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Whether it’s on or off-road, commuting or out on an adventure, racing or on a long social ride, a good bike helmet should be the number one piece of kit for any ride, even though it isn’t actually a legal requirement in the UK.

We all hope that they will never be called upon but the reality is our roads are busier than ever and with the increase in people taking to two wheels, especially for recreational purposes, then it makes sense to invest in a bike helmet.

If you’re new to the cycling scene or not purchased a bike helmet in a while then you might be slightly confused by all the options available. From road and mountain bike helmets to aero race ones and children’s models, all bike helmets have one thing in common though and that’s to help protect you.

To help you find the right bike helmet we’ve putting together some common Q&A to guide you along.


Do I have to wear a bike helmet?


The short answer to this is No, as it’s not actually a legal requirement to wear one in the UK although most responsible event and race organisers will insist on you wearing one for their events. Cyclists love a good debate and this is a hot topic that’s always guaranteed to raise opinions from both camps. Ultimately, we’re firm believers that if a bike helmet helps bring added protection and makes you feel safer on your bike then we’re all for it but we respect both sides of the argument and making safer cycling in general should be encouraged.


How do I know if my helmet fits?

Everyone has a different sized and shaped head so we would always advise where possible to physically try on several models and compare them. Shapes, sizes, weigh and ventilation also vary between cycle brands so what fits perfectly on one type may sit uncomfortably with a different model.

A quick step guide to check would be to place a finger between the helmet and your forehead as there shouldn’t be any more space than the width of your finger tip. If there’s too much space then the helmet is too large and if the helmet doesn’t come down to your scalp or rubs then it’s too small.

When it comes to the helmet strap then this needs to be tightened until the strap is snug and no more than one or two fingers fit underneath it. The straps should also form a snug “V” shape under your earlobes. While sitting snug, the straps are still meant to remain comfortable and if they dig in or rub this is a sign the helmet may not be the correct size for you. Don’t forget to also buckle up as you’d be surprised how often this is forgotten when in a rush!

Many bike helmets also now come with a dial or “Boa” fit system on the back of the helmet so you create a bespoke fit that sits comfortably and snug on your head.


How much should I pay for a bike helmet?

This entirely depends on what you plan to be using the helmet for as all the helmets we stock are approved under the European EN1078 standard. We stock bike helmets from as little as £30 but if you are someone who is serious about their racing and looking for something more aerodynamic and technologically advanced, with lighter materials, then except to pay more. Think of it as a long-term investment that hopefully won’t need replacing each season unless you are involved in an accident and the helmet is damaged.


What type of bike helmets are there?

We appreciate it’s easy to be confused by the array of bike helmets available on the market but unless you’re really serious about your riding or a pro then you can often get by with one that will cover you for everyday riding and even some events.

Road Bike Helmets

From daily commutes to weekend warrior rides and almost everything in between, a good and well fitted road bike helmet can be clipped on for a great variety of rides. They don’t have to break the bank and can be used for racing too but it’s worth spending some time to find the model that suits your riding best. For example if you’re planning lots of summer adventures then you’ll probably want something with plenty of ventilation while if it’s going to get a lot of race action then you’ll want it feeling lightweight on your head.

Mountain Bike Helmets

If you’re hitting the trails and into your adventure bike riding then it’s highly likely you’re going to hit the deck at some point due to the nature of the terrain compared to road cycling. Don’t be put off by this though as mountain bike helmets often come with added protection and less ventilation so will feeling heavier than their road counterparts. You’ll also feel more padding internally but this can vary between brands so as with all helmets we highly recommend trying before you buy instore with us. 

Triathlon / Aero Bike Helmets

Other than their bike, the giveaway sign that someone is a triathlete or cycling time trialist is often their bike helmet. Characterised as being aerodynamic and minimalist in design, and often resembling something rather futuristic, these are for people who are serious about going fast and looking to make gains on their bike times. By no means an essential for the amateur triathlete, if you’re serious about aero benefits then consider these a long-term investment although they do take getting used to as often lack the ventilation of a traditional road bike helmet. Specialist features can include magnetic visors to keep pesky flies out your eyes when racing at warp speed.

Aero Road Helmet

Increasingly popular and a great compromise if you’re looking to upgrade your standard road helmet but don’t want to go all out on an aero helmet that will get limited use. Generally slightly heavier and less ventilated than normal road helmets, they offer a smooth frontal area to help with air flow.

Kids Bike Helmets

Providing a child with a helmet will not only help their confidence on two wheels but also give an improved peace of mind should they fall off or be involved in an accident. For youngsters not quite confident to ride solo then they should also be fitted with a kids helmet when riding with an adult.

A standard has been designed for younger children's helmets, known as EN1080. The difference between this and the EN1078 standard is that the chin strap is attached differently to a EN1080 helmet and designed to snap off during a collision to prevent the child from choking or being stnagled if the helmet snags.


How do I know my helmet size?

All you need is a flexible tape measure for this and to find your head circumference simply measure around the largest portion of your head, which is about an inch above your eyebrows. If you’ve not got a tape measure then just use a piece of string, make a mark and then measure this on a flat surface. Here’s a rough guide to sizing but please check between brands for exact sizing.

·       Extra-small: below 20" (51cm)

·       Small: 20"–21.75" (51cm–55cm)

·       Medium: 21.75"–23.25" (55cm–59cm)

·       Large: 23.25"–24.75" (59cm–63cm)

·       Extra-large: above 24.75 (63cm)


What safety marks should I look for when buying a new bike helmet?

The British Standards Institution (BSI) adopted Europe's General Product Safety Regulations (GPSR) IN 2005. The GPSR standards for bike helmets in EN1078 and the BSI standard is BS EN1078.

BS EN1078 is the most common standard for helmets in the UK and is typically advertised somewhere on the packaging, or inside the helmet itself, and is identifiable by one or both of these symbols:


A related standard, BS EN1080, was created in 2013 for helmets worn by young children. This is a modified version of BS EN1078 that integrates testing for a quick-release system, due to the risk of strangulation caused by fastneing clips and mechanisms.

Read more about bike helmet safety standards here.


When should I replace my bike helmet?

If you’ve been involved in a bike accident, no matter how big or small, and your helmet has been damaged then we would always recommend investing in a new one. Not all damage is visible and often there might be a hairline fracture that’s almost impossible to detect but would compromise the overall structure and protection of your helmet. Do not use the damaged helmet again but be safe in the knowledge that it served its purpose.

We would generally suggest you consider changing your bike helmet between every 3 to 5 years but this depends on use and handling.


Can I wear anything beneath my helmet?

While we certainly wouldn’t recommend wearing a baseball cap or beanie underneath your helmet, during the winter months you’ll often see cyclists protecting their head from the cold with a skull cap which has been specifically designed to not interfere with your helmet protection. It can depend on how much ventilation your helmet offers as while ones with plenty of this are great in the summer season, you’re head will really feel the winter conditions.


What is MIPS?

MIPS stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection System and is found in an increasing number of bike helmets. The idea behind this is that this safety system is intended to help reduce rotational force to the head, often the result of an angled impact to the head. Find out more about MIPS.


If you have any specific questions about bike helmets then please get in touch or pop into our store and check out our range of helmets which you can try on.