Whether you’re shopping hybrid bicycles for sale or you have your eye on a mountain bike that can handle rugged trails with ease, don’t hop on your bike without wearing a properly fitting helmet. This guide will help you choose the ideal helmet to prevent a serious head injury in the case of a collision.
Exploring Types of Bike Helmets
Although you can wear a bike helmet on any type of terrain, you will find that different helmet styles are better suited for different types of riding. For example, mountain bike helmets have more coverage at the back of the head and extra ventilation. Road bike helmets are aerodynamic and lightweight to facilitate speed while still offering protection. Recreational helmets are the best value for casual riders who need impact protection without spending a fortune.
Helmets sold in the United States must have safety certification from the Consumer Product Safety Commission. You can also look for safety accreditation from Snell and/or the American Society for Testing and Materials.
Finding the Right Fit
If you are in a bike accident, having a helmet that doesn’t fit well can actually do more harm than good. Your helmet should be snug enough that it won’t fall off on impact, but comfortable enough that you’ll actually put it on when you ride.
For best results, measure the circumference of your head around the largest part, which for most people is just above the eyebrows. Helmet sizes are standardized based on this measurement as follows:
- 20 inches or less: extra small
- 20 to 21.75 inches: small
- 75 to 23.25 inches: medium
- 25 to 24.75: large
- 75 or larger: extra large
If your head size is right on the edge of two measurements, go with the smaller size. When you put the helmet on, the top edge should fall about an inch above your eyebrows. The helmet should be level, not tilted to the front or back. If you can move the helmet more than an inch front to back or side to side, you need a smaller helmet.
Trying It on for Size
Even if a specific helmet fits your measurement, it may not be comfortable to wear or stay on your head snugly. Each brand uses its own special helmet mold, so the same size helmets won’t be the same shape across brands. Many helmets come with either an adjustment wheel or extra foam pads the rider can use to tailor the fit and feel of the helmet.
When the helmet feels right on your head, adjust the chin strap. The straps should create a V shape just below each ear. When you buckle the helmet and open your mouth wide, the top of your head should press against the top of the helmet. When you get the right fit, jump on your city bicycle and go!
If you’re searching the best bikes for seniors, college students, or recreational riders, don’t head to the store without making sure you have a helmet that will provide full protection in a crash. You should replace your bike helmet whenever it does not fit well, has damage or cracks, or has been involved in an accident.