Mountain bike helmets and road bike helmets are made to keep your head safe if you fall off your bike or hit something while riding.
Since mountain bike helmets and road bike helmets have similar styles and features, the following two questions always come up when comparing them:
- Can you use a helmet for road riding on a mountain bike?
- Can a mountain bike helmet be used on the road?
Why would I need two helmets that are different? I am, after all, still just riding a bike.
First of all, let’s be clear that we’re only talking about “open-face” mountain bike helmets and “road bike” helmets here, not full-face helmets.
Mountain Bike Helmets: Overview
Mountain riding is one of the most exciting sports in the world, but it can be dangerous on trails with rocks, bushes, trees, and jumps that are wet and slick. As a result, good head protection is very important on a mountain bike, as it is on other types of bikes, such as road bikes.
They may look like regular bike helmets because they normally have a polycarbonate shell and an EPS foam liner. There are also openings that let air flow over the rider’s head. It also has a strap that goes under your chin to keep the helmet safely on your head. MTB helmets are different from regular bike helmets because they usually have a visor attached.
Even though mountain bike helmets come in different sizes, shapes, and styles, they are basically just a regular bike helmet with a cover attached. Mountain bike helmet prices vary based on what features they have. Some, for example, have more vents to let in more air, while others use MIPS (Multi-Directional contact Protection System) technology to better protect against contact.
Road Bike Helmets: Overview
People often wear road bike helmets when they race, ride to work, or ride for fun.
Most road bike helmets have a tough plastic shell to protect the rider’s head in case of a crash. The EPS foam cushion inside the helmet is meant to absorb energy and protect the head and brain during a crash.
Other features include chin straps that can be adjusted so that the helmet fits snugly and easily, and air vents that let cool air into the helmet and warm air out.And, just like with MTB helmets, the price of a road cycle helmet depends on features like extra ventilation, MIPS technology, or other safety upgrades.
So far, we can say that they sound pretty much the same, except that mountain bike helmets have visors.
Mountain Bike Helmets vs Road Bike Helmets: Differences
The visor on the MTB helmet is the first clear change between the two. According to past research and an article on this website, the visor is meant to protect the rider’s face and head from branches, roosts, and the sun and rain. Still, some mountain bikers say that the helmet gets in the way of what they can see, so they take it off.
Many people say that road helmets are more aerodynamic, but an mtb helmet is just as aerodynamic as a normal helmet once you take off the visor. It’s important to note that most visors can be taken off. So, maybe visors don’t really do anything at all.
Mountain bike helmets have a bit more coverage at the back, which is another change that is often mentioned.
The amount of vents on both types of helmets is a point of debate. Depending on what you read and where you read it, you can find many different answers.
Most people agree that mountain bike helmets have more air holes than road bike helmets. Still, some people say that road bike helmets let in the most air because riders often have to wait at traffic lights in the middle of traffic. You can scratch your head about that one if you want to.
If traffic light stops mean that road bike helmets need more vents, think about the users who have chosen to wear a commuter bike helmet, which has very few vents.
Some people said that mtb helmets are lighter generally because they are made of lighter materials. While others were adamant that road cycling helmets were lighter because they had more vents and road racers chose lighter helmets.
The idea here is that mountain bike helmets are much more durable because they have to protect against harder impacts like rocks and trees. I’m sorry, but I don’t believe you. Yes, rocks and trees are not soft, but neither are bitumen roads, cars, curbs, and many other things a road bicycle could hit.
Even though a mountain bike helmet may look different from a road bike helmet, they both do the same thing, which is to cover your head.
Helmets for both mountain bikes and road bikes have the CPSC 1203 certification. (And that has nothing to do with how many vents, how heavy it is, whether or not it has visors, etc.). That means that both kinds of helmets go through the same safety tests and are approved to the same safety standard, giving riders the same level of protection.
If you want to sign up for a road race or a mountain biking event, the rules generally say that you have to wear a CPSC 1203 certified helmet or something similar. The rules don’t say that the helmet has to have at least 27 holes, weigh at least 300 grams, or be orange with blue spots. Why? Because it doesn’t matter how many vents, grams, visors, or colors the helmet has as long as it is approved to the right safety standard.