Selecting the appropriate helmet for your sport is crucial when you are planning to hit the road at high speed. But what helmet should you pick? For a long time, the debate between skate helmets and bike helmets has worked up a lot of mind engines.
In what ways do they differ? Which one is more lightweight? Are they durable? Identical performance? Which one provides better protection? If these questions also come into your mind, then continue reading the whole article to get your answers.
- What exactly are the differences between a skate helmet and bike helmet?
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Final Words
Many people often mistake all helmets as the same and even assume that every helmet performs in an identical way. But, if there was any truth to this, this article would not have existed.
Besides the evident visual discrepancy, skate and bike helmets differ in many aspects. Each is designed exclusively, with a different set of features, which enables them to carry out its function effectively against the varying cycling and skating impacts. Some of the noteworthy ones are:
As stated above, both of these helmets are constructed to safeguard your head against different kinds of impacts, and it would not be wrong to say that their inner lining reflects this objective.
Skateboard helmets are usually lined with a special foam, Expanded Polypropylene (EPP). This squishy and rubbery material is designed to absorb multiple energies and can reshape slowly after the absorption.
Bike helmets, on the other hand, often have Expanded PolyStyrene (EPS), which is commonly known as Styrofoam, as their inner lining.
Unlike EPP, EPS can be easily crushed and thus cannot reclaim its original state after a hefty blow. This means that you will have to fetch a new bike helmet once it has suffered a major impact and should not reuse the damaged one to obtain better safety.
The Outer Shell
Skate helmets usually have a stronger outer shell compared to bicycle helmets. They often are constructed from fiberglass or carbon fiber with para-aramid strengthening.
These carbon fibers possess high tensile strength, low weight to strength distribution, and increased stiffness that enables the skating headgear to combat abrasions and to not crack from repeated collisions.
Bicycle helmets utilize a more lightweight covering. Their external shell is usually made from only a thin plastic layer. In these single-impact enduring headwear, the EPS padding has the major hand in protecting the head, rather than the shell. It is also because cycling is a more speed-oriented sport, so a lighter gear means the faster speed of the cyclist.
Design and head coverage
The shape and design of helmets in the skating family is relatively consistent; be it freestyle skating, longboarding, or street skateboarding.
Skate helmets comes in a round and steady shape that fully covers the crown of the wearer from their forehead to the down back of the head, where the skaters are most likely to be hit if they fall. This lower back covering is a distinct feature of skating headwear that provides its users with protection against multiple back falls.
While, the framework of bike helmets fluctuates vastly according to the respective sport the user is playing. Track cycling, mountain biking, and road cycling, each requires a certain helmet to be worn for optimum safety.
Road cycling helmets frequently possess a more elongated frame that does not go down enough to shield the neck of the rider.
Track cycling helmets acquire an even more streamlined and smooth shape with no vent holes. Mountain biking helmets resemble to full-face motorcycle helmets but have higher ventilation capacity.
And lastly, BMX racing helmets are more analogous to cycling helmets, while BMX freestyling is more identical to skate boarding, which makes it preferable to wear a skate helmet during it.
Visor or no visor?
Because skating venues are usually a controlled environment and the skater does not face any harsh environmental circumstances, skate helmets do not have a visor. Same thing applies to the conventional road cycling helmets. However, if the road cyclist sees the necessity for eye protection, they can always wear a set of sunglasses.
In opposition, mountain biking helmets, being full-face headgear, feature a visor to defend the biker against harmful sun rays, dirt, wind, rain, and bugs from the trail.
Even though track cyclists ride indoors, yet their helmets always have an integrated visor. In this scenario, the visor is not there for protection against environmental factors, but for aerodynamic optimization.
Comparatively, bike helmets have more ventilation holes and better aeration than skate helmets due to the fact that cycling is more physically exhausting than skating and can leave the user gasping for air.
The crown of bike helmets is built around aerodynamics and ventilation, while skateboarding helmets mostly only have five to eight vents since skaters do not have to concern about pace and acceleration as much as cyclists. They also don’t have to ride for extended durations unlike cyclists, nor have to worry about cooling their body.
Skating is well-known for its vast range of day-to-day skatewear fashion styles. For this reason, manufacturers put a lot of effort in putting all sorts of designs and tones on their helmets. The polished, round shape with limited vents of skate helmets also facilitate its decoration and customization.
In contrast, cycling fashion is more directed towards performance and efficiency. Biking headwear does not carry a smooth surface, but its excessive aeration system can be a great basis for many sleek and modern optical effects.
It is slightly unfair to compare sole-impact biking helmets of plain durability against multiple-impact headwear. Skate helmets, obviously, can endure more blows and hits than regular bike helmets. It is because they have distinct functions and have been constructed accordingly.
Whether you are planning to buy a helmet for skateboarding or biking, it is important to check if it meets the set safety standards for its type. This certification determines the safety of a helmet and ensures that it is legal to use in any specific country. You can check the certification by reading the label on your helmet.
Since skating is much more dangerous and prone to falls than biking, your helmet must have high durability and resistance against these impacts. The most common certification for this is the American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM).
On the other hand, Consumer Product Safety Standard (CPSC) certification indicates that any helmet is able to withstand a single major impact at high speed. This is suitable for bicycling because once you have mastered it, there are little to no chances of you falling or getting into severe accidents.
Some helmets are designed to meet both the CPSC and ASTM safety standards. They are the most versatile helmets and fit for skating and biking without any injuries!
Can You Use a Skateboard Helmet for Biking?
Although it comes with certain flaws and restrictions, you can still use a skateboard helmet for biking. These helmets offer much better safety than biking helmets but cost you in terms of poor ventilation and not aerodynamic shapes.
Along with the discomfort and heat inside your helmet, skating helmets don’t go well with cycling suits. They ruin the look of your outfit but at the same time, the included visor helps shield your eyes from harmful UV rays and other environmental factors as opposed to biking helmets.
So, to sum up, skating helmets are suitable for biking if you can compromise on the ventilation and off-putting look of your bicycling suit.
Can You Use A Bike Helmet For Skateboarding?
In contrast to using a skating helmet for biking, we do not recommend doing the opposite while skateboarding. Biking helmets are resistant to only one major impact and worth way more than skating helmets.
If you plan on using a biking helmet for skating, be prepared to watch hundreds of dollars go down the drain as soon as the first or second injury hits you while you are skating.
Bicycling helmets also have much lower safety than skating helmets and do not contain any protective cover for the back of your head. They also lack a visor to protect from environmental conditions and do not adapt well to the needs of skateboarding.
Therefore, while you can use a skating helmet for biking, a bike helmet cannot be used for skateboarding in any condition. A better decision would be to opt for a helmet that bears both the CPSC and ASTM certifications.
Which type of helmet is the safest?
If safety while riding on your cycle or motorbike is very important to you, always go for a full-face modular helmet. As its name suggests, this helmet covers all parts of your head from the front until the chin area. It is made from durable and sturdy material which resists impacts while containing a visor for optimal vision.
You can determine the safety of any helmet by checking its certification. Generally, a DOT, ECE, ASTM or CPSC label is used for legal and safe use within the US and Europe whereas a SNELL certificate guarantees the highest level of head safety.
How do I choose a helmet?
No matter what riding style you plan to use it for, there are a few factors that help pick the right helmet for you. The first should be its shell size. Your desired helmet should have a snug fit and stay secure on your head at high velocities.
Always make sure that the helmet you pick matches your preferred riding style and offers the safety of your head. If you will be landing yourself in many accidents, opt for a skate helmet with ASTM certification.
Investing in a good helmet is as important as becoming a pro at riding a motorcycle, skateboard, or bike. It is the single most important gear that is responsible for protecting your brain and therefore, should never be compromised on and only bought after detailed research on the subject.
And with that being said, we have reached the end of our article about the comparison between skate helmets and bike helmets. Given the major differences between their features and technology, we hope by now you know which is the right helmet for your desired riding style and lives up to your expectations.
We wish you a comfy, safe, and exciting riding experience with your helmet!