How to Choose The Right Bike Helmet? A Detailed Guide

Comfort, protection, and an improved fit are some of the key factors in the overall helmet choosing decision. But that’s not all.

There’s more to a durable, yet comfortable. And helmet and to ensure you get the best bang for your buck, we dive deep into all these features.

How to Get Started with Choosing a Bike Helmet?

Helmet Fit

Always go for a helmet that fits you properly. In short, a helmet should adjust your head in a way that offers comfort and relaxation along with obvious protection.

So, never compromise on getting the right size and fit while deciding on a bicycle helmet. Measure your head and compare it to different helmet sizes before making a choice.

Your Riding Style

The next important factor is to first acknowledge what kind of biker you are going to be.

Are you a casual rider? Do you ride dirt roads more often or do you want to become a professional mountain biker?

According to the cycling disciplines, we categorize bike helmets into three different types:

Recreational Helmets/Commuter Bike Helmets

Recreational helmets are commonly used by daily commuters who mostly ride in cities to their schools, colleges, or universities, etc. They are not too expensive yet they could save you from minor impacts during casual bicycling.

Road Bike Helmets

Meant for road cyclists, these helmets are light in weight and properly ventilated at the same time. More importantly, they have got an aerodynamic shape to avoid extra wind resistance.

Mountain Bike Helmets

Designed with the front as well as rear protection, MTB bike helmets offer the best protection against serious crashes.

That’s because a biker riding harsh mountain and dirt trails are more prone to injuries compared to casual and road bikers.

These helmets are also well-ventilated and their inside has got thick padding to reduce the impact of a crash to a maximum extent.


Out of all three types, you can use a road bike helmet on a dirt trail and a mountain bike helmet on a smooth road. But, it would be better if you sort out your biking needs and choose your helmet accordingly.

Specialized Features:

The last key factor to consider is to look at whether you need new protection technologies along with an advanced design in a helmet or not. Such helmets offer increased ventilation and are more aerodynamic and lightweight at the same time.

Similarly, some bikers may want to look out for built-in mounts in a helmet so they can record themselves while riding different trails.

Having these specialized features in a helmet is not a must, but if you are an avid biker with a good budget, we’d want you to try the latest helmets with advanced technologies.

Bike Helmet Fit and Its Relation with Comfort

A good fit means a user will always feel comfortable while wearing a bike helmet and it’s simply a no-brainer.

That said, while you decide on getting a bike helmet, it’s important to check whether it fits you properly or not.

There are multiple ways to check the size of the helmet and the best one as per our experience is to wear the helmet and adjust it.

However, if you are into online shopping, then you will have to take an idea of your head’s circumference and then compare it with the helmet’s size.

Measuring the head circumference is easy. Take a flexible measuring tape and wrap it around your head in a way that the tape is adjusted just above your eyebrows. Plus, it should cover the larger part of your head.

See the figures on the measuring tape and there you have the circumference of your head.

Once you get the official circumference, compare it with different-sized helmets available in the market. For instance;

Extra small Helmet: below 20″ (51cm) – For kids mostly

Small size: 20″–21.75″ (51cm–55cm) – For kids and teenagers

Medium size: 21.75″–23.25″ (55cm–59cm) – For big kids and teenagers

Large size: 23.25″–24.75″ (59cm–63cm) – For adults mostly

Extra-large size: above 24.75″ (63cm) – for adults and bikers with large heads.

One size fits all: Such helmets offer an ideal adjustable system to help bikers choose their helmet conveniently.

After you choose a helmet based on the right size type, now would be the time that you to learn how to adjust it on your head.

Some insights from our experts in this regard go as under:

Some Other Features to Look Out For in a Bike Helmet


The presence of additional air vents improves the airflow on the inside, thus keeping your head cool and away from extra sweat while you ride on a sunny day.


A visor protects the eyes and face from dust, direct sunlight, and rain. Many mountain bikers choose helmets with visors as they have to deal with harsh weather on tricky trails.

Full Face Protection

Most full-face helmets when compared to open-face helmets offer better protection since they are also equipped with full wraparound chin bar that could protect the face from unwanted injuries easily. Quite an important feature, especially if you want to take on harsh terrains on a rainy day

Compatibility with Mounts

Some bikers may want to record their life experiences while riding beautiful and adventurous terrains.

If you’ve got a GoPro, we’d suggest that you get a helmet with mount compatibility so that you can easily adjust it and record the action without any hassle.

Related: Top-Rated Helmets for Winter Riding

Helmet Protection and Its Impact

You are wearing a helmet not because you want to look cool or comfortable. You are wearing it because it’s meant to keep you safe when you get involved in a serious case.

In simple words, the primary objective of a helmet is to keep a biker away from a serious head injury.

To understand helmet protection, we first need to break it down into different components.

That is, a helmet is comprised of two basic parts, i.e.

An outer shell – Made up of plastic and it offers puncture resistance. The smooth texture given to the outer side helps in sliding with an impact, thus reducing the overall damage.

Inner Liner – The inner liner is padded with thick polystyrene foam to resist the extra impact and pressure on your head during a serious crash.

Keeping the overall structure in mind, it’s now proved that rotational forces can also cause severe head injuries while you ride on rough terrains.

Hence, different helmet brands have adopted multiple protection technologies to reduce the impact of these forces. The basic focus of the brands is to protect the helmet at all costs.

Depending upon what type of biking you are interested in, have a look at different protection technologies and choose your helmet accordingly


MIPS or multi-directional impact protection system is frequently found in many durable helmets. Such technology features a low-friction layer inside the liner that helps the foam rotate slightly to reduce the impact and redirect the rotational forces.

Helmets with MIPS technology are suitable for beginner mountain bike riders who are about to begin their biking journey on uneven trails.


WaveCel technology features a special honey-combed inner liner that focuses on forming a crumple zone. In doing so, helmets with this tech absorb impact force as well as the rotational impact energy to minimize the damage of the crash.

WaveCel is mostly found in Bontrager helmets and they are quite expensive. So, get them only if you are a professional biker and want peace of mind while riding an MTN bike.


The last advanced protection technology, i.e. (Shearing Pads Inside) or SPIN features silicone-injected pads that help in redirecting the rotational forces with ease.

Mostly found in expensive helmets, SPIN offers more protection and safety compared to other technologies


The improved protection technologies tested with the safety standards of CPSC, ATSM-International, and Snell Foundation, are proven to be effective against serious bike crashes.

Although the helmets with the above-mentioned technologies are expensive, they are an investment that you will not regret anytime soon.

Final Takeaways

Considering the role of the helmet in reducing head injuries, one needs to start taking it seriously.

First of all, make sure that the helmet adjusts and fits your head perfectly. Next, look out for different protection technologies.

Finally, you can have a go at some extra features including the presence of a mounting accessory, visor, or full-face protection.

Clean and maintain the inner liner of the helmet more often to avoid any hassle on the way.

Similarly, replace the helmet if it’s gone through a crash or if you have used it for five years.

Happy Cycling!

Photo of author
Written By Robert Gibbons
From riding to school since the age of 13, attending BMX races and events with his dad to himself conquering 50+ trails across the globe. For Rob, his Giant Stance 29 2 2020 is the friend that makes everything better. He is also a proud member of the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA).

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