Let’s get this out of the way!
You need a good bike helmet. It doesn’t matter whether you are a casual rider, regular commuter, or hard-core mountain and trail biker. Cool bike helmets help to protect against head and brain injury. The Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute, a nonprofit helmet advocacy organization, says that 63 percent of bicycle fatalities occurred in cases where people weren’t wearing helmets. Your local municipality may legally require riders to wear a helmet. But even if it’s not legally required, it’s just the smart thing to do. You wouldn’t drive a car without a seatbelt, or jump from a plane without a parachute. So why would biking be different?
What kind of helmet should you get?
There are a few different styles and it depends how you are planning to ride. A road bike helmet, while still designed for protection, puts more emphasis on ventilation and a lighter weight. It is usually a low profile bike helmet well adapted for commuters and casual riders. A mountain bike half-shell helmet may look similar to a road bike helmet, but you will find that it generally offers more surface area coverage. Mountain bike helmets also typically have a visor to help shield your eyes from sun and debris. It’s not a good idea to ride with the visor in heavy traffic, because it does reduce visibility a bit. Full face mountain bike helmets are for the serious sportsmen who do expert level maneuvers out on the trails. They are quite similar in shape to motocross helmets, with a chin guard and full head coverage to protect your head and face from impacts.
What to look for in a bicycle helmet
Here is what to look for as you shop for the best bicycle helmet for you. The basic function of a cycling helmet doesn’t vary much. Generally they are composed of a closed-cell foam to absorb impact, with a protective shell to protect the foam from wear and tear. The best helmets offer in-mold construction, which means that the foam is injected into the shell while it’s still in the mold. In cheaper models, the manufacturer will glue the shell to a finished foam form. Many bike helmets include ventilation vents to improve airflow. When you are exerting yourself at full speed, you don’t want a stifling helmet keeping your body heat from escaping. Note that vent count is not the best indicator of a helmet’s ventilation performance. A more important metric is the percentage of open space versus plastic in the surface area.
Gendered helmets don’t have much difference between them in terms of functionality. Womens bike helmets tend to run a bit smaller than mens bicycle helmets. Also many womens helmets are designed to leave space for a ponytail in the back. Bottom line, choose the helmet that fits you best and appeals to your style preferences.
For safety, all USA-manufactured helmets are required to adhere to the standard is set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. If you are purchasing in the USA, look for the CPSC certification. You should not use a helmet after an impact. The inner foam absorbs the impact and is destroyed in the process. In addition, even if there has been no impact, you should replace your helmet every 3-5 years. Sweat, UV light, and pollution all contribute to degradation of the components. For these very same reasons, you should never buy a used helmet because you cannot be sure of its age or its history.
Fit is a key part of the helmet-buying equation. A poorly fit helmet is not doing its job and gives you a sense of false security. The helmet should sit squarely above your head with the bottom edge resting on your brow. The chin strap should be securely fastened and tightened. Don’t choke yourself but make sure it is snug and doesn’t move around. Properly position the chin strap forward or backward by adjusting the Y-shaped harness. Adjust the retention band to fit the circumference of your head, using the wheel or slider at the rear of the helmet.
The 10 Best Bike Helmets
And now we will share with you our 10 favorite cycling helmets.
Bollé The One Standard Road Helmet
Bollé’s The One Standard Road Helmet has a lot of extra goodies at a very reasonable price point. It is proof positive that you don’t have to spend a lot for good quality.
A renowned name in winter sports, Bollé knows quite a lot about manufacturing products to endure in tough conditions. This versatile helmet is engineered to adapt to the different conditions in which you may be riding. Aero shells improve warmth and heat retention in the winter, and can be removed in the spring and summer. Optional liners offer even more layered protection in cold weather. But this helmet keeps you comfortable in warm weather too with its 31-vent ventilation system. A detachable visor adds mountain bike styling and protection when you need it. The patented Click-to-Fit system is a best-in-class feature for adjusting the retention band, ensuring a perfect fit. Two extra special features are a taillight mount and a “Sunglasses Garage”, a system of strategically shaped forward vents to hold your eyewear securely.
For safety, The One Standard Road Helmet comes equipped with an LED and also a safety QR code. The safety QR code allows you to store vital information on a simple sticker, which can be accessed when someone scans the code with any QR reader on any smartphone. The sticker is printed on special material which is resistant to wear and adverse weather conditions. This is a must-have feature in case an emergency arises and you need immediate assistance. These extra safety features will allow you to enjoy cycling worry-free.
Overall, this bike helmet is packed with so many neat extras. Enjoy your next ride with Bollé’s The One Standard Road Helmet.
Giro is a well-known maker of quality bike helmets, and the Giro Savant is one of the top-rated road bike helmets on everyone’s list. It delivers good quality and high-performance construction for an economical price.
The Giro Savant was engineered using durable In-Mold construction. Like all Giro products, it uses the patented Roc Loc 5 retention system. A slim, semi-rigid retention band and a powerful click wheel, combine to set the industry benchmark for adjustability and comfort. The Roc Loc 5 system allows you to easily fine-tune the fit tension and the front/back tilt of the helmet using a single hand. It’s so easy to operate, you can do it on the fly. For safety, the helmet is equipped with a recessed night vision LED bulb. This Giro Savant includes the anti-concussion Multi-directional Impact Protection System, also known as MIPS for short. A cheaper version is available without this feature.
Like all Giro helmets, this helmet incorporates the proprietary Wind Tunnel™ ventilation system to keep riders cool and comfortable. This top-notch design pairs active vents in the helmet’s shell with exhaust channels inside the helmet. Together, these elements direct fresh, cool air around the rider’s head while forcing hot and stale air out. This is a very lightweight helmet with a form-fitting profile, making it a perfect choice for commuters.
The Giro Savant delivers everything a rider would expect in durability, comfort, and fit. You will be satisfied with the exceptional quality and attention to detail.
The Schwinn Thrasher has a low price point that is perfect for the bargain hunter. But its real attraction is that in head-to-head performance tests, it holds its own against helmets that cost triple the price. It may not have all the bells and whistles, but you’ll find it is practical and affordable.
The Schwinn Thrasher helmet is ideal for a commuter or casual rider. You will find that it is very lightweight and will not weigh you down. 20 vents will keep you cool by improving airflow and letting heated air escape. Heat sealed pads will help with sweat absorption to keep you comfortable on longer trips. It will ensure your safety because it is designed to shatter on impact, absorbing the force that would otherwise be meeting your unprotected head. Adjustable chin straps, side straps, and a retention band will help you to adjust the helmet for proper fit and position on your head. The retention band is adjusted with a dial at the back of the helmet. A removable visor is available to help reduce glare or protect your eyes from debris.
The Schwinn Thrasher is overall a very economical helmet that won’t bust your budget. It may not look flashy but it will deliver all you need in terms of protection and comfort.
Troy Lee Designs A1 MIPS Helmet – Drone
The Troy Lee Designs A1 MIPS Drone Helmet has been a favorite of both serious and casual cyclists for years now. Its dynamite styling, fit and performance keep it at the top of the pack.
The Troy Lee Designs A1 MIPS Drone Helmet is a half-shell mountain bike helmet. Its shape extends down the side and back of the head to give you maximum protection and security. Its sturdy and durable construction is achieved with a polycarbonate shell and high impact EPS foam. The helmet also includes the anti-concussion Multi-directional Impact Protection System (MIPS). The shape of this helmet is very energized and stylish, including a full-spectrum adjustable visor. The Troy Lee Designs A1 MIPS Drone Helmet is equipped with an adjustable retention band to customize your fit. The band incorporates three available positions to adjust for various head shape, riding styles, and eyewear. It also includes a removable and washable moisture wicking liner. Users rave about the unsurpassed comfortable feeling of this helmet. Well-mapped, dense padding protects your head from pressure points. Awesome cooling ventilation and moisture wicking is achieved with a Nanowick synthetic line, 8 pressurized intake vents, and 8 rear vacuum vortex outlets. You won’t believe how cool and comfortable this helmet makes you feel.
To sum up, the Troy Lee Designs A1 MIPS Drone Helmet is a lightweight mountain helmet that is engineered to keep you protected no matter how you ride, with its maximum coverage and ingenious protective features. This right here is the gold standard of mountain biking helmets.
Lazer Z1 MIPS Helmet
The Lazer Z1 MIPS Helmet is an awesome product that has been gaining in popularity. Lazer’s innovation teams keep perfecting this high-end road racing helmet. Lazer has incorporated all the best features of high performance helmets. The Z1 has reached an apex of style, comfort, and safety while still being quite a lightweight bike helmet.
The Lazer Z1 MIPS Helmet has the sleek and unobtrusive look many road cyclists desire. But if you look closely, Lazer has tinkered with the traditional helmet shape to improve its safety features, by including more coverage at the temples in the event of a crash. The Multi-directional Impact Protection System (MIPS) is new in the 2016 models. This system is engineered to move slightly upon impact to absorb the skull-damaging rotational energy generated by side impacts. The Lazer Z1 is constructed with the premium In-Mold construction method.
A ventilation system with 31 vents does an outstanding job at keeping you cool and comfortable. For riding in colder weather, the Lazer Z1 MIPS Helmet comes with an included aero cover. Snap it on to limit air flow for extra warmth, while still keeping your head ventilated. This helmet incorporates the best-in-class ARS Advanced Rollsys Retention System to help you secure your helmet at the right angle and snugness on your head. The adjustment wheel is so easy to use that you can make adjustments on the go.
The Lazer Z1 MIPS Helmet is a premium quality urban bike helmet with the best features available on the market today. Both casual riders and regular commuters will be amazed at the helmet’s performance.
Bell Annex MIPS Equipped Urban Helmet 2016
The Bell Annex is an exceptional commuter bike helmet that has a reasonable price point and is packed with outstanding high-tech features. Regular commuters quickly find that this is their go-to helmet, reliable in all conditions. You will find it is one of the best stylish bike helmets, offering protection without being flashy.
The Bell Annex is engineered using the industry-standard In-Mold Polycarbonate Shell, bonded to EPS foam for a sturdy, solid construction. The helmet incorporates the Multi-directional Impact Protection System (MIPS) for additional protection in impacts. Included with your purchase is a free year of ICEdot Emergency Notification. This feature allows you to store vital information on a simple sticker, which can be accessed when someone scans the code on any smartphone. This is a must-have feature in case an emergency arises and you need immediate assistance.
The Bell Annex will give you an unparalleled comfort and fit with a host of features, including thick microbe-resistant padding. The Active Aero System provides adjustable ventilation. Slide a lever to open the top vents for warm weather, or close them in the winter. Overbrow Ventilation relies on a system of 15 intake and exhaust ports to circulate air through a matrix of air channels, allowing cooler air to flow in and force heated air out. The Float Fit system is easy to operate with an adjustable dial to set your perfect fit for both the height and the circumference of your head.
The Bell Annex MIPS Equipped Urban Helmet is a very versatile product with an available rear light mount, removable visor, and a face shield (sold separately). It’s designed with serious commuters in mind, to offer a safe and comfortable experience.
IXS Trail RS All Mountain Bike Helmet
The IXS Trail RS All Mountain Bike Helmet was designed, tested and built in cooperation with free-ride mountain biking legend and pioneer, Richie Schley. This is a practical and affordable helmet with all the best features of MTB helmets for all levels of riding intensity.
The IXS Trail RS is engineered with full In-Mold construction for superior impact absorption in the case of a crash. Adjust the helmet to your head shape and size with the superior Ergo-Fit Ultra, a fully flexible and adjustable retention system. The helmet also incorporates the Y-clip adjustable strap system for convenient and easy adjustments. Ventilation is provided by means of internal air channels and 22 vents. Even at the peak of pedaling intensity, your head will stay cool and excess body heat can escape. The helmet comes equipped with an adjustable MX style visor, optimized for flexibility and a full visual field. The visor has a quick-release function in case of a crash.
The IXS Trail RS All Mountain Bike Helmet offers exceptional, high-performance protection, with the comfort and lightweight feel of a road biking helmet. You’re bound to love the price as well.
Mavic Notch Helmet
The Mavic Notch Helmet is a lightweight mountain bike helmet at a very competitive price. Mavic has designed a well-engineered shell with full coverage, low weight, and an inconspicuous profile.
The Mavic Notch helmet incorporates industry-standard features. The detailed shell design minimizes pressure points while maximizing visibility, all without sacrificing protection. The shape of the helmet is optimized for the mountain biker’s riding position. Rider comfort is improved while requiring less material, which reduces the weight of the helmet. For fit, the Notch excels with its patented Ergo Hold Retention System. Use the ergonomic wheel dial to adjust the retention band through six centimeters to equally distribute pressure. The operation of the dial is easy enough to use one-handed, even on the fly. Integrated pads provide a snag-free transition from retention system to shell. Ventilation is achieved with 18 vents which taper from very large holes on the outside to smaller internal holes. The ventilation is consistently rated by users as above average. The Mavic Notch includes a removable, fully integrated visor.
The Mavic Notch Helmet is a practical, affordable piece which delivers full coverage, weight savings, optimum fit, and comfort. Take The Mavic Notch along on your next mountain biking adventure.
Kask Vertigo 2.0 Helmet
The Kask Vertigo is a top-rated road bike helmet. Its premium quality will deliver an exceptionally comfortable and secure riding experience.
The Vertigo is so comfortable that you will really feel like a king or queen. No other manufacturer will give you a faux leather chin strap. The nylon fixed straps have lateral spacers where they are in contact with the skin, delivering top-class ventilation and comfort. Cushy triple density padding soothes and protects your scalp. The internal pads are part of Kask’s patented 3D Dry system to wick away moisture. These pads are removable and washable. The ventilation system of 24 large air vents will keep you cool without sacrificing safety. Superior fit is achieved with a unique hinged adjustment system. Adjust the helmet to the circumference of your head as well as vertical height for optimal fit. Adjustments can be operated using either the dial or finger push system. The Vertigo incorporates a high-performance rear retention band, complete with two articulating points on each side and silicone bits which provide padding and resist slipping.
Consumers praise the Kask Vertigo 2.0 Helmet as one of the safest, best fitting and most stylish helmets available. For the serious road bike rider, you will find this helmet reliable and highly satisfactory.
Poc Tectal Race Helmet
The Poc Tectal Race Helmet is a high-performance mountain biking helmet equipped with the latest technologies. You will enjoy its premium quality and durability.
Poc’s Tectal Race Helmet has a high-integrity unibody shell construction with a polycarbonate shell and EPS foam. The shell also is reinforced with an aramid fiber grid for durability and protection. Aramid fibers are a class of extremely strong and heat-resistant synthetic fibers, used in military and aerospace applications. The bonding of the EPS foam with the unbreakable aramid bridges enhances the structural stability while distributing the force of impact over a larger surface. Nevertheless you will find this helmet quite cool and lightweight. The superior ventilation system incorporates 15 vents, optimized to control airflow and keep you cool and comfortable. An adjustable visor protects you from sun glare and debris while also maximizing your visual field. For safety, the Poc Tectal Race comes equipped with a cutting edge RECCO® reflector. Search and rescue teams are increasingly using RECCO® detectors to locate people stranded in the wilderness.
This is definitely a high-quality, high-tech mountain bike helmet that will deliver loads of protection in a stylish package. Get ready for your next adventure with the Poc Tectal Race Helmet.