I'm becoming an avid bicyclist and recently purchased my first decent road bike. My question is that I've been using a toys R us Bell $17 helmet.(Actually, it says Schwinn on it, but I have a feeling it's bell as it looks exactly like a Bell model) Anyway, I was wondering whether a more expensive helmet would offer me more protection? I understand that the $100 helmets are more aero and lighter. Well I honestly don't care about saving weight where my safety is concerned. This helmet fits me like a glove. So what do you think, should I keep it or chuck it?
As long as it fits you well and has ANSI and/or Snell certification (perhaps others can clarify which one is the current standard to really depend on?), you shouldn't have a problem at all - especially based on your criteria.
The single most important aspect of a helmet -- for both comfort and protection -- is its fit. If this one fits you perfectly, stick with it, and when you need a new one, give serious thought to buying another one just like it. (Unless you shop around and find an even better fit.)
One thing to keep in mind, though: if the helmet has taken any kind of hard impact, in a crash or just from being dropped, then replace it even if you see no visible damage. A helmet is good for one impact, then it's done its job and should be retired with honor.
What they said. And I'll add helmet shape as a factor to consider. From the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute:
Originally Posted by Bicycle helmet Safety Institute