There are different helmets for different types of riding and numerous options within each category. In this blog we’ll break down the options and specify some key ingredients to help simplify your decision-making process.
The major thing to remember is that a helmet is there to protect your head if you come off your bike. You need to make sure that the helmet you buy is Australian Standards Approved – if it’s not don’t buy it because your helmet may not fulfill its primary purpose of protecting your head, you won’t be covered by insurance if you have an accident and you won’t be allowed to race in it.
In Australia it’s compulsory to wear a helmet when riding a bike and has been since the early 1990s, so not wearing one is only an option if you’re rich enough to keep paying the fines.
With so many options to choose from, which is the best helmet for you?
Key ingredients – safety, style, comfort
This is what the cool kids wear… They look good, meet Australian standards and keep you out of trouble with officers of the law. These helmets have minimal ventilation which can make them less comfortable in warmer weather and they’re often heavier than others as well. So, the things to look for when buying an urban helmet, apart from style, are that the helmet has plenty of sizing options so you can get the right fit, that it has adequate ventilation for your climate and that it’s as light as possible so you don’t end up centimetres shorter from wearing it.
Key ingredients – safety, ventilation, weight, style
All road helmets are not created equal. As with most helmets, the basic rule of thumb is the more you pay the less you get. Sounds counter intuitive but what we mean here is that the helmets with the best ventilation and aerodynamics are more expensive than basic helmets because the technology and materials required to produce them to Australian standards are expensive.
So, if you’re looking for a helmet to wear for those long hours in the saddle, you need the lightest, best ventilated and most protective road helmet you can find.
Retention systems really come into play with a road helmet – how many people have you seen at the coffee shop with telltale red dots on their forehead when they take off their helmet? A retention system that fits to your whole head, without creating pressure points, and is easy to adjust in the saddle is a ‘must have’ for any road helmet.
And a word on ventilation; it doesn’t just mean the helmet with the most holes. A well ventilated helmet will draw cool air in at the front, channel it over your head and allow the warm air to exit through specially placed exhaust vents at the back.
Key ingredients: aerodynamics, performance, comfort
Beyond the safety element, the primary purpose of a TT helmet is to improve your aerodynamics, thus improving your performance. The key here is to find a helmet that will protect your head during a ride, make you more aerodynamic and, more importantly keep you cool. Trust us, there are plenty of aero helmets out there that make your head feel like it’s in a sauna!
A ‘nice to have’ additional feature of the best TT helmets is an integrated visor – more aerodynamic than sunglasses and more comfortable to wear. Make sure that the visor, like the helmet, has adequate ventilation so you don’t fog up coming into the home straight.
Many aero helmets in the world market do not meet Australian standards so if you intend racing in Australia make sure yours does or you may find yourself disqualified.
Watch the Lazer Wasp YouTube to see what TT helmets are all about.
Key ingredients: safety, durability, impact dissipation
MTB helmets are far more likely to sustain impact than any other helmet unless you are an extremely cautious or very lucky mountain biker. So, one of the primary considerations when choosing a MTB helmet is its ability to dissipate the energy of an impact.
As with road helmets you’re going to be wearing this for hours at a time so ventilation and weight are important considerations when making your choice. Additional features for MTB helmets include an integrated visor to keep the sun and branches out of your eyes, an insect net to help keep the bugs out and a comfortable fit that suits your sunglasses or goggles.
Key ingredients: safety, fit, durability
Sport helmets are the option for short commutes or occasional riding. As with all helmet options, safety is of paramount concern so ensuring that you get a proper fit is essential. If it’s something you wear every day you want it to be nice and comfortable as well as durable. Generally this style of helmet will have less bells and whistles and a less sophisticated retention system so its worth taking the time to have it expertly fitted so you know it will stay comfortable, fit your head and protect you when necessary.
We’ve put kid’s helmets into the sport category because they also generally have less bells and whistles than most adults helmets – again, if you’re protecting your child’s developing brain you want to make sure that the helmet fits well and that they’re going to be comfortable and happy wearing it. How the helmet looks can often be a big part of this which is why kid’s helmets tend to be more bright and colourful that the adult versions.
For very small children finding a lightweight helmet that fits is absolutely essential. It is often difficult to fit helmets to very young children but its worth persevering to ensure that they are well protected.
That’s it on helmets, we hope this has helped you work out what type of helmet you need. If you have any questions just drop us a line.