Categories
Buying Guide Protection Safety

Bike Helmets – How to Find Your Size

How to fit a cycle helmet

No matter what type of cyclist you are, whatever age, safety should be your top priority. The humble bicycle helmet is the one bit of safety gear that transcends all cycling disciplines and skill levels. For such a relatively simple thing it’s undoubtedly one of the most important and can quite literally be a lifesaver. Even with the best will in the world sometimes accidents happen, and when they do it’s crucial that you have the right helmet that fits correctly. Here’s are guide on how to get the perfect fit when choosing a helmet.

Measuring up

Before you start to look around for a new helmet we recommend you measure your head (or the head of the person you’re buying for). Almost all helmet manufacturers size their helmets based on the circumference of the wearers head. This measurement is taken from just above the eyebrows and around the back of the head at its largest point.

When it comes to taking the measurement you’re going to want to use a fabric or flexible tape measure. If you don’t have a flexible tape don’t worry. You can use something like a piece of string to mark the length then measure against a ruler or non flexible tape measure.

You want to have your measuring device about 2 inches above your eyebrows and around the widest part of your head to take your measurement.

Try a few out

When selecting your new helmet we recommend trying a few out. The one that you initially think looks good might not feel the most comfortable. Comfort is incredibly important, you’re going to be wearing your helmet everytime you ride so you want it to feel right. Some helmets may be the same size as others on the packaging or label but feel completely different when they’re on, so it may take some trial and error before you find the perfect fit for you.

If you can pop in to your nearest Hargroves Cycles then trying out a few options isn’t a problem. For our online customers we now offer free returns with helmet purchases so you can get the helmet that fits you best.

If you aren’t sure which brand to choose or which cycling helmet is best for your riding style, then check out our other Helmet Buyer’s Guides.

Adjustment

Most helmets will have a couple of points of adjustment to aid with comfort and more importantly to keep you safe. Once you have found the right helmet adjust the straps and rear adjuster until the helmet feels secure but isn’t too tight.

Make sure the the helmet covers the majority of your forehead. If you put your index and middle finger together and sit them above your eyebrow that should be where the helmet should sit.

Next, twist the adjuster at the back of the helmet if there is one. The helmet should feel comfortable and neither too tight or too loose.

Do the same with the chin strap. The chin strap should be comfortable on both your face and chin and shouldn’t cut or dig in anywhere – the helmet is too small or the strap is too tight if this happens. The V of the straps should also sit around your ears – if these are on top of your ears, then you’ll need to adjust the straps again or get the next size up.

Test the Fit

Once the helmet feels comfortable it is time to test the fit. Push the helmet forwards and backwards as well as side to side. If the helmet can move in any direction more than about an inch, it needs to be adjusted again or it could be too large. The helmet should be able to move a bit, if it doesn’t move at all it’s probably too tight. If everything seems ok then you should be good to go. We do recommend checking the adjustment of your helmet regularly to make sure things haven’t loosened overtime. 

If your helmet gets damaged or is involved in an accident you should always replace it as the safety of a helmet can be compromised by any damage it has sustained. 

Categories
Bikes Buying Guide Protection Safety

MTB Helmets 101: What’s the differences and why you should care

We all know that a helmet is one of the most crucial bits of kit to remember for any ride. If you have been involved in an incident that meant your lid was used for its intended purpose, at whatever level of collision, you will know all too well the importance of this often lifesaving bit of kit.

It is widely regarded that a helmet – without a collision – should be replaced every five years, as the spongy protective EPS layer gradually loses its volume. At Hargroves Cycles, we stock a large number of helmets, but what is the difference between them? And why should you care about wearing the right helmet for the right discipline?

Mountain biking, in particular, is a broad church. There’s a huge gulf in requirements between easy trail riding and breakneck DH racing, and as such there are a wealth of helmet options than sometimes be a little bit bewildering. First, let’s look at the technology underpinning MTB helmets.

MTB helmet tech explained – MIPS

MIPS is the industry leader in helmet technology. They’re not a manufacturer of helmets, so much as a third-party technology supplier used by other brands to make their products safer. Like how The North Face and Berghaus use Gore Tex in their waterproof jackets.

MIPS stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection System and it pretty much does what it says on the tin. The way we crash on bicycles is not a simple case of linear impacts, we crash in all sorts of unpredictable ways and thus, the impacts to our noggins can come in at all sorts of angles. MIPS helmets reflect that and protect you from it in a way that older helmets that just use foam do not.

Having MIPS in a helmet often adds a little bit to the price tag, with some major brands releasing their top-end lids in a ‘with MIPS’ and regular version. Look out for MIPS’ bright yellow branding if you’re ever unsure as to whether a helmet is equipped with this brain-saving tech.

ANGI

From an industry-wide technology to one pioneered exclusively by a single brand, ANGI is Specialized’s way of measuring the linear and rotational forces that typically occur during a bicycle crash. Big S is putting ANGI (Angular and G-Force indicator) into its top-end bike helmets as a sort of extra safety system. The sensors communicate with an app on your phone and, should the worst happen and you end up eating some dirt, the app will notify your emergency contacts that you’ve taken a tumble. The benefits of this when you’re out riding solo away from civilisation are obvious. For more, visit this FAQ on Specialized’s site.

Another emerging safety tech is the rise of better helmets with detachable chin bars. The first full-face helmets were pretty uncomfortable to ride for any length of time at any level of intensity because they didn’t really breathe well and ended up feeling like riding with a swampy bucket on your head. Many riders opted to have two different helmets, only wearing the full-face when they absolutely had to – and for only short periods of time – and favouring their open-face option for any sort of all-mountain riding.

A detachable chin bar eliminates some of that rigidity by allowing you to switch your full-face lid to an open-face one when you don’t need that maximum level of protection. It adds massive versatility to helmets offering full-face protection, without compromise on the safety aspects.

The MET Parachute MCR is a perfect example of this growing sector.

Best helmets for MTB

So which are the best MTB helmets for different disciplines?

For enduro, we’d recommend the aforementioned MET Parachute. It sits at the top of the category with its magnetic chin bar removal system, MIPS protection and – like all MET helmets, it’s beautifully styled with that Italian flair for design.

Looking to save some cash but still get maximum protection? Look no further than the Giro Switchblade. It’s also packing MIPS protection and comes with 20 vents around the helmet body to keep you cool. The chin bar is removable.

Looking to explore some trails without the competitive element or extreme speeds of enduro? We love the Specialized Ambush for trail riding and all-mountain exploration. It comes with the ANGI technology discussed above as well as a really clever integrated fit system.

Similar in performance and protection offered is the MET Roam, winner of a 2018 Design & Innovation award. The Italian brand describes it as an all-mountain helmet and it really is versatile – we’ve seen it used in everything from trail-riding to gravel racing.

Looking for the thrill that only comes from pelting full-tilt downhill? You’ll be wanting a proper full-face helmet to do that, and you could do much worse than the category-leading Specialized Dissident. Present in the range for almost a decade, the Dissident has had a lot of facelifts in its time, but has preserved that essential commitment to being “the lightest, most-ventilated and technically advanced carbon fibre full-face mountain bike helmet out there.” 

Now that you know everything there is to know about the types of MTB helmet we stock, why not come down to one of our shops and try one for size? Our friendly staff will help you find the right style, size, make and design for the type of cycling you do.