When you are out and about on your bike – be it your mountain bike, a race bike, trekking or in the city – you should always wear a helmet. Because only the right helmet will guard your head and brain from injury in a crash in the optimum way. And crashes do not only happen because of your own mistakes, very often it will be somebody elses fault or other factors that you can not do anything about. There is a reason why many countries will not let you ride a bike without a helmet! As is the case in Austria for children under the age of 12. But it is not only your head that needs protection, also your eyes want to be taken proper care of. There are special sun glasses for the outdoors to prevent you from sun rays , insects and other annoying things in the air. Because you will not want a fly in your face when going down a mountain at high speeds! Just like with the bike itself, there are also differences when it comes to bike helmets and glasses. Our buyer’s guide shows you what to pay attention to.
The right Bike helmet for the right terrain
Just like with any other sport and sport equipment, there are a bunch of differences in helmets. These depend on your personal preferences, but also your bike style and the terrain your are riding.
When you are in the mountains you should look for a helmet that gives good support in your temples and back head. Those who go downhill biking should also get themselves protection for the chin. This can usually be removed easily, making your uphill more comfortable.
The higher the protection, the more your helmet usually weighs. Meaning, the weight can range from about 180g up to more than 600g.
For those who do not want separate glasses, integrated visors are perfect. These protect you especially well from insects and other things flying around.
And those who want to have all their awesome tours and trails on video can choose a helmet with mounting brackets for your camera.
And of course, there are also helmets that have rain protection to keep you dry in all weather conditions.
Construction and sizing of your bike helmet
Bike helmets are built using the in-mold method. It means that the outer and inner shell are formed in one step, which gives them a tight connection leading to a maximum of protection.
What is most important, is that your helmet fits you well. Not all heads are the same and just like with clothing, there are different sizes. These depend on the circumference of your head. The best thing you can do is try on a couple of different helmets to see which one fits you the best. If it is too large, the helmet will get out of place, if it is too small it will hurt!
Measure the circumference of your head to find the right size for your helmet
Using a measuring tape, you need to measure the circumference. To do so, you put the tape around the back of your head, putting the end together around 1-2cm above your eyebrows. The tape should be above your ears in a relatively horizontal line, tight enough not to slip down. The length in cm will then be your needed size.
Some helmets come in sizes ranging from XS to XL. Also for these, you need your head’s circumference. The size varies a bit between brands and helmets. In our online shop, you will find the exact info on sizing in the product description of each helmet. Still, you can use these measurements as a guideline:
XS: 50 cm and below
S: 50-56 cm
M: 54-59 cm
L: 56-61 cm
XL: 60 cm and above
For kids, the same rules apply: measure the head and pick your size.
Fine adjustment of the helmet
Your helmet fits even better if you adjust it accordingly. The various brands have found different systems to do so, most of them using a small wheel in your neck. One custom fit system that is especially popular is BOA.
You do not want it to be too hot underneath your helmet. That is why bike helmets have ventilation systems. They have a differing amount of holes in them of different sizes. Also, these holes are equipped with insect nets to keep flies out. Helmets usually have anti-allergen material on the inside.
MIPS – What is that?
Helmets that have MIPS in their name are usually found in the higher price segment. By the way, MIPS helmets can also be found in other helmets such as in those for skiing. MIPS stands for Multi Directional Impact Protection System. It was developed in Sweden and protects you from rotational forces. What does that mean? Normal helmets protect you the best when the head hits the ground in a 90 degree angle. But if the angle is larger or smaller, additional rotational forces act onto the head. These are absorbed by MIPS through an additional layer in the helmet:
Helmet without a visor? – then get yourself some sunglasses!
And there are a whole bunch of different kinds. Some developed especially for biking, others for all kinds of outdoor sports. And of course, some that are stylish for your everyday adventures.
The lenses of your sun glasses
The most important detail are the lenses. There are different kinds with different factors of protection from the various rays. Many glasses therefore come with changeable lenses, to make sure you are equipped for all conditions.
The lenses protect you from various rays
UVA and UVB – both are UV rays, coming from the sun through the ozone layer hitting the earth. UVA rays have a wavelength between 320 and 400 nanometers. These rarely cause sun burns, but are the ones that make your skin age earlier. UVB rays have shorter wavelengths and do cause sunburns. Also, they are the ones nurturing our skin with vitamin D.
But your glasses can also protect you from other rays: Blue light is not as strong as UV light, but it can also harm the eye. Other than UV rays, blue light reaches the retina to a very high degree.
The different lenses have different strengths, depending on how many of these rays are filtered and to what degree. Meaning, there are also lenses with a low protection factor, because when biking, you will also want glasses when it rains! By the way, many glasses will let you change the lenses. That is why some glasses already include several lenses, clear ones for rainy days and dark ones for sunny tours!
What else can the lenses do?
Next to their function as protectors from the sun, the lenses also have some other capabilities. Many brands offer lenses that are unbreakable. These are made of special material that will survive crashes and even being run over by a bike. Also, many lenses are scratch resistant!
Side pieces, nose pads and carrying loops – The components of your sun glasses
The lenses are by far not everything there is. The sunglasses also differ in their side pieces, their nose pads and their construction itself.
Side pieces and nose pads can oftentimes be adapted or taken off entirely. By the way: side pieces do not have to be stiff, they can also keep the glasses on your head using soft bands, just like you know them from ski goggles. These are especially good for a downhill and enduro biker and offer complex protection from flying debris, rocks, dust and mud.
Carrying loops, either come with the glasses or you can buy some separately to keep you from losing them. Some glasses also have additional foam pads on the upper part of the frame. This directly touches your forehead, protecting your eyes from sweat and strong wind coming in.
The glasses are constructed differently, depending on where you intend to use them. For example, there are those built in a way to protect you additionally from wind, and there are those who protect you especially well from rays. Such as for example glacier glasses. Obviously these will not be used very often by bikers, but you never know – there are always some people planning crazy adventures!
To keep your glasses nice and clean and stove them away safely, you should always carry a cleaning cloth made of microfiber. These eliminate dirt and fingerprints without scratching the lenses.
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