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I lost or misplaced my helmet and I need to replace it so that I may participate in certain group rides. I previously bought the cheapest helmet I could find (it was $15 at Blackstone Bicycle Works). Is there any benefit to buying a "better" helmet?

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yes (IMHO). More vents = more cooling in hot weather = more money.

The other benefit to buying a "better" helmet is this :

- again (IMHO just my $.02) when you put on and take off a helmet a lot (like bike commuters do)

and wear lots of layers underneath (like this winter) it is a lot of wear and tear on the liner / adjustment mechanisms. I have found that certain high-end helmets are better at this wear and tear thana others.

for example : I have a Lazer helmet that is great in this area; but it was involved in a crash so technically I should not wear it. OTOH I have a cannondale that is poor in this area; I have repaired it

multiple times and it still annoys the he## out of me. I have a Louis Garneau; but it has been dropped lots and lots of times (it has the best tightening mechanism of the five that I own) so I should not be

wearing that one either.

If you are looking for deals; REI is having their annual big sale this week; Performance has great sales and good selection; but I would opt for the clearance bin at Smart Bike Parts.

DHB

"Better" helmets are generally lighter, better ventilated, and/or more stylish.  That's what you're paying for.

If it's certified for cycling and it fits properly, a cheap helmet is fine.

I think fit and adjustability are the biggest advantages. Everyone's head is shaped differently and it helps to shop around. If you will be wearing it for hours at a time, comfort matters.
Smaller size and lighter weight will also cost more.
I've been shopping for a new one, but the ones that fit best cost a little too much.

Is there any benefit to buying a "better" helmet?

Not likely. I don't believe helmets can be sold in the US which fail to meet the latest standards (SNELL?). The only reasons to buy a more expensive helmet in my mind:

  • fit - make sure it fits! It won't do any good perched up on the top of your cone if your forehead is left exposed.
  • ease-of-use - bike helmets have traditionally had really bad adjustment capability, though they've gotten better in the last decade.
  • style/fashion - if you ride a Calfee you probably don't want to wear a Bern helmet. OTOH, if you ride a fixie, an aero helmet would probably look out of place. :-)

Any helmet with CPSC bike helmet for adult approval (little label inside) meets minimum standards and the approval is required for all bike helmets. Nearly all have this; those that don't are officially something else like a skateboard or ski helmet. These are designed for different impacts though you can argue about it. Some helmets beat the CPSC standard by a lot, others barely pass. Consumer Reports does occasional tests; last time the Specialized Echelon and Bontrager Solstice Youth were best, Nutcase Street Sport 8ball and Bern Brighton didn't meet CPSC standards and were rated poor.

The Snell foundation is nongovernmental, has a more stringent standard (B-95) than CPSC, (B-90 is similar to CPSC) but does not certify most helmets. Specialized seems to be the only big manufacturer that has many Snell certified models. Europe's CEN standards are less rigorous than CPSC and Australia's is more rigorous. 

Some authorities suspect that things stuck on helmets like rubber mohawks and animal features can stick on the road and increase neck injuries, mostly an issue with kids' helmets. These still can meet CPSC though.

For more than you ever want to know about helmets look at helmets.org

If you find one that fits well and is comfortable maybe you won't mind wearing it more often. Preferably a nice cheap one.

Look at the BHSI list of 2014 helmet recommendations if you are interested.

I have been looking around for a bike helmet that does not come down too far in the back. During the jiggle-jaggle of riding the neck rest on my trike pushes the helmet forward which pushed my glasses down to press on my nose and restrict breathing through my nose. Anyone know of a helmet that is short in the back to stop this Rube Goldberg action? 

All CPSC-certified helmets meet minimum standards, but that is not the same as to say that they are all equally good at protecting your head. Consumer Reports tested bike helmets a year or two ago and found quite a bit of variation in impact performance.

Bicycling Magazine: Precious Protection

Bike helmets were designed to prevent catastrophic, life-threatening blows. But new research is finding that concussions could be as dangerous as splitting open your skull. And that brain bucket you own? It was never designed to prevent concussions.

http://www.bicycling.com/training-nutrition/injury-prevention/preci...

Get this helmet. It's only $32 and got good reviews from Consumer Reports. Bell Muni, if the link doesn't work. I saw one for $25 but it was small.

http://www.competitivecyclist.com/Store/catalog/search.jsp?q=bell+m...


Here is it small/medium, white/silver for $25.

http://www.treefortbikes.com/product/333222375178/175/Bell-2013-Mun...

Thanks, Tominator. Ordered.

Tominator said:

Get this helmet. It's only $32 and got good reviews from Consumer Reports. Bell Muni, if the link doesn't work.

I had a cheapo helmet, Bell, and a more expensive helmet, Nutcase.  The difference in comfort is like day-night.  My nutcase helmet is not only stylish but it fits so much better than the cheapo helmet I had.  The chin strap is the biggest plus for me.  The more expensive helmet has a comfy padded chin strap, one hand adjustment, reflectors for better visibility, thicker internal helmet padding and all around, plus I can use it for biking and inline skating. 

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