Five Steps to a Better Bike Helmet

It’s simple to design and build a bike helmet for maximum protection. But how do you engineer one that maximizes airflow and lightness for all-day riding comfort? One that cheats the wind to provide a boost of free speed? And fits your head so well that you may even forget you’re wearing it? These are the forces pushing and pulling at helmet manufacturers such as Rudy Project, who are ceaselessly bringing progressively safer, lighter, and faster helmets to cycling. Here’s how they do it.

Step 1: Build a Safer Bike Helmet

European and U.S. bike helmet safety ratings and certifications are based on forward crash tests. But real-world crash scenarios rarely play out as specifically as they do in a lab. Side impacts happen. While these crashes may not look as dramatically dangerous as a front impact, their potential for injury can be just as great. Enter Rudy Project’s rotational impact testing, performed in cooperation with accredited and notified bodies. By testing and measuring the performance of our helmets against rotational impacts, we address a critical cycling concern and lessen the chances of severe head injuries.

Step 2: Make a Bike Helmet Cool

Rudy Project uses the wind tunnel to design helmets that cheat the wind yet maximize airflow through the helmet. With removable plugs to regulate aerodynamics and ventilation depending on environmental conditions, a Rudy Project helmet, such as The Wing, will draw fresh air through the helmet and hot air out the back, boosting the evaporative cooling effect on the head.

Step 3: Shape a Faster Bike Helmet

The human head is one of the larger masses that cyclists push through the air, and it’s the body’s leading edge when pedaling with your hands in the drops of a road bike or in the aero position on a TT or triathlon bike. The holy grail for helmet designers is to create a helmet that slices through that air and will make a cyclist go faster without any additional effort. In fact, Rudy Project calculates that a top ironman-distance triathlete can shave almost 4.5 minutes off their bike leg simply by wearing their Wing helmet

Step 4: Dial-In a Custom Fit

With Rudy Project’s RSR 10 retention system, riders can dial in their perfect fit, adjusting the helmet size horizontally and vertically to accommodate a cycling cap, thermal beanie, or even a new, much shorter haircut. The beauty of the RSR 10 system is that adjustments can be made in seconds, even while on the bike. 

Step 5: Add Thoughtful Touches

Take care of Steps 1-4 above, and you end up with a stellar bike helmet. But Rudy Project wanted to give riders more. Hence, their thoughtful touches, such as the ability to hold sunglasses in the helmet if you’re on a long, hot climb and want to free up more face space to keep cooler. The touches continue with Rudy Project’s swappable helmet straps, an exclusive feature of the Protera+ MTB helmet, which make it a snap to wash the sweat and salt out of your straps and change colors to match your kit.

Together, these five steps to a better bike helmet produce lids that actually elevate your riding comfort and performance. As a critical piece of cycling gear, that’s a proposition that’s hard to beat.