Cycling Helmet Selection And Care
Arguably, one of the most important pieces of mountain bike safety equipment is the helmet as it is designed to absorb impact that would otherwise be transmitted directly to the skull. While this is common knowledge to some, simply buying a helmet is only the beginning of the relationship. It is critical to replace the helmet after any significant impact even if there is no visible damage present. Not only could unseen cracks or tears compromise the helmet’s performance in future situations, the very nature of cycling helmets is to compress internally so as to allow “give”. When a helmet protects its rider from a nasty impact, it has done its sole job. The foam within isn’t designed to return to its original form. Hence, replace it as soon as possible.
Even without experiencing an impact, damage to a helmet isn’t always easy to recognize. Because of this, most manufacturers recommend that you replace your helmet after 5 years because UV light and weathering can weaken the helmet’s structure.
When selecting a helmet, always follow the manufacturer’s sizing chart as a lack of standardization in the industry means one company’s medium could be another’s small and so on. Proper fit is an integral part of the helmet’s ability to perform properly.
- When not in use, always store your helmet it in a protected, shady area such as up on a shelf or in a closet.
- It is best to store your helmet in the box it came in or in a nylon gear bag (sometimes provided).
- Avoid the temptation to store your helmet in the back seat or trunk of a car. Not only does the intense heat break the helmet material down, there are few areas of greater damaging UV concentration than beneath the window of a car.
- Never use petroleum-based solvents or automotive wax to clean or polish your helmet. These harsh chemicals will destroy the helmet’s shell and break down the softer foam lining. Always use water-soluble cleansers.