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Winter Cycling Don't let snow and ice discourage you this winter. The key element to year-round cycling is proper attire! Check out this winter cycling forum to chat with other ice bike fanatics.

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Old 11-04-07, 10:02 PM   #1
Motorad 
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Winter (non) Cycling Helmets

I've read in the winter forum about using skiing/snowboarding helmets for winter cycling, because they have smaller (or none at all) air vents. Are any of these good candidates for winter cycling helmets?
< http://www.snowshack.com/brand/bern >

If these are not good candidates, what would be?
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Old 11-05-07, 01:25 AM   #2
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Getting a $5 helmet cover for your bike helmet is much cheaper.
Also box packing tape on the inside of the helmet to cover the "extra" vents is even cheaper!
The cold I ride in is hovering around the -15DEGF temps and I only tape up the front middle vent on my helmet and wear a thin balaclava and have had no problems with my head freezing.
Is this your first winter riding a bike? Save your money on a snow helmet unless you find you absolutely need it, but I can almost guarantee you that you don't.
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Old 11-05-07, 01:54 AM   #3
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Same here. I have a thin balaclava and a pair of ear flaps for really cold rides. In warmer temps (no colder than about -10C) the balaclava is actually too warm, so I just wear the flaps. I've never needed to tape air vents.

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Old 11-05-07, 07:27 AM   #4
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Last year I wore a winter-weight cycling beanie under my regular helmet in temps down to 4F without a chill. This year I bought one of those super-duper ultra-ventilated jobs, (see my avatar). I was concerned about too much ventilation in the winter. The coldest we've had so far this year was 28F on Saturday morning. Using the same beanie, there was still not issue with my head getting cold.

One thing many people don't think about is liability. If I sustain a head injury because a car hits me and I'm not wearing a cycling helmet, (even if I am wearing another kind of helmet) a sharp attorney--like the ones the insurance companies use--could argue that I shared responsibility for the injury by being improperly equipped. That could reduce or eliminate payments.

If you still want a less well ventilated helmet for winter cycling, look at cheap ones, or at downhill helmets. Downhill helmets even come in full-face models. I'd avoid helmets intended for non-cycling purposes. They may be as safe or even safer, until you get to a courtroom.
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Old 11-05-07, 09:24 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Motorad View Post
I've read in the winter forum about using skiing/snowboarding helmets for winter cycling, because they have smaller (or none at all) air vents. Are any of these good candidates for winter cycling helmets?
< http://www.snowshack.com/brand/bern >

If these are not good candidates, what would be?
I have tried a snowboarding helmet without vents and it contributes to over heating. You need a few vents even on a winter bike helmet. A helmet cover works very well because it blocks most of the wind but still breaths. However, when really cold a freeride type of bike helmet works better with goggles. They are cheap and have less venting and more coverage so are warmer.

Here is a GT Ollie freeride helmet from Price Point.com for 6.98 dollars. It is a great winter helmet and works better with goggles than a regular bike helmet. Get something like this and a bike cover for your regular helmet and you are covered for any conditions.
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Last edited by Hezz; 11-05-07 at 09:29 AM.
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Old 11-05-07, 09:26 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by tsl View Post
One thing many people don't think about is liability. If I sustain a head injury because a car hits me and I'm not wearing a cycling helmet, (even if I am wearing another kind of helmet) a sharp attorney--like the ones the insurance companies use--could argue that I shared responsibility for the injury by being improperly equipped. That could reduce or eliminate payments.
http://www.helmets.org/cold.htm
http://www.helmets.org/winter.htm

Somewhere in the fine print for my bike helmets it gave a temperature range for the foam, and I'm almost sure it was higher than the -12C quoted in that article.

Either way I just wear my downhill lid. Warm, comfortable, and moto.

My snowboarding helmet without vents was way too hot even at -20C.
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Old 11-05-07, 12:22 PM   #7
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I use a skiing helmet year round because it's the only helmet of any kind I can find that will fit my head. The nice bike helmets all seem to stop at what they call xl, which isn't big enough for my cranium. Why do all the other riders have such tiny heads?
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Old 11-05-07, 12:26 PM   #8
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A regular cycling helmet is perfect for winter use when combined with other offerings, like balaclavas.
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Old 11-05-07, 02:51 PM   #9
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As Pj7 mentioned...choose carefully the vents you block...Today, I tried blocking all vents with foam except the tiny ones under the visor and back exhaust ports. It was 38F, and felt like 10 steady 10MPH wind blowing on my head...Even with a helmet cover over the top and vinyl/fleece liner underneath AND balclava....

Yep the rest of me froze off....UNGOOD.

Last edited by vrkelley; 11-05-07 at 03:10 PM.
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Old 11-05-07, 03:50 PM   #10
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I use a less expensive helmet than my summer helmet. This year, I'll be using a Canadian Tire cycling helmet. It's great because the only way it fits me properly is if I've got my balaclava and headband on underneath. Then I put my helmet cover overtop, and I'm warm.
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Old 11-05-07, 04:01 PM   #11
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I rarely break a sweat when alpine skiing... cycling is just so much more aerobic.

I've yet to feel a need to wear my ski helmet while cycling. I think it'd have to be below 0F. Granted, I have a helmet cover, so... plus, it's got reflective strips on it, so that's cool.
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