July 24, 2024

What are the most important features to look for in a bike helmet?

Note that bike helmets DO have an expiration date and must be discarded past that date. Look inside the helmet for the date of manufacture- 2 years later is the discard date even if it was never worn previously.

So, a mountain bike helmet will generally be a bit more heavily built to withstand that type of riding and road bikes will tend to have more aerodynamic styling and cooling vents. Yes, cooling vents are important.

Types of helmet manufacture.

There are 2 types of helmet manufacture.

  • One is an in-mold shell where the outside shell of the helmet is placed in the mold, then the business parts of the helmet are molded around it.
  • The other is where the bonded shell is glued or taped onto the molded shock-absorbing material. Let me explain…

Let’s say that you have a crash. Your head will likely impact the ground.

No helmet? I bet you can imagine.

Bonded shell?

So, your head bounces off the street and the impact of the bounce breaks the helmet. This is supposed to happen. The problem occurs when the second impact happens and there is no more shock-absorbing material between you and the ground. In other words, no helmet (see above).

In-mold shell?

OK, so you bounce off the ground the first time. The helmet stuff crushes like it is supposed to but the shell holds all the broken pieces together and on your head so when you go down for the next time- and perhaps multiple times after that- the helmet still protects you. ‘nuff said, I think.

Now, there is a thing that is commonly referred to as the “Brain Bucket”. This is a piece that extends below the back of the helmet and covers the bottom of your skull. It serves several purposes but the 2 main ones are that it reduces penetration of objects into your brain stem and that it keeps the helmet positioned correctly on your head… which leaves the final point I want to make.

If the helmet is not fitted and positioned correctly it will not work. Just having it on your noggin is not assuring you of safety. Better helmets have multiple shapes and sizes to fit you right.

To reiterate, every bicycle helmet sold in the U.S. meets safety standards. Every single one. Higher quality helmets will protect you better IF fitted and worn correctly.