Protective Headgear???

I’m just starting to unicycle. I’m also doing a product design engineering project at uni. The focus of my study is protective headgear for extreme sports. Therefore, since I have an interest in unicycling I have decided to investigate protective headgear within the sport.
Does anyone out there wear a helmet or anything to protect their head?
Are there specifically designed helmets for unicycling?
Also could you suggest the areas of the head which are specifically at risk when unicycling.

What sorts of activity are most popular on unicycles? Off-road? Hockey? Stunts? Also which is the most dangerous?

Any suggestions would be very helpful.
Thanks in advance,

Euan :thinking: :slight_smile:

I prefer a “skate-style-helmet”
I use it every time I ride. I ride mostly trials/street.

i always wear a helmet. Every time i ride.
I don’t believe there is a helmet specifically made for unicycling. Most of us just use bike helmets or skate helmets of some kind.

Here, here and here are just three threads about unicycle helmets.

Hit the SEARCH with terms like ‘helmets’, ‘skate-helmets’, ‘b*ke-helmets’ and ‘protective gear’ and you’ll come up with enough reading for a month of Sundays.

A lot of the discussion centers around ‘should you/shouldn’t you’ but some of it does touch on the technical aspects.
Between that suggested reading and the discussion that’s bound to be in this thread, you’re likely to get more than enough info.

I’m not sure if there’s a KH UniHelmet in the pipeline, maybe you can ask?

how about kayak helmets?

Some additional thoughts on that.
though I use a skate helmet all the time I was wondering if a kayaking helmet will do the job for muni?
(there seems to be kayak guys around this forum);
why this?
the helmets I have seen such as that one (the red one) are used for sports such as beach sailing -a fairly dangerous sport-
pros: good protection , good envelope, + eyeshade (not shown on the picture).
cons: wondering how it fits to your skull (when you are sweating like mad)
any advice?

I think there should be thin, light weight helmets for trials and street, because you aren’t ever going faster than running speed, and crashes aren’t normally bad at all

As for general muni, skate and bike helmets are fine

Let’s not get into the should you/shouldn’t you. That way dissent lies. God told me so.

I think most active unicyclists wear a helmet some of the time. Many wear one all of the time. Some perfectly good riders make the choice not to.

As this is such a minority sport, there is no such thing yet as a special unicycling helmet.

A bicycle helmet is often designed for aerodynamics and style. Most unicyclists have little need for the aerodynamics, and unicycling is stylish enough as it is! A bicycle helmet will protect against most but not all normal riding impacts. It is lightish and fairly comfortable. There is an argument that a road bike helmet won’t protect you well if you fall backwards - this is not a typical direction of fall for a road bicyclist.

A BMX or downhill helmet is designed for accidents involving falling and rolling, often on an uneven surface in unpredictable directions. Generally, they look less well ventilated than road cycle helmets.

A full face helmet gives greater all round protection (did I mention the 7 stitches in my chin :roll_eyes: ) but is hot, uncomfortable, and restricts your field of view.

A kayak helmet gives good all round protection, and is designed for multiple knocks and bumps. They usually have a deformabe polythene shell. Theoretically, a bicycle helmet is “use once and discard”. Kayak helmets are designed to let water out, so they are reasonably well ventilated. The straps can be uncomfortable. They can look a bit dorky.

No, there are no unicycle-specific helmets being manufactured (same goes for shoes, pedals, and many other parts).

But to get into specifics, one must first break down the various types of riding to be done. There’s a huge difference between Trials or riding on broken rocks and hockey, or Freestyle, or road riding.

So there are two main kinds of helmets people use, bike and skate. Skate is the more robust, offering greater coverage and more impacts, but at the cost of greater weight and more heat inside. Bike helmets are much more comfortable but offer less protection and are often compromised after one good blow.

If the project is to design a unicycle-specific helmet, you will also have to first determine to what level of riding it should protect. Why doesn’t everyone just wear a full-face motorcycle helmet? For obvious reasons of comfort, weight, visibility, etc. So a successful helmet design has to be as unobtrusive, lightweight and good-looking as possible. Those may be marketing concerns, but that’s an important part of any useable product design.

I prefer a skate board type of helmet because it (I think) provides better protection than a bicycle helmet. However, my helmet is not comfortable. I wish I could find a skate board type of helmet with better ventilation (at a reasonable price). They are very hot in the summer time.

I “tested” my helmet with a hard impact to the back of the head this morning. On the way to work (on the road bike) I hit a patch of ice and went down VERY suddenly and somehow the back of my head hit the road HARD. The helmet has cracked, like they are designed to do, but I got away with a sore neck, some nasty bruises and feeling a bit shakey. I walked home (I’d only made it 1/4 mile down the road :roll_eyes: ) and drove the car to work. I’m sure if I’d not been wearing the helmet I would have been knocked out. So it seems road helmets do provide quite good protection to the back of the head. I’ll be having to buy a new helmet now, but I’ve had it a few years so it’s not really that much of an expense over that time. I didn’t used to wear a helmet for road riding until I moved here, where there is more chance of ice and wet leaves, but I’m glad I was wearing it this morning - that was just the sort of accident that a bike helmet is good at (relatively low speed sudden fall onto flat ground, not involving other vehicles).

I use(d) the same helmet for muni and mountain biking, but I reckon there would be more chance of injury in a fall onto uneven rocks. A pointy rock could easily hit me on the back of the skull below the helmet or in the face. But the alternative would be to wear a fuller helmet like a downhill or skate-type helmet, which would get a bit too hot (I don’t really like wearing the road helmet in the summer, but I’ve got used to it).


Re: Protective Headgear???

On Mon, 28 Nov, rob.northcott <> wrote:
> The helmet has cracked, like they are designed to do,

They are supposed to crush, not crack. Polystyrene cracking is a
relatively low energy failure mode - it should crush progressively.

regards, Ian SMith

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Cheers guys. This info, and any more that may come, will be VERY useful for me during this project.

Thanks again,


PS Do people prefer a larger coverage or more ventilation? Or both?
Also I plan to include a hard, puncture proof, exterior shell in my design. Any ideas what I should use to make this? Would this detract from the ventilation side? I would think so…??! :thinking:

I always wear my helmet. Whether it’s fooling around in the back yard, or a trail ride…always.

A majority or riders wear helmets nearly always.

unless I’m just riding down the street to get the mail or around the block for fun I ALWAYS wear a helmet.

Re: Protective Headgear???

Bike helmets often have aerodynamic considerations in their design.
For unicycling with its lower speed, that isn’t needed. But then
again, it just looks nice and ‘speedy’.

Ventilation is important, especially with our lower speeds.

Sometimes people strap things to their helmet:

  • A bright light for night riding is most common.
  • A video camera is sometimes done.
  • I often strap my GPS receiver on top of my helmet (for better
    reception), but I haven’t heard of anyone else doing that.
    Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict

    “erectile function trumps public image - David Stone, commenting on the importance of seat comfort”

So you really know where your head is at?

First off I wear my helmet sometimes, if I’m doing trials I usually put it on and 80% of the time I dont really mind it.

Normally I dont wear my helmet if I know I’m not doing anything that would cause me to fall on my head normally.

I have 2 lids, one for street that is a skate lid, the other is a giro e2 mtb lid. Both have their advantages the mtb lid is really light and cool with massive vents, the Skate lid covers my whole head and I can throw it around with out worry.

I feel that almost all skate lids are hot so you just have to put up with that if you are going to use one. I personally really like the design on the Capix sportcap, I think Jagur still sports it.

Wow, Rob, your helmet must have saved your life…:wink:

Hope you’re OK. Must be the complexity of that extra wheel that threw you.:smiley:

Thanks Mike. I seem to be fine apart from a few bruises and a stiff neck, which is much better now than it was yesterday evening. Looks like I got off lightly - could have been much nastier. I used to be pretty anti-helmet, but started wearing one for mountain biking a few years ago. Then I started wearing it on the road in the winter in case of just that sort of accident. I’ve got so used to it now that I usually wear it in the summer as well even on the road. I still reckon that a bike helmet isn’t really much use in a lot of cycling accidents, but I was certainly glad of it yesterday - I would have had a very nasty whack to the back of the head if I hadn’t been wearing the helmet; I don’t think I would have walked home and driven the car to work ten minutes later. I think I would have been pretty unlucky to have been killed, but a cracked skull, concussion or something equally nasty could definitely have happened.
Anyway, I’m fine. Thanks for the concern :slight_smile:
What’s quite funny in hindsight is I spent Friday muniing across the moor in the ice and snow perfectly safely, then fall off my bike 1/4 mile from home on the way to work :o


80% off topic

Even if you had to change it every other day, it would always be cheaper than fixing your skull :wink:
You guys convinced me, I’ll be wearing my helmet from now on for trials.