To be fair I always wondered the same question as you do why do mountain bike helmets have peaks? The question became stuck to me so I did some research.
Peaks on mountain bike helmets protect your vision from the sun and also they protect your face from branches when you ride an Mtb usually you sit in an upright position so it doesn’t block your vision as well.
You may have not seen peaks/visors on-road bikers as well there are some reasons why road bikers do not wear them and mountain bikers do here’s are some of the reasons for it and how they are so useful when riding mountain bikes.
Protection against the sun :
Peaks secure your vision when the sun is right up on your head or when you get out of shades or enter the shade, if you are thinking that they may get in the way of your vision well they don’t since mountain bikers all sit mostly in an upright position, unlike the road bikes.
Protection against branches :
They are very handy on trails as well you don’t have to get off your bike if the branches get in your way you can mostly just brush them off with your peak and continue with your way.
branches are inevitable on trails and you will find many sticking in your face so it’s better to have a helmet with peaks especially on trails.
Protection against crashes :
When riding downhill is the time when the peaks on your helmets really become useful and play a major role while you can be as careful as you have to but sometimes it’s not just your day on a downhill if you braked or even lost momentum or something went wrong sometime the bike has chances of flipping over the peaks are designed to cover your face in that situation and offer more protection.
Protection in the rain and bad weather:
weather is a most unexpected thing and sometimes’s even if it is bad we simply ignore it and it’s until after its pouring that we pack our things and race to find shelter, this is where the peaks/visors become really really useful.
The shade like the shape of the peaks protect your vision on the rainy days they are certainly more comfortable in this case more than any road bike helmets and we love it for that.
Protection from dirt and debris :
Peaks/visors also save your eyes from getting dirt in your eyes. If you are riding on a windy day you can just drop the visor and it will protect your eyes from getting dirt.
Some of the hottest trails also have a lot of riders they play a major role there as well they protect your vision help you to ride faster and smoother.
Cool look :
Another reason why most of us wear them well, they look cool on trails we only use light color glasses and mostly not even those because of the sun-shade situation.
Also, they just look a lot better than the roadies helmets while looking cool they also offer protection.
Rather than stopping the ventilation they actually provide much more than what you think the peaks provide more ventilation as the visor is down the air slide against it and the airflow enhances and it is straightly going to your head.
It prevents you from sweating and at the same time keeps your head cool and clear.
With most of the mountain bike helmets, peaks/visors are moveable you can move them if you want to but still best not to remove them completely or remove the helmet completely even if it’s getting in the way of your vision, Helmets are moveable so you can easily move them to get a little bit better vision on trails.
Generally, mountain bikers keep the peaks higher when they are going downhill it blocks 30% of the vision but when they are riding uphill or on straighter trails they tend to keep it down so should you, it will keep the sun getting in your eyes and provide a much more comfortable experience.
Are peaks on mountain bike helmets detachable :
Yes the peaks/visors on mountain bike helmets, but on some helmets, they are rigidly attached.
they can be detached and even taken off but on some helmets, they are part of the helmet frame it is just to emphasize how big of a role they play and you should not take them off.
On some helmets they are moveable so if you are commuting or when you think you don’t need them you can just fold them but always remember to move them back its recommended and it just adds to another layer of safety for you as well.
Why road bikers don’t have Peaks/visors :
Road bikers do not have visors because of the sitting positions they are bent down to increase aerodynamic movement and visors/peaks in that case get in the way of their vision.
instead of visors they mostly use caps underneath their helmets or glasses to protect their eyes from the sun.
That’s why road bikes have open helmets it enhances their vision and it’s just easier on their vision as well.
Can you use road bike helmets for mountain bikes?
Yes, you can use road bike helmets for mountain bikes if you do not have appropriate helmets they are better than nothing but you should use the proper mountain bike helmets if possible because they are specially designed for that purpose and nothing can replace them.
While road bike helmets can be worn on the trails but it’s best if you stick to the mountain bike helmets, they are made to be more ventilated and protective.
The same can be said for mountain bike helmets on road bikes so it’s better to stick with what is made for what.
are mountain bike helmets more expensive than road bike helmets :
In a sense yes most of the mountain bike helmets come with a note to not use the helmet after one crash even if you can’t see the damage anywhere.
Your head is the main part of your body and on trails, you are exposed to much more danger and safety should be the first priority you don’t want something that’s sure to fail.
That’s why mountain bike helmets are often asked to be disposed of after one crash even if the damage is not visible. it can be internal damage or something may have gone wrong after the crash you don’t want to risk your life for 30 or 40$.
Is wearing a helmet so necessary for a mountain bike?
It certainly is very necessary to wear helmets if instead, you think a cap would do just fine or even if you are a professional in outdoor sports helmets can not be considered an exception. even if you rent a bike even if you go for a trial don’t even ride it before you have your helmet on.
Trails are filled with unexpected twists and turn drops and jumps and as I always say you can never be more careful on trails so it’s always best to not even leave your house before wearing your helmet.
Remember that looking cool is not more important than your life and it is considered rather foolish so be sure that you always wear at least a helmet if nothing else.
Is it okay to remove visors/peaks if detachable :
It is not recommended if you are on trails but you can choose to remove them once you are off trails and are getting in the way.
But I think you won’t need to take them off since mountain bikes are driven in an upright posture so they can very well block the sun for you and even protect your vision.
Though you may sometimes see peaks/visors as a hindrance it’s a fact that they provide much more support than you realize and in case you think they look childish or uncool you can always go for full-face helmets or tri face but still wear a helmet comes first than riding your bike.
Always keep your safety first and fun later that’s a general rule of thumb in mountain biking, crushing is inevitable but if you are prepared in advance it can save you from many unfortunate accidents.
I think now we know why peaks are there and how can they benefit you.
Let me know what you think they are for and do you think if they look cool or not?