6 Important Things to Consider When Choosing Your Helmet

Author: Cycling Deal Date Posted:15 June 2016

It’s the law in Australia to wear a helmet while riding, so you should always wear one of these essential bike accessories. But considering your helmet is also protecting your brain against injury, you shouldn’t just chuck on any old thing. We’ve put together this guide to help you choose the right helmet for you and your family.

Different Helmets Suit Different Bikes

The first thing to consider is what type of bike you’re riding. Different bikes tend to be involved in different types of accidents, so they require different helmets. Road bike helmets are designed with more rounded fronts. This protects your head against hitting the ground straight on since most accidents that happen on the road involve the cyclist falling forward over the handlebars.

On the other hand, most mountain bike accidents involve the cyclist falling backwards; therefore the helmet is designed to take the impact at the back of the head. The helmet is generally a little bulkier and sits lower on the cranium at the back compared to a road helmet.

Learn the Features of Helmets

Understanding the different features of helmets will help you assess their quality. There are three main components to every helmet: the hard outer shell, an impact absorbing inner shell, and a chin strap.

The Outer Shell

The outer shell holds your helmet together. It is normally made of a hard plastic coating like polycarbonate. Better helmet models will have a thicker coating that covers the whole inner shell and often incorporates carbon fibre or similar materials mixed with Kevlar for extra strength. This can stop the outer shell cracking even on direct impact.

Another feature of pricier helmets is that the outer shell is moulded with the inner shell, rather than just glued on. This is worth the extra cost as it can help push the safety rating of the helmet well above the legal requirement.

The Inner Shell

A helmet’s inner shell is usually made of expanded polystyrene – like what’s used in your esky. The inner shell cushions the blow and distributes the force of an impact. This material is generally susceptible to splitting under force and snagging along the ground, so a hard, smooth and rounded outer shell is needed for protection. The inner shell commonly has padding attached with straps on the inside for comfort and sweat absorption.

The Chin Strap

A good, easily adjustable chin strap is essential for keeping your helmet on your head in a crash. Make sure the strap on your helmet is strong and fits you securely and comfortably.

Rear Harness

Make sure the helmet you are buying has an adjustable rear harness. This will improve the fit of your helmet at the back of your cranium and significantly improve both comfort and safety.

Get the Right Fit

The right fit is critical. Always try a helmet on before buying it and if purchasing one over the internet, use a reputable online bike store.

Don't Get Ripped Off

It’s worth spending a little more to get a good quality helmet for superior protection. But don’t get ripped off – using the tools we’ve given you, check that the helmet is worth the price before forking out for a premium item.

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