Posted in Cycle

Bike helmets explained

A bike helmet protects your head from injury if you fall off your bike. A good helmet will provide a balance of coverage, ventilation and comfort. Great strides have been made by designers to improve the comfort level offered by helmets. They come with a variety of padding inserts which help you customise the internal fit and feel of the helmet.

Helmet fit

Having a correct fitting helmet is vital for your safety.  The way to measure your head size for a helmet is by using a measuring tape. Measure approximately 1inch (2.5cm) above your eyebrows (forehead) and around the complete circumference of your head. Ensure the tape measure is a close fit and measure a few times to ensure you get the correct size.

Ladies helmets are available, these tend to be in a different colour scheme to the male version and with a smaller internal measurement. Most 3 size helmets would be considered unisex, so suitable for all. Whereas a uni-size helmet is available in male and female options.

The image below shows how a road helmet should fit on your head, it allows good all-round vision as well as protection. Note the upper straps, they form a V shape, starting just beneath the ear. When the helmet is on, you shouldn't be able to fit more than two fingers between the chin strap and your chin. The straps should be close fitting but not tight and uncomfortable.

Many retention systems are compatible with those of you with longer hair, so you can stay safe and stylish!

Types of helmets

Road: A road helmet is primarily designed to be used for road riding but can be used for all cycling disciplines. Top level road helmets are ultra light, and offer great ventilation and protection.

Giro aeon road cycling cycle helmet blue black


Aero Road Helmets: The new breed of road helmets is a cross between time trial helmet and vented road helmet. It is designed to provide the ease of movement, light weight and compact size of a road helmet, but also deliver aerodynamic advantages.

Giro attack helmet


Time trial: Time trial helmets are designed for time sensitive racing. Their core purpose is to provide aerodynamic benefits as well as protection while you race against the clock.

Catlike Chrono Aero Plus Time Trial TT Helmet red


Mountain bike: Mountain bike helmets are designed to offer you extra coverage, retention and ventilation to help you meet the challenges of riding your bike in off-road terrain.

Giro Hex MTB Helmet green


BMX:  BMX helmets come in two main designs: Full face and open face. Full face helmets offer protection to meet the demands of BMX racing. Open face (skate style) helmets are more commonly used for flatland riding and dirt jumping.

GIRO BMX helmet



Leisure: The leisure helmet range is available for those of you who wish to have a great looking helmets, but without all of the ultra light, extremely vented and race pedigree features.

Bell Solar Cycle Helmet leisure green commuter


Kids & youth: The Wiggle range of helmets for kids and youths are ideal for the safety of your little loved ones. They feature industry known safety standards and come in a variety of colour schemes designed to encourage the rider to use.

Lazer Kids P Nut Helmet childrens sky blue


Full Face: Full face helmets offer the maximum in protection. These are ideal for downhill and aggressive trail riding. They offer extra protection for your chin, teeth, and cheeks.

Giro Remedy Carbon Fibre Full Face Helmet black cycling downhill

Key features to look for

Safety: Your safety is paramount. In order to cycle on the road or compete in a race it may be a legal requirement in your country to wear a helmet certified to a specific standard or an international equivalent. All helmets sold on Wiggle are certified and labelled with a European CE EN1078 standard sticker.

Ventilation: The more vents that are on the helmet, the cooler the helmet will keep you. On road bike helmets the ventilation is designed to allow air to pass through the helmet and exit through the rear vents. Whereas on mountain bike helmets, the ventilation is designed to work like a chimney, allowing the hot air to escape vertically.

Straps and retention system: The buckle and chin area of the strap should fit close to the underside of the chin once fastened. However, they should allow you to open your mouth to eat an energy bar or drink water from your bottle. The upper part of the helmet straps will fit you best when it creates a v-shape formed just beneath your ear lobe.  The retention cradle should sit around the occipital bone, the lower region at the back of your skull. The retention cradle adjustment systems can be adjusted very precisely to give a stable fit.

Padding: The padding in a helmet makes wearing one comfortable and also help to absorb sweat. Many helmets have removable padding, this is great as it enables you to wash them and keep them hygienic.