No biking kit is complete without a helmet. The fact is, accidents happen, and in the event of a crash, a helmet can protect you from suffering potentially serious injuries. Simply wearing a helmet can be the difference between suffering a minor scratch or a severe head or brain injury. For this reason, you need a protective helmet when riding regardless of whether you are a commuter, road rider, mountain biker, gravel grinder, or extreme cyclist.
But the truth is most helmets are not ponytail-friendly and manufacturers do not make claims about their safety or suitability when worn with a ponytail. Rather, most manufacturers claim their helmets are unisex making finding one that works well with women’s hair, particularly a ponytail, is usually difficult.
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The justification in the industry for manufacturing helmets that are unisex rather than gender-specific is that the ratio of male to female riders is roughly 2:1. Which means for the majority of female riders who have to pack their hair into a ponytail to feel comfortable riding, there just aren’t many comfortable helmets to choose from.
Worse still, lovers of cross-country riding, mounting biking, enduro, or downhill riding have even more limited options when it comes to ponytail-friendly bike helmets. Because these riding styles are considered more extreme, the assumption is that women aren’t participating in these sports, at least not in numbers that manufacturers are willing to cater to us. (But ladies, we know this is not the case.)
So, what’s the solution for ponytail-loving riders? We have some suggestions and luckily for you, we have scoured the market to come up with a list of suitable helmets for you and your ponytail.
How to Wear a Ponytail with a Bike Helmet
If you are looking for a helmet with a ponytail hole, you will likely have trouble finding one. Most helmets are not made with wearing a ponytail in mind. A few come with what is known as a HairPort which is really just a larger gap between the helmet shell and the inner liner where the hair can be pulled through.
The trouble with wearing a helmet with a ponytail is they often sit too high, so you must use the vents to thread your hair through. Not ideal. However, if the helmet rests on your ponytail, then it sits too low on the front and compromises the safety purposes for which it is designed.
Nevertheless, while riding a bike, long hair should be secured, otherwise, it could get in your face and limit your vision, which could prove dangerous. Additionally, it needs to be fastened to feel comfortable under your helmet while riding but you still want to look good at the end of your journey which is what makes gathering your hair into a ponytail a popular solution.
And the best way to wear a ponytail with a bike helmet is to buy a bike helmet that accommodates ponytails. It is as simple as that. But before you purchase your next ponytail helmet, you might want to consider the type of ponytail you’d wear whenever you ride.
Low Vs. High Ponytail
Do you wear a high or low ponytail? Are you able to easily adapt to one or the other when biking? Your answers to the above question should determine the type of ponytail-friendly helmet you eventually purchase.
High Ponytail: A high ponytail is tied directly at the back of your head.
Low Ponytail: A low ponytail is tied and hung at the bottom of your hairline and hangs down the back of your neck in between your shoulders.
Before investing in a helmet, look at its back and ascertain whether it will be a comfortable fit for you and your ponytail. If you have long hair tied in a ponytail, you want to be able to thread it through the opening at the back of the helmet between the bottom of the shell and the fitting strip.
If your helmet doesn’t have enough room for this, or you wear a high ponytail, you may need to thread it through one of the vented openings in the back of the shells. The other option is to let it hang under the bottom of the shell if the helmet doesn’t have a fitting strip at all.
Remember, regardless of whether you choose to wear your ponytail high or low. Your helmet must still fit properly on your head.
Safety first when wearing a ponytail and bike helmet
If you want a ponytail, then you need a ponytail helmet. But the problem is many bike helmet manufacturers claim their helmets work easily with ponytails, however, when you use these unisex helmets, you may find that you must compromise your safety and/or comfort. The implications of that are many.
Typically, women will rest the helmet on top of their ponytail, pitching the helmet too far forward on their faces. The other option is to thread your ponytail through a vent higher up in the back of the helmet, which pulls the helmet too far up your forehead.
You don’t want to thread your ponytail too high on the helmet as it can pitch your helmet too far back and expose your forehead. Conversely, resting your helmet on top of your ponytail can pitch your helmet too far forward on your face. Both compromise the effectiveness of your bike helmet. This means you simply won’t get the full protection a helmet could provide in the event of a crash.
And none of this even takes comfort into consideration when wearing a ponytail with a bike helmet. All this leads some female riders to completely ditch the idea of wearing a helmet at all which is even worse.
Thankfully, you have options – Ponytail-friendly bike helmets. These bike helmets that accommodate ponytails have wider openings at the back between the bottom of the shell and the fitting strap or dial. This allows your ponytail to slip right through the opening, making you comfortable and look amazing. So, now, you can enjoy the full range of protection from your ponytail helmet without compromising your comfort.
Choosing the Right Fit and Size Helmet
Ponytail hole helmet or not, a good helmet should fit properly on the head of the rider. A smaller or oversized helmet is almost worthless in the event of an accident. The perfect helmet should have a snug fit when worn. It should not wobble or suffocate the wearer by being too tight. In the case of oversized helmets, they are really of no value.
It’s quite easy to ascertain whether a helmet is a good fit for you or not. Wear it for about 10 minutes and see how it feels. The strap on it should lock in and open easily without any trouble.
Don’t only check for fit; think about comfort too. A good helmet should come with enough vents to allow air to reach the rider’s head during their journeys. Adequate ventilation means the air is moving through the helmet constantly.
Selecting the Right Helmet for your Needs
Perhaps, before worrying about fit and size, you must select the correct type of helmet for your needs. The type of helmet you need depends on some factors, including the type of two-wheeler you ride, the speed at which you travel, and the route.
The different types of bike helmets:
Commuter – These helmets sit atop the head and typically cover the upper and back portion of the head.
Road – Similar to the commuter helmet but more aerodynamic and providing plenty of airflow.
Half-shells – These helmets, often used for off-road ridings such as trail and mountain biking, cover a greater portion of the head and provide more cranial coverage than most road or commuter helmets.
Full-face – As the name implies, a full-face helmet encloses the entire head and face. Typically, these are worn by downhill and enduro riders, but some mountain bikers also opt for a full-face helmet if they ride on technical terrain.
Convertible/Modular – These versatile helmets offer the protection of both the full-face and half-face helmets since they are full-face helmets with a detachable face guard.
What is the Best Bike Helmet for Ponytails?
Now that we’ve covered the different types of helmets, how to select a bike helmet, and various options for wearing a ponytail with your helmet let’s look at some specific helmets (in alphabetical order).
Bell Sixer MIPS Helmet
If you’re a rider who puts in a lot of miles and rides through rugged terrains, especially through the hot summer months, then the Bell Sixer MIPS Helmet is one helmet you should seriously consider buying. The Bell Sixer MIPS offers very impressive performance and comfort for ponytail-wearing riders.
Bell’s Sixer is a well-designed helmet that is very versatile. It boasts a modern look, an understated shape that ensures it’s lightweight, high-quality padding along the interior and a total of 26 vents to keep the air well circulated inside the helmet. The Sixer is a popular choice for mountain biking and long cross-country riders who demand full protection and unmatched comfort from their helmet.
Bell Z20 MIPS Bike Helmet
The Bell Z20 MIPS Joyride is a women’s centered version of the ultra-popular Bell Z20 bike helmet. For that reason, the ponytail-friendly version shares all the best things about the original, which is known for its fit, aerodynamics, and impact protection.
The helmet carries what the manufacturer calls ‘progressive layering’, better known as MIPS Technology. This technology works by layering the helmet shell with an inner liner separated by a low friction layer which allows the helmet to not only absorb the impact but also to keep the brain from literally rattling around inside the skull.
The lightweight design of the dual shells allows for maximum ventilation. When it comes to fit, this is further enhanced using a height and width adjustable Float Fit Race retention system and unique Sweat Guide lining.
This helmet allows you to thread your ponytail between the shell and the retention system if you wear a low ponytail. For those who prefer a higher ponytail, you can thread it through the spacious opening at the back.
GIRO Helios Spherical MIPS Helmet
The Giro Helios Spherical is one of the most versatile helmets on the market today, nicely bridging the gap between road and gravel riding adventures. The Helios is also featured under GIRO’s women’s helmet category and comes in a range of sizes and many color options. This along with exceptional comfort gives this helmet broad appeal.
The Giro Helios Spherical Helmet is such an all-rounder and one of the best unisex helmets that do the job for both male and female riders admirably. It has enough vents for air recycling while being as ponytail-friendly as they come.
GIRO Syntax MIPS Bike Helmet
The second Giro helmet on the list, and the company doesn’t disappoint with this one either. The Giro Syntax comes in a slim and visually appealing design. But don’t be fooled by its elegant looks. This is one hell of a helmet packed with some nice protection schemes in the upper class of helmet protection technology.
Equipped with shock-absorbing foam on the inside as well as an outer polycarbonate hard shell that offers adequate protection against a crash. It offers impressive comfort, particularly for women. There are enough spaces to thread your ponytail through whether you wear it high or low.
Kask Protone Icon
The Kask Protone Icon may be a unisex helmet, but it provides ample room for a very comfortable low ponytail fit. It’s a traditional road bike helmet but with a ton of technical innovation and a new look. While this is a road biking helmet, it’s well suited to gravel and off-road riding.
A successful collaboration with the renowned Sky cycling team, the Kask Protone is the standard-bearer for ventilation, heat dissipation, and aerodynamics. This is no ordinary helmet. It comes with Coolmax interior padding and 3D Dry technology. The Protone is designed to keep you safe, stylish, and comfortable.
Lazer Jackal MIPS Helmet
Finally, a helmet tailored to trail riders. This helmet offers a very protective design without compromising your comfort. The Lazer Jackal will please any rider who values their comfort as well as safety.
The makers of this helmet dug deep to ensure it’s comfort. There’s ample space at the back for your ponytail to go through. The straps feel ultra-comfortable, and the Active Turnfit system does an excellent job of distributing pressure evenly around the head.
And you won’t compromise function for comfort with this helmet. The Lazer Jackal uses top-notch technology including MIPS protection, a Fidlock closure, eyewear recesses above the ears, and Lazer’s active Turnfit system which locks your goggle straps.
The Strale by MET is most notable for its comfortable fit and airy feel. It has very good ventilation technology known as the Venturi effect, bringing all the warm air out of the helmet.
The MET Strale is one of the most comfort-focus ponytail helmets on this list. It comes with a vertical adjustment and 360-degree adjustment mechanism and is soft padded, ensuring you can make it fit like a glove. Threading through your ponytail is the easiest thing you could do. There is enough room in the back for ponytails hung either high or low.
Specialized EVADE II Helmet
This helmet is for the serious road biker. The Specialized EVADE II helmet has always been an aesthetic marvel. But the newest iteration of the series claims to be even six seconds faster over 25 miles thanks to its revised aerodynamics. That may not sound like a lot, but those six seconds could be the difference between first and second place in a race.
Coming in at 235g, the EVADE II is more breathable and lighter than the previous versions, which makes it one of the lightest helmets on the market. The helmet also comes with a Gutter Action Brow Pad to mop up sweat. Plus, this helmet is ANGI-ready and boasts their proprietary HairPort is large enough to thread your locks through comfortably.
Even though most helmets are advertised as unisex, the level of comfort and, by extension, protection male riders derive from them is much better than that of women. Hence, there are more options for men to choose from compared to women.
But having long hair shouldn’t be a problem. Most of all, it should be your choice. For riders, even though long hair might be problematic, our list of ponytail-friendly helmets should solve it for you. The helmets above promise to offer the same level of comfort and protection as others enjoy. We think you should check them out.