Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute

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Helmets that Look Like Hats

Summary: If you don't like the look of a helmet, you can have one that looks like a hat.

A number of helmet manufacturers now make a helmet with a hat-like cover for those who like that style.

While the style is attractive for some, helmets have slippery plastic shells for a reason. They facilitate sliding a crash, and sliding rather than sticking to pavement reduces both the strain on the rider's neck and the g's to the brain. Back in the 1990's a helmet pioneer named Voigt Hodgson tested that for us in a lab. The nylon covers on the bare-foam Giro's of that day just came right off the helmet, and while they were coming off the helmet slid just fine on the inclined concrete anvil. But the Giro cover was held on only by a stretchy elastic band and readily came off. Some of today's hat covers are held on much more firmly. Would they come off when you need them to? There is no standard that tests that, so you are on your own to make that judgment.

In addition to the sliding resistance problem, the hats usually cover the vents in the helmet or severely restrict airflow, so the helmet will probably be better suited to cold weather or those who do not perspire when riding. Retail prices are another drawback, pushing most of the hat-style helmets up to the high end of the scale.

You can find hat-style helmets on our helmets for the current season page. Search for "hat-style". Some brands include Abus, Bandbox, Casqu' En Ville, Lazer and Yakkay.