I cycle to work on a daily basis, however I do like to also sweat a lot. Most of this is ok, I have a change of clothes and can managed, but when it comes to my helmet, it's a different story.

There is a headband around the helmet, which likes to soak up my forehead sweat, the problem is, this headband doesn't like to dry out and I can see it getting mouldy soon. I can't seem to removed the band, so I was wondering:

  1. Are there helmets where this band is removable?
  2. Are there alternatives, like wearing a headband underneath to soak up the sweat instead?

I've seen this post, but it's more talking about keep the sweat out of the eyes, rather than the helmet headband. Though the site does sell things called, skull caps, will that be suitable for soaking the sweat and then I can wash it? I need to find something that will fit under my helmet and prevent the headband from soaking up more sweat.

  • have a look at the helmets worn by the professional cycling teams. They obviously have safety as a primary function, but second on the list is ventilation. So much so that some even ship with techno-wooly hats for cold weather riding. With regard to a specific helmet, please note that product recs are off-topic on this site. – PeteH Jul 26 '16 at 8:41
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    @Criggie At the moment, it's cycling top, cycling shorts, a buff around the neck, cycling gloves and cycling shoes. Don't have much else I can remove without someone getting a little offended ;) – Draken Jul 26 '16 at 9:00
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    Stuff a maxipad into the helmet. It will suck up the sweat. – Daniel R Hicks Jul 26 '16 at 12:11
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    @Draken It's not so much the question. It's the answers solving the same problem. – andy256 Jul 26 '16 at 13:53
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    @jimirings - I don't joke about the maxipads I stuff into my helmet. I've made this suggestion in several threads here, because it is quite effective. – Daniel R Hicks Jul 26 '16 at 19:12

Most helmets (certainly the last 6 or 7 I've owned) have the pads held in by velcro so can be removed and washed or replaced. A lot of people I know wear either a headband or a "buff" (google it, it's a brand name) to help a bit with the sweat.

All that said, I'm surprised your helmet pads don't dry out. I also live in Luxembourg and I can ride morning, noon and evening and each time come back to a mostly dry set of helmet pads.

  • I do have Buffs, though mostly they go around my neck to stop pesky flies from going in my mouth. As for the sweat, my body just likes to overdo itself, I'm not unfit, just very overactive sweat glands, and going 20km average tends to cause them to start up a bit. I'll try fitting a buff on underneath, see how that goes – Draken Jul 26 '16 at 8:48
  • Gave it a go today and has stopped my band feeling like a sponge, will make sure I still clean the helmet though. Thanks for the advice! – Draken Jul 28 '16 at 7:14

Like everything else on a bike, there is some maintenance associated with your helmet. The pads are designed to sop-up sweat and not grind the salt into your scalp when it evaporates. (essentially, to keep them dry, you'd need to not sweat...) If you try to keep them dry with head-coverings... you are just spreading the wetness around. Not saying that won't improve your comfort, but it probably won't keep the pads dryer or your helmet cleaner.

Giro, one popular helmet maker, recommends cleaning your helmet with a soft cloth, warm water, and mild soap. They also recommend getting a new helmet every 3 years. Although, the last helmet I retired was 10 years old... and that was due to mishandling. Any significant impact to the helmet or any automobile collision would also be reason to replace the helmet.

This periodic washing includes the pads and straps. In practice, I rinse mine out after every ride and give the pads a little mash with my thumb to run the water out as best I can. (I sweat a LOT, even in winter). It is usually dry in 2-3 hrs, but I can grab it before then and head out anyway. Occasionally, I'll use the soap, maybe once a month or so... you'll know when to do it.

However, sometimes the helmet gets funky... I forget or can't rinse it good enough, or I leave it so that the water can't drain from it... whatever the reason... Once you get to this point you have two choices: 1. Replace the pads (For giro, you can call/email them or go to the LBS/dealer:1-800-456-2355/giro-consumersupport@giro.com) 2. Vinegar-rinse (apple cider vinegar--ACV). I'm sure other mild bactericides will work too, but I keep ACV for other purposes, so it is handy. Then let the pads dry... then do the warm-soapy to get the Vinegar out. (This is what will usually save me...)

We have to be careful cleaning helmets as the adhesives and other materials used in their construction are often sensitive to things like degreasers, bleach, and even Isopropyl alcohol (IUPAC name propan-2-ol, also called isopropanol or dimethyl carbinol,alcohol).

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