Once you have your mountain bike designed and set up, it can be a frustrating process to get started. While you might simply want to hop onto the bike and start cycling, you often need to keep an eye on your gear. One common question we get is; “Do I need a mountain bike-specific helmet if I am a mountain bike rider?”
In the world of cycling, each discipline will have numerous gear items that are specific to that discipline. To become a great cyclist in your chosen discipline, you need to adhere to the specific code of conduct and try to incorporate the best gear for each discipline. Having a mountain bike-specific helmet is ideal to ensure you have covered for mountain bike-related incidents.
However, a casual cyclist might get away with any helmet or certain less useful gear items due to the purpose of their cycling journey. If you just go out for the fun, you don’t need any specific gear items and you can buy what is affordable. As you begin to progress, you might want to improve.
This article aims to give you a closer look at why those with professional ambitions might want to stick with mountain bike-specific helmets and how they could significantly improve the overall performance of the rider.
What Is A Mountain Bike Helmet?
Mountain bike helmets might look slightly different than their counterparts in the road cycling world. While many people might own a mountain bike, they often buy the road helmet instead of the mountain bike helmet. When selecting a mountain bike helmet, you will need to choose between the open-face helmet and the close-face helmet:
- Open-Face Helmet: The open-face helmet does not offer protection for your eyes and aims to keep the helmet lightweight. However, it is fitted with numerous exterior protective features that should ensure overall durability and protection.
- Full-Face Helmet: The full-face helmet is also one of the popular options and it is often used in the competitive world. When traversing muddy terrains, many people choose the full-face helmet for eye protection.
Regardless of which one you choose, the mountain bike helmet is packed with exciting features and it is designed to make life easier for those that want some peace of mind on the mountain bike. These helmets can look alike and they often have similar traits, but the full-face helmet uses more material and often works best for pro riders.
Key Features Of The Mountain Bike Helmet
The best way to understand whether you need a mountain bike helmet is to look at some of the essential features these helmets have to offer. Unfortunately, the features are complex and they often go unnoticed until you break down the helmet a bit. We have analyzed some of the key features that make the mountain bike helmet stand out.
The first difference that people often notice about mountain bike helmets is the size. These helmets are often larger than their road counterparts and this is due to the extra visor that is often added. In the world of cycling, your eyes are important and whichever protection you can have with a visor would make life easier.
Most helmets, be it road helmets or mountain bike helmets feature a polycarbonate shell. The shell is the plastic design that makes up most of the material in the helmet. Ventilation holes should be spread out evenly, but the shell is made from durable materials and rigorously tested. Most helmets have similar construction.
Speaking of ventilation, the mountain bike-specific helmet features holes that are spread evenly throughout the polycarbonate shell. These ventilation holes will vary in size, but the engineering is done in such a manner that enables everyone to enjoy the best ventilation they could dream of in their helmet.
Once again, you will note that almost all helmets, be it road or mountain bike helmets, have an interior lining. The interior lining is designed to absorb sweat and displace some of the moisture you often build up. EPS foam is the material of choice and offers a few properties that will easily displace and evaporate some of the moisture.
Visor Or Full-Face
One of the final additions that are exclusive to the mountain bike helmet stems from the visor and the protection that it offers in general. The visor extends in front of the face of the rider and will offer some extra shade and protection from the sun. Additionally, it is easier to go through muddy terrains and keep your eyes protected.
For those that take on the world of professional cycling and enjoy riding in the worst possible conditions, the full-face helmet is one of the best options. Instead of a visor, this helmet replicates what a motocross helmet would do. Offering ventilation, but giving you full protection. Unfortunately, these helmets tend to be far more expensive.
The overall design of these helmets makes them slightly heavier than those you would see road cyclists use. Since the weight factor is not that important for mountain biking when compared to road cycling, you must buy the right one. These helmets might be a bit heavier, but they offer more durable features and protection for the rider.
3 Best Mountain Bike Helmets You Should Consider
If you are undecided on which mountain bike helmet you should buy, we have listed three of the top options. These helmets can be used by riders of all skill levels and will certainly make you look more professional. Here are some of the best mountain bike helmets on the market you can buy right now:
1. Best Mountain Bike Helmet: Giro Fixture MIPS Adult Mountain Cycling Helmet
The Giro Fixture MIPS Adult Mountain Cycling Helmet is one of the top mountain bike options on the market today. The helmet is designed to give you optimal functionality and features a durable polycarbonate shell that offers protection. Additionally, Giro is one of the tops and most trusted brands in the world of cycling.
The universal size design means that all riders should find the helmet comfortable to wear and it should offer the best possible protection for your needs. It includes 18 different ventilation holes that ought to give you the optimal level of wind blowing through to cool you down. It is one of the best options money can buy.
2. Best Full-Face Mountain Bike Helmet: BELL Super 3R MIPS Adult Mountain Bike Helmet
Bell is most certainly one of the most popular brands when it comes to designing cycling gear and they are renowned for designing superbike helmets as well. The BELL Super 3R MIPS Adult Mountain Bike Helmet is one of the top polycarbonate helmets on the market today and offers wrap-around protection and a full-face design.
Large ventilation ports are sure to allow the air to efficiently pass through and ensure you have comfort when riding. Additionally, the helmet will offer a separate visor that could protect your face and eyes when needed. The only downside to this high-end helmet is the price and it comes in at more than $200.
3. Best Budget Helmet: Zacro Adult Bike Helmet
If you don’t have the funds to buy these expensive helmets, you should consider one of the cheaper options available. The Zacro Adult Bike Helmet is one of the more affordable options on the market today and offers practically everything that you need for comfort. It is made from polycarbonate and features a universal and unisex fit.
With large ventilation ports, you can be sure to have optimal wind passing through the design and the helmet is one of the most exhilarating to use. It includes a small visor for additional protection from the elements. Aside from being one of the cheapest helmets, it is perfect for any beginner to use when just starting.
Do I Need A Mountain Bike Specific Helmet?
To answer your main question will require some more facts and the purpose you have for your cycling journey. If you love the mountain bike world and you only plan on doing mountain bike trips, the mountain bike-specific helmet will serve you the best. It is one of the ideal options that will offer you the best protection.
If you only ride casually and you don’t want to spend as much money on these high-end helmets, it doesn’t matter which helmet you choose. The main thing to keep in mind is that you are adequately protected for the specific journey you want to undertake.
Do I Need A Mountain Bike Specific Helmet Conclusion
There is plenty of value in having the right gear when it comes to cycling. The better your gear, the easier the journey might be. However, those that enjoy vigorous mountain bike trips are better off choosing the mountain bike-specific helmet for their needs. Let us know in the comment section which helmet you prefer for your mountain bike journey.