How to choose a bicycle helmet

I value my head. It’s great for hanging hats. Therefore, most times I cycle, I wear a helmet. If you are new to the cycling scene you may be wondering how to choose a bicycle helmet to suit you and if it’s worth splashing out on the more expensive ones (hint: usually its not!)

Here’s a quick run down of what to look for and some of the models I would highly recommend.

3 things to look for when buying a bicycle helmet

When choosing a bicycle helmet you mainly want to look at three things. Price, fit and keeping cool. Okay, and a forth thing, looking cool. Starting with price. This can go up to around £150 and as low as £25. The truth helmet manufacturers don’t want you to know is you will receive most of the benefit with a cheaper helmet as you will with a more expensive one. At least when it comes to protection. However, spending more money should keep your head cooler and provide more comfort.

Fitting a bicycle helmet

You will want to fit the helmet correctly because it will provide far better protection and it will feel more comfortable. A properly fitted bicycle helmet will reach about halfway down your forehead and will cover a good part of the back of your head. The more it covers the better.

The strap should fit closely under the chin and should form a v-shape around the ears. Not all bicycle helmets are born the same and some will fit better than others. After you have tried one and tightened it make sure it does not wobble.

The best bet is to go into a bike shop and try the helmet first. One will fit more comfortably than others. Ideally ask an assistant in the shop to fit the helmet for you. Alternatively, if buying online, make sure you measure your head correctly as instructed by the manufacturer.

(View all the cycling accessory guides such as this one)

Light colours

Lighter colours can be seen by other road users so go for brighter colours (one of the ones I have recommended below even has lights behind the straps). You should aim to buy a helmet with a rounded outer shell so there is nowhere for the helmet to get caught in a fall.

Keeping cool

In terms of keeping cool as you would expect more air vents equal more cooling of the head. However, more air vents also means that there is less of the padding to protect your head. You should pick a trade-off between the two.

As for weight? This doesn’t tend to be an issue as the majority of helmets weigh less than 300 grams.

(How to choose the best bike lock and not waste money)

Popular bicycle helmet models

giro bicycle helmet

Giro Indicator Bike Helmet

Well reviewed and fairly cheap bicycle helmet. Provides good ventilation and back-of-the-head adjustment. Great for anyone who is just getting started and would rather not spend too much.

bicycle helmet abus urbanAbus Urban Helmet

At around £45 this midrange bicycle helmet is perfect for commuting and riding in the city. It’s one of the best helmets for keeping your head cool and it also comes with reflective lights at the back of the straps. An all round excellent helmet that I could not recommend more.

atmos_GIROGiro Atmos Bicycle Helmet

This top of the range helmet is good enough for Lance and its definitely more than good enough for everyday cyclists. It has received great reviews and I found it at a surprisingly good price at Wiggle.

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