Biking with a climbing helmet?


Original Post
Peace · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 30

Is there any reason that I shouldn't use a climbing helmet while biking. I'd rather only have one helmet, and a biking helmet isn't going to cut it for climbing. Is there any reason not to use a climbing helmet as a bike helmet?

Em Cos · · Boulder, CO · Joined Apr 2010 · Points: 5

Most climbing helmets are as ill-suited to cycling as cycling helmets are to climbing. The safest option would be to get a good helmet specifically designed for each sport.

If you must use a dual-purpose helmet, something like the Meteor III would be a better choice than the hard-shell suspension style.

https://www.petzl.com/US/EN/Sport/FAQ/is-METEOR-helmet-certified-for-cycling#.V_-1VvkrKUk

Apparently, though Petzl does not recommend it for cycling, it meets a European standard for a cycling helmet. Helmets designed primarily to protect you from objects falling from above would not be much help in a cycling fall, I would imagine.

Gavin W · · Surrey, BC · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 183

It's designed only for top impact (in most instances) and not side impact. There are a few designed for climbing and skiing (Camp Speed 2.0, Grivel Salamander, Petzl Meteor iii) that would work.

I would think you'd be better off using a BMX-style bike helmet for climbing than a traditional climbing helmet for biking.

John Wilder · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2004 · Points: 1,530
Peace wrote:Is there any reason that I shouldn't use a climbing helmet while biking. I'd rather only have one helmet, and a biking helmet isn't going to cut it for climbing. Is there any reason not to use a climbing helmet as a bike helmet?
They have different standards- bike helmets are rated for striking a flat surface, climbing helmets are rated for blunt object strikes. Not sure how that would translate, although I would suspect with some digging into the actual standards you could make a decent guess as to whether the climbing helmet could substitute.
Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,740
John Wilder wrote: They have different standards- bike helmets are rated for striking a flat surface, climbing helmets are rated for blunt object strikes. Not sure how that would translate, although I would suspect with some digging into the actual standards you could make a decent guess as to whether the climbing helmet could substitute.
True, but there is no guarantee that a climbing fall doesn't whack your noggin on a flat surface, nor a bike wreck dump you onto something non-flat (car door edge anyone?).

OP - I've worn my Petzl Meteor III for biking and I think it's just fine. But FWIW I also think "old school" style rock hats like the Petzl Ecrin Rock (no side impact shock absorption) are obsolete and not worth buying when other hats provide protection far beyond the top impact-only standard. I've also climbed in a good (i.e. hard shell + foam all around) bike helmet back when Ecrin-style helmets were the only thing available.
Lee Green · · Edmonton, Alberta · Joined Nov 2011 · Points: 50

Climbing helmets are basically hard hats, designed to distribute falling object impacts or strikes against edges or points over a wide area, preventing lacerations or skull fractures. They'll take multiple hits. Bike helmets are impact absorbers, designed to crush at a predictable rate (once - then get a new one) to dissipate energy and prevent concussion from deceleration. A microshell or hardshell bike helmet is usable for climbing, though not cost-effective because of their one-shot nature. A climbing helmet is best described as "better than nothing" for biking. It is of some value; it will not reduce your odds of concussion, but not nearly as much a bike helmet will.

There are multisport helmets, to which folks up-topic have referred. I've dithered about trying one. Between whitewater kayaking, rock climbing, mountain biking, and backcountry skiing, I seem to wear helmets a lot, and it would be nice to have one that did it all.

Jeremy B. · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2013 · Points: 0
Lee Green wrote:Climbing helmets are basically hard hats, designed to distribute falling object impacts or strikes against edges or points over a wide area, preventing lacerations or skull fractures. They'll take multiple hits.
I don't think this has been the case for most consumer climbing helmets for quite a few years now. Even the ones that seem hard (e.g. Petzl Elios, BD Half Dome) still rely on crushable foam to attenuate impact. The only test I heard of (a purely informal one) that subjected them to multiple impacts found they performed similarly to all-foam models (e.g. Petzl Meteor, BD Vector).

Regarding the test standards, here's a brief overview of the common ones:

Bike helmets are tested by putting the helmet on a headform and dropping it 2 meters onto a flat anvil, and dropping it 1.2 meters onto round (think grapefruit) and angled (think edge of curb) anvils. Impact force is measured in g-forces and must be below 300g's.

Climbing helmets are tested by dropping a rounded striker onto the helmet from 2 meters, tilting the helmet 60° to the sides and dropping a flat striker from a half meter, and finally dropping a conical striker from 1 meter for the penetration test. Impact forces are measured in kilonewtons and must be at or below 8 kN for the UIAA.
Rich zz · · california · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 180

when's the last time you fell on a bike on your head?

doug rouse · · Denver, CO. · Joined Apr 2008 · Points: 660

Triple-8 makes a nice skateboard helmet that fits well, is lightweight, and can be used for climbing and riding

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,740
Rich zz wrote:when's the last time you fell on a bike on your head?
Has no one ever gone over the handlebars of a mountain bike into a tree?
Morgan Patterson · · CT · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 8,752
Peace wrote:Is there any reason that I shouldn't use a climbing helmet while biking. I'd rather only have one helmet, and a biking helmet isn't going to cut it for climbing. Is there any reason not to use a climbing helmet as a bike helmet?
I'm no expert but they're two very different helmets... As a last resort sure a climbing helmet might forego a ticket from a passing cop, but its not going to protect your head from the types of falls you'll take on a bike. Think whiplash, back of your head, side of your head, climbing helmets offer no protection. Bike helmets extend down to the neck, climbing helmets typically dont.

Really though, why mess around here, when you can just call POC and get an educated answer.
Mike Kubes · · Duluth MN · Joined May 2014 · Points: 103

I have a Petzl Meteor and on the inside of the helmet it says: Helmet for Pedal Cyclists, Canoeing and whitewater sport. Mountaineers.

Im sure it depends between make, model and manufacture but with this particular helmet its okay.

Morgan Patterson · · CT · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 8,752

https://www.mountainproject.com/v/bike-helmet-vs-climbing-helmet--the-real-differences/109034460

Bill Kirby · · Baltimore Maryland · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 480
Rich zz wrote:when's the last time you fell on a bike on your head?
Posted for dramatics but seriously have you ever been mountain biking?

DH helmet
llanSan · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 130

I use Climbing Helmets for MTB. Been doing it for more than 10 years, have fallen many times and i feel they are safer. Fell once so hard that the helmet broke with a sharp rock. but i wasn't dizzy or hurt or anything just ok and laughing.

I stopped using the biking helmets because the impact when you fall sometimes gets to your brain and you get dizzy. I think they absorb less and the mountain helmet since it has an air chamber, it Helps better the absorption of impact. Also, the climbing helmet doesn´t have big holes in it for air cooling which might be a disadvantage but when you fall this lack of big holes in the helmet help it to slide better in unregular surface.

Side note: A mtb partner fell and a piece of wood entered and sliced his scalp.
I´m talking just from experience since i felt that the climbing helmet bounces while it slides over rocks.

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going down was no problem

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I only use full face biking helmetes when i´m going to ride nasty trails and going to go fast. After it broke I got another climbing helmet for biking:

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llanSan · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 130

Before haters hate, I'm a very good all around biker and used to fall a lot because I rode pretty hard when I was younger and didn't think of the future.

Jeremy B. · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2013 · Points: 0
Morgan Patterson wrote:Think whiplash, back of your head, side of your head, climbing helmets offer no protection. Bike helmets extend down to the neck, climbing helmets typically dont.
The test line, above which the bike helmet tests may impact, is surprisingly high for bike helmets. (Imagine a line about 25 mm above your eyes and ears, and a bit lower in back.) Which isn't to say that some helmets go lower, just as some climbing helmets do, just that those areas aren't tested.
Mike Kubes · · Duluth MN · Joined May 2014 · Points: 103
webdog · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 0

If you want to be hot and miserable while biking then go ahead. Even my camp speed doesn't have enough ventilation to stay cool while biking

llanSan · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 130
webdog wrote:If you want to be hot and miserable while biking then go ahead. Even my camp speed doesn't have enough ventilation to stay cool while biking
True, you sweat more by the head. I really don´t get annoyed by it.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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