The Chainlink

Without opening a contemptuous, argumentative can of worms, I'd like to ask for some advice on helmets.

My landlord is a weekend club rider who usually puts on at least 100 miles a weekend at high speeds while riding with his posse. He recently crashed and broke a rib (or two.) As far as I know, he's otherwise fine, but he did ask me if I know what "the strongest, best helmet on the market" might be. I mentioned that there's probably not any sort of magic force-field of protection you can buy, but that I'd ask you folks here and forward any comments to him.

May I please request that we refrain from having one of those discourses on helmet effectiveness?

Cost is not of concern, but I would suppose that given the speed at which my landlord tends to ride, ergonomics are paramount.


(P.S. I really like having a landlord who's a bicycling enthusiast.)

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You could try this thread...

well, any of the major brands are "best", as they meet and exceed testing standards such as CPSC, Snell or DIN. "Strongest", though, is not a descriptive that is necessarily applied to a bike helmet, as they are engineered to be a multiple-impact/single use item. Like an air bag, once the helmet has 'done it's job', it is "done" for. Giro, Bell, Lazer, Specialized, etc all make excellent helmets.

I'd suggest he look for fit (some are Unisize, others are S/M/L), function (venting, weight visor yes/no)

and ultimately color (gotta look good!). Shape of your head matters too, Giro tends to fit more narrow at the forehead whereas Bell tends to be rounder/fuller.

High-end helmets are a dichotomy - you pay for more holes, essentially! Larger and more venting holes not just in the front but in the rear of the helmet keeps you cooler on the hottest of days. They are also lighter in weight, but don't confuse this with being 'less' strong as they will have an internal skeleton for rigidity. All manufacturers will offer a lo/med/high price range so you can find your balance of fit/function/price.


The only magic force field I know of is being aware of your situation, stopping at lights, riding predictably, and having your equipment safe and secure. :)

Hope your LL is feeling better soon!



I have questions.  For example - was this written, posted, forgotten about, and then rewritten almost word for word?  It's a bit uncanny!

notoriousDUG said:

You could try this thread...

Oh, high there, Joe TV--I promise. I'm not on something. I wanted to post this earlier in the afternoon. I got an error message when I tried. I rewrote the entire thing and then copied and pasted it into a text file before I hit "post" knowing I might  get an error message.  I did get one. When I got home later, I reposted my saved doc. 

Erm...either that or my evil twin has taken hold of my computer and is trying to drive us crazy. In any case--I'm sorry about the duplication.


notoriousDUG and Anne--thanks for the comments. I'll gladly forward them to my landlord. I think they ride mostly on trails, but I'm not sure. Last year, he broke a finger on a fall. I would like to say to him (in the most gentle, friendly way)...Hey, how about trying not to fall! :)  He's riding with younger guys and probably feels a lot of pressure to compete. I seldom feel that way, but I sorta get how caring about speed can sometimes superceede other important issues like safety. I think it would behoove him to get on the road in the city more often. There may be some false security in riding paths and trails. I don't know. I don't do that enough.



For the most part, helmets are helmets (at least as long as we're comparing apples to apples, i.e. bike helmets to bike helmets). Light weight and big honking vents seem to define the high end of the market. He should get something comfortable and amply vented. Some of the manufacturers (Giro and Limar) have started going so extreme in this latter category that they include with their helmets a skull cap and/or a bug screen.


Given LL's injury last year, he should probably also consider getting one of these. Just in case.

Hee hee. I'm just really glad he's still *able* to discuss these things with me. I really hope nothing more serious happens.

You know, it had been less than 2 weeks since the rib broke and he asked me about helmets. A week earlier, he said that the doctor recommended a 6 week recovery for the busted rib.
He was planning to ride that weekend.
I said, "Aren't you supposed to take it easy for a few more weeks?"

LL: "Yes, Holly. I am. But I heard it's going to be really nice out on Sunday."

What can a guy do when he likes riding bikes so much?

I don't always wear a bike helmet, but when I do I wear an effective hardshell skater-type helmet.    What you get with more money is nicer/shinier colors and more comfort features.  Just about anything is going to be more effective than nothing -even a thick knit hat is going to add more protection than nothing.  The head is a fragile thing without any padding of its own short of the hair (something I don't have much of at my age.)


If one really wants decent protection then a good motorcycle full-faced helmet would give more of it but be hot and sweaty most of the time and make it harder to breathe. 


Don't just stop at wanting the best helmet -there is so  much more to comprehensive bike safety than strapping a magic force-field over a fraction of your skull. 


Regarding the double-posting.  I hate it when a forum eats something I have written -it is embarrassing when one only thinks it was eated but upon re-trying it becomes evident that it went through.  What browser are you using?  If you are using Chrome and the Ghostery Extension  (or any other browser that allows you to block adware/spyware)  you will need to let the "bug" Comscore Beacon operate because if you block it all sorts of weird stuff happens.

DUG--thank you for the the advice. I didn't mean to duplicate my post. I did read yours and don't want to respond lest I bump up the other post and have to keep track of more than one thing at a time. 


James--yes--there's a lot more to bike safety than wearing a helmet, I can't argue with that. I'm glad I was wearing one when I got doored, but that didn't do a thing to protect my ankle from the corner of the door being driven into my leg. I was concussionless, though, so that's something. Shhh...I don't have spyware. I get a false sense of security with my magic force-field on this antique Mac.

I am using Firefox. My computer won't run Chrome. Too old.


So--do people actually wear motorcycle helmets? I have seen maybe 2 bicyclists wearing them.  Based on the design of the things ('70s style Easy Rider Stars 'n Stripes thing, and a Green Bay Packers stickered helmet), I suspect it was as much about getting style points as safety.

"There may be some false security in riding paths and trails."


Bike paths can be the MOST dangerous places to ride, in my experience. Between Opening Day and Labor Day I avoid the Lakefront path....I feel safer on the streets because at least there is a pretense to predictability there.


Also--Cameron--read your post, too. As I suspected, it seems to come down to fit more than anything since any decent brand has to meet safety standards.


Anne--not sure which paths and trails they ride. I do believe that there's something to any kind of routine that can hinder one's safety on a bike. Sometimes, people might zone out or something and not give their full attention to riding. (That's more likely in a car as far as I can tell.) Having said that, though, I tend to ride my dog walking route on the exact same streets everyday because I feel like I know them and seem to be able to mostly avoid "sudden airloss events" due to road conditions. I also know where there are lights so that I can cross a busy arterial street with more ease.


I believe this crew lives northerly (LL lives in Wilmette), so they may fly around the roads a bit up there and also hit paths and trails. We've had some talks about avg speed and general mileage. They ride further and faster than I expected a club rider to ride. (Upper 20s, low 30 mphs, I think.) I was under the impression that club riders were doing more like 18 mph. Or, that they rode on cruiser bikes like the killer cool yellow, heavily chromed cruiser I saw yesterday that had yellow rims and big ol' white tires. That rider looked like he wasn't gonna crash anytime soon. If he did, he'd be going, like, 6 mph.


I have a cheap helmet. It's Louis Garneau and it was maybe $30. I do like that it's adjustable so that I can wear a hat under it when it's colder. I don't like that the straps seem to need to be tweaked for fit fairly often. Wasn't there some funny graphic posted about how to fit / wear a helmet? I wish I could remember that safety thing I'm thinking of. I see a lot of people on the road wearing their helmets too far back on their heads. I feel like saying something, but I don't.


Thanks, you guys--(other thread posters, too.) I'll forward some of these comments to my landlord.



The Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute has a web site here:

There's a wealth of information on the site, including a long list of individual helmet reviews, arranged by model year.  A few quick points I've picked up: cheap helmets are often as protective as expensive ones.  In general, you want rounder, smoother, slippery plastic helmets; helmets with spiky points or fabric or rubber coatings snag on the pavement as your head is skidding along after a fall and cause neck injuries or get pulled off the head, while slippery round helmets dissipate the fall's stresses and remain in place by skidding on the pavement with little friction. 

If you read through a good chunk of their web site you will know more about helmets than most people.

Thunder Snow--perfect. Thank you. I've forwarded this to the land lord. And saved it for myself to read thoroughly later.


I pointed out that I wear an LG helmet and forgot to say that I have a snow helmet from Nutcase. It is warm but it seems so much bulkier and more limiting in terms of range of motion.  When I switched back to my ventilated Garneau, I was surprised by the difference between the two. I like wearing something lighter. I might check out a Bern for next winter. The one I tried one was great. However, I really don't NEED it, now do I?


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