Getting a good helmet for mountain biking is important. But, may be you have a road helmet and want to take along while you go for a fun MTB ride?
The question is - Can you use a road helmet for mountain biking?
well, this article will show you the exact answer you are looking for. I will go ahead and explain if you can use a road helmet during your mtb session. & also show you why it's a best practice for you to go with MTB helmet.
But, here's the thing-
The recent death of Canadian mountain bike legend, Jordie Lunn, has sparked discussions everywhere on the importance of wearing proper cycling helmet.
According to the reports, the 36-year old BMX racer-turned-free-rider died of a fatal head injury while riding on a mellow trail with his friends. This only shows that even mountain bike pros are at risk of injury even when they are wearing helmets.
While mishaps are completely unavoidable, wearing the right helmet for the type of cycling you do helps improve your chances of staying safe.
Can you use road helmet for mountain biking?
Technically, you can wear whatever helmet you like. It's not uncommon these days to see cyclists wearing road helmets while mountain biking. But if you want to ensure ample protection on your pursuit to conquer those off-the-beaten trails, then the right mountain bike helmet is your best bet.
While both types of helmets have similarities, they have one distinction: visors.
Mountain bike helmets have visors while road helmets have none.
However, visors are not the only thing that differentiates mountain bike helmets from road helmets.
Mountain bike helmets are crafted with the thrill-seekers and adventure-thirsty riders in mind.
Their beefy and protective design ensures that they stay on your head no matter what situation and trail you're at.
It offers enough visibility and protection as you duck your head into bushes and branches while cycling on complicated terrains.
With the right mountain bike helmet, you can test your limits and your speed without the need to squint your eyes against the sun's harsh glare. You will also weave in and out of trees with ease.
Why you should not wear road helmets for mountain biking
Using the recommended mountain bike helmet enhances your safety and performance while riding your mountain bike.
Whether you are joining Cross country, trail, all-mountain or enduro, wearing the appropriate helmet ensures your head stays in one piece after all that heart-stopping and death-defying stunts you plan to perform.
Even if you are simply bike packing with your mountain bike, the right helmet keeps your head protected from the elements.
What difference does it make?
A lot of people may argue that since they are the same type of helmet, it shouldn’t really matter whether you are using a road helmet or a mountain bike helmet.
However, your helmet is the most important piece of equipment you carry when you go mountain biking.
Just as different bikes are designed for different disciplines, helmets also vary depending on the needs of cyclists.
According to a study published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, the use of a helmet is still an effective means to reduce head injuries related to cycling.
But not just any helmet will do.
The sport of mountain miking alone has 5 disciplines, namely: enduro, all-mountain, cross-country, dirt jumping and downhill races.
All of these require specific helmets for better protection while on the trail. For most mountain bikers, the half-shell mountain bike helmets are your best bet.
It has more coverage than road bike helmets but are more versatile, lightweight, well-ventilated and has useful applications.
Why use mountain bike helmets?
Your chances of bumping or crashing into a tree are much higher compared to road cyclists and even regular commuters.
The uneven ground of complex trails makes mountain bike riders more prone to mishaps. That is why wearing proper head protection is crucial.
1. Better protection while tacking unfriendly terrains:
The elongated section of mountain bike helmets offers better protection to cyclists. The more adventurous you are when riding your mountain bike, the more you need better protection.
Mountain bikers often wear full-face helmets, especially when used at bike parks, enduro racing and downhill riding and racing.
In some occasions, full-face helmets come with a neck brace. This aims to prevent the head from being thrown back in case there is a crash.
This is often recommended for riders who love doing big jumps and drops.
2. Proper ventilation:
Mountain bikes travel at a lesser speed than road bikes due to various challenges along the trail.
Proper ventilation is important to keep the head cool.
This helps the sweat from dripping down the eyes and eventually mess up with the rider’s vision when navigating challenging corners.
3. Better visibility
Since mountain bike helmets have visors, you won’t have to squint your eyes against the sun’s glare.
You can even duck at branches on time as your visor help protect your eyes without compromising your need for visuals.
Being able to view the road ahead is an important part of riding your mountain bike. This gives you time to plan your approach, whether you need to slow down, take another route or press the brakes.
4. Added safety :
Your mountain bike helmet ensures that no matter what trail lies ahead and no matter how hard you crash, your head still stays in one piece.
While it’s perfectly fine to wear a road bike helmet when mountain bike riding, it is also important to prioritize your safety.
If you love the faster speed that road bike helmets offer, you can opt for a mountain bike helmet that has removable visors.
This gives you the benefit you get from a road bike helmet without compromising your safety.
To some people, mountain bike riding is not just a means to quench their thirst for adventure.
It’s the camaraderie and being part of a greater community that share the same love for all things mountain bike that motivates them to keep going.
Whether you love riding your mountain bike or road bike, wearing the right helmet boosts your chances of finishing your race in one piece.
Nathan Is a Semi- Professional Cyclist & Founder of Mybikexl. He own 2 bike shops and a full time passionate rider. When he is not in his shop fixing stuff, you will find him in the road or mountains enjoying himself with his bike.
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