How to Choose a Bike Helmet: The Complete Breakdown

Bike helmets were made to protect your body during an impact. But choosing a bike helmet can get pretty confusing when brands are competing all the time.

So, is there a solid solution to how to choose a bike helmet?

Even though there are brands coming up with new features every year. Some of the basics never change. Speaking of basics, the first step includes choosing the type of helmets. Then, measure your head to find out your size. Finally, choose what type of safety features you want.

How to Choose a Bike Helmet

However, this is only a glimpse of the overall step-by-step. So, if you’re still confused, here’s everything you need to know about choosing a bike helmet. If you want to skip reading this, then you can choose the best ventilated motorcycle helmet of your size.

How to Choose a Bike Helmet

How to Choose a Bike Helmet?

Just because your bike helmet meets the basic safety requirement doesn’t mean that it’s the perfect helmet. Without proper fit and comfort, it won’t be entirely safe.

So, here’s the complete guide to know ‘how do I choose the right bike helmet?’

Step 1: Figure out What Type of Bike Helmet You Want

Bike helmets come in 3 different shapes. The selection process is completely up to you. As I gradually explain each of the types, you’ll see that the latter ones will have more features and specifications. And it goes without saying; with more features, the price also gets bumped up.

You’ll figure out the rest yourself after I go through them

1.   Recreational Bike Helmets

These helmets are the perfect choice for casual riders. If you ride your bike occasionally it’s normal for you to not want to spend too much. The basic protection of recreational bike helmets will protect both your head and your wallet.

2.   Road Bike Helmets

Road bike helmets are one step of recreational bike helmets in terms of protection and features like ventilation and aerodynamics. Other than protecting your head, they add a dash of style into the design.

So, if you’re thinking, what color bike helmet should I get? Then, it’s safe to say that you’ll have tons of options in your hand.

3.   Mountain Bike Helmets

When it comes to protection, mountain bike helmets are the champ. From excellent ventilation to complete protection of your head, they cover all the basics.

The best part is they have tons of designs. Whether you like flashy designs or something subtle, you’ll find it for sure.

Step 2: Measure Your Head Size

Without a properly fitted helmet, you’re actually compromising your safety. However, the unfortunate thing is many people are still in dilemma about the question, how do I know my bike helmet size?

Well, here’s the easy solution to that-

  • Wrap a measuring tape around your head.
  • Make sure it’s above 1-inch of your eyes as that’s the biggest part of your head.
  • Note down the measurement somewhere so that you don’t forget it.

When you’ll buy the helmet, use that measurement to find the perfect size for you. I’m giving a standard below so that you can know it now. However, remember that the size charts somewhat vary depending on the manufacturer.

Toddler18 to 19 inches
Small19 to 22 inches
Medium21 to 23 inches
Large22 to 24 inches
Extra Large23 to 25 inches
How to Choose a Bike Helmet

Step 3: Choose Your Preferred Helmet Protection and Features

First, let’s talk about what’s inside a helmet. These are the basic protection attributes all helmets will have.

On the outside, you’ll see the helmet’s plastic shell. This shell is there for protecting your head and neck during an impact. Moreover, it keeps out punctures.

On the inside, there’s a helmet liner made out of polystyrene foam. Whenever there’s an impact, it minimizes the damages by absorbing and dissipating force. 

Now that we’re done with the basics, let’s see what are additional safety features a bike helmet can have-


You’ll find Multi-directional Impact Protection System(MIPS) technology includes a low friction layer that slightly rotates in times of an impact. Moreover, there’s a foam liner that absorbs some of the rotational force.


The top-rated Bontrager helmets come with their unique WaveCel technology. Basically, it’s a honeycombed liner material to absorb shock. According to the Legacy Research Institute in Portland, Oregon, WaveCel lining materials are better than MIPS in absorbing both linear impact force and rational force.


Shearing Pads Inside or SPIN helmet liner comes with silicone gel inside. The silicone gel rotates or moves around when there’s an impact.

What are the Types of Bike Helmet Certifications?

There are dozens of helmet certifications for many different purposes. But why are there different certifications for the same helmet? It’s because different countries or organizations have their own standards. You’ll know what I mean once you go through these-

1.  CPSC/CPSC 1203

Each and every bike helmet in the United States has to pass the Consumer Product Safety Commission or CPSC standard. The government came up with this standard to ensure a single, national standard for all bikes. Other than the States, Brazil, Taiwan, Canada, and China also accepts this standard.

2.  EN-1078/ CE EN 1078

The European Committee of Standardization introduced the EN-10788 standard for all bike helmets in 32 European countries. In comparison to CPSC or Snell certification, it allows test objects to fall from lower heights. But it doesn’t allow more 250Gs of impact unlike the 300Gs of other certifications.

3.  ASTM F1952

The ASTM F1952 or the Downhill Mountain Biking Standard makes the helmets go through the most strenuous tests. Compared to the EN-1078 or the CPSC certification, this testing put a greater impact on the helmets.

4.  SNELL B-95

SNELL B-95 tests are more rigorous than CPSC and EN-1078 standards when it comes to harder hits and impacts. Despite being the oldest safety standard, it’s voluntary. As a matter of fact, SNELL B-95-certified helmets are often and unattractive, making them kind of obsolete.

How to Adjust a Bike Helmet?

While there are a number of resources available on bike helmet fitting but it’s scarce when it comes to adjusting the helmet. That said, here’s the complete process-

  • If you like to wear anything like headbands or cycling caps, put your helmet over it.
  • Now that the helmet’s in its place, start tightening the fit mechanism of it. But remember to have a comfortable tightness.
  • Create a V with the straps. Although make sure to leave enough space in both the front and rear of your ears.
  • Start adjusting the clamps that are holding the V in place. By adjusting one ear at a time you’ll get the perfect fit.
  • Now start calibrating the length of the buckle to get a snug fit around the chin area.
  • Finally, recheck if everything feels tight or not. The fit should be comfortable; if it’s too tight or too loose, then you’ve got to figure out what went wrong.

Parting Words

Helmets are worn for safety reasons, that’s an obvious thing. But when it comes to how to choose a bike helmet, you have to consider a number of factors. I hope I could give you a clear idea of the topic.

Before I go away, I have one final tip for you.

Bike helmets always have some extra straps lying around, right? In most cases, those excess straps do nothing but bug you. The easy-peasy solution is to cut off the extra straps. Then, use a lighter to cauterize the straps, and voila it’s done.

Nonetheless, that’s all for now. What’s your favorite type of bike helmet? Leave a comment below.

8 Things To Note When Buying a Helmet

Owner | Website | + posts

Jason, a helmet enthusiast, is the owner of shares his innovative idea that helps people get the proper knowledge of helmets and their accessories to go ahead!

Helmets are usually life-saving elements to run! That's why, an expert on helmets, Jason built this site to express his gathering knowledge and first-hand user experience over decades.

Avatar of Jason

By Jason

Jason, a helmet enthusiast, is the owner of shares his innovative idea that helps people get the proper knowledge of helmets and their accessories to go ahead! Helmets are usually life-saving elements to run! That's why, an expert on helmets, Jason built this site to express his gathering knowledge and first-hand user experience over decades.