Selecting the best helmet can be confusing. One place to start would be the expert ratings by the Virginia Tech Helmet Lab. Overall factors to consider when choosing a bike helmet are: 1) good safety score 2) light in weight 3) ergonomic fit 4) good ventilation and 5) bright color for high visibility. I would personally only look at their list of scientifically evaluated five-star-rated helmets. Included in that list are four major types of bike helmets:
MIPS Bicycle Helmets
MIPS stands for multi-directional impact protection system and has found application in over 120 helmet brands. It’s a patented system that adds a low-impact or friction layer between the head and the helmet, acting as a cushion against the brain rotating or smashing against the skull. Since most bike crashes don’t result in head-on or direct impact, MIPS is designed to protect against rotational motion from angled impacts.
WaveCel Bike Helmets
WaveCel is a cellular copolymer material that’s built up one layer at a time, then glued together to form the piece that lives in a bike helmet underneath the hard shell. WaveCel doesn’t just crack and absorb energy the way a foam one would. Trek’s Bontrager helmet design resembles a honeycomb with a collapsible structure that flexes and moves in all directions on impact, meaning the helmet absorbs the direct and rotational force. It purports to reduce rotational acceleration by 73 percent, lowering brain injury risk by over 30 percent.
Smith’s Koroyd Cycling Helmets
Advertised as “the ultimate damage control system,” a Koroyd helmet’s welded tubes crumple instantly and consistently on impact, absorbing maximum force in a controlled manner and minimizing energy transferred to the wearer’s head. It also features advanced breathability and cooling. Air flows consistently through open cells, while hot air from your head can easily escape. Koroyd features the world’s thinnest walled tubes, resulting in a structure which is 95 percent air. This reduces weight and improves safety without compromising on safety.
KinetiCore Helmets for Cyclists
About five years ago, the manufacturer Lazer started working on its own rotational protection system. With KinetiCore, the helmet structure is composed of blocks that compress or break, absorbing the forces of an impact in an effort to keep them from reaching a rider’s head. They are made of the same material as the bulk of the helmet and molded into the helmet during the manufacturing process. The blocks extend down toward the head and are tallest around the top of the head and get progressively lower to the sides, front, and back. KinetiCore is also lighter than other systems as it does not require any additional material within the helmet. KinetiCore doesn’t obstruct airflow, so the company’s new helmets have excellent ventilation. The new lids also use less plastic, in some cases as much as 24 per cent less.
For more information on these and other bike helmet products, be sure to visit Virginia Tech’s Helmet Safety website. Your helmet is the last thing you want to try and save money on; it can be a life saver.