What helmet do you wear on your commute?
I wear my mtn bike helmet, a Fox Flux in black/gray camo. It's just what's available, though I do have an Azonic skate-style helmet. I got it years ago when Jenson had a good deal on it. It's the helmet that has built in speakers :P I rarely wear it because it has a pretty big profile and wearing it makes me look like one of those characters in the Mario Brothers video games. Hey, gotta look cool while commuting. But just don't laugh at my fanny pack--wait, I mean "utility belt")--when I wear it!
LatelyI've been wanting to get a more commuter-specific helmet and thought a skate-style helmet was ideal. I remember seeing someone wearing such a helmet and thought it looked right for commuting, and the one I saw looked pretty cool too. I've been looking at the Fox Transition helmet. It has a low profile and is pretty light. Price Point recently had free shipping, so I picked a 2013 model in matte black (my color) for around $27 after tax. Funny thing was that when I last looked they had a gloss black ('11 or '12 model year) for about $25 and I was going to get it, but then I hesitated and asked why I needed it when I have the Azonic that could serve the same purpose. So I didn't buy it. But PP extended their free shipping and I had to look again. This time the Transition helmets were around $27 and the gloss black was gone. It wasn't much of a price jump, but I really didn't need another helmet so I let it go. Then PP sends another e-mail that free shipping is good for ONE MORE DAY--and they meant it . Okay, so I go back to the PP website and say I'm gonna get the 2011 green Transition helmet and maybe trade it for the gloss black Fox helmet I got for my nephew not too long ago. But when I go order I see that PP has their 2013 Transition helmet at $25 and they have it in a better color, matte black! Score!
Anyway, is there a good helmet style that is optimal for commuting?
General characteristics I look for for a winter helmet: I use a Fox Racing Flux in white.
Flat back of the helmet with some way to strap a light to - easier to aim the light if the back of the helmet is flat.
No netting on the front of the helmet - netting is there to stop bees. Bees are not a problem in winter. They are a problem when trying to mount lights though.
One of the following:
- Blockable vents AND a visor OR
- Enough space to wear a cap underneath OR
- 2 sets of pads, one thick, one thin, which allow me to wear a hat OR
- Few vents & a visor (e.g. Bern)
Bonus points for winter: easily adjustable chinstrap. Uvex had a ratchet system on one of their helmets that did this. You could wear a face mask, or pull it off, and your helmet strap tension could be easily adjusted while wearing gloves every time.
Summer helmet - desirable characteristics (I use a mid-range Bell helmet I bought on clearance)
Lots of venting
Lighter (I tend to ride further in summer, so not straining my neck is a good idea)
I typically prefer a visor to stop my face getting sunburned. But some people prefer hats (I find I get too hot with hats).
Removable, washable pads - it's gonna get nasty in there!
Most other stuff is optional. In summer we have so much daylight here you don't need a helmet with lights on it.
Not to hijack the thread but what is a good summer helmet?
Your problem set is different between winter and summer (at least the winters I'm used to are cold and wet... in other parts of the world this may be more snow, etc.). Summer is hotter, drier with lots of sun, and typically more bugs. So desirable characteristics are:
1) Something to keep your face from burning off (visor OR cap; the Velominati rules jokingly insist on no visors if you're on a road bike...). For people in tropical areas, monsoons are also an issue that visors or caps will help with. However, they also probably aren't lurking on a winter helmet thread...
2) Preferably lots of venting, to keep your head cool. Venting is a two way street though; you can get sunburned through the vents. I prefer more numerous, smaller, forward facing vents over larger vents in this case.
3) Removable pads. Always ask for extras. It's gonna get smelly otherwise. Hand wash; shampoo will also work very well to get them clean (it's also a top cleaning tip to get sweat out of business shirt collars). This basically removes the bottom end helmets from your list, but alternatively you could just buy new helmets when the old ones deteriorate. Depending on the helmet, it might be cheaper.
4) Optional extra, but I've had a bee fly in to my helmet before. Netting on the front of the helmet can be nice here.
Gage - Road and Race Cycling Helmet - - Bell Helmets
I have the old version of this for my current summer helmet.
uvex sports - Cycling - Cycling helmets - uvex supersonic - silver-blue
I used to use one of these for 2 years. Be sure to ask for additional pads, as they used a pad compound that deteriorates with sweat. The velcro that mounts the pads also comes off with sweat, but that can be fixed with superglue. Note the netting on the front; that stopped the bee attack...
Fox Flux Helmet - Fox Racing
Fox Racing Flux; I use my winter helmet in the summer as well! It has pretty wide vents. I generally have overheating issues even in winter, so I don't mind massively open vents in winter. I like this helmet for summer, but it's not my first choice.
Catlike Whisper Plus Helmet - Competitive Cyclist
I think this is a great design to stop getting sunburned through the vents. Forward facing vents that are going to prevent sunburn, but still give adequate ventilation. I've never used this helmet, but I have a friend with one and he says it's awesome.
My Fox Transition came in the other day. It's what I expected, but for soem reason it felt a bit heavier than the previous model year I got for my nephew. One reason I decided to go with a skate-style helmet was the lack of a visor. Riding at night I sometimes feel the visor on my Flux blocked my view when my head is down. Not really a big problem or even an issue, but it's nice to have a helmet that's just simple and plain like the Transition. It has 11 vents, but I haven't used it long enough to see how well they work. It's overall a nice helmet that offers pretty much the same protection as the Flux, as it also covers the back portion of your head.
Thanks, I couldn't for the life of me remember why my buddies don't like visors - that's why. That's a good reason not to buy helmets online, but instead from a local bike shop. Do what I do and wait until they have a sale .
Originally Posted by djork
I picked up a POC Trabec off Chainlove in the fall. Pluses: super-bright color is great for commuting and hunting season. Fit is very comfy, rear snugger easy to tighten with gloves. Good coverage.
Minuses: The nice soft chinstrap material slides easily in the under-ear guides, so you have to readjust the "Y" under the ears occasionally. The rear adjust is not as micro-adjusting as my Giro Xar, although its easier to do with gloves. Make sure your helmet light will fit as the holes are a bit different. I got some new velcro mini straps at the hardware store which actually work better than the originals. Plus or minus: I haven't used it in summer, by my impression is that it is a little warmer than the Xar.
It looks like this:
I wear a Bell Metro most of the time... it's got a strappy thingy on the back for a blinky taillight to clip onto, and it has really good coverage. I wear it as my main MTB helmet also.
I also have a Smith brand snowboard helmet that I wear when it gets down in the teens and below (F). It's got the ear warmer flappy things integrated... toasty.
I'm a big fan of Bell helmets ever since I crashed and broke one, but didn't break my head. I know any helmet will do that, but I'm loyal to Bell since one gave it's life for me
You have no excuse for driving to work
(unless you don't have studded tires)
(no excuse for that either)
Lazer O2 in the summer.
Lazer O2 with the aeroshell snapped on in the winter.
Pretty lightweight helmet that fits great and vents really well. In wet/cold weather I snap on the aeroshell and the front vents are blocked while the rears stay open to vent excess heat. Aeroshells come with the new models but I had to order mine separately for $10.
There's enough growth in the fit system to be able to squeeze a head/headband underneath and not get bulky. There are plenty of vents to run helmet light mounts through on the front. I dont use a rear helmet light so no worries for me.
It's also a really really quiet helmet which makes me think it's more aerodynamic, wearing my mtb lid (Giro Feature) on the road is so noisy that I cant hear other rides or cars coming up behind. Silent helmets really let me focus more on my surroundings, which in the city is a safety issue IMO.
EDIT: Only bummer is that with the aeroshell on, you cannot mount a light through the front vents. I've actually thought to pick up another aeroshell to mod for this purpose by cutting open a few slots to run straps through.
Last edited by GTscoob; 01-28-2013 at 08:36 AM.
Summer: Giro roadie lid
Winter: Fox full-face with taped top vents
I wear the same basic Specialized-branded helmet all the time. Commuting, mountain biking, road cycling, whatever. It's got relatively large vents - it's pretty much just a cheap road helmet that had a visor.
I usually wear a cap when I commute. Lately, I've been wearing a wool cap. In the summer, I may switch back to a cotton one.
On fun rides, I wear a cap, a sweat band, or nothing (under the helmet, that is) depending on the weather. Still the same helmet.
I have a fleece cycling cap that covers my ears that I wear when it gets really nasty.
"Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx