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Bike Helmet Materials: What Are Bike Helmets (Not) Made Of?

Whether you are a professional cyclist or enjoy cycling as a recreational activity, you already know that a helmet is a crucial part of cycling, which offers you safety and protection. To understand the protective effect of helmets more precisely, it does not take more than a look at the statistics of accidents involving bikes to see that the vast majority of fatal accidents occurred when the cyclist was not wearing a helmet.

With that being said, nowadays, helmets for both adults and children are highly suggested. We can easily assume that you’re wondering what kind of helmet should you be wearing; let us show you what types of helmets are available.

Types of Bike Helmets


Since there are different disciplines of cycling, consequently there are special helmets for each domain. In addition to that, a helmet does not serve only protection purposes but also style. Therefore, there are quite a few options of helmets you can choose from.

Road bike helmet

Allows air circulation from the inside and is lightweight. Additionally, these helmets have chin straps placed behind the ears, which will enable you to tighten them, depending on how comfortable you feel.

Mountain bike helmets

They are among the top pieces of equipment that mountain cycling enthusiasts take with them when cycling in rural areas. The progress in their manufacturing has not stopped; mountain bike helmets are becoming more innovative, modern, and stylish day after day. They may offer greater protection than the other helmets because they are used in terrains where more severe accidents can happen. They also provide excellent ventilation. Another feature of mountain bike helmets is the extra coverage part on the front.

Kids’ helmet

This is another type of bike helmet. Of course, for children, cycling is one of the most favorite things to do. And they spend quite a lot of time learning to ride and then putting to use their biking skills. Children’s helmets differ from adults’ helmets in size, color, and design; they are projected to better protect the back of the head in the event of an accident.

Full-face helmets

A new and unique trend in the bike helmet industry is this kind of helmet. As you can understand from their name, they cover the head almost fully, providing high protection. They come in different modern designs.

Budget helmets

These are the cheapest bike helmets. They differ in design, as they are much simpler. It is logical that budget bike helmets do not last as long as the more expensive helmets. However, even budget helmets offer good protection.

Triathlon helmet

Triathlon helmets are a special kind of helmet. This kind of helmet is easily noticed due to the tail-like part at the back, which has the function of enhancing airflow.

How Do Bike Helmets Work?


We established that the basic role of the helmet is to protect the head in cases of injuries. But how does that happen exactly? Well, their design makes it possible for the helmet to absorb the shock, therefore decreasing the impact of the injury and preventing potential and serious damage. When the cyclist is injured or suffers a severe blow to the head, the helmet protects it by preventing the tremendous force of the crash from entering the head, and the foam absorbs the shock and distributes it, in this way, decreasing the impact of the injury.

Bike Helmet Materials

Bike helmets’ solid material from the outside and soft parts from the inside offer excellent head protection. The primary component helmets are made of is polystyrene foam. This type of foam can be naturally transparent or colored as desired. Polystyrene foam is the element that absorbs the shock from any potential accident, therefore protecting the head from the inside. It also distributes the force of the blow in cases of accidents, preventing any serious injury to the cyclist’s head.

On the inside, bike helmets are made of polystyrene foam which absorbs the shock and helps distribute the force that is caused by the accident or the crash. Whereas on the outside part, helmets are made of a shell of durable material, preventing the foam from splitting on the inside. This ensures the protection of the head from injuries. The outer part of the helmet protects the head from some injuries as well, especially from some types of injuries that could not be prevented by the inner foam. The designs and colors of the outer shell differ depending on the type of helmet and the manufacturer.

Why Are Bike Helmets Not Made Out of Metal?

Metal is undoubtedly a hard, durable, and resistant material, and it is not easily damaged, cracked, or broken. As such, you may think that metal is an appropriate material for bike helmets to be made of, but in fact, metal is not suitable at all. As mentioned earlier, the function of the helmet is to absorb shock in the event of injury in an accident. The soft polystyrene foam inside the helmet protects the head from this shock, whereas, if the helmets were made of metal or any other hard material for that matter, all the force of the blow would be transferred to the cyclist’s head. Not only would metal helmets not provide protection, but they would also cause more injury and damage.

The Process of Constructing Bicycle Helmets

Bike helmets might be considered by many as an irrelevant piece of a cyclist’s outfit, but it is a whole process behind helmet making. Before the construction process of helmets even begins, the whole thing starts with the design. The design is done in a classic way by hand or with the help of various software programs.

Then, the next stage would be the outer shell, in which case the polymer sheet is heated to certain temperatures to give the helmet a circular shape. This process does not take long with the process of ventilation openings following it. Here, several small holes are opened in the outer shell that allows air to enter.

After that, comes the stage of the inner foam being processed, which is done by means of some specific machinery. Finally, adjustment pads and fitting straps are placed manually, which provide the cyclist with greater comfort. In the end, helmets should undergo a safety test, which proves whether they are safe and comfortable or not.

How Do I Know If My Bike Helmet Is Safe?


Your bike helmet provides you with safety from injuries. But how do you know when the helmet itself is safe? To find out if your helmet is safe, you search for a sticker from the Consumer Product Safety Committee (CPSC) that is usually in the inner part of the helmet. This sticker is an indication that your helmet can protect you from injury.

In the cases when you have been using the helmet for a long period of time, or if it has been damaged and started to fade., you can replace your helmet.

Despite the great advancements in style and design, the primary role of a bike helmet remains the same—to protect the head from possible injuries; and the materials used to make bike helmets are different, but the technologies used are mostly simple. To conclude, it is advisable to wear a bike helmet to protect yourself from injuries as well as from cold weather, regardless of whether you go out to win bike races, for sporting purposes, or just for recreation.


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