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The big road bike helmet test


Road bike helmets in the test

Wearing a bicycle helmet is not compulsory in Germany, but it protects you from injuries in the event of a fall and can even save your life. In addition to their function as head protection, bicycle helmets now also offer a really stylish design. When buying a bicycle helmet, you should consider various criteria in order to make the right decision. In our buying guide, we show you what types of bicycle helmets there are and what you should look out for if you want to find the best bicycle helmet for you.

  1. What types of bicycle helmets are there?
  2. Bicycle helmets for different bicycle types
  3. Which helmets do the pros wear in cycling?
  4. These are the things you should look for when buying a bicycle helmet
  5. Road bike helmet test as a decision-making aid
  6. How much does a road bike helmet cost?
  7. What is MIPS?
  8. Where can I find the right helmet?


What types of bicycle helmets are there?

Basically, a distinction is made between softshell helmets, hardshell helmets and microheshell helmets. 

Softshell helmets only have a shell made of hard foam, also known as expanded polystyrene. The slim design makes them particularly light and inexpensive.

Hardshell helmets, as the name suggests, are made of hard plastic, more specifically acrylonitrile butadiene styrene. They offer more protection and are heavier than softshell helmets. Due to their robust material, such helmets are mainly used for mountain bikes, but also for motorbikes. In hardshell helmets, the outer shell is glued to the inner shell in separate work steps.

A microshell helmet is a mixture of a softshell and a hardshell helmet. In this type of bicycle helmet, the hard foam core is covered with plastic. The smooth surface also has holes for good ventilation. Sound familiar? The microshell helmet with vents is also the most common type of bicycle helmet. The weight is between a softshell helmet and a hardshell helmet. Microshell helmets are usually made of lightweight, thin polycarbonate.

With in-mold helmets, the outer shell of the helmet is molded from lightweight, thin polycarbonate together with the inner shell made from expanded polystyrene.

Bicycle helmets with padding offer a particularly high level of wearing comfort. In addition to models for women and men, there are also unisex models. One of the most popular manufacturers of bicycle helmets is the Alpina brand.




Bicycle helmets for different bicycle types

Not all helmets are the same: depending on the type of bicycle, a different bicycle helmet comes into question. A normal microshell helmet without extras is suitable for leisure time. If you want to be particularly safe in the dark, you can mount a light on your bicycle helmet.

When riding a mountain bike, you should protect yourself with a special bicycle helmet. Mountain bike helmets cover more parts of the head and face than a conventional bicycle helmet and usually have a chin guard and, in some models, a neck support. Half-shell helmets with ventilation openings are a compromise between safety and ventilation. For maximum safety, you can also opt for a mountain bike helmet with a visor, similar to a motorbike helmet. One manufacturer of such half-shell helmets with visors is Kask, for example.

For road cyclists, good aerodynamics are particularly important, which is why road bike helmets are tested for their aerodynamic properties. Especially in time trials, the helmet should not be an obstacle to good performance and high speed, but should have as little air resistance as possible. A road bike helmet therefore has significantly fewer ventilation holes than a normal bike helmet and a particularly smooth surface. The ventilation system is particularly well thought out to allow sufficient ventilation with low air resistance. The slightly tapered shape of a road bike helmet at the back of the head ensures that the airstream flows backwards, which improves aerodynamics. A low weight is also important for a road bike helmet.

So-called aero helmets are used for time trials. They are teardrop-shaped and run much longer and more pointedly at the back of the head than a classic road bike helmet, as this reduces even more air resistance. However, there are also time trial helmets without a tapered tail that offer low air resistance in any position of the head.

Mountain bike helmet:                    Road bike helmet:                                          Aeoro helmet: 



Which helmets do the pros wear in cycling?

Well-known manufacturers of road cycling helmets are Giro, Abus, Uvex, Casco, Bell, POC and Lazer. Models from these brands are also used in professional cycling. The most popular brands briefly presented:

Giro is a Californian manufacturer of sporting goods specializing in road bike helmets and ski helmets.

You probably know the versatile German company Abus: in addition to bicycle helmets, it also produces keys, locks and alarm systems, among other things.

Uvex is also a German company that manufactures safety products. In Germany, Uvex is the market leader for bicycle helmets.

Casco is also based in Germany and is one of the leading manufacturers of bicycle helmets and glasses.

Bell is a company from California that specializes in manufacturing helmets for mountain bikes and BMX as well as motorbike helmets.

The Swedish company POC is a leading manufacturer of helmets, goggles and accessories for cycling and winter sports.

Lazer is a Belgian company that produces various types of bicycle helmets and road bike helmets, time trial helmets and triathlon helmets, as well as helmets for gravel bikes or even city bikes.

The best road bike helmets include the Uvex i-vo, Uvex Boss Race, Giro Savant, Casco Speedairo, Abus Airbreaker and Abus Gamechanger. If you want to be on the same level as the pros in cycling, you should take a look at these brands and models and definitely go for a high-quality aero helmet when you're out on your road bike.




These are the things you should look for when buying a bicycle helmet

Head shape: In order for the bicycle helmet to offer the necessary protection, the helmet shell must be optimally adapted to the shape of your head. Otherwise the helmet will slip into your field of vision or distract you from the traffic when you try to adjust the slipped helmet. In addition, a helmet that fits crookedly or too loosely will no longer provide sufficient protection against a collision. To prevent this, your bicycle helmet should not be too big. But your helmet should not be too small either, otherwise you will get a headache and will not be able to concentrate on the traffic.

To choose the right bicycle helmet, measure your head circumference with a tape measure. To get the right result, place the tape measure just above your eyebrows. Select the size of the bicycle helmet according to the circumference of your head. If you are between two helmet sizes, you should choose the larger one. When you try on the bicycle helmet, you should also make sure that it is adjusted correctly for the best fit. With the adjustable chin strap, you can ensure that the bicycle helmet fits tightly. With an additional adjustable ring on the bicycle helmet, which sits at the back of the neck, you can adjust the helmet if necessary so that it fits perfectly and neither slips nor presses uncomfortably. If you wear glasses, either because of a visual impairment or as wind protection, you should also wear them when trying on the bicycle helmet. The straps should also not be too loose or too tight on your head.

Fitting tips: First put the bicycle helmet on your head without closing the straps and shake your head in different directions. Even without tight-fitting straps and closed chin straps, the strap should sit stably on your head.

Weight: If the bicycle helmet is too heavy, it will press on your head and strain your spine. Therefore, when trying on a helmet, make sure that it is light enough. A light weight is especially important for professional cycling in order to keep the total weight as low as possible. On the other hand, helmets that are too light lose their protective effect. A good compromise is a weight between 200 and 300 grams.

Design: When choosing a bicycle helmet, there are many different designs to choose from. A bicycle helmet in bright colors or equipped with reflectors or a light will make you particularly visible in traffic. If that doesn't suit you, you can of course opt for a helmet in subtle colors. If you like the design of your bicycle helmet, it will be even more fun to wear.

Test mark: Every bicycle helmet sold in Europe must bear the EN 1078 test mark. You will find the test number printed inside the helmet. When buying a bicycle helmet, you should also check whether it has a TÜV test mark and has been tested by TÜV for safety and quality.

Cyclists are particularly fast on an e-bike. However, apart from the European standard EN 1078, there is currently no standard adapted to the special requirements of e-bikes. The Netherlands, where people are known to enjoy cycling, has taken a pioneering role in this respect: There, there is the standard NTA 8776, which is specifically geared to S-pedelecs. Criteria for the award of the standard include field of vision, ventilation, damping and fastening systems. The NTA 8776 standard is to become the model for a new European standard. Manufacturers who support the work on a standard for e-bike helmets are, for example, Abus or Bell. If you are the owner of an e-bike, you can protect yourself particularly well at high speeds with helmets with the Dutch test mark.


Road bike helmet test as a decision-making aid

To help you decide on a model and brand, you can read test reports from Stiftung Warentest or other providers of road bike helmets. Criteria for choosing the test winner include weight, protection, wearing comfort and ventilation system. Lightweight road bike helmets that have been awarded "Very Good " in tests include:

  • Smith Sport Persist,
  • Giro Isode MIPS
  • Giro Aerohead MIPS
  • Specialized S-Works Prevail ll
  • Mavic Ksyrium Pro helmet
  • Abus Viantor
  • Bell Formula MIPS
  • Abus Gamechanger

*Source: https://www.testberichte.de/fahrradbekleidung/2599/fahrradhelme/rennradhelme.html


How much does a road bike helmet cost?

The prices for a bicycle helmet vary greatly. You can get an ordinary bicycle helmet for relaxed rides on a city bike for about 50 euros. The price range for a good road bike helmet with an aerodynamic design is between about 60 and 120 euros.

However, since it is your safety that is at stake here, you should not save money in the wrong place. The investment in a well-fitting, robust bicycle helmet is worthwhile in any case.

After a few years, you should replace your racing helmet with a new one, as the material is damaged by the weather over time: It becomes porous and its protective function is extremely impaired over time. Even if you have fallen off your bike, you should get a new helmet, as fine, barely visible cracks may have formed as a result of the fall. Always play it safe and regularly invest money in a high quality bicycle helmet. Accordingly, you should not sell your old bicycle helmet, but dispose of it. If you buy a new bicycle helmet, it should really be new and not used. Buying a helmet is the wrong time to save money.

What is a MIPS?

In bicycle accidents, strong rotational forces act from different directions. Depending on how one falls, the cyclist's head can hit the ground differently.

A novelty on the market are bicycle helmets with so-called MIPS (Multi-directional impact protection system). This is a yellow frame made of plastic in the helmet. In helmets with MIPS, this inner shell shifts by 10 to 15 millimeters in the event of an impact and thus brakes part of the rotational forces in the event of an oblique impact (multi-directional impact) to prevent serious head injuries. This device takes into account the fact that when you fall off your bike, you usually hit the ground with your head at an angle and not head-on. Conventional helmets, on the other hand, usually only absorb static impacts that do not involve a rotational movement. But it is precisely the influence of such rotational forces on the brain that is life-threatening. Most of the road bike helmets listed above that are rated "very good" are equipped with a MIPS. Not only bicycle helmets, but also motorbike helmets, ski helmets, riding helmets and other helmets are available with a MIPS.

If you want extra safety, this helmet is a good choice as long as it fits comfortably. Most MTB helmets and road bike helmets are equipped with a MIPS, but for all other types of bike it is also worthwhile to be equipped with this system. So far, unfortunately, a bicycle helmet cannot be retrofitted with a MIPS, which is why you should consider having a model with MIPS before buying a new bicycle helmet. However, bicycle helmets with a MIPS are significantly more expensive than models without, as the system is still relatively new. However, it is to be expected that MIPS will be standard equipment in bicycle helmets and other helmets in the future and will be correspondingly cheaper.




Where can I find the right helmet?

Since you should always try out a bicycle helmet before using it, it is easiest to go directly to a bicycle shop or sports shop. However, you have more choices online, for example on Amazon. If you measure your head circumference beforehand and find out what features your bike helmet should have, you can also make the right choice online. Whether it's an Uvex or Abus racing helmet or another brand: even if you order your bike helmet online, you should of course try it on.



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