Open Face Helmets

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How to choose a mountain bike helmet: The human brain is the most powerful thing on planet earth, so properly protecting yours is probably a good idea. Mountain bike helmets are designed to greatly reduce the effects of any impact to a rider's head and can save lives. Fortunately, modern helmets have come a long way in the recent years, both esthetically and technologically. As most land managers, governments and bike parks make helmets compulsory, purchasing is helmet is a necessity. There are a host of designs, technologies, styles, and colors to choose from, so you should have no trouble finding one to suits your needs. Open face models are designed for everyday use - whether on the trail, at the skatepark, or on the bike path to work, there is a model for you.

Open Face Helmets

Types

There are two types of open face helmets: bucket style (left) and standard ventilated foam (right). Bucket style helmets are designed for the more abusive nature of skatepark and dirt jump riding. They use a hard plastic shell with less ventilation, more foam, and typically cover a greater percentage of the head than the standard type. Cross-country, trail and all mountain riders require more ventilation and comfort than their gravity fed counterparts. Standard style, ventilated helmets are perfect for those types of riding.

Looking for more protection? You'll want to check out full-face helmets.

Sizes

Helmets are sized based on the circumference of a riders head. Companies generally classify their sizes as Small, Medium, Large, or XL with a measurement in inches or centimeters indicating the appropriate head circumference. For example a size Medium helmet is often for riders with a head circumference of 55-59cm, or 21 3/4"- 23 1/4". However, not all heads are shaped the same, nor are all helmets built on the same mold, so trying a helmet on in person is the best way to guarantee a good fit.

Materials

Open face helmets generally use plastic outer shells with layers of hard and soft foam inside for both protection and comfort.

Things To Look For

When shopping for a new helmet there are a two key factors to keep in mind: proper fit, and a style you like. The first factor may seem obvious, but the importance of a comfortable helmet that fits a rider's head well cannot be overstated. Correct fit ensures proper protection. Choosing a helmet that suits a rider's personal style is also very important as it encourages them to actually wear the headgear regularly. Most companies offer all kinds of color options and patterns, so there is something out there for everyone. Wearing a helmet is the only way to benefit from its protection, so be sure to choose a model that you will want to wear on every ride.

How Much To Spend

Open face helmets range from $25 to $300.

In the $25-$70 price range, models are available in both bucket and traditional styles, in every color of the rainbow and in every size. These products use fairly basic plastic and foam construction intended for either dirt jump or general mountain bike use, with the emphasis being on value and safety.

Moving up to the $70-$150 range, standard style helmets tailored specifically for cross country, trail and all-mountain riding become available. These helmets incorporate more technology into their construction and provide superior ventilation, fit, reduced weight and sleeker appearance.

Models in the $150-$300 range are incredibly light, state of the art products designed for enthusiasts and racers.

Product Reviews

Before buying, be sure to do your research and read product reviews. Reviews are a great way to find out specifics about a particular model, user impressions, and things to watch out for. After you've purchased a product and had enough time to thoroughly test it, we encourage you to leave a review for other people to see when they are researching bikes and parts on the web.

We hope you've found this information to be helpful. If you have a question that isn't answered in this guide, our mountain bike forums are a great place to get advice from knowledgeable riders. Your local bike shop is also a great resource.

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