Consumer Reports

How Consumer Reports tests bike helmets

Helmets can significantly reduce your risk of serious injury if you fall or have an accident

NBC Universal, Inc.

A helmet is a must if you ride a bike, no matter your age, type of bike, or how you use it. Helmets can significantly reduce your risk of serious injury if you fall or have an accident. But as Consumer Reports explains, the helmet has to hold up to protect you when you need it most.

Inside Consumer Reports’ bike helmet testing lab, experts pull no stops when evaluating helmets, literally dropping helmets from the sky.

Testers hoist helmets approximately six and a half feet up into the air and drop them at about 14 miles per hour onto a steel anvil to simulate how a biker might fall in an accident.

They do that four times, impacting the front, side, rear, and crown of the helmet. Testers also check the chinstraps, ensuring they properly secure the helmet during an accident.

CR tests the strength of the chinstraps, attachment points, and buckles by dropping a weight that’s just under 9 pounds 2 feet so that it yanks on the straps to simulate the force of a crash.

Good protection is great, but if the helmet is uncomfortable to wear, it will likely stay at home. So, CR’s testers also check for ventilation, fit adjustments, ease of use, and other features.

After all this testing, topping CR’s adult helmet scores is the Trek Starvos WaveCel, which aced almost every test but at the price of over $100.

The Ozark Trail Adult Helmet is a more budget-friendly option, costing around $20. It earned perfect test scores for impact absorption and ease of use.

For kids, the Bontrager Tyro, which costs around $55, got top marks for impact absorption, ventilation, and ease of use.

Another safety-focused option you might want to consider: No matter the type of helmet, replace it if it’s been in an accident, experienced any high impact, or is more than five years old.

For more information on choosing the best bike helmet that fits you, we’ve added the Consumer Reports Buying Guide to our website.

Contact Us