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  1. #1
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    MTB Helmets Vs. Road (Atmos, Pneumo, etc)

    Hi. I'm looking for a new helmet and am curious how many of you ride with so called "road" helmets. It seems the main difference I can tell is the visor - is there more protection or any other advantage to a MTB helmet? The reason I ask is that I just got a Bell X-Ray from Nashbar and it does not fit me well at all. Made the mistake of trying on a Giro Atmos today and it felt AMAZING. I also tried on the Giro Animas which was decent but no comparison in comfort or weight to the Atmos. I'm also interested in the Pneumo or E2, neither of which my LBS carry. No offense to the Bell guys (I've been one for years) but the new X-Ray jusy doesn't feel good to me. So, is a road helmet a bad idea?

  2. #2
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    I have an Animas and my friend has an E2. FWIW, I don't think the retention system is any different between the two. I tried both on when I bought mine, and they felt the same. Only difference seemed to be that the E2 had a fancier paint job and a painted visor (rather then just a molded black one).

  3. #3
    Reviewer/Tester
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    I'm currently using a Met 5th Element which is really cool. Very good ventilation both on and off road. I tried several other brands like Giro, Bell, etc.. but the Met was just right for me.

    I would have no hesitation in wearing a 'road' helmet for off road or vice-versa.

    Just find one that is light and fits you well.

    R.
    It is inevitable ...

  4. #4
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    I wear a Limar "road" helmet and can't think of any reason not to.

    Ron

  5. #5
    Nouveau Retrogrouch SuperModerator
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    The best helmet is the one that fit your head.

    Personally I do not care for most "road" helmets or even most current XC helmets because they are cut too high on the sides and back reducing the protection. Most are cut so high the head clamp devises are required to keep them in place on your head!

    My favorite helmet is the Giro Semi. Great coverage. Fits me perfectly. Reasonable weight. Stays in place. Cheap.

    On the road I do use a Bell XRay. Also fits my head fairly well.
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  6. #6
    Reformed car junkie
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    I asked the same question a few months ago.
    What I gathered was that impact wise they are both going to protect your brain bucket the same, for one hit. Also, road helmets have smaller size, but larger quanity of vents, due to the typically higher sustained speeds on the road. Mt. hemets have larger size but less number of vents so air can get in a low speeds. But in all honesty they probably get about the same air flow either way( to those potental flamers I said PROBABLY)

    So, bottom line, get what feels best. Good luck, Bell fits me great, giro hurts like hell.

  7. #7
    Don't touch me!
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    I have an Atmos and use it on the trails. The fit is awesome, way better for me than my now retired Bell Rubicon. Needless to say, lack of airflow is no longer a problem.
    [SIZE=3]No offense to KB, but if I see another "Strong, light, cheap. Pick two" line on this site...

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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy
    The best helmet is the one that fit your head.

    Personally I do not care for most "road" helmets or even most current XC helmets because they are cut too high on the sides and back reducing the protection. Most are cut so high the head clamp devises are required to keep them in place on your head!

    My favorite helmet is the Giro Semi. Great coverage. Fits me perfectly. Reasonable weight. Stays in place. Cheap.

    On the road I do use a Bell XRay. Also fits my head fairly well.
    I'll second the Semi. Only problem is in warm weather you sweat like a stuck pig. The Xen gives pretty good coverage while having better ventilation than the Semi.
    "Without the ability to make moral distinctions based on motive, consequences, the ethical constructs of various parties, everything is equal, and you end up with people like Woody Allen: a tiny speck of compacted narcissism, revolving around the dead sun in an empty universe." - James Lileks

  9. #9
    Nouveau Retrogrouch SuperModerator
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tarpon
    I'll second the Semi. Only problem is in warm weather you sweat like a stuck pig. The Xen gives pretty good coverage while having better ventilation than the Semi.
    I used both the Semi and the XRay in a solo 12 hour last year. The XRay was hotter on the main climb because it let the sun shine on my head through the vents. Hit around 85 degrees that day.

    I sweat about the same helmet or no helmet.

    The Xen does not fit me at all and has no better coverage than the XRay.
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  10. #10
    eBiker
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    Quote Originally Posted by igere
    is there more protection or any other advantage to a MTB helmet?
    I recently had to buy a new helmet after cracking mine.

    The LBS told me that the road helmets are built up more on the sides for side impact protection, and the MTB helmet has more front and back for endos and the like.

    I got an Animas and had a Bell something with giant vents. The Bell has a huge advantage in that when I cracked it the first time, I sent it to Bell, with a description of the crash & $25 and a week later they had sent me a new one. One time crash replacement.

    BTW, the first time I cracked my Bell helmet was on the road and it happened on the side. The second time was MTBing and it was on the front. So maybe the LBS has a good point.

    Mr. P

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by igere
    Hi. I'm looking for a new helmet and am curious how many of you ride with so called "road" helmets. It seems the main difference I can tell is the visor - is there more protection or any other advantage to a MTB helmet? The reason I ask is that I just got a Bell X-Ray from Nashbar and it does not fit me well at all. Made the mistake of trying on a Giro Atmos today and it felt AMAZING. I also tried on the Giro Animas which was decent but no comparison in comfort or weight to the Atmos. I'm also interested in the Pneumo or E2, neither of which my LBS carry. No offense to the Bell guys (I've been one for years) but the new X-Ray jusy doesn't feel good to me. So, is a road helmet a bad idea?
    I used to take the visor off of my old high-end Bell for road rides. I left the visor on my new helmet last night 'cause I would be returning into the sun, and it was not like my cycle computer registered a slow ride due the extra drag it caused. So far the only thing I've notived about a few less vents is that I saved a lot of money.

    FWIW: I have found a light color to do more for keeping cool than lots of vents.

  12. #12
    XCdude
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    I would say that about 50% of racers ride with road

    helmets, including myself, son, wife and about 90% of our team. Why is this I believe it has to do with the look of mtb helmets, they look geeky Anyway get the helmet that fits you better, also cooling is very important. My next one is probably going to be the bell ghisallo or what ever is called.

  13. #13
    Cubicle Fugitive
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    I had been riding both road and off-road with a Pneumo. I bought a Xen for the better coverage (which it does have), but my head is so much hotter under it that I rarely pick it over the Pneumo. Maybe when winter comes around again.

  14. #14
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    Pneumo here...

    Quote Originally Posted by igere
    Hi. I'm looking for a new helmet and am curious how many of you ride with so called "road" helmets. It seems the main difference I can tell is the visor - is there more protection or any other advantage to a MTB helmet? The reason I ask is that I just got a Bell X-Ray from Nashbar and it does not fit me well at all. Made the mistake of trying on a Giro Atmos today and it felt AMAZING. I also tried on the Giro Animas which was decent but no comparison in comfort or weight to the Atmos. I'm also interested in the Pneumo or E2, neither of which my LBS carry. No offense to the Bell guys (I've been one for years) but the new X-Ray jusy doesn't feel good to me. So, is a road helmet a bad idea?
    As Shiggy said, the best helmet for you is the one that fits you the best. I had an E2 (when they were road helmets) and when that one cracked due to a design flaw, I went to the Xen and thought it sucked. It was heavy, hot and the front of the helment came down too far (for me) and seemed to always be in my periferal (sp?) vision.

    So I bought a Pneumo and I like it a lot. Lighter weight, cooler and it's out of my vision.

    I don't buy the marketing spin about mountain bikers needing extra protection on the back of their head. I suppose there are some wrecks from people flipping over backwards, but all the wrecks I've had (and that's a lot) as well as all the wrecks I've witnessed and all the wrecked helmets I've seen have all been damaged in the front or the side, not the back.

    Except one: A road wreck on a touring type ride where the rider's camelback strap snagged a tree and pulled him off his bike. And his road helemt protected him due to the pointy part sticking out more than anything else.

    Ken

  15. #15
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    Thanks for the great input - I'm going to try on a few more models this weekend and see if I can find something that feels as good and cost a whole lot less than the Atmos - maybe the pneumo.

  16. #16
    Don't touch me!
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    Well, you can get a Atmos for $112 w/20% off coupon from Supergo, not including shipping. Coupon code is 222556.
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