How To Buy a Bike Helmet

If you ride a bike, you should consider wearing a bike helmet. Many places have helmet laws, at least for children. The bike helmet will keep your head safe if you crash or have a car accident. Face it, even pros fall off their bikes sometimes. Have you seen the Tour de France? Some of those guys crashed and I don't think even one had a head injury. When you buy a bike helmet, you want to be sure to look for a few things.


  1. Approved and Safe. You can buy a bike helmet from a bike shop, sporting goods store, department store or discount store--it really doesn't matter. What does matter is that you buy a helmet that is approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The CPSC makes sure that the helmets that get their sticker are safe. Higher-priced helmets usually use in-mold construction and are lighter in weight but are just as strong.

  3. Try It On. Don't buy a helmet without trying it on first. The helmet should fit snugly, touching your head comfortably all the way around. There should not be any pressure points where the helmet touches your head more than other parts of the helmet. These can be dangerous if you have a crash. The straps should be touching the area under your chin but should not be uncomfortable.

  5. Adjust The Straps. The straps should be comfortable but not too loose. Shake your head around to make sure the helmet is not too loose. It can move slightly but if the helmet shifts position, then it is too loose. Remember the helmet needs to stay in case your head hits something hard or you get thrown off your bike. If the helmet moves but the straps are tight, get a smaller size. It also should not slide off your forehead too easily--this also means it is too large.

  7. Can You Unbuckle? Try to unbuckle the helmet with one hand. Buy a helmet that you can unstrap easily.

  9. Over The Ears. The triangle shape that the strap makes on the sides of the helmet should fit around your ears. Adjust the straps so your ears are through this triangle.

  11. Halfway Down Your Forehead. The front of the helmet should start halfway down your forehead, not up at the hairline and not at your eyebrows. The back of the helmet should come down most of the way to the end of your skull. The further down the helmet goes, the safer your head will be.

  13. Head Shapes. Just like there are different shapes to heads, there are different shapes to helmets, too. Many helmets come with pads you can use to help you fit the helmet closer to your head shape.

  15. Helmet Shapes. Bike helmets come in different shapes and styles. Time trial helmets are longer and thinner (they come to a long point in the back). They are made this way so that you can reduce air resistance and get optimum speed. Road helmets are also light but rounder and have plenty of vents. Mountain bike helmets are a little heavier and have thicker straps to keep the helmet on your head better with all the bouncing and jumping you will be doing. Sometimes women's helmets will even feature a ponytail hole in the back of the helmet.

  17. Vents and Visors. Visors may help keep the sun out of your eyes. If this is important to you, then buy a helmet with a visor. This is entirely up to you. Vents can help to keep your head cooler when you are riding. This is especially important in the summer months. There should be one in the front to let the cool air in and one in the back to let the hot air out. V-shaped vents work best. Although more vents keep you cooler, more vents also means less helmet space to keep you safe. More vents on a bike helmet also mean more air noise.

  19. Colors and Designs. If you are concerned about people being able to see you when you're cycling, you may want to choose a bright color. If you worry about the heat on your head, you might want to choose a light color. Most important though, buy a helmet that you will wear. Make sure the color and design are something that you really like. You are more likely to wear it when you do!


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