Depending on the class of e-bike you have, you may want a bicycle helmet designed specifically for e-bike use. After all, e-bikes can carry you faster than a regular bicycle through city, urban and neighborhood roads, so you’ll want a higher level of protection for your head. But what makes a bike helmet an “e-bike helmet”?
On paper, it’s a different safety rating meant for pedelecs rated for top assist speeds of 45km/h (about 28mph). On the helmet, it’s typically a thicker EPS foam internal with more complete plastic shells that wrap around the edges to help keep it in one piece upon impact. They also tend to have deeper temple and back-of-head protection, and sometimes even partially or completely cover the ears (while still allowing you to hear what’s going on around you).
According to the folks at Kali Protectives, who make motorcycle and bicycle helmets, the higher speed of Class II or higher e-Bikes means the helmets need more impact protection. They offer the Java (shown below) in Europe only for now, and it meets CE2205 – EN10 safety certifications, which are a step above the typical CPSC safety rating regular bicycle helmets must meet to be sold in the U.S. They say Europe requires the CE2205 rating for people riding bikes capable of the 45km/h assist speed.
For the U.S., generally speaking (check your local state or city laws to be sure, they vary), operating any Class I or II e-bike (up to 20mph assist) only requires riders under a certain age to wear a normal bicycle helmet…but we’re thinking more protection is better depending on how and where you ride.
The Java uses a combo ABS and polycarbonate outer shell around an EPS core, perforated vent covers, and removable/washable antibacterial pads. Claimed weight is 296g.
The Abus Pedelec+ helmet (shown at top of post) is another option for e-bike riders. It, too, uses a double-inmold design to fuse the EPS foam with the outer shell and adds reflective hits all around, plus a built-in tail light. It meets the similarly stricter Dutch safety standard NTA8776.
Kali’s founder Brad Waldron says, for now, their e-bike helmet is bigger than a standard bicycle helmet because it needs more foam to meet the increased impact protection requirements…but, they’re working on a new design that’s a few years out, but will look more like a traditional bike helmet. Why so long? Because like so many of Brad’s ideas, the manufacturing technology has to catch up to his dreams. Kali has already produced a DOT certified motocross helmet that’s the same size as traditional full face MTB helmets, so we won’t be surprised when they make this dream come true, either.