Best Mountain Bike Helmets Buying Advice – What to Consider
While it is not against the law to ride your bike without a helmet, the Highway Code recommends wearing one whenever you are riding your mountain bike. Any of the experienced riders can attest to the fact that a mountain bike helmet is one of the most important bike accessories today.
As a matter of fact, a good helmet will protect you against head injuries or even save your life, should you get involved in an accident while riding your bike. While this is the case, not all the mountain bike helmets available today are good enough for BMX, road and mountain bikers.
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If you are shopping for the best bike helmet today, there are several things that you need to consider so as to buy the best. To begin with, you should ensure that your preferred helmet is comfortable, comparatively lightweight, well ventilated and easy to adjust.
In addition to such aspects, here are some of the things you should consider while shopping for the best mountain bike helmet today:
Level of Protection
The main purpose of a mountain bike helmet is to protect you from head injuries, in case you are involved in an accident while riding your bike. As such, your preferred helmet should offer an acceptable level of protection to your head. In this regard, the helmet you are buying should conform to the safety standards in your state.
While most of the helmets in the market are built to meet such safety standards, the high-end products often exceed this rating. You should go for the helmets that exceed this rating, if you can afford them, as they are considered to offer more protection.
While on the subject of protection, you also need to choose between open face and full face mountain bike helmets. If you ride your bike at high speeds or on gnarly terrain, it is advisable to buy a full-face bike helmet.
Image Source: City of Downey
However, even the well ventilated downhill full-face mountain bike helmets can be too heavy in some cases. For instance, the full-face helmets may be too hot and probably unnecessary if your trail comprises of lifts, shuttles and hikes. All in all, the full-face helmets offer more protection, but may not be the best for long-term comfort; as compared to the open face mountain bike helmets.
The Right Fit
In order to offer your head optimal crash protection, you preferred mountain bike helmet should be of the right fit. A loose helmet will not only cause constant discomfort while you are riding down the trail; it is likely to fall off in the event of an accident. Such a helmet will not offer you the protection your need during a crush. In this regard, you should ensure that the helmet you buy fits the circumference of your head comfortably.
Getting the right fit should not be a problem since most of the leading manufacturers include the sizes in their product descriptions.
Basically, it is advisable to get a helmet that fits snugly around the head as a conventional cap would. Additionally, you should ensure that the helmet is of the right depth. With a mountain bike helmet of the right fit, there should be a one-finger gap in between the front of the helmet and your eyebrows.
Finally, buying a helmet with internal adjustments will offer you a customized fit; something your preferred product should offer.
While ventilation is important for a bike helmet to be comfortable, increased ventilation will make a helmet less protective (against such things as sticks). To counter this defect, some of the high-end product features unique materials or design for enhanced ventilation and comfort.
For instance, some of the renowned manufacturers today use Koroyd material—a material that offers optimal protection whilst allowing hot air to escape with ease—in their mountain bike helmets.
If you will be riding your bike in hot weather, you should consider wearing an open-face helmet. Owing to the increased exposure, such a helmet will offer you enhanced ventilation and comfort for long-distance rides.
Additionally, you also need to consider the shape and size of vents on your preferred helmet. You should also take a look at the inside of the helmet; the padding should have internal channels that allow for free airflow. Again, the best mountain bike helmet should have a good balance of exhaust and intake vents.
Based on your budget, you will find that helmets within the various price ranges are of different weights and offer varied levels of protection. In this regard, you should buy one that offers the best safety to weight ratio.
The more expensive mountain bike helmet options are more likely to use better materials, feature better styles and finish. However, your decision should not be influenced solely by the price. Instead, you should balance the weight with the level of protection offered by the helmet.
>> A high-quality helmet, for example, will not only be fairly lightweight; it will have advanced safety features, such as a moulded shell and built-in anchor points. However, such additional features will increase the value and manufacturing complexity; hence the price of the mountain bike helmets.