What makes a bike helmet for hipsters different than any other bike helmet?
The Ultimate Guide to Hipster Bike Helmets
Well, let's first take a closer look at what a hipster bike helmet isn't. Hipster helmets aren't throwback helmets built decades ago.
Safety is always the first consideration, which means you'll need a modern bike helmet made with today's techniques and components. You won't find safe bike helmets in a vintage or thrift store.
However, you can still combine a stylish hipster aesthetic with modern safety standards. Here's a complete rundown of what features to consider when searching for the perfect hipster bike helmet:
Features of Hipster Bike Helmets (and How to Find the Right One for You)
Bike helmets have three general categories:
- Mountain Bike
Road helmets are the most common type. While the specific designs vary by brand, you’ll typically find a few key features:
- An elongated shape
- Outer shell
- Inner foam layer (usually EPS foam)
This Schwinn Thrasher is an excellent example of an all-purpose road helmet. It has an adjustable sizing system, controlled by a dial, for a secure and comfortable fit. Plus, 20 top air vents keep your head cool in hot weather.
schwinn thrasher bike helmet
Thrasher offers 360° adjustability for the perfect custom fit. Add in plenty of air ventilation holes and moisture-wicking pads, and the Schwinn Thrasher microshell helmet will keep you cool on hot summer rides.
Another popular option is the Giro Register Bike Helmet. It has a tough polycarbonate outer shell with an impact-absorbing foam liner. Plus, it has a multi-directional impact protection system (MIPS) to help absorb damage from angular and rotational impacts.
giro recreational cycling helmet
The register Mips helmet combines sleek design and lightweight construction to match your style, on the road or trail.
Road helmets are the best option for urban bike riding, making them the most common type of helmet used by hipsters.
Recreational helmets are similar to road helmets with two minor differences. First, they're usually the least expensive type of helmet.
Also, recreational helmets typically have a removable visor. You can take the visor off to use the helmet for skateboarding and outdoor sports such as mountain climbing.
This bike helmet from Wantdo is an excellent example of a recreational helmet.
Recreational helmets are the best choice if you're an occasional bike rider but also want a helmet for other sports. However, you'll find far more style options in the road helmet category.
Recreational helmets are popular among hipsters who ride bikes and skateboards. Remember, you'll want to wear a helmet during any boarding.
For example, longboarding – made famous by hipsters – has a higher risk of injury than skateboarding, even though it’s slower-paced and relatively stunt-free.
Mountain Bike Helmets
Mountain bike helmets are typically a bit larger and sturdier than road and recreational ones. Generally, mountain bike helmets have:
- Fewer vents
- Increased head coverage
- A visor
Mountain bike helmets must protect against a wide variety of potential hazards. Unlike a bike accident on the road, if you fall while off-roading, the bike needs to protect you from not just the fall but also rocks, branches, and other debris.
The reduced number of vents does mean these helmets get hotter than road helmets. However, a lack of vents prevents small stones and other outdoor objects from hitting your heads, adding an extra layer of protection.
Exclusky’s Mountain Bike is a lightweight, all-purpose model. It has a non-removable front visor that acts as a sun shield. Also, note that the front vents have a mesh covering to keep rocks and trail debris from hitting the top of your head.
exclusky's mountain bike helmet
Experience of mountain adventures are quite fatigue-free and comfortable. The thickened multi-density EPS foam inside helmet absorb impact energy effectively to minimize the risk of harms to head in crash.
If you’re looking for something built for extreme mountain biking, check out the Full Face Mountain Biking Helmet from Demon United. It combines an EPS foam liner with a full-face polycarbonate shell.
demon podium full face bike helmet
This helmet is meant to be stylish and keep you looking and feeling cool on the trails. The Podium has 13 strategically placed vents to keep the air flowing even in the hot summer months. Take your choice of several colors with the option to add the extra Demon Team visor to add some color and liven up the look.
Resembling a motocross helmet, we admit the Demon United doesn't have the most hipster-centered style. However, it's the safest type of helmet for mountain biking.
- Outer shell
- Inner lining
Expanded Polystyrene foam (EPS foam) is the most common inner material. It's the same lightweight, sturdy Styrofoam found in foam coolers or packaging.
If you've ever ordered electronics in the mail, the package probably contained pieces of EPS foam.
The polycarbonate shell performs two functions.
It allows the helmet to slide, which is essential during a fall. Also, it acts as a breakable shield.
Here's what happens when the helmet hits a hard surface. First, the kinetic energy from the impact spreads across the surface of the outer layer, instead of moving inward towards the rider's head.
Next, the EPS foam or another type of interior lining provides a flexible, contained cushion.
Bike helmets are often referred to as "one and done." They’re designed to shatter upon impact. You’ll need a new one after any impact, even a seemingly minor hit. Damage invisible to the naked eye can compromise the helmet's structural integrity.
Multi-directional Impact Protection System is a type of tech found in many helmets. It's a low-friction layer that redirects rotational energy following an impact. The foam liner rotates and slides, which helps prevent your head from moving in an accident.
MIPS is somewhat controversial. It does help prevent head injuries, but modern shells typically slide to perform the same function. Many helmets without MIPS still effectively prevent head injuries.
sidetrack mips youth bike helmet
Inspired by their popular Stoker adult mountain bike helmet, this awesome kids' model has extended rear coverage and a visor to complete the look.
WaveCel is a honeycomb-shaped liner that absorbs both impact and rotation energy. It creates a crumple zone to prevent damage to your head.
WaveCel is a useful technology, although it's relatively older. You'll mainly find it in helmets from Bontrager.
Short for Shearing Pads Inside, SPIN features silicon-injected pads. They sit underneath the shell.
They redirect rotational forces to help prevent your head from sliding around on the ground in the event of an accident. While the SPIN system is useful, you won't find it in too many helmets.
No matter what helmet you choose, make sure it's the right size. Proper sizing is the key to safety and comfort.
First, you'll need to measure your head circumference. Wrap a flexible tape measure around your head.
Measure the largest part of your head, which is roughly an inch above your eyebrows. (If you don’t have a flexible tape measure, use a piece of string and a ruler.)
Helmet sizes fall into the following five patterns:
- Extra Small – under 20"
- Small – between 20" and 21.75"
- Medium – between 21.75" and 23.25"
- Large – between 23.25" and 24.75"
- Extra Large – 24.75" and higher
As you can see, each size overlaps. If you're between sizes, choose the smaller options.
A properly fitting helmet is snug, but not painfully tight.
Many helmets are adjustable, such as this option from Gasaciods. Adjustable helmets have a wheel you twist to finetune the fit.
Older helmets use interchangeable foam pads to adjust sizing. While this method does allow for adjustability, it's slower and more cumbersome to use than the adjustable wheels.
The chin straps also play a crucial role in proper fitting. Adjust the buckles, so the straps form a V-shape under each ear.
Once the strap is in place, open your mouth. When it's open, your helmet should gently press against the top of your head.
Finally, push the helmet around your head (front to back and side to side). It shouldn't move more than one inch in any direction.
Helmet designs are fairly simple and straightforward, but there are a few features you'll want to consider.
Vents allow for increased airflow to help keep your head cool. However, you only want a helmet with vents for road and city riding.
Avoid a vented helmet when mountain biking as rocks and debris can fly up and hit you in the head.
Now, do you need a vented helmet when riding in the city? Let's be honest: Vented helmets usually aren't super-stylish.
If you want a city helmet with minimal vents, several options are available. This bike helmet from Thousand has a solid look.
While it does have seven vents, they're strategically placed to stay as hidden as possible.
Another option with a similar style is the Scott Torus Cycling Helmet from Scott Sports. It has a hipster-approved style backed by MIPS-enhanced construction.
Visors are another popular option. They help protect your face from debris.
Plus, visors help keep sunshine, rain, and other weather out of your face.
Generally, you’ll want a helmet with a visor if you ride upright. Hipsters who ride fixies or touring bikes benefit from a helmet with a visor, such as the Unlimited Berkeley Summer Helmet with Visor from Bern.
2017 Berkeley helmet
The ladies' Berkeley is that perfect blend of style and functionality that let's people know - "I don't wear kooky spaceships on my head". Features a new flip visor to either run full peripheral vision when needed, or take it down to keep out the dangerous sun rays or gravel flying about.
The visor flips up and down instantly.
Another interesting option is this bike helmet from Mokfire. Instead of a traditional visor, it has a visor/sunglasses combo that flips into place when needed.
mokfire adult bike helmet
This biking helmets with unique magnetic goggles for eye optimal protection and visibility, it’s easy to flip up or remove with one hand when not in use and store easily on helmet.
However, you'll want to avoid visors if you normally ride horizontally, a position common for road racers. When leaning forward, visors can obstruct your vision.
Riding a bike is a fun and hipster-approved way to get around your city, but there's nothing cool about getting hurt in an accident. Protect your head with a bike helmet.
Any of the options listed above combine hipster style with modern-day safety standards and are quite simply a must-have for every bike rider.