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Helmet weight

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Old 06-22-14, 09:26 PM
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KC8QVO
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Helmet weight

This is something that I never thought about in regards to riding a bike, but I found out the hard way yesterday how much helmet weight can affect endurance on the bike. Prior to yesterday the longest ride I've done in a day was 62 miles. I went out with intentions of crossing the century mark but cut it a bit short. I crossed the 80 mark and got a ride home. The ride was an out/back 53 mile ride. I made it out and started my way back and was fatigued, but what really started wearing on me was my neck and back at about the 65 mile mark. I had a real hard time the last few miles trying to keep my head up.

It didn't hit me until tonight to weigh my gear. My helmet isn't a bike-specific helmet, it resembles a BMX style but is OSHA certified for work-at-height. The helmet and my lights came out to 1lb 5.1oz, or just a hair shy of 600 grams. Looking around online it looks like most bike helmets are half that or less.

Now I know what the next thing I am going to get for riding is...
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Old 06-22-14, 10:16 PM
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A recumbent?

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Old 06-23-14, 07:33 AM
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Jeff +1

I also had the same pain in the back of my neck and shoulder area when on longer rides on a DF. Just another reason to ride a bent.
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Old 06-23-14, 07:49 AM
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If you had a heavy helmet AND had a headlight mounted to it, I can believe your neck got tired. It's called, "Shermer's Neck," BTW; and it can be a huge issue on long rides like RAAM.

My recumbents have comfy head rests.
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Old 06-23-14, 08:13 AM
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I think that is a good decision.

If it is removable, I would only mount the light when you need it, and keep it in a seat pack or somewhere else.

The neck and back can be wearied on any long ride due to the weight of your head. I just looked it up, and the adult human head weighs 10-11 pounds, so asking it to hold up an additional 5-10% will speed the fatigue of your neck muscles... I suspect that conditioning over time will be a benefit along with less added weight by moving to a lighter helmet.
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Old 06-23-14, 08:34 AM
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OP said they essentially, overbought a hardshell helmet , then loaded a light on it.

at least need a 2nd helmet , to leave alone, no added accessories weight ... one with a thin Micro shell , and a lot of ventilation..

the one you have may be OK commuting, shorter time in the saddle..
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Old 06-23-14, 10:37 PM
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Maybe this is too much helmet:

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Old 06-23-14, 10:44 PM
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I've ridden centuries without a helmet, neck hurt after those also. But yeah, I couldn't imagine 6 hours on a bike with the weight of a skate helmet and a light on my head.
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Old 06-24-14, 12:03 AM
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Originally Posted by KC8QVO View Post
the next thing I am going to get for riding is...
A helmet cam



with direct cerebral input for brainstorming
– incidentally the first time I ever saw a recumbent.

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Last edited by 905; 06-24-14 at 03:03 AM. Reason: plug right into the old noodle
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Old 06-24-14, 06:24 AM
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Thanks for the info. The lights are removable so that will help. I would like to get a light weight bike helmet though. The way the lights are mounted is I have one head light with the elastic band around the helmet (it has a flash mode). Then I have a tail light with a seat post clamp held on to the helmet with the elastic band on the back of the helmet. I do a lot of night riding because when I get home from work that is about the only time I can ride. Having the lights on the bike and the helmet is a little extra visibility. I will pay more attention to them then I ride on the bike trails - not needed there = can remove the weight. However, even riding during the day time I like to have the tail light on the helmet running, along with the one on the rack and my bar mounted head light in a strobe mode. Regardless of being day or night, I don't trust drivers - there is a lot of research that has shown that drivers, preoccupied and fatigued ones especially, do not "see" bicycles, motorcycles, and pedestrians on the road, even if they glance right over where one is because they are looking for "vehicles" (cars, trucks, suvs = much bigger profile). Having some flashing lights adds some extra motion and attention-gathering that has a much better chance of cutting through the "zone" that someone is in behind the wheel. Having the lights on the bike is one thing, but up higher in their line-of-sight is better - plus they are visible sooner as you crest a hill than down low on the bike.

Regardless, weight is an issue - I need to be careful of that. My long rides are usually on a trail network so I can do without the helmet lights except for the road portions.
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Old 06-25-14, 12:55 PM
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I carry as little on my body as possible, and this includes the head.

I would think that a good sized reflector plus a flashing light on the bike would be enough for the rear. For the front, I think 2 lights is reasonable, one to see with, and one to be seen... but I would mount them both on the bar.

If I did much riding at night, I would use reflective tape liberally on the bike and helmet, and wear something like this (which I bought in a long sleeve variant):

Class 2 Pocket 'Moisture-Wick' T-Shirt ANSI Compliant



EDIT: As a warning. I look out for cyclists, but at least once I had one so lit up and flashing, that it was distracting, and I drifted toward the oncoming traffic a bit before I caught myself.
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Old 06-25-14, 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
If you had a heavy helmet AND had a headlight mounted to it, I can believe your neck got tired. It's called, "Shermer's Neck," BTW; and it can be a huge issue on long rides like RAAM.
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Old 06-26-14, 09:22 AM
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So, you should get a bike helmet when you ride a bike?
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Old 06-26-14, 12:31 PM
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Aside from a lighter helmet, you might want to work on switching up your riding position. If you can't ride hands free, I'd work on that. When I do long rides, when it's safe, I'll ride upright & hands free. It relieves your lower back, shoulders, arms, hands and of course your neck. You also get a better view!

Another option is to adjust your bike to a more comfortable set up when you're going to be doing longer rides... raise the bar, for example. If you're going to be pushing your endurance limits, there's no reason to have your bike set up for an aggressive ride.
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Old 06-26-14, 11:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Roopull View Post
Aside from a lighter helmet, you might want to work on switching up your riding position. If you can't ride hands free, I'd work on that.
Truly, one of the joys of cycling. It already feels like flying; deploying your wings completes the effect.

I was stopped by a law enforcement official killjoy one time while exercising my constitutional right to the pursuit of happiness. I would've considered pepper spraying her but like her Commonwealth compatriot she was unarmed, so it wouldn't have been cricket. Besides, it's difficult to aim that low. (They grow 'em short here.)

Originally Posted by Shimagnolo View Post
Pippa Middleton, RAAM participant and fashion doll: future celebrity spokeswoman for the Shermerneck Foundation?

Last edited by 905; 06-26-14 at 11:36 PM. Reason: My possible use of pepper spray was illustrative only. I don't carry anything stronger than my breath after eating garlic.
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Old 06-27-14, 02:16 AM
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Just lose the helmet and you won't have to worry about it. Jmho.
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Old 06-28-14, 08:25 PM
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years ago I bought a new lighter helmet that wasn't a hardshell one. On longer rides my neck and shoulders got really sore too. Turned out that in my case it was the extra tilt of the head required in order to see past the visor. Removed the visor and the no more pain on long rides.

For light weight but not a lot of protection, nothing beats my hairnety helmet. It's a great place to zip tie a mirror to and it keeps my bicycling cap from flying off in high speed descents.

Any bicycling helmet you buy should have lots of large ventilation holes so that you don't bake the brain in hot humid weather.

Cheers from Miele Man.
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Old 06-28-14, 08:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Roopull View Post
Aside from a lighter helmet, you might want to work on switching up your riding position. If you can't ride hands free, I'd work on that. When I do long rides, when it's safe, I'll ride upright & hands free. It relieves your lower back, shoulders, arms, hands and of course your neck. You also get a better view!

Another option is to adjust your bike to a more comfortable set up when you're going to be doing longer rides... raise the bar, for example. If you're going to be pushing your endurance limits, there's no reason to have your bike set up for an aggressive ride.
+1

And don't forget that even just being a desk jockey can cause butt. back, shoulder, and neck pain. I'd guess some of the problem is in position and some is merely staying in the same position for long periods. Besides using a bicycle setup and adjusted for long rides... ride and train with endurance in mind. Switch hand positions often. Sit up from time-to-time and dangle hands (one hand at a time works). Stand-up and ride every now and again even if there is no hills to climb.

And learn to keep your head down more. My cycling glasses leave just a little space between the top of the cycling glasses and my eyebrows. I sometimes make a point to use that slit of vision to watch where I am going. That allows me to keep my head pretty much lowered and resting my neck.
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