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Old 02-27-11, 04:47 PM   #1
mjoekingz28
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Do helmets really keep you (your head) COOLER?

Is this a marketing strategy or does it work?

I can see it adding shade, but not much else.
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Old 02-27-11, 04:56 PM   #2
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Is this a marketing strategy or does it work?

I can see it adding shade, but not much else.
Helmets and their alleged benefits are all about marketing strategy and the customers (including non cycling public) who buy it.
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Old 02-27-11, 05:17 PM   #3
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Is this a marketing strategy or does it work?

I can see it adding shade, but not much else.
I don't know. But the helmet foam is great insulation. Shade does make a difference.

I think in the nice weather it's not letting the heat out of the top of your head if you are working hard.
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Old 02-27-11, 05:49 PM   #4
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Do helmets really keep you (your head) COOLER?
On a ride without a helmet on a hot, sunny day I'd be wearing a light-colored cycling cap and wetting it down periodically. That provides pretty effective cooling and I can't see a helmet coming close.

But the helmet might be cooler than not having any head covering on a sunny day.
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Old 02-27-11, 05:51 PM   #5
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They wear pith helmets and turbans in the desert for that purpose, to keep the sun off the old noggin. Those pith helmet and turban manufacturers must have pretty good marketing to sell keffiyehs to Bedouins...

Taylor Phinney is definitely in on the scam...

http://velonews.competitor.com/2011/...n-italy_161767
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Old 02-27-11, 05:57 PM   #6
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Ya know, whenever I can keep the sun from shining on my head directly, it helps. A helmet with good ventilation has enough airflow to let my head stay cooler, too. My favored hot-weather hat -- not a bike helmet, but a straw hat with a wide brim -- provides both shade and ventilation.

I certainly feel more comfortable on hot days with my S-Works than with my Bell Metropolis. Almost as good as standing around with that straw hat, too.
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Old 02-27-11, 06:50 PM   #7
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I too use to have a Bell Metro, but the new Lazer is far cooler. Bare head riding vs helmeted head for coolness? I don't know, I think have a brain protected is more important then whether or not the heat is hotter with the helmet off or on...but the helmet does look a bit odd on my ashe.
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Old 02-27-11, 07:08 PM   #8
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Is this a marketing strategy or does it work?

I can see it adding shade, but not much else.
I certainly think it keeps my head cooler.
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Old 02-27-11, 07:12 PM   #9
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Helmets and their alleged benefits are all about marketing strategy and the customers (including non cycling public) who buy it.
Hit your head once in accident and see how you feel about that!
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Old 02-27-11, 07:35 PM   #10
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No

styrofoam is an insulator, it may keep the heat of the sun out but it also keeps the heat your body is trying to dissipate in.

the top of the head is a major hot spot on the human body, where excess body heat is expelled, it needs ventilation, not encasement in insulation
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Old 02-27-11, 08:05 PM   #11
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No

styrofoam is an insulator, it may keep the heat of the sun out but it also keeps the heat your body is trying to dissipate in.

the top of the head is a major hot spot on the human body, where excess body heat is expelled, it needs ventilation, not encasement in insulation
I thought that was debunked a few years ago in the British Medical Journal.
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Old 02-27-11, 08:40 PM   #12
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Since we're all just offering our untested opinions, I'll jump in. Yes the magic styrofoam is an insulator, but most helmets are designed to have only a couple points of contact with substantial airflow channeled between the head and the foam. Thus whether it is cooler or not depends on the amount of sunlight energy blocked relative to the amount of airflow blocked. I've had pieces of magic stryofoam that seemed hotter than going helmetless and I've had ones that seemed cooler. I would guess one's hair length/style/existence would be a more significant factor in head coolness. I really don't see how this is a make or break feature of the decision to don a helmet or not. I suppose we'll soon see ads touting the U.V. blocking properties of helmets too.
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Old 02-27-11, 08:49 PM   #13
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I've ridden in hot weather both with and without (without does involve the use of a ball cap), and without is cooler. My hair is a little thin on top, so a sunburned pate is distinctly possible. Therefore, the cap.

Helmets DO, however, provide some ventilation, I've experienced it. Just not as much as WITHOUT.

Chris516, take the helmet safety argument elsewhere, there's plenty of space already devoted to it.
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Old 02-27-11, 09:27 PM   #14
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Depends on your choice of helmets and your riding speed.

Higher end helmets have more vents that are better designed to try to achieve a more laminar flow.

At very low speeds, neither a low or high end helmet gets much air flow. But then a bare head, at low speed does not get much air flow.

My experience is that a better helmet at >15 mph give more cooling and is about the same as a wetted skull cap.

Prior to climbs (slow speed), I just squirt a little water through the helmet vents to keep cool during the climb (make sure to use the bottle with water and not the one with sports drink).
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Old 02-27-11, 10:43 PM   #15
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It definitely feels much hotter with the helmet on. But then I never could stand to wear any headgear in the sun -- it just seems to make things worse for me.
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Old 02-27-11, 11:38 PM   #16
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Personal experience -- my first helmet looked like the one in the first pic. Didn't vent very well, so it indeed was a decent insulator.

The second pic, a Bell Metropolis, vents so-so. I still have it because of its neat snap-on rain cover, which then turns it into a non-ventilated helmet. I wonder if I'll ever find a winter kit for it, making it super-insulating.

The third, a Specialized S-Works, vents better than either a Giro Xen (which was my first new helmet in nearly ten years; still have it but hardly use it) or a Giro Pneumo (gave it to a neighbor who needed a new helmet). MSRP is awfully high, but I got a great deal on mine, or else I probably wouldn't have bought it. The "mega mouthport" hole in the front is probably half the reason it vents so well, and most other Specialized helmets have it, too.



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Old 02-28-11, 11:45 AM   #17
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jesus. Next thing you know, helmet makers will claim that bicycle helmets can cook your eggs over easy, too.

This claim is really the response to the increasing failure of the helmet = safety claim. Gotta find some way to sell them plastic hats!
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Old 02-28-11, 01:04 PM   #18
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At least I can say that I've personally tried a variety of helmets under all weather conditions.
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Old 03-01-11, 11:21 AM   #19
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Don't know about cooler, but my new (as of last summer) Specialized helmet did save me a bee sting--the front-to-back ventilation is so direct that a bee blew clean through on a descent on a grade down into Colville, WA.
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Old 03-01-11, 12:22 PM   #20
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but my mom says i'm cool
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Old 03-01-11, 12:28 PM   #21
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At least I can say that I've personally tried a variety of helmets under all weather conditions.
so have I... well, I've tried 2 helmets anyways. A Bell V-1 Pro followed by a Bell Image.

I had read all the stories that said the venting made your head cooler with a lid than without and thought they made sense, but when I finally took my helmet off after wearing it for 21 or so years, I was pleasantly surprised at how much cooler it was without.

Now that I'm wearing the good 'ol Canadian touque, it's warmer in the winter too.

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Old 03-01-11, 12:53 PM   #22
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When it is hot and sunny out it keeps it cooler than none, like a hat would.
When it is cold to warm out or not sunny it makes ones head feel warmer than none.
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Old 03-01-11, 01:01 PM   #23
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Don't know about cooler, but my new (as of last summer) Specialized helmet did save me a bee sting--the front-to-back ventilation is so direct that a bee blew clean through on a descent on a grade down into Colville, WA.
I caught a bumble bee in my specialized helmet last fall. Felt the thunk on my head, thought I still felt something a block down the way, pulled over and took my helmet off: There he was all nuzzled up against the helmet. I'm scared to death of bees, but I'll be damned if he wasn't cute. Turned the helmet upside down and gave him a gentle tap, and he flew off. I kind of wonder how much of it was shock and how much was him liking the warmth of my head on a cold day.

Moral of the story: Bumble bees aren't very threatening when it's 40F and you've taken them off their planned route. And even the most vicious things can be cute when they're cuddled up.
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Old 03-01-11, 01:24 PM   #24
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Since I ride a recumbent I wear a helmet with a sunvisor That plus the fact I always buy a white helmet with good venting seems to make me cooler.

I have never understood anyone buying a dark colored or worse yet a black helmet. They will just heat up in the sun. A lot of people want to look pretty or be "stylin" rather than use common sense.
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Old 03-01-11, 04:02 PM   #25
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Depends on your choice of helmets and your riding speed.

Higher end helmets have more vents that are better designed to try to achieve a more laminar flow.

At very low speeds, neither a low or high end helmet gets much air flow. But then a bare head, at low speed does not get much air flow.

My experience is that a better helmet at >15 mph give more cooling and is about the same as a wetted skull cap.

Prior to climbs (slow speed), I just squirt a little water through the helmet vents to keep cool during the climb (make sure to use the bottle with water and not the one with sports drink).
Laminar flow is the opposite of what you want for cooling.

Also, I don't see any practical way that a helmet can convectively cool more than a bare head. All of the air flow in a helmet is coming from the free air stream around you. Air vent designs are basically a manifold that diverts that free air stream under the helmet and over your head. At best, this could achieve the same thing as a bare head, you get the free stream air velocity whooshing over your locks. At worst it loses most of the velocity to aerodynamic effects and friction and has a much smaller cooling surface area. The argument might have merit when you include shading with the helmet exterior acting as a big radiator. It couldn't radiate your own heat though because of the stryofoam.
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