The bicycle helmet is the most important protective gear for a biker. It protects your head from potentially fatal injuries in the event of an accident by absorbing the shock from a collision. In principle, it has a layer of foam lining its interior that takes the impact in an accident and prevents damage to the skull.
Bicycle helmets come in different shapes, sizes and colors. When choosing one, make sure it fits snugly around your head without giving your head or neck any discomfort. Once fitted, it should not come off no matter how hard you pull it in any direction. Its strap must be secure. Make sure it conforms to the requirements of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) as mandated by law and carries a CPSC certification.
Preferably choose a bright color for your helmet – it makes you more visible to others on your road in the dark. Having vents in the helmet gives you aeration and cools the head. So it is a desirable feature. But too many vents expose the head to lesser protection.
Bicycle helmets with aerodynamic shape are well suited to ride on tough terrains and at high speeds but they tend to be more expensive. An average helmet costs about $30-$50. High-end helmets used by professional bikers could be as expensive as $300-$400.
Also check if the strap and the material inside the helmet is washable. This makes it easy to clean and maintain your helmet.
Depending on the terrain you plan to use your helmet on, you may be able to relax some of these requirements. Here are some tips on popular brands.
The Giro Pneumo is a lightweight helmet weighing only about 285 grams. It has 19 vents that keep the airflow very comfortable and the temperature cool no matter how fast or how long you ride. It sits securely on the head with the Giro RocLoc retention system designed for safety. The padding inside the shell is very comfortable. It is very sleek and comes in 3 sizes. It has a wide selection of colors. It offers excellent protection on the road and is priced around $120.
The Giro Indicator Sport bike helmet is a cheaper alternative that sells for about $40. It has 20 vents that keep air circulating in and out. It has an EPS foam liner that is very comfortable and safe. It weighs on 285 gms and is a great buy if this will be your first helmet. The only downside to it is that the straps tend to curl up rather than staying straight down by the cheek. It could be annoying to some bikers.
Bell Triton bike helmet is also a relatively cheaper option available for about $35. It comes with 17 vents to cool your head and has a snap-in visor to keep the sun and dust away. It fits great with Bell’s specially designed cam-lock system. It is slight heavier, weighing 330 gms. But this helmet does not come in bright colors.
Bell Sweep Racing bike helmet is great for tough terrains and comes with 20 vents while offering a sleek appearance. It has cam-lock levers to fit securely. It is lightweight (about 280 gms) and comes in three sizes. It offers a wide selection of colors and costs about $100.
Lazer Blade Pro helmet is a good choice for professionals. It offers an excellent fit, weighs only 280 gms and has a removable viser. It looks trendy and has extra large vents for air circulation. It is available for $120. The only downside is that this model does not have bright colors which are desirable for riding in the dark.
All these models are available online in stores like Amazon.com, XSportsProtective, etc.