by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com
While talking with a neighbor over the weekend, he told me “I need to go get a helmet….to set a good example for my son.” Knowing my background in the cycling industry, he proceeded to ask a few questions about what he should get. In our conversation, I mentioned an earlier article “Riding safely with your kids” and reviewed all the reasons to buy a helmet and how to find the right one. Then I added some additional reasons why buying a more expensive helmet is a really good option.
A Nicer Helmet Adds Comfort to Safety
First, all bicycle helmets sold in the US need to pass CPSC tests. These tests are the baseline requirements for helmet safety in the US. So, if all helmets pass the same tests, why buy a nicer helmet? Well, there are more safety features that are available for helmets, like MIPS. This makes a helmet safer, but the way it makes MIPS safer is not yet specifically tested for. So the first reason to buy a better helmet is safety.
Ventilation and weight
Beyond Safety features, the most compelling reason to buy a nicer helmet is ventilation. Ventilation is the reason helmets become more expensive. As an example, the larger holes in the helmet required for better ventilation makes it more difficult for the helmet to pass safety testing. So, to pass testing more complex molds need to be used to make the helmet, more steps are required to make the helmet and more technology is added to make the helmet. All this added process, makes the helmet both better ventilated as well as more expensive. Also, more expensive helmets are much lighter than their basic counterparts. Overall, a lighter and more ventilated helmet will be more comfortable.
A Nicer Helmet Offers More Comfort
Another great reason to buy a nicer helmet is comfort. Nicer helmets are made in many sizes that fit different sized riders more comfortably. Additionally, they use retention mechanisms that hold the sized helmet on your head properly, so the helmet is touching your head as little as possible.
As an example, Lets look at Specialized’s line of helmets. Beginning with the Align ($40), you have a well ventilated one size fits all helmet. Moving on to the Echelon 2 ($70), that helmet has larger ventilation ports, as well as 4 sizes to fit riders better. Finally, we look at the Prevail ($200) which has the largest vents, lightest weight, as well as a Kevlar, internal, roll cage to hold the helmet together on impact. It has the most refined retention mechanism and comes in many sizes to fit riders comfortably.
First thing to do is make sure the helmet you select from the many brands available Is comfortable and fits well before you purchase it. Once you find a few helmets that seem comfortable, take them for test rides on your bike (most shops will allow this if you leave an ID behind). Concentrate on what helmet is most comfortable and best ventilated. Then, buy what feels great!