Having an enjoyable experience for bikers and skateboarders depends on quality gear because safety is of utmost importance.
And when it comes to gear, it is an unarguable fact that the helmet is a crucial piece of equipment for skateboarding and biking. While helmets provide head protection, the level of protection they offer varies due to differences in their construction, which can make it quite confusing for you to pick one.
That’s why I’ve put together this detailed guide on the subject to help you understand the differences between a skateboard helmet vs. bike helmet. So, let’s get started!
Can I Use A Skateboard Helmet For Biking?
Yes, but only a few. You can wear a skateboard helmet that meets the CPSC and ASTM F1492 standards for biking. Skateboard helmets, also known as “multi-impact” helmets, are designed to reduce risk arising from multi-impact activity. While bicycle helmets are built as “single-impact” helmets, they only provide protection from just a single fall.
Not to worry, we’re going to clear it all up follow.
Skateboard Helmet vs. Bike Helmet, What’s The Difference?
Being designed for different purposes, both skate helmets and bike helmets come with varying features to efficiently provide the highest level of protection.
The main differences between a skate helmet and a bike helmet are impact protection and ventilation. Skateboard helmets are designed to protect your head from multiple impacts. Bike helmets have to withstand a single impact and provide better ventilation than skateboard helmets.
Helmets are divided into two main categories: single-impact helmets and multiple-impact helmets. Various sports have different helmet safety standards, and helmets that do not meet the guidelines for a particular activity should not be used for that purpose.
A single-impact helmet is mostly made with an EPS foam liner, which crushes upon impact to absorb energy. Once the EPS foam is crushed, it cannot be used again, and the helmet must be replaced. The Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) material is cheap, lightweight, and good at energy transfer during high-speed impacts making it ideal for racing and mountain biking where speed is a primary concern.
On the other hand, multiple-impact helmets are created with reinforced ABS shells combined with a dual-density EPS inside layer, which effectively spreads the force of an impact over a wider area. These helmets can’t absorb the high impact energies from a severe head injury as they are usually not thicker than a single-impact helmet. However, they will bounce back after a hit, so they protect against smaller and repeated impacts and falls usually happen when riding a skateboard.
Impact protection is not the only safety consideration for different activities. Skateboarders need more coverage than bikers because they are more likely to fall on their backs or sides. A good skateboard helmet will have more foam padding on the sides and back of the head than a bike helmet.
BMX helmets and downhill mountain bikes provide full-face coverage since bikes on such rough terrains jump a lot while traveling at high speed. Some mountain bikes also provide protection to the back of the head for the same purpose.
However, despite offering greater protection, full-face bike helmets are not meant for general biking or skateboarding purposes. This is because they tend to be heavier, are not very comfortable, and trap heat more effectively.
In addition, regular road bike helmets do not provide coverage to the back of the head, as road bikers rarely fall off backward from the bike. Hence, they are different from skateboard helmets that are designed specially for providing protection when the wearer falls off backward.
Both skateboard helmets and bike helmets are available in a wide variety of styles, so you can select the one which you like the most.
I found that the style of the helmet is affected by the presence of visors and vents. Visors are generally present on mountain bike helmets to provide protection from the sun, while vents are present on regular bikes.
Skateboard helmets usually do not have vents and visors, though some manufacturers might provide a small removable visor. Despite that, casual commuters, as well as off-road bikers, can be seen with skateboard helmets since they look much more stylish. What’s more, such helmets are suitable for all manner of outdoor activities ranging from skateboarding to skating and even snowboarding.
Thus, it would be fair to say that people have a preference for skateboard helmets than for bike helmets. However, keep in mind that while style is undoubtedly an important consideration, the priority should always be the level of protection that a helmet offers.
Vents are usually present on bike helmets for cooling purposes, as well as for enhancing the appearance of these helmets. Regular road bike helmets tend to have the most number of vents as bike riders heat up more, especially during longer rides. Since the head is almost constantly exposed to the sun, such users need to have better airflow for efficient cooling.
However, skateboard helmets are designed for aerodynamics and usually have fewer vents to reduce air drag. That said, some mountain bikers use helmets with fewer or no vents, making them similar to skateboard helmets in this respect.
MIPS Helmet Technology
The MIPS (multi-directional impact protection system) technology is becoming more and more common in both skateboard helmets as well as bike helmets. It’s a low-friction layer present between the EPS and the helmet’s shell.
This layer helps to reduce rotational forces that are imparted on the head during a crash. Skateboarders and bikers can both benefit from this technology as it can help to reduce the risk of brain injuries.
You might be interested in this article: Best MIPS Bike Helmets of 2022
Whether you use a bike for commuting to work or spend your free time skateboarding around the block, wearing proper protective gear guarantees safety.
There is always a chance of accidents taking place, and the best way to deal with them is to be prepared beforehand. For activities such as skateboarding and biking, this makes even more sense as they involve greater risk, and the chances of accidents are higher.
When looking for protective gear such as helmets, keeping in mind, the key differences between the two and the performance they offer can help you find the perfect helmet.