Helmet Straps, Helmet Options, and Some Questions
Results 1 to 9 of 9
  1. #1
    Vee
    Vee is offline
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: Vee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    929

    Helmet Straps, Helmet Options, and Some Questions

    First off, a little background. I am mid twenties male who's everyday job involves sitting at a desk. Needless to say, I don't get much of a workout in my job. About a year ago I picked up running as a recreational hobby and a way to get in shape and stay fit. About a month ago I decided to add some cycling in to my routine. My father was a recreational runner since I was born and has recently been having some foot issues, so he took up cycling, as well. So, the both of us are going to be riding together.

    With Father's Day coming up, and knowing where we both are in our cycling hobby (I just bought a newer bike, and he is just getting his gear back together), I decided to buy him a helmet for Father's Day. He had a very old and slightly cracked Bell helmet that he used to use but I will be replacing this with a Bell Alchera. I chose the Alchera because of the great reviews it seemed to get online while also being a rather affordable option. My idea was to try the helmet out for myself when I got the helmet in and make a decision if I wanted to buy a second Alchera for me, or if I wanted to keep looking.

    On Monday the helmet arrived. I put the Bell Alchera on my head and adjusted it accordingly and instantly noticed a glaring problem. The helmet straps and chin strap would not lie down flat on the sides of my head and under my ears. Looking at the design, I could instantly tell why, The design seemed to be lacking a way to allow the straps to lie down flat, because of how it merged the two straps into one to go around the chin. I was pretty let down by this. I figured I would still gift this to my father and let him know that if he didn't care for it, that it could be returned and we could find him a proper helmet that fit him how he wanted.

    The next day I searched for other helmet options, being sure to look through pictures of them to try and catch a glimpse of the helmet strap adjustments to see if they were designed as badly as the Alchera. What I quickly noticed was that the vast majority, if not all, of the helmets have this same design. In reviews, it seems to be common to complain about the straps not lying down flat on the face. So, I really got curious as to how this became an accepted nuisance. Not convinced, I started looking for pictures of professional cyclists to see how their helmet straps sat on their faces, and sure enough many of them had the same issue! Now, is it just me, or is there something wrong here?

    Determined to find at least ONE helmet with some nicer, thinner, or flatter straps, or at least a design that had this in mind, I continued my search. I began looking at more expensive helmets, convincing myself that perhaps the fact that I was looking only for helmets in the sub $100 range was my problem. To my dismay, the 200 and 300 dollar helmets all seemed to have the same design flaw, albeit the adjustments did seem to allow the straps to sit on an angle on some of them, but still they would not be lying flat.

    I was, eventually, able to find two helmets that appeared to have thinner, softer strap webbing and a design that SHOULD sit flat on the face. These helmets are the Giro Prolight and the Specialized S-Works 2D. The unfortunate reality of this was that I would now be spending over $100 to get a helmet that would fit and stay comfortable, but the more I thought about it the more it made sense to spend money on something I would be wearing often and want to be as comfortable as possible. Forget the talk about spending more because it will protect you in a crash, I do believe that all helmets, cheap and expensive, go through the same tests to determine its safety, so buying a more expensive helmet should not necessarily equal buying a safer helmet.

    Anyways, my questions are, why have helmet manufacturers not come up with a design that allows straps to lie flat against the face? Is this just not a big deal? I did end up taking a short ride with the Alchera and the straps didn't seem to bother me much, so maybe its just accepted in the cycling community? In your opinion, should I look at spending $30-$100 more than I planned to get a helmet who's straps would appear to fit properly? Or should I just stick with something like a mid to low range helmet that protects my head and just put up with he fact that the straps don't lie flat?




    Thanks guys.

  2. #2
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    2,078
    Look all you want but the ProLight is the only helmet I've ever used with straps that lie flat. Also, the least wind noise too.

    Downside is it isn't that attractive.

  3. #3
    Poseur
    Reputation: GerryR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    1,408
    I don't know what reviews you've been reading, but I have never seen complaints about the straps. I have no issues at all with the straps on my Rudy Project Actyum, although they are more comfortable than what was on my old Giro.
    You are correct that all bicycle helmets sold in the US must pass the same testing procedures. What you generally get when you pay more money is a lighter weight, more vents to make it cooler and usually more precise adjustment so it fits better. That said, everybody's head is different, some roundish and some "oval-ish" and some helmets fit one shape better than others. My head is relatively oval and I find Rudy Project seems to fit me better than others I've tried, or at least the model I have.
    I like cats, I just can't finish a whole one by myself.

  4. #4
    n00bsauce
    Reputation: Mel Erickson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    13,507
    I think you'll find it's a non-issue. They may not lie flat but it doesn't make them uncomfortable. Once you wear it a couple of times the sweat and tension will conform them to your face. Besides, even if there is a minor discomfort you won't notice it because there will be more major discomforts to keep your attention. Like the saddle, or your back, or your feet, oh, and your lungs, yeah, your legs too. What is more important to helmet comfort is the general shape of the helmet compared to your noggin and the way the helmet adjusts.
    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." Voltaire

    There are your fog people & your sun people, he said. I said I wasn't sure which kind I was. He nodded. Fog'll do that to you, he said.

    "We are all ignorant about most things."
    Mel Erickson

  5. #5
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    2,745
    Given the novel to ask a simple and brief question I'm guessing this is an OCD issue.

  6. #6
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: gamara's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Posts
    1,113
    I've got a bell sweep & I noticed that about the straps when I first tried it on. But as the others have mentioned, its a non issue once you're riding. You don't even notice it. My specialized helmet's straps are flat & its still one of my fav helmets to wear.

  7. #7
    Vee
    Vee is offline
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: Vee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    929
    I appreciate the responses. It just seemed odd to me that helmet manufacturers hadn't found a design that allows the straps to lie flat on one's face. OCD or not, I am positive that I am not the only one who wants to be sure the helmet they purchase is as comfortable as possible.

  8. #8
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: rbart4506's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    1,052
    Got a Bell Sweep and it had the same problem...

    Used it a couple times and it never bothered me...After those couple times the straps fit just fine...Problem was the helmet didn't fit my head, could never get it to stay in place even though I'd tighten the knob until it felt liek my brain was going to pop out the top...

    Set it aside and put my Specialized Propero back into action....

    The Bell will go on the market in the fall...

  9. #9
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    3,383
    You are way over thinking this! But it's an excellent thought and idea for F.D.

    Speaking as a father of a couple of kids about your age, here's what would please me on F.D.

    Give your dad either a helmet that could be returned to a store that has several options for him to look at and try on, or a gift certificate to such a store. What you like for yourself might not fit him or might not appeal to him. But I'm absolutely sure he'll be happy with whatever pricepoint you can afford. Among decent helmets, the difference between the cheapest and the most expensive probably really matters to very few people, and is mostly weight and aesthetics, maybe ventilation too. But these aren't huge, signficant differences to most people. Fit and general looks, maybe color, are far more important.

    Helmets are, for the most part, a commodity whose selection should be based on INDIVIDUAL price point, fit and aesthetics, period.

    For yourself, just go into a store that has different makes and models of helmets and buy one you like!! Don't pre-purchase anything that requires fit based on "reviews" or others opinions.

    Great idea though, have fun with it!
    Last edited by Camilo; 06-17-2010 at 11:29 AM.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

THE SITE

ABOUT ROADBIKEREVIEW

VISIT US AT

© Copyright 2020 VerticalScope Inc. All rights reserved.