Which Road Helmet?

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 Basemetal 06 Apr 2021

Which new road helmet would you buy if you were replacing one today? Any ideological commitments or just best deal of the current crop that fits? I don't mind spending money on helmets ( I can count least 5 lifesavers so far) but I get how weird the standards are and that price isn't everything. Virginia Tech throws up a $50/£45 (Specialized Align II MIPS) near the top on impact result tests, for example. Probably hefty though.

Trying on is limited, and I have a 63cm (usually XL) head to cater for. Some models I like the look of only quote up to -62cm sadly.

So any "must look" pointers? 

 nufkin 06 Apr 2021
In reply to Basemetal:

I've been pondering this very matter, and have been leaning towards the Giro Helios almost entirely on the basis that it (apparently) has a sweat-channeller thingy, that would hopefully stop my shades getting a drenching every hot-weather ride. 
I have slight doubts about whether this is the most sensible way to decide to shell out over 200 quid, however, but it seems hard to find any sort of objective comparison into the more sensible aspects of things to be considering. 

I'm also a little surprised that there don't seem to be many cycling helmets made of EPP foam, given the usual obsession with weight for cycling-related trinkets. The Helios appears to be heavier than my five-year-old mid-range helmet. Maybe the prevalence of MIPS systems is making things heavier, with a fairly hefty boost to the RRPs too, it seems

 Basemetal 06 Apr 2021
In reply to nufkin:

I admit I'm slightly cynical about MIPS too, given there are a couple of "slip planes" in the system already - skin, hair ( for some!), and the helmet cradle itself, all capable of rotating a cm or two on impact. Still, there are some " integrated" versions appearing that don't duplicate any components so that may be betterdesign. On that Virgiana Tech list a non-Mips came at no 2 IIRC.

 Sans-Plan 06 Apr 2021
In reply to Basemetal:

Bit like shoes really, depends what fits, Giro don’t suit my head, Bell do, I tried Oakley too as they look really nice but again, don’t fit so consequently I have used Bell for the last 15 years

 Basemetal 06 Apr 2021
In reply to Sans-Plan:

Funnily enough I've been using Bell since the early '80s, starting with a V1-Pro that's still in the attic. I think they've had a kind of oval cradle in the past but I'm not so sure now. It should be possible to make a cradle that will accommodate most head shapes, but as you get to the bigger sizes, shape becomes critical all over again

Going round the size/weight/price triangle and trying to stay below 300g in XL, I keep looking at Endura, Kask and Giro.

 felt 06 Apr 2021
In reply to Basemetal:

You could look at MET too; they're the ones that seem to fit my oval head shape best, L's around the 270g mark. I bought an Ekoi one once and literally had to jam it on, a shame as it was a nice colour and semi-aero.

 Basemetal 06 Apr 2021
In reply to felt:

Cheers -will have a look at them.

 PaulW 06 Apr 2021
In reply to Basemetal:

Kask for me but just because they fit my head shape really well. Within that I choose a price point.

As for MIPS, research it and decide if you think it is worth the extra cost, weight and limited ventilation. 

I don't think you should compromise on fit but most other criteria depend on how you balance them

 Basemetal 06 Apr 2021
In reply to PaulW:

Agreed re the importance of fit. Having some engineered "rotational energy absorption" component can't hurt. My suspicion is only that there may be quite a bit already inherent in conventional (cheaper) designs through material choices, and that higher quality solutions might just use better materials and be less gimmicky. 

My last crash broke my collar bone in what I think must have been a moderate-speed low-side onto my downhill shoulder (and hip and head). My helmet was dinged flat at the point of impact and the EPS compressed to 50% thickness with multiple full thickness cracks. The road texture imprint on the  polycarbonate showed minimal scuffing suggesting mostly an impact/bounce in this case. I'm guessing this wasn't the kind of crash MIPS helps much with, and that the bulk EPS was the life-saver, but then I am guessing as I have no idea what happened, having suffered retrograde amnesia -which is seriously frustrating (!).

 Strachan 07 Apr 2021
In reply to Basemetal:

I really like POC helmets - they're not exactly cheap, but they fit my head really well, are very light and well ventilated (I have had an Octal and a Ventral), are available variously with MIPS or POC's proprietary equivalent (depending on model/ release date), and I really like the look of them. Fit and style are both entirely personal of course, but as I hadn't seen the brand mentioned thus far I thought I'd suggest looking at them!

 Basemetal 07 Apr 2021
In reply to Strachan:

I do like the look of POC off the head, but I'm wary of how a big POC might look on an already planetary noggin... . H J C have a similar vibe I think, tho not quite such lookers.

Slightly side stepping the topic here, but what do people do with their old helmets? I have one lying around that is no longer fit for use but it feels a bit of a waste just chucking it in the bin! 

 nniff 07 Apr 2021
In reply to Garethza:

Giro Aether MIPS for me, because it fits and is quite small externally, unlike some which fit but make me look like a mushroom.  Bontrager also good and I was particularly fond of one that had a velcro-in peak for keeping rain off glasses without getting a hot head  Kask - very model dependent for me.

I overheat easily, so the helmets I buy are mostly holes held together with plastic

 Siward 07 Apr 2021
In reply to Garethza:


 Basemetal 07 Apr 2021
In reply to Garethza:

> what do people do with their old helmets?

Start your "kit museum?

Ask the manufacturer if they want it back? (Some have a crash-replace or part-exchange scheme, usually just up to 3 years  from new tho.)

Interesting take on helmet lifespan in this article...

EDIT:Worth a read of the linked MIPS page, part way through. 

Post edited at 10:35
 Basemetal 07 Apr 2021

Here's the MIPS page, it seems fair,

In reply to Basemetal:

> Interesting take on helmet lifespan in this article...

Hmmm, that's reassuring. My "new" road helmet is maybe 5 years old now and gets used at least 6 times a week as I generally ride to work three days a week. Although I was sort of looking forward to getting down to Decathlon when the shops re-open and see if any of their helmets fit my slightly odd shaped head OK, like the current Btwin one does. I have an older Bell which is still in very good nick because it's tended to be my 'second helmet' for the last decade but perhaps it hasn't got so old its no use after all.

I wish there was similar neutral research into climbing helmet longevity!

 Basemetal 07 Apr 2021
In reply to TobyA:

I found that article about a month ago when I was feeling a bit guilty about the age of my Bell XLV (12 years or so). It was in good nick, fitted well and was very comfortable. The EPS felt normal (i.e. hard), and the liner pads were still comfy and the shell unmarked.  I was wearing it when I crashed at the weekend and, as I said above, the EPS did its job dutifully squashing on impact, as did the cradle, strap etc., so I can provide a sample size of 1 in circumstances I can't fully describe. Such is anecdotal evidence!

Last time I was in Decathlon I tried on the largest Van Rysel 500 and found it a bit rounder then my head is, but also just too small fore and aft. Good luck 

In reply to Basemetal:

Yep, last time I tried on the now Van Rysel branded ones they were too rounded for my obviously elliptical shaped head!

I was going to say to your original post that one that fits your head shape seems about the most important consideration! I bought a specific mountain biking helmet a couple of years ago, one with more coverage on the back of my head. I wanted to buy the Decathlon own brand one for about 20 quid but it just didn't fit me well. Ended up with a very similar one by Bell from GO Outdoors - nice enough helmet and a decent fit for me but double the price of the Rockrider one, seemingly for little difference, beyond a better fit for me.

In reply to Basemetal:

I currently use a petzl climbing helmet.

Is that a bad idea?

 Basemetal 08 Apr 2021
In reply to Exiled Cumbrian:

> I currently use a petzl climbing helmet.

> Is that a bad idea?

Which one?  There"s quite an overlap in the job description, but also lots of areas for specialising ( even between cycling disciplines). I 'm thinking there are different Standards applied to the  two types ( tho that doesn't make them mutually exclusive).

I've read that bare EPS or EPP is considered too grabby for cycle helmets (having an effect the opposite of MIPS) - though allowed in children's helmets due to lower speeds expected.

Post edited at 19:52
 fire_munki 08 Apr 2021
In reply to Basemetal:

Met for road and Fox for mtb, and have done for the last 10+ years. Like climbing shoes, jeans and anything else for bodies I know what fits by now and it's easy to find a good deal when you don't have to worry about returning something that doesn't fit.

If you don't have a brand you know, it's heading to all the shops and trying lots on (when you can that is) or taking a risk with mail order.

 lboutside 09 Apr 2021
In reply to Basemetal:

I invested in the Lazer Blade+ MIPS, I feel like MIPS is definitely the future if you're going anywhere near a road these days, was a bit more than I wanted to spend but it was very true to size and comfortable too and plenty of vents (plus I really like that the cage adjustment is on the top of the helmet instead of at the rear, easier to muck about with if you switch between wearing a cap or beanie in the winter)

Outside of that you can get some fantastic deals on the Giro Foray MIPS which I was originally looking at but no one had it in stock at the time.

 tomsan91 09 Apr 2021
In reply to Basemetal:

Just replaced my Kask infinity after 4 years with the POC Ventral SPIN, very happy with the fit and shape on my head. Wanted something with better ventilation as the dripping from the Kask was quite annoying during crits. The leather chin strap on the Kask however was much nicer than the nylon of all my other helmets. 

In reply to TobyA:

Good to read that, my current helmet is going on for about 15 years now. I ride a lot less though than I did and not so assertively either, so mileage wise probably similar to a few years serious training and racing.

 Basemetal 09 Apr 2021

Currently I'm circling around a Bell Stratus MIPS in XL. I've had Bell fit me well in the past, and there seems to be a bit of a shortage in XL across the board right now, and only a few models from each manufacturer seem to offer XL sizes. I would have gone for a POC but they only size up to 61cm. I've got 6 weeks or so, apparently, before I'll be back on the bike (collar  bone) so Ive time to window shop .

Thinking about MIPS, a helmet liner or beanie would add some slip function on a plain  helmet. The hard problem appears to be quantifying the benefit, although that's true of helmets altogether.

I've been lucky (?)that none of my bike accidents that ended in A&E have involved other vehicles, so the forces have been in the lower range where a polystyrene hat could make a difference.

 LJKing 10 Apr 2021
In reply to Basemetal:

Specialised Propero 3. V comfortable and my last one saved my life in  a high speed collision with three stag deers! So it works! The new one has a gizzmo on it that enables your last known location to be sent to next of kin following impact on it!

 Uluru 10 Apr 2021
In reply to Basemetal:

I have quite a fat/big head or a woman! 60cms I recently purchased a Bell Z20 MPIS area helmet. They go up to an extra large size which is 62-65cms. (I have a large). I've found it to be really comfortable. 

They also have a crash replacement system.

I chose a helmet with the MPIS system as a few people in my cycling club had, has accidents recently and helmets with this safety feature saved them from serious injury

Post edited at 16:42
 Basemetal 15 Apr 2021
In reply to Uluru:

I've been hunting for a Bell Z20 MIPS in XL, but there doesn't seem to be one on the internet, and Bell UK no longer list XL sizes in the helmet description.  Google does throw up XL in generic search result tables, but nobody has one or even lists it as 'out of stock'. Largest seems to be L at 62cm. 

MIPS seems to take up some space in helmet shells when it is retrofitted pre-existing designs, maybe dropping them a nominal cm or so and explaining the demise of the biggest size. My best bet might be to search the newer purpose built integrated systems, like the Giro Aether Spherical with its two independent EPS layers rather than an internal skin. 

An alternative might be to go for a smooth surfaced aero lid, like a  Kask Infinity, where rotation protection comes from skiddiness of the outer surface.

Bontrager's Wavecell and Endura's Koroyd solutions just look like insect traps to me. I appreciate the material properties but can only imagine what they look like after hitting clouds of bugs.

The search continues...

 Uluru 15 Apr 2021
In reply to Basemetal:

That's so frustrating I've just rechecked a few websites which were previously showing them and yes sadly they have all sold out.

I think you're correct with regards to the retrofitting of MIPS reducing the size.

The Kask Infinity does seem to be quite popular with the people in my club too. So worth a look

I hope you find something suitable which doesn't attract insects! I've had a wasp fly into my helmet before. Scary experience.

 Basemetal 12:53 Mon
In reply to Uluru:

I got to try a Kask Infinity in L, but it was too short fore and aft and also managed to feel really unstable laterally, so not a good match for my head shape.

I've had more luck with a Giro Agilis MIPS, in L (59-63cm), that fits well and feels stable. Looks a bit Super Mario Toad from the front but quite neat from the sides. But I don't have to look at it... so sorted.  

 Ian_Cognito 15:18 Mon
In reply to Basemetal:

A - whichever fits best and is comfortable.

I've tried on a few over the years that have had bits digging in my head - I always put them on, wiggle them around and also press them into my head to find any potential sore points.

Bell seem to fit me really well, I've had 3 - I'm on a Volt at the moment for the road.

Giro don't normally fit me, but the Hex was the best fit when I replaced my old Specialized MTB helmet.

Beware of MTB helmets that are just a road helmet with a peak chucked on!

 neilh 16:42 Mon
In reply to Basemetal:

Just persuaed Mrs H to buy a road bike and started looking at helmets.Its not something I have been to concerned with in the past, but no matter what she tried mosts helmets did not fit on her head very well. As soon as she put on a Rudy helmet, fitted like a glove, you could immediately tell the difference from watching her fit it to her head.

So my advice just try lots and get one that fits.

Post edited at 16:43

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