What Are Bicycle Helmets Made Of?

By: Alex Bristol

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Bicycle helmets have been a compulsory protection element provided to anybody who loves to ride a bicycle. Which is why, a lot of times, parents and individuals are curious about finding the best helmets for themselves. Some people find it difficult to figure out the best quality helmets. So, what are bicycle helmets made of? Here is a deeper look into it.

In 2016, a team had visited two different factories of China which produced bicycle helmets. Through their visit, they learned how and what helmets are made of. They learned that there are different types of helmets. Each one of them are made from different materials for different purposes.

Construction pattern:

The three basic patterns of bicycle helmets are:

  • An outer shell which is hard enough
  • An inner liner that can be compressed
  • Straps and pads attached

These three layers are provided in any bicycle helmet for protecting your head from injuries.

The material and process of constructing bicycle helmets:

Coming towards the first layer, the hard shell, it is mostly made up of Poly carbonate (PC). This blank sheet of PC is first heated and then put on a Vacuum Forming machine which makes the hard shell. This machine is customized according to the demand of a company. However, there are other shells which are constructed from common plastic but in different machines.

The next step is the usage of paint on shells. Each hard shell is painted through a paint spray.

Now comes the inner liner which is made of materials that are light in weight. It is so because they are able to absorb the energy during an impact, providing safety to your head. Expanded Poly Styrene or EPS is the most common material used to make liners. Yes, you got it right. This is the same material TV’s are packed in.

However, there are other helmets made with Expanded Poly Urethane or EPU. Other chemically expanded foams are also used. But, Expanded Poly Styrene has proved itself to be the best. It is safe, less costly and tested many times.

Then come the straps and pads which are usually sourced from the specialized strap manufacturers. They are made of nylon. They are pre-stitched, come in bundles with the buckles in place.


Many helmet manufacturers have been trying to come up with innovations. They are looking into ways through which they can make the quality of helmets better. Many manufacturers are observed trying new materials that are stronger and lighter.

The International Standards Organization (ISO) is doing its job. They make sure that helmets of common head shapes are made with the best quality, around the globe. Before passing out the new helmets, the international and national standards must be passed out. This depends on the test of using helmets in high temperature and humidity. The durability is checked on the straps and pads. The damaged one are then recycled or repaired.

This has been a look into what bicycle helmets are made of.

Relevant article:

How It’s Made – Bicycle Helmet – Post on Medium