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Bike Helmets - A Buyer's Breakdown

Whether you're a mountain biker, a road rider or simply a city slicker looking for a new lid, finding bike helmets that suit your two wheeled needs can be bothersome. As with all things cycling, there's a bit of etiquette to it - goggling up with a trail helmet on your fixie is a scourge equivalent to socks with sandals - bold or just clueless, it's hard to tell either way. Mix in the fact that your helmet is an investment in your well-being and it's certainly a decision worth getting right first time around. With this in mind, we gathered together the assorted bicycling chimps here at Always Riding HQ and got them to (gently) put their heads together and hammer out some helmet suggestions and tips according to discipline, use, tech spec and style...

For the Road Rider

Road Bike Helmets

First up, it's that streamlined, sleek and lightweight lid with more holes than a Swiss Cheese. More commonly known as road cycling helmets, these are designed to balance aerodynamic concerns with ventilation and high speed safety with a view to providing high performance for those looking at shaving tenths of seconds as well as their legs. These are some of the most advanced pieces of kit the sportive and club rider own. Brands constantly compete to offer greater protection with even better styling, and the market for road bike helmets is constantly growing as ever more people are seduced by the allure of Lycra.

So, what should you be looking out for in a good road helmet? Well, primarily, weight. Make it light, and you'll be doing alright. If you're setting off for a high pace club run, then you'll not want to be nodding away with a lid that requires more lugging than that steel frame of yours. Also, micro-metric adjustment courtesy of rear rotor fittings is always a plus, allowing you to dial in your fit perfectly. Increasingly we're seeing a shift towards integrated MIPS systems in high end road helmets, an innovation that aims to reduce the risk of non-linear impacts on the brain - you can read more about it here.

Trail & Mountain Bike Helmets

Bike Helmet

Taking to the trail though has different implications, and a tumble whilst tucking around trees is a fair deal more serious. In the event that your head and body decide to take a different route amongst the trees, you'll be wanting a generous helping of coverage. Subsequently, trail and MTB helmets will cover the rear of the head substantially more, and often provide a peak to keep the sun out of your eyes. For the more hardcore downhillers, full coverage helmets provide jaw protection for those days when you're perhaps a little too eager get your teeth into the descent.

This rugged and off-road strand of the bike helmet market is seeing a move towards helmet camera mountings as a standard, as riders increasingly want to record and relive the thrill of their ride and, often the spills of their downhill companions. If this is the sort of thing you're after, then consider brands like Bell, Smith and Giro. With MTB helmets increasingly offering the same MIPS coverage as their road counterparts, these are performance helmets of a different, chunkier breed.

City Cycling & Urban Commuting Helmets

Bike Helmet Blog

With the upward surge for urban cycling gear, the city cycling helmet and commuting lids are perhaps the last on this hit-list come guide. Here, style and practicality come into play, big time. These are helmets that have to do the job of keeping you safe whilst out on the roads, but not look out of place strapped to your backpack or worn as you dive into a café at flat white o'clock. Undoubtedly, the Kings of this format are Bern, with their stylish helmets both distinct and poised, you can drift about town or put the hammer down in comfort and style. With their internal EPS liners providing luxurious comfort and offering modification possibilities come winter time as well as a nice peak for those summer suburban cycle rides, Bern helmets are simply a class act all year round.

Bern Bike Helmets

Buckle up time

So, now you're a little more clued up on which lid you're actually looking for, why not have a waltz around our pretty comprehensive selection of bike helmets? After all, it can only be for your own good...


Bike Helmets

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About the Rider: Will
Always Riding's in-house language loon, serial quipper, and odd shoe wearer. Un échappé from Somerset, Will is a bicycling country bumpkin cutting his chainring teeth in London town. Identified out on the road by his predisposition for cycling caps, approach with caution or cake.
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