If you go shopping at Walmart, you can find out a variety of cycling helmets. Their prices mostly not that expensive, you are very likely can buy one under $50. Lets shopping at your local bike shops or sports niche store, you will probably find out one costs more than $100 even $200 or $300. You are wondering why those in niche stores cost much more. Now, I am here to show you why.
How to know my helmet is for road cycling?
There are two main features on off-road helmets that are easy to spot on, but not on the road cycling helmets. The full faced helmet is designed for off-road but not on road. In most cases, you don’t need a full faced helmet on the road. A full face would reduce the ventilation and make your head more sweaty. Also, you carry more weight on your head for unnecessary. In the fashion sense, a full faced helmet doesn’t match road cycling too.
Another feature you may notice is that off-road helmet has a brim on the front, and not so on a road helmet. That front brim is to keep your face off from tree branches. When you ride on trails, you are likely through among the trees, so the front brim is useful for off-road. However, you rarely hit the tree branches when you ride on the roads. Therefore, there’s no front brim on a road helmet.
Is the more expensive one keep me safer?
Indeed, all helmets selling in the market must pass certain compliance test before sale. For example, CE is one of the tests has to be passed. So, even the cheapest one you can buy will meet the minimum requirement. However, the more expensive one has ice on the cake features.
MIPS is one premium feature that protects your head even better. MIPS stands for multi-directional impact protection system. It is a design that reduces the rotational force to your head under certain impact. Helmet manufacturers sell helmets in both MIPS and non-MIPS versions. MIPS version usually costs $30 to $50 more than the non-MIPS version in the market.
Another premium feature you might find out is carbon-fibre-reinforced structure. Carbon fibre is strong and very lightweight, but costly to make. Those carbon fibre layouts on the helmet styrofoam make the structure integrity stronger and better, and so your head can be further protected.
Helmets usually have a polycarbonate on the outside and styrofoam on the inside. Those two layers are glued up when a cheaper helmet is made. On the other hand, the higher end one has two layers fused together by in-mould technology. What in-mold technology does is to inject styrofoam into polycarbonate under very high pressure so that structure is bonded and seamless.
The higher end helmet has a knob at the back so that you can adjust the circumference and height of the straps around your head to provide perfect personal fit and excellent stability. Adjustability is one of the factors that makes you comfortable with a helmet. Single knob is very handy to use if you want to adjust your helmet with one hand when you are riding.
Ventilation and head cover
A higher end road racing helmet has lots of ventilation holes, usually about 20 of them or more. More holes allow more air to blow through your helmet to your head so that your head is cool down and your sweat evaporates faster.
You might say cooling is good on warmer days, how about in colder days? Well, some helmets come with a head cover that fits under the helmet, so you can manage the air flow through the ventilation as you like.
Because we all sweat during a ride, the decomposition of sweat oil left on the helmet causes the stink. A good helmet comes with removable liners or paddings underneath so that they can be washed. In addition, those liners or paddings have antibacterial treated and made of nonallergic and anti-perspiration-pile-up fabric.
Other extra features
- Lightweight is one of the features on the good one. Typically, 300 grams or fewer on the top end racing helmets.
- Some helmets come with a visor, so you don’t have to wear cycling glasses.
- Some helmets have slots that allow you to insert your cycling glasses to their front.
- A front brim might come with a road cycling helmet. By adding the brim on your helmet, you can ride off-road. Some helmet manufacturers promote the extended uses in this way for more sales.
- A road racing helmet has an aerodynamic shape which makes you slippery in the air and thus you save watts for more speed. You get an advantage from the time shaved from an aerodynamic helmet although it’s not significant.
A good more expensive helmet let you have better protection than the minimum required by legislation. Along with that, you buy your comfort from features such as lightweight, antibacterial paddings under a helmet, ventilation holes, head covers, and adjustable fitting knob. Before the conclusion of this article, I leave you my suggestion on the age of your helmet being used. To make sure your helmet works properly, it is advisable to have your helmet changed every 5 years even though you don’t use it often.