Everything you need to know about your mountain bike helmet - Red Bull

January 06, 2019

Everything you need to know about your mountain bike helmet - Red Bull

We are always asked about eMTB helmets here at E-Flow Cycles...and we most often recommend the Giro Switchblade. The Giro is DH approved, with MIPS, and has the versatility of a detachable chin bar for those lighter days out. However, there are many helmets to choose from...but you must do your homework! Safety is key!
What makes a mountain bike helmet safe, who certifies it and, of course, if you drop it is it a write-off? We speak to Swedish protectives experts POC to get the lowdown.Mountain bikers pretty much all understand the need for a good helmet – whether from a low-hanging branch across the trail or a big slam, common sense says a decent lid is compulsory. But who declares a helmet as suitably safe before it's put on the market, what certifications exist, what factors are considered in certifying it, and – that age-old question – does stickering a helmet make it unsafe?
We spoke to Damian Philips from POC to find out a bit more about helmets and their certifications.
How important is fit? What defines good fit?
A helmet should stay in place whenever used and under load. If part of your head is exposed when you hit the ground, the helmet won’t protect you as well. Finding the right size helmet is paramount, as too small a helmet won’t come down on the head and cover it properly, while too big a helmet might move around too much on the head. A well fitting helmet stays in place on the head, without creating any pressure points.
What European safety certifications (CE) exist for MTB helmets?
EN1078 is the only mandatory European Standard and covers all bicycle helmets. ASTM F1952 – 15 is an American standard, but it is relevant as the downhill helmet bicycle standard. NTA8776 is a new Dutch standard for Speed E-bikes and Pedelecs. There are a host of different testing institutes and notified bodies that offer and support helmet testing and certification according to European and American standards etc.
What does the safety testing involve?
It's quite a detailed picture. EN1078 testing involves impact testing with eight different headforms, sized according to the size range of the helmet, and with different anvils (flat and curb-shaped for EN1078). This includes hot (+50ºc, 4-6h), cold (-20ºc, 4-6h) and wet conditioning and artificial ageing (spraying ambient tempered water 4-6h at the rate of 1l per minute and ultraviolet irradiation by a 125W xenon-filled quartz lamp for 48h at a range of 250mm). In addition, roll off testing and retention testing is carried out to make sure that a helmet doesn't slide off the head easily and that the straps and buckles and so on won't fail under load. Further, materials (pads, straps etc) are tested for harmful substances (analysis of Azo Dye) and the colour fastness to perspiration is tested. READ MORE...

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