How To Choose A Bike Helmet: Commuter, Mountain And Road

If you want to protect your head when biking you’ll need to know how to choose the right bike helmet.

It’s essential to select the right head gear and I’ll show you how to do that. By the time you’re done I’m sure you’ll be ready to purchase one.

Sound good?

Protecting Your Head Is Really Important

There’s plenty of steps you can take to make sure you’re safe when biking and selecting the right helmet is one of the most important.

One of the main purposes of a helmet is to protect a head from dangerous impact with another surface. However, you may wonder how it actually does this. To properly protect your skull, a helmet is wrapped in a plastic shell surrounding a thick polypropylene foam. Luckily for American consumers, each and every helmet made and sold in America has to pass the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s standards.

Another thing to keep in mind when it comes to bike helmets is that each type of helmet correlate to what type of sporting activity it can protect you from. For example, biking helmets are not as rigorous as skiing helmets and should not be worn on the slopes. Each helmet in correlation to the sport it is specifically built for should only be worn for that one sport. It’s important to not mix helmets since it could end up in serious injury.

In addition, you should always replace your helmet after a crash or impact. Even if there doesn’t seem to be any damage in or on the helmet, there could be micro fragments that could cause the helmet to split at any moment. Plus, the majority of helmet manufacturers provide warranties to replace the helmet if it ever does break.

The 3 Different Types Of Helmets

The three most basic types of bike helmets come in either mountain, road, or recreational. All three can protect your head, but each is designed to handle different cycling activities. The main differences are:


Recreational helmets are most common with skateboarders and mountain bikers, especially due to their sun visor to help protect cyclists against glare.


Road helmets are more commonly associated with racing due to their low weight and aerodynamic properties. In addition, the helmets also include a visor to help prevent the cyclist from experiencing glare while riding.

You can check out my favorite road bike helmets here.


Mountain bike helmets were created to provide the most ventilation at low speeds. When compared to other helmets, mountain helmets provide much more protection. They often feature extra rear coverage, visors, full-face protection, and a tighter, more secure fit.

Take A Look At My Favorite Mountain Bike Helmets Here.

What Is A MIPS Helmet?

A Multi-directional Impact Protection System, or MIPS is a type of helmet technology that can protect a wearer’s head from rotational impact during a crash.

Although it offer’s less breathability on the top of the head, it can protect your skull from catastrophic accidents. Due to the foam lining’s ability to absorb impact, you will have a much better chance of walking away from a serious accident versus cyclists who aren’t wearing one.

Additional Helmet Features

Here are a few other bicycle helmet features that you should pay attention to.

Ventilation: A lot of helmets on the market have ventilation holes on the top. These slots enhance the wind flow over your head giving your a more comfortable and cooler ride. Also, helmets with ventilation are usually more lightweight.

Straps: The straps and buckles should be comfortable on your face, easy to adjust, and easy to operate.
Visor: Some bike helmets provides protection from the sun with the use of a sun blocking visor. This feature is most commonly found on mountain biking helmets.

Full Face Protection: A lot of mountain bike helmets are also equipped with a full wraparound chin bar. This offer more protection for the face when downhill mountain biking.

How To Properly Fit A Helmet

When you are looking for a bike helmet, the fit is the most important aspect. Most helmets are sized small, medium, large, or one size fits all.

These are the general sizing parameters for your standard bicycles helmets:

– One size fits all kids: 18 to 22.5 inches, 46 to 57 cm
– One size fits all women: 19.75 to 22.5 inches, 50 to 57 cm
– One size fits all men: 21.25 to 24 inches, 54 to 61 cm
– Extra-Small: below 20 inches, 51 cm
– Small: 20 to 21.75 inches, 51 to 55 cm
– Medium: 21.75 to 23.25 inches, 55 to 59 cm
– Large: 23.25 to 24.75 inches, 59 to 63 cm
– Extra-Large: above 24.75 inches, 63 cm

If you are in between sizes, there is no need to worry. You can either choose the smaller helmet or choose the size up and wear a beanie or cycling cap underneath it. This will improve the fit. Additionally, if you are an adult with a small head, you may find the children’s sizes to be more comfortable.

In order to find the right size, you will need to measure your head. Wrap a tape measure around the largest part of your head. This is usually about an inch above your eyebrows. If you do not have a flexible tape measure you can also use a piece of string or ribbon to wrap around your head.

Then, you can measure the string with a ruler or yardstick. You may find it easier to measure your head with the assistance of a friend. Once you find your head measurement, you can match the number to the sizing parameters listed above to find your ideal size. It should be noted that not all manufacturers use the same sizing guide, so be sure to check with the company’s sizing list before purchasing a helmet.

You can determine if your helmet is the right size by checking a number of different areas. When the helmet is on your head, it should not tip forward or back. It should be perfectly horizontal. In general, the front rim should sit about an inch above your eyebrows.

This may be different depending on the design of your helmet. The inner band of the helmet should sit comfortably around your head. It should be snug and should not move around easily on your head; not too tight, but not too loose. The chin strap of the helmet should form the letter V around your ears.

Watch out for any binding, chafing, or discomfort. You should adjust your chin strap so it also fits snugly, not tightly. If you cannot slide two fingers in between the strap and your face, it is too tight.

Here’s a video that explains everything:

That’s All You Need To Know!

Having the right helmet is essential for proper safety. Your head is extremely vulnerable and a crash can leave you with an injury that can be debilitating – or worst. If you follow the tips in this article like choosing a product depending on your riding style and getting a proper fit you’ll be fine.

You can check out the bike section up top for some product reviews and more tips. You can comment below if you need anything cleared up.

Do you feel like you can protect your head now?