*Ventilation: Vents enhance a rider's comfort, allowing air to flow over and through the helmet. This makes for a cooler, more pleasant experience. Obviously, the more vents a helmet has, the cooler the rider will be.
*Straps: A helmet's strap system should match the rider's cycling style. Sturdy, thick straps are best for off-road or rough terrain riding, while thin, light straps are a good choice for road cycling or racing. Straps should be fully adjustable for comfort and proper fit, and should feature closures that are easy to operate. For female cyclists, some strap systems are specially designed to accommodate a ponytail, making for a better fit and more comfortable ride.
Match the Helmet to Cycling Style
Not all cycling
helmets price are created equal. A proper helmet should match the rider's particular interests and intended use.
There are three main styles of helmet, each specifically tailored to a distinct type of cycling: sport, mountain, and road.
*Sport helmets generally run between $35 and $55. These affordable and versatile models are an excellent choice for casual cyclists, commuters, and even skaters.
*Mountain bike helmets are slightly higher on the cost scale, costing between $50 and $130. These helmets are designed to offer the ultimate in protection for cyclists who favor rough trail riding or cyclo-cross racing. Many models are equipped with visors and full coverage for the back of the head, as well as strap systems that hold the helmet to the rider's head more securely to withstand the unique obstacles of off-road cycling.
*Road bike helmets are the most sophisticated and expensive models, with a good quality helmet ranging anywhere from $60 to $230. Best for serious road racers or competitive cyclists, these road helmets are light, aerodynamic, and extremely well ventilated.
Look for Essential Safety Certification
By federal law, all cycling helmets sold in the United States must meet certain criteria for impact safety as determined by the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC). The CPSC has developed a set of testing standards that all helmet manufacturers must adhere to; in most cases, the testing scenarios are far more severe than even the worst impact an actual rider might experience in an accident. Many helmets are also tested and certified by the independent non-profit Snell Foundation. However, the CPSC endorsement is the crucial one, and the certification seal should be prominently displayed on the helmet.
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