/ Using a climbing helmet for cycling

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Richard Popp 09 Sep 2019

Hi, not sure which forum to put this in but....

Having commuted by bike for many years without a helmet I have decided that I probably should start wearing one. I used to wear a helmet pretty regularly climbing but as i have migrated to mainly sport climbing I have done so less, the last time i got it out in Pembrokeshire everyone laughed at it (as they did my very original head torch but hey ho, the elastic was a bit baggy) also thinking of starting to use a helmet again, for belaying in particular. There has been no catalyst for either of these thoughts.

I was wondering whether I can use a climbing helmet for cycling and if so which one. My main reason is not so much cost as just the sheer volume of things that seem to clutter life today.

Was thinking of the Sirocco  but any ideas?

Cheers,

Rich

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Rigid Raider 09 Sep 2019
In reply to Richard Popp:

I would do it as long as the look was okay and didn't make me look any more weird than I already do, dressed in figure-hugging lycra. The weight could be an issue - cycling helmets are featherweight and anything that does have any weight might cause pain in the neck muscles after a couple of hours leaning forward and looking up.  Also, how sweat-absorbing are the pads and how good the ventilation?

Post edited at 11:34
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Phil79 09 Sep 2019
In reply to Richard Popp:

Climbing helmets are generally not designed (or tested/certified) for cycling, as the requirements are quite different.

Climbing helmets mainly concerned with stopping sharp pointy things hitting top of head, whereas cycling helmets designed for impact with road or surfaces and max ventilation.

You can get some that are rated for both. Probably a bit of a compromise but would work fine.

Has been discussed before:

https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/gear/helmet_for_climbcycle-660561

Bollocks to people laughing at you! Its your head and you wont look cool on a ventilator. 

Edit - having checked not sure you can get any that are rated for both? Petzl Meteor 3 was rated for both, but latest version isn't. Might be some niche adventure racing helmets that are rated as such....?

Post edited at 11:43
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deepsoup 09 Sep 2019
In reply to Richard Popp:

> Was thinking of the Sirocco  but any ideas?

If you were going to wear a climbing helmet for cycling, I'm sure that would be one of the better ones to go for: it's light, well ventilated and offers good all-round protection against side and rear impacts.

(Which is not a requirement of the CE standard for a climbing helmet - that mostly deals with the risk of stone fall so is more about absorbing the impact of, and resisting penetration by, pointy rocks falling on top of your head.)

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spenser 09 Sep 2019
In reply to deepsoup:

The ventilation on the Sirocco is nothing like as good as a decent road/ XC helmet (they typically have vents along the top of the helmet which a dual use climbing helmet can't have if it is going to meet Euro Norm relating to climbing helmets.

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Neil Williams 09 Sep 2019
In reply to spenser:

There is a multisport helmet certified for climbing, caving and cycling (I forget which one it is) but it probably means it's not perfect for any of them.  I'd just buy a separate one, they don't take *that* much space up.

Post edited at 13:41
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Michael Gordon 09 Sep 2019
In reply to Richard Popp:

Don't see why not. One of the main things a climbing helmet is for is protecting against impact in a fall. Cycling head injuries tend to involve falling too. 

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Richard Popp 09 Sep 2019
In reply to Richard Popp: Thanks everyone, I had done a search but missed the previous thread.

I am ona hybrid and seldom cycling for longer than one hour fifteen and even that not very often. I am not really that worried about how I look, the vast majority of people wont even notice me

Think I will get a climbing helmet and see how I feel, though that is probably the wrong way around risk wise.

Now slightly worried that if I get a helmet I will get knocked off or hit by a massive boulder-need some help with my thinking.

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Dell 09 Sep 2019
In reply to Richard Popp:

I thought the same thing, wear the climbing lid for cycling, as I don't cycle much anyway. 

Then when in Lidl I saw a rated cycling helmet for £12.99 with a built in flashing LED light on the back, I decided to do the right thing. 

I do know someone who climbs in a £9.99 Aldi snowboarding helmet (out of sheer tightness) 

So you're sort of in good company. 

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Rigid Raider 09 Sep 2019
In reply to Richard Popp:

For years I motorbiked wearing an original Joe Brown helmet. It was quite windy!

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L dominikk 09 Sep 2019
In reply to Michael Gordon:

That is simply not true. As someone mentioned before, this is not what climbing helmets have to be good at in order to get certified.

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Michael Gordon 09 Sep 2019
In reply to dominikk:

So why do people consider them useful in the event of a fall?

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GridNorth 09 Sep 2019
In reply to Richard Popp:

I could understand there being some hesitation in buying a cycling specific cycling helmet if they cost an arm and a leg but I've seen them advertised for as little as £14.00  FFS just buy one.

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yesbutnobutyesbut 09 Sep 2019
In reply to GridNorth:

As Gridnoth says just buy one.

https://www.planetx.co.uk/c/q/clothing/helmets

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PaulJepson 09 Sep 2019
In reply to Richard Popp:

A lot of the more modern expensive helmets are designed to protect against impact. The more traditional hard-shell helmets are better at deflecting impact impact but terrible at absorbing it, so I'd say if you were getting a helmet for climbing + cycling then get one like a Sirocco or Meteor. 

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L dominikk 09 Sep 2019
In reply to Michael Gordon:

I have no idea about why people consider what useful. Nevertheless most hardshell helmets won't help you a lot if the impact is not on the top of the head which in case of falling is probably the least likely scenario.

Basically only some newer models take that into account and provide protection in multiple directions.

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L dominikk 09 Sep 2019
In reply to Michael Gordon:

I have no idea about why people consider what useful. Nevertheless most hardshell helmets won't help you a lot if the impact is not on the top of the head which in case of falling is probably the least likely scenario.

Basically only some newer models take that into account and provide protection in multiple directions.

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Baron Weasel 09 Sep 2019
In reply to Neil Williams:

> There is a multisport helmet certified for climbing, caving and cycling (I forget which one it is) but it probably means it's not perfect for any of them.  I'd just buy a separate one, they don't take *that* much space up.

Petzl meteor is rated for climbing, cycling and white water.

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Ciro 09 Sep 2019
In reply to Baron Weasel:

> Petzl meteor is rated for climbing, cycling and white water.

It's rated for cycling, and it's fine for popping down the shops, but I wouldn't want to go far on a hot day...

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JoshOvki 09 Sep 2019
In reply to Baron Weasel:

I know the old ones were, but I think the new ones have had their ratings changed to just climbing and skiing (not that I have checked)

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Baron Weasel 09 Sep 2019
In reply to Ciro:

I like mine for cycling at night because I can attach a head torch easily.

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phizz4 09 Sep 2019
In reply to Richard Popp:

Surely any helmet is better than no helmet at all. For what it is worth I wear a Petzl Boreo when horse riding in summer because all of the horse riding helmets that I have tried have been way to hot (and relatively heavy).

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TobyA 09 Sep 2019
In reply to Baron Weasel:

> Petzl meteor is rated for climbing, cycling and white water.


Were they ever rated for canoeing? One of the models did pass the cycling test but the current one doesn't (or hasn't been tested). When you can get a purpose designed bike helmet from Decathlon for 7.99 I can't imagine many people were actually that tempted to wear their relatively expensive climbing helmet for riding to college or the shops.

The newest meteor is rated for ski mountaineering although not alpine skiing. That's seems like a more useful cross over.

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TobyA 09 Sep 2019
In reply to phizz4:

> all of the horse riding helmets that I have tried have been way to hot (and relatively heavy).

I suspect the weight tells you something about how horse riding helmets are designed differently and to do different things.

I'm sure there is some truth in any helmet being better than none, but I doubt wearing a light bike helmet on a motorbike would make much difference if you crash at 60. And wearing a motorbike helmet on your E2 project isn't going to help much either.

To the OP - I'd just get two helmets. One will sit happily on top of the other so they don't add too much to clutter.

From Decathlon you can get a decent bike helmet and a climbing helmet for under 30 quid.

https://www.decathlon.co.uk/st-50-mountain-bike-helmet-id_8500051.html

https://www.decathlon.co.uk/white-rock-helmet-id_8395388.html

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Richard Popp 09 Sep 2019
In reply to Richard Popp: cheers everyone.  Want to get something comfortable that is not going to distract, esp climbing. Anyway decision made kind of.

Rich

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Dan Arkle 09 Sep 2019
In reply to Richard Popp:

Meteor is a good choice.

I heard that one of the reasons the sirocco could not be rated for cycling is that the EPP foam is deformable and grippy - your head would stick to the road and your neck would break, rather than glancing off it.

Most helmets with EPS foam would probably work ok.

Post edited at 22:52
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Snyggapa 09 Sep 2019
In reply to TobyA:

> I suspect the weight tells you something about how horse riding helmets are designed differently and to do different things.

Having, out of curiosity, cut in half the other half's horse riding helmet that was visually undamaged when she got thrown off of some dobbin and seen the inch thick polystyrene layer compressed to half-inch thick at the point of impact, I would suggest that buying the right tool for the job and replacing it when used, and not worrying about cost, storage space or looking like a knob is the better course of action

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KeithWakeley 10 Sep 2019
In reply to Richard Popp:

https://www.movementskis.com/helmets.html

CE marked for ski, climb and bike.

probably not cheap, but may fit your criteria 

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Phil79 10 Sep 2019
In reply to Baron Weasel:

> Petzl meteor is rated for climbing, cycling and white water.

Sorry, but that's incorrect. The old Meteor 3 was rated for cycling, but the latest version isn't:

https://www.petzl.com/INT/en/Sport/FAQ/is-METEOR-helmet-certified-for-cycling

Its rated for climbing and ski touring.

Saying that, it does look more capable as a bike helmet than many climbing lids, being EPS with a plastic shell, and clearly has some ability to absorb side and rear impacts. 

Post edited at 09:06
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Baron Weasel 10 Sep 2019
In reply to Phil79:

> Sorry, but that's incorrect. The old Meteor 3 was rated for cycling, but the latest version isn't:

Ok, what I should have said is my Meteor is rated for cycling, it says so on it. 

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bpmclimb 10 Sep 2019
In reply to Baron Weasel:

> Ok, what I should have said is my Meteor is rated for cycling, it says so on it. 

In any case, the materials and design aren't that different, so it seems reasonable to assume that its protective capabilities aren't that different either.

If newer models lose their rating for a specific activity, that's a consideration for leading groups, paying clients, etc, but often more for legal/insurance reasons, unless a specific and glaring safety issue has been flagged up. I doubt that in general it will make a significant difference for personal, non-commercial use.

That said, it would be interesting to see any data, if available (even if anecdotal), about injuries caused directly by wearing a non-approved helmet.

As someone said, having any lid on improves your chances; but even the very latest, highly sport-specific helmets can't be regarded as fully protective: one still needs to be aware of the risks of various types of head impact .... of course. 

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TheGeneralist 11 Sep 2019
In reply to Rigid Raider:

>  The weight could be an issue - cycling helmets are featherweight and anything that does have any weight might cause pain in the neck muscles after a couple of hours leaning forward and looking up. 

Not sure this is the case really. My kid's cycling helmet weighs close to a kilo and he happily wears it all day.

Standard MTB helmet with a decent light on it is quite heavy too...

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Le Sapeur 11 Sep 2019
In reply to Richard Popp:

If your brain thinks it worth protecting it will come up with the idea of wearing a helmet. If it can't produce these thoughts, then........

Climbing helmets are just so unsuited to cycling, in every way. They offer minimal side impact protection, which is the critical thing when falling off a bike. Tests have shown that climbing helmets can concentrate forces during side impacts. 

Poor ventilation is also a factor on warm days.

All in all, just buy a cycle lid. £30.......

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BedRock 12 Sep 2019
deepsoup 12 Sep 2019
In reply to Le Sapeur:

> If your brain thinks ...

> Climbing helmets .. offer minimal side impact protection

Ironic, that you start your post with some sneeringly condescending nonsense about anyone who happens to disagree with you having a defective brain and then immediately proceed to a comment that lacks nuance almost to the point of being a bit dim.

The EN-12492 standard that climbing helmet manufacturers need to comply with to CE mark their product and sell it as a climbing helmet in the EU doesn't require much in the way of side impact protection, that's true.  The reasons for that are largely historical, because the emphasis when that document was written was on the risk of chunks of ice and rock falling from above whilst mountaineering.

The manufacturers of climbing kit are also its users though, they sponsor climbers, they are climbers - they're profoundly interested in how it's used, how they can improve it. They are most definitely aware that in some aspects of the climbing 'game' side and rear impacts are a much more significant portion of the risk than in others.  And they've designed a whole generation, several generations actually, of helmets that offer excellent side impact protection - happily those helmets also tend to be lighter, better ventilated and more comfortable than more traditional designs.  (Because no helmet is worth a damn if you don't choose to wear it.)

I haven't read the standard for cycling helmets.  (Side rant - it's insane that the contents of EN standards isn't in the public domain.  We should all be able to freely read these documents, the better to understand what the "CE" mark means on the products we're buying.) 

I feel pretty safe in assuming that that also sets out a fairly basic minimum standard though, same as the handful of EN standards I have read, and as with climbing helmets some models will meet the standard, some will exceed it in all sorts of ways and we really don't have much as consumers to help us decide which are which.  (The best are not necessarily the most expensive!  They tend also not to be the cheapest..)

Sure, if you want to make a simple, dogmatic statement in general terms, you're better off wearing a cycling helmet for cycling and a climbing helmet for climbing.  But there's really no need to sneer at those interested in a more nuanced discussion.  It doesn't necessarily follow that every helmet  that just about scrapes the minimum requirement in the cycling standard will be better than another that easily exceeds the minimum requirement of the climbing standard.

You point regarding ventilation may be valid, maybe not - it just comes down to the individual doesn't it.  Unlike the protection from side impacts, rear impacts, glancing impacts, whatever, it's very easy for the individual to make their own objective assessment on that one just by giving it a try and seeing how it feels.  You may as well be trying to tell the OP whether or not they need to wear a jumper.

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Le Sapeur 12 Sep 2019
In reply to deepsoup:

What a funny reply. I almost read most of it.

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Richard Popp 12:47 Fri
In reply to Richard Popp: Well I bought one helmet, a black diamond vapour and may buy a second, cheaper, one for cycling. A few points-the (independent shop) said that perhaps some helmets were not rated for cycling because of the extra cost of certification-the vapour is certified for ski-mountaineering as well as climbing and I imagine that means it is designed to hit hard ice and fir trees.. Re ventilation, it feels very cool after cycling every where in a cap. Well two points actually, although it is very very light

Cheers for responses.

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