View Full Version : What Helmet do you recommend? Looking for a new one.

06-08-2008, 08:03 AM
My helmet is old and needing to be replaced. It is a Catlike one. I liked the fit a lot, but am back in the market for a new helmet. I want one that is light with plenty of vents. Do you have one to suggest that you are happy with? I have tried on Bell and Giro, because they are everywhere. So far, most of their models don't feel right on my big head. So I am open to all suggestions. Thanks! Oh, and I am willing to pay 100+ bucks for a helmet that will help me be safe out there.

06-08-2008, 08:14 AM
Got this from www.helmets.org. It's a discussion of a Consumer Reports analysis of helmets. Hope it helps.

"The ratings cover impact performance as measured in the Consumers Union test labs, the only independent test data available to the public. The only model rated excellent for impact is a youth helmet, the Specialized Air Wave Mega, a $35 model rated as a Best Buy. It achieved astoundingly good impact performance. Nine of the others tested were rated very good, meaning that they significantly exceeded the CPSC standard and are worthy of your consideration. The rest met the CPSC standard and were rated good. CU did not test for the "softest landing" helmet as they did in 1994, instead testing for the models that could take the hardest impact.

The top adult models were all rated very good for impact protection, and included the Giro Gila, Trek Vapor (at $40 rated as a Best Buy), Giro Torrent and Specialized Enduro Comp. Others were rated good, including the Specialized M1, Bell Aquila, Giro Pneumo and Bell X-Ray. Price was not an indicator of impact protection, since the top models were mostly much cheaper than the lower rated ones. In CU's opinion the lower rated adult models were all still good helmets. They don't mention it, but Giro also sells the Torrent without visor as the Transit, charging less for it.

For ventilation, most of the adult models rated were very good or good, with the Specialized M1 the only helmet offering excellent vents. It was recommended as the choice for those needing maximum ventilation despite being in the third rank for impact protection. The three skate-style models tested were all rated fair for ventilation, as were all three of the toddler models tested. "

06-08-2008, 08:39 AM
People have different shaped heads. I have never found a Bell that is comfortable on my head, but I've had pretty good luck with Giro. (I wear a Pneumo but that's another story.)

One thing about the more expensive helmets is that they tend to be lighter and have more convenient fitting systems with the straps. If you're only commuting half an hour at a time, the weight probably isn't a big issue, but I can really tell if I'm on a longer ride. And the straps? Well, the cheaper helmets can be downright infuriating to try to adjust.

The bottom line is still comfort. Keep trying on different brands of helmets until you find one that suits you. I have a very large friend (6' 7") who loves Bell helmets.

06-08-2008, 11:19 AM
My helmet is the Bell Solar. I got it partly because it was cheap...$20 on sale at Performance last year. It fits my 7 5/8-7 3/4 head just fine, even when I use a neckerchief for a helmet liner. As for cooling, my rides have been short hops, no racing, no 30-50 mile club rides, no centuries. For the rides I've been doing, it's been perfectly comfortable, but I'm not the kind of person to overheat easily.

I Think Grant's suggestion to check out http://www.helmets.org/ is good. Helmet-dismissive people hate the site, but I think it, unlike another site whose name and url I can't recall at the moment, tries to be objective about helmet protection capability, comfort, and so forth. I looked at a lot of helmets before I got the Bell Solar; tried a lot of them on. Some fit better, but the Solar fit good, and it has a decent harness for the money. The harness was a big deal for me. Those that have the little wheel at the back, like this one, work really well to fine tune the fit.

It seemed to me that the helmets that cost more money, some of them...a lot more money, were those more directed to the 'racing' type of rider that's prepared to spend extra. What seems to be the major distinguishing feature of those helmets, besides the price, is that they have larger ventilation openings, which ironically, means less protection benefitting foam.

As of a year ago, according to helmets.org, the vast majority of bike helmets use the same kind of protective foam, regardless of how they're priced. There are a couple different formulations that have been marketed, and that seem to be under continuing development, but they're not yet so overwhelmingly better than the most commonly used foam that helmet manufacturers have decided to move to them. Material cost is a factor in their decision too.

My impression was that low cost helmets would be suitable for a lot of people out riding.

One comment I particularly remember from that site, is that the helmet shape thought to offer the greatest safety capability, is one that is round as opposed to elongated for streamlining. The least number of projections allows the helmet roll with the body, minimizing the potential for neck stress. My helmet has a bit of elongation on the back, but it's moderate.

06-09-2008, 09:35 AM
One comment I particularly remember from that site, is that the helmet shape thought to offer the greatest safety capability, is one that is round as opposed to elongated for streamlining.

I got my Bell Citi for this reason. It is rounder in the back with no projections to snag on things. It also came with the most built-in reflectivity, which is important to me since I mostly commute in traffic and only do occasional longer weekend rides. I'm not super-impressed with the fit on the Citi; it has a so-called "universal" fit, achieved mostly with the wheel-adjustable headband. I also don't think many people would consider it to be very cool-looking. I think I paid $35-$40 for it at BG.

07-06-2008, 10:46 PM
I have tried on Bell and Giro, because they are everywhere. So far, most of their models don't feel right on my big head.

I have a Bell helmet that I bought for exactly this reason--I've got a big head. Hat shopping is tough, helmet shopping was impossible.

I can't remember the exact model I have, but the Citi looks pretty much identical. Mine has the ErgoDial thing, and it was the only helmet I could find that wasn't too small or too big. It's a touch larger than my head (I can wear a bandana under it on a cold day, but only if the dial is all the way out), but when it's dialed in, it fits perfectly. I got it for about $50, but would gladly have paid more.