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Any advice on purchasing bicycle helmet?

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Any advice on purchasing bicycle helmet?

Old 06-12-10, 04:12 PM
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Any advice on purchasing bicycle helmet?

So I just started riding about a week ago. We used to have helmets in our house but I spent the week looking for one and couldn't find any, so its time to go out and buy a helmet.

I was at the bike shop yesterday getting my brakes fixed on my new bike, and was just looking at helmets and the prices were in the $80-$100 range. However, there were some that were like $30, but I couldn't figure out what the difference was. I was wondering if anyone had any general advice about purchasing a helmet. My mom wants me to get a helmet before I ride again, so I'm not really considering buying one online or through craigslist because it will take too long. Do I just need to suck it up and spend $100, or are the cheap ones safe enough?

Also, for anyone in Los Angeles, I just joined the LA Bicycle Coalition and I can get discounts at Helen's bikes. Do you think they will give me a discount if I just print out and bring them the email confirmation (I haven't received my membership card)?

Also, sorry for so many questions, but how do you lock your helmet to your bike? Or do you just carry it with you?
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Old 06-12-10, 04:24 PM
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In LA, have your personal armed guard hold your helmet while they watch your bike.

In seriousness, just string the two chinstraps through your U-lock when you lock it up. Or even just one chinstrap. Nobody is going to steal the thing.

Helmets all meet the same safety standards, but an expensive helmet is more likely to be lighter and have a better clasp/ratchet adjustment method. Don't take that to mean that I don't endorse just buying a $40 helmet and being happy with it.
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Old 06-12-10, 04:28 PM
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Don't get sucked into buying a really expensive helmet - you will be surprised how well a "cheap" helmet will protect you, just as well as a really expensive one.

One thing you must do, however, is get one that is really comfortable. If it fits, is comfortable, and flows air, you will wear it.
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Old 06-12-10, 04:52 PM
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the higher the price helmet usually means its lighter and more ventilation I have a bell Furio you can get them for $40 on ebay and its an excellent helmet as far as weight and ventilation are concerned

Chad
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Old 06-12-10, 05:05 PM
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The best advice I ever heard about buying a helmet was "buy the one that makes you look least like a mushroom".
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Old 06-12-10, 05:12 PM
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Fit, fit, and fit. Try on everything you can with as little regard as possible to price or appearance. Not only will different brands fit differently, but models within a brand will as well. You will find an ideal or close to ideal fit this way. If in doubt, BUY THAT SUCKER FROM A SPECIALTY BICYCLE STORE. If you don't know how it's supposed to fit, don't trust a non-cyclist (department store employee, for instance) to tell you how it's supposed to fit. F%&$ bargain shopping--this is where a good LBS will certainly earn their margin.
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Old 06-12-10, 07:04 PM
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Skip the helment, it's really not very necessary. If it makes you feel safer, ok, but just remember the safety provided by a helmet is largely ephemeral (I'm not kidding -- they don't help as much as you think they do).

Before getting a helmet, I would invest in a good road cycling course.
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Old 06-12-10, 07:40 PM
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I pick helmets according to fit and joy aspect. Does it fit and make me happy? Can I put stickers on it? Do I like the graphics? I have a bmx helmet because there is greater space for for stickers. I sweat regardless of the number of ventilation holes so I may as well use it as a sticker display case.
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Old 06-12-10, 07:46 PM
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I live in florida, so idk how much of a concern this is, but i wish i got a helmet with a visor to keep the sun out.
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Old 06-12-10, 09:36 PM
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Originally Posted by skye
Skip the helment, it's really not very necessary. If it makes you feel safer, ok, but just remember the safety provided by a helmet is largely ephemeral (I'm not kidding -- they don't help as much as you think they do).

Before getting a helmet, I would invest in a good road cycling course.
Don't skip the helmet. They don't protect from everything but can save you from injury.

A good road course can be a fine investment as can the time spent on a refresher on cycling safety like this one among many others.
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Old 06-12-10, 09:49 PM
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The 100$ helmets aren't even that expensive as far as helmets go. They are pretty much all you need though. Above 100$ and we're talking helmets with amazing ventilation that weight next to nothing and etc. The 40$ helmet will be clunky, will probably fall apart quickly(the plastic shells on these tend to separate from the styrofoam bit), and will most likely be uncomfortable. The 100$ will last you a long time and will stand up to daily use. It will be lighter than 40 dollar one and have better ventilation. It won't be anywhere near as awesome as a 300$ helmet, but it will be plenty good. I rock a 80 dollar helmet, it works just fine, is pretty light, and not too clunky looking and the shell is inmolded so it wont separate from the foam.
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Old 06-12-10, 09:52 PM
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This site has some pretty useful info:

https://www.bhsi.org/helmet10.htm
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Old 06-12-10, 09:54 PM
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I am looking for a helmet too.
not sure if this is a helmet question: what do you do with the sweat coming down from your head? does the helmet make it better or worse?
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Old 06-12-10, 10:33 PM
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Try a bandana tied on your head to absorb the worst of the sweat. Bandanas are cheap, light weight and easy to wash and carry for hot weather riding.
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Old 06-12-10, 11:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Gege-Bubu
I am looking for a helmet too.
not sure if this is a helmet question: what do you do with the sweat coming down from your head? does the helmet make it better or worse?
I picked it up second hand , but there are 'do-rags' that you can put on under your helmet. I had to do something like this because I was getting helmet patterned sunburns on my skull! It does help keep sweat out of my eyes, but possibly a narrow sweatband you find at a sporting goods store, that fits around the edge of your helmet would be better.

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Old 06-12-10, 11:19 PM
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Don't listen to the helmet naysayers. Frankly, I'm surprised you've only had one chime in so far.

Everything I've read says that, helmets all have to meet the same safety standards, so then it comes down to fit and quality of fasteners. If you go to a good bike shop they should be able to point out the differences, w/o pushing you into an expensive helmet.
Try them on, and then go to another store that has different models and try theirs on. I agree with the Florida poster, having a helmet with a usable visor makes a big difference.
I picked one that was $60ish, but mostly because it felt most comfortable.
If you have access to the safety courses, most definitely take that and enjoy the rides!

Leo H.
Sun Valley, NV
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Old 06-12-10, 11:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Leo H.
Don't listen to the helmet naysayers. Frankly, I'm surprised you've only had one chime in so far.

Everything I've read says that, helmets all have to meet the same safety standards, so then it comes down to fit and quality of fasteners. If you go to a good bike shop they should be able to point out the differences, w/o pushing you into an expensive helmet.
Try them on, and then go to another store that has different models and try theirs on. I agree with the Florida poster, having a helmet with a usable visor makes a big difference.
I picked one that was $60ish, but mostly because it felt most comfortable.
If you have access to the safety courses, most definitely take that and enjoy the rides!

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Old 06-13-10, 07:28 AM
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I like going with the mid-range Bell helmets because of their very nice dial-fit system. The real cheapies use foam inserts for sizing, and that sucks. They're a pain and the foam squishes around, gets crushed over time and falls out. Sometimes when it's cold I want a hat on under my helmet so I want to be able to dial the size up and down.

I wear Bell Metros, I buy them from online places when they're on end-of-year clearance, usually for about $35. They're $70 new. I don't know if you can get a better helmet for cheaper. They aren't vented well, so if that bothers you, maybe go for something higher for that reason, but the lack of venting IMO just means less bees get in to crawl around in my hair.
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Old 06-13-10, 07:47 AM
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^

Bell dial-fit best budget helmets. Try some on you might luck out. I like my $25 on sale Ukon FS as well as the $100 Giro I had last time...
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Old 06-13-10, 08:02 AM
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I crashed late last winter, on snow and ice, which destroyed my helmet.

I got a deal from my LBS whereas "they" have a crash replacement policy - any helmet in the store, half price.

I tried on helmets, until I was sick of trying on helmets. Even helmets over $200 (where am I ever going to get this opportunity again????), and finally settled on a $40 Specialized Helmet, for $20.

It was the most comfortable helmet on my head - it all but disappeared when I put it on!

It breathes pretty good, too, and also has a removable visor.........
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Old 06-13-10, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by college biker
Also, sorry for so many questions, but how do you lock your helmet to your bike? Or do you just carry it with you?
I either thread the lock through the side straps so that it can't be removed without cutting the strap or just carry it with me. If I carry it, it's a convenient place to keep the lights and computer that I've also pulled from the bike.

Get a helmet that's comfortable. If you buy purely on price and get one that fits like crap, you won't remember what you did with the money you saved, but you'll still hate the helmet.
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Old 06-13-10, 01:11 PM
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Oh, also --

Originally Posted by college biker
I was at the bike shop yesterday getting my brakes fixed on my new bike, and was just looking at helmets and the prices were in the $80-$100 range. However, there were some that were like $30, but I couldn't figure out what the difference was.
A good chunk of that is marketing. Manufacturers figure that buyers would be comfortable with several tiers of pricing. I'll bet you'll find helmets at $30, $50, $80, $100, $140, and up. Each time they add a feature, they can bump it to the next tier.

That said, it still takes some extra work to make helmets with mixed materials in the shell (plastic plus carbon fiber, for example), multiple sections of shell, embedded reinforcements (Kevlar web inside the foam), etc etc.
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Old 06-13-10, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by SCROUDS
I live in florida, so idk how much of a concern this is, but i wish i got a helmet with a visor to keep the sun out.
Just wear a cap under your helmet.
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Old 06-13-10, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by cyclokitty
Try a bandana tied on your head to absorb the worst of the sweat. Bandanas are cheap, light weight and easy to wash and carry for hot weather riding.
or, If you have priorities other than real estate for stickers, get a helmet with better ventilation to allow for sweat to evaporate from your head.

Personally, I almost never wear a helmet, which solves the sweat issue rather neatly for me, but the one I own cost 80 bucks and provides decent ventilation.

Also, Even though I have never taken one, I would say that spending money on a road safety course is potentially a far better investment safety wise. This is especially true for cyclists with little to no experience or training in the use motor vehicles.
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Old 06-13-10, 02:00 PM
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Helmet nannies will disagree, but My advice is to save your money. for most riding, and most conditions, you really, really don't need one. the best thing you can do for your safety is pay attention to your surroundings and practice good bike skills. I would put that ahead of a helmet. if you just gotta have one for whatever reason, the Bell Citi that I gave away to my local Bike Co-op after I deemed it unnecessary seemed like it was a pretty good helmet. had good ventilation and a removeable visor.
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