The 10 Best Adult Bike Helmets
10. Schwinn Thrasher
- good for beginning riders
- easy to adjust while in motion
- sizes tend to run a little small
|Rating||3.9 / 5.0|
9. GoMax Aero
- ideal for users with lots of hair
- multiple highly-visible designs
- strap adjustment is complicated
|Rating||4.0 / 5.0|
8. Kali Protectives Chakra
- bug guard netting
- covers the rear of the head well
- exterior scratches easily
|Rating||4.2 / 5.0|
7. Smith Optics Forefront
- designed to support mounting kits
- lightweight yet protective design
- can get pretty hot
|Rating||4.8 / 5.0|
6. Louis Garneau HG Majestic
- wicks away moisture well
- excellent budget option
- vents make it extremely noisy
|Rating||4.3 / 5.0|
5. Giro Savant
- good unisex option
- quiet at high speeds
- straps do not fit flush with head
|Rating||3.8 / 5.0|
4. Demon United Podium
- comes with carrying bag
- doesn't restrict airflow
- plenty of mouth protection
|Rating||4.0 / 5.0|
3. Nutcase Patterned
- great for skaters as well
- eps foam disperses impact energy
- comfy chin strap
|Rating||5.0 / 5.0|
2. Cannondale Quick
- removable sun visor
- very comfortable option
- stays in place while riding
|Rating||4.5 / 5.0|
1. Bell Super 3
- visor is high-quality
- good at diverting sweat
- plenty of vents to keep head cool
|Rating||4.5 / 5.0|
Why It’s Vital To Wear A Bike Helmet
I get it: you spent your whole childhood under the thumb of your parents, who told you time and time again that if you wanted to ride your bike, you had to wear your helmet. At the time, most helmets weren’t designed to look anything but awkward, and many of them were large enough to make their wearers resemble humanoid lollipops.
To make matters worse, the coolest kids in the neighborhood often rode without their helmets, and if they saw you wearing yours, they might have made fun of you. The good news (depending on your perspective) is that those kids are dead now, or at least in a vegetative state after sustaining blunt force head trauma after a bicycle accident. Not so cool now, are they?
The not-so-good news is that bicycle injuries and deaths are both on the rise. In the ten-year period leading up to 2015, fatalities rose by six percent, and injuries rose by a little over two percent (though it’s important to realize that a large quantity of bike crashes and injuries go unreported).
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, bicycle accidents result in around 67,000 head injuries each year, with about 27,000 of those incidents requiring hospitalization of the injured parties. The NHTSA also reports that bike helmets are more than 90 percent effective in preventing brain injuries, which would bring that number down from 27,000 to no more than 2,700.
If you’re still haunted by the visage of those giant foam children’s helmets, and you ride your bike with any regularity, you’ll be pleased to know that the field of adult bike helmets has come a very long way. Today’s models boast much sleeker, more aerodynamic designs, as well as some advanced safety features that make them seem more futuristic than archaic.
What To Look For In An Adult Bike Helmet
In order to get a helmet you can be proud to wear, and that will also keep you safe, it’s worth taking a few variables into account. These include everything from safety ratings to the latest features, and they can easily be among the aspects of your helmet that allow you to walk away from an accident, or to avoid one altogether.
For starters, ask yourself what kind of riding you do. Helmet styles often fall into one of two camps. The first camp is designed for speed, with angled, aerodynamic lines and plenty of vents for efficient airflow. Even if you don’t need something that can shave seconds off a race time, those vents can be a lifesaver if you regularly ride in the heat. These helmets also usually incorporate a visor in the front to help shield your eyes from the sun.
The second camp covers a little more of the head, placing an emphasis on safety over speed. These are ideal for cyclists who prefer a more modern, city look to their helmets or those who plan on performing tricks that can increase the parts of the head that might meet the pavement. You won’t get quite as many vents in a helmet like this, but you might find a model or two that do feature visors.
In order to ensure that your helmet is a good fit, most manufacturers include some kind of ratchet for internal adjustments. If you find that your helmet has a lot of front-to-back or side-to-side movement, you can reach toward the back and turn a little wheel that will tighten an internal strap. This will allow the helmet to rest snugly around your cranium, keeping it in place in the event of an accident and increasing your comfort as you ride.
For better visibility, look for helmets that come in bright colors or that include reflective or retroreflective accents. This is especially important if you do a lot of night riding, as that’s when the majority of bike accidents take place. Between reflective and retroreflective materials, the latter is superior for its ability to scatter light in many directions, making you visible from more angles.
If you ride a lot in a city, many of which have very poor bike infrastructures, you may need something that can increase your safety even further. A smart bike helmet might be the ticket for you. These devices often have integrated LED lights and turning signals that respond to wireless controllers installed on your handlebar. No driver will be able to miss seeing you.
Other Accessories To Improve Your Safety
Riding a bicycle should be a fun and carefree experience, and the more investments you can make in your safety before you hit the road, the less you’ll have to fret about it while you’re out touring the town. These purchases may seem like they’re adding up pretty fast, but you can take them one at a time, getting progressively safer with each addition to your riding arsenal.
For starters, invest in a good LED headlight and brake light. These are so small and effective there’s no excuse not to use them. Many models recharge via USB, so you can plug them into a smart outlet or into the USB port on your computer for a quick charge. They can often be seen over a great distance, with solid and blinking settings.
It’s also a great idea to invest in a vest. As we discussed above, few things reflect light as well as retroreflective material, and you can get your hands on the same high-quality gear roadside construction crews use to stay safe while out on the highway.
Finally, a good bell or horn is a must. While it might not save you from that oncoming truck, a bell on your bike is a polite and effective way to alert pedestrians to your presence. Safety, after all, is a courtesy you can pay forward, protecting everyone from harm, whether on the roads, trails, or sidewalks of the world.