photo by David Niddrie
Writer: Rhiannon Coppin
Helmets aren’t forever. Sunlight, physical stress and plain-old age – just as they weather your skin – will do a number on a helmet’s plastics. Though you can’t change your face, you can change your headgear; and after a few years or a lot of hours, it’s time to replace your hard hat.
Sure, price matters. You can spend anywhere from $40 to $400 depending on how ventilated or lightweight you want to go. But fit, as any helmet-hunting advisor will tell you, is paramount. Common helmet brands (Giro, Bell, Alpina, Lazer, Specialized) offer a handful of sizes you need to map into with a measurement of your crown. Some women’s models fit smaller, and the largest size most helmets go is 25 inches (63 centimeters).
Mountain bike or road-style helmets use adjustable plastic bands that let you “dial-in” your size – and some even leave room for your ponytail. If you have either a very narrow or a very round head, you’ll find a better fit with a band that adjusts all around.
The “skate-style” solid shells that Nutcase, Pryme and Pro-tec produce are trending in 2011, which means there’s a huge selection of prints and solid colors in both shiny and matte. Bell, Bern and Giro offer “urban” models – some even with equestrian-style brims. The urban genre comes in fewer sizes – often just one or two – and it’s up to you to make it fit by choosing the right thickness of padding.
Factor in whether you’re going to wear some sort of cap under your lid for style, warmth or catching rain drops. And if you just can’t find that one all-weather, all-occasion, all-bike-style helmet, the solution is simple: don’t limit yourself to one!