Headgear – AKA – Lid, Helmet . . .
Purpose – To protect the rider from serious head injuries, Slaps to the head from low-hanging branches . . .
I’ve been saved from potentially serious head injuries more than once thanks to my helmet and even then, I ended up with concussion twice that I remember and not once did these crashes involve other traffic of any description. And still, I come across people out on the trails or see them on videos showing off their skills without a helmet.
These risk-takers are not only taking unnecessary risks with their own health and insurance policies, or lack of, they are also setting bad examples for new and upcoming riders. They give ammunition too to those who would see mountain bike sport confined to areas where the public don’t go.
Ride Hard, Ride Fair, Nobody Hurt (and that includes you).
Rant Almost Over
Last week, somebody published a VIMEO video showing a young woman crash into a large cactus in Arizona. Simply put, she lost control and ended up spiked. Face, neck, arms, legs, torso and the removal process looked as painful as the crash.
She wore skimpy shorts a vest top and a band to keep her hair in place. Oh, she did wear elbow and knee pads too, but they were ill-fitting and loose. No helmet; had she been wearing one, that would have reduced the number of spikes to her head and neck. She wasn’t wearing eye protection and was fortunate not to be poked in the eyes.
There are a few of these vicious plants where I live and a wide-berth is always advisable. Not only do those spikes hurt but they itch like crazy for days after. What we do have many of are the following attractive bushes and they have a habit of placing themselves exactly within the ride-line. They love to trash uncovered skin and riding clothing. Tires too if you ride over them. They are incredibly tough.
The question is, do you know the hazards of your local environment?
Rant Over . . .
What Type of Helmet?
This depends on the type of riding you do. You may even need or want several different helmets for trail, or downhill riding. Half-shell mountain bike helmets are the best option for most mountain bikers. Watch out for a post on full face helmets coming soon.
It covers a large surface area, providing extra protection in temple and lower cranium. It also has an adjustable rear stabilizer, Multi-purpose cam-lock +/- 20 mm vertical and +/- 60 mm horizontal movement with 3-position front and rear locations for a custom fit. There is also a three year warranty.
Dropping down the price range, “BestReviews” at Amazon picked this Team Obsidian Airflow as the best of the best.
Lightweight and well-ventilated. Customizable fit by adjusting straps. Molded foam and plastic shell mesh perfectly. A padded chin strap is a nice additional feature.
Fit and comfort level are variable. Not comfortable for some with larger heads. Strap adjustment system is a challenge. Visor can cause injuries during an accident. Look at the images and notice how the Obsidian doesn’t cover as much of the back of the head as the Troy Lee.
Cheaper Still . . . JBM
Wide variety of 18 color schemes available. Exceptional ventilation. Padded straps. Uses durable plastic and foam components for maximum head protection. Numerous safety features.
Adjustment straps can slip out of position. Some issues with visor security. Riders with larger heads may not get a good fit.
So Much Choice
Until I retired it after a crash that left a dent and crack to the shell, my favourite was a Bell Nomad MIPS. MIPS is a multi-directional impact protection system. A technology designed to reduce rotational forces that can result from certain impacts.
Even with this technology, I still suffered a mild-concussion after my head connected with the packed dirt of a forest trail. That said, this was one of the most comfortable and easy to adjust helmets I have worn, and it lasted over two years. Priced at less than £50, I had value for money and saved my brain when I crashed.
All bike helmets sold in the UK, Europe and The US need to pass certification tests. The same is true in many other territories too. This means helmets must meet certain criteria like impact velocities, roll-off tests, and strap system strengths. Many manufacturers go beyond the minimum criteria by incorporating composite materials into sub frames or “roll cages” for increased protection.
If your helmet is damaged in an accident, many manufacturers offer a reduced-price crash replacement scheme. With proof of original purchase, these programmes can save you up to 50% on an expensive replacement. Be sure to ask before you buy.
It is obvious that your helmet must feel perfect and sits in the right place on your head. Women may discover the odd challenge with this if they have long or lots of hair. Always make sure you measure your head correctly and apply the dimensions to the guide below.
It Makes Sense; Right?
Using a helmet that feels right for you will protect you from potentially traumatic injury or worse. Enough said.
Comments and Questions
If you need help, please ask in the comments below. You will always receive a prompt response.
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- Body Protection for Mountain Bikers
- Full Face Helmets
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