel is a revolutionary helmet safety tech that’s available exclusively in Bontrager helmets. Standard foam helmets are designed to protect against direct impacts. But WaveCel accounts for how most cycling accidents actually happen: ungracefully, with twists, turns and angled impacts which are remarkably effective at preventing concussion caused by common cycling accidents.
Koroyd’s welded tubes crumple instantly and consistently on impact, absorbing maximum force in a controlled manner, minimising energy transferred to your head.
What is ANGI?
The ANGi Crash Sensor from Specialized gives you and your loved one’s peace of mind like never before. When combined with the iOS or Android app, the sensor will detect a crash and send a text message to specified contacts in your phone. It also syncs with the Specialized Ride app and Strava to provide GPS-based activity tracking. Some helmets even include a lifetime subscription to the Specialized Ride app.