Buyer’s Guide – 5 Steps to Finding the Perfect Cycling Helmet
Want to understand how to find the perfect fitting cycling helmet? We’ve compiled a Cycling Helmet buyer’s Guide with 5 things that you will want to consider before purchasing your next helmet…
All helmets sold have to meet specified safety standards, however some offer more protection than others.
The standard design of helmets is for the main body and structure to be made from EPS foam and then for a hard outer shell to be moulded to the foam.
One thing to look out for is whether or not the helmet has an internal skeleton. The internal skeleton is exactly what it sounds like- it is a structure within the EPS foam of a helmet which will give strength to the helmet and boosts the helmets structural integrity. Helmets which use internal skeletons will often be able to have a much more ‘open’ design with more vents, but they may be slightly heavier due to the skeleton.
The vents of a helmet are vital to ensure your head stays cool whilst riding. The basic premise of vents is to use your forward motion to suck cool air through the forward facing vents- the cool air then passes over your head, extracting the heat from your head and finally releasing it out of the rear facing vents as warm air.
If you push yourself to the limit whilst riding the ventilation will be something to keep in mind. More vents that cover a larger surface area on a helmet will mean that more air will be able to come in cool your head. You will also want to pay attention to the design of the vents too as this will affect the helmets cooling capabilities. E.g Specialized’s Mouthport, seen on the Propero, is extremely effective at cooling the frontal area of the head.
3. Know Your Size
Before contemplating buying a helmet you should know what size your head is. Most manufactures will supply a variety of sizes and give a guide as to what head size they accommodate- E.g Small 51-55 CM.
To correctly measure your head you will need a piece of string or a flexible tape measure.
Press one end of the piece of string or tape measure against the centre of your forehead- where the helmet will rest.
Wrap the string/tape measure around the circumference of your head- just above your ears -and join it up with the end which you have pressed against your forehead.
Keep hold of the string/tape measure at the point at which it meets the other end then simply read the tape measure or measure the length of the string to find your head size. Most manufacturers measure in centimetres. Here are few of the manufactures’ sizing charts:
Giro Helmet Sizing
Small – 51-55cm
Medium – 55-59cm
Lazer Helmet Sizing
XS-L – 53-61cm
XL-XXL – 62-64cm
Met Helmet Sizing
Medium – 54-57cm
Large – 58-60cm
Bell Helmet Sizing
Specialized Helmet Sizing
Small – 51-57cm
Medium – 54-50 cm
Large – 57-63cm
4. Head Shape
Some manufacturer’s helmets suit different head shapes better than others. Head shapes normally fall into two groups- round or oval. Those with oval heads will typically have a wider diameter front to back than those with rounder heads. Two examples of manufactures which tend to suit one head shape are:- Bell-for round head shapes– Giro- for oval head shapes.
If your helmet doesn’t fit correctly then it will not be as effective in protecting you. It is important that you are able to use the straps and retention system on your helmet to secure the helmet on your head. The ideal fit will have very little movement when you rock the helmet front to back or side to side. The strap should fit comfortably under neath your chin with just enough room to slide a finger between the strap and your chin- If there is space between your finger and your chin/strap then the strap is too loose. Retention systems are important on a helmet as this is where you will be able to tailor the helmet to your specific needs. You will want to look for a system which allows you to make adjustments quickly and easily, and which will retain its position whilst you ride.
All thats left to do now is to get out there and enjoy your helmet!