Standard Mountain Bike Helmet
The most ubiquitous mountain bike helmet is similar to any other bike helmet that you may have used on the road or as a kid. It straps onto the top of your head and usually has a plastic chin clip that secures it. Many helmets have some form of tightening knob on the back so that you can create a snug, custom fit. Helmets offer various designs and ventilation structures, with the goal being to provide protection that's as cool, comfortable and aerodynamic as possible. This type of mountain bike helmet is suitable for cross-country and trail riding.
Resembling motorcycle helmets, full-face helmets cover the entire head and face area. The hazardous nature of aggressive downhill and freeriding presents increased potential for serious head injury, demanding the full protection of this style helmet. Full-face helmets protect the entire head, chin and face. Unlike a motor cycle helmet, mountain biking full-face helmets do not generally have a translucent visor over the face and eyes, but are instead left open. These helmets generally offer reduced ventilation and are hotter than a standard mountain bike helmet.
Several companies have designed bike helmets that look like combat helmets. These are very round half domes with a chin strap. These helmets are inspired by skating, snowboarding and BMX, and are more stylish than functional-ventilation is usually poor and this style of helmet is hotter than a standard mountain bike helmet.
Much like other mountain biking equipment, helmets have evolved over time. The first helmets were clunky and dome-shaped with little ventilation and few adjustment options. Many improvements have been made over the years to provide a better fit and make helmets lighter, more ventilated and more comfortable overall. Visors have been added to the brow of most helmets to eliminate some glare from the sun. Various materials have been used in the production of helmets including plastics, fiberglass and foam.
A concussion or other head injury is a much greater cost than a few bucks for a helmet. Helmets range in price, with generic standard helmets beginning at around $30 and ranging upwards of $120. More expensive helmets offer more adjustments and are lighter and better-ventilated. Full-face helmets are more expensive than standard mountain bike helmets, given the additional materials. They range anywhere from $80 to several hundred dollars.