How to Choose a Bicycle Helmet

The bicycle helmet is a cyclist’s safety, which in case of an accident will have support available, for the protection of the head. Read the guide to know the characteristics, types, and how to choose a bicycle helmet model based on criteria of quality, price and accurate information to the consumer.

Types of Bike Helmets

There are two types of bicycle helmets: those in the bowl and those in ribs. The first, which today are the most prevalent, consist of a single body, which can be either rounded that stretched on the bottom (in this case in the classic variant typical of the “sprinter” helmet, along the lines of those from foggia aerodynamics employed by sprinter in cycling competitions in road and track cycling), while the ribs are made of a series of elements “headband” when looking on the forehead, nape and the circular band of support.

How to Choose a Bicycle Helmet

Helmets in bowl shape, in turn, can be divided into typologies in hard shell with micro shell or no shell. Notwithstanding the fact that on all these models are practised by manufacturers of smaller and larger holes for ventilation, those hard shell are heavier than others, by virtue of a more resistant outer coating, styrofoam or fiberglass. Helmets with micro shell have an outer coating less tough than the previous ones, but still be able to offer a fairly good resistance to impact. On the other hand they are also lighter, evidently, than a hard shell.

Short range helmets are those bowls without shells, painted or covered in fabric but without protective coating, and therefore suitable mostly for kids who are riding at very limited distance. Helmets are definitely designed more traditional bands: existed before those in the bowl and they are being, more or less quickly, replaced by them. In addition to aesthetically less appealing, according to several studies they are less effective in protecting the rider’s skull against impact when falling. Better therefore focus their choice, buying a bike helmet, on the most popular models which is the bowl, with their vivid colors and shapes and aggressive cutting.

How to Choose

Flipping through the catalogs of major companies active in this field can spoil you with endless choices. Sporty shapes that echo those of the models used by the pros, with the ventilation holes arranged in treated mosaics on the cover. Not to mention the colors: matt black models with designs on temples (flames, playing dice, cubes), metallic and fluorescent colors symphonies (from lime green to rusty red, to the green water and hit aluminium). In short, you can buy stylish helmets fit for top professionals bikers.

And perhaps, soon, you get to dress as a fellow biker. The mountain bike helmets deserve a special mention: who attends the races, or loves getting down with gravel paths in the countryside, can opt for one of the many models with integral (or at least with the chin guard, to ensure stability while jumping) that are commercially available. “Light” version, in other words, those from motocross, provide adequate protection for those who practice this sport. But the aesthetic, in choosing the helmet cannot be the only determining factor. It is important to assess what types of approvals are presented by the model you intend to purchase.

After some uncertainty, which lasted for years with various standards (ANSI, FCI.) is often not considered reliable enough, today the EU legislation applies in relation to “the homologation of helmets for cycling use,” the EN1078. Approved in 1997, this statement (which, for the record, both bike helmets that discipline on skates and skateboards) provides a set of rules which the bicycle helmets must comply in terms of design, visual appeal left free to the user, strength of materials, quick release mechanism of the strap, length and even colors. It is good to make sure, before you purchase, that the helmet you are interested in have being approved by EN1078.


Another important element to consider in the purchase is the size. Only a helmet that fit perfectly to the wearer’s skull can offer the latter adequate protection against impacts. To this end, some companies manufacture models in different sizes (guidelines are usually in centimetres) or in “male” and “female”, while others offer standard models, though “adaptable” to different shapes of rider’s skull due to spacers, basically expanded polystyrene elements that can be inserted inside the helmet to remedy the gaps.

A short empirical test before purchase (just another way to wear a helmet and try to shake the skull forward and backwards, from right to left) will help you understand how the helmet remains glued to your head: If you tend to slip towards the neck, forward on the nose or on the side, evidently the model is not adequate and it will be the case to divert its attention on a smaller size or one size fits all model equipped with more efficient spacer in that particular case.

Much attention is also required in the evaluation of the strap. To be type-approved EN1078 (see above), the helmet must have quick release strap with clips, but many models not homologated on the market still have an old system to hooks, which makes it uncomfortable so wear a helmet as if at the end of the activity. Which is not a factor. Once you have purchased the helmet, finally, it should be noted that even for bicycle helmets it is the golden rule that applies to motorcycle helmets, in case of a fall, the helmet that has sustained an impact should be replaced, because helmet after a crash, although may not be damaged outwardly, may not be able to continue to carry out its task.


A good helmet, as well as beautiful and colorful, it must be so tough (better to be on the safe side, if approved to the standard EN1078) and adhere well to the skull. But in addition to these standard, so to speak, are the many additional features that the largest producers of bicycle helmets are now able to offer. The result, in the vast majority of cases, of an application to the mass production of elaborate principles and techniques in the construction of models for professionals, these devices allow the helmet to find it more convenient and safer in the event of shocks.

You can cite, for example, the “retention system” in Briko helmets, which consists of a special block of the strap that make sure the helmet does not move from its original location in the event of a fall, while continuing to protect the rider’s head in the ideal way. Or systems designed to evenly distribute the force of the impact over the entire surface of the helmet, or air ducts specially designed to help keep the temperature inside the helmet.

Precisely this factor, rather than the heartache of losing their hair uncombed, is moreover one of the biggest obstacles to the promotion of the helmet with cyclists. In an intense physical activity such as riding a bike (if body temperature rises easily even in the case of gaits contained), the helmet is traditionally accused of warm up excessively the skull of the cyclist. So much more on hot summer days, when the heat generated by physical exertion should be added a heating “outside” operated by the sun, with the result to become hot head wrapped from the helmet. The new materials and the continuous research in the design of helmets, but today, in fact, to make more comfortable their use from this point of view.

Current regulations

Although it is a mandatory safety device exclusively for cyclists of the youth competitions, and remains therefore only recommended for cyclists and cyclists, the helmet can prevent a fall has serious consequences for anyone who is in the saddle, and its use should therefore be taken into consideration, if not in town, at least in road sgambate of many cyclists on Sundays.

As said, for those who use the bike not competitive purposes, the use of helmets is not compulsory in Italy. At least for the moment. This past March 28 was in fact reported by news agencies declaring Alberto Monteverdi, head of communication of the national Italian unification (Uni), which, following the adoption by EU countries of the new rules that establish different construction parameters and safety requirements for bicycles, called for “national level it is compulsory to wear a helmet on bicycles , as was the case four years ago for skiers on the slopes. ”

There was statement which did not fail to create controversy, as the response by the main organization FIAB, piccata tricolor for urban cycling. The President of FIAB, following the position already taken by the European Cyclists’ Federation, has said that the introduction of a general obligation of the helmet for any cycling would be counterproductive, driving away in fact by the use of the means of transport (which reaffirmed the ecological, healthy and cheap) who uses it instead of cars for commuting citizens or tourists.

Wearing a helmet, according to FIAB, should instead be made mandatory for all races and at least recommended for children carried on seats mounted on the front or rear of the vehicle. Many are also highlights how the use of the helmet in the city would have little use in fact when falling, because the average speed is traveling a bike in the urban stretches (generally no more than 20 km/h), the likelihood of damage from falls are not high. Waiting on the issue be made a little light, therefore, the use of the helmet remains advisable especially for children and for the tours on the road, express way, high way, which touch on high speeds.


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