Are Black Bike Helmets Hotter Than Colored Ones? The Science Behind The Claim

Are Black Bike Helmets Hotter Than Colored Ones?

The answer is “yes.” Wearing a black helmet on a hot day will absorb more heat than wearing a white or silver helmet. This can lead to your head feeling hotter and more uncomfortable throughout the day.

How the color of your helmet can affect you

Every cyclist knows that a white helmet is likely to be warmer than a black helmet. But, how does the color of your helmet affect you?

  1. Only wear helmets when you’re exercising. On a hot day, take the helmet off. You don’t want to overheat! Here are some safe bike temperatures

Early morning: 26 degrees Celsius.

Mid morning: 29 degrees Celsius .

Mid afternoon: 33 degrees Celsius

Afternoon: 35 degrees.

Celsius If you’ve been exercising or riding for an hour or more, it’s best to don your helmet and top it with a cooling bandana or scarf.

  1. Don’t wear one if it has a visor. A visor can make a helmet seem hotter than it really is. A visor can provide an air gap through which the heat of the sun can be trapped and felt more intensely by the head.

Why wearing a black helmet on a hot day is worse than wearing any other color

The reason for this happens is because of how our brains perceive color. The green part of our brain takes in far more color information than the other brain structures, like our gray and white parts. If it detects less color information, it has a harder time processing the signals. So, to counteract this, our brain takes color information from our retina.

This means that even if the air temperature is a toasty 75 degrees, wearing a red helmet on a hot day will make your head feel hotter than the air temperature. This is because when a red helmet is hit with hot air, the temperature on your head will rise quicker than the temperature in the air.

Related: Best Bike Helmets for Commuting (Reviewed 2021)

What to do if you have a black or white helmet and it’s really hot out

You can check for areas on the helmet where the material of the helmet is more likely to absorb heat like the inside of the helmet or on the side or back. I’m going to talk about both. If you feel heat on the back of the helmet, take it off and replace with a silver or white helmet.

If you have heat radiating from inside the helmet, you probably need a colored helmet and the heat will be coming from a problem with the liner. Take your helmet to your nearest bike shop for them to check and clean for carbon build up.


Black bike helmets are hot. So, you probably don’t want to go cycling in hot weather without one. But, is that good enough reason to ban them? Let’s be clear that most research to date supports the safety benefits of biking in an automobile-dominated environment and the fact that reflective gear is only useful in the light of day.

However, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s recall of 13 million defective bicycle helmets in 2010 and updated guidance issued in 2011 states: “[NHTSA] strongly urges consumers to report suspected bicycle crash-related injuries to local police or the chain of custody of the bicycle as the most appropriate way to receive compensation for a recalled bicycle.

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