How to Pick a Bicycle Helmet

How to Pick a Bicycle Helmet
Getting a bicycle helmet that is comfortable, fits correctly and provides proper venting will ensure that you ride in safety each and every time you take to your bicycle. Because a helmet can only protect you if you're wearing it properly, choosing the right helmet is a crucial step. Spend some time shopping for helmets and take home the one that best meets your needs.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Step 1
Go to your local bike shop or sports store. Many stores carry helmets, so you shouldn't have a problem finding one nearby. Shopping in person will give you the best idea of what helmet best fits.
Step 2
Look for helmets designed for your style of riding, whether it be road cycling or mountain biking. Road helmets will be a bit sleeker and lighter while mountain biking helmets provide more head coverage and often include a visor. For intense downhill or freeride mountain biking, consider a full face mountain biking helmet that meets ASTM F 1952 safety standards.
Step 3
Look for helmets in a style and color that you like with ample venting. While you should avoid giant vents that could allow a rock or other object to intrude and hit your head, having ample venting will keep you cool during those long summer rides. If you plan to ride at night, consider a brighter helmet for visibility.
Step 4
Try on a few different models for comparison. Adjust the fit knob in back or padding to more closely adhere to your head. You want the helmet touching your head all the way around. It should be snug and secure but comfortable. It should sit level so that the top of the helmet comes off your forehead at a 90-degree angle. It should be no more than an inch over your eyebrows and just barely visible to you when you are wearing it.
Step 5
Adjust the chin clip so that it rests in the middle of your chin, leaving only enough room to fit one finger between it and your chin. When you open your mouth wide, the strap should pull the helmet down on your head. If it doesn't, tighten the strap. The side of each strap should form a triangle around your ear with one point meeting right below your ears. Try pushing the helmet from both the front and the back. If it tilts more than an inch, tighten the straps to provide a closer fit.
Step 6
Shake your head vigorously to ascertain that the helmet doesn't shake or wobble independently. It should stay on your head snugly and securely. You can also move the helmet back and forth with your hand; the helmet should not wobble around on its own, but should move the skin on your forehead.

Tips & Warnings

Replace a helmet that is used in an accident or damaged in another way.

Article Written By Joe Fletcher

Joe Fletcher has been a writer since 2002, starting his career in politics and legislation. He has written travel and outdoor recreation articles for a variety of print and online publications, including "Rocky Mountain Magazine" and "Bomb Snow." He received a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Rutgers College.

The Latest from the Community

Nice easy flat trail that leads to beautiful red rocks.
Stunning hike but extremely steep and tiring! Bring plenty of water.