The helmet is a necessary — and life-saving — part of your cycling uniform that doesn’t get the respect it deserves. That’s partly because helmets aren’t that flattering — and to make matters worse, your helmet is often the first thing people see. I say: Embrace it. Let your helmet exude your personality and bike panache.
On a recent bike trip, I faced a dilemma while packing: “What helmet should I bring?” Much like getting dressed to go out on a Friday night, details matter. I’m not sure if other cyclists have multiple helmets to match their mood, but I do.
The first rule of helmets is that they should protect your head during a crash. You’ll also want to consider that the hallmark of an excellent helmet is that it has more vents for circulation, is lightweight but durable, and that the straps are comfortable. After your helmet passes that test, then it’s about the look. Here’s a not-so-scientific breakdown of helmets by personality.
A fashion-forward helmet with top-notch safety features, Belgian manufacturer Lazer provides a light, ventilated lid with a retention system that ensures a snug fit. The helmet’s weight — or lack of weight — is the main highlight. Sitting just above the eyebrow, providing a sleek, nonmushroom appearance, it’s my first choice.
Italian manufacturer Kask pays special attention to the details with the Mojito. The plush padding caresses your head, ensuring a snug fit. The helmet sits low on the brow with a central wheel (or knob) to adjust the fit. Available in multiple colors, including high-visibility colors.
Aeon is a top-of-the-line helmet sans the top-of-the-line price tag. Plenty of vents keep you cool, plus it’s lightweight — their proprietary fit system has a micro-adjustable dial that’s easy to manage your fit and tension.
This helmet is currently on trend. It’s not for the 100-mile ride, primarily due to the lack of vents, but it’s got that daredevil, snowboarder appeal. In truth, I wear my Nutcase helmet in the winter, when I kinda want to keep the wind out and my head warm. Who needs ventilation when it’s cold outside? With a new focus on safety, Nutcase helmets will have you looking good as you pedal.
Suomy is a new entrant in the helmet market. Their designs and colors will stand out in any peloton. As a new brand, their scarcity is part of the appeal. Cyclo-cross world champion Wout van Aert and a major world cycling team currently wear these helmets, which offer way more ventilation than you’d think.
This futuristic helmet out of Sweden (not yet available in the U.S.) works like an airbag — the helmet is housed in a collar with sensors that deploy it in less than a second to protect you in the event of a crash.
Style aside, there’s little dispute that helmets save lives. Be bold and show some flair with your helmet of choice.