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Old 03-30-07, 12:23 PM   #1
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Helmet Color and Heat Implications

Those with experience: does it make a difference with heat whether you you have a white or black helmet in the heat of summer? Dark colors obviously absorb heat.

I just bought a white one - thinking of returning it for a black one to match my bike. But white is more visible and since I'm doing the STP in July, I want to stay cool. Trade-offs.... opinions?

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Old 03-30-07, 12:54 PM   #2
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The impact foam will insulate your head. Shell color won't really affect what's underneath.

How quickly the helmet distorts while sitting in your car might be a different story. The surface will get warmer quicker with a dark color.

hope this helps
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Old 03-30-07, 12:58 PM   #3
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I think whether a black helmet would be significantly hotter while riding than white is debatable. For one thing there is the cooling factor of the wind, but much more significantly, there is a fair amount of insulating styrofoam between the helmet shell and your head. This is not true with other garments, i.e. a black shirt that the material lays directly against the skin.

White is much more visible, and at greater distance.
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Old 03-30-07, 01:40 PM   #4
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I never really thought about the insulating properties of the foam...so I bought white
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Old 03-30-07, 03:14 PM   #5
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Yes it matters.

Since pink is the fastest color, a pink helmet will result in greater airflow.
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Old 03-30-07, 03:15 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zeytoun
Yes it matters.

Since pink is the fastest color, a pink helmet will result in greater airflow.
Proof?
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Old 03-30-07, 03:51 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zeytoun
Yes it matters.

Since pink is the fastest color, a pink helmet will result in greater airflow.
So are you saying that you wear a PINK helmet.
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Old 03-30-07, 04:11 PM   #8
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I've thought about this and I agree that the foam will insulate your head at any rate.

I dislike white because it gets scuffed up so easily.
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Old 03-30-07, 06:15 PM   #9
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If you keep it above 25 mph you can stay cool in anything
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Old 03-30-07, 06:23 PM   #10
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Living in the desert with usually 90-some days of 100+ degrees (rode in 117 once). We suggest a white helmet and light colored jersey.
White is also more visible; it doesn't match the asphalt in daytime and certainly reflects more light at night.
Both white and black are neutral colors and go with any color bike/clothing.
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Old 03-30-07, 06:48 PM   #11
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Silver - get a sparkly silver helmet. It will reflect the heat & blind anyone around you.
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Old 03-30-07, 06:48 PM   #12
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Old 03-30-07, 09:08 PM   #13
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Years ago one of the motorcycle mags tested helmets for color v/s temp. They found no difference, with full face helmets, in white or black helmets.
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Old 03-31-07, 08:02 AM   #14
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I bought silver to match my bike..

I don't think I'd buy black or dark coloured helmut as most important - brightly coloured helmuts get noticed better by drivers.
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Old 03-31-07, 08:12 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turd Ferguson
I bought silver to match my bike..

I don't think I'd buy black or dark coloured helmut as most important - brightly coloured helmuts get noticed better by drivers.
Agreed. Visibility is the greatest advantage of a light colored hemet.
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Old 04-01-07, 02:17 AM   #16
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I used to have a black helmet, and it did make my head too hot. It got so hot, I couldn't stand wearing it anymore. Now I have a white helmet, and my head has never been overheated, that I can remember.
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Old 04-01-07, 04:51 AM   #17
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Well I don't think it would be a factor. The first helmet I rode with was black. Sure black absorbs heat better than white. But the foam is a good insulator. So the heat is not conducted to your head. Also black radiates heat well. So when you are moving the apparant wind speed one generates almost certainly makes the black helmet right about at air temperature. I would be that if you put thermometers on 2 identical helmets: one white and one black, that when the cyclist is moving at noticeable speed (greater than 10 mph) that the two helmets would be the same temperature. Still if it bothers you, get a light colored helmet. It isn't as if there are not many colors to choose from.

I would agree with the other poster that visibility is more important than coolness in a helmet. Another thing that is more important is how good do you think you look in a given helmet? By all means, wear the one that you think you look best in. An important consideration in helmets is also fit. Helmets are really worn for safety purposes but I believe all the helmets sold by reputable dealers pass the same safety requirements so riders are free to choose between helmets based solely on frivolous grounds.
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Old 04-01-07, 05:46 AM   #18
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I really was broiling in my black helmet. I think the foam part was black too. If the foam is a dark color, it could make it hot. Another bike commuter at my work, had the same experience, and only wears light colored helmets now also.
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Old 04-01-07, 06:06 AM   #19
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Helmet...waz that My first choice is comfort and fit, second choice is a light/bright color for visibility. I get really peeved at the cycling clothing and helmet manufacturers making everything in dark colors. Visibility is a major problem otherwise. I think all helmets should be required to be Hot Pink or Lime Green

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Old 04-01-07, 07:55 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CommuterRun
I think whether a black helmet would be significantly hotter while riding than white is debatable. For one thing there is the cooling factor of the wind...
+1 I was told that the color didn't make a difference as long as you were moving
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Old 04-01-07, 09:30 AM   #21
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Axiomatic Truth:
Dark colors absorb and store heat from the sun. Dark colors that are flat, as opposed to shiny, absorb and store more heat. Foam insulates both ways - it is a barrier to cold as well as hot. However, it will soon achieve ambient temp with whatever it is touching, whether that is the ice in the cooler, or the head in the dome. So, if you are pumping out 100 degrees inside your helmet, that's about what the foam will feel like.

Now, enter the breeze factor and the sweat factor, which is a cooling agent. What that factor is, I haven't a clue.

So, I do something entirely different: I wear a climber's helmet with strap suspension and some foam. Lots and lots of air in there in all conditions and easily fits over winter headwear as well. To hell with Bike Fashion and Marketing. If you fall bad, you're either toast or not...
http://i10.tinypic.com/4hkafsz.jpg
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Old 04-02-07, 10:07 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rev.Chuck
Years ago one of the motorcycle mags tested helmets for color v/s temp. They found no difference, with full face helmets, in white or black helmets.
I always thought it was cooler in a white helmet, who cares if it's just the placebo effect?
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Old 04-04-07, 03:06 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcm
Axiomatic Truth:
Dark colors absorb and store heat from the sun. Dark colors that are flat, as opposed to shiny, absorb and store more heat. Foam insulates both ways - it is a barrier to cold as well as hot. However, it will soon achieve ambient temp with whatever it is touching, whether that is the ice in the cooler, or the head in the dome. So, if you are pumping out 100 degrees inside your helmet, that's about what the foam will feel like.

Now, enter the breeze factor and the sweat factor, which is a cooling agent. What that factor is, I haven't a clue.

So, I do something entirely different: I wear a climber's helmet with strap suspension and some foam. Lots and lots of air in there in all conditions and easily fits over winter headwear as well. To hell with Bike Fashion and Marketing. If you fall bad, you're either toast or not...
http://i10.tinypic.com/4hkafsz.jpg
some people are so freaking cool....
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Old 04-04-07, 08:51 PM   #24
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Pink helmet, anyone? Here's mine...
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Old 04-05-07, 09:29 AM   #25
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Pink helmet, anyone? Here's mine...
The discussion is about white or black helmets. You're leading us off-topic. Eye-catching color, tho.
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