Mountain bike helmet: everything about the MTB helmet

mountain bike helmet

If there is an important part of your mountain bike outfit, it is an MTB helmet. There are different types of mountain bike helmets. There are standard bicycle helmets with a chin strap, but also full face helmets. In this article I will tell you everything you need to know about a mountain bike helmet and I will focus on MIPS, among other things.

Which mountain bike helmets are there?

There are different types of bicycle helmets that you can buy for mountain biking. An MTB helmet looks slightly different than a bicycle helmet for cyclists. For example, the mountain bike helmet is often equipped with a peak. This valve is mainly intended to keep the sun and branches out of your face on the MTB routes, but can also be useful in rainy weather. This keeps your mountain bike glasses a bit drier. This valve can be clicked off in some cases.

In addition, an MTB helmet is more around your head than other helmets, to better protect your head against branches and trees on the route.

mountain bike helmet
A good MTB helmet is indispensable during mountain biking. ©

Broadly speaking, there are two types of mountain bike helmets:

  • MTB bicycle helmets
  • Full face helmets

In addition, there are of course many more bicycle helmets. Think of E-bike bicycle helmets, Aero helmets and road bike helmets.

One of the most important mountain bike rules on trails is that you wear a helmet. Sometimes you also come across banners that point this out (otherwise other MTBers will shout this at you!).

MIPS MTB helmet

Many prefer a safe MIPS MTB helmet. MIPS is the abbreviation for Multi-directional Impact Protection System. With a mountain bike helmet with MIPS, the helmet has a small clearance with the head. If you fall, this slack will absorb some of the impact. A MIPS MTB helmet has a plastic layer on the inside of the helmet.

Mountain bike helmet size

When buying a new MTB helmet, the right size is perhaps the most important thing. Correct helmet size is important in terms of comfort and safety. To determine the correct helmet size, you need to measure the circumference of your head. Take a tape measure and measure the circumference 2 centimeters above your eyebrows.

With only a good helmet size you are often not there yet, since every head is different. With many mountain bike helmets you can adjust the helmet using a rotary knob on the back. Some helmets have a sliding system. To find out if the helmet size is right, you can use the checklist below:

  • The helmet stays on your head when you loosen the chinstrap and look down
  • The helmet edge is about 2 centimeters above your eyebrows
  • You cannot slide the child strap over your chin
  • The helmet feels comfortable and does not pinch

Are the above things correct? Then your MTB helmet is in the right place. There are also universal mountain bike helmets.

mountain bike helmet with dial
Many mountain bike helmets have a dial to adjust it. ©

Replacing a mountain bike helmet

Your helmet may still fit so well, you’ll have to replace it at some point. Even if you’ve never fallen before. A helmet can go ‘out of date’. This has to do with, among other things:

  • Weather influences
  • Shock and clap

Keep in mind that you have to replace your helmet with a new one every 4 years. Did you fall on your helmet? Then you should buy a new MTB helmet anyway. Even if you only see a few scratches. The material on the inside may have lost its strength. There are webshops that you can turn to for a discount after a fall.

Best mountain bike helmet brands

I often get the question “What is the best mountain bike helmet?”. The answer to this question is very difficult. Like I said, every head is different. There are a number of brands that I would recommend to you when it comes to good cycling helmet choices.

  • FOX
  • POC
  • Giro
  • Lazer
  • ABUS

Almost all brands have bicycle helmets in different price ranges. And the rule is often: the more expensive, the better the quality. Curious about my experiences with a mountain bike helmet? View the Giro Fixture helmet review here.

Buying a mountain bike helmet: buying tips in a row

If you want to buy a new helmet after reading my article, keep the following buying tips in mind:

  • Many helmets are unisex, but there may be differences in fit for men and women
  • Ladies who like to put a tail in? Check if the helmet offers space at the back
  • Measure your head to buy a helmet with the right size on hand
  • Buy a helmet from an established retailer; then you know for sure that the helmet meets safety standards
  • Go for an MTB helmet with MIPS, the safest option

Frequently asked questions about an MTB helmet

Can I just wear my road bike helmet while mountain biking?

You certainly can, as long as your head is well protected. An MTB helmet is slightly different from a standard bicycle helmet. For example, there is a flap that protects your eyes better against branches, sun and rain. In addition, a special mountain bike helmet protects your head in more places, for example your temples.

What does MIPS mean?

MIPS stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection System. It is a helmet system where your head has a little slack if you fall. This reduces the risk of brain injury in the event of a fall.

How long can a mountain bike helmet last?

You should keep in mind that you have to replace a bicycle helmet approximately every 4 years. Even if you’ve never fallen before. The helmet can lose its protective power as it ages. This is partly due to warm weather and small shocks (if you put it away, for example).

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