Helmets - Buyer's Guide


Keeping your noggin safe is vital when travelling at speed along rocky trails and car infested streets alike. Chances are you’re in control of the bike, but you can’t rule out a crazy dog or pedestrian jumping out in front of you. If your head hits the ground you’ll come off worse, that’s for sure!



Getting a well fitting helmet is the main priority and sizing varies dramatically between manufacturers, so try several before buying anything. Cheaper models tend to have a one-size fits all policy, with adjustable straps and a retention device at the rear. We find these don’t fit all head sizes, especially those smaller or larger than average. Petite women will find getting a small enough helmet a problem when considering unisex helmets, but by looking at women specific versions, the problem is easy to solve. Most of the main helmet manufacturers do at least one female specific option and they aren’t all in pink or decorated with flowers either. But our recomendation is to buy the helmet that fits you best and, ideally, the most expensive you can afford that's suitable for the purpose you need.


Fox Flux helmet




Things to look out for


The more expensive the helmet the lighter it will be and the more ventilation there is, plus the padding used on the inside will be more breathable and may feel more comfortable next to your skin.  Higher spec helmets tend to have better durability and are available in more size options as well. When you get to the very top of the range, you can find helmets may with a leatherette, wipe clean chin strap and some come with their own bag too.


All helmets sold in the UK have to meet set of safety requirements, usually BSEN1078 where the "EN" part signifies a European standard. Any helmets that conform to Snell Foundation B90 or higher are even more strictly controlled and of a higher safety standard. Some helmets come with peaks, most are removable and some can be easily put back on too - peaks help keep sun and dust out of your eyes and are especially useful for off-road riding.


Some manufacturers offer a crash replacement policy where you can return broken helmets and pay a smaller fee for a new helmet, which beats paying full price!



road helmet



A perfect fit


There’s no point wearing an ill-fitting helmet, it won’t protect you and could even cause an injury. If you want good protection choose a comfortable helmet that fits you properly. You can measure the circumference of your head to find the right sized helmet, but each manufacturer makes a slightly different shape, so try plenty on before buying.


For the correct fit, sit the helmet firmly on top of your head, making sure it level, that is it’s not tilted forwards or backwards and the front should be comfortable over your forehead.


Adjust the rear retention system and tighten gently for a secure fit that isn’t too tight.  The helmet should ideally stay on if you wiggle your head around, even with the chinstrap undone. Next adjust the chin and cheek straps, one should pass in front of your ear and the other behind - avoid going over the ears and make sure it is not too tight under the chin.  A good check of the fit for these straps is to ensure they lie flat against your cheek, behind your ear and under your chin, without any bagginess and you should be able to open your mouth wide, as if gulping in air.


Most helmets come with spare pads that can be positioned to fine tune the fit and also provide a fresh set when you need to wash them out. Remember to check the tightness of straps regularly as they can loosen with time.


If you are unsure about anything regarding the fit of your helmet, ask your bike shope for advice.


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