The finest mountain bike helmets are the most important piece of mountain bike safety equipment, particularly in a trail-side mishap or accident. Head injuries are no laughing matter, and as research expands, two things become obvious. A head injury requires far less power than previously assumed, and minor injuries can have long-term consequences. It is critical to choose the best mountain bike helmet you can afford.
Best All-Around Mountain Bike Helmets
1. Giro Manifest Spherical ($260):
Mountain bike helmet Giro Manifest
12.2 oz. in weight
Pros: The comprehensive package of protection, ventilation, comfort, and features.
Cons: divisive fashion and high costs.
Giro’s Manifest helmet was published a little over a year ago to little fanfare. This helmet is regarded as one of the best MTB helmet. However, it’s a tremendous winner. We’ve been using it as our primary helmet for the past six months. Although, we have not yet found a significant drawback. The open and spacious inside perfectly provides good all-around coverage and has the proper cushioning. The shell is effectively made up of two components, allowing the upper half of the surface to move independently of the lower in a crash. It is designed according to Giro’s unique Spherical Technology (developed alongside MIPS) (minimizing rotational forces on the brain). And by incorporating this into the shell’s construction rather than having a separate liner as most MIPS lids do, you get excellent airflow. Taken as a whole, we believe the Manifest is the greatest trail helmet on the market.
Unfortunately, this helmet which includes conveniences like magnetic fastening and a highly customizable fit system comes at a pricey $260 price. At double the price of Giro’s Source below, it’s a tough pill to swallow for riders who don’t get out much or don’t mind a slightly warmer build. The Manifest also has somewhat divisive aesthetics. particularly in colors that showcase the two-piece construction, but that’s primarily a question of personal taste. We believe the Manifest is the market leader if you can afford the high price.
Also read about Helmet-To-Helmet Communication.
2. Troy Lee Designs A3 (about $220)
A3 mountain bike helmet by Troy Lee Designs
Genre: The trail
13.9 oz. in weight
Pros: Superb comfort, thanks to a deep, broad fit and velvety cushioning.
Cons: The mediocre ventilation and weight.
Our test group loved all three generations of Troy Lee’s A series of trail helmets. For example, each has its strengths—the A2 below is a superb ventilator. On the other hand, TLD has focused on comfort and safety with this latest generation. The quality is obvious from the minute you put it on.
There’s incredibly velvety cushioning covering the whole interior. The broad, accommodating form and highly adjustable fit system provides all-day comfort. It’s also well-suited for rocky trail use, with an increased covering around the temples and back of the head. Yet they’ve managed to leave enough room for most goggles and glasses to fit. Finally, the shell is co-molded with EPP and EPS foam to protect against low- and high-speed impacts.
The A3 falls short of the Giro Manifest in ventilation and weight. The super-comfortable inside and narrower vent apertures block more air than the Giro. However, the A3’s sweat management system does a better job of stopping drops from dropping straight into your glasses. And at just under 14 ounces, the A3 is a bit heavier, and the extra weight is obvious when the two are worn together. But these are minor quibbles, and the fact is that Troy Lee Designs has put together yet another great trail product. The Troy Lee helmet is considered the best mountain bike helmet.
3. MIPS Smith Convoy ($75)
Mountain bike helmet Smith Convoy MIPS
The weight is 11 oz.
Pros: Excellent value for Smith quality; available in various sizes.
Cons: It’s not very well-designed in terms of coverage or comfort.
As the cost of mountain bike helmets rises year after year, it’s refreshing to see a high-quality, low-cost choice like Smith’s Convoy appear. For $75, you receive a sturdy lid for leisure riding that is extremely customizable (you can modify the fit). The design isn’t flashy, and you miss out on luxury features like soft and highly absorbent cushioning. Still, the Convoy is a good alternative for individuals who don’t go on long rides or into the most difficult terrain.
How does the Smith compare to Bontrager’s well-known Solstice?
Both helmets are ideal for casual cyclists on cross-country routes with modest coverage, non-adjustable visors, and very simple interiors. On the other hand, the two designs are lightweight, and moderately airy. Moreover, they can do double duty for road or gravel use. The Smith’s four available sizes make it simpler to tune in a snug and comfortable fit (the Bontrager only comes in two). It also outperforms the Solstice in back-of-the-head/neck protection. We’re willing to give the Convoy the extra nod for only $5.
MIPS Smith Convoy is known as one of the best MTB helmet.
4. POC Octal X Spinning ($250)
Mountain bike helmet POC Octal X SPIN
9.4 oz. in weight
Pros: The excellent breathability and the lightweight.
Cons: It’s too pricey.
A lightweight, well-ventilated helmet is essential for long, uphill days on the saddle. And, amid the many alternatives available, POC’s Octal X SPIN stands out. Its featherweight is 9.4-ounce, appropriately sized 21 vents, and thoughtful additions like a spot to keep your glasses while not in use check all the boxes. In terms of safety, the high-end Octal contains POC’s proprietary SPIN technology (similar to MIPS) and Aramid reinforcements on the EPS liner for further protection. These features are not seen on the great majority of helmets in this light. POC Octal X is regarded as one of the best mountain bike helmets.
The apparent disadvantage of the Octal X SPIN is its high price of $250. POC is aimed at the serious rider in general—the $250 Kortal Race is comparable in price—and the craftsmanship and attention to detail are undeniably outstanding. However, its appeal is likely to be restricted to competitive riders who ride frequently and will appreciate the superlight construction and aerodynamic design. Check out Giro’s $140 Artex MIPS for a more inexpensive XC option.
5. Stage MIPS By Troy Lee Designs ($299)
Weight: 1 pound, 8 ounces
Pros: It’s light, well-ventilated, and provides excellent protection.
Cons: It’s expensive and not as fuzzy as other full-face designs.
Troy Lee Designs has been designing mountain bike helmets for a long time and is well-known for producing comfortable lids. As a result, it should be no surprise that their first attempt at creating a lightweight full-face helmet is rather amazing. The Stage MIPS is one of the lightest downhill-certified full-face helmets, at only 1 pound 8 ounces. And it makes no concessions in terms of features:
- Twenty-five strategically placed vents boost ventilation.
- A MIPS lining adds protection.
- A magnetic Fidlock system makes buckling quick and simple.
If you’re an enduro racer or want to enhance your protection from a standard half shell, the TLD should be at the top of your list.
The Stage crams a lot of functions into a stylish helmet, but it’s far from a value leader. Stage MIPS costs $299, which is around $20-$40 more than popular competitors like Giro’s Switchblade and Fox’s Proframe below. The good news is that it’s another high-quality TLD product with excellent comfort. Furthermore, the Stage MIPS features extra internal padding to assist the fit, contributing to the higher price. It should be noted that the Stage prioritizes weight and ventilation, and there are burlier variants available for specialized park and particularly rough downhill use (including TLDs’ D4). But, in the end, we believe the Stage strikes a good balance of build quality, protection, and comfort. Thus, stage MIPS is one of the best MTB helmet.
6. The Giro Source MIPS ($130):
Mountain bike helmet Giro Source MIPS
The weight is 12 oz.
The combination of safety, comfort, and performance at a reasonable price appeals to us.
We don’t like the lack of features and the decrease in airflow.
The Source MIPS from Giro demonstrates that you don’t have to pay a fortune to acquire a safe, comfortable, and lightweight mountain bike helmet. It boasts excellent trail coverage, a low-profile MIPS lining, ample cushioning, and adequate ventilation for extended days on varied terrain. Furthermore, the helmet has features often seen on more costly models: the visor is big enough to screen the sun and adjusts to accommodate glasses.
Secondly, the fit system is secure and easy to operate even with gloves on (don’t be fooled by the dial’s small diameter). Overall, the Source provides what most riders require at an affordable price.
The pricing of the Giro is what makes it so enticing, although there are a few design concessions. The vents are smaller than those on some of the higher-end models on our list, including Giro’s own Manifest Spherical, which is seen above. The Source is still an upgrade over the defunct Chronicle, but it isn’t a standout in this category (XC riders in hotter climates likely choose a better-vented hot weather helmet, such as the Giro’s own $100 Radix). Furthermore, you forego features like a magnetic buckle and an integrated light mount, and the cushioning is of lower quality. To be fair, these are minor quibbles, and the Source’s strong all-around performance at a low price is what makes it one of our top selections. Therefore, the Giro source is known as the best mountain bike helmet.
7. ANGi’s Specialized Ambush ($200):
ANGi mountain bike helmet with Specialized Ambush
12.4 oz. in weight
What we like: ANGi Bluetooth technology gives a good boost in safety; it’s quite light.
What we don’t have: We fall just short of becoming class leaders in durability and cushioning.
For decades, Specialized has built its reputation by creating high-quality bikes, providing an excellent array of accessories and clothes. The Ambush’s main story is its Bluetooth crash sensor, ANGi, which sends live tracking information to emergency contacts and informs them in the case of an accident. You will need to download and use their Specialized Ride app—each helmet purchase includes a lifetime subscription—but we believe it is a small price to pay for a significant increase in safety and peace of mind with a modular helmet. Specialized isn’t the first to deploy this technology (POC helmets had a comparable gadget in 2013), but they’ve certainly streamlined it.
While the Bluetooth ANGi technology is the key selling point, the Ambush is also well-designed. Aside from the additional coverage in the back, the extremely lightweight feel, and the 20 vents that do an excellent job of keeping your head cool, Specialized collaborated with MIPS to develop a new product (MIPS SL).
Small pieces put beneath each pad enhance airflow and lower weight without losing protection, replacing the thick, plastic liner that hinders airflow on other versions. The primary issue with the Ambush is competition: The Giro Manifest Spherical, seen above, is an even better ventilator, with additions like two layers of foam to help absorb low- and high-speed impacts. But, with a $60 discount, there’s a lot to appreciate about the Ambush. Thus, ANGi’s is one of the best MTB helmets.
8. A2 Troy Lee Designs ($169)
A2 mountain bike helmet by Troy Lee Designs
Trail/XC is the category.
13.3 oz. in weight
We like a good price for a high-quality construction with excellent ventilation.
We don’t like: The visor has limited flexibility and isn’t as comfy as the A3.
The A2, now the middle kid in Troy Lee Designs’ expanding A family, strikes a good balance of affordability and performance. First, the ventilation is among the finest in the trail-riding category, with wide channels in the front and large apertures in the back. Furthermore, the A2’s safety package is completely current, making it an excellent choice for aggressive motorcyclists. The helmet, like the A3, is made of two types of foam: EPS, which is used in cycling helmets for cushioning high-speed impacts, and durable EPP for low-speed accidents. The A2 is designed for technical climbs and boisterous descents, featuring a MIPS lining and breakaway hardware on the visor.
In terms of fit, we discovered that the A2 had a deep, broad, and very adjustable inside, which was a hit with our group of testers. Comfort is also on the list, thanks to a simplistic yet sensible design with thicker padding around the brow.
However, it cannot compete with the A3’s incredibly soft feel. Another issue we discovered is that the visor does not slide high enough to accommodate a goggle, which is a disappointment for enduro riders (the A3 addresses this with a more adjustable, goggles-friendly visor). Aside from that nitpick, at $169, the A2 has amazingly quality construction and excellent trail performance for a good price. Hence, A2 Troy Lee is one of the best mountain bike helmet.
9. Fox Drop frame Pro ($200).
Mountain bike helmet Fox Racing Dropframe Pro
Trail/Downhill is the category.
1 pound, 1.5 ounces
We like the additional protection around the ears and rear of the skull.
We don’t like: The tweener design is less protective than a full face mask while being heavier than a half shell.
Fox’s Dropframe Pro bridges the gap between a half-shell and full-face design. The front of the helmet looks like a conventional trail helmet, with wide vent vents, but there’s extra covering around the ears (with cutouts to allow you to hear) and back of the helmet. It’s a helmet that’s ideal for bike park laps or if you have the luxury of taking your helmet off on non-technical forest service road climbs before a rough and boisterous descent. At $200, we believe Fox did a good job combining a variety of high-quality components, such as dual-density EPS foam, a MIPS lining, a magnetic buckle, and soft yet supportive padding around the inside.
The Drop Frame promises to be your go-to helmet, but the hybrid design comes with trade-offs. A genuine downhiller will still want a full-face model in their quiver for optimal protection and racing (the Drop Frame, unlike Troy Lee’s Stage above, is not downhill-certified). And, on pedal-heavy days in the heat of summer, it’s noticeably poorer in terms of ventilation, weight, and overall size compared to the superb half-shell models at the top of our rankings. However, if you fall anywhere in the middle, the Dropframe Pro is worth looking at.
10. POC Kortal Race MIPS ($250).
Mountain biking helmet POC Kortal Race MIPS
Weight: 14.5 oz
What we like: Well-integrated safety features and extensive side and back coverage.
What we don’t like: The added protection interferes with glasses compatibility; the fit is a little tight.
POC, despite its youth, is at the forefront of helmet safety. And their Kortal Race lid showcases it all: MIPS’ minimalist Integra technology, a breakaway visor, an NFC medical ID chip, and e-bike crash certification—all in a sleek-looking and well-made package. We particularly loved the fit system, which tightened evenly around the head, and ventilation, which included 17 huge vents to keep air moving. The fit is narrow—unlike some of the options above, it will favor a more oval-shaped head—but if it fits for you, the design is comfy and suitable for long days in the saddle.
Aside from its rather contentious fit, another issue we experienced with the Kortal was compatibility with glasses (or lack thereof). POC provided more coverage around the temples, which is a plus in terms of protection, but the added bulk meant it couldn’t accept our normal glasses (including a couple of Smith-brand models). POC’s range is a good option if you want an integrated kit. Goggles and glasses are meant to operate with the Kortal. However, we find this to be quite restrictive. Despite the helmet’s excellent all-around performance, this flaw is enough for us to rank it in the middle of the group.
Must Read: A Guide on What to do with Old Bike Helmets
11. ($280) Giro Switchblade MIPS
Mountain riding helmet Giro Switchblade MIPS
2-pound weight 6 ounces
What we like: The removable chin bar keeps you cool when climbing.
What we don’t have: It’s hefty.
Giro’s first Switchblade, replete with a retractable chin bar, debuted more than two decades ago but never took off. As bikes have become more capable and riders have pushed the limits, Giro thought it was time to return it. The updated model retains the original’s detachable chin-piece design while adding modern features such as a MIPS lining and enhanced all-around protection. Because of its innovative design, the Switchblade is two helmets in one—take the front piece off to be more comfortable on the climb or delicate portions of the trail, but snap it back into place before diving into a rough descent.
The Switchblade is not without flaws, and there’s a reason TLDs Stage is ranked higher. We discovered that the Giro slides slightly forward on the head in full-face mode, pushing down the Giro’s own Blok goggles. The slip, as mentioned earlier, plane lining (a non-MIPS Solstice is available for $50), surprisingly strong ventilation from 17 total vents, and a simple but efficient twist-style adjuster at the rear are all included for $70. Bontrager has incorporated luxury elements like a magnetic fastening for quick on and off and plush cushioning throughout the interior. The Solstice, which comes in various colors, is a good choice for riders who are new to the sport or like non-technical terrain.
Compared to luxury versions, the Bontrager Solstice has a few flaws like every cheap product. First, you only receive a small amount of cover, especially at the back of the lid (even Smith’s similarly priced Convoy outperforms it here). It’s recommended to upgrade to an all-mountain-ready model if you’ll be riding hard and rough trails with rocks and roots. Furthermore, the Solstice MIPS is only available in two sizes (most costly designs come in three), making it more difficult to get a great fit. We believe Bontrager has nailed the Solstice’s combination of functionality, safety, comfort, and aesthetics for the price.
12. ($170) Bell Sixer MIPS
Mountain bike helmet Bell Sixer MIPS
The trail is a category.
14.5 oz. in weight
What we like: An impressive blend of comfort and performance.
What we don’t have: A bit more weight than the rivals.
Bell updated its iconic Super 3 helmet with the Sixer MIPS a few years ago. After three generations of popularity, we were astonished that they changed the name, but the revised lid rapidly gained a comparable following.
The helmet has a contemporary, low-profile shape that doesn’t seem or feel bulky.
The inside padding is high-quality.
Twenty-six well-designed vents keep air moving about your head.
Because of its adaptability, the Sixer MIPS is equally at home on short after-work rides and extended cross-country trips.
The Sixer has a lot of appeal for riders who put in many kilometers, especially during the hot summer months. It is, however, heavier than the A2 and has accessories like an action camera and brim attachment that many people do not want. We also believe that the Giro Source is a better overall value at $40 less. However, the Sixer does provide greater ventilation and pleasant details like a rubberized material at the back to keep goggle straps in place. Check out Bell’s 4 Forty MIPS for $100 for a simpler version of the Sixer with less venting and features.
13. Smith Forefront 2 MIPS ($240).
Mountain bike helmet Smith Forefront 2
Trail/XC is a category.
13.4 oz. in weight
What we like: It’s lightweight and has a nice fit.
What we don’t like: The ventilation is underwhelming for the price.
The $240 Forefront sits atop Smith’s mountain bike helmet range. The design’s novel construction, which mixes layers of EPS foam with Koroyd—a strange material that appears like a collection of plastic straws bonded together—stands out instantly. The stated advantage is a 30% boost in low-speed impact absorption, and the cuts help make the Forefront one of the lightest trail lids on the market.
Equally important, we believe they nailed the finer elements with high-quality materials that have held up well after two seasons of usage and outstanding all-around comfort.
Unfortunately, the tiny openings around the head provide limited circulation, and the Forefront 2 is one of the warmest premium half-shell alternatives. Even with certain design changes for the second generation, it cannot compete in this category with alternatives such as the Troy Lee Designs A2. It shouldn’t be a problem if you ride in cool weather regularly. Still, even in the Pacific Northwest, proper ventilation is essential for lengthy climbs. The remainder of the design, though, is respectable, albeit expensive.
14. The Bontrager Rally WaveCel ($160).
Mountain bike helmet Bontrager Rally WaveCel
The Trail is the category.
14.1 oz. in weight
What we like: WaveCel technology in a low-cost, well-organized packaging.
What we don’t like: The interior could need some additional cushioning.
The mid-range Rally follows Bontrager’s high-end Blaze (mentioned below). This model, like the Blaze, has Bontrager’s impact-absorbing WaveCel technology, which is said to help decrease rotational stresses on the brain in certain sorts of accidents. The Rally’s main selling point is its low price of $160, which is less than half the price of the Blaze.
Importantly, features like trail-ready covering across the back and sides of the head, an adjustable visor, and a Boa dial for fine-tuning the fit have been retained. Finally, like other Bontrager helmets, the Rally comes with a great one-year crash replacement guarantee.
What do you lose with the less expensive Rally WaveCel lid? Bontrager substituted a classic pinch-release mechanism for the Blaze’s easy-to-use magnetic Fidlock buckle. You lose the built-in mounting point for lights or an action camera (also magnetic). Furthermore, the cushioning around the inside is thin, allowing you to feel the slightly abrasive WaveCel material along the top of your head.
This lack of comfort means it can’t compete with the alternatives above, but if Bontrager increases the amount of cushioning, this lid has a good chance of moving up our rankings.
15. Complete Status ($175)
Weight: 2 pounds, 1.5 ounces
We like the high quality of the construction and the low pricing.
What we don’t like about it: It prioritizes protection above ventilation.
Although 100 percent is not as well-known as Fox, Giro, or Troy Lee Designs, their heritage in the motorsports business has provided them with years of helmet safety knowledge. Their Status full-face helmet for mountain biking was initially impressed with its lightweight, attractive appearance, and low price. The fiberglass cover weighs 2 pounds 1.5 ounces, roughly 7 ounces less than prominent competitors like the Troy Lee Designs D3, and its supportive cushioning gives exceptional all-around comfort. The 100 percent Status is a great choice for downhill riding since it has a contemporary style and a variety of hues.
It’s difficult to be unhappy with the Status given its reasonable $175 pricing, which outperforms most competition by $50 or more. However, its ventilation system falls short of hybrid enduro/downhill choices such as the Troy Lee Designs Stage above or the Fox Proframe below. Even on lift-assisted days in the summer, this can provide a sauna-like sensation. However, it is the cost of total coverage and protection. If you’re searching for a specialized downhill lid, the 100 percent Status is a great option.
16. Bontrager Blaze WaveCel (325 dollars)
Trail bike helmet Bontrager Blaze WaveCel
15.5 oz. in weight
We like the manufacturer’s claims of greater safety and comprehensive head protection.
What we don’t have: It’s quite pricey and hefty.
With its high price tag, bold promises about concussion reduction, and contentious design, Bontrager’s Blaze WaveCel helmet generated quite a stir when it first reached the market. The big news was that Bontrager claimed the helmet was up to 48 times more effective than a regular EPS helmet in preventing concussions (they’ve now reduced it to 5x based on follow-up research and for “specific cycling accidents”).
While we don’t have a method of proving this, we do know that the Blaze is one of the most comfortable helmets we’ve ever worn, that the magnetic Fidlock system on the chinstrap is incredibly user-friendly, and that the integrated Blendr accessory attachment makes utilizing a light or action camera a breeze. If they are your main priorities, we have no hesitation in recommending the Blaze WaveCel.
The most significant disadvantage of the Bontrager helmet is its exorbitant $325 price tag, which makes it the most costly model on this list. Another concern is its weight: at 15.5 ounces, the Blaze WaveCel is much heavier than the more cheap POC Koral Race MIPS (14.5 oz.) and Smith Forefront 2 (13.4 oz). Finally, despite the superior construction having its advantages, we recommend saving money with the brand’s Rally WaveCel above. You receive comparable safety technology at half the price while sacrificing some of the optional frills (like the Fidlock chin strap and Blendr mount).
17. Mountain bike Helmet Fox Proframe
$270 for the Fox Proframe MIPS
Trail/Downhill is the category.
1 pound 10.5 ounces
We enjoy the large vents and full-face protection.
What we don’t like: the non-adjustable visor and the hefty appearance.
With the Proframe MIPS, Fox entered the expanding lightweight full-face segment a few years ago. Because of its enticing combination of protection, weight, and features, it’s a helmet we see more and more of on the trails of the Pacific Northwest. The large vents dominate the style and keep you somewhat cool (by full-face standards), while the MIPS lining offers some protection in a high-speed collision.
The Proframe weighs a few ounces more than the TLD Stage helmet mentioned above, but it outperforms Giro’s Switchblade (albeit it lacks the detachable chin bar).
With similar venting to the Stage and lower weight than the Switchblade, the Proframe occupies a desired market middle ground. However, it has several drawbacks, including a non-adjustable visor. Fox states that this is done to improve airflow. However, for some riders, the lack of this function is a deal-breaker. Compared to the svelte Stage, the Proframe is likewise fairly large, and the bulbous appearance is quite evident on the path. Finally, the Proframe falls a bit short of being a best-of-both-worlds notion. It can’t compete with the Switchblade’s adaptability, and the TLD Stage has a stronger feature set overall.
18. Sweet Protection Bushwhacker II MIPS
This trail helmet from Sweet Protection is lightweight, incredibly soft, and well-looking in a low-key style, with Scandinavian modernist good aesthetics and cutting-edge protection. It is quickly becoming a cult favorite among North American mountain cyclists, with sophisticated good aesthetics and all the safety of a MIPS-equipped lid.
It’s also rather chilly due to a ventilation system that directs air over your head and out through exhaust vents. The Bushwhacker is the greatest achievement of helmet design, appearing to vanish when you’re riding. It has an adjustable mechanism that makes it easy to dial in the correct fit and a low profile that looks sleek and modern.
19. Bell Super 3R MIPS
Is ideal for Trail riders who occasionally visit the bike park.
The Price for this helmet is $224.95
The Bell Super 3R MIPS is designed for rides with significant terrain variations and has a detachable chin bar that allows you to simply swap between a half-lid mountain bike helmet and a full-face helmet. The helmet is comfortable—in full-face mode, large, soft padding cushions your face without squishing your cheeks as some other comparable helmets do. And, as a half-lid, it’s cozy and well-ventilated. Furthermore, the MIPS system provides additional security in the case of a collision. The most significant disadvantage is that carrying the chin bar is inconvenient—it would be ideal if it came with a mechanism to connect it to a pack firmly. Overall, no matter what mode you wear it, it’s a fantastic helmet.
20. MET’s Roam MIPS:
Roam MIPS from MET costs $119.95.
Suitable for goggles and sunglasses
The visor appears to be large, but it does not give adequate coverage.
MET’s Roam may be a less well-known alternative than popular choices from Giro, Troy Lee, or POC. However, this is an excellent trail helmet that competes with the finest in the category. This high-quality helmet features a well-integrated MIPS lining and somewhat expanded coverage at the temples and along the back of the head. The weight (398g, medium, according to my scale) is a little heavy, but it’s competitive. It’s also quite comfortable: the cushions are plush and don’t scratch bare skin, the chin strap is soft, and the dial-fit system (horizontally and vertically adjustable) covers the head without creating pressure spots.
Both high-speed ventilation and low-speed breathability are excellent. The visor appears to be large, but it doesn’t project far into the field of vision—a possible disadvantage while riding in low light. The Roam is goggle-friendly, with inbuilt guides and space beneath the visor to dock the goggles. If you prefer glasses, there is a spot to store them in the forward vents. The Roam is one of our favorite helmets for its comfort, performance, and craftsmanship.
Also Read: How to Add Visor to a Bike Helmet
21. NFC Tectal Race Spin:
Responders benefit from the information provided by the NFC chip.
The NFC chip adds no weight to the device.
One of the most costly open-face helmets available.
POC’s Tectal, which is a combination of the brand’s Octal road and Trabec mountain bike helmets, debuted roughly five years ago. Despite its age, the Tectal maintains a contemporary appearance, and this comfy, well-ventilated trail helmet is one of our favorites. The newest Tectal model has POC’s SPIN cushions to reduce rotational impacts, as well as an integrated NFC (Near Field Communication) chip that contains a medical profile and emergency contacts. If the rider is unable to speak, the chip may be read by a compatible app, delivering critical information to emergency services and medical workers. The NFC chip adds practically little weight (on our scale, a size M/L weighs 372g), but raises the price of an already costly helmet by $30 to $250.
22. MIPS Lazer Gekko:
Ideal for: Small shredders who have outgrown charming graphics.
A child’s helmet that does not appear to be one
The fit mechanism automatically adapts to the rider’s head size.
The Gekko is a stylish and sophisticated mountain bike helmet. So it comes as a surprise to realize that it’s a children’s helmet. There are no unicorn or dragon images here, but there are MIPS, a specific space for a rechargeable light (available separately), and a visor. It’s a one-size-fits-most design, with a 50 to 56cm head circumference; Lazer’s assumption is that the Gekko will fit longer as the riders develop. The fit mechanism automatically adjusts so that the helmet is correctly fitted (in principle) from the time the chin strap is connected.
XC, Trail, And Downhill Cross-Country Helmets (XC)
The amount of head-covered real estate is one of the most significant mountain bike helmet design changes. Only a few years ago, weight reduction was the ultimate objective for most riders (and the primary emphasis of manufacturers). Therefore lightweight and open XC designs were popular. Airflow and a feathery feel still win out over total protection when you’re covering a lot of distance and aren’t tackling anything too tricky. A helmet like the POC Octal X SPIN comes in handy. It’s light and breezy while still providing enough protection in less harsh circumstances.
Weight and ventilation are two of the most important considerations for XC riding.
Trail and enduro riders’ increased difficult conditions necessitate an upgrade in protection from the XC category above. The perfect blend here is adequate covering around the temples, sides, and back of the head, but with lots of gaps to allow all that hot air to escape on a climb. The Giro Source is an excellent example of approaching XC helmet lightweight standards while providing a considerable increase in safety. Large visors, plush inside cushioning, and price tags of $100 or more are all common features in the trail category.
This category is rapidly expanding in popularity, and the majority of the top designs on the market, such as the Troy Lee Designs A2, Giro Manifest, and Bell Sixer, end up here.
If you’re going to be doing a lot of intense downhill, we recommend going with a lot of coverage. Full-face helmets, which are wonderful for enduro, downhill, and racing but turn into an absolute sauna if you have to do any pedaling, are at the other end of the spectrum. With its detachable chin guard, the Giro Switchblade MIPS is a decent hybrid choice, but it still falls short of most other half-shell trail helmets in terms of ventilation (the same goes for Fox’s Proframe).
3. Weight Of The Helmet:
Depending on your riding objectives, the helmet’s weight may be an important consideration. Lower-weight materials are generally more expensive. Ventilation openings might also help you lose weight.
In our cycling helmet guide, the open-face helmet weights vary by 241 g (8.5 ounces/0.5 pounds). Suppose you take more risks on your mountain bikes, such as riding difficult trails or backpacking. In that case, a lighter helmet may be beneficial for energy saving and reducing impact force in the case of a collision.
“Sweet Protection designs helmets with three guiding ideas: lightweight, low volume, and world-class impact protection.” It must be lightweight since we do not want to add any additional bulk to a person’s head in the event of a collision or impact. “More bulk correlates to higher impact forces and speeds,” said Casey Garrity, Sweet Protection’s North America marketing manager.
Full-face helmets provide better protection and thicker foam for downhill, jumps, and enduro. Hence they weigh more than open-face helmets. The added weight is worth the 360-degree protection.
If an enduro racer competes in a less technical event, she may choose a full-face helmet with more ventilation openings over the most material protection.
Consider the corresponding size when you study helmet weights. The weight of a certain helmet will be somewhat more or lower depending on the size you want.
Because trail riding is a high-output exercise, sufficient ventilation is essential to assist riders in maintaining or reducing their body heat.
The quantity of ventilation is governed by the number of vents, the size of the ports, and whether or not the vents are adjustable. The materials used to make the shell of certain helmets also provide ventilation.
According to the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute, having a lot of vents implies there will be less material in contact with your head, which might lead to an impact force being focused on a single location in an accident (BHSI).
Take into account the sort of riding you’ll be performing and how much airflow you’ll require. Choose a helmet that does not have too many or too few vents.
5. Comfort & Fit:
A properly fitting helmet is critical for both safety and comfort. According to Virginia Tech researchers, the helmet rim should be one to two finger-widths above the brow.
Tighten your helmet and make sure that it moves no more than an inch in any direction while in use. Look for a helmet that rests level on your head, neither leaning forward nor backward, and that completely covers your skull with no gaps.
It’s a no-go if you can pull, twist, or slip it off. While riding, the straps that shut and hold your helmet on should feel snug but not stretched.
“The helmet should fit properly and comfortably on the head, without being too tight or causing any hot spots or pressure points.” Make sure your head does not move when you shake it. “You can always fine-tune the fit with micro-adjustment features like dial fit systems or strap adjustments,” added Garrity.
Skin marks, headaches, internal cheek discomfort, or obscured vision might result from an open-face or full-face helmet that is too small or too tightly fitting. An overly big or bulky helmet may also be cranked down too tight with the size-adjustment capabilities.
The padding on a helmet provides comfort while also somewhat altering the way the helmet fits. Some helmets include several padding sizes so that the rider has alternatives and may dial in the ideal fit. Thicker cushions may be required for smaller heads or faces.
Padding, contrary to popular belief, is not connected with impact protection. The inside elements of the shell, such as an EPS foam liner, are meant to crumple and absorb an impact, not the pads.
Helmet padding, also known as a liner, can be sweat-absorbent, antimicrobial (helping to reduce smells), detachable, and washable. The pads can be soft, depending on the surface fabric, which is enjoyed when they lay on the forehead, cheeks, or a bald scalp.
Helmets Designed For Women
Whether women’s or unisex, all full-face or open-face helmets use the same technology required to meet or exceed the US Consumer Product Safety Commission’s national safety requirements (CPSC).
Some firms sell women’s helmets with cosmetic distinctions from men’s helmets, such as color options and shell style. A few helmets are ponytail-friendly and frequently marketed for women (but could benefit anyone with long hair).
Some firms market the same helmet as a “women’s” and “men’s” helmet to assist customers in locating what they require. Other firms engage female product testers, elite athletes, and ambassadors to offer feedback on designs tailored to women.
As far as we are aware, Liv Cycling is the only brand with an all-female internal design team dedicated to creating mountain bike helmets for women by women.
Things To Look For In A Helmet:
1. Fit Is Important Regardless of Gender:
It is critical for riders, regardless of gender identification, to find a helmet that fits. According to research conducted by the University of Antwerp in Belgium, the measures represent the most significant variances between male and female skull shapes.
According to the researchers, the largest differences are in head length and circumference, with the typical woman’s head getting somewhat smaller. Ear height and head size have no relationship.
However, the distances across the front of the face differ. The glabella, the smooth area of the forehead above and between the brows, is the most noticeable difference.
2. Compatibility of Glasses:
You should look at how a helmet works with your selected eyewear protection. Pain spots or air rifts might form if your helmet is incompatible with your goggles or sunglasses.
Headaches can be caused by pinched sunglasses on the temples or downward pressure on goggles during or after a ride. Sometimes adjusting the straps will solve the problem.
Many helmets have an area where you may draw up and lay your goggles or sunglasses. A few visors can be adjusted and, at higher levels, are compatible with parking goggles. Some helmet shells feature an incorporated ridge or clasp in the rear to fasten a goggle strap but check to make sure the width of the strap fits.
Bring your riding glasses with you when you try on helmets at your local shop. Adjust the helmet and straps to the proper size to perform a fit test. Buckle the belts before slipping on your glasses.
Companies usually construct bicycle helmets with a layer of rigid foam materials that smashes, swells, or collapses in an accident to absorb energy. Helmets sold in the United States must fulfill the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) bicycle helmet standard to be considered impact-resistant.
Helmets that have been approved protect against skull fractures and serious brain damage. Unfortunately, no helmet design has a system to prevent concussions. Look for a CPSC sticker label within the liner of a helmet while buying.
Other optional helmet safety certifications exist as well. The ASTM International standard for downhill mountain biking and racing (ASTM F1952), for example, assesses helmets for increased coverage and at higher impact levels.
If you want a helmet for both downhill and trail riding, be sure it is for both high-speed and low-speed impact. The Snell Foundation has produced a stringent certification for bicycle helmets (Snell B-95). However, this is not as prevalent.
Many mountain bike helmets now include an integrated layer that allows the head to move inside the helmet during impact, reducing detrimental rotational motion to the brain.
“In summary, rotational motion impact reduction technologies are materials that function as a ‘lubricant’ between the head and the helmet to lessen the damage. This damage is mostly due to angular hits.” According to Garrity, they are intended to lessen rotational forces by absorbing and diverting rotational energy and forces conveyed to the brain when used in a helmet.
1. MIPS, SPIN, and Other Activities
MIPS (multidirectional impact protection system), which has been developing the technology for more than two decades, is one of the most frequent. Other designs include Bontrager’s WaveCel and POC’s SPIN.
Bikers can verify if a helmet’s rotational motion impact reduction technology has been verified by testing and third-party certification, regardless of the manufacturer.
Overall, companies design the helmet’s exterior shell to be smooth and rounded so that it glides readily over rough pavement or surfaces during a collision rather than being caught or causing a kink in the rider’s neck.
According to the CPSC, make sure your helmet doesn’t contain deep ridges or permanently attached protruding things that might snag in a fall, such as a horn, mohawk, GoPro, or light. It’s also a good idea to avoid adding stickers, covers, or modifications to your helmet that might interfere with its capacity to protect you fully.
Many mountain bicycle helmets have an integrated visor that protects the eyes and face from the sun, insects, and debris while improving vision. Visor designs can be stiff or adjustable. Additionally, some allow for rapid changes in the middle of a ride while others require two hands. Visors can be built to resist a collision; however, many snags or break in a fall.
A bright color is preferable for visibility, especially if you plan to cycle among automobiles on multi-use off-road bike paths or linking highways.
Finally, be truthful about your style. You’re less inclined to wear something if you don’t like how it appears in the mirror.
Mountain biking has the potential to be a high-impact activity. The essential thing you can do is protect your head when ripping down steep terrain. Choosing a helmet that will protect you from the eventual collision while still being robust. Also which is light enough not to weigh you down, and breathable enough to make you feel like you could ride for hours may be daunting. Our testers put each of these models through rigorous testing to offer you the most accurate information possible before making your next helmet purchase. We hope that our in-depth study helps steer you on the correct path.
Also read some tips on What to Look for in a Motorcycle Helmet