Before buying any bike helmet, you must understand it well. So, what are bike helmets made of? What are bike helmet materials? The following article will help you answer these questions. Let’s find out together.
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Bike Helmet Materials
For cycling lovers, bike helmets are an indispensable companion. A good helmet will ensure the safety of its wearer. Usually, bike helmet parts are made from different materials.
- The Lining: Expanded Polypropylene (EPP), Expanded Polyurethane (EPU or PU), Expanded Polystyrene Foam (EPS).
- The Shell: ABS with PET markings, polycarbonate, other resins or Kevlar, fiberglass.
What are Bike Helmets Made of?
Typically, a bike helmet comprises three different parts, the liner, the case, and the strap. Currently, helmet linings are produced using 3D printers and new manufacturing techniques. The manufacturers will then attach it to a complete outer shell. Users can request to print the lining separately to fit their head size best. If you want to know what bike helmet materials are, check this out.
Expanded Polystyrene Foam
Many people mistakenly believe that the shell is the most critical part of a bike helmet, but it is the lining. This unit acts as a soft foam layer to protect the head from substantial impacts.
Manufacturers mainly use Expanded Polystyrene foam (or EPS for short) to mold the lining of helmets. However, lower prices are always preferred. In the United States, sales of bicycle helmets skewed toward lower-priced models.
The helmet industry also has foam shops specializing in manufacturing EPS parts, and all apply this technology. The EPS beads are expanded by placing them in the mold to expose them to pressure and steam. They will slowly expand when acted on like that.
To produce a complete bike helmet, the manufacturer must apply the technique of connecting the mold to the adjacent parts. The inside of each helmet is carefully reinforced with small holes to ensure ventilation for the wearer.
However, each manufacturer has different proprietary techniques. Some of the common materials they use are polypropylene or nylon. In addition, some brands also apply reinforcement technology with metal or metal mesh.
In the late 1980s, people applied nylon mesh reinforcement to Protec Mirage helmets. The foam had covered the reinforcement entirely to the point that the crew did not even notice its existence. One thing to keep in mind is that the large vents should stay in place even under impact.
The EPS density layer will affect the impact on the helmet. Soft layers will protect the wearer from light impacts. On the contrary, substantial impacts will not be affected thanks to the stiffer layers. In addition, bike helmets improve impact resistance by changing the density of the vents or some other part.
Besides EPS, manufacturers also apply other foam technology such as Expanded Polyurethane (PU) or Expanded Polypropylene (EPP). Each method has its unique manufacturing technology.
Cheap helmets have relatively simple shells. Manufacturers usually stamp PET or some similar plastic material. If you do not know, PET is the plastic used to hold bottled water. The manufacturer will attach this plastic layer to the lining. To increase aesthetics, they also border this plastic around the edge.
The more expensive helmets are, the more reliable the manufacturing technology is. First, they extend the lining from the seed. Then melt PET or another high-quality plastic to fuse into the shell. These fabrication techniques require meticulousness, but manufacturers can fit five shells into the mold for added safety. Also, since the shell is attached to the liner in the mold, glue is not needed.
Thanks to this technique, the bike helmet becomes stronger and stronger. The vents are also more to ensure ventilation for the wearer.
Each type of helmet is made from a different material. For skate helmets, the preferred materials are polycarbonate and ABS. In contrast, BMX helmets are made with more rigid materials.
The manufacturer will apply a layer of epoxy on Kevlar, carbon fiber, or fiberglass to create a solid material. If people usually cast ABS, the composite shell is handcrafted from the skills of professional workers.
Currently, the materials for making bike helmets are expanding more and more than before. These materials are much more advanced than before, such as UHMWP or ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene. Their ability to block bullets is much better than composite.
The strap of bike helmets must be secure so that it does not slip or break. A preferred material is a polypropylene or rugged nylon fabric. Most helmets share the same design.
However, manufacturers will use fabrics, sewing techniques and add a few details to create a unique finish. People attach the strap to the lining and then glue the outer shell on it. The helmet’s strap is crossed across the liner to ensure stability. The shell is wholly encased on the outside. This method is only suitable for bike helmets that use shell glue.
This method is not suitable for more advanced techniques because the high temperature will damage the mesh fabric during the molding process. Once removed from the mold, the manufacturer will thread the strap through with a fixed anchor at the top. Besides the strap, the manufacturer also equips an occipital stabilizer for the helmets. You can adjust it to fit your head.
Finally, the primary strap connection is the buckle. Buckles are usually made from Fastex nylon or rigid plastic with a latch. Besides, the D-ring is also quite popular for BMX cyclists.
After the helmet parts are made, the manufacturer will assemble them to create a finished product. This stage is usually done manually by craftsmen. It helps the manufacturer save money. Most bike helmets will be assembled in China. The few remaining are of European and American origin.
Finishing the Product
To make the helmet more eye-catching, many brands include many other accessories. For fitness lovers, helmets with a visor on top are a great choice. Besides, cyclists can add accessories such as lights, earplugs, cat ears, rabbit ears, or assistive devices.
Why is It Essential to Choose Bike Helmet Materials?
The most prominent advantage is safety. If you use inadequate quality bike helmet materials, it will not protect you. Bike helmet materials of high quality help you avoid bumps. Plus, you can save money and time by not having to replace your helmet as often.
For cyclists, the leading cause of death is head injury. Rigid helmets can reduce the risk of injury in the most critical body by up to 85%. Besides the bike helmet, there is no other way to prevent accidents.
Boost Your Confidence
If that helmet is made from high-quality materials, you will undoubtedly feel much more confident riding a bike. It can be said that wearing a low-quality helmet is superfluous. Wearing a helmet is not only safety protection but also a way of expressing personal style. You can completely attach funny stickers, add a few accessories to make the helmet more eye-catching. Moreover, choose sturdy materials with youthful colors to satisfy your preferences.
Keep Your Head Warm and Dry
Bike helmet materials are an essential factor when choosing a helmet because it contributes to your riding experience. High-quality materials both ensure safety and provide ventilation for the wearer. When you are cycling in hot weather, a helmet keeps your head dry. On the contrary, it provides warmth in low temperatures.
What are suitable bike helmet materials?
Today, most bicycle helmets have a three-part construction, a thin lining, a hard outer shell, and a strap. Manufacturers will use polypropylene (EPS) or polystyrene to create a lining that is not too thick. The outer shell needs to be solid and durable, so polycarbonate or Kevlar is a good choice.
Is carbon fiber suitable for bike helmet materials?
Many brands consider carbon fiber as the primary material for making helmets. Carbon fiber is much stronger and more reliable than many other materials. In addition, the shell of bike helmets is also more durable when connecting Kevlar with carbon fiber.
Why is rigid foam suitable for making bike helmets?
The current bike helmets often use rigid foam to make the inner lining. Although the market has many types of foam with different quality, manufacturers still prefer EPS the most. This material can handle many situations. For example, it elastics between strong and light depending on the magnitude of the impact. Besides the low cost, foam also ensures ventilation.
What parts do bike helmets include?
A standard bicycle helmet will consist of a few of the most critical parts. These parts are all made from high-quality materials to ensure the safety of cyclists:
- Hardshell (usually made of fiberglass, ABS, or Kevlar)
- Lining (usually made from EPS)
- Front and rear guards
- Head guard
- Strap and adjustment mechanism
- Ventilation holes ensure ventilation
- Chin protection
One of the factors that determine the endurance of a helmet is the bike helmet materials. Cutting-edge technology now allows buyers to choose between a variety of materials, styles, and colors. Manufacturers also actively innovate their products so that users have the best experience. Lightweight and robust materials increasingly enhance the quality of helmets.
Hopefully, through this article, you have found the appropriate answer to the question: “what are bike helmets made of?” to choose the most suitable helmet.