A bicycle helmet should be among the basic equipment of every bicycle rider. It protects the most important part of the body - the head - from injuries that are often fatal. Protecting your head while cycling is important for both professional cyclists and recreational or casual riders. The choice of helmets on the market is really big and we will try to make it easier for you in this article. What you will learn there:
- What to look for when choosing a bike helmet?
- A properly fitted helmet
- Types of helmets
- Choosing a helmet for children
What to look for when choosing a bike helmet?
When choosing a helmet, it is important to measure the circumference of the cyclist's head (measure the circumference of the head with a tailor's tape measure - if you do not have one at hand, an ordinary string will suffice, which, after measuring the circumference, you can attach to a ruler or a regular tape measure and find out the exact circumference in cm).
The helmet must fit like a glove to protect the head well. The choice is even easier as most models are available with an adjustable circumference of a few centimetres. But it's best to try the helmet on in person. You can do this in our brick-and-mortar shop in České Budějovice. Another way is to buy a helmet from our e-shop and have it sent to your home. In case it doesn't fit you, you can exchange or return it. Leave the helmet on your head for a few minutes during the test to see if it really doesn't squeeze and you don't feel any sharp pressure or discomfort anywhere.
TIP: Try opening your mouth wide with your helmet on and fastened. With your mouth open, you should feel a slight pressure at the top of your head, but not too strong.
It depends on the style of riding you're getting the helmet for - the quality of the ventilation depends not only on the number of vents, but also on their size. Especially in the summer months, we recommend getting a bike helmet with sufficient ventilation - this will prevent unpleasant head sweating.
From a practical point of view, choose MTB and road helmets with more vents and also with a mesh in the ventilation in the front of the helmet. This will prevent flies or any dirt from getting into your hair when riding.
There are several categories to choose from. Either you can choose a men's or women's helmet, or there are a large number of unisex helmets on the market that come in neutral colours and the size corresponds to average sizes - usually adjustable. You can also choose from children's helmets, which come in small sizes and are lighter.
The lighter and more comfortable the helmet, the more comfortable it is for the cyclist. However, this should not be at the expense of protection. Very light helmets (unless they are more expensive models) may not have as strong a shell or density of padding and will crack more easily in a crash. Helmets come in weights from 200 to 400 g.
Each cycling helmet must meet at least the ČSN EN 1078 standard. This should guarantee that the helmet will really protect you from injury. If the helmet you choose does not meet this standard, look for another one. Safety and reliable head protection is more important than helmet design. Selected helmets even have a brain protection system. This works by rotating the helmet's internal reinforcement when the head hits the ground.
Another safety feature is the reflective elements on the helmet, which makes the cyclist more visible. Some helmets have a built-in light - a blinker - in the back, so the cyclist is visible even in the dark.
Helmet for adults suitable for mountain biking
Helmet with integrated flasher
Properly fitted helmet
The bicycle helmet should not be too far forward or too far back. This would create unprotected areas of the head and possibly a poor view of the road. A properly fitted helmet is flat on the head, slightly to the forehead. This is the only way it can provide protection for the whole head. Don't forget to tighten the chin straps sufficiently - they should join under the ear and outline the letter Y. At the same time, a finger should fit easily under the strap. The helmet should sit firmly on the head, but not too tightly.
TIP: You can try a little test - if you unbuckle the chin strap and bend your head, a properly tightened helmet shouldn't fall off.
types of cycling helmets
These helmets with a classic shape are preferably designed for riding road or cross bikes. However, you can also use them when riding mountain or trekking bikes. Their advantage is their light weight and maximum ventilation.
- without a peak
- emphasis on comfort
MTB (mountain bike) helmets
Although MTB helmets are primarily designed for mountain bikes, they are also widely used on trekking or road bikes. Compared to road helmets, they have a slightly more robust construction, their shape protects more of the head and they also have a visor or visor. MTB helmets are probably the most desirable model for recreational cyclists.
- a short visor
- emphasis on comfort and airiness
BMX helmets can be recognized by the typical round shape of the plastic shell. The helmets are suitable for BMX disciplines as well as for roller skating or skate. In this type of helmet, the area behind the ears is also more protected thanks to the padded side ear covers and the extended nape.
- minimum ventilation openings
- without visor
- emphasis on durability
This type of helmet is very similar in appearance to motorcycle helmets. Freeride helmets are robust, with a jaw protector and are designed for extreme conditions. They provide maximum protection for the entire head, including the chin, jaw and back of the head. Helmets have no ventilation, are quite heavy and so are only suitable for adrenaline cycling.
- without air vents
- with visor
- the most durable
THe road helmet
Choosing a helmet for children
The process of choosing a helmet for small cyclists is not much different from that for adults. For a child, choose a helmet that fits well on the head, doesn't pinch or pinch (if you get a helmet with adjustable sizing, it can last the child several years). The size markings for children's helmets usually range from XXS to M, but always stick to the head circumference measurements in cm. Each manufacturer may have different markings.
Next in line comes design. Although for kids we can say that it is the most important thing for them :). There is a multitude of prints and pictures available which also motivate the child to wear the helmet. However, if you are choosing between a designer helmet and a safe helmet, it is always better to reach for the safer one than the more beautiful one.
Kid's helmet with a visor
kid's helmet without a visor
We can say that the helmet is basically disposable. In case of any impact of the helmet or if you fall on the helmet, you need to replace it with a new one. Even though the helmet may appear to be without signs of damage, it has already served its purpose, it has absorbed the impact and so perfect safety is not guaranteed in the next fall. The inner foam in the helmet padding may have cracked and the helmet is no longer usable. We also recommend replacing the helmet no more than 5 years after purchase - the materials can wear out and may not meet safety standards.
Remember that a helmet is compulsory for cycling until the age of 18. However, it should be in every cyclist's (and adult's) equipment. According to statistics, a large percentage of fatal accidents involving cyclists would be avoided if they were wearing a helmet. So don't underestimate your safety and get a helmet!