Choosing the Best Touring Biking Helmet

Choosing the Right Helmet for your Tour

I wear a simple Bell on my rides.

Learn how to choose the best biking helmet for your next bicycle tour. Whether you’re biking around town or across America, you need a comfy, protective helmet.

I’ve never been in a serious bike accident, but after a few years of biking through the heart of Boston,I’ve certainly come close. My daily commute is ten miles round trip, and I always wear a helmet no matter what.

However, on shorter trips, I used to skip the helmet for the sake of my hairdo. I figured since I wasn’t going very far or very fast, I’d be able to catch myself in the event of an accident.

A very minor disaster taught me that I was very wrong.

After meeting friends for dinner down the street on Halloween three years ago, I was biking home by myself. As I took a turn into my driveway, my tire slipped on wet leaves and got caught on the lip of the sidewalk.

I went down surprisingly hard, and I felt my head slam against my outstretched arm.

After getting up and cleaning out the scrapes, it occurred to me that my head would have bounced on the pavement had my arm not landed in the ideal position.

Since then I wear a helmet no matter how short my ride will be. Even though cars, speed or dangerous conditions weren’t involved, I could have been seriously injured.

The moral of the story is that you should wear a helmet on every ride, whether it’s a long tour or a short trip. As far as touring helmets go, there are a few qualities you should look for. My own helmet is simple and affordable (pictured above!)

Features to Look For When Buying a Touring Bike Helmet

Every brand of bike helmet sold in the United States meets important safety regulations, so you don’t need to worry too much about that. However, there are a few things you should look for when you purchase a touring bike helmet.


There are many different styles of helmets you can choose from. People often prefer the look of these egg-shaped helmets, or “skater” helmets. They certainly offer protection, but they’re not well ventilated.

I wore a round helmet when I first started biking in Boston to look cool. I definitely did, but when I arrived at my destination I was always a sweaty mess. Traditional bike helmets will keep your head cool and will make your whole ride more comfortable.

Weight and Aerodynamics

Especially if you’re trying to reach your destination under a certain amount of time, it’s a good idea that you choose a helmet that won’t weigh you down. Make sure your helmet is lightweight.

And if you’re biking through a country, weight and aerodynamics matter even more. The difference between this Giro helmet and this Bell helmet is 22 grams. When you’re cycling 300 miles, that’s an extra 23 grams over 300 miles.

Let me tell you: that weight adds up. Go light. Trust me.

Similarly, make sure it doesn’t affect your speed by catching the air. Think of your helmet like a sports car. There’s a reason a Ford F-150 van can’t reach the same speeds as a Ferrari, and it’s not just the engine. A sleeker helmet will allow you to reach higher speeds.


Once you choose the shape you’re interested in, you need to make sure it fits properly. Try it on and make sure when fully attached, it doesn’t slide at all. A sliding helmet won’t protect you in an accident.

You should also find a helmet that exceeds the tip of your nose. If you were to fall towards the pavement face-first, the helmet should hit the ground first.


Finally, if you’re investing in a new helmet, you might as well find one with the option for attachments. At some point, you might want to add a mirror for traffic safety or even a camera for recording your trip. Many attachments fit to any helmet, but it’s a good idea to check before making your purchase.

So, the most important things you should look out for when purchasing your next helmet for your bike tour are:

  • Proper ventilation
  • Lightweight
  • Good aerodynamics
  • Appropriate size
  • Options for attachments

I didn’t spend much at all on my own helmet but it does its job perfectly. The more you spend the better the helmet will be, but even a cheap one will keep you safe in an accident – and that’s the most important feature of all.

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We’d recommend buying your next touring bike helmet at one of these locations:

About Leanne

Leanne is a writer and musician living in Boston. Her interest in cycling was born when she realized how convenient biking in the city was, and it has evolved from there. Whether biking down the street for dinner or across the city for band practice with a bass on her back, Leanne has become an avid urban biker.


  1. […] If you are interested in a more affordable, traditional helmet check out our Guide to the Best Bike Touring Helmet. […]

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