By now we all know the importance of wearing a helmet while riding our bikes, be it while training or when racing. So much research has been presented to us on the increased protection wearing one provides. Of course, there are a great many female cyclists in the world, and with a number of brands making women-specific cycling clothing and bikes, do women need women’s-specific helmets too?
As a woman myself, I’ve found that as long as a helmet fits me correctly I have (fortunately) always been safe and protected during a crash. Likewise, with teammates of mine, they’ve always just worn unisex helmets without any issues. However, with brands such as Bell and Liv offering sex-specific helmets, while the likes of Kask and Specialized do not, I wanted to know what other female cyclists think, and really get to the bottom of whether or not we need a different helmet from our male counterparts.
Many of the best road bike helmets designed for women will offer features such as ponytail compatibility at the back, with the aim to help riders with long hair easily tie it up without it affecting the way the helmet fits their head. This is of course important for safety given a helmet should fit correctly on your head to effectively protect it. This feature is unfortunately something some unisex helmets fail to consider, but it arguably isn’t really a gender issue, given that people of all genders can have long hair.
Separately, some of the women-specific helmets do offer slightly smaller sizes which can make all the difference if you have a small head. Countering this, many brands offer a Western and Asian fit, given the inherent differences in head shape between the two.
I got the chance to chat with the Cyclingnews Women’s Editor, Kirsten Frattini, on this topic and she told me that she doesn’t currently wear a women’s specific helmet.
“This is because I more recently found two adult (unisex) helmets; Kask Protone Icon and Abus Airbreaker, that fit very well, and so I went forward with these options,” she explained. This follows on from the approach that most of the women I race with have had: as long as a unisex helmet fits well, we’ve never encountered any issues.
Although, with that…
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