How to mount a bike helmet light on different helmets?

Mounting a bike helmet light to different helmets

There are a lot of helmets out there and each one is its own unique snowflake with vent holes and MIPS systems and ornate, flowing shapes, all of which can make mounting a challenge. We here at Outbound have measured a lot of helmets (a LOT) over the past 5 years and can help you walk through a few simple steps to get your helmet light setup properly.

 

Helmet Light Mounting Location

First things first, you’re going to want to put your helmet light in a spot that keeps the weight centered on your head while riding. For most people, pretty much dead center on the helmet is about right, but it depends on your body position when you’re riding. If you tend to tilt your head down further for more aggressive riding, you may want to move the light further back so it doesn’t tend to pull your helmet down. Keeping the weight centered reduces strain on your neck and will keep you more comfortable for longer rides. No matter what, you’ll put the light somewhere on the centerline of the helmet looking from the front, which brings us to…

 

Types of Helmet Light Mounts

With a few exceptions, there are two primary types of helmet mounts: adhesive tape bases or strap style mounts.

It may be scary to think about taping something to your helmet permanently, but the magic of 3M VHB foam tape is that it can be peeled off and leaves zero residue, so you need not worry about damaging anything or irreversible applications. The primary benefit of adhesive style mounts is the lack of “wiggle” as they are extremely solid when attached, so your helmet light won’t wiggle back and forth noticeably while moving around, but it also comes in a very low-profile package to reduce the amount of bulk on (and inside) your helmet. Plus they’re very inexpensive to put on multiple helmets to make quick changes as needed.

 

Helmet Bike Light Bontrager POC Vent Strap
Vented Helmet Strap-Style Mount (left) and Curved Adhesive Tape Mount Base (right)

The alternative is a strap-style mount that runs Velcro or nylon straps through the vent holes of the helmet to cinch it down tight. The primary benefit here is the ability to take the entire mount on and off multiple times, even if it does take a bit longer to get the straps setup. Since they use a thicker foam pad underneath to contour to the helmet, the straps have to be very tight to prevent the helmet light from flopping around too much while riding, then you have the straps to deal with running through the helmet padding and excess strap that has to be dealt with. While these generally fit most helmets, it is entirely dependent on the vents, so helmets with no vents (a lot of enduro and downhill helmets) and those with newer MIPS systems (like Bontrager WaveCel or the Smith honeycomb) can block the vents entirely, meaning even those don’t work on everything. So how do you decide what you need?

 

Types of Helmet Lights

Every bike light brand out there seems to have its own proprietary mount standard, so the brand of light you buy will likely limit your options. All of them have some form of “quick-release” attachment that is different from brand-to-brand. Some brands like Light & Motion design their lights around mounting to handlebars instead of helmets and choose rubber straps to mount them, so they use a smaller “tube” base for the helmet to wrap the strap around, which works, but at the expense of putting the light much higher above your head where it’s more likely to grab low tree branches while also making it feel heavier bobbing back and forth.

 

Bontrager Rally Helmet Bike Helmet Light Mounting
Comparison between Light & Motion Pro Vis 1000 with tube strap style mount (left) and Outbound Lighting Hangover with Integrated Action Camera Mount (right)

Thankfully a lot of companies are making adapters for Action Camera Mounts, like you see on a GoPro. However, if quick-release mechanism is on the bottom of the light, that means even with an Action Camera Mount adapter, the light is still placed very high above the helmet.

For Outbound Bike Helmet Lights, we designed the lights around helmet mounting from the start and skipped the proprietary setup and just integrated Action Camera mount tabs into the light shell, which means not only that you don’t need a separate proprietary adapter, but we can also tuck the light in much closer to the helmet to reduce neck strain and snag hazards on trail. Whatever light you choose, you’ll need to ensure that the mount you get works with that specific light.

 

What Kind of Helmet Do You Have?

Ok, so you’ve got a light and amount, now you have to figure out how to get it attached to your helmet so it’s secure and in the right place. Unfortunately, there are zero standards for “helmet shape” and thus every discipline has different form factors, from road to gravel to commuting to trail to Enduro to downhill and you get the idea…if the light you have came with a strap mount, you’ll have to see what vents you can loop the straps through to get the light positioned where you need it without the base tilting to one side or the other, but if you have no vent holes or they’re blocked, you’ll likely need to find an adhesive base option.

 

3D Printed Adhesive Tape Base Custom Bike Helmet Light Mount
Custom 3D Printed Adhesive Mount Base from Outbound to work with helmets that have large center vent gaps

Alternatively, if you bought an Outbound Lighting Hangover then it will come with one standard curved adhesive base mount, which fits around ~80% of the helmets on the market. If you need more for more helmets, you can get them easily from us, as well as several other 3rd party vendors, making it a lot easier to find what you need. If the adhesive base doesn’t fit your helmet, then you have two more ways to make it work: since it’s a standard interface, you can pick up a Vented Helmet Strap Mount from GoPro if you think the strap mount would be better, but we also 3D print custom adhesive bases for our customers with different common helmets shapes. If yours comes to a point like the Fox Proframe or a Troy Lee Designs A1, we have a notched mount that fits that profile. If you have a Giro or POC with a vent gap or recess down the center, we have mounts that span the gap and attach on each side securely.

 

Helmets Designed for Bike Light Mounting

Over time, the Action Camera Mount tabs have become the closest thing to a standard in the bike industry today, and as a result many more helmets have been making their own integrated breakaway camera mounts to make it even easier to mount a light like the Hangover. Examples such as the Bell Super DH and Sixer, Smith Forefront 2, Bontrager Blendr-compatible series, and many more have sleek mount options designed into them to make it even easier.

Bontrager Blaze Rally Integrated Bike Helmet Light Action Camera Mount
Bontrager helmet with Magnetic Integrated Action Camera Mount