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How does helmet color affect the heat?
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I'm looking at upgrading my Kask Bambino to an Aerohead, however in Europe the prices between the different colors seem to differ quite significantly. At one of my favorite shops the black and grey versions sell for under 200 euro, whereas the white one is over 250€. Is it worth investing in a lighter color doesn't it make any difference?
Last edited by: TomvdS: Aug 11, 20 6:01
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Re: How does helmet color affect the heat? [TomvdS] [ In reply to ]
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I've never noticed a difference in how hot the helmet is based on the colour. ventilation is far more important.

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Re: How does helmet color affect the heat? [TomvdS] [ In reply to ]
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Sod all difference- you've got an inch of foam insulation between the colour and your head!
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Re: How does helmet color affect the heat? [TomvdS] [ In reply to ]
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Makes no difference. As someone mentioned you have an inch+ of padding and air between the shell and your noggin.

Someone can correct me if I’m wrong but I believe Rapp tested this years ago and found no difference.

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Re: How does helmet color affect the heat? [TomvdS] [ In reply to ]
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I thought the same thing once, had a black one and got a white one. No difference at all.
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Re: How does helmet color affect the heat? [TomvdS] [ In reply to ]
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I think the much more important factor is color DOES impact visibility (ie to drivers on the road). I prefer white and red helmets for that reason. For your race kit, you might consider an unusual or bold color to make it easier for friends/family to see you coming. It’s more aero than attaching balloons or streamers to your bike (which my wife once suggested).
Last edited by: wintershade: Aug 11, 20 7:03
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Re: How does helmet color affect the heat? [TomvdS] [ In reply to ]
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Check out Alltricks. I bought one last week in white for €150. It should be delivered next week.

I'd rather have bought the Vanquish since it's the one I already have (broke it in a crash) but €200 is too much.
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Re: How does helmet color affect the heat? [wintershade] [ In reply to ]
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wintershade wrote:
I think the much more important factor is color DOES impact visibility (ie to drivers on the road). I prefer white and red helmets for that reason. For your race kit, you might consider an unusual or bold color to make it easier for friends/family to see you coming. It’s more aero than attaching balloons or streamers to your bike (which my wife once suggested).

My next one (which I'm overdue for) will probably be in hi-vis yellow or green.

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Re: How does helmet color affect the heat? [ In reply to ]
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You haven't reached to the point where color matching should be your #1 priority. You have to race in style, so get something that matches with your kit, bike and whatnot.
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Re: How does helmet color affect the heat? [TomvdS] [ In reply to ]
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Get the lighter colour so drivers see you more easily. The brighter the better. Who cares about cooling (you got your answers)...bright colour helmets are about staying alive. There is a reason construction workers don't wear black vests !!!
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Re: How does helmet color affect the heat? [JasoninHalifax] [ In reply to ]
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JasoninHalifax wrote:
My next one (which I'm overdue for) will probably be in hi-vis yellow or green.

Yeah, I went with Hi-vis yellow last year. I wasn't sure how I was gonna feel about it---I'm not normally so "flashy". But, I actually really like it---also makes my wife feel better.
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Re: How does helmet color affect the heat? [The GMAN] [ In reply to ]
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The GMAN wrote:
Makes no difference. As someone mentioned you have an inch+ of padding and air between the shell and your noggin.

Someone can correct me if I’m wrong but I believe Rapp tested this years ago and found no difference.

Didn't actually test it; I always just referenced the existing study that was published by (I *think*) Kraig Willett.

FWIW, I never did perceive any difference in helmet color. I raced in black (mostly), then red, then white. Helmet design is what matters. Maybe in a helmet with super restricted airflow you might notice a difference, but i doubt it.

"Non est ad astra mollis e terris via." - Seneca | rappstar.com | FB - Rappstar Racing | IG - @jordanrapp
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Re: How does helmet color affect the heat? [anakinpm] [ In reply to ]
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anakinpm wrote:
Check out Alltricks. I bought one last week in white for €150. It should be delivered next week.

I'd rather have bought the Vanquish since it's the one I already have (broke it in a crash) but €200 is too much.

Seems it’s now €250 there. At Futurumshop (a Dutch website) its about €190, and it’s easy to find a 20-25€ discount code, making it quite a nice offer.

I agree with the visibility argument, however I would almost exclusively be wearing it in races, in training I prefer the added safety a normal helmet gives me with respect to hearing the traffic come.
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Re: How does helmet color affect the heat? [TomvdS] [ In reply to ]
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Color makes effectively zero difference. The amount of thermal transfer through an inch of EPS foam (styrofoam) is negligible (basically it's the stuff they make beer coolers out of).

Helmets rely on convective heat transfer (air flow), not conductive. Ventilation will determine how cool a helmet is, not color.
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Re: How does helmet color affect the heat? [Rappstar] [ In reply to ]
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Didn't actually test it; I always just referenced the existing study that was published by (I *think*) Kraig Willett.

FWIW, I never did perceive any difference in helmet color. I raced in black (mostly), then red, then white. Helmet design is what matters. Maybe in a helmet with super restricted airflow you might notice a difference, but i doubt it.




Agree with Jordan here. I have ridden a lot in either white or black helmets - all classic standard road helmets, and never noticed a difference. I seem to recall the hottest ride I have ever been on - the 3000 ft climb from sea level up to Waimea in Kona years ago, in the middle of the afternoon, with a strong tail wind, with a white helmet, and I still nearly died from the heat! It was crazy!!


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Re: How does helmet color affect the heat? [TomvdS] [ In reply to ]
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I used to wonder about the color collecting heat, but ditto to the above – there's too much insulation for it to matter. I choose based on color, mostly for visibility, and for one or two helmets, to sort of match team kit (if I am on a team). My favorite feature is having bug-netting to keep bugs out, and an important factor for me is price, too. Anyway, don't worry about heat differences – they won't matter.
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Re: How does helmet color affect the heat? [TomvdS] [ In reply to ]
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TomvdS wrote:
I'm looking at upgrading my Kask Bambino to an Aerohead, however in Europe the prices between the different colors seem to differ quite significantly. At one of my favorite shops the black and grey versions sell for under 200 euro, whereas the white one is over 250€. Is it worth investing in a lighter color doesn't it make any difference?

I took a white aerohead and a black aero head helmet


Put them in the sun with 91 degree air temp next to each other. Placed identical thermometers under each.

Recorded after 2 hours. Switched the thermometers

Identical temperatures.
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Re: How does helmet color affect the heat? [MrTri123] [ In reply to ]
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MrTri123 wrote:
TomvdS wrote:
I'm looking at upgrading my Kask Bambino to an Aerohead, however in Europe the prices between the different colors seem to differ quite significantly. At one of my favorite shops the black and grey versions sell for under 200 euro, whereas the white one is over 250€. Is it worth investing in a lighter color doesn't it make any difference?


I took a white aerohead and a black aero head helmet


Put them in the sun with 91 degree air temp next to each other. Placed identical thermometers under each.

Recorded after 2 hours. Switched the thermometers

Identical temperatures.

Thanks for performing the experiment, seems like the most cost effective option it is then!
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Re: How does helmet color affect the heat? [MrTri123] [ In reply to ]
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MrTri123 wrote:
TomvdS wrote:
I'm looking at upgrading my Kask Bambino to an Aerohead, however in Europe the prices between the different colors seem to differ quite significantly. At one of my favorite shops the black and grey versions sell for under 200 euro, whereas the white one is over 250€. Is it worth investing in a lighter color doesn't it make any difference?


I took a white aerohead and a black aero head helmet


Put them in the sun with 91 degree air temp next to each other. Placed identical thermometers under each.

Recorded after 2 hours. Switched the thermometers

Identical temperatures.

Great experiment! Thanks! Here I was suffering under a black aerohead in the sun and cursing my poor decision making, only to be vindicated by science! Now if we only wore masks…
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Re: How does helmet color affect the heat? [s13tx] [ In reply to ]
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s13tx wrote:
You haven't reached to the point where color matching should be your #1 priority. You have to race in style, so get something that matches with your kit, bike and whatnot.

This is the most important consideration. No one can tell how fast you are going in your race pictures, but they can certainly tell whether your kit popped.
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Re: How does helmet color affect the heat? [olmec] [ In reply to ]
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olmec wrote:
MrTri123 wrote:

Great experiment! Thanks! Here I was suffering under a black aerohead in the sun and cursing my poor decision making, only to be vindicated by science! Now if we only wore masks…

In light of the absurd attention the flawed neck gaiter "study" is getting, I have to point out temperature is not the relevant metric. What we need to know is which helmet is more effective in removing heat from the head or minimizing heat transfer to it. Since that depends mostly on convective transfer to/from the air flowing under the helmet, a static temperature test really isn't relevant.

And before people jump on me for saying color does make a difference, even a cursory reading of what I wrote shows I say no such thing.
Last edited by: asgelle: Aug 12, 20 11:34
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Re: How does helmet color affect the heat? [asgelle] [ In reply to ]
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asgelle wrote:
olmec wrote:
MrTri123 wrote:

Great experiment! Thanks! Here I was suffering under a black aerohead in the sun and cursing my poor decision making, only to be vindicated by science! Now if we only wore masks…

In light of the absurd attention the flawed neck gaiter "study" is getting, I have to point out temperature is not the relevant metric. What we need to know is which helmet is more effective in removing heat from the head or minimizing heat transfer to it. Since that depends mostly on convective transfer to/from the air flowing under the helmet, a static temperature test really isn't relevant.

And before people jump on me for saying color does make a difference, even a cursory reading of what I wrote shows I say no such thing.

I think this simple experiment can be relevant here. It's safe to say the outer surface temp of the black helmet would be higher than the white one (easy to measure/verify). That the inner temps did not differ (at assumed steady-state) shows that there was negligible conductive transfer from the outer shell to the interior (i.e. color doesn't matter). Doesn't address the overall thermal performance of the helmet, but eliminates color as a significant variable.
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Re: How does helmet color affect the heat? [JasoninHalifax] [ In reply to ]
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JasoninHalifax wrote:
wintershade wrote:
I think the much more important factor is color DOES impact visibility (ie to drivers on the road). I prefer white and red helmets for that reason. For your race kit, you might consider an unusual or bold color to make it easier for friends/family to see you coming. It’s more aero than attaching balloons or streamers to your bike (which my wife once suggested).


My next one (which I'm overdue for) will probably be in hi-vis yellow or green.

It has been a while since I read the book, but I believe there was a study that showed colors don't matter when it comes to safety. Only thing that increased driver distance is a blinking red light on the back of the bike.

https://www.goodreads.com/...g-can-save-the-world
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