How to Choose a Bicycle Helmet? (Types, Sizes, Care and More)

Protecting your body while cycling is one of the top priorities after buying a two-wheeler. Failure to follow simple security measures can have very sad consequences. Head injuries in falls occur less frequently than damage to the extremities (abrasions, scratches on hands and feet), but as practice shows, the consequences of these injuries are more severe (concussions, etc). Always wear a bicycle helmet to protect your head while cycling.

For example, if you take part in cycling competitions to open the cycling season, most of them have this accessory. And here, due to the enormous range in the market for bicycle components, the question arises of how to choose a helmet for a bicycle, based on the specificity and style of a cyclist, who is better suited for aggressive purposes and how you determine the size can you need.

In addition, we take into account the design, the materials, and the operating principle as well as the proper carrying and storing of a bicycle helmet during the wintertime.

All bicycle helmets, in fact, are divided into types according to the degree of aggressiveness of riding a cyclist, which we will discuss below. This must be taken into account when buying a bicycle helmet, so as not to overpay for the level of security that you do not need.

Bowl Helmets

Bowl helmets are so named because they have a shape that resembles a Bowl to some extent. Designed to better protect the driver’s head while performing various tricks on a bicycle, they are therefore a necessary attribute when driving BMX bikes and other stunt bikes in the style of Dirt, Street and other extreme skating types. Also, this helmet is perfect for extreme skateboarding, skateboarding, downhill running on a boat, etc. This helmet protects its owner’s head much better, with almost no ventilation holes left for its strength and advanced protection of the head and tail zones of the head of the rider.

Although the lack of ventilation when using a helmet in summer is very bad. For this reason, the head of the cyclist sweats heavily, which can lead to a heat stroke. But as they say, increased protection requires sacrifice. For this reason, helmet cauldrons are not suitable for everyday use with normal bicycles and are used only to perform tricks.

These helmets are not disposable and can take many hard shots. Nevertheless, many drivers advise at least every 3 years to change. This is primarily due to the fact that the foam base is crushed by strong shocks, which deteriorates its amortization properties.

The design is not fundamentally different. The kettles also have a foam floor, an outer shell and a system of belt tensioners. Lack of adjustment under the head circumference of the driver makes the selection process for the helmet more difficult.

Certificates that are desirable when selecting a melon: CE EN1078, ANSI Z90-4, CPSC.

Due to the almost complete absence of vent holes and the increased size of the base, these helmets gained some weight, somewhere around 500 grams. Their price is also higher than Enduro and Country helmets.

Track Helmets

Bicycle track helmets are used by cyclists to achieve speed records or in cycling races and are not only intended to protect the driver’s head in a fall, but also significantly improve the aerodynamic characteristics of a cyclist. For this reason we can observe similar teardrop-shaped forms.

Fullface Helmets

Fullface Bicycle Helmet

These helmets are intended primarily for fast descents from the mountain – downhill or freeride. They have a circular head protection, including the driver’s chin. It can be equipped with eye protection. If these are not available, you should buy special protective masks that cover the open part of the face and protect the eyes from stones, dust, etc. This is the best protected helmet type for a bicycle, but it is not recommended to use it for driving in a dirty and straight manner. Only downhill or freeride. Due to the above properties, they are much more expensive.

These helmets feature a poorly developed ventilation system and often have a carbon outer layer that increases impact resistance. The weight of these helmets varies between 1.1 and 1.3 kg, which is almost 700 grams more than the Bowlhelm.

Certificates: CPSC 1203, CE EN 1078: 2002 + A1: 2012 ASTM F1952-15, ASTM F2032-15, ASTM F2040-11.

Highway Helmets

Street helmets for a bicycle are almost indistinguishable from field helmets. They have the same design, cover the same parts of the driver’s head and have similar certificates. Differences are the lack of a sun visor to improve the aerodynamics and enlarged vents in the suitcase

Cross Country Helmets

This helmet type is great for regular cycling, city trips, and easy long-distance races. Because of its lightness, its comfort and its relatively affordable price, it has become widespread among drivers in daily use. Due to the large number of vents, the head is well blown through the air, which reduces its overheating, especially on hot summer days.


The helmet only protects the top of the head. Temporal and occipital zones are not covered by the body. However, this is not particularly necessary if you do not drive aggressively. However, this design saves weight and improves ventilation. Incidentally, the average weight is up to 300 grams. If you have seen a helmet of this type tougher, it is better not to buy it. The heavier it is, the more tired your neck becomes, which leads to discomfort when cycling.

Because cycling helmets in our country are not subject to certification, you should pay attention to the American and European certificates for safety reasons when selecting this accessory. It is good if this type of helmet has one of the following characteristics (or all together): ISO9000: 2008, CE EN1078, CE EN1077 CPSC 16 CFR 1203, AS / NZS 2063: 2008.

This bike helmet is disposable. With a sufficiently strong impact, the foam base is crushed and broken, preventing reuse. Even if you notice no damage after a strong blow, it is still better to change your helmet. This is due to the fact that the foam base can form hidden microcracks that will not allow the helmet to perform its protective functions when dropped again. This also contributes to a variety of ventilation openings.

Attach a cross-country helmet with a system of straps and clamps on the head. On the inside is often a removable lining to find that can be easily removed after driving and washing. Practically all models of cross-country helmets are adjustable in a certain range of the head diameter of the driver. This is done with a special screw cap or slider.

This type of helmet can be equipped with adjustable and non-adjustable visors and reflectors, which is not mandatory but increases visibility on the road.

Enduro Helmets

Enduro helmets are a mix of cross-country bicycle helmets and bowl helmets. It has vents that make this view perfect for everyday riding. Distinguishes it from earlier models by more advanced protection of the neck and temporal lobes of the head of a cyclist. Therefore, it is a good fit for riders who not only use the bike as a means of transport but also sometimes like to ride a bit extreme (the keyword here is a bit).

Enduro helmets are like their predecessors disposable helmets (after a more or less strong blow the helmet must be replaced) and have the same safety certificates. The weight is about the same, about 300 grams. The price of some Enduro helmets are almost identical to the country models but is on average a little higher.

Helmets for Children

Children Bicycle Helmet

Children’s helmets are almost completely reduced copies of the country helmets. The only difference is that there are fewer vents. This is to extend the life of children’s helmets, as a child falls more frequently from the bike according to statistics and if the helmet would be full of holes, defects would have to be changed very often. They are lighter and the inner pads are usually softer.

Helmet Design

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Helmet Case

Base: The base of the bicycle helmet body fulfills the main protection function. It softens the blow in case of a fall to deformation or complete destruction.

It is a kind of foam and can consist of polypropylene, polystyrene or polyurethane foam. Small particles of this material are pressed together under the influence of temperature in a special mold. For more expensive bike helmets, the base is reinforced with nylon or carbon fiber threads. Please note that this bicycle element may only consist of one piece of foam and should not be glued together, for example, from two halves (as is the case with Chinese models). The use of glued base helmets is unacceptable.

Exterior Coating: The outer coating can be made of more expensive styrofoam, polycarbonate or carbon fiber models. It fulfills several functions: It increases the strength of the entire structure and thus prevents accidental damage to the base layer and punctures during a fall and reduces the burden on the cyclist’s neck during the fall due to the reduction of the friction force of the helmet on the asphalt (or other surfaces) due its smooth surface.

Lining (removable and not removable): Bicycle food also has several tasks. On the one hand, the comfort is to be increased by the soft structure. The second is the reduction of the impact force. Third, it helps to secure the helmet under a cyclist’s head (this is especially important for bowl helmets that are not under the driver’s head). It also absorbs sweat, which is very important in summer. The lining is removable or not removable. Due to the latter characteristic, we can conclude that it is better to buy a helmet with a detachable helmet because it is easy to remove and wash. It is usually attached to the base with Velcro.

Air Vents: These holes are located on the helmet body and serve to capture and distribute the airflow to minimize the heat from a cyclist’s head. I read once that wind tunnel tests have shown that cross-country helmets cool their heads better at a speed of around 30 km / h than when you drive without them. The more openings on the back of the coin, the weaker the strength of the helmet. In addition, the winter is getting colder.

Bicycle Helmet Accessories

Each helmet is equipped with braces, straps, and other accessories that are designed to provide reliable fixation of the helmet on the cyclist’s head not only during the fall but throughout the ride (as a poorly fitted helmet can crawl toward the helmet) ensure eyes, neck or side). It is desirable that the main straps are on top of the helmet and not attached to the sides (this increases the reliability of attachment to the driver’s head). Every helmet for a bike must have a chinstrap. It is desirable that he has a closure that can be easily opened with one hand.

Pay attention to all plastic parts when selecting, as components made of low-quality plastic may fail in front of the helmet itself.

Mosquito net: This item is usually located in the front air vents to prevent insects from getting under the helmet. Installed on almost all children’s helmets. This component is optional, but desirable because a wasp can get under the helmet.

Bicycle Helmet Mosquito Net

Light reflectors and brackets: To increase safety when cycling in the dark, an additional reflector or brackets for various electric lighting devices can be attached to the bicycle helmet. They are not compulsory, but it is better to pay attention to your safety (especially relevant to children’s bicycle helmets).

A fixed mount for action cameras like Go-Pro is rarely seen. Fortunately, they can be purchased separately and easily on the. I would like to point out that these fasteners glued to the helmet do not fit well with land and highway models. For these types it is better to use a special attachment with a strap.

Some female bike helmet models may have a special opening for the hair. This feature, as usual, increases the cost of the product.

Bicycle Helmet Lifespan

Bicycle helmets have a durability that does not depend on whether you have fallen into it or just in the closet. This is especially true for road and terrain models. The thing is, over time, the foam base breaks and worsens. On average, a helmet should be replaced after 5 years from the date of manufacture.

Can I Buy a Used Helmet?​

For the above reasons, it is not recommended to buy a second-hand bicycle helmet because you do not know how many years this product has been used (as mentioned above, the helmet may be near perfect on the outside and damaged by micro-cracks inside the base).

How to Choose a Bike Helmet Size?

If you decide to buy a helmet over the Internet, you should know some parameters, namely the length of your head circumference. It is measured 2 cm above the eyebrows.

If you know this parameter, you can choose a bicycle helmet based on specific measurement tables. I would like to point out that you can only blindly choose cross-, road- and enduro helmets (as there is a size adjustment), but the other types should be measured on a compulsory basis. Below is a size chart for adults (men, women), teenagers and children.

Head Circumference
48 cmXXXXS
50 cmXXXS
52 cmXXS
53-54 cmXS
55-56 cmS
57-58 cmM
59-60 cmL
61-62 cmXL
63-64 cmXXL
65-66 cmXXXL

How Should the Helmet Be Stored?


The materials used to make bicycle helmets are very sensitive to high and low temperatures, moisture and direct sunlight. And if this can not be avoided while traveling, the helmet should be protected from these harmful effects during storage. It is advisable to store the helmet at room temperature, for example in a wardrobe. On a balcony, in an unheated garage or basement, the helmet can not be stored.

If you have soiled the helmet while traveling, you can wash it with a cloth and warm water. The use of detergent chemicals is not recommended.

Tips on How to Choose a Helmet

Since every head is a unique piece, it must be measured before buying a bicycle helmet. Consider several models. Due to the different arrangement of the lining, one type of helmet is more comfortable for you, others not.

If you ride in a helmet, for example, to work or just for leisurely cycling, then you are best suited for cross-country or road bikes. If you want a bit more extreme cycling (a fast ride through a wooded area or a steep descent from a small hill), it is better to choose Enduro.
To jump on the ramp and perform various tricks – only Bowl helmets. Well, for downhill fans.

Choose bright models because they attract the attention of motorists, which increases your safety. In addition, you should consider the option to buy a helmet with light reflectors or flashlights.

If you buy a bicycle helmet for a child, you should not choose it to “grow”. This is not a pullover. He should sit properly on his head and not hang around. Some children’s helmets have a diameter adjustment like adults. You can choose a value whose minimum value is the size of your child’s head.

If you buy full-face helmets or a bowl helmets, you should look at well-known bike brands. If you buy a country helmet, you can save a little and take a product from a lesser known company. However, do not buy Chinese models if you are not sure of their quality.


After reading this article, you can clearly answer the following questions: How to choose a cycling helmet and which one is better for specific tasks? How to choose a bicycle helmet according to the size of the head? We also learned how to properly wear and store a helmet.

From this, it can be concluded that it is not always worthwhile to look for the most expensive model and to buy what you simply do not need. Always use a helmet as this will ensure your safety and health. Good luck on the road!

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