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Thread: Helmet Headache

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    27

    Helmet Headache

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    Does anyone have any ideas about how to manage riding headaches? I believe there are 3 factors contributing to the headaches; helmet, heat and glasses.

    Can't do much about the heat, but we hydrate well along the way.

    I think I fixed the problem with glasses today. I didn't have proper riding glasses that were wide enough to not be staring at the top of the frame the whole ride. It was ok until the headache set in but then it exasperated the problem.

    I believe the ultimate source is my helmet. Riding without one is not an option. It seems to fit well. But, after about an hour the headache sets in. I 'dialed' it down to reduce the tension but then as I went over bumps it would bounce around; that didn't seem right so I tightened it back down. I had the same problem with motorcycle helmets.

    Anyone have any suggestions?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    153
    I tend to get headaches very easily from tension on my head, particularly headbands and glasses. My first helmet was very cheap and uncomfortable, as were my first cycling glasses (both from Performance). I ended up caving and spending the extra money on a Lazer helmet which tightens all around your head instead of creating pressure points. It absolutely will not bounce around. I also got slightly nicer cycling glasses that aren't tight on my temples. Both have made a huge difference. Good luck!
    Life goes by pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, and do whatever you want all the time, you could miss it.

    2010 Fuji Roubaix 1.0
    2007 Fuji Absolute 2.0

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    27
    I have the Lazer Genesis helmet; as you say it feels comfortable and no evident pressure points. But after about an hour I get a headache that is almost unbearable. I've been taking some Excedrin with me on my rides, but if I'm missing something I'd rather not use drugs to make it better. It only bounced around because I loosened it too much.

    Maybe it was more the glasses vs. the helmet. I just got some Chris Optics glasses and will give those a try tomorrow. I was using my driving sunglasses and they are just not right.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Katy, Texas
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    try losening the band around your head until the helmet sits well down on your forehead and then tightening your chin strap so it fits snugly.
    marni
    Katy, Texas
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
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    You say you think the helmet fits well, but it doesn't sound like it.

    What part of your head is the headache in? What motorcycle helmet fits you best?

    The last time I tried on a Lazer helmet it was VERY short from front to back. I have a "Shoei head," what Arai calls a "long oval," and there's no way I could have worn that Lazer. Giro helmets are similarly shaped but not quite as extreme. I am wearing a Specialized helmet now and the fit isn't too bad.



    ETA: you mentioned heat and hydration as a possible contributor, are you making sure to replace electrolytes?
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
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    Me thinks I am wearing the wrong helmet...
    I always get the dent in my forehead. However, I tighten the chin strap and am constantly loosening/tighteningthe ratchet, to control the headache issue.
    DH bought me the Lazar helmet, thinking it would help this issue and it felt like a torture device! It was just too tight on my little head. I gave it to my son, who also has a little head.
    2015 Trek Silque SSL
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    I've heard that Uvex helmets are also longer from front to back, but I haven't tried one on.

    I think Specialized helmets are all the same shape, all the ones I tried on anyway. They make a range from quite inexpensive (and correspondingly heavier and less ventilated) all the way up the line.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    153
    I'm sure if you took your helmet to the LBS that you bought the helmet at they would be more than happy to help you adjust the straps to better fit you (or decide that it just doesn't fit you well). It might be worth doing that first. Also if you get the dent in the front of your forehead then maybe you could change that little bit of padding. I've noticed the Lazer Genesis has far less padding than other helmets I've worn and it wouldn't be much work to add a tiny bit more padding at that front velco circle.
    Life goes by pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, and do whatever you want all the time, you could miss it.

    2010 Fuji Roubaix 1.0
    2007 Fuji Absolute 2.0

  9. #9
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    Sep 2007
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    .... except that if you have a pressure point, what you want is less padding, not more.

    That said, if your helmet has a removable front pad, it *is* perfectly safe to take it off - or use a thinner pad from an old helmet - if it fits better that way. I have done that.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Maine
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    959
    As many people have mentioned, the trick to buying a helmet is knowing the shape of your head versus the shape of the helmet. Most LBS can explain the differences between the helmets that they carry, one can't always assume that every model in particular brand all runs the same... quite often they don't. For those that have long/narrow shapes, Louis Garneau is a good brand to try.
    Uvex helmets are great helmets, unless you have a small head. They make various sizes, but the outer part of the shell is only one size and has too much play if you're like me and have a small head.

    The key here is to try EVERYTHING on before you buy, not only will you become knowledgable about what you like/dislike, but you'll find what fits and that it what is the most important!!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
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    Houston
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    Re: Helmet Headache

    Plus one for trying every helmet on. I literally tried every helmet on in every store twice before deciding on my Giro Ionos.
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  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Western Canada-prairies, mountain & ocean
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    6,984
    Understand the shape of your head.

    I didn't know myself ....I cannot wear any Nutcase helmet style because those tend to be round helmets.

    I wear my helmet pleasantly snug but it's not pressing me anywhere. I don't really feel much pressure anywhere on my head. I don't really notice my helmet on my head. Not even in the winter, when I readjust for a headband. (That's all I wear underneath helmet.) I just get ...slight wave helmet hair dent. I don't get any dents on my forehead.

    There are certain sunglasses which has an arm that's too thick at the sides that hurts my head with helmet strapped on, ,so I'm picky about sunglass arms too and their fit.
    My Personal blog on cycling & other favourite passions.
    遙知馬力日久見人心 Over a long distance, you learn about the strength of your horse; over a long period of time, you get to know whatís in a personís heart.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    153
    Quote Originally Posted by OakLeaf View Post
    .... except that if you have a pressure point, what you want is less padding, not more.
    I don't doubt that is true but at least for me with the same helmet I find that the front part digs into my head a bit in longer rides and a tiny bit more padding prevents that from happening. I'm sure with helmet adjustments everyone is completely different because of different in head shape and helmet shape.

    [EDIT] I just pulled my helmet out to show DBF what I was talking about and he pointed out that the circle of velcro in the front of the helmet creates a small bump in the padding which causes that discomfort. If the padding maybe had some give for that velcro bump such that the surface was level I'm confident that it wouldn't be an issue. I wonder if this is what is bothering you? [/EDIT]

    [EDIT2] Maybe something like these pads would help me. [/EDIT2]
    Last edited by mariacycle; 06-16-2013 at 12:28 PM.
    Life goes by pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, and do whatever you want all the time, you could miss it.

    2010 Fuji Roubaix 1.0
    2007 Fuji Absolute 2.0

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,394
    I don't need to go to the LBS to show me anything.... DH does it for me, as I really cannot remember how to do the straps. I've always worn the same Bell mountain style helmet; I've had several in the past 12 years. In fact, I think it's discontinued now, but there's a slightly newer iteration. Frankly, I haven't tried on any of them, except once, when I went to Belmont Wheelworks, when they were having a sale. I might look at the 2 Murienn recommended. My head is extremely small, so I am limited. I have to buy kid's sized winter hats and glasses.
    However, I get indentations and lines from *everything,* so this might just be one more of the weird things that my body does.
    2015 Trek Silque SSL
    Specialized Oura

    2011 Guru Praemio
    Specialized Oura
    2017 Specialized Ariel Sport

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    959
    Although I could certainly be wrong, it sounds to me like the helmet is more of a rounded shape where you feel the 'need' to tighten it because it feels loose. Perhaps your head is more oblong shape??

 

 

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