Cycling helmets just as glasses and gloves provide safety on the bike. Although their use is not mandatory everywhere, it is highly advisable and necessary to prevent head injuries in case an accident occurs.
Bicycle helmets must be lightweight, providing maximum ventilation and safety.
Bicycle helmets have a maximum lifespan of 5 years. After this time, the materials that they are made od deteriorate, losing or reducing shock absorbation and compromising, in this way, the safety of the user. That is why it is recommended to replace them after this time. It is also convenient to change it after a fall or a blow, because, although it may not appear to be damaged nor has exhausted its recommended use time, it may no longer protect adequately since its shock absorbation could have been affected.
How to choose a bicycle helmet?
Choosing a helmet is not easy, since the range models with different prices is endless. Helmets for children can be purchased from 14 euros. For adults, you can find a good helmet from about 20 euros, although some cost more than 85 euros. A higher price is not a guarantee of higher quality, so when choosing your helmet you should bear in mind the following features:
- Safety: the price of a helmet is determined, especially, depending on the material, weight and comfort, but in no case, for the level of security, since all helmets on the market must be approved according to with the European standard EN1078 .
- The shell: high-end bicycle helmets are manufactured using an In-mold process in which the outer part and the polystyrene of the inner part are joined together in a single piece, increasing the resistance against impacts and improving the the transfer of impact energy. If, on the other hand, the shell is stuck to the interior material, there is a greater risk of it coming off. One-piece helmets are generally more expensive, since their average price exceeds 50 euros, while in the attached models the average price is around 35 euros.
- The outward appearance: striking colours or reflective stripes contribute to better visibility.
- The retention system: the clip type, with two pieces of plastic that fit inside each other to close and open by pressing the sides, is the most practical system. Also check its strength, by giving a strong pull to see if it opens easily. Whatever the type, it must have a padded piece under it to protect the chin from rubbing with the strap and prevent the skin from being pinched when it is clipped together.
- The ventilation holes: at first glance it is difficult to check their effectiveness, since this does not depend on the number of holes, but on their design and position. Some contain mesh to keep out insects.
- The inner padding: the helmets usually have washable and comfortable padding which is sometimes, microperforated, for better breathability.
- The visor: can be put on and easily removed for the sun and the branches of trees. It is very common in mid-range MTB helmets.
How to adjust a bicycle helmet?
The effectiveness of a helmet depends in large part on its being well adjusted at the moment of impact. Therefore, you must use the contour adjustment system. Some models have simple cushions or an elastic band. However, the most precise adjustment is achieved with a plastic ring (rock-lock) that surrounds the entire helmet and fits the size of the head by means of a wheel on the back. This adjustment piece must be attached to the helmet by means of flexible plastic elements.
It is also necessary to adjust the length of the straps so that the helmet cannot move, without making it uncomfortable (check that you can open your mouth). Make sure that the regulation system is easy to use and that you do not need to repeat the operation each time you fasten your helmet. Try stretching the straps to see if they give excessively.
The helmet should be placed in a horizontal position, neither tilted towards the nape of the neck nor thrown over the eyes. When moving your head quickly, the helmet should not move from its position, nor compress your head.
The straps should go around your ears, never cover them. You have to make sure that the helmet does not interfere with your hearing or vision. Always wear it fastened, for your own safety and that of the people behind you.
Popular Cycling Helmets brands: