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10 Best Mountain Bike Helmets Fully Reviewed & Compared

last updated Jan 23, 2019
Experienced and novice riders alike should invest in a quality mountain bike helmet because regular road bike helmets will not provide the coverage needed for falls on the trail. With advancements in design and safety features, there is a wide range of mountain bike helmets that vary in coverage, weight, ventilation, and comfort to suit the needs of any rider. Personal safety is always worth the investment. In this list of the 10 best mountain bike helmets, we've brought you the best helmets on the market today, and whether you're an advanced rider or a pro or are just starting out, we know you'll find something here that will protect your head and brain, while being comfortable and even stylish.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 12 hrs of research

icon
Bell Super 3R
94.2/100 our score
Protection
92
Comfort
95
Fit
93
Weight
94
Breathability
97
Bell Super 3R
Why is it better?

MIPS

Removable chin bar

Face protection

Better fit, lighter weight, and more breathable than previous model

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Bell Super 3R
Test Winner: Bell Super 3R
Researched Sources
8
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
50
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
12
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
10
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
By Sarah Coryell:

With this newest update, we have added two new biking helmets to our top ten list: the TeamObsidian and the Lixada biking helmets. We feel these helmets offer you the best value and protection which is why they have earned a spot on our list! If you have any questions about our products or our process of choosing featured products, feel free to contact us!

Sorting Options
Protection Comfort Fit Weight Breathability By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.2
Protection
92%
Comfort
95%
Fit
93%
Weight
94%
Breathability
97%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.02.19)
$160.95
$169.93
See Deal
$229.95
See Deal
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.8
Protection
93%
Comfort
94%
Fit
94%
Weight
94%
Breathability
89%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.02.19)
$90.35
See Deal
$139.00
$139.00
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#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91
Protection
90%
Comfort
92%
Fit
91%
Weight
89%
Breathability
93%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.02.19)
$64.93
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$99.95
See Deal
$100.00
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.4
Protection
90%
Comfort
87%
Fit
86%
Weight
87%
Breathability
92%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.02.19)
$89.00
$142.46
See Deal
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.6
Protection
94%
Comfort
91%
Fit
93%
Weight
70%
Breathability
85%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.02.19)
$174.95
$249.95
See Deal
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85.6
Protection
89%
Comfort
90%
Fit
89%
Weight
90%
Breathability
70%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.02.19)
$27.99
$75.00
See Deal
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84
Protection
87%
Comfort
80%
Fit
83%
Weight
80%
Breathability
90%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.02.19)
$84.47
See Deal
$129.95
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.4
Protection
88%
Comfort
90%
Fit
89%
Weight
90%
Breathability
95%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.02.19)
$38.96
$49.93
See Deal
$59.96
See Deal
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81.2
Protection
80%
Comfort
82%
Fit
81%
Weight
83%
Breathability
80%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.02.19)
$59.99
$119.95
See Deal
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
79.6
Protection
78%
Comfort
84%
Fit
86%
Weight
90%
Breathability
60%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.02.19)
$29.99
$165.00
See Deal
In Depth Review Top 10
  • Bell Super 3R
  • Troy Lee Designs A1
  • Giro Chronicle
  • Demon Podium
  • Giro Switchblade
  • GoMax Aero
  • Fox Metah
  • Base Camp NEO
  • TeamObsidian
  • Lixada
Table of contents
  • Criteria Used for Evaluation
  • Other Factors to Consider
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Sources
Click here to see more

Our Top 10 Best Mountain Bike Helmets

1. Bell Super 3R

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.2
Bell Super 3R
Protection
92
Comfort
95
Fit
93
Weight
94
Breathability
97
best offer for today
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$160.95
$169.93
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$229.95
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Pros:

MIPS

Removable chin bar

Face protection

Better fit, lighter weight, and more breathable than previous model

Cons:

Expensive

Less secure fit when worn without the chin bar

This versatile all-mountain helmet strikes the perfect balance between protection and comfort. With a removable chin strap, riders have the option of full face coverage without the weight and bulk of downhill helmets. It is ideal for riders who need some extra room to breathe on the way up and added protection on the way down. Users who have crashed while wearing the Super 3R have noted excellent face protection and significantly reduced impact during a fall.

Read more

Protection:

This MIPS helmet comes with a detachable chin bar for optional full-face protection during downhills. The chin bar is not as strong as those rated for downhill riding but users note it protects the face surprisingly well during a crash. The adjustable visor is easy to wear with goggles as well for added facial coverage.

Fit:

The float fit system is easy to adjust for a customizable fit. Riders note feeling very secure when the chin bar is in place. However, the straps attach to the top of the helmet and this causes a bit of movement when worn without the chin bar.

Comfort:

This lightweight and breathable helmet will be a bit more comfortable and less noticeable than the downhill alternatives. Some users note a bit of discomfort due to the exterior straps but most find this to be a great, versatile helmet to keep you comfortable throughout your ride.

Ventilation:

This helmet features 23 vents including 6 new brow vents to increase breathability.

Weight:
Despitethe comprehensive coverage, this helmet is surprisingly lightweight, and is actually 10 grams less than the previous model.

Style:
This helmet is available in a variety of single color and multicolor designs including some especially for women.

Value:

This helmet is a bit expensive considering it's not downhill rated and will likely need to be replaced after one or two big falls. However, for versatility, lightweight, and full coverage many riders feel it is well worth the price.

2. Troy Lee Designs A1

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.8
Troy Lee Designs A1
Protection
93
Comfort
94
Fit
94
Weight
94
Breathability
89
best offer for today
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$139.00
$90.35
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$139.00
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Pros:

MIPS

Adjustable visor

Very comfortable

Accommodates most head shapes

Cons:

Not the most breathable

Lightweight, breathable and very comfortable. This helmet seems to be a favorite among those who struggle to find a helmet that will fit. At a relatively low price, this helmet offers MIPS technology and coverage that extends around the side of the face and back of the head.

Read more

Protection:
This MIPS helmet provides coverage that extends around the sides and back of the head and a visor that can accommodate goggles for added protection.

Fit:
Many reviewers struggled to find a comfortable fitting helmet find a nice fit in this one. With three sizes and a triple position adjustable retention system, this helmet accommodates even the hardest-to-fit head shapes.

Comfort:
The great fit and plush padding makes this helmet one of the most comfortable options available.

Ventilation:
This helmet has 16 vents which give it moderately good airflow.

Weight:
Between the lightweight design and great fit, this helmet feels as though it is barely there.

Style:
Style is a big selling point for this helmet. It is available in a variety of cool color combinations with a large TLD logo that really pops.

Value:
With the A2 now available, this model offers great protection and comfortable MIPS coverage at a moderate price.

3. Giro Chronicle

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91
Giro Chronicle
Protection
90
Comfort
92
Fit
91
Weight
89
Breathability
93
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Pros:

MIPS

Secure and adjustable fit

Moisture-wicking padding

Goggles compatible

Rear skull coverage

Inexpensive

Cons:

Visor does not effectively block the sun

This compact helmet offers affordable deep coverage with a secure fit and MIPS technology to protect the skull from all angles. The Giro Chronicle is a solid option for those who ride on diverse terrain. It strikes a nice balance between adequate protection and breathable design.

Read more

Protection:

This helmet offers great coverage that provides protection to the sides and back of the head. MIPS technology works to reduce rotational force and absorb energy during a fall. It also has a visor that can be lifted to accommodate goggles for added eye protection. However, some users wish it could be lowered a bit more to block out the sun during early morning or evening rides.

Fit:

Available in 4 sizes with Giro’s adjustable Roc Loc fit system help to create a comfortably snug fit. These helmets do seem to run a bit large so most users would recommend ordering down if you are between sizes.

Comfort:

When sized and adjusted properly, most users find this to be a very comfortable and compact helmet.

Ventilation:

This helmet features moisture-wicking CoolMax padding and 14 vents to keep your head cool and dry.

Weight:

There is some reasonable weight that comes along with the comprehensive protection and full coverage of the Giro Chronicle. However, it does not seem to be notably heavy, even after hours of wear.

Style:
This helmet is available in a variety of solid matte colors for classic and understated style.

Value:

At the lower end of the price spectrum, this helmet is a great value considering the excellent coverage and MIPS technology.

4. Demon Podium

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.4
Demon Podium
Protection
90
Comfort
87
Fit
86
Weight
87
Breathability
92
best offer for today
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$89.00
$142.46
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Pros:

Several different color options

Adjustable to fit most sizes

Good ventilation

Overall coverage is excellent

Cons:

Can be a bit bulky for some riders

Doesn't have a spot for a camera or a headlamp

The Demon Podium biking helmet is available in several different sizes and shades and offers a full front visor for optimal protection and comfort. It’s made to be comfortable, durable, and reliable even in the roughest terrain.

Read more

Protection:
Made to surround your head and protect against impacts from minor to severe, the Demon Podium helmet is a great choice for experienced bikers who are on rough terrain and who need optimum protection.

Fit:
This helmet has several sizes to choose from and with adjustable chin straps and a neck support design you can find the fit that is just right for you with the Demon Podium biking helmet.

Comfort:
Customers love the interior padding and ventilation design of this helmet. They also rave about how comfortable it is for a full head style helmet, something that is difficult to achieve.

Ventilation:
With 13 air vents and a high flow front breathing ventilation set up, this is a biking helmet that will keep you cool and relaxed and in control from start to finish no matter how long your ride lasts.

Weight:
At around 2 pounds this helmet is one of the heavier on the list but when you consider the full range of protection you get that is actually a very lightweight helmet, something users appreciated.

Style:
There are a handful of cool colors to choose from so you can find a shade that matches your gear and looks good. The Demon Podium is rugged and, cool and is sure to be a head-turner whenever you wear it.

Value:
For a full head protection helmet, the Demon Podium is a bit pricey but we feel it is well worth the investment and is a great choice for any biker who wants one of the best helmets on the market today.

5. Giro Switchblade

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.6
Giro Switchblade
Protection
94
Comfort
91
Fit
93
Weight
70
Breathability
85
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Pros:

MIPS

Detachable Chinbar

Downhill rating with and without a chin bar

Cons:

Heavy

Less comfortable for long wear

This 2-in-1 helmet has a downhill rating with and without the removable chin bar. It is a bit heavier and more cumbersome than some of the other options but it offers great protection for those who like to climb everything they go down.

Read more

Protection:

This MIPS helmet has a detachable chin bar and is rated for downhill riding both with and without the chin bar in place. It provides solid protection and deep coverage that extends well over the ears even when the chin bar is not worn.

Fit:

The Switchblade is available in 3 sizes and features Giro’s patented Roc Loc Air DH fit system for a customized fit. Some users feel it sits a bit low on the brow but most are able to make adjustments for a proper fit.

Comfort:

Plush pads increase the comfort but the heavier weight and slightly decreased breathability of this downhill helmet make it a bit less comfortable for long climbs.

Ventilation:

With 20 vents, this helmet has decent airflow. It is fairly good for a downhill helmet but there are certainly more breathable options out there.

Weight:

This downhill helmet carries a bit more weight than many of the others on this list, but that comes with the territory since downhill helmets need to offer the most protection.

Style:

Available in 9 colors and patterns, this helmet offers a good amount of diversity when it comes to style.

Value:

This helmet is on the more expensive end but with the detachable chin bar, you can consider this a 2-in-1 helmet with a downhill rating and MIPS safety technology.

6. GoMax Aero

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85.6
GoMax Aero
Protection
89
Comfort
90
Fit
89
Weight
90
Breathability
70
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$27.99
$75.00
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Pros:

Long visor

Molded spot for camera mount

Inexpensive

Lightweight

Cons:

No MIPS

Two-handed fit system

The GoMax Aero helmet comes good coverage, nice safety features, and a durable style. It has an adjustable dial for a more custom fit and an extra thick shell for optimal protection.

Read more

Protection:
Even though the GoMax Aero is made without MIPS technology, this helmet is still a great choice for bikers who need a reliable helmet that will keep their heads protected in the event of a crash or accident.

Fit:
The fit system is good for this helmet and the adjustable dial at the back allows for a semi-custom option to ensure you get the best possible fit while you are out on the trials or at the track.

Comfort:
With a lightweight design, this is one helmet that you will hardly feel. It is made to be aerodynamic and streamlined and the removable visor is the final touch that makes this helmet a great choice for any biker.

Ventilation:
This state of the art biking helmet is designed with 22 decent sized air flow vents, ensuring optimal airflow and minimal resistance, allowing air to pass through in an efficient and easy way.

Weight:
The GoMax Aero is very lightweight, thanks to its special design, and comes in at about half a pound yet it provides the protection you want and needs when you are out riding your bike.

Style:
This half shell helmet feature is available in several colors and with a removable visor design you can wear it in any weather and for any type of terrain, you may be facing on race day.

Value:
This helmet is actually one of the cheaper ones on our list but it is still a great helmet and is a perfect choice for beginning bikers or for pros who are looking for a good standby emergency backup biking helmet.

7. Fox Metah

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84
Fox Metah
Protection
87
Comfort
80
Fit
83
Weight
80
Breathability
90
best offer for today
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$129.95
$84.47
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Pros:

Lightweight

Breathable

Rear Skull Protection

Style

Cons:

Not a universal fit

No MIPS lining

More expensive

The Fox Metah helmet offers more protection around the temples and rear of the skull than a typical road bike helmet without sacrificing much in the way of weight or breathability. Fox designed this to be the perfect all-around helmet for XC but with a bit of MX and even old-school BMX influence and style thrown in.

Read more

Protection:

The Fox Metah offers more protection than the typical half shell with a deep profile and rear to protect lower part of your head. It does not feature the MIPS safety lining but the multi-density Varizorb foam works well to absorb impact.

Fit:

This helmet has a three position adjustable fit system but some users still find the fit a bit challenging due to the deep profile. Some riders find the front to be a bit too wide and feel it sits too low on the forehead while the back of the helmet feels a bit too tight.

Comfort:

The lightweight, well-ventilated design and addition of moisture-wicking pads makes this helmet great for long rides. Provided you can find the proper fit for your noggin.

Ventilation:

The visor sits at a fixed height at the front of the helmet to help conduct air through the three large air vents to keep you cool as you ride.

Style:

This helmet gets major style points for the XC inspired design and array of cool color options.

Value:

This helmet may run a bit higher in price than other half shells due to the premium design and lightweight feel. At this price you may expect to see the addition of MIPS lining. Fox is known for great design and quality however, so most users were comfortable with the cost.

8. Base Camp NEO

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.4
Base Camp NEO
Protection
88
Comfort
90
Fit
89
Weight
90
Breathability
95
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$38.96
$49.93
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$59.96
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Pros:

Comfortable fit

Great ventilation

Lightweight

Cons:

Chin straps may be uncomfortable

This breathable and highly durable biking helmet offers wearers the protection they need at a price they want. Reviewers love the fit and high air flow design as well as the cool and rugged styling of the Base Camp NEO.

Read more

Protection:
This durable yet lightweight biking helmet is designed so it fits snugly and covers the front, sides, and back of the head. It gives riders a clear line of vision while offering full head coverage which is something some lack.

Fit:
This helmet fits well and is specifically designed to cradle the occipital bone for full protection and to offer ample support and coverage for the back of the head. Durable chin straps keep the helmet in place at all times.

Comfort:
The Base Camp NEO is surprisingly well designed to be comfortable even on the longest of rides. This gives you more confidence on rough, technical terrain and helps you stay focused easily.

Ventilation:
With 18 large vents for maximum ventilation, this all-new helmet gives you everything you need to stay cool and relaxed and in control no matter what kind of terrain you are facing.

Weight:
Weighing less than a pound, this is a biking helmet that does its job without being bulky and cumbersome to wear. You will hardly know its there but having it on will give you the peace of mind you want and need.

Style:
Available in black or white, the Base Camp NEO may not be the flashiest helmet on the list but it is still one cool helmet that will do an outstanding job or protecting you while you are biking!

Value:
Price of this helmet can vary from vendor to vendor but what our research has shown is that it should be fairly affordable to most riders and we feel it is a good choice for an investment in your biking gear.

9. TeamObsidian

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81.2
TeamObsidian
Protection
80
Comfort
82
Fit
81
Weight
83
Breathability
80
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$59.99
$119.95
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Pros:

Deep coverage

Quality build

Comfortable fit

Lightweight with good ventilation

Cons:

No MIPS

The TeamObsidian motorbike helmet offers a comfortable fit and all the features you are looking for in a good reliable helmet. With an affordable price, it is a perfect choice for beginner bikers who are looking for a helmet that will protect them and keep them comfortable without breaking their supply and gear budget.

Read more

Protection:

With a solid construction, this helmet is specially designed by first forming the exterior shell, then reinforcing it with a skeleton of support structures, and finally adding the foam that will hold all the parts together. What you get is a cohesive unit that will make sure you are safe in a case of an accident and that will protect your head and neck.

Fit:

The unique fit of this helmet is balanced to fit well and be comfortable even on the longest of rides and the most intense of competitions. Combined with shock absorption technology, a low profile, and innovative design you are sure to love how the TeamObsidian motorbike helmet looks and feels. And all this comes with a helmet that weighs only 0.63 lb in the medium / large size.

Comfort:

This lightweight helmet provides riders with a comfortable and cool fit that won’t weigh you down or make your overheat while you are out riding.

Ventilation:

With 22 massive air vents, this helmet is designed for an outstanding airflow across the head that keeps you cool and dry.

Weight:

The TeamObsidian motorbike helmet is super lightweight and is a great choice for those looking for good protection without the bulk and weight of other designs.

Style:

Users love the cool and streamlined style of the helmet and rave about the look and feel!

Value:

This is a very affordable helmet and is a great choice for beginners and seasoned riders alike! So get yours today and see the difference for yourself!

10. Lixada

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
79.6
Lixada
Protection
78
Comfort
84
Fit
86
Weight
90
Breathability
60
best offer for today
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$29.99
$165.00
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Pros:

MIPS

Innovative Koroyd construction

Adjustable and removable visor

Built to include a camera mount

Very lightweight

Cons:

Not very breathable

The Lixada Mountain Bike Helmet has all the features you need in a helmet at a price that is extremely affordable to anyone. The unique design, shock absorption features, and extended front and back overage, all give you great protection in the event of an accident. However, it is not the most breathable option on our list and this may be an issue for some riders.

Read more

Protection:

The Lixada Mountain Bike features integrated in-mold PC shell with multi-dimensional cone-shape EPS impact foam. This helmet also offers good coverage to protect all areas of your head in the event of a fall or impact crash.

Fit:

This helmet features an innovative one-hand fit adjustment back wheel for comfortable wearing and offers a comfortable and snug fit for head circumference 22.0 - 24.4 inch.

Comfort:

Strategically placed padding gives you the comfort and cushioning you need for those long and intense rides. A fully removable inner quality padding helps to absorb shocks upon impact and helps pull extra sweat away from your skin.

Ventilation:
The Lixada Mountain Bike Helmet’s ventilated channel system comes with13 vents that are designed to provide cooling airflow during your ride. They provide some cooling but some users say they still get hot when wearing the helmet for extended periods of time.

Weight:

Large versions of this biking helmet weigh less than a pound so there is little need to worry about being weighed down while you are on your ride!

Style:

Users love the cool and modern look and feel of the helmet and rave about how it looks and functions out on the track.

Value:

With a price of less than $50, this is a great choice for beginning runners who do not want to invest a lot in their first helmet. It is also a good choice for experienced riders who are looking for something easy and affordable to use for normal day to day riding.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Protection

Hopefully, you will never find out firsthand how well a helmet performs in a crash. However, when it comes to protecting your noggin, it's best to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. Mountain bike helmets have come a long way in available safety technology and have made great strides in making these safety features comfortable and easy to wear.

The standard mountain bike helmet has an in-mold construction which includes a hard outer shell to shield the head and a layer of EPS foam to absorb impact and reduce the force on the brain. In recent years, the addition of a MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection Systems) has become commonplace to further enhance protection. MIPS is an additional layer that can be added to the helmet in between the shell and the liner to reduce rotational force. When falling from a bike, riders rarely drop directly onto their head. Most of the time the head hits the ground at an angle creating an additional rotational force that was unaccounted for in helmets until the development of MIPS. The addition of this low-friction layer works to reduce that rotational force by allowing the helmet to slide relative to the head. The MIPS liner does carry an additional cost but most riders find that cost of the added brain protection easy to justify.

In addition to varying technology, the physical coverage a helmet provides varies from model to model. From full face styles to compact half shells, there is a wide range in the amount of coverage and protection a helmet provides, so take into account you're riding style, whether or not you want additional face protection in form of a chin guard, and choose the right helmet for you.

Comfort

Comfort is an important factor when choosing a helmet. Proper fit is a big contributing factor but the addition of pads and having a good weight distribution can also enhance comfort. Most likely you'll be wearing your helmet for hours at a time, so you need it to be comfortable. If it isn't you'll be less likely to wear it, and even if you do you may be distracted by an uncomfortable fit and enjoy your ride less.

Fit

Finding a helmet with a good fit is key not only for comfort but for safety as well. Ill-fitting helmets can bobble and move around your head when you're riding and can easily move around during a crash and not where you need it to protect your head. On the other hand, helmets that are too tight can squeeze your head and cause headaches. We looked for helmets that can be easily adjusted and can accommodate a wide range of head shapes and sizes.

Weight

Safety trumps weight every time so this should not be the main focus when choosing a helmet. However, since your helmet will be sitting on your head for a long time, and we want you to be comfortable and not distracted during your ride, we tried to include only helmets on our list that are at the very least reasonably light. Fortunately, design and materials continue to evolve to allow for the creation of lightweight but effective protection, so a lightweight but effective helmet isn't too hard to find. If you like to go on especially long rides, weight is worth considering more than usual since the helmet you choose will be sitting on your head for quite some time.

Breathability

Having a breathable helmet with good airflow is key for enjoying your ride and staying safe. First of all, a helmet with good ventilation and breathable will help keep you cool and focused on the trail and enjoying your ride. Secondly, a super sweaty head may lead to your helmet slipping around a lot as you ride, and not being in the right place to protect you if you do happen to fall.

Depending on the time of year and location you ride, this may be more or less important. If you live in a hot climate and/or ride frequently during the summer or hotter parts of the day, we suggest you make breathability and ventilation an important factor when choosing a helmet.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

Most Important Criteria (According to our experts opinion)
Sort criterias acording to:
Experts Opinion Editors Opinion Users Opinion By Default
Click on a to rate the most important criteria:
#1
Protection
Rate This Criteria as Most Important
#2
Comfort
Rate This Criteria as Most Important
#3
Fit
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#4
Weight
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#5
Breathability
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Choose the right one for the job

There are many different types of bike helmets, make sure you buy the one for the right activities. Consider design elements, materials used in the construction, the size and fit, and also the price point as you shop around for the best helmet for your needs.

Put a lid on it

Bike helmets can reduce the risk of serious head and neck injury up to 70%. It is important that you always, always, always wear a helmet! Even if you cannot afford the best helmet out there you need something. Even a decent helmet is better than not having one at all. So never get on your bike without some kind of helmet protecting your head!

Be smart with your budget

As mentioned above, any helmet is better than nothing so you need to get whatever helmet you can afford. If possible, try to invest in a quality helmet right from the start. They are more expensive but will likely offer better protection and will last longer so they are well worth the investment. This is your health and safety and your very life we are talking about so you need to put as much as you can into getting a good helmet.

Other Factors to Consider

Compatibility

If you ride with goggles or while filming with a GoPro, be sure to take that into consideration when choosing a helmet. All of the helmets on our list are designed to be used with goggles, but especially if you have specialized goggles or glasses you like to use it's good to double check. And some of these helmets don't have a place for a camera or a headlamp so check on that if those are things you like to use when you ride.

Style

Again, it's not as important as safety, but it never hurts to invest in good-looking protection you are excited to show off. When riding covered up in safety gear and goggles, your helmet is a good way to make a statement and personalize your look.

Value

Helmets can be pretty expensive, but so are new brains. Just kidding, even if you had the money, you can't buy a new one, so keeping your brain safe is worth an investment. We thought about the price in terms of the safety, comfort, and convenience factors you are getting with your purchase.

Use

Before buying a helmet, it's good to think about how you're going to use it. The type of riding you do plays a huge role in what safety features you choose to invest in.

Typically helmets are divided into three categories:

-Cross Country (XC) is the lowest intensity of the three. With less technical descent, XC riders are at lower risk for high-speed crashes. Cross Country helmets can be lighter in weight and have better airflow while still providing adequate protection for this type of riding.

-Enduro or All-mountain riding is a bit more technical with steeper inclines and bigger drops. All-mountain riders require a bit more protection than XC that covers more of the head. Helmets that offer optional full face coverage such as the Giro Switchblade and Bell Super 3R are great for All Mountain riders as coverage can be adjusted based on the terrain.

-Downhill riding (DH) is the most technical, with long descents and big drops, so it carries higher chances for big falls. For this type of riding, a full coverage helmet with a downhill rating is well-worth the investment and a necessary part of your gear.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: How do I find the right size?
a:

To find the right size mountain bike helmet you will need to measure the circumference of the largest part of your head by placing a tape measure about 1 inch above your eyebrows and just above your ears. Most helmets have adjustable fit systems to help fine tune the fit for maximum comfort. The helmet should fit snugly with little movement while you ride.

q: I am a woman. Should I stick to women-specific helmets?
a:

Unlike running shoes and clothing, there is not much benefit to limiting your search to gender-specific helmets. The helmets on this list are all unisex and most come in colors and sizes that will work for everyone.

q: Do I need a full-face helmet?
a:

Obviously, a full-face helmet gives you the most protection possible. Most full-face helmets are designed especially for downhill mountain biking, where the speeds can be extreme, the drops huge, and the potential for injury huge.

Even if you don't do downhill, if you want the maximum amount of protection, a full-face helmet is the way to go. However, know that these helmets are hot, heavy, and less comfortable than helmets designed for XC, so be sure to keep that in mind. Most XC riders opt for a lighter, more breathable half-shell helmet that will still offer them good protection.

q: If I crash will I need to buy a new helmet?
a:

This is a tricky question, but the short answer is that if you crash and your helmet takes a big hit, it's probably best to replace it. These helmets are typically designed with special zones that are made to absorb the impact of a fall by collapsing in on themselves. They work great, but the downside is that your helmet will need to be replaced if you have a bad fall on it. You may want to contact the manufacturer directly to see what they recommend and thank them for saving your melon while you're at it.

q: Can't I just use my old road bike helmet?
a:

Well, you could, but we don't recommend it. First of all, this is your brain we're talking about, so don't mess around. Secondly, helmet technology has advanced so far recently that a top of the line helmet from 10 years ago isn't even close in terms of the quality and protection that even a bottom shelf modern helmet gives. A few of the helmets on our list start at only around $100, making it easy and well worth it to make sure your head protection is up to snuff.

Sources

  1. Ellings, John, Best Mountain Bike Helmets of 2017, Web Page, Jun 01, 2017
  2. Tan, Sylvia, Mountain Biking Disciplines - Cross Country, Enduro & Downhill, Web Page,
  3. REI Coop, How to Choose Bike Helmets, Web Page,