If you like life in the bike lane, then you know that one of the most important pieces of equipment you’ll ever need is the bike helmet. Whether you’re commuting to work, blazing down a mountain trail, or just tooling around town, a helmet is a necessary accessory to keep your pretty little head safe. In fact, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has stated that wearing helmets reduce the likelihood of a head injury during an accident by an estimated 50 percent. It’s a good thing then that there are a lot of brands offering various bike helmets in the market. Or is it? If you’re having difficulty choosing the best bike helmet for your needs and biking style, then you’ve come to the right place. We’ve got just the list for you – the 10 best bike helmets for every kind of ride.
Top 10 Bike Helmets of 2018 Reviewed
- Top 10 Bike Helmets of 2018 Reviewed
- 1. Schwinn Thrasher Helmet
- 2. Giro Revel Cycling Helmet Black Flowers Universal Adult
- 3. Giro Savant Road Bike Helmet
- 4. JBM Adult Cycling Helmet with Reflective Stripe
- 5. GoMax Aero Adult Safety Helmet
- 6. TeamObsidian Premium Quality Airflow Bike Helmet
- 7. Nutcase Patterned Street Bike Helmet
- 8. CCTRO Adult Cycling Bike Helmet
- 9. Bell Super 3 MIPS Bike Helmet
- 10. Demon Podium Full Face Mountain Bike Helmet
- Bike Helmet Buying Guide
1. Schwinn Thrasher HelmetBest Commuter Bike Helmet
The Schwinn Thrasher Helmet is a mountain bike helmet that features 21 integrated flow vents plus moisture-wicking pads so your head will stay cool no matter how hard or far you paddle. As an added bonus, you can take out the pads to wash them whenever they begin to smell too bad. There’s a built-in visor to keep the sun out of your eyes. And the Dial Fit strip on the back ensures that you get a snug fit on your uniquely shaped head. Keep in mind that this is not a high-end helmet. The visor is a bit cheap and the pads are attached with small dots of Velcro. But you can’t really complain much on quality because it is priced pretty low. For a helmet, there’s a lot of proof that it does the job of keeping you safe.
- Dial-fit strip
- Moisture-wicking pads
- 21 integrated flow vents
- Small dots of Velcro to hold the pads
- Visor feels cheap
2. Giro Revel Cycling Helmet Black Flowers Universal AdultBest Bike Helmet Under 50
This mountain biking helmet is a crowd favorite and it’s not just because it’s so affordable for entry-level bikers. It features a detachable visor, an adjustable retention strap, and locking side-slides. For ventilation, you get 22 vents for great airflow. The EPS liner and polycarbonate shell were molded together instead of glued, something that ensures it’s more durable and feels lighter on your head. And you even get a reflective rear decal to make you more visible to others in the dark of night.
The Roc Loc Sport fit system makes adjusting the fit of the helmet one-handed a breeze. Plus, you get to choose from several different colors and sizes. However, some users feel that the helmet requires a bit more padding to increase comfort. And the visor doesn’t seem to do the job. Keep in mind that the size of the helmet tends to run small.
- Adjustable retention system
- In-mold construction
- Reflective read decal
- Needs more padding for comfort
- Size tends to run small
- Visor doesn’t provide adequate shade
3. Giro Savant Road Bike HelmetBest Road Bike Helmet Under 100
This road bike helmet is another model from Giro. It also features in-mold construction of the polycarbonate shell and EPS foam. There are 25 vents for great airflow as well as a range of colors to choose from.
Now, let’s talk about what makes this helmet a star in our eyes. The Roc Loc 5 fit system. It features a rear thumb dial that allows you to adjust the fit easily with one hand. It also has a three-position bracket to enable you to adjust the vertical fit. The helmet looks like a high-end helmet. However, the straps dig in slightly into your face when you’re tightening them. And not all are enamored with the shape.
- In-mold construction
- Roc Loc 5 fit system
- Very lightweight
- Straps dig into your face slightly when tightened
- The shape isn’t appealing to some
4. JBM Adult Cycling Helmet with Reflective StripeBest Bike Helmet on a Budget
The JBM Adult Cycling Helmet is really, really cheap. But that doesn’t make it any less than other entry-level models. It features a dial adjustment system that will enable you to create a custom fit. The side straps are also easily adjustable however they do tend to get a bit loose while you’re riding. There are so many colors to choose from to suit your specific style. You get a removable visor and the ventilation design.
And in case you’re wondering, this helmet is CPSC certified. So while it isn’t going to be one of those really good bike helmets on the market, it’s the perfect piece of protection you can get if you’re not sure about your commitment to biking. Just keep in mind that it comes in only one size; it definitely won’t fit on top of a large head.
- Dial adjustment system
- Lots of color options
- Really affordable option for beginner bikers
- Straps can get loose
- Comes in only one size
5. GoMax Aero Adult Safety Helmet
Let’s get it out there. The design of the helmet looks like it was alien-inspired. That being said, there’s a lot of things to love about the GoMax Aero. The helmet is made of an in-mold polycarbonate shell and PC + American Gray EPS liner. It’s incredibly lightweight with 22 air vents. There are a built-in detachable visor and a dual fit adjustable system that features a reflective LED switch. We love the fact that in addition to keeping you safe from brain injury, the rear LED tail light keeps you safe from incoming traffic at night.
Aside from all these features, you also get moisture-wicking pads that are washable so you can keep your sweat off your head and prevent your helmet from smelling so off you don’t want to wear it again. Plus, the chin strap is padded for added comfort. However, the velcro that holds the padding to the helmet is a bit weak. Also, you don’t get instructions on how to change the battery on the LED light.
- Reflective LED tail light
- Moisture-wicking pads
- Dual adjustment system
- Weak velcro
- No instructions on how to change the battery for the LED light
6. TeamObsidian Premium Quality Airflow Bike Helmet
TeamObsidian’s Premium Quality Airflow Bike Helmet is a mountain bike helmet that uses in-mold construction to ensure durability The ABS Skeleton is integrally molded in the EPS foam so you get more improved shock absorption. It’s also very lightweight and features 22 huge air vents to keep your head comfortable and cool all day. The helmet comes in two sizes with a dual adjustment system.
To back up their product, the manufacturer offers a lifetime manufacturer warranty along with a perfect fit guarantee. Other features to take note of include cushioned chin straps, washable pads, and a detachable visor. The bike is definitely feature-rich. However, it isn’t compatible with people who wear ponytails. And there are only two colors to choose from.
- In-mold construction
- Lifetime warranty and perfect fit guarantee
- Dual adjustment system
- Not compatible with ponytails
- Only comes in two colors
7. Nutcase Patterned Street Bike Helmet
If you want a really stylish helmet to protect your noggin’, then this nutcase bike helmet is your best bet. There are so many colors and designs to choose from as well as several size options. The helmet features a retention system at the back and a Fidlock magnetic closure to make it easy to just snap it on and go. There’s a detachable visor as well as three sets of foam pads to add comfort and create a more customized fit.
And there are 11 vents to provide you with enough ventilation for doing tricks with your friends. Aside from being CPSC certified, this helmet is also certified by the ASTM for skateboarding and trick roller skating. So, what’s the catch? Some bikers feel that the helmet is a bit bulky and the visor doesn’t stay attached to the helmet for long.
- Additional padding provided for the customized fit
- Fidlock magnetic closure
- Very stylish designs
- Bulky and heavy
- Visor keeps falling off
8. CCTRO Adult Cycling Bike HelmetBest Bike Helmet for Beginners
Another budget option for those who want to dip their toes in the bike lane but don’t want to commit too much money yet. With the CCTRO Adult Cycling Bike Helmet, you get 18 vents, a detachable visor, an easy-to-use dial adjustment system, side straps, and an overall weight of 225g. At this price point, it’s incredible to get a helmet this light which definitely adds to the comfort.
Now, this helmet is offered in a variety of colors but in only one size. It does feature a retention system but adjusting the helmet will only get you so far. The good news is that if it does fit, a lot of bikers report that the helmet feels very comfortable. The visor, however, has had a few complaints. It is a bit flimsy with some users reporting broken ones.
- Different color options
- Only one size
- Poor quality visor
9. Bell Super 3 MIPS Bike HelmetBest Bike Helmet for Long Oval Head
This mountain bike from Bell has a lot of features that ensure fit, comfort, convenience, and safety. It makes use of in-mold construction and MIPS technology to provide your head with increased protection. There are 23 vents and 4 brow ports for improved airflow. The Float Fit system is a lightweight fit system that makes creating that perfect fit super easy. You can use this with a chin bar (sold separately) for added protection on rough trails.
It has a Goggleguide™ Adjustable Visor System which allows you to wear goggles or glasses with the visor attached or detached. The Integrated Breakaway Camera Mount to enable you to attach your GoPro and film your view in the bike lane. However, some complain that the helmet is too bulky for them.
- High-quality helmet
- MIPS technology
- Can transform to a full face helmet
- A bit bulky for some
10. Demon Podium Full Face Mountain Bike HelmetBest Mountain Bike Downhill Helmet
If you’re planning on doing some extreme off-road cycling, then this Demon Podium helmet may just be what you’re looking for. The tough polycarbonate shell and removable, washable liner ensure you get the protection you need when downhill or free riding. The helmet’s 13 air vents keep your head cool while you do your thing. The sizes range from small to extra large. What makes this helmet popular on Amazon is because it is lightweight and low profile enough to be worn across disciplines. Even BMX riders enjoy using this helmet. However, the sizes do seem to run small especially at the cheekbones.
- Good airflow
- size runs small
Bike Helmet Buying Guide
Everyone knows why it’s important to always wear a seatbelt, have a cycling backpack and cycling gloves when riding a vehicle. So it shouldn’t be hard to fathom why bike helmets are essential when riding a bike. In the grand scheme of things, riding your bike isn’t a dangerous activity. At least, in the way most people do. But there’s always the possibility of an accident. It is the smart thing to do, preventing your brain from getting injured.
It’s safe to say then that if you’re planning on hopping on your bike, you’ll need the best protection that your money can buy. Naturally, buying a helmet isn’t as easy as it looks. When has buying anything these days ever been easy? There are so many choices in the market that it’s hard to find the one that suits your head best. To give your brain a break, check out our buying guide below. You should get that bike helmet in no time at all.
Deconstructing a bike helmet
What are the different parts of a bike helmet? There’s the outer shell which is plastic. It designed to hold the helmet together when it hits the ground or some hard object. The outer shell is also supposed to slide on impact in order to further protect your head and neck to make sure that there are no snag points on the helmet. It should be round and smooth.
The liner inside the helmet is typically made out of crushable expanded polystyrene foam (EPS) to cushion the blow of impact. Some bike helmets feature padding which is mostly for comfort and to help wick away sweat.
The newest addition to bike helmets is MIPS technology. MIPS stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection System. What this is is a thin, low-friction layer inside the helmet that will help the helmet slide a few millimeters across your head upon impact. What this does is it reduces the amount of rotational force transferred to your head, adding more protection against concussions. Helmets that feature MIPS technology typically cost $20 more than the same model without it.
Your helmet should meet the CPSC standards
Before we even start talking about kinds and styles of bike helmets, this is one point that you should always keep in mind. By law, your bike helmet should meet or surpass the standards set by the Consumer Products Safety Commission. The CPSC tests bike helmets to ensure that they don’t block vision and come off when you fall. It also ensures that the impact to the head is significantly reduced by the helmet. You can learn more about the testing here.
The next question is, should you get one with MIPS technology? It depends. Evidence suggests that it does help reduce rotational force by up to 43 percent. But, as we’ve already mentioned, it does cost quite a bit more. Helmets without MIPS would still be able to provide you with adequate protection as long as it has been certified by CPSC, the fit is right, and you’re wearing it correctly.
Know the main types of bike helmets
Just like there are different types of bikes and bikers, there are also different types of bikes to suit different needs. Keep in mind that all types of bike helmets are designed for safety and comfort. There are just additional or specific features that suit certain biking lifestyles better.
Road helmets: this is the most popular type as it can be used by casual bikers, commuters, skateboarders, and inline skaters. Road helmets are typically well-ventilated, compact, and lightweight. Keep in mind that the more venting a helmet has, the pricier it will be. Also, road helmets usually do not have visors because these can obstruct your view when road cycling. Those that do have detachable ones which can enable the cyclist to use the helmet in other disciplines.
Mountain bike helmets: unlike road helmets, these offer more coverage at the back and sides of the head as well as less ventilation. This is because manufacturers assume that when you fall, the surface of the road/trail will be rough/uneven and there is a possibility that stray objects (stones, roots, etc.) may come through the vents. This type of helmet also has built-in visors to protect bikers from the glare of the sun.
Time Trial / Triathlon helmets: unlike the other two, this type of helmet is all about aerodynamics. It is specifically designed to cut through the air as you cycle at high speeds. Some have straps with a magnetic buckle to make putting on the helmet or taking it off a one-handed operation, shaving off seconds as you transition from swim to bike or bike to run.
Aero road helmets: a cross between time trial helmets and road helmets, this type has the ventilation, weight, and size of a road helmet with the added benefits of aerodynamics.
Commuter cycling helmets: this type is all about style and protection from the elements. Urban cycling means having to bike in the wind and rain so this type usually has less ventilation. Some feature reflective tape for better visibility at night. Most commuter cycling helmets are offered in different styles/designs to give you that flair you’re looking for as you ride about town.
Urban lids: also called peanuts or old-style, you’ll often see this on the heads of freestyle riders, BMX riders, and skaters. This type of helmet usually comes in trendy designs without any ventilation.
Full-face cycling helmets: if you’re into extreme off-road cycling, you need a lot more protection than what the other types offer. It’s not just your head that needs protecting from the rough terrain; your face and teeth will thank you too. It features a built-in chin guard and full visor to prevent stray objects as well as mud and rain from hitting you in the face. While this type looks a lot like a motorcycle helmet, it is much lighter.
How do you know what’s the right fit?
Aside from getting certified for safety, a bike helmet should fit right. Manufacturers have differing styles and sizes. While measurements are ok, the only way you’ll know if a helmet is right for you is to try it on for size. Even if you plan to buy your helmet online, it’s best to try out all the brands, models, and sizes you can get your hands on in the store. So, how do you test the fit of a helmet? Read on.
It should feel snug (not tight) and comfortable while sitting level on your head. The front edge should not be more than 1 inch above your eyebrows. And the helmet shouldn’t wiggle if you push it back or front and side to side.
The chinstrap, when buckled, should form a “V” under your ear. You should only be able to slip one finger between the chinstrap and your chin. When you open your mouth, the top of your head should press the against the helmet. If it doesn’t you’ll need to tighten until it does. Just not too tight that it’s become uncomfortable.
One thing you may need to factor in when choosing fit is if you plan on wearing additional headgear under the helmet such as a wool cycling cap during the cold months of the year, you need to make sure there’s room enough inside your helmet to adjust.
What is a retention system?
Aside from the chin strap, there’s one more way to ensure a snug fit with your helmet and that’s the retention system. Now, what is that? In most biking helmets, you’ll see an internal sizing ring that makes the helmet fit the unique shape of your head when adjusted. The adjustment is found at the rear of the helmet. It’s recommended that you find a retention system that can be easily adjusted with one hand while you’re riding.
Our final tip is this: In choosing your helmet, your priorities are listed as follows – purpose, safety standard, fit, comfort, price, and style.