Decide what kind of biking you'll be doing before you buy a helmet. We'll talk more about bike helmets in a moment, but here are some points to consider:
- Material. Reference our brief overview above or do your own investigation. Make sure the materials that make up the helmet you’re interested in are heavy-duty and of good quality. You’re investing in your brain, here!
- Weight. The shells’ materials need to be sturdy, but not overwhelmingly heavy to the point that it is causing physical pain.
- Certification. A proper helmet should comply with and be certified for CPSC Safety Standard. Most helmets meet this but it doesn’t hurt to check. There are also other forms of technology to look out for, like MIPS. MIPS stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection System, is a type of slip-plane technology that can reduce the amount of force against the head during impact. If a helmet is equipped with MIPS, it’ll have a thin yellow liner under the pads inside the helmet
- Fit. Expect the helmet to feel snug, but it should not be too loose or too tight.
- Price. All we ask is that you do not compromise on the cost as a helmet protects your head, and that, is priceless.
Now that we’ve answered ‘What size bike helmet do I need?’ it’s time to look into ‘How should a bike helmet fit?’ Like we briefly mentioned earlier, your helmet should feel snug: not too loose or too tight. For online shoppers, this might mean relying more heavily on the manufacturer’s size chart provided. For in-person shoppers, this means to try, try, try before you buy! Explaining how to properly secure and adjust your helmet should answer your burning question.
First and foremost, place the helmet atop your head, making sure it is level. You actually want it to cover the majority of your forehead, so it should sit about an inch above your eyebrows. If you have an adjustment wheel, which is located towards the back of your helmet, use it to additionally alter the fit. Twisting the wheel allows you to better personalize the fit of a helmet, ensuring it is snug. Doing so will prevent your helmet from excessively slipping forward, blocking your vision, or sitting too high atop your forehead, giving less coverage.
Next, adjust and buckle the chin straps so that they fit snug yet comfortably. When fitted properly, the straps will form a “Y” as they rest under each ear.
Lastly, once the shell is fitted snugly and the straps are buckled securely, open your mouth wide. The distance between your chin and the helmet strap should be about a half-inch (13mm). When everything is adjusted according to these guidelines, you should feel the helmet pressing against your head. You have passed the safety test! As helmets loosen with time and with each ride, it's a good idea to perform this quick test before each ride to ensure your helmet fits correctly.