Skateboard Helmet Vs Bike Helmet – What’s The Difference?
If you are facing a buying headache between a skateboard helmet vs bike helmet, this article is for you. We will give you a comprehensive comparison between the two types of headgear.
There are differences in safety standards, materials, ventilation, etc. This distinction comes from the purpose of those helmets as well as the characteristics of the two sports.
It’s crucial to use specialized protective gear while playing any sport. However, you can use some of these helmets interchangeably, given that they satisfy safety requirements.
The Differences Between Skateboard Helmets And Bike Helmets
The first distinction we want to address between a skateboard helmet vs bike helmet is safety standards. Different types of helmets have to comply with different regulations.
These standards can be compulsory or voluntary. You can find out your helmet adheres to which regulations by checking the labels on them.
In general, skate helmets are made to withstand more than one impact because of the nature of skating. Skaters often fall multiple times during their attempts to perform increasingly difficult maneuvers.
Meanwhile, cyclists rarely get into accidents once they have got the fundamentals down. So bicycle helmets tend to survive only a single severe crash.
As mentioned above, these two types of headgear are supposed to protect you against different kinds of accidents. Their inner materials reflect their purposes.
Skateboard helmets use a rubbery foam that can reshape slowly after absorbing an impact. In most cases, the foam is Expanded Polypropylene (EPP).
Bike helmets often have Expanded PolyStyrene (EPS) for their inner lining. You may have known it under the name Styrofoam. But Styrofoam is only a brand of this material.
Unlike EPP, EPS is crushable and cannot restore to its original form after a hard blow. That means you will have to get a new bike helmet once it has endured a major impact.
The Outer Shell
The outer shell of skate helmets is generally stronger than bicycle helmets. They often contain carbon fiber or fiberglass with para-aramid reinforcement.
These fibers have high tensile strength, stiffness, and low weight to strength ratio. Because of that, skate headwear can resist abrasion and won't crack from multiple collisions.
Bicycle headgears employ a more lightweight exterior. Their shell usually is a thin layer of plastic.
In these single-impact helmets, the EPS foam does most of the work. It is also because cycling focuses more on speed. The lighter the gear, the faster the cyclist can go.
The shape of helmets across the skating sports family, whether skateboarding, longboarding, or freeline skateboarding, is quite consistent.
Skate helmets have a round and smooth shape. They cover the dome of users from their forehead to the lower back of the head.
The lower back part is a distinctive feature of these headwears. It provides wearers with protection against repeated backward falls.
Meanwhile, bike helmets vary depending on the exact sport that the wearer is playing. There are different helmets for road cycling, mountain biking, and track cycling.
Road cycling helmets often have a more elongated shape and don't go down to cover the wearer’s neck. Track cycling helmets are even more streamlined and don't have vent holes but a smooth surface.
Mountain biking helmets are similar to full-face motorcycle helmets but have more space for ventilation.
Even though BMX is played with a bike, it has a cultural and technical overlap with skateboarding. BMX racing is more similar to cycling, while BMX freestyling has more in common with skateboarding and roller skating.
If you play BMX dirt jump, you should wear a mountain biking helmet. On the other hand, skate helmets are more popular in BMX freestyling.
Visor Or No Visor?
Skateboarding headwear doesn't have a visor. It is because skaters don't face any environmental elements that require one. Skateboarding venues are not hostile and usually are a controlled environment.
Same thing applies to road cycling helmets. If road cyclists feel the need for eye protection, they often wear a pair of sunglasses.
Being a full-face helmet, mountain biking headwears often come with a visor. It protects wearers from the sun, wind, rain, dirt, and bugs from the track.
Even though track cyclists compete indoors, they always have a visor integrated into their headgear. In this case, the visor is there for aerodynamic optimization.
With the exception of track cycling helmets, there are more holes for ventilation in bike helmets than in skate helmets. Whether it is road biking or mountain biking, cycling is more physically demanding than skating.
The dome of bike helmets is designed around ventilation and aerodynamics, while skate helmets often only have 6 to 8 vents. Skaters don't have to worry about speed as much as cyclists.
They also don't perform for a long duration as cyclists. No skater has to cool down their body with a bottle of water while riding.
You can find a whole day-to-day fashion style called skatewear. Even though helmets are not a prominent style element, clothing and accessories have a very important place in skating culture.
As a result, manufacturers put all kinds of patterns and colors on their helmets. The smooth, round shape with few vents of skaters customize skate helmets also promote decoration and customization.
Meanwhile, cycling fashion focuses intensely on performance efficiency. Bike helmets don't have a smooth surface, but this excessive ventilation scheme can be a great ground for many cool optical effects.
See also: Top 11+ Best Kids Skateboard Helmet in 2021
It is a little bit unfair to judge single-impact headgears for plain durability against multiple-impact headgears. Skate helmets, of course, can withstand more blows than bike helmets.
It is because they serve different purposes and have constructions according to their purposes. If anything, a comparison on durability only has meaning when we factor in their ability to be used interchangeably.
Can You Use a Skateboard Helmet for Biking?
The answer is yes. Skateboard helmets can adequately protect you from biking accidents.
The downside is that skate helmets don't have good ventilation and are not very streamlined. So they are more suitable for leisure cycling.
It would feel like an oven on your head after an hour of riding. Wearing a skate helmet with a cycling suit would also be very off-putting.
Another is that bike helmets don't have visors. It is safer to ride a mountain track with a bike helmet and a pair of goggles. So at high speed, environmental factors won't get into your eyes.
But if you are planning to wear one for BMX freestyling, you can certainly perform at the highest level without worrying about being injured. It would be a norm.
Can You Use A Bike Helmet For Skateboarding?
There is more to concern when wearing a bike helmet for skating. First is its ability to adapt to the needs of skateboarding. Wearing a track cycling helmet outside of the track is just silly.
A full-face mountain biking helmet would seem overkill. Road cycling helmets won't block your vision, but they often don't cover the lower back of the head.
The second and the more important thing is that bike helmets are single-impact headgears. They cost a lot too. Top-of-the-line bike helmets can cost up to $500.
Just one fall and hundreds of dollars are thrown out the window. And skating without falling is as hard as doing a 720 degrees mid-air rotation Tony Hawk style.
Skateboard helmet vs bike helmet is a comparison of two types of head protective gear with many differences. They have different functions and therefore have different features.
One is multiple-impact helmets with durability and many potentials for fashion use. The other is aerodynamic, performance-centric, and single-impact helmets that stand out with great ventilation.
You can use skateboard helmets for biking. But due to its lack of visor and ventilation, you may not be comfortable wearing a skate helmet while riding competitively. There is an exception for BMX riding.
We would not recommend you to wear bike helmets for skating. It is because they are single-impact and don't always protect the occipital bone area.