Find the Best Bike Helmet to Help Protect Your Noggin

As comedian Jerry Seinfeld observes, everyday life often exposes us to the risk of injuring our heads. That’s where the best bike helmet comes in. Common sense dictates that we should reduce our head-cracking activities. It’s what any reasonable person would do. Instead, we have invented the helmet so we can keep pursuing them.

Biking falls into the category of activities that are too enjoyable to quit just because we might crack our noggins.

Debates over the lawfulness of mandatory helmet-wearing will not be resolved anytime soon, but everyone agrees on one simple fact: A good helmet helps prevent injuries If you fall from your bike and hit your head. It all boils down to personal safety.

We’ve compiled a list of the best helmets on the market and a buyer’s guide to picking the lid that best fits and protects your noggin.

Our Top 3 Recommendations

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Bike Helmet Reviews

Bontrager Specter WaveCel Road Bike Helmet

PROS
  • Lightweight (weights under 400 grams)

  • Revolutionary WaveCel protection technology

  • Boa System for size adjustments

CONS
  • Ventilation issues (helmets can get too hot)

Virginia Tech crash-tests bicycle helmets and awards a star-based rating. During the test, this helmet was awarded five stars. With a numeric score of 10.8, it is surely in the running for the safest bike helmet on the market.

The secret is Bontrager’s proprietary WaveCel technology. Underneath the standard expanded polystyrene outer shell, the helmet is lined with a collapsible cellular structure that protects your head upon impact. The WaveCel layer first flexes to dampen the initial punch. Then, it absorbs the impact energy by crumpling, much like a car bumper. Finally, it slides to redirect the blow away from your head.

The safety features on this Bontrager helmet don’t add much weight as it weighs just under 400 grams. So, there’s definitely room to mount a small dash camera. The ventilation does leave something to be desired, however, as it tends to run too hot. The moisture-wicking pads that keep the sweat out of your eyes are easily detachable for washing purposes.

The helmet is easily adjustable with one hand, thanks to Bontrager’s adoption of the Boa Fit System for strap adjustments. Simply turn the wheel, and the helmet comes down to the perfect size.

Bontrager Specter WaveCel Road Bike Helmets are available in five colors. You can get one for just under $150, which is not a bad price for the best road bike helmet on the market.

Troy Lee Designs A1 Classic MIPS Helmet

PROS
  • MIPS protection

  • Ample ventilation

  • Modern and sleek design

CONS
  • Weak visor bolts

The brain is arguably the part of the body you want to protect the most. TLD’s Multi-Directional Impact Protection System technology does exactly that. A protective inner layer moves with an angled impact and lessens rotational trauma that can be detrimental to your brain.

The A1 Classic Helmet is the best MIPS helmet on the Virginia Tech bike helmet security list, second only to the discontinued Lazer Cyclone.

Eight intake passages on the front do a good job of keeping your head cool. The helmet comes in four different sizes, and customer reviews report that they fit most head shapes with ease. This feature, along with its high safety rating, makes it the best mountain bike helmet on the market today.

The weak point of this product is the visor. While it does offer direct sunlight protection, the bolts that keep it pinned to the body of the helmet are weak and the visor is prone to falling off. We recommend you check the bolts before each riding session to avoid unpleasant and dangerous situations during a high-speed descent.

Other than that, we can’t recommend this item highly enough. It even meets our aesthetic standards with its sleek design—and it comes in six distinct color schemes. Troy Lee Designs lists this item at $139.

Kask Protone

PROS
  • Octo Fit system for optimum fitting

  • High-quality padding

  • Very lightweight

CONS
  • Many people find the design unappealing

This is one of the most sought-after helmets on the market—and for good reason.

First off, it’s extremely lightweight, weighing in at just 215 grams (medium size). Its aerodynamic qualities help keep your head cool and dry, in addition to being safe. Wind tunnel tests demonstrate that these Kask helmets will keep your head comfortable and safe in any riding position.

Bike helmets are worthless if they do not fit properly. Not only does a poorly fitted helmet provide compromised protection, but it also puts you in even more danger if it interferes with your field of vision.

The Protone uses Kask’s patented Octo Fit system. A rubberized wheel controls eight floating-cradle contact points that all work together to make a snug fit. A proprietary Kask technology called MIT affixes the helmet’s polystyrene inner cap to the polycarbonate outer shell, an arrangement that promises to absorb shock in case of a crash regardless of provenance. These features make this the best safety helmet for bike riders.

Kask spared no expense when choosing the materials that would come into contact with your skin. The straps are anallergenic; the inner fabric is sanitized and antibacterial; and the 3D dry padding makes the helmet feel like you’re wearing nothing at all.

The Protone comes in three sizes and a whopping 19 color schemes. Prices on Amazon start at $160.

Giro Synthe MIPS Helmet

PROS
  • Extremely comfortable

  • One of the list toppers on Virginia Tech’s MIPS bike helmet safety rankings

  • Enormous vents for excellent ventilation

CONS
  • Steep price

Giro’s Synthe has been lauded as one of the most comfortable bike helmets ever made. How do these Giro bike helmets have such an ergonomic and form-fitting design while still achieving an impressive five-star rating on Virginia Tech’s bike-helmet safety list?

It does so with Giro’s proprietary Roc Loc 5 Air Fit system. A wheel controls a pair of ergonomic arms that grip the top of the wearer’s head securely while enhancing the wind-tunnel-tested vent system. Further fitting adjustments work with the Roc Loc 5 to help these Giro helmets achieve an optimum snug fit on any head.

The other part of the equation is Giro’s use of MIPS, which dampens the rotational forces exerted on the wearer’s head. MIPS, together with in-mold construction of the inner padding and the outer hard shell, helps the Synthe earn a maximum safety rating on Virginia Tech’s list.

The inclusion of a polycarbonate skeleton allows Giro to carve enormous vents for optimum air penetration. In addition to keeping your noggin cool, the vents give the Synthe a very appealing look and profile. The helmet comes in three sizes and eight color schemes.

The pricing is a bit steep, though. Giro lists the product at $240.

Bern Melrose

PROS
  • Best street bike helmet

  • Fashionable and stylish

  • Very lightweight

CONS
  • Only a three-star safety rating from Virginia Tech

Bern has become almost synonymous with cool bicycle helmets. With less aggressive vent patterns and scaled-down sizes, the Melrose won’t cramp your style. Moreover, it gets a respectable safety rating, largely due to Bern’s Zipmold+ construction. All in all, the company perfectly combines style and safety to create the best women’s bike helmet.

Zipmold+ technology means this lid has a thin PVC outer layer injected with protective foam to make a seamless and safe unit with a fraction of the weight. It’s a nice solution to size and weight problems, but according to Virginia Tech’s safety ratings, Zipmold+ construction is not the safest option. This helmet boasts only a three-star rating.

However, biking speeds are lower in urban areas compared to sport riding scenarios, so the Melrose surely provides more than ample protection. Like most Bern helmets, the Melrose lets you add custom brake-light mechanisms provided by the company’s partner, Portland Design Works. This feature raises the safety level considerably.

The helmet has a drop-down visor that protects your face from the elements and adds to the unit’s overall visual appeal. Thanks to the Zipmold+ construction, the lid sits very low on any head shape. Combine that with its light weight, and you’ve got a helmet that you barely notice wearing.

Boa Systems partners with Bern. The Boa system allows for a close and comfortable fit for any head shape or size. The Melrose comes in two sizes, medium and small, and multiple color schemes, so you can match your helmet to your outfit. Bern lists the item at $80.

Poc Octal

PROS
  • Single-piece EPS construction

  • Weighs under 200 grams

  • One of the safest non-MIPS bike helmets

CONS
  • Distinctive appearance

The Octal splits the biking community down the middle; half think it’s the ugliest thing you can put on your head, while the other half praise its unusual, almost brutalist design. Despite this, one thing is for sure—it is by far the most popular among all POC helmets.

The most prominent feature of this helmet is the enormous vent holes. They seem almost comical at first glance. Whatever you think about their appearance, the vents atop this lid offer exceptional ventilation. Other interesting aesthetic choices are the provocative color schemes and reflective patches that add to the helmet’s visibility.

The Octal earns a four-star safety rating on the Virginia Tech list, making it one of the best bike helmets for safety among non-MIPS helmets. This helmet is available with MIPS as well, but it costs almost twice as much.

The high-performance EPS used to make the outer shell is quite dense and molded into a single piece that wraps all the way around the head. It is extremely lightweight, with the small and medium sizes weighing in at less than 200 grams. The adjustment system contributes to the helmet’s lightness.

The Octal is currently listed at just over $200.

Nutcase Little Nutty

PROS
  • Best kids bike helmet

  • No-pinch magnet leather strap

  • Entertaining visuals to entice little kids

CONS
  • Higher price for MIPS protection

You must wage war on two fronts when you are trying to find a great helmet for your toddler. One battle is finding a model that will protect your young one’s head. The other is getting them to wear it.

Best-known for producing the best mountain bike helmets, Nutcase Helmets has created a line of products that win on both fronts of the little-kid battle.

On one hand, the Crumple Zone EPS-infused shell protects little noggins when kids take their first tumbles. It disperses energy from the impact that your kids will almost certainly endure. With the Little Nutty, at least you don’t have to worry about their heads. Some of the best bike helmets for kids even include MIPS technology.

Nutcase solved the problem of getting kids to wear it by designing an assortment of the cutest and most colorful helmets you could imagine. From owls to toads, and even the stars and stripes, these beautiful designs will make kids happy.

There’s also a no-pinch magnetic leather strap to make fastening the helmet fast and easy.

The Little Nutty size is labeled XS, for 48 cm to 52 cm head circumference. The Baby Nutty is even smaller. It is probably the best infant bike helmet on the market. The products come with three sets of foam pads for added customization.

Your child’s safety, and a boost to your peace of mind, will cost you about $70. For MIPS, you’ll have to pay $20 extra.

Lazer Z1 MIPS

PROS
  • 5-star safety rating from Virginia Tech

  • Advanced RollSys adjustment system for a snug fit

  • Temple protection

CONS
  • Steep price

The Z1 MIPS is a meat-and-potatoes, down-to-earth product. It keeps your head safe. What makes it the best cycling helmet is that it’s aerodynamic, so it won’t slow you down. It’s well ventilated so it keeps your head cool. It’s light so it won’t make your neck hurt.

It’s everything that a bike helmet should be.

The Z1 has one of the highest ratings on Virginia Tech’s bike helmet safety rankings, earning a five-star rating for “Best Available” safety features. For starters, it includes MIPS technology, a protection layer that mimics the rotation of the brain in cerebrospinal fluid on impact. This drastically decreases the risk of concussion.

Another feature that makes the Z1 the best bike helmet for safety is the T-pro temple protection layer. You can’t really choose which part of your head will get the brunt of the hit, so it helps to have extra layers of protection.

Besides the safety features, Z1’s comfort and fit characteristics are also the subject of praise. The Advanced RollSys fitting apparatus ensures that any head shape will enjoy a snug fit. It also easily accommodates ponytails, so it’s also the best bicycle helmet for women. Wearing a ponytail under your bike helmet is the best way to avoid having “helmet hair” after a long ride.

Lazer offers a replacement helmet for each unit that goes through a crash plus a lenient 30-day money-back guarantee. Lazer lists this item at $255—a steep price that’s well worth it for the unique combination of safety, style, ventilation, and comfort this helmet provides.

Bell Draft MIPS Helmet

PROS
  • Best budget bike helmet

  • 25 vents for optimum ventilation

  • 4-star safety rating by Virginia Tech

CONS
  • Slight sacrifices in comfort for security and a lower price tag

Who says you have to break the bank for a MIPS-grade helmet? For a mere $40, you can have premium-level protection for a fraction of the price. The price tag, combined with its optimum ventilation and excellent safety rating, makes the Draft MIPS helmet one of the best on the market.

Virginia Tech gave this product a 4-star rating on its bike helmet safety ranking list. This is an excellent rating for its price range.

This helmet has all the features you’ve come to expect from a much more expensive lid. An easy-to-use (but very effective) fitting dial allows for one-handed adjusting, 25 large air vents ensure comprehensive noggin cooling, and you get a cool and mean-looking profile sure to please fashion-conscious bikers.

Moreover, at just under 299 grams, your neck won’t be strained from any excessive weight.

This product has really earned our respect because of its cheap price, top-quality safety features, and the sleek, modern design we’ve come to expect from Bell bike helmets.

Airflow Project Racemaster

PROS
  • Sci-fi aesthetics

  • Hexcrush foam padding for added security

  • MIPS included

CONS
  • Cheaply made chin straps

The Racemaster looks like something straight out of a sci-fi movie. It is more than a flashy fashion statement, however. This is a real state-of-the-art piece of technology.

The Racemaster has a MIPS slide layer, which is proven to be effective at protecting your brain from certain kinds of rotational impacts. It also includes Rudy Project’s proprietary Hexcrush structure foam liner on the inside. It maximizes security and safety by dissipating impact blows sideways, reducing impact on your noggin and making it a contender for the safest bicycle helmet.

Quality-of-life perks include an eyewear dock in the rear ventilation holes, an integrated protection grid on the outer layers, and maybe best of all, a bug-stop mesh just underneath the outer shell. The mesh has no impact on ventilation, and it helps keep critters out of your helmet.

The retention kit ensures a perfect fit with just a couple of turns on the dial. The Racemaster fits snugly onto any head shape.

At just under 300 grams, this lightweight miracle of technology is available for as low as $54.97.

How to Know the Best Bike Helmet When You See It

Bike helmets come in many shapes and sizes, with varying degrees of comfort and customization, offering varying amounts of protection to the wearer.

There are many types of helmets, from commuter helmets that focus more on style than speed or ventilation to specialized helmets, such as aerodynamic or mountain biking helmets. And while the best MTB helmet has vastly different characteristics from the best road helmet, there are some universal features that can be found across the spectrum.

Here are some features you should certainly take into account when selecting a bike helmet:

  • Safety

The primary function of a helmet is to prevent or minimize injury in case of a fall or crash. In addition to pointing out safety-enhancing strengths and weaknesses of the helmets, we report the prestigious Virginia Tech University and its star-based bicycle helmet safety-ranking system.

The best helmet for safety incorporates the Multi-Directional Impact Protection System or MIPS. It consists of an inner layer that contorts with rotational movement, helping to prevent concussions and worse.

  • Comfort

Comfort is a case-by-case issue. A helmet that fits your noggin perfectly may drive another person crazy. There are, however, fitting systems that adjust the padding and straps in such a way that can fit them to any head shape.

We value those systems, like the Octo Fit system Kask implements in its helmets. The best toddler bike helmet particularly takes comfort into account as it’s not easy to convince kids to wear a helmet.

  • Ventilation

The holes on the top of the helmets are not there solely for aesthetic purposes. They are there to maintain a constant airflow to the top of your head, which can be a lifesaver when it’s extremely hot outside. The ventilation holes on the best aero helmet also contribute to the aerodynamic properties of a lid.

  • Weight

This one is a no-brainer. the lighter the helmet is, the less strain it will put on the muscles on your neck. Bike helmets weigh anywhere from 250 to 400 grams, with the lightest under 200 grams.

  • Aesthetics

Fashion-conscious bikers care about the looks of their lids. Some even think of them as artworks. The best commuter bike helmet has to be eye-catching enough for drivers to notice and stylish enough for the city. While this is a vastly subjective category, we value models that come in many different color schemes or, better yet, manufacturers that allow for customization.

  • Cost

A more expensive lid does not automatically mean a better one. A quick glance at the Virginia Tech safety list shows that you can find the best cheap bike helmet that’s also exceptionally safe for under $100. Bicycle helmets range from $60 to roughly $350.

Bike Helmet Sizing Guide

Not all heads are created equal, neither in size nor in shape. While nothing replaces trying on a helmet to know if it fits, having a rough estimate is also very beneficial.
The circumference of the head should be measured with a measuring tape positioned as pictured.

 

Helmet Sizing Guide

The tape should go all the way around your head, from the center of the forehead, over the bump at the back, and above the ears.

Always add a centimeter or two for hair or for beanies or bandanas you may choose to wear. If you find your measured circumference is between two helmet sizes, it’s always smart to opt for the larger size.

A low-profile bike helmet is the safest. So, a snug-fitting lid should drop down, but not too much to impair your vision.

Here’s a general guide to bike helmet sizes:

XS: under 20″ (51cm)
S: 20″- 21.75″ (51cm – 55cm)
M: 21.75″ – 23.25″ (55cm–59cm)
L: 23.25″- 24.75″ (59cm–63cm)
XL: more than 24.75’’ (63cm)

Summary

High-density traffic increased the popularity of bicycles. On the other hand, it also increased the number of accidents on the road. Bicycle riders are among the most endangered road traffic participants because they are not very visible to car drivers. That is why motor security is of utmost importance.

But if we’re being honest, we can also be reckless sometimes. In any case, it’s important to protect our heads, so we could continue to ride our bikes and do more “foolish” things.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best brand of bike helmets?

It’s hard to say what the best brand for bicycle helmets is since it is a very competitive market with several contenders to the throne. However, we know that some of the best brands include Giro, S-Works, Fox Racing, MET, Specter, Bell, and Bontrager, and you can’t go wrong with any of them. They all offer excellent performance, high-tech and durable materials, and the highest levels of protection.

What is the safest bike helmet?

The safest bike helmets have MIPS (Multi-Directional Impact Protection System). It moves and rotates to lessen the rotational damage that causes concussions. Some of the helmets that feature this technology are Lazer Cyclone MIPS, Scott ARX PLUS MIPS, Bontrager Specter WaveCell, Bontrager Ballista MIPS, Bell Z20 MIPS, Bontrager XXX WaveCell, Bell Formula MIPS, and Lazer Z1 MIPS.

As for the officially tested models and scores, the Giro Synthe MIPS holds a 5-star safety rating from Virginia Tech—which is not something to be taken lightly.

What is the most comfortable bike helmet?

Comfort is an especially important feature for bike helmets because they are intended for prolonged use. Some of the most comfortable helmets on the market are Schwinn Thrasher Bike Helmet, Zacro Adult Bike Helmet, Retrospec CM-1 Classic, Bontrager Ballista MIPS, Bell Formula MIPS, and Lazer Z1 MIPS.

Comfort has a lot to do with safety. If the helmet is not comfortable, it might distract us or make us take it off and ride unprotected.

Is a MIPS helmet better?

Yes, MIPS helmets are safer, which translates as better. Virginia Tech concluded that they are superior to other types of helmets and can even save your life. The Multi-Directional Impact Protection System is designed to be flexible and prevent rotational damage that will eventually cause a concussion. Some of the best MIPS helmets are Lazer Cyclone, Scott ARX PLUS, Bontrager Specter WaveCell, Bontrager Ballista, and Bell Z20.

How do I choose a bike helmet?

You should first find the right size. Start by measuring the circumference of your head. After that, you should decide on the features you need. The most important thing is safety, and you should choose a helmet with MIPS (Multi-Directional Impact Protection System). You should also consider your usual biking routes. Rugged terrain may require you to prioritize safety over weight and size.

How much should I spend on a bike helmet?

The prices for bike helmets vary a lot, and start anywhere from $20 and can go up to $200 or $300, but in general, you can get a good bike helmet for between $50 and $75.

It’s important that your new helmet protects you, so choose a well-known brand, and the helmet should also have MIPS. Besides being safe and affordable, the best bike helmet should also be comfortable to wear, and in this price range, there are plenty of options.

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