Road biking is a great way to stay fit and decrease your carbon footprint, but it does require some investment in special road biking equipment.
All of the equipment can rack up quite a bill, so it’s understandable if you want to minimize your expenses where you can. For instance, use a mountain bike helmet you already have instead of buying a new road bike helmet.
But can you use a mountain bike helmet for road biking?
You can use a mountain bike helmet for road biking since it still protects your head well. However, its weight and lack of aerodynamics might feel awkward to use while road biking.
So, if you road bike often, it’s better to invest in a road bike helmet.
What Is a Mountain Bike Helmet?
First things first, let’s get to know what a mountain bike helmet is like!
A mountain bike helmet is made specifically for mountain bikers, and thus it is made with more rugged and bumpy terrain in mind.
Because of how rough mountain biking can be, mountain bikers have to take more precautions to protect themselves – especially their heads – from accidents.
After all, it only takes one bump in the road to send you flying! One accident without the proper headgear, and you may end up with a nasty injury.
So, to protect mountain bikers, mountain bike helmets are made to be extra sturdy.
They are also designed in such a way that they stay completely still, even during bumpy rides, so that they don’t jostle against your head.
Mountain bike helmets also come with large vents, which allow for more airflow to your head.
These vents are essential in keeping your head cool. Mountain biking over rough terrains requires a lot of physical exertion that can cause your head to overheat. The vents help dissipate the heat.
Finally, mountain bike helmets come with a visor, which jut out from the front of the helmet.
This visor shields your eyes from direct sunlight so that you can clearly see the path in front of you.
It also helps protect your face from any debris or branches that you may be unable to avoid, especially on more rugged terrain.
What Kind of Helmet Is Ideal for Road Biking?
A road bike helmet is (obviously) ideal when it comes to road biking.
Designed specifically for road biking, road bike helmets are meant to protect your head while helping you be as aerodynamic as possible.
Through their aerodynamic design, road bike helmets help you ride more efficiently. This, in turn, enables you to ride faster and with less effort, so you can get to your destination as quickly as possible.
Road bike helmets also have a light and compactbuild, making them feel like a second skin rather than a bulky object on your head. This makes road biking much more comfortable.
However, these design perks come at the cost of other features.
The biggest sacrifice in terms of comfort is the vents in the helmet. To maintain its aerodynamic design, a road bike helmet has small vents.
Road biking is meant to be fast and efficient, so protecting your head from overheating is less of an issue since you won’t be on the road for long.
Another sacrifice is the lack of a visor since a visor juts out from the front of the helmet, increasing its drag.
However, this also decreases eye protection. Although you don’t have to worry about branches and debris when biking on roads, you do have to worry about sunlight.
Instead, some road bike helmets offer clip-on eye shields that protect your eyes and give you the flexibility of removing them if needed.
Can You Use a Mountain Bike Helmet for Road Biking?
Now that we know the ins and outs of mountain and road bike helmets, it’s time to answer our main question: can you use a mountain bike helmet for road biking?
The short answer is: yes, you can use a mountain bike helmet for road biking.
After all, it is still a helmet. Some protection for your head is always better than none, especially on busy roads where you may get into an accident.
And if you already have a helmet for mountain biking and don’t want to invest in one for road biking, it would save you money.
However, if you plan to frequently ride your bike on the road, buying a road bike helmet would be better.
Although mountain bike helmets will work in a jiffy, they are made for a different riding environment.
And, for your safety and enjoyment, it is always best to buy a helmet that is specially designed for the terrain you are biking on.
What Are the Cons of Using a Mountain Bike Helmet for Road Biking?
The biggest con of using a mountain bike helmet instead of a road bike helmet is its weight.
Since a mountain bike helmet is built to be extra sturdy for protection in rugged terrain, it is also heavier.
At best, this may make you feel awkward when road biking. At worst, it may tire your head out after a long ride.
Another con is the aerodynamics of a mountain bike helmet – or, rather, the lack of aerodynamics.
With its visor, large vents, and bulky shape, a mountain bike helmet isn’t as aerodynamic as one for road biking.
Because of this, it catches more wind resistance and increases the amount of drag that you experience.
A mountain bike helmet is a helmet that is designed to be extra sturdy and stable, as well as have large vents and a visor.
A road bike helmet is ideal for road biking since it has an aerodynamic design, with small vents, no visor, and a light and compact build.
You can use a mountain bike helmet for road biking, but it will be more awkward.
The main cons of using a mountain bike helmet for road biking are its weight and lack of aerodynamics.
If you plan on road biking a lot, we recommend investing in a road bike helmet. But if this is a one-time thing, a mountain bike helmet will work just fine!