Helmet Color question? Do dark colors attrack more heat?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Helmet Color question? Do dark colors attrack more heat?

    I need to get a new helmet and was wondering if black or for that matter dark colored helmets attract more heat? I ride is very hot conditions and do not want to do anything that makes it hotter then it is allready.

  2. #2
    The Weatherman
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    Dark colors absorb more of the visible light spectrum than lighter colors. Visible light is then transferred into infrared radiation (heat.)

    So yes, a darker color helmet will become hotter than a lighter one.

    Pawn

  3. #3
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    It hasn't got a peak and costs a fortune but a Giro Atmos is probably about the coolest helmet you can get at the moment.

    You can get it in bright silver as well which might be a suitable colour for hot conditions?

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    Is a dark colored helmet hotter? For all practical purposes I'd say no. The shell of the helmet would get slightly hotter from sunlight, but the lighter colored foam padding effectively insulates your head from any heat absorbed by the thin shell. The foam acts as insulation for your head, which also keeps your body heat from escaping. So in my opinion the number of vents is more critical in keeping your head cool than the color. Your body is putting out way more heat than a dark helmet shell could ever absorb.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by CheeseHead
    Is a dark colored helmet hotter? For all practical purposes I'd say no. The shell of the helmet would get slightly hotter from sunlight, but the lighter colored foam padding effectively insulates your head from any heat absorbed by the thin shell. The foam acts as insulation for your head, which also keeps your body heat from escaping. So in my opinion the number of vents is more critical in keeping your head cool than the color. Your body is putting out way more heat than a dark helmet shell could ever absorb.
    I also believe the foam insulates the head from any color that may absorb heat.

    Dark colors are more of factor in jersey choices.
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  6. #6
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    No. And more/bigger vents do not necessarily make a helmet cooler either. Last weekend I rode a solo 12hr race (50-85°) and switched between a black Giro Semi (very small vents, more head coverage) and a Bell white Xray (big vents).

    The Giro was cooler. On the climbs there was little air movement so no air was flowing through either helmet but with the Xray the sun was directly on my head through the vents. Not a problem with the Semi, my head was shaded and insulated. Both were plenty cool on the descents.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pawndream
    Dark colors absorb more of the visible light spectrum than lighter colors. Visible light is then transferred into infrared radiation (heat.)

    So yes, a darker color helmet will become hotter than a lighter one.

    Pawn
    It's been tested scientifically and the answer is it is virtually unmeasurable....the difference between black and white helmet. Helmets are styrofoam or some similar material which is an excellent insulator. So, get what color you like.

  8. #8
    President, CEO of Earth
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    Not really.

    The styrofoam helmets are made from is similar to what styrofoam coolers are made from. Its an excellent insulator so almost none of the heat on the shell will get through to your scalp - just like how almost none of the heat from the summer air gets through to your beer and ice.

    Also, the polycarbonate shells on most helmets are so glossy that even black helmets reflect most of the suns rays.

  9. #9
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    No. Dark colors are not hotter than white colors. Now go get your black t-shirt and shorts and go riding!!!

  10. #10
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    It's a moot point in East coast, where most trails are deep in the woods and shaded from the sun anyway.

  11. #11
    Jm.
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy©®™
    No. And more/bigger vents do not necessarily make a helmet cooler either. Last weekend I rode a solo 12hr race (50-85°) and switched between a black Giro Semi (very small vents, more head coverage) .
    That's the hottest helmet I've ever owned. I had a semi-mx and it would just pour down sweat because my head was so hot. It made my head feel like an egg in the frying pan. I'll never buy a black helmet with little vents like a semi again.

  12. #12
    34N 118W
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    Irregahdless...

    Quote Originally Posted by EJBlur
    It's been tested scientifically and the answer is it is virtually unmeasurable....the difference between black and white helmet. Helmets are styrofoam or some similar material which is an excellent insulator. So, get what color you like.
    I just bought a new Xen and went for silver, the lightest shade they had, based on the assumption that lighter = cooler. But here in SoCal, I take my helmet off anyways for the long, dragging fireroad climbs.

  13. #13
    "El Whatever"
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    Nope

    The styrofoam isolates the heat.

    Actually, safety issues apart, at hot wheather a helmet is ALWAYS preferable than barehead despit which helmet it is. The only condition helmet vents or riding with no helmet at all is better is under Hot-humid-shady conditions. Under the sun (no matter temperature,humidity, vents or color) the helmet will make the difference between a decent ride and a fried/frozen head.
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  14. #14
    kneecap
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hollywood
    I just bought a new Xen and went for silver, the lightest shade they had, based on the assumption that lighter = cooler. But here in SoCal, I take my helmet off anyways for the long, dragging fireroad climbs.
    I'm with Hollywood on this, helmet goes onto the camelback for long climbs, my head's got this light airy stuff that grows on it (hair) & keeps me cooler than the "hat".
    I have a black E-2, & a silver Xen as well, no noticable temp. difference while wearing.
    Last edited by kneecap; 08-26-2004 at 09:35 AM. Reason: Addition

  15. #15
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    No noticiable difference...

    I own a completely black Giro Pnuemo and having ridden in some of the hottest temperatures in North America, compared to my white Giro's that I've owned in the past there is no difference. That are noticable anyway.

    Ride On!

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