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  1. #1
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    What helmet is best?

    Its time for a new helmet and I'm trying to figure out how much and what for. I have been riding for years with whatever I bought at WalMart. My current helmet is a Schwinn model, cost $20, two years old. This year I've really kicked up the miles. It was close to 100 degrees here yesterday. I have really noticed the hot head and its only going to get worse as we move into summer.

    I found a Gyro Atmos in red, white and blue on sale at Nashbar for $139. Lots of vents, but also seems to claim the best safety skeleton, which is also a main feature, particularly now that I'm running over 200 miles per month on the road.

    What do you guys use?

  2. #2
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monoborracho
    Its time for a new helmet and I'm trying to figure out how much and what for. I have been riding for years with whatever I bought at WalMart. My current helmet is a Schwinn model, cost $20, two years old. This year I've really kicked up the miles. It was close to 100 degrees here yesterday. I have really noticed the hot head and its only going to get worse as we move into summer.

    I found a Gyro Atmos in red, white and blue on sale at Nashbar for $139. Lots of vents, but also seems to claim the best safety skeleton, which is also a main feature, particularly now that I'm running over 200 miles per month on the road.

    What do you guys use?
    You do need a quality helmet and I have always used Giro helmets. They are good, but my LBS have changed to MET helmets. I was a bit annoyed but decided to try them for size and fit. These helmets are comfortable and Light. More vents than the giros and are cheaper. I bought one and have not regretted it. Still have the last giro I bought as a spare- but that is what it is. I prefer to wear the MET.

    Fit is the main concern and I tried several models till I found the one that felt better than the others. Then there is the colour and I prefer to have a visor- as do most mountain bikers but roadies don't. Main thing is to try them before you buy- as with most clothing so mail order for me is out on such an important item of safety wear.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  3. #3
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    Safety and performance are big issues, but the HEAT that I was feeling yesterday was something else. The cooling and vents in the helmet are the other main point. I need something that is cool.

    Good point about trying it on and fitting at the LBS rather than mail order.

  4. #4
    Senior Member RockyMtnMerlin's Avatar
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    There are really only two basic requirements. 1 It fits you correctly so that it will protect you if you need it to. 2. It meets one of the following safety specifications as stated by USA Cycling:

    At all times when participating in or preparing for an event held under a USA Cycling permit, including club rides, all licensees who are mounted on a bicycle must wear a securely fastened helmet that meets either the US DOT helmet standards or one of the following standards:
    (1) American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Standard Z90.4;
    (2) Snell Memorial Foundation Standard "B" or "N" series;
    (3) American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standard F-1447.
    (4) Canadian Standards Association (CSA) standard CAN/CSA-D113.2-M;
    (5) U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) standard for bicycle helmets;
    (6) European Committee for Standardization (CEN) standard for bicycle helmets

  5. #5
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    I think RockyMtnMerlin & Big Paulie are on the right track. If it fits and meets basic safety requirments, I buy my helmets on price... the less the better. I deal with the heat issues with a "Cool Max" skull cap. Oh, yeah and I also go for lighter colors to reflect the sun in the summer and for more visibility when there is less light. I don't think I've paid more than $50 of $60 for a helmet. I usually buy last year's model as significantly reduced prices.
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    Over 16 years of riding and probably 7 helmets, the Giro Atmos is my newest and favorite if that helps you.

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    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Cheapest I can find that fits. All helmets have to meet the same minimum protection requirements. If anything, a cheaper helmet with less vents will protect you more, simply having fewer holes.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  8. #8
    Pinstriper SemperFi's Avatar
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    I just bought a Bell Citi ... it has a detachable visor and a more rounded shape supposedly to offer better protection. Price not too bad...$45.

  9. #9
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    The best helmet is the one that fits. You're more likely to wear it. They all meet the same minimum standard.
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  10. #10
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    I appreciate all your thoughts here. However, I have to disagree with some of you regarding the quality in a helmet. While they all meet the same MINIMUM standards, they don't all offer the maximum protection. I view it as a small car versus an SUV, they both meet minimum standards but which one would you rather be in if you wreck.

    Also, my desire is to have one that is really COOL AND VENTILATED.

    When looking at my Walmart Bell and Schwinn helmets I have a tough time believing that their plastic shell with styrofoam liner offers as much protection as one made from carbon fiber, like the Atmos. They build bike frames from carbon fiber but not from plastic. Now, the cheaper helmets may have a good percentage of the protection of some others, but it is hard for me to believe they offer equal protection.

    Anyway, thanks for your thoughts and inputs.

  11. #11
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    If you pay a few dollars more you'll get a better helmet with a better strap and locking system.

    Both my helmets (commuter and road) are Giro Eclipse. I like the RocLok 3 system that keeps it snug on my head and plenty of vents to keep my head cool.
    My bikes --> 2001 Litespeed Tuscany---2013 Cannondale CAAD 10 2 (5) "Racing Edition"

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  12. #12
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monoborracho
    I appreciate all your thoughts here. However, I have to disagree with some of you regarding the quality in a helmet. While they all meet the same MINIMUM standards, they don't all offer the maximum protection. I view it as a small car versus an SUV, they both meet minimum standards but which one would you rather be in if you wreck.

    Also, my desire is to have one that is really COOL AND VENTILATED.

    When looking at my Walmart Bell and Schwinn helmets I have a tough time believing that their plastic shell with styrofoam liner offers as much protection as one made from carbon fiber, like the Atmos. They build bike frames from carbon fiber but not from plastic. Now, the cheaper helmets may have a good percentage of the protection of some others, but it is hard for me to believe they offer equal protection.

    Anyway, thanks for your thoughts and inputs.
    What you are paying those big bucks for is not more safety, but more ventilation and lighter weight that you can get with those esoteric materials - and styling and snob appeal.

    If you want to wade through some stuff, here are some links:

    http://www.bhsi.org/cu_2004.htm

    Impact Test Results
    Among the adult helmets, Consumers Union picked the Louis Garneau Zen as a Best Buy, awarding it a Very Good in impact protection and Excellent for other characteristics. Other Very Good ratings for impact were awarded to the Trek Interval and the Specialized Telluride, but the latter is not recommended because the buckles on some samples failed (see comment below). The Bell Influx was similarly not recommended. All other adult helmets were Good, with only the Bell Scuffle scoring lower in the Fair category. This is not too surprising, as most helmets are basically designed to meet the same CPSC standard.
    http://www.bhsi.org/

    http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml98/98062.html
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  13. #13
    Cycling Anarchist Trsnrtr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox
    What you are paying those big bucks for is not more safety, but more ventilation and lighter weight...
    That works for me; more ventilation and lighter weight would be two of the four major elements of a good helmet, safety, ventilation light weight along with fit which higher priced helmets generally excel at also.

    Dennis
    Dennis T

  14. #14
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trsnrtr
    That works for me; more ventilation and lighter weight would be two of the four major elements of a good helmet, safety, ventilation light weight along with fit which higher priced helmets generally excel at also.

    Dennis
    That's fine, as long as you know what you are buying, and it is likely not more safety.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  15. #15
    Pat
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    Mono,

    Well, why does a person wear a helmet?

    Answer: protection. All helmets have to meet essentially the same standards. However, not all helmets will fit your head as well and the best fit will give you the best protection.

    As for price, the more vents the more cost. The reason for this is that a helmet with lots of vents is more complex and costs more to make and design and with all those holes, it is harder to make it so it will protect you as well as an inexpensive helmet.

    Personally, for helmets, the way I get them is I get one that fits me very well, has adequate vents and does not cost an arm and a leg.

    Pat

  16. #16
    kipuka explorer bkrownd's Avatar
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    Get what you find comfortable. I have a Catlike Kompact and a Bell Alchera/Influx - both are good in their own way.

    However, do not be fooled by the industry propaganda about numbers of "vents". More vents does NOT mean more ventilation. Some helmets have several extra small totally useless vents just to increase the number they can advertise. Large vents with good interior flow is what counts.
    Last edited by bkrownd; 04-17-06 at 09:37 AM.
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  17. #17
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    DnvrFox:

    Excellent reference articles on the helmet decision. Very much appreciated.

    If I buy something too fancy I think I'll go down to the hardware store and buy some day-glo orange to spray paint it. Do they sell Hi-Viz in a spray can? HA !

  18. #18
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    OK, here's the picture - ALL helmets have to pass the same standard. Moerover, the "standard" is about as good as present technology allows. (Note: the BEST helmets can pass the Snell Memorial Institute standards but these are really only slightly more effective than the self certification test demanded by the US government.)

    However, it is likely that the more expensive helmets provide one advantage at the price of some safety: All of the vents in the more expensive helmets do allow the helmet to breath a great deal. This only appears to be significant at lower speeds asnd higher energy outputs though, as most helmets have sufficient breathing at higher speeds.

    So if you're a racer you're probably interested in the most expensive models but if you're a rec rider you're probably more interested in the cheaper models and especially those which are more rounded and have the fewest vents consistent with the sort of riding you do.

    Someone noted the Bell Metro which is a good design.

    As for me? I buy whatever is on sale and doesn't look too ugly.

  19. #19
    05 Roubaix Comp Double
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    Yep,on sale. Get best fit with the most vents thats under 100 bucks.
    Touch every 3rd person and you'll find an idiot.

  20. #20
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shokhead
    Yep,on sale. Get best fit with the most vents thats under 100 bucks.
    How about under $25?

    http://www.nashbar.com/results.cfm?s...ce1&pagename==
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  21. #21
    Cycling Anarchist Trsnrtr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox
    That's fine, as long as you know what you are buying, and it is likely not more safety.
    Assuming all helmets are safe, my next criteria is lightness because I ride a very laid back recumbent. Holding my head up (actually forward) for a hundred miles, or even 50, can be a real "pain in the neck." When I ride our tandem with my wife, lightness also becomes important because my neck muscles are more attuned to the recumbent position, and again, it can be a "pain in the neck" on those long tandem rides.

    I'm not disagreeing with getting bargains on helmets. I'm up for a good bargain on anything but some posters here have indicated that the cheapest helmet they can find is just as good as the most expensive helmet out there. I guess the real point is to buy a helmet that suits one's purpose not necessarily the pocketbook.

    Dennis
    Dennis T

  22. #22
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    My helmet fits all the criteria -- inexpensive, plenty of ventilation, strikingly good looking, and safe. Fits pretty well, too. I do not know the manufacturer.
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  23. #23
    Senior Member jazzy_cyclist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bkrownd
    However, do not be fooled by the industry propaganda about numbers of "vents". More vents does NOT mean more ventilation.
    They afford flying insects more opportunities to annoy me, though...

  24. #24
    05 Roubaix Comp Double
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    Quote Originally Posted by bkrownd
    Get what you find comfortable. I have a Catlike Kompact and a Bell Alchera/Influx - both are good in their own way.

    However, do not be fooled by the industry propaganda about numbers of "vents". More vents does NOT mean more ventilation. Some helmets have several extra small totally useless vents just to increase the number they can advertise. Large vents with good interior flow is what counts.
    So 1 1" vent is better then 2 1/2" vents? LMAO
    Touch every 3rd person and you'll find an idiot.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Terex's Avatar
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    Go Pneumo

    I tried both the Atmos and the Pneumo. The Atmos cut into my forehead - a common experience from what I've read. The Pneumo is very comfortable for my (XL) head, and easy to adjust. I usually wear a light balaclava underneath helmet in winter and a sweat band in summer. Both fit fine with helmet. And Pneumos are cheaper. About $100 for the 2005 model. Limar helmets have the best web site though.

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