Ultimate Guide to Hipster Bike Helmets

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:

  • Road
  • Recreational
  • Mountain Bike

Road Helmets

hipster helmets

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
  • Vents
  • 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, Lightweight Microshell Design, Adult, Pink/White
  • This Schwinn Thrasher lightweight helmet is designed for adults. Suggested age range: 14 years old and up; Suggested head circumference: 22.88 to 24.5 inches
  • Schwinn 360° Comfort pairs a dial adjustable fit system with full range padding for the perfect customized, comfortable fit
  • Lightweight, three piece microshell enhances durability without weighing you down

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 Register MIPS Adult Recreational Cycling Helmet - Universal Adult (54-61 cm), Matte Black (2020)
  • MARKET-LEADING PROTECTION: Engineered in Giro’s category-leading helmet test lab
  • MIPS: Utilizes the Multi-Directional Impact Protection System to redirect energy in a crash
  • UNIVERSAL FIT SIZING: Get the right fit, straight out of the box

Road helmets are the best option for urban bike riding, making them the most common type of helmet used by hipsters.

Recreational

hipster helmets

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.

Wantdo Specialized Bike Helmet Safety Bicycle Helmet with Removable Visor Adjustable and Multi-Sports Helmet with Air Vents for Men and Women,Youth for Road Mountain Skateboard BMX
  • Safety and Certified: High-density imported PC durable hard shell and EPS Foam meet CPSC Safety Standard and improve safe performance. Wantdo bike helmets integrated molding...
  • Adjustable Head Size: There is a adjusting knob at the back of the cycling helmet, helping to adjust the head circumference from 57-61cm (22"-24"). The adjustable system and...
  • Ventilation 15 Vents and Light Weight: Flow vent design allows for better aerodynamics, air can go through the biking helmet effectively reducing the wind resistance, reduce...

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

hipster 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 Mountain Bike Helmet MTB Bicycle Cycling Helmets for Adult Women and Men CPSC Certified
  • Protection: This mountain bike helmet is US CPSC standards certified. Material of thickened multi-density EPS foam inside helmet absorb impact energy effectively to minimize...
  • Optimal Ventilation and Lightweight: To guarantee you benefit from optimal ventilation and save physical strength at same time with this MTB bicycle helmet, 18 air vents is...
  • Adjustment System: Single-Hand dial retention system is easy to adjust and secure the cycling helmet perfect fit on your head, It is very important for you to get helmet on...

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 Mountain Bike Helmet (Black, XL)
  • EPS foam liner conforms to your shape for superior fit. Removable, washable helmet liner. Tough injection molded thermal alloy resin polycarbonate shell.Fully adjustable visor...
  • 2lbs. 2oz., 13 convenient air flow vents
  • CPSC Certified

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.

Construction

Bike helmets consist of two main components:

  • 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.

MIPS

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.

Popular MIPS helmets include Giro’s Fixture MIPS helmet and the Sidetrack MIPS Youth Bike Helmet from Bell.

Bell Sidetrack MIPS Youth Bike Helmet (Matte Bright Green/Blue (2019), One Size)
  • FUSION IN-MOLD POLYCARBONATE SHELL - A process pioneered by bell bonds the helmet's outer shell to the eps foam liner to create a sturdier helmet
  • MIPS-EQUIPPED - MIPS stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection System, which is a leading slip-plane technology inside the helmet designed to reduce rotational forces...
  • ERGO FIT - What was once ErgoDial now has an improved dial feel and function (no longer requires a push to turn) and is more sleek and less bulky

WaveCel

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.

Spin

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.

Sizing

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.

GASACIODS Bike Helmet, CPSC Certified Adjustable Lightweight Bicycle Helmets Specialized Cycling Helmet for Adult Men&Women Road and Mountain Bike with Detachable Visor&Rear LED Light
  • CPSC Certified Bike Helmet:High-density imported PC case with in mold technology will surely improve safe performance. Helmet with durable hard shell, soft pad can absorb the...
  • Cyclling helmet with LED lights,Bright Taillight,LED Safety Light, 6 LED Bulb with 4 lighting modes - fast flashing,slow flashing,steady, it will help people behind you...
  • Bicycle Comfortable Helmet For Men&Womens , This helmet designed with 23 vents, special aerodynamic design and breathable foam, effectively reduce air resistance and reduce...

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.

Features

Helmet designs are fairly simple and straightforward, but there are a few features you’ll want to consider.

Vents

hipster bike helmets

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.

Thousand Adult Bike Helmet, Stealth Black, Small
  • A HELMET YOU’LL WANT TO WEAR: Our founder created the first ever stylish bike helmet to keep people who bike and skate safe, while expressing their personal style. She...
  • LOCK YOUR HELMET WITH YOUR BIKE: Our patent-pending PopLock is the most convenient way to leave your bicycle helmet behind. Access the hidden channel behind the logo mark, and...
  • GET THE PERFECT FIT: Refer to the fit guide in the images to find the correct size. Tighten or loosen your bicycle helmet with our Dial Fit System in the back of your helmet...

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.

Visor

hipster bike helmets

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 w/ Flip Visor (Satin Cranberry, XS/S)
  • The Asteroid and Meteoroid fit all new and older Bern helmets with a two-hole mount located in the rear of the shell.
  • CrankfitTried and true proprietary dial adjustment system. Simple and durable.

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, Bicycle Helmet with Removable Magnetic Goggles Visor, CPSC & CE.EN1078 Certification Adjustable Mountain & Road Cycling Helmet for Adult Men/Women Size 22.44-24.01 (Black)
  • 【Impact Resistance】: The polycarbonate outer layer of the helmet is bonded directly to the polystyrene core for better shock absorption upon initial impact, offering...
  • 【Removable Visor】: 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...
  • 【Good Ventilation】:This specialized helmet has 6 Wind Tunnel vents with internal channels thrust cool, fresh air over and around your head while forcing heat and stale air...

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.

Final Word

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.

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