One of the most important aspects of mountain biking is learning how to choose a mountain bike helmet because there are several factors that could change your experience, for the better or for worse. There are different kinds of mountain biking like trail riding,
Cross-country cycling, downhill biking, all mountains, endure. So, based on what kind of mountain biking you are up to you need to choose the helmet. As mountain, bikers are exposed to a lot more obstacles on trails and between the rides, so every bit of coverage the helmet can provide is crucial.
These days there are number of qualities and varieties of the helmets available, these indeed increases your confusions in choosing the right ones. So here, we are to help you to choose Right Mountain biking helmet for you. Before choosing one let, we move on to its types and kinds.
The best way to choose a mountain bike helmet is to learn what to look for you and what best suits you. To start, you probably should answer two important questions:
- What type of riding do I mostly do? Is it aggressive or is it casual?
- Am I searching for any specific qualities?
With these questions answered, you can start finding the best mountain biking helmet and how to choose a mountain bike helmet. Read our beginners guide to Mountain biking.
Types of Mountain Biking Helmets
1. Open Face [Half-Shell] Cross Country Mountain Bike Helmet
Most people use this type of biking helmet, which is used for casual commuting or cross-country riding. While they do appear similar to road bike helmets, there are some differences:
- Open face mountain bike helmets are bulkier than road bike helmets, especially around, to provide extra protection. However, the mountain bike helmets are less aerodynamic than road bike helmets.
- Mountain bike helmets are usually equipped with a visor to protect the eyes from the sun and rain; road bike helmets lack a visor because their riding position blocks the rider’s view.
- Road bike helmets are smooth and shiny compared to a mountain bike helmet so that they slide across the road easier in case of an accident.
2. Open Face [Half-Shell] Endure Mountain Bike Helmet
Endure mountain bike helmets are used for more aggressive riding when compared to cross-country mountain bike helmets; because of this, Endure mountain bike helmets have more protection and are thus heavier than their cross-country counterparts are.
With Endure mountain bike helmets, there is even more protection for the back of the head than cross-country helmets. Not only that, but Endure mountain bike helmets have far much better shape and retention to keep them in place while being less ventilated to minimize the chance of rocks and sharp objects getting in.
3. Full Face Mountain Bike Helmets
Downhill riders and those that take on very technical endure trails as they protect the entire head and face use these helmets. However, full-face mountain bike helmets reduce ventilation when compared to open face helmets. This disadvantage, however, is being improved by innovations in design and materials.
4. Mountain Bike Helmets with a Removable Chin Bar
These helmets hit two birds with one stone: When you feel safe enough without it, you can remove the chin bar, revealing a half-shell Endure mountain bike helmet. On the other hand, when you need additional protection, you can re-attach the chin bar to reveal a full-face mountain bike helmet.
5. Jump Bike Helmets
Jump bike helmets are used for dirt jumping or for BMX in the skate park. It is important to note that these helmets are quite heavy and hot to wear, so they may not be the best option for other types of mountain biking.
Size and Fit
In order to learn how to choose a mountain bike helmet, you need to know the size and fit that best suit you, which can be achieved in three steps:
Step 1: Find the Correct Size
To find the correct size for you, simply measure the circumference of your head using a tape measure roughly 1 inch (2-3 cm) above your eyebrows. For better results, take several measurements and choose the largest one. Each manufacturer has an individual sizing chart, but a general rule of thumb for the different sizes is as follows:
XS (Extra Small): Less than 20.5 inches (less than 52 cm)
S (Small): 20.5 to 21.625 inches ( 52 to 55 cm)
M (Medium): 22 to 23.5 inches (56 to 60 cm)
L (Large): 23.875 to 25 inches (61 to 64 cm)
XL (Extra Large): More than 25 inches (64 cm)
Step 2: Wear the Helmet
In this step, make sure that the helmet is fully secure in your head and doesn’t move around. If the helmet is too big, then extra padding may help. Another important note is to make sure that the helmet is not too heavy; otherwise, the helmet can put a strain on your neck and shoulders if worn for a long time. Lighter helmets are more expensive than their heavier counterparts, but if your budget allows it, the lighter helmet is worth the additional cost.
Step 3: Make Sure the Helmet is a Proper Fit
Finally, you must make sure that the front part of the helmet lays right above your eyebrows and that the back of the helmet does not touch the nape (back) of your neck! If the helmet has a chin strap, make sure that the chin strap should fit well enough that you can insert no more than two fingers.
MIPS stands for “Multi-Directional Impact Protection System”—a system that reduces the rotational force caused by different impacts. Inside of the mountain bike helmet, a thin yellow layer under the pads rotates to reduce the impact on the head, mimicking the brain’s own protection system.
Oftentimes you can adjust the visor in the helmet, a convenient aspect if you are riding in the direction of the sunlight. Lower-end visors can snap into their place by using small plastic stems, while higher-end visors can be adjusted and removed by using tool-free screws.
Some helmets provide a built-in mounting system for small cameras such as a GoPro; most, on the other hand, do require some sort of modification. If you prefer to use a camera mount, make sure that the helmet is amenable.
How To Choose The Right Mountain Bike Helmet For You?
Final Words and Recommendations
You must factor many aspects in when it comes to choose a mountain bike helmet. However, now you have a great foundation, and all you need now is to try on some mountain bike helmets and see what best suits you! Once you find the best helmet for you, please take care of the helmet, and replace it if any accident occurs.
When choosing the mountain biking helmets one must consider the local weather and the riding style as well. To experience best possible way of enjoyment on the trails, the rider must look after the protection type it is providing, fit, weight, ventilations, the area and kind of ride you are up to.
Choose according to your personal needs, as there are variety of helmets differing from each other.
Hope, this helps you on choosing a helmet and enjoy your ride in best possible ways. Before choosing, knowing helmets are important only then you can choose the one you want. So, choose your mountain biking helmet well, enjoy and protect yourself because safety comes first.
William Demello is a professional biker and racer with over 10 years of experience. He believes in safety first, that’s why he analyzes the helmet before other relevant elements. With this long experience, now he has decided to share his experience with others. Know more at the about page.