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What is the difference between these two styles of helmet? Most "serious" cyclists (e.g. in spandex with clipless pedals) seem to have the first type, whereas I've seen more "casual" cyclists (e.g. on single speeds, cruisers) hanging around Brooklyn with the latter type. Is there an advantage to either? (in safety, performance, etc.)

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    The left is a road helmet, made to be aerodynamic and have additional venting for keeping your head cool. The right is a "skate" design generally used for BMX, and often times are safety certified for both skating and bike, they are more common with less "serious" riding, meaning more recreational than serious speed endeavors. There are other factors as well but these are the most basic. Generally the one on the right offers more rear protection over road helmets as well. – Nate W Jul 3 '17 at 22:27
  • The vented helmet offers poor rain/hail/sandstorm/snow protection compared to the hardshell one. Vented one will be a lot nicer to ride in the heat, and the hard one would be warmer in the extreme cold. – Criggie Jul 4 '17 at 2:35
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During longer periods of fast road cycling, the venting in the first helmet will make more and more of a difference. It's impossible to lose trapped heat otherwise and then you'll have sweat pouring down your face..

If you're commuting then the shell helmet is fine.

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    The vented road helmet is also considerably lighter, which makes it easier to sustain more aggressive road positions as there is less weight pulling the head down. – Rider_X Jul 4 '17 at 14:19

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