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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 01-07-10, 03:59 PM   #1
Mr. Underbridge
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Commuting with a full-face helmet?

I'm in the market for a new helmet because my old one is grungy and doesn't fit my head well. I've never owned a full-face before, but I'm considering it for a variety of reasons, some personal, some practical. For one, I sometimes commute on some nasty rocky singletrack, and on some dark roads that tend to accumulate debris. I figure over a lifetime of commuting, I'm due at least one nasty facial.

I'm pretty sure I want to do this, particularly since most regular cycling helmets really hurt my head anyway, and a full-face should be more stable in a crash, so I won't have to tighten the straps as much - right? I'm figuring it might actually be more comfortable than a usual helmet for me.

Question to people who own them - just how much hotter will they make your head vs. a regular helmet? Presumably, I'd be wearing it year round.

For reference, the two I'm looking at are the Giro Remedy and the Bell Drop. Any opinions on those helmets?

PS - please, folks, no helmet debate.

Last edited by Mr. Underbridge; 01-07-10 at 04:05 PM.
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Old 01-07-10, 04:02 PM   #2
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I used to ride motorcycles and I will tell you that you will lose some peripheral vision and your ability to hear around you. I do not suggest it. You should look into a dot half helmet if you want more protection. You can still see and hear just as well with one on.
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Old 01-07-10, 04:16 PM   #3
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You will not lose any peripheral vision with the models you mention, and every model of bicycling full-face I have seen. You will lose some peripheral vision only if you wear them with goggles.

Also, due to the quieting of wind noise from the coverage, I can hear noises behind me slightly better than with a regular lid.

Too hot for summer, fine for winter use.
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Old 01-07-10, 04:40 PM   #4
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You wont loose any peripheral vision with a motorcycle helmet, and the strap is tighter on a motorcycle helmet. The motorcycle helmet will be a lot hotter, even though it will give you much more protection. I rode motorcycles for many years (all the gear, all the time) and wouldn't want to ride my bicycle wearing one of my motorcycle helmets - but the downhill helmets you mentioned might be a good compromise.
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Old 01-07-10, 05:08 PM   #5
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I ride motorcycles currently and use full face helmets. A motorcycle helmet will be too heavy and cumbersome on a bicycle.

For moto helmets in general they do not limit peripheral vision whatsoever. I even use mine with sunglasses and there's no loss of vision.
Wind noise is dampened as the air is not forced around your ears but several inches away around your helmet. Some helmets "whistle" a bit but it depends on brand and what vents are open.
A "pudding cap" doesn't offer much protection at all much of your head/face is still exposed to whatever impacts it.
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Old 01-07-10, 06:04 PM   #6
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I have 2 motorcycle helmets and I can see the helmet while I wear it... meaning you lose peripheral vision plain and simple. Peripheral vision does not only mean while looking straight. If you look out of the corner of your eye, Your peripheral vision broadens to the side you are looking.
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Old 01-07-10, 08:48 PM   #7
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I have 2 mountain biking full-face helmets and I cannot see the helmet while I wear it... meaning I lose no peripheral vision plain and simple.

Okay, I can see the visor (when in place) and the chinbar, but there is no impact on peripheral vision to the SIDE, which is where I would detect other road users.

It's a bit of a moot point, since I then put on a pair of snowboarding goggles that DO impact side vision. But that's not part of the helmet.

DOT Motorsports helmets and ASTM-F1952 cycling helmets are different animals, there isn't much point trying to extrapolate the performance of one from the other.
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Old 01-07-10, 09:16 PM   #8
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The Bell Bellistic seems to be lighter and have more vents than either of the two models you have chosen (cheaper too).

Depending on the length of your commute, I'd be worried about weight and vents.
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Old 01-07-10, 11:55 PM   #9
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The Bell Bellistic seems to be lighter and have more vents than either of the two models you have chosen (cheaper too).

Depending on the length of your commute, I'd be worried about weight and vents.
Interesting. I certainly like cheaper, I'll check it out. I think the Bellistic has a little less protection than the other two from what I've read so far, which is how it comes in lighter.

Weight I'm not as worried about - I've already got a light (and battery) mounted on my current helmet and it doesn't bother me in the least, I bet I can get away with another pound. I'd definitely prefer cooler though. My commute's a bit over 6 miles each way, so it's not a killer, but still.

I appreciate all the responses, folks. I'm thinking of getting one and using it at least for winter, night riding, and for when I decide to do some offroading. Then I can see how hot it gets in summer.

Now my only problem is getting one - I don't know if the local shops around here stock full-face. Might have to guesstimate the size and order online.
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Old 01-08-10, 02:34 AM   #10
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I use a full-face helmet for commuting, and I like it a lot better than the regular bike helmet I used to have. After a decade of using motorcycles as my only transportation I'm used to having more coverage than a normal bike helmet offers. And I much prefer the double D-ring fastener to the buckles on an ordinary bike helmet. Right now it's chilly and rainy so I'm actually wearing a lightweight motocross helmet with no vents (except the mouth vent). It keeps my head warm and dry. The weight of the helmet has never bothered me. The people who point and laugh are another story. I have worn it in warm weather and didn't suffer from the heat, but I tend to feel cold a lot so I may not be the best judge of that.

If you have any mountain bike shops in your area they may have some full-face helmets. But probably you'll have to buy online in order to find much of a selection. I just ordered a TSG Dragon helmet (I think this is a discontinued model) and am hoping it actually fits. That one and the Specialized helmets are the only ones I found that meet the Snell B95 standard. I figure if I'm going to bother wearing a full-face helmet it might as well offer maximum protection.

There are some models with replaceable padding that allow you to customize the fit with thicker or thinner pads. The cheek pads should be snug enough to push your cheeks in slightly, but not so tight you bite the inside of your mouth. And if you can wiggle the helmet backward and forward more than a tiny bit, it's too large.

Unless I'm mistaken, motocross and bicycle helmet chin bars are not tested for resistance to impact (unlike street motorcycle helmets); they're only certified for deflecting objects. So you basically have to guess at exactly how much face protection you'll get in an accident.

Last edited by ro-monster; 01-08-10 at 02:56 AM.
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Old 01-08-10, 03:49 AM   #11
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have you considered the visor dentist face shield?
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Old 01-08-10, 04:17 AM   #12
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I used to ride BMX bikes and I always hated full face helmets although most of the top riders prefered them. I found that periferial vision was badly effected. I did not like commuting to the track in full face either. I hate even peaks on helmets. But try some and see as they differ in this respect.
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Old 01-08-10, 05:24 AM   #13
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I use a full face for commuting as I don't fancy having road rash on the side of my face or getting my teeth knocked out! I use a Giro Remedy and have used it in 35C heat with no issue - except thinking that beads of sweat were bees!! I feel I lose a LITTLE peripheral vision, but not enough to concern me. This year I will be changing to a MET parachute helmet as it seems a bit more light-weight but still can provide some protection (will put some padding on the mouthpiece though!), yes people will laugh but I laugh at them stuck in their cars! I have had compliments too though from fellow cyclists. The weight can be a bit bothersome when you are in the drops and trying to look forward, also the size can be annoying when wearing a backpack. Overall though I am very happy with it and like I said, I will be going full face again.
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Old 01-08-10, 08:01 AM   #14
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I hear these are going to be very popular in the future.


Last edited by closetbiker; 01-08-10 at 12:24 PM.
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Old 01-08-10, 08:39 AM   #15
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^^^You just couldn't hold that in, could you?
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Old 01-08-10, 09:56 AM   #16
Mr. Underbridge
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C'mon, if you're going for the Star Wars gag, I'm at least getting Vader.
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Old 01-08-10, 10:28 AM   #17
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I've been told I look more like the guy from "HALO 3".

Maybe I need a gold lens for my goggles.
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Old 01-08-10, 11:09 AM   #18
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^^^You just couldn't hold that in, could you?
'Cmon...if you want to go full face, do it with a bit of style! Darths would be a better choice if style is your thing.

However, if you prefer superior protection, I just saw, "The Hurt Locker" and his helmet seems to be the way to go...





Looks a bit bulky, but I'm sure what excess drag it has from it's bulk is more than made up for with it's aero shape!

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Old 01-08-10, 12:15 PM   #19
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Anyone have any links to bicycle specific helmets with faceshields? I'm finding lots of full face helmets, but whenever I add faceshield to my search, I start getting scooter and motorcycle helmets. I would love to have a faceshield this winter. The hard snow stings, and goggle aren't working that well.
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Old 01-09-10, 06:56 PM   #20
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Question to people who own them - just how much hotter will they make your head vs. a regular helmet? Presumably, I'd be wearing it year round.
Significantly hotter. I use one for downhill mountain biking, but I would never use on the road, or even for xc mountain biking. If you find regular helmets uncomfortable I'm not sure how a full face would be more comfortable, they also use chin straps.
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Old 01-10-10, 03:50 AM   #21
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Anyone have any links to bicycle specific helmets with faceshields? I'm finding lots of full face helmets, but whenever I add faceshield to my search, I start getting scooter and motorcycle helmets. I would love to have a faceshield this winter. The hard snow stings, and goggle aren't working that well.
I've looked at a lot of helmets, but I don't think I've ever seen a bicycle helmet with a face shield. You might be out of luck there.
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Old 01-10-10, 06:52 AM   #22
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Haha, so there really are people who commute with full face helmets. I think that the Giro Remedy looks awesome (especially sweet in my preferred matte black) but don't think I'd ever get a full face helmet. I'm too self-conscious, and it'd be unnecessary for my pavement riding. I hope you find a good one that looks too awesome with the rest of you to attract laughs.
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Old 01-11-10, 08:46 AM   #23
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Haha, so there really are people who commute with full face helmets. I think that the Giro Remedy looks awesome (especially sweet in my preferred matte black) but don't think I'd ever get a full face helmet. I'm too self-conscious, and it'd be unnecessary for my pavement riding. I hope you find a good one that looks too awesome with the rest of you to attract laughs.
I'm well past the "attracting laughs" threshold. I'm just trying to stay ahead of the "calling the cops on the lunatic" threshold.

My thinking on pavement riding is that I get going pretty fast sometimes - it occurred to me that I wouldn't go 35 mph on a motorcycle with no helmet, so....
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