Riding an E-Bike is a different experience to a pedal bike. This is for a number of reasons but the thing you notice the most is how easy it is to go fast. To safely ride at a greater speed you need to be more aware of your surroundings and ride in a defensive protecting way. If you were to get into an accident it would happen at speed giving you less reaction time and increasing the forces of impact. This means you need to be equipped with gear that will do a good job of protecting you. The best E-Bike helmet should have the ability to give you this type of protection.
As with all helmets it needs to be the correct size and adjusted to correctly fit your head. This means sitting low, level and snuggly on your head. Read more about fitting your helmet HERE.
What is special about an E-Bike Helmet?
Does an E-Bike helmet need to be different to other helmets? There are certified E-Bike helmets in the international market. This means they have been designed to match the type of impacts an E-Bike rider can create in an accident….greater impact force due to greater speeds. (E-Bikes can regularly reach speeds of 45km/hr or more). These specific E-bike helmets have greater head coverage, some including ear coverage, molded or wrapped liners and thicker liners to match the potential for greater impact force.
This is a rapidly expanding area for bike helmet brands so we can expect some new helmets to be released into the market and hopefully into NZ as well.
While your helmet does not need to be a special helmet we do recommend a performance helmet with the design features a fast road rider or technical mountain biker would expect – good impact absorption/redirection.
What is a Helmet Made From & Why is this Important?
Here I am going to mainly talk about the inner liner of your helmet or the foam – EPS (Expanded Polystyrene). The foam is what manages the energy of your crash. The foam your helmet is constructed from can be very different. This is where a lot of the hidden benefits in a performance helmet can be found. The foam in a helmet absorbs any impact. When this foam has been strengthened, thickened or doubled in layers you will get better protection. How this liner/foam is attached to the outer shell of your helmet also gives you better strength as it keeps the helmet together. The photos show examples of wrap molding on a Giro Montara helmet which adds siginificant strength to the helmet. Please read this story to find out more about the Components of a Helmet
Features to look for in a Performance Helmet suitable for E-Bike Riding
- good quality liner (EPS foam) that has had strengthening added
- good head coverage, sitting low at the side & back of the head
- outer shell should be molded to inner liner not glued or taped
- must have adjustment system to fit to the shape of your head
- MIPS (multi-directional impact system) is recommended. MIPS redirects impact force because it allows the helmet outer to independently rotate
Performance Helmets – Recommended for use with an E-Bike
Liner – it is the strengthening & thickening of your helmet liner that makes it a performance helmet
E-Bike Specifically Designed Helmet – Kali Java not currently available in NZ
Helmets goRide Recommends for E-Bike riding in Town/Easy Trails:
Bell Local – $89 – Great head coverage and includes a rear dial fit system which is hard to find in a town style helmet. Certified for Skate & Bike, designed for impact on concrete surfaces – APS hard outer shell. No MIPS, good but basic EPS foam liner.
Town riding – Bell Local Helmet
Performance level helmet – Cartelle Womens Helmet for multiple environments
Performance level helmet – Giro Montara Womens MTB Helmet
Helmets goRide Recommends for E-Bike Mountain Biking/Bike Packing:
Bell 3R Full Face Womens, Mens – $349 – Full 360 degree protection including removeable chin-bar and extra rear extension, MIPS, polycarbonate EPS thickened liner with a full wrap molding to liner (added strength & thickening)
Bell Downhill Certified – $499 – Full 360 degree protection including removeable chin-bar and extra rear extension, MIPS spherical (extra rotational impact protection), fusion in mold, double layer shell, widened at key impact points (the best liner protection available)
Performance level helmet – Giro Montara MTB
Full face performance level helmet – Bell 3R MTB
Best protection – Bell Down Hill MTB Helmet
All bike helmets sold in New Zealand need to comply to a safety standard. So it doesn’t matter what the cost or style of the helmet, if it is sold in New Zealand it will comply to the minimum standard.
We think there is more to consider when it comes to safety
- At goRide we believe one of the most important safety features to consider when purchasing is the shape of the bike helmet. We suggest a shape that gives you good head coverage and is smooth and round like your skull/head.
Read what the Helmet Safety Institute recommends:
- The more of the head that is covered by the helmet the better (consider the head as starting from the bump at the top of the back of the neck, around the top of the ears and to the top of the eyebrows. The rest really is your face).
- They prefer the more round smooth style helmet , basically round like your head. No protrusions. Being round with no protrusions it will slide better along a surface, reducing the peak forces with sudden stopping and isolated points of impact from protruding shapes also reducing the risk of snagging. All factors that may result in a head and/or neck injury.
WHEN TO REPLACE A HELMET
- after any type of crash or impact. If the helmet has done its job it will have absorbed the force of the incident so if you hardly knocked your head or didn’t feel it bump, it doesn’t mean the helmet is safe to use again
- the more it’s used the more it will deteriorate. Every time it is dropped or bumped or absorbs vibrations it is reducing it’s ability to protect you! A rough guide line for well used helmets is 4-5 years
INSPECTION & SAFETY
- regularly inspect for damage, wear & tear, cracks, splitting, dents, the shell separating from the liner, breakage in the MIPS, fraying straps, broken buckles
- never remove a MIPS from the helmet
- replace the pads to ensure good fit over time, they will lose density
- store in a safe/protected place out of direct sunlight
- gently with warm soapy water. Pads can be removed and placed in a washing machine but do not put in a tumble drier
- do not put helmet in the dish washer (can’t believe I just wrote that bit of advice but there you go)
get Safe and goRide – The Best E-Bike Helmet
Thanks for reading. Used together our stories, resources & products support you to achieve and develop as a rider.
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