The usual mountain bike helmets are open faced cap type helmets that offer protection for the top of the head. These helmets are great for leisure cycling and cross country mountain biking because they are lightweight and they give riders better ventilation. But for those who need more protection, full face mountain bike helmets are the way to go.
Some types of cycling are inherently more prone to serious accidents. For example, down hill, dirt jumping and speed cycling requires aggressive maneuvers that may put riders at greater risk for injuries. For these activities, the better protection that only a full face helmet can provide is preferred.
How do you evaluate full face mountain bike helmets? Here are some pointers.
The point of a full face helmet is getting the best kind of protection there is. There are several types of safety certification for helmets. Here are some of them:
- CPSC certification standard. CPSC stands for Consumer Products Safety Certification. This is the basic requirement for all helmets. Certified helmets will have a CPSC sticker inside it.
- ASTM F 1952 Downhill Mountain Bike Helmet Standard
- ASTM F 2032 BMX Helmet Standard
A well fitted helmet will offer more protection than one that fits poorly. Be sure to get a helmet size that’s appropriate for the size of your head. Some helmets have an adjustable fit system which basically allows you to adjust the fit of the helmet by rotating a dial. This is a great feature to make sure your helmet hugs your head properly.
- Buckles and Straps.
Check the straps and the buckle of your helmet and make sure they are well made. You want straps that are easy to adjust and fastens securely. You simply don’t want your helmet to fall loose during critical moments.
Many riders prefer lightweight helmets simply because they are more comfortable.
Aside from choosing a design based on the graphics and colors that you want, you may also want to consider useful design features such as:
- a fair number of vents to keep your head cool
- an adjustable visor to shield your eyes from the glare of the sun or against stray branches
- a good sized eye port that allows you to use your goggles with your helmet
- an absorbent liner that can wick sweat away from your face
- a liner that can be detached and washed
To further ensure your safety, always inspect your mountain bike before you take it out for a spin. Make this a regular habit to avoid serious injuries.