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  1. #1
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    Helmet advice for new riders

    My son and I are just now starting MTB.
    The helmets we got seem pretty basic. One is Cannondale and the other is bell. They don't look like the typical swooped bicycle helmet. More rounded and few hole vents like a skate helmet. Will these work ok or do we need something designed for MTB?

  2. #2
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    skate helmets offer more protection than road helmets for the rear of your head if you fall. They are hotter. With that said, I survived my first summer of riding in texas heat with a walmart skate/bmx looking helmet.


    When you want to upgrade, make sure you test fit before buying anything. There are often steals on craigslist when someone has bought an ill fitting helmet and only worn it once. We have bout many 150 dollar helmets for 15-35 bucks. People buy on line and don't realize how much different each helmet brand fits.

  3. #3
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    Regardless of helmet type, proper fit is key.

    I see a lot of kids (given they grow) with improperly-fitted helmets. (Actually, I see a lot of kids on the street with no helmets at all.) In particular I see the helmet way too far back, exposing the forehead. It has to be almost in line with the eyebrows.

    It's worth a check of your son's existing helmet.

  4. #4
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    any helmet that is not a decade old, fits snug on your head, and has not been crashed will do it's job in a crash. I feel that my brain would boil inside a skate helmet like that where I live, but they should be fine in cooler climates.
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  5. #5
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    Figured I would throw my 2 cents or rather yen in here. I recently bought my first helmet after a life time of skating, and biking. I use it for skating and biking. It is a 661 skate style helmet, and it has really good ventilation imho. My head does get hot when I am just wearing it and not moving, but as soon as I am at decent speed there is a wonderful full current of cool air on my head. My son has a nutcase (lil nutty) and it is very similar. He doesn't get up to speed on his bike or skating as he is only 3, but his head doesn't seem too get overly hot. We are entering the very hot humid Tokyo summer, and he has so much hair people think he is a girl, so this is saying something.

  6. #6
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    Keep color in mind. Very often my white skate style helmet seems cooler than colored helmets with more holes.

    Know MIPS helmets are not so expensive anymore. Trek stores have a MIPS Bontrager that is not too expensive and also available in a very large size which is not always the case for some models.
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  7. #7
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    I would be surprised if color had much effect on heat since there is 1" of foam insulation between the surface and your head. The insulation both keeps heat out and traps it in if it has nowhere to go, at some point I would think there is a temperature where wearing a skate helmet is cooler than a road bike helmet since the heat generated by your head is less than the ambient temperature outside.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by idividebyzero View Post
    I would be surprised if color had much effect on heat since there is 1" of foam insulation between the surface and your head. The insulation both keeps heat out and traps it in if it has nowhere to go, at some point I would think there is a temperature where wearing a skate helmet is cooler than a road bike helmet since the heat generated by your head is less than the ambient temperature outside.
    That comment got the pc and drone builder in me thinking.. has anyone tried mounting some little 40mm pc cooling fans on or in the holes in their helmets? They have such a low amp draw that a very small 2s or 3s lipo running a wire from a region of the body that is very unlikely to take an impact (wouldn't want a lipo fire on your body) would be able to power even 3 or 4 fans for hours. Would be very nice for stuck in traffic riders. I imagine there has to be an expensive pre-made version out there. I seem to recall seeing air conditioned motorcycle helmets back in the 90's, but surely a low tech method could be adapted. Likely ugly as F unless you can fit them inside with some foam pieces keeping them a centimeter or so from the top of your skull--- beware of hair.

    Just a mad scientist thought perhaps.

  9. #9
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    Little bits of sheet metal and metal pins might not be the best idea on something that is designed to protect your head in an impact by crushing. Scott makes active ventilated goggles, helmet is entirely possible. Auto racing has active ventilated helmets, but thats via hose, the fan unit is remotely mounted elsewhere.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by gooey1 View Post
    That comment got the pc and drone builder in me thinking.. has anyone tried mounting some little 40mm pc cooling fans on or in the holes in their helmets? They have such a low amp draw that a very small 2s or 3s lipo running a wire from a region of the body that is very unlikely to take an impact (wouldn't want a lipo fire on your body) would be able to power even 3 or 4 fans for hours. Would be very nice for stuck in traffic riders. I imagine there has to be an expensive pre-made version out there. I seem to recall seeing air conditioned motorcycle helmets back in the 90's, but surely a low tech method could be adapted. Likely ugly as F unless you can fit them inside with some foam pieces keeping them a centimeter or so from the top of your skull--- beware of hair.

    Just a mad scientist thought perhaps.
    I've seen 6s lipos burn, and while you're recommending far lower capacity, it's still scary. The hair thing is also cringy WRT fans.

    All that aside, I think we're OT on the original question. I think we agree that any certified, well-fitted and post WW2 helmet is a good idea.

  11. #11
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    you could watercool your head by running a tube from your hydration pack up through the airflow grooves and then back down to the mouth piece so when you drink you get the water cycling

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Studlee123 View Post
    My son and I are just now starting MTB.
    The helmets we got seem pretty basic. One is Cannondale and the other is bell. They don't look like the typical swooped bicycle helmet. More rounded and few hole vents like a skate helmet. Will these work ok or do we need something designed for MTB?
    Pretty much all helmets you buy in stores are CPSC approved...and should have some kind of sticker inside the helmet. They'll be fine for riding a bike.

    The pricier helmets gets...the lighter and have more vents they have. They typically fit better too. Some brands will for your head better than others. For me...Kali helmets work real well with my melon.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by bitflogger View Post
    Keep color in mind. Very often my white skate style helmet seems cooler than colored helmets with more holes.
    There is no way there is any significant difference in helmet colors and heat transfer from the exterior surface of a bike helmet to your head.

    There's either a large air gap or Styrofoam "insulation" between your head and the shell. All of which has air blowing across/through.

    Sorry, but it's not happening.

  14. #14
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    If your on a budget and are looking for a more modern (well ventented, more coverage at the back of the head and visor etc) style lid, Google Kali helmets

  15. #15
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    Much of that is vent design, but regardless of airflow, black will be hotter. I know from experience.

    That's why I have a matt blue (which could use more venting) and bright orange helmet now. Road helmet is silver and white. Not everyone gets to ride at higher speeds to keep decent air moving. At low speeds or stopped in the sun dark colors get hot fast. Any light air flow is basically blowing hot air on your head.

    At speed it doesn't matter much anymore.

    My helmet selection is difficult, pretty much stuck between bell and bontrager (damn round head lol). I did find fly racing works too but I have to remove the pads that go from just behind my temples to behind my ears. Fits perfect then. Other helmets I tried I had to go the biggest size they make and shave some foam off those areas otherwise in was miserable.

    So yes fit can be crucially important if you don't have a "standard sized" head.

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  16. #16
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    I ride in Africa (which tends to be rather warm most of the time) with a mainly black lid. No noticeable heat issues.

  17. #17
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    I dont expext anyone to have "heat issues" just i noticed a black helmet i seem to run a bit hotter in the helmet when im grueling along.

    Maybe its something some take notice and others dont. But again venting design makes a world of difference.

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
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  18. #18
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    My Bontrager Rally took a hit, actually I destroyed it, All helmets are one time use throw aways, mine had a bad dent, was 25 months old, Cost $130, no biggie, It did It's job.

    My replacement Is the Bonty Rally with Mips, Upgrading your most critical safety gear is a no brainer, This one cost me $150.
    Being a vegetable on a feeding tube is not my thing.....

    Buy a GOOD helmet !
    and I replace mine with no Impacts at three year Intervals max.....
    But that's just me as I cannot afford a head Injury.
    But go on and wear your helmet four or five or ten years If you like,,It's your brain to use as you see fit,,,or not use ~:P
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Osco View Post

    Buy a GOOD helmet !
    and I replace mine with no Impacts at three year Intervals max.....
    But that's just me as I cannot afford a head Injury.
    But go on and wear your helmet four or five or ten years If you like,,It's your brain to use as you see fit,,,or not use ~:P
    I agree with the sentiment. To a point.
    You have a standard in the US (CPSC, it used to be ANSI and Snell). Most, if not all helmets sold by major retailers have to meet it, including Walmart etc.

    Bicycle Helmet Standards: Summary

    You don't have to spend $150 to get good protection. A$50 Bell Stoker will basically provide as much protection as a top of the line model.

    Sure they may look like crap, maybe don't fit as well, don't have GoPro mounts or goggle clips, multi adjustable visors etc. At the end of the day it's basically a polystyrene bowl. Some styles might provide move protection, such as the Moto type shape which provides better coverage than an older roadie style.

    Arguably some cheaper helmets probably provide better protection. They have less vents, the shell is thicker compared to a weight weenie team edition model.

    Even the benefit of MIPS is not a given. It might provide some additional in a narrow range of fall conditions.

    As long as it meets the standard, I would focus on comfort, so it's not a burden to wear. Similarly if your trying to get juniors to wear, get them something they think is cool. A Matt black skate helmet might get used more than a multivented/ colored limited edition Troy Lee.

  20. #20
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    you don't need an expensive helmet, just wear ones that's comfortable. 99% $$ helmets shave weight and add venting (not add safety). POC are the only premium helmets that actually spend money on RND to make their helmets safer (youtube it); their design is fundamentally different than 99% of hte other helmets.

    skate helmets don't vent as well, if you start riding harder and hotter, you'll wanna replace them.

    personally, i have 8 costco $25-30 helmets. i always keep a spare with my riding duffel as people forget them.

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