Helmet style - just curious- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Helmet style - just curious

    Started mountain biking 3 years ago - so, purchased what I thought was a mountain biking helmet (got a Giro Hex).

    Started racing some this year and noticed a lot of folks wear what I would describe as a road helmet.

    Cracked my Hex last night so I'm in the market - got me to wondering:

    1) What is the difference (can't just be a visor)? More coverage with a mountain style?
    2) Not that I care - but is a "road" helmet really acceptable (functionally and, well, "socially") on the trails
    3) I noticed on-line and in catalogs they differentiate "road vs. mountain" - that suggests there is a difference.
    4) I'm assuming racers use a road helmet b/c it is lighter - maybe better vented?

    I'm just curious as I begin my search -

    Any thoughts to enlighten me appreciated....

  2. #2
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    As far as I know, the visor is the only functional difference. Besides that, style would seem the next biggest difference. Some MTB helmets tend toward more "SUV" styling, and may offer more a little coverage down the back of the head. Road helmets tend toward "Ferrari" styling. However, they have to meet the same standards for crash protection.
    Use it, use it, use it while you still have it.

  3. #3
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    Never noticed a difference besides the visor. I believe that all the helmets pretty much need to pass the same standards. Other than that, you pay for and get less. I mean, the more vents that are in the helmet the more they seem to cost and the less they weigh. It costs more I guess because it takes more engineering to use less helmet material (due to all the vents) and pass the same standards.

    I have been riding what you would consider a road helmet all my life. I use the same helmets for both road and MTB. So basically, find one that fits you the best and is comfortable for you to wear with as many vents in it as you can afford!

  4. #4
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    My friend rides a Bell Road helmet. Get what you like, they will all save your head in a crash.
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  5. #5
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    There are some other "differences" that you can readily observe and assess:

    --the visor, of course
    --the amount of low/rear head coverage. Many road helmets are ultra-light and don't cover the back of the head behind your ear. Several MTB helmets do provide such coverage (as do many skateboard helmets).
    --styling

    Personally, I like a short visor and I have always shopped for mtb helmets with good rear/low coverage. I think some of the "beanie on your head" helmets look very suspect for the type of riding/crashing I do...

  6. #6
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    I always thought that the standards the helmets had to meet were in regards to their ability to absorb (and protect) an impact of a given force, not necessarily how "safe" they may be in any given crash.

    I.E. if we take two extreme examples a super light weight road racer helmet, covering the top of the riders head, and a full face downhill style helmet, although both are certified to be "safe" I would think the downhill style full face helmet would provide much more protection, or at the very least potentially more protection in the event of a fall, by virtue of the fact that it is covering part of your face, the side of your head, back etc...

    Is this line of thinking wrong?

    To the OP, I guess wear what you think is comfortable and suits your riding style, not what is classified as road or mtb...

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  7. #7
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    All helmets must pass the same CPSC test... That's not saying you can't buy a SAFER helmet, (full face). MTB and road differ mainly in the visor, which would obstruct vision in road riding positions.

    Find one that's comfortable, and for f sake, wear it every time you grab the bars.
    "Fear not the ob-stackles in your path"

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the responses. Everything said makes sense and there seems to be a consensus.

    Having spent part of today looking around I'm focusing right now on either going back to my Hex - but I'm also examing the virtues of the Xen, Athlon, a Uvex product and a couple others.

    Think I should stick with a mountain bike helmet - just looking now to lighten the load a bit, and get a bit more venting, being in the southeast - all the while maintaining protection/coverage.

    Last night was a reminder why I wear a helmet - turns out my Hex has three cracks completely through the "foam." It did its job....

    Thanks everyone...

  9. #9
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    We have no way of knowing if one helmet will protect you melon better than another. They are only tested to a minimum standard. That does NOT mean one helmet will protect you just as much as another.

    Let's look at this like a test in school. If the minimum score needed to pass is 25 and one tester scores 26 and another scores 50, they both scored above the minimum and therefore passed the test, but one definitely scored better than the other.

    The hard part for us as consumers is that there is nothing published to say how any particular helmet fared when tested. A $20 helmet may actually absorb shock better than a $150 helmet.

    $150 helmets generally ventilate better, have a more comfortable retention system, look better, etc. We just have no way to know which offers more protection beyond the minimum standard.

  10. #10
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    Good to hear your gourd was undamaged!

    I currently use a Giro Indicator that I got for around 35 bucks. my next will be a Fox Flux, about the coolest looking MTB helmet out there. It also has huge vents that are definately appreciated in the southeast summers.
    "Fear not the ob-stackles in your path"

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by HamfisT
    Good to hear your gourd was undamaged!

    I currently use a Giro Indicator that I got for around 35 bucks. my next will be a Fox Flux, about the coolest looking MTB helmet out there. It also has huge vents that are definately appreciated in the southeast summers.
    yeah the flux looks bad and from the looks of it offers great protection, at first i was like dang $100 bucks but you cant and shouldnt cheap out on your safety. Although lets be real were paying for the fox name.

  12. #12
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    I currently have an ACE. Its like a bmx helmet. Not for long!!! Get a helmet that has lots of vents for breathing. My poor melon sweats really bad on a hot day. Iam looking at the Flux as well. Havent seen one in person yet but it does look very comfy!
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by G35_jon
    yeah the flux looks bad and from the looks of it offers great protection, at first i was like dang $100 bucks but you cant and shouldnt cheap out on your safety. Although lets be real were paying for the fox name.
    yep, Giro Hex is very similar and $25 cheaper. That will likely by me next helmet

  14. #14
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  15. #15
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    I noticed a difference when I went from an Giro Indicator to a Giro Hex. I could feel the wind move over my head with the Hex. It was a very nice difference and I could see where the extra money went. Don't know how true this holds to all the other price differences in helmets but that was my experience.

    How are the Fox Flux helmets compared to the Giro Hex? Anyone? Bueller?
    Some days you eat the bar, some days the bar eats you.

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