by HBL Member, Anthony Chang
After a 14 year break, I started bicycling again in May. The most challenging aspect so far has not been relearning how to ride a bike or even the challenges that come with navigating the roads of Oahu… its been a finding a helmet that will fit my size Extra Large eastern shaped head. I found out many helmets are built for western shaped heads, which tend to be more oval, going from forehead to back of head circumference wise, versus Asian heads, which tend to be more sphere like, closer to perfect circles. This might not be a problem if you have a smaller head, but unfortunately measurement wise, my head has a 62cm circumference, 63cm so its not too tight, putting me into Extra Large helmet size range. As a commuter bicyclist and someone who just likes to be color coordinated, I wanted to get helmets that would match my various collared shirts and t-shirts, so I wanted to get multiple but without spending a lot of money. Since I’ve tried and purchased 3 helmets (brand, model name), Giant Compel, Giro Bronte, and Specialized Align. All three helmets look great and have 20+ vents to help your head breathe. My least favorite is the Giant Compel. It can squeeze the temple if not adjusted, making it uncomfortable, especially for longer rides, probably built more for western shaped heads. To date I have only worn it for 10 minute or less bike rides. The nice part, besides the way it looks, it has an option to add a light to back of the helmet (around $35), which attaches via magnet. It has 4 different modes of on, a fast strobe, slower strobe, or constantly on and only needs to be recharged after 3 to 4 hours of use I’ve been told the light dims over time. Locally, the Giant Compel can be bought at McCully Bike for around $30 + tax.
My second favorite is the Giro Bronte. It’s very comfortable to wear. While the chin strap is very soft, the clips slide off it too often for my liking. Locally, the Giro Bronte can be bought at McCully Bike for around $35 + tax. You can get a MIPS option online for $45-$50.
My favorite has been the Specialized Align. I felt it was the most comfortable helmet, even before I read it was signed after a version that was released in Japan. The chin strap stays in place, with the clips never moving. The back of the helmet has three reflector strips, so light should reflect if shined on the back of your head. I just also like the way they look the bests, from the side the more triangular shape evokes speed. Locally you can purchase these at the Bike Shop for $40, with MIPS option at the
store or online for $60 each.
*This article was prepared by Anthony Chang in his personal capacity. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of the Hawaii Bicycling League.