Cyclop Buyer Guide: How to Buy a Cycling Helmet

Originally published at: https://blog.cyclop.in/cycle-helmets-buyer-guide-india/

To many new cyclists a helmet is a helmet is a helmet. But how do you pick the right cycling helmet? How do you differentiate between a cheap and an expensive one? Here is the Cyclop Buyer Guide for selecting your cycling helmet!

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Read our article on Best Cycle Accessories

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TYPES OF HELMETS

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Every helmet is
basically made of a foam liner covered with a hard outer shell. The shell
absorbs external impact, while the liner encases and protects the head.
Standard bicycle helmets will work for most cyclists. For specific riding
styles go for:

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MTB Helmet for offroading

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This helmet is made for a rider crashing through a rough trail. It provides good head coverage and has fewer vents, to protect the head from stones and rocks in case of a crash. It usually comes with a detachable visor to deflect twigs, branches and flying stones from the eyes.

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Road Bike Helmet

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A road biker’s helmet
must be lightweight, comfortable, and have multiple air vents for a non-sweaty
head. These helmets do not have visors as it would block the cyclist’s vision
in an aggressive riding position.

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Triathlon and Time Trial Helmets

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For competition-oriented cyclists speed is everything! Their cycling helmet is as aerodynamic as possible. In some helmets the clasp opens with one hand, cold and numb fingers to help with quick transition.

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Full face helmet

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This is for downhill
junkies and freeriders who take high risks. The helmet provides coverage
similar to a motorbike helmet, protecting the rider’s face and jaw in crashes
on technical trails.

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HOW TO EVALUATE A CYCLING HELMET

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PRICE

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Price is the main
consideration for many. Very broadly one may say, it starts from Rs 2000, the average
is Rs 5000, and goes up to Rs 17,000.

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But is an expensive
helmet better than a cheaper one? In terms of safety, low cost, branded helmets
are fine, as they too must pass established safety standards. But as the price
goes up, you get higher levels of safety, better fit, higher structural
strength, better aerodynamics, reduction in weight and better looking options!

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WEIGHT

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When you are on
the road for hours, every ounce of weight on your head makes a difference! Lighter,
premium helmets fall near 200gm. But anything under 300gm is good for the
average cyclist. Achieving very low weight is not easy and needs careful
design. For example, Specialized’s 185gm Prevail S-Works helmet is internally
reinforced with an aramid skeleton.

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SAFETY

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Stronger helmets make
safer helmets.

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Monoshell design
contributes to helmet strength. In this the outer shell and foam liner are
molded together, not glued or taped.

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Internal reinforcing
also makes a helmet strong. In this the helmet has a nylon or metal mesh buried
inside its foam. This gives it internal support like iron rods in the walls of
a building.

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Advanced technologies like MIPS
(Multi-Directional Impact Protection System ) are used by top brands like
Giant, Giro and Scott. In this the head is encased in a layer that does not
move with the outer layer. And so, when the helmet strikes the ground and tends
to roll, the head does not roll with the outer layer.

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Finally, all branded
helmets must pass safety standards
by one of these bodies –

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  • CPCS (US Consumer Product Safety Commission)
  • ASTM (American Society of Testing Materials)
  • Snell
  • CEN (the European Committee for
    Standardization) with the EN-1078 standard
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VENTILATION

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In India’s hot
weather, vents are a blessing, keeping the head cool and non-sweaty. They also
make a helmet light but watch out! Too many vents in a non-reinforced helmet
means its safety and structural strength may be compromised.

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FIT & COMFORT

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It is important that your
helmet sit well on your head. For this look at –

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Padding – Creates a snug fit, should be well spaced for ventilation, may be
removeable and washable.

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Adjustment mechanisms – Many helmets have a ring fit system which is an adjustable band
inside the helmet to grip your head. In mid to high range helmets there will be
a knob at the back to adjust the grip and height of the helmet.

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Ponytail gap – Some helmets have this too!

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Of course, it is essential to find the correct size helmet for yourself.

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AERODYNAMICS

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If speed’s your thing
go for a helmet rounded at the front. Some helmets also provide a sliding cover
to cover the vents, and become aerodynamic at choice.

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COVERAGE

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For higher protection, go for higher coverage. But avoid a helmet that juts forward if you are a serious road biker. It may block your vision when you bend down and ride.

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ATTACHMENTS & ACCESSORIES

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Watch out for extra
features in a helmet like headlights, rear lights, reflective strips, a
detachable visor.

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RECOMMENDED HELMETS ACROSS PRICE POINTS

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Merida Team Race AR3

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Rs. 4,390

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This is a value for money helmet. It has structural strength with inmold design, has 12 vents, is heat embossed & has 3D die cut padding and you can also adjust it with a 2D micro dial fit system. At 260gm it is well within 300gms.

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Shop Merida Helmets
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CATLIKE Urban Helmet Kompacto

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Rs. 6,490.00 

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Playful, flowy, stylish, this helmet has won the BestBuy award by Outdoorgearlab.com. It provides extra safety by providing coverage in the fragile, lower back area of the head. It has 21 vents, and is designed for urban cycling.

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Shop Catlike Helmets
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Limar
778 Superlight

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Rs. 7,500.00

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One glance at the Limar 778 Superlight and you can see how airy this cycling helmet is, weighing just 205gm. 24 vents and decent internal channeling don’t allow sweat to drip into the cyclist’s eyes. A great lightweight helmet, at its price.

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Shop Limar Helmets
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FINAL
HELMET BUYING CHECKLIST

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  • WEIGHT: Must Be Under 300gm, Closer To 200gm Is Great
  • VENTS: 21+ For Road Biking Is Good
  • MOLDED SHELL: Is Preferable For Strength
  • INTERNAL REINFORCEMENT: is desirable
  • ADJUSTABLE: Up, Down & Sideways
  • HIGHER: Coverage Is Better If Trail Riding
  • AERODYNAMIC SHAPE: May Be Preferred For Speed
  • SAFETY: Recognised Brands Are Safe, Not To Worry
  • EXTRA FEATURES: Bug Netting, Inbuilt Light, Mips Tech, Visor
  • STYLE/ LOOK/ PRICE: Up To You
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Shop Helmets
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*Written in Jun 2020. Prices mentioned above may have changed from the time this blogpost was written.

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