You don't legally have to wear a bike helmet... but if the worst happens and a car pulls out in front of you or you slip on a wet road, wouldn't you rather have one on?
Modern bike helmets are lightweight and incredibly comfortable to wear. They won’t overheat your head either because they’re designed with air channels to bring in a constant stream of cool air as you cycle – you'll barley know you've got one on. Plus, there's no VAT on bike helmets these days, so they're pretty cheap too.
By law, all bike helmets sold in the UK have to meet European safety standards, so as long as you buy from a recognized cycle shop you’ll have no worries on that front. But do spend some time making sure you get the right size – no helmet will help if it doesn’t fit properly. If in doubt, get the shop to help you choose.
Giro is one of the most respected bike helmet brands around and the Saros shows exactly why. Masses of well-placed vents funnel air inside so you stay cool and sweat-free while the soft rubber RocLoc 4 stabilizing system reaches right around to cradle the back of your head meaning that you don't need to over- tighten the chin strap to keep it firmly in place. Low profile and lightweight, this is a helmet that's so comfortable you barely know you're wearing it, and the high- quality build standards mean it?ll prove durable too. It's available from February.
The Diamante is a mid-range women's helmet with a high-end performance and subtle looks. You get loads of ventilation via huge ports that channel cool air in through the front and sides and take hot and humid air out the back. It's simple to fine-tune the Safe-T Lite retention system. You just put the helmet on and move the double-slide adjusters at the rear to get things stable - it takes seconds. Light and compact as well, this is one of the most comfort- able helmets out there.
The Chamonix is our favourite helmet in its price range by miles. A penny less than 30 quid gets you a tough, safe lid that's as light- weight and unobtrusive as many high-end options costing over twice as much. Specialized's flexible Form Fit retention system works with the easily adjusted straps and foam padding to provide a secure and comfortable fit while the distinctive cooling system, complete with its big Mega Mouthport at the front, provides a generous amount of airflow. The visor is handy for keeping the sun and rain out of your eyes, although it's easily removed if you'd rather ride without one.
Bell Pioneered the in-moulding system that most good quality helmets now use. The external plastic shell is bonded to the head-saving EPS foam inside during moulding, saving weight and making the lid stronger. The mid-range Array helmet has a wealth of vents which channel air through ventilation channels inside the helmet to stop you overheating. Like most modern lids the Array has a retention system at the back to adjust the fit to your head, but the TAG system that Bell use also allows side-to-side adjustment to customise the fit even more. It's available in five colours.
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