On reflection, trying to cycle across a slippery car park was always a silly idea. While hindsight won’t do much for your punctured ego, though, at least you wore a helmet – which means you’re still alive to be laughed at by half the office.
Knocking your noggin is never fun, but a good helmet can make the difference between a slightly bruised bonce and something much, much worse.
Looking for a shell to protect your precious cranium? From smart commuter cans to streamlined aero lids, these shields should keep you safe in the saddle, whether you’re pedalling through the park or attempting your infamous ice ride for a second time.
Pick ’n’ MIPS
Want extra protection? Helmets with a Multi-directional Impact Protection System (MIPS) are designed to reduce the damage to your brain caused by rotational forces in a crash, using layers that move slightly upon impact,
How a helmet grips your head is key to comfort and safety. There are several types of retention system, so spend time finding one that suits you. If it’s strapped on tight and still moves around, you’ll need to switch.
A lid with plenty of ventilation usually suits summer cyclists, while less breeze is better if winter’s when you ride. Airflow is also key for aero, so choose wisely if you’re tackling a time trial.
Pursuing that Strava record is pressure enough, without a heavy helmet on your head. Modern cans are lighter than ever, but LEDs and smart features can add all-important grams, so weigh up what matters.
The cellular shell: Bontrager XXX WaveCel Road (£199)
Spend too much on cycling gear and you could be referred to a cycologist. Splash out on this innovative lid and, while your saddle habit will still be an issue, at least your brain will be safe from bumps. A collapsible cell-like structure delivers superior protection from awkward impacts, without affecting aerodynamics or air-flow to your sweaty head.
The beckon beacon: Specialized S-Works Evade (£230)
It might be nice to pedal free from the peloton, but come a cropper on your own and it could be hours be someone finds you. Don’t go AWOL on the road: this lightweight shell packs an ANGi crash sensor which, paired with your phone, can text selected contacts if it detects a nasty fall.
The wireless backup: POC Ventral Air Spin NFC ($275)
Winning the leader’s jersey is certainly reason to celebrate. Too many recovery pints, though, and you’ll likely forget the colour of your lycra – let alone what tour you’re on. Mercifully, an NFC chip in this ventilated carapace carries all of your key medical info. Handy if you pass out from end-of-stage over-hydration.
The custom can: Hexr (£299)
As mum’s always maintained, your noggin is unique. That’s why Hexr scans your skull to create a 30,000-point digital model, before 3D-printing a helmet that’s bespoke to your bonce. Not only does that mean a flawless fit which you’ll barely feel, but its honeycomb shell – crafted from renewable materials – also provides next-level energy absorption in an accident.
The wonder armour: Hedkayse One (£150)
Not a bulletproof scrum cap, this rugged wrapper will see you through repeated two-wheeled tackles. Unlike standard foam, its Enkayse padding takes bumps without deforming, so it can cushion your nut from further collisions. X-shaped straps adjust to suit all sizes of skull, while its ballistic nylon outer layer is like the fullback of fabric: properly tough yet flexible enough to fold down for easy storage. Which you can’t say of Leigh Halfpenny.
The double cover: MET Allroad (£70)
Commute via the forest trail and no amount of clips will keep your trousers clean. Don this adaptable all-rounder and, though your suit will still get splattered, at least you’ll be shielded from rain and spray. An LED at the rear ensures you’re seen on the street, while a detachable visor guards your peepers when you go off-road.
The light rider: Lumos Matrix (£200)
It takes more than a waving arm to safely signal on unlit roads. Add lumens to your cycling ensemble with this illuminated lid from Lumos. A light bar on the lip leads the way, while a dot-matrix display at the back tells traffic when you’re turning or stopping. Mount the wireless remote on your bars for quick control – or simply tap your Apple Watch.
The brighter pilot: Giro Bexley (£220)
Your folding e-bike might look more shop run than Top Gun, but pull on this headgear and you’ll feel like Maverick every time you nip out for milk. A retractable eye-shield keeps your peepers safe from projectiles, while a light-up rear panel guarantees that nearby civilians will witness your manoeuvres on the byway to the danger zone.
The robocap: Coros Safesound Urban (£180)
It’s not technically illegal to text while you pedal but, like riding with no handlebars, it could easily put you in a hedge. Speak safely from the saddle with this connected helmet. Paired with your blower via Bluetooth, buttons on the wireless remote make taking calls and skipping tunes a cinch. The integrated earphones are open, too, so you’ll never be surprised by the popo.