Helmet design features

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
Tangled Metal
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Helmet design features

Postby Tangled Metal » 22 Aug 2019, 10:22am

I've been looking at helmet wearers on my recent Belgium tour and wondered what is the significance of certain helmet features. Anyone know?

The round shape of helmet.
The large often vertical vents at the rear sun a kind of top lip or spoiler. Often found on kask brand I think.
Large slot at the front which isn't on all highly vented helmets.

I'm sure there's more. It's probably just brand design, gimmicks or marketing but is there any tangible design / performance reason for certain design features. Do they play into suitability for certain uses?

Please ignore the actual helmet debate side of things or I won't get any answers to my query.

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mjr
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Re: Helmet design features

Postby mjr » 22 Aug 2019, 10:33am

Tangled Metal wrote:The round shape of helmet.

Looks like it won't snag and has skater-chic.

The large often vertical vents at the rear sun a kind of top lip or spoiler. Often found on kask brand I think.

Looks more aero.

Large slot at the front which isn't on all highly vented helmets.

Looks more vented.

I'm sure there's more. It's probably just brand design, gimmicks or marketing but is there any tangible design / performance reason for certain design features. Do they play into suitability for certain uses?

No, not as far as any current standard test can verify. The tested area on top of the helmet is usually unaffected by the mentioned gimmicks. The design reason is looks, basically.

Please ignore the actual helmet debate side of things or I won't get any answers to my query.

Still the wrong forum to post this IMO.
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tim-b
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Re: Helmet design features

Postby tim-b » 22 Aug 2019, 12:38pm

Hi
The round shape of helmet.

Is this an unvented helmet? Urban-chic and doubles as a ski helmet. Warmer.
The large often vertical vents at the rear sun a kind of top lip or spoiler. Often found on kask brand I think.

To help with drawing air through. I'd guess that the spoiler is more about form than function, maybe Kask can answer that one?
Large slot at the front which isn't on all highly vented helmets.

A Specialized helmet feature IME, google Specialized Mega Mouthport; it's for cooling
I'm sure there's more. It's probably just brand design, gimmicks or marketing but is there any tangible design / performance reason for certain design features. Do they play into suitability for certain uses?

If a helmet is too warm/badly ventilated/too heavy/not stylish then leisure cyclists won't wear them, unless you deliberately buy an aero helmet for it's advantages in competition
Please ignore the actual helmet debate side of things or I won't get any answers to my query.

Easily avoided. So far :) :)
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tim-b
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Tangled Metal
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Re: Helmet design features

Postby Tangled Metal » 22 Aug 2019, 1:17pm

The rounded helmet thing I was thinking of was the trend that seemed to come about after the first MIPS helmets came in. They're the ones that I see as kind of rounded. The same sort of shape then seemed to come into helmets that did not advertise as having MIPS. It seems to me a fashion.

It's still early in the thread, still time to give reason for a mod move to the helmet ghetto! Fingers crossed I get even more positive and helpful comments first. Thanks everyone.

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Cugel
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Re: Helmet design features

Postby Cugel » 22 Aug 2019, 1:30pm

Fashion; no utility. Many hats (and other items of clothing) have the same feature, throughout history.

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=18th+century+ ... &ia=images

Some items have utility: the cotton cycling cap is very light, absorbs then wicks sweat; saves your head from sunburn; shades your eyes from the sun. The plastic cycling helmet has anti-utility: makes your head sweaty and itchy; straps make wind-roar; gives you neck-ache; induces risk taking..... But others might say. "Lookit that proper cyclists".

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Tangled Metal
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Re: Helmet design features

Postby Tangled Metal » 22 Aug 2019, 1:39pm

Cotton wicking sweat? Never seen that happen. It's very good at absorbing it and holding the moisture against the skin. Not a bad thing in heat as evaporation cools but for the UK IMHO cotton isn't a good fabric for activities generating sweat. Anti usability IMHO!

I wear a helmet in winter with a liner hat. It really helps keep rain off my glasses better than hat alone. Plus other reasons that would bring me along with you into the now very pointless helmet debate that I'm still vainly hoping to avoid for this thread.

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Sweep
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Re: Helmet design features

Postby Sweep » 22 Aug 2019, 1:52pm

Tangled Metal wrote:Cotton wicking sweat? Never seen that happen. It's very good at absorbing it and holding the moisture against the skin. Not a bad thing in heat as evaporation cools but for the UK IMHO cotton isn't a good fabric for activities generating sweat. Anti usability IMHO!.


Exactly - in the summer I often use headbands - a mixture of very old tennis ones and modern synthetic cycling ones. The fabric ones actually get seriously heavy, are sodden by the time I get back and take ages to dry. The synthetic ones don't act like a sponge and become heavy, I can get them semi dry hanging over my bars at a stop, and they dry quickly.
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Re: Helmet design features

Postby Vorpal » 22 Aug 2019, 1:57pm

Some rounded helmets are designed to be multipurpose; that is the meet requirements of more than one standard, or designed to be used for skating / skateboarding, or other sports as well as cycling.

They tend to be warmer, which may be a disadvantage in warm weather, or an advantage in cold.
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gxaustin
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Re: Helmet design features

Postby gxaustin » 24 Aug 2019, 12:38pm

The plastic cycling helmet has anti-utility: makes your head sweaty and itchy; straps make wind-roar; gives you neck-ache; induces risk taking..


Itchy? Mine isn't. Maybe you need better vents?
Wind roar - adjust the straps properly. Or do you wear hearing aids? I've been told that they can be affected.
Neck - ache! :roll: That's a new one. They are no heavier than a proper hat - trilby, top hat etc.
Risk taking? - maybe you're more reckless than me. :lol:

One feature not mentioned is peaks. MTB riders nearly all have peaked helmets but road racers seldom do. Any insights?

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mjr
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Re: Helmet design features

Postby mjr » 24 Aug 2019, 12:55pm

gxaustin wrote:Wind roar - adjust the straps properly. Or do you wear hearing aids? I've been told that they can be affected.

It doesn't seem to be a matter of strap adjustment. Wind noise seems to be unavoidable for some head+helmet combinations and there are several products sold to deal with it: cat ears, helmet angels, ... It is not clear to me how to predict which helmets will have this drawback and whether some heads are simply incompatible with all helmets in this regard.

Neck - ache! :roll: That's a new one. They are no heavier than a proper hat - trilby, top hat etc.

Cycle helmets weigh 150-300g (or more for a full-face one). Cycling cap 35g (cannondale-liquigas summer weight by Sugoi from a few years ago). Legionnaires hat (my usual summer cycling wear) 65g. Merino beanie (my usual winter one) 65g. Top hat (yes, I have one in the cupboard) 80g. One with a weighted brim may be heavier but who wears that to cycle for hours on end?

Risk taking? - maybe you're more reckless than me. :lol:

There are studies showing that people take more risks on average without thinking themselves particularly reckless. I caught myself doing it the last time I used a helmet and I've a degree in Statistics! Are you really immune to it?

Also, on a simplistic level, do you cycle without a helmet?

One feature not mentioned is peaks. MTB riders nearly all have peaked helmets but road racers seldom do. Any insights?

Road racers lean forwards more and ride through trees that produce flickering sunlight less.
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gxaustin
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Re: Helmet design features

Postby gxaustin » 24 Aug 2019, 1:29pm


Neck - ache! :roll: That's a new one. They are no heavier than a proper hat - trilby, top hat etc.

Cycle helmets weigh 150-300g (or more for a full-face one). Cycling cap 35g (cannondale-liquigas summer weight by Sugoi from a few years ago). Legionnaires hat (my usual summer cycling wear) 65g. Merino beanie (my usual winter one) 65g. Top hat (yes, I have one in the cupboard) 80g. One with a weighted brim may be heavier but who wears that to cycle for hours on end?

Risk taking? - maybe you're more reckless than me. :lol:

There are studies showing that people take more risks on average without thinking themselves particularly reckless. I caught myself doing it the last time I used a helmet and I've a degree in Statistics! Are you really immune to it?

Also, on a simplistic level, do you cycle without a helmet?


So do you get neck ache with a cycle helmet? My hard hat for construction site use weighs 350g (530g with the obligatory ear muffs). I've yet to hear a contruction worker complain of neck ache. Your top hat is commendably light but the ones I've worn at weddings seem heavier than 3oz. Your top hat is marginally lighter than my French beret! And my traditional tweed caps are about 100g. I don't need to be told cotton cycling caps are light - I wear one under my helmet.

Maybe I am immune to excessive risk taking? I do worry about losing skin and breaking bones rather than head injury. Perhaps this is because I've only ever bumped my head 3 times in many more crashes, including the ones I had before helmets had been invented. You may be right about some people though. How has the adoption of the many safety features on cars affected accident rates and death rates in accidents when due allowance has been made for the increasing numbers on the roads and increased performance? I recall that in the good old days of no safety precautions in racing cars the death toll was appalling. So much so that after the death of Jim Clark I ceased to follow it.

Is your point about peaks on helmets attested fact or just an opinion?

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mjr
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Re: Helmet design features

Postby mjr » 24 Aug 2019, 2:21pm

Not just neck ache but a neck injury. I suspect the difference is that construction workers are mostly walking or seated in suspension vehicles, not all day riding bouncily along our rough roads. Site helmets also seem more uniformly surrounding, rather than the typical cycle helmet design of having the bulk of the protective material in the test zone perched on top of the head. Maybe that's a design difference between a helmet designed to stop blows from dropped things which then bounce off and a helmet designed to cope with its wearer falling head-first?

Maybe hire top hats are heavier than average, like hire bikes seem to be. Anyway, it would still surprise me if many ones without brim weights were heavier than the sturdier cycle helmets.

You wear a cycling cap under your helmet? What helmet is that that doesn't instruct against wearing things between helmet and head?

Maybe I am immune to excessive risk taking? I do worry about losing skin and breaking bones rather than head injury. Perhaps this is because I've only ever bumped my head 3 times in many more crashes, including the ones I had before helmets had been invented.

How much have you crashed? I think I've not hit my head yet, but I felt I crashed much more often in the years I used helmets, which is another reason I suspect risk compensation may be real and hard to avoid. I think I've had one significant crash since stopping using them and that was a motorist driving into me which isn't what helmets are for.

Is your point about peaks on helmets attested fact or just an opinion?

Not quite fact, more observation, from a few people on various forums complaining about neck pain and it turns out they're using a peaked MTB-style helmet on a road bike and having to tilt their head even further back to see out under the peak. You can't (or at least shouldn't) just tilt a fitted helmet back further like you can a peaked cap. Also, surely there's likely to be some reason beyond looks why peaks aren't easy to sell/give to road racers...
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robc02
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Re: Helmet design features

Postby robc02 » 24 Aug 2019, 2:38pm

Why do some top hats have brim weights? Is it to help stop them being blown off in a breeze?

The only time I have worn a top hat was for my wedding. I would never have thought of one for cycling, but thinking about it, one might be just the job for riding a roadster! (I do think "normal" helmets look out of place on a roadster :roll: ). Maybe the top could be stuffed with old newspaper for some shock absorption in the event of a crash :wink: .

gxaustin
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Re: Helmet design features

Postby gxaustin » 24 Aug 2019, 10:50pm

Not just neck ache but a neck injury. I suspect the difference is that construction workers are mostly walking or seated in suspension vehicles, not all day riding bouncily along our rough roads. Site helmets also seem more uniformly surrounding, rather than the typical cycle helmet design of having the bulk of the protective material in the test zone perched on top of the head. Maybe that's a design difference between a helmet designed to stop blows from dropped things which then bounce off and a helmet designed to cope with its wearer falling head-first?

Maybe hire top hats are heavier than average, like hire bikes seem to be. Anyway, it would still surprise me if many ones without brim weights were heavier than the sturdier cycle helmets.

You wear a cycling cap under your helmet? What helmet is that that doesn't instruct against wearing things between helmet and head?

Maybe I am immune to excessive risk taking? I do worry about losing skin and breaking bones rather than head injury. Perhaps this is because I've only ever bumped my head 3 times in many more crashes, including the ones I had before helmets had been invented.

How much have you crashed? I think I've not hit my head yet, but I felt I crashed much more often in the years I used helmets, which is another reason I suspect risk compensation may be real and hard to avoid. I think I've had one significant crash since stopping using them and that was a motorist driving into me which isn't what helmets are for.

Is your point about peaks on helmets attested fact or just an opinion?

Not quite fact, more observation, from a few people on various forums complaining about neck pain and it turns out they're using a peaked MTB-style helmet on a road bike and having to tilt their head even further back to see out under the peak. You can't (or at least shouldn't) just tilt a fitted helmet back further like you can a peaked cap. Also, surely there's likely to be some reason beyond looks why peaks aren't easy to sell/give to road racers...
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Top


You seem to be clutching at straws here :roll: Or having a laugh :lol:
Have you worn a site helmet? Have you worked on a construction site? Vehicle drivers take helmets off - they are in a cab. Site workers don't just walk around, they do physical work. Joiners, steel fixers, pipe layers, brickies wear them all day, most often looking down with necks bent. Often they wear a baseball cap under them.
Do you even own a cycle helmet? I have 3. None of them has 'the bulk of the protective material perched on the top'. As it's expanded polystyrene it weighs very little anyway.

What helmets say you can't wear things beneath them? Are you saying you can't wear a skull cap in winter? Prove it. Mine say nothing of the sort. I always wear my helmet well down at the front. You should never wear a helmet tilted up towards the back of the head.

So you feel you crashed more when wearing a helmet? You're a statistician: what is your sample size and what proportion of your cycling was with helmet and without. I'm sure you can work out the miles ridden per crash with helmet and without.
I crash infrequently and mostly on black ice, oil or when struck by a vehicle (once). I've only once crashed by going too fast and that was sans helmet and was one of the rare (3) occasions when I hit my head. I estimate that I have crashed fewer times per mile whilst wearing a helmet than whilst not. It's a pretty good estimate and not just a feeling.

Looks like you don't know why road cyclists seldom wear peaks whist mountain bikers invariably do.

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Re: Helmet design features

Postby mjr » 25 Aug 2019, 12:15am

gxaustin wrote:You seem to be clutching at straws here :roll: Or having a laugh :lol:

You seem to be grabbing at straws with all the wrong claims!

Have you worn a site helmet? Have you worked on a construction site? Vehicle drivers take helmets off [...]

Yes and yes, but it was decades ago and I wasn't a driver.

Do you even own a cycle helmet? I have 3. None of them has 'the bulk of the protective material perched on the top'. As it's expanded polystyrene it weighs very little anyway.

Yes, but only one now and it's now past its use-by (like my previous ones). How would I have used one for years without owning one? And you keep saying it weighs little but you haven't weighed it like I did the top hat and co. I still don't believe it's anything like as light. I was wearing a trilby today so I put it on the scales for you: 63g.

What helmets say you can't wear things beneath them? Are you saying you can't wear a skull cap in winter? Prove it. Mine say nothing of the sort.

Many do. What is yours? Here are links and pastes of some manuals: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=114274&p=1126159&#p1126159

I always wear my helmet well down at the front. You should never wear a helmet tilted up towards the back of the head.

Just as I wrote.

So you feel you crashed more when wearing a helmet? You're a statistician: what is your sample size and what proportion of your cycling was with helmet and without. I'm sure you can work out the miles ridden per crash with helmet and without.

No, I can't for sure because I have no mileage records for the helmet use years. I'm not going to use wild guesses to give a false impression.

I crash infrequently and mostly on black ice, oil or when struck by a vehicle (once). I've only once crashed by going too fast and that was sans helmet and was one of the rare (3) occasions when I hit my head. I estimate that I have crashed fewer times per mile whilst wearing a helmet than whilst not. It's a pretty good estimate and not just a feeling.

I see no estimate. Come on, mileages and crash numbers!

Also, if ice is a common cause of crashes, then the answer is studded tyres not a helmet IMO.

Looks like you don't know why road cyclists seldom wear peaks whist mountain bikers invariably do.

I don't know for sure but it's why I as a road cyclist never wanted a peak on my helmet and seemed a reasonable hypothesis. A lot more credible than claiming cycle helmets are as light as ordinary hats!
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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