Buyers' Guide To Women's Cycling Helmets
When you're in the bicycle business like we are, you hear lots of rationalizations for not wearing helmets. But, we've been riding and helping people get into bicycling for a long time and we've experienced, seen and heard all kinds of amazing saves by cycling helmets, so we always promote their use.
Often the hazard is unpredictable like a falling branch on a windy day. Or a squirrel darting in front of you causing you to lose control. You just never know what might happen. And since when you're sitting on a bicycle, you have a long way to fall, it's only smart to get and wear a helmet on every ride.
Besides the safety aspects, helmets provide shade from the sun, cooling airflow and they make you look like a cyclist — and a safe one. Their nice, bright finishes and elegant shapes help you be seen out on the road and trail too.
Helmets are Better than Ever
Modern women's cycling helmets are light, airy and super comfortable. When you can visit our store and try some on, you'll probably agree that you hardly even know they're on your head. In fact, studies have shown that the latest helmets actually insulate so well, that they keep you cool on warm days and vice versa too.
And, equally important, they've gotten more stylish and fashionable. Gone are the days when you wore a slightly advanced styrofoam cooler on your head. For all of these reasons, most cyclists today wouldn't dream of pedaling down the road or trail without a nice helmet.
Features and Fit
Helmet technology for women and men is the same so you always get top safety and features. In general, more and bigger vents mean a lighter helmet at a higher price since it's more of a challenge to make a light helmet with larger holes just as strong.
Regardless of price, helmets offer fitting systems inside for a snug, safe and comfortable fit. The first step is trying the helmet you're interested in on to see if its basic shape fits your head shape nicely. This is important because helmet companies use different shapes for their helmets and you want to get one that feels just right on your head.
Models and Differences
Once you've found the helmet that fits your head, you should choose which model you like. Entry-level models usually have more of a universal fit with padding inside that's washable and replaceable. As you look at the models with more features you get into full-on retention systems, like harnesses that cradle your head and are adjustable.
All helmets have straps and buckles that hold them in place, too. These are adjusted to hold the helmet square on your head and low over the forehead for protection. There are stiffer and softer straps and different types of adjustments and buckles that you might prefer so it's worth looking at these details.
You might also appreciate having a visor on your helmet to shade your face and deflect things if you ride off road. Some visors are removable and/or adjustable to position them just right.
If you wear cycling eyewear or plan to purchase some, it's a good idea to try it on with your helmet to see and feel how it fits. Usually there's no problem, but sometimes the temples or helmet straps might need to be adjusted for clearance.
There are helmets aimed at different types of cycling, too, from road riding, to mountain biking, to commuting, to even dirt jumping and downhilling. In general this means that they offer features that make sense for that type of riding. So, a commuting model might include a visor or reflective details, a racing model might have a more aero shape, bolder graphics and be ultra light, and a jumper's helmet would have more head coverage. There's no reason you can't use whatever helmet you like for whatever type of riding you do, though. So don't feel locked into any one type.
- Hair and fit. Most manufacturers make their women's helmets a little smaller in diameter for women's slightly smaller heads. However, don't forget to take into accout the amount of hair you have. Women with long, thick hair need larger helmets. And if you go from long to very short hair, you may find that the helmet is now too roomy.
- Hair styles. If you wear a low ponytail, it should sit comfortably below the helmet's retention system. Some women with short to medium hair find pigtails more comfortable. Many women with hair too short for a ponytail find that wearing a do-rag, bandanna or sweatband is a good way to keep their hair back beneath a helmet.
- Very smalls may need a youth helmet. Despite the typical smaller diameters of women's helmets, some women with very small heads will best fit a youth helmet. Fortunately, the quality, safety and styling on youth helmets is just as nice as on adult models.
- Lots of styles. Women's helmets have moved beyond pink to more elegant and fun colors and graphics that match bikes, jerseys and more. Keep in mind that sometimes the finish is the only thing that differentiates a woman's helmet from the men's version.