It’s easy to wonder whether you can use a snowboarding helmet for biking. After all, you could assume that since they’re both helmets, they can be used interchangeably.
Snowboarding helmets can be used for bicycling, but bicycle helmets should not be used for snowboarding. Snowboarding helmets cannot be used for motorcycling, nor should motorcycle helmets be used for snowboarding. This is due to the difference in safety standards between the different sports.
A lot goes into safety standards for snowboarding compared to biking. It is a highly complex subject that requires care in its description.
Is It Possible to Use a Snowboarding Helmet for Bicycling?
If you’re an avid cyclist, you might also wonder if you can use your snowboard helmet for bicycling.
While you can use a snowboard helmet for bicycling, you would be better off just purchasing a bicycle helmet. Snowboard helmets are intended to be better insulated, and you’ll likely find yourself too warm when bicycling if you use one for another purpose.
There also comes an inherent risk of wearing a snowboard helmet for bicycling, as you might find yourself with a helmet that doesn’t meet the safety standards.
Snowboarding and bicycling may have similar safety standards, but they are still distinct in various vital ways.
You should not use a bicycle helmet for snowboarding. Each helmet is subject to different safety standards, with snowboarding helmets subject to a more rigorous standard than bicycle helmets. There is some overlap in how the standards are implemented.
Still, it is generally unsafe to wear a bicycle helmet while snowboarding, as it lacks the necessary coverage, ignoring the back and sides of the head.
Additionally, bicycle helmets are too ventilated and not built to withstand the same pressure as snowboarding helmets.
1. Head Padding of Snowboard Helmets vs Bicycle Helmets
Snowboarding helmets and bicycling helmets are held to different safety standards. However, they do share some core components that overlap.
Snowboarders typically go twice as fast as those on bicycles. Therefore, snowboarding helmets are designed to withstand higher impacts than bicycling helmets.
Snowboarding helmets are padded around the entire head, including the top and the back, as snowboarding often involves falling over at high speeds when going down the mountain.
They also cover different regions of the head, such as the ears.
On the other hand, bicycle helmets are designed to withstand less severe impacts, as the average cyclist only has to worry about head-on collisions.
The regions of the head covered by bicycle helmets are generally limited to the top and sides of the head.
This is opposed to snowboarders, who are likely to face impacts on their whole body.
Therefore, snowboarding helmets have been designed to cover the parts of the head that are most susceptible to injury in these scenarios.
2. Air Vents On Snowboard Helmets vs Bicycling Helmets
Ventilation is an integral feature of all helmets, as it helps to regulate the heat of the wearer’s head.
Without proper ventilation, you’ll often find yourself overheating underneath the helmets.
On some snowboarding helmets, there’s controllable ventilation to help regulate the heat differently on warmer versus colder days.
These helmets have user controllable vents designed to withstand a vast array of temperatures found on the mountain, from warm spring days to below freezing temperatures.
Bicycle helmets are much more ventilated than snowboarding helmets and are not designed to withstand the extremely low temperatures that snowboarding helmets are.
They’re designed for warmer climates, with winter bicycling helmets only designed to withstand mildly cold climates, not those below freezing.
As such, the cold resistance standards are entirely different.
3. Safety Certifications of Snowboarding Helmets vs Bicycling Helmets
There are entirely different safety certifications for snowboarding helmets and bicycling helmets.
Snowboarding and bicycle helmets are designed for different climates and environments and are not intended to handle the same impacts.
Snowboarding helmets in the United States are held to the same standards as skiing and snow tubing.
These are strict safety standards that are rigorously defined to keep the skiers and snowboarders safe.
Every country has its version of these standards, with the exception of those in Europe, which are covered by the broader European Committee for Standardization.
Bicycle helmets are held to specific standards, which are rigorous in their own way.
However, they vary slightly in their standards compared to snowboarding as they are intended to be used in different circumstances.
Just like the case for snowboarding helmets, every country has its own set of standards, with the
European continent being covered by the same Committee for Standardization.
4. Differences in the Safety Standards of Snowboarding vs Bicycle Helmets
Each safety standard has distinct criteria for indicating whether or not a given helmet may pass the requirements.
For snowboarding, the tests for safety standards generally consist of different types of anvils on which the helmets are dropped on to in various conditions.
The anvil types include flat, hemi, and edge and have several temperature requirements: below -25 degrees Celsius, -30 degrees Celsius, and ambient temperatures.
Snowboarding helmets are vigorously tested to see if they can withstand between 45 and 100 joules of energy and are subject to a maximum of 250 to 300 Gs of force.
Additionally, these helmets are subjected to several tests per safety standard that vary based on the conditions, joules, and anvil type.
If they pass all the tests they get subjected to, they are seen as meeting the safety standards.
If they fail even one of the tests conducted, they do not pass the safety standard.
On the other hand, bicycle helmets are subject to a subtly different set of standards from snowboarding helmets.
They must undergo the same anvil test as the snowboarding helmets; however, they do not face the same temperature testing.
B-95, the strictest standard for bicycle helmets, only subjects the helmets to a minimum temperature condition of -20 degrees Celsius, which is much less intense than snowboarding helmets.
On the other hand, bicycle helmets are subject to a higher temperature of 50 degrees Celsius.
Bicycle helmets are required to withstand fewer joules of force, and the US Consumer Product Safety.
Commission standard only subjects them to 98 and 58 joules of force, depending on whether the anvil is flat or hemi.
This stands in contrast to the more uniform and higher joule standards of snowboarding, with flat anvils going up to 100 joules of force and hemi anvils going up to 80 joules of force.
However, they are both subject to 250-300 Gs of maximum force.
These differences in safety standards between snowboarding and bicycling are crucial because of the differences in intensity between the two sports.
Snowboarding subjects people to many more high-intensity falls, leading to a higher risk of injury, especially considering the higher speeds gained on a snowboard than on a bicycle.
Summary Table – Snowboard Helmets vs Bicycle Helmets
|Point of Comparison||Snowboard Helmet||Bicycle Helmets|
|Head Padding||Padded around the entire head||Limited to top and the sides|
|Impact||Built for heavy impacts||Can withstand less severe impact|
|Air Vents||User controllable vents||Much more ventilated|
|Temperature||Built for below freezing to extremely cold temperatures||Built for cold to warm temperatures|
|Safety Certifications||Non-comparable due to different applications||Non-comparable due to different applications|
|Temperature Test Range||Ambient temperature to -30 degree Celsius||50 degree to -20 degree Celsius|
|Energy Test Range||Between 45 and 100 joules of energy||98 (flat anvil) and 58 (hemi anvil) joules of force|
|G-force Test Range||Same at 250-300 Gs of maximum force||Same at 250-300 Gs of maximum force|
If you find yourself motorcycling in addition to snowboarding, you might wonder whether or not you could use your snowboard helmet for motorcycling.
After all, both helmets appear to be similarly sized and shaped.
However, you should not wear a snowboarding helmet on a motorcycle, as each helmet type is held to very different safety standards.
Motorcycle helmets have a distinct head padding and ventilation geometry compared to snowboarding helmets.
In addition, motorcycle helmets are heavier and designed for larger, blunter, and more dangerous impacts than a snowboarding helmet.
Much like wondering if you could use your snowboarding helmet when motorcycling, wondering about the converse is also very common and makes quite a bit of sense to think about.
You should not, however, wear a motorcycle helmet when snowboarding.
When doing any dangerous activity involving helmets, you want the helmet to fit snugly and securely for the task at hand.
The degree to which they fit securely depends on their weight and the specific task they’re being used for.
Motorcycle helmets weigh around three times the amount that snowboarding helmets do between 1000 and 2000 grams.
Whereas snowboarding helmets weigh between 330 and 600 grams, they are much bulkier and thus may potentially cause injury with the added weight if you were to fall down a mountain.
This is because you’ll fall much more frequently when snowboarding than riding a motorcycle and are more likely to injure your neck from the added weight attached to your head.
1. Head Padding of Snowboarding Helmets vs Motorcycle Helmets
In general, snowboarding helmets feature padding that covers the top of the head, ears, sides, and back of the head.
This is to withstand dynamic falls that come with toppling over onto the snow. Snowboarding helmets are padded to protect your head from these sorts of falls.
On the other hand, motorcycle helmets are padded across the entire head, aiming to cover all areas to protect from potential injury.
There’s padding across the entire lower parts of the head and special protection around the jaw, which aren’t found in snowboarding helmets.
Motorcycle helmets also have a protective face shield that is absent in snowboarding helmets.
This additional protection aims to shield the rider from injury in more intense crashes than those seen in snowboarding, such as motorcycle accidents or the rider falling onto hard asphalt.
2. Air Vents of Snowboarding Helmets vs Motorcycle Helmets
Snowboarding helmets have controllable ventilation to help regulate the temperature experienced on the mountain, as it can be highly variable.
The temperature experienced can go from below -40 degrees Celsius to just above 10 degrees Celsius.
As such, snowboarding helmets need to have controllable ventilation to allow for more insulation in colder temperatures and more ventilation in warmer temperatures.
On the other hand, motorcycle helmets also have vents to alleviate fog on the visor from a warmer temperature and help keep the motorcycle rider cool when riding.
3. Safety Certifications of Motorcycle Helmets vs Snowboarding Helmets
An essential part of regulating any helmet is the specific safety regulations and standards, as they affect every aspect of the helmet’s creation.
Snowboarding helmets meet the standards outlined in the above section, comparing them to bicycle helmets.
Motorcycle helmets are held to meet stricter standards than that of snowboarding helmets, primarily due to the distinct conditions motorcyclists will face as opposed to snowboarders.
In America, the Department of Transportation enforces a mandatory, uniform standard for motorcyclists, whereas the Economic Commission for Europe enforces its motorcycle standard.
4. Differences in Safety Standards of Snowboard vs Motorcycling Helmets
While motorcycle helmets are subject to an anvil test much like snowboarding helmets, this test differs in that it goes up to 400 Gs of force, compared to the 250-300 Gs of force that snowboarding helmets face.
In addition, there’s a much more rigorous set of tests that motorcycle helmets are required to face.
These tests include one for vision, which indicates whether the helmet has 105 degrees of peripheral vision from the midline of the helmet.
A piercing test indicates whether or not a striker dropped from a fixed height penetrates through the helmet enough to pierce into what it’s protecting underneath.
There’s also a test based on the helmet’s straps, which tests whether the straps can withstand progressive load changes.
Motorcycle helmets are subject to a much more rigorous and in-depth set of tests than snowboarding helmets.
This is done to ensure that motorcyclists have the utmost protection possible in case of a crash, as motorcycles achieve much higher speed than snowboards, leading to a higher likelihood of harmful and dangerous collisions.
On the other hand, snowboarding helmets can get away with a much less rigorous set of tests since snowboarding poses a substantially lessened risk when falling than motorcycling.
Summary Table – Snowboard Helmets vs Motorcycle Helmets
|Point of Comparison||Snowboard Helmet||Motorcycle Helmets|
|Weight||330-600 grams||1000-2000 grams|
|Head Padding||Padded around the entire head||Padded around the entire head with special protection around the jaw|
|Impact||Both built for heavy impacts||Both built for heavy impacts|
|Air Vents||User controllable vents for different temperatures||Vents are to alleviate fog build up on the glass and keep the rider cool|
|Further Tests||Less rigorous testing||Vision, piercing, strap and many other rigorous tests|
|Temperature||Built for below freezing to extremely cold temperatures||Built for cold to hot temperatures|
|Safety Certifications||Non-comparable due to different applications||Non-comparable due to different applications but generally stricter|
|G-force Test Range||Same at 250-300 Gs of maximum force||Up to 400 Gs of maximum force|
Snowboarding helmets can be used for bicycling; however, bicycle helmets should not be used for snowboarding due to the significant differences in safety standards.
On the converse, neither snowboarding helmets should be used for motorcycling nor should motorcycling helmets be used for snowboarding, owing to differences in weight and fit alongside differences in the safety standards between the two.
Snowboarding is extremely different from biking and is subject to very different helmet standards to keep the snowboarder safe.