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Best Rated Bicycle Helmets

Person Riding Bicycle in the forest

Even though the quality of bicycles has improved significantly over the past decade, it is far too easy to forget the importance of wearing a helmet to a bike ride. Whether it’s due to motorists, fellow cyclists, a mechanical error, or riders’ own fault – people do mistakes, and in the end, nobody plans to crash, right?

Cycling has the most head injuries compared to any other sport or recreational activity

Banana Head helmet bicycle

Image source: Reddit

Getting a bicycle helmet is the least you can do to protect one of your most important organ – the brain. There’s no debate about that. Everyone should wear a helmet, and do it correctly – kids, the elderly, men, and women. From short trips to a bike race, where it is already mostly compulsory. It is a priceless investment.

5 factors when choosing a bike helmet:

  • Light in weight
  • Great ventilation
  • Ergonomic fit
  • Good safety score
  • Bright color for best visibility

How Did We Choose?

Most of the helmets reviewed below have a safety score of 5/5 according to the Virginia Tech Helmet Lab research center. All the rest of the helmets have above average feedback and ratings on REI.

Virginia Tech bike helmets

Risk Compensation – More protection means that you tend to take fewer risks


Best Bike Helmets

MENU

#1 Urban/Commuter    –    #2 Mountain    –    #3 Road    –    #4 Kids’


brain and different departments

Safety & Know-How

 

WaveCel vs MIPS

  • MIPS – Multi-directional impact protection system. MIPS reduces brain injury risk by minimizing the strains in the brain.
  • WaveCel – Up to 5x better at protecting your head compared to a traditional foam helmet. Crash Replacement Guarantee during 1st year!

Read more about WaveCel’s controversial hype from OutsideOnline

mips and wavecel helmet systems

(Left) MIPS, a low-friction layer that slides 10 to 15mm in all directions, reducing rotational motion to the brain during impact. (Right) A WaveCel construction.


What are the Best Bicycle Helmet Brands in 2020?

  • Bontrager – A brand that revolutionized the bicycle helmet by designing the WaveCel. Aka Trek helmets.
  • Smith – A well known outdoor & sports gear brand with an extensive selection of cycling helmets.
  • Specialized – High-quality mountain and road biking helmets.
  • Fox – A must-know brand specializing in mountain bike helmets.
  • Thousand Helmets – A brand that took over the urban cycling market with its untraditional yet multifunctional design.
  • Giro – Main focus: Mountain bike helmets and goggles.
  • NutCase Helmets – The widest variation of bike helmets for kids.
  • Bell – American motorcycle and bicycle helmet manufacturer.
  • Lazer – A brand specializing in helmets only – from motocross to superbike helmets.

Where’s the Best Place To Buy a Bicycle Helmet Online?

  • JensonUSA: Mountain, Road, Kids’ cycling helmets from Fox, Specialized, Bell, Giro, Troy Lee Design. High-end helmet brands!
  • Competitive Cyclist: Mountain, Road, Kids’ by 20+ different bike helmet brands. Biggest selection of brands!
  • REI: – Urban, Mountain, Road. Great feedback and ratings! 🏆
  • NutCase Helmets: Kids bike helmets. The best selection of bike and trailer helmets for kids & babies!
  • Thousand Helmets: Urban helmets. A fine selection of ‘smart’ bike helmets you’ve probably seen around. A popular trend!

bike store open sign


Wearing a Hat Under a Bike Helmet?

In order for a helmet to offer maximum protection – it has to sit snug around the skull. When you need to wear a hat under the helmet, especially with MIPS helmets, it is recommended to use a specific cycling cap with a small peak that wouldn’t interfere with the fit. Most other types of hats such as baseball caps and beanies are not advised as they’ll lift the helmet too high and on an unnatural position.

cycling cap


 

#1 – Best Commuter / City Bike Helmets

Recreational cyclist helmets for men and women


 

Thousand Helmets – Heritage

12 different designs!

stylish bike helmet

MSRP $89 USD

> Thousand Helmets

The Thousand helmet company is committed to saving 1000 lives by making appealing helmets that cyclists actually want to wear. The Heritage is a classic, minimalist helmet for urban city cycling inspired by vintage moto lids and 50s and 60s colorways.

Certified for both cycling and skateboarding, it has a magnetic one-hand clip, integrated dial fit system, and seven air vents. It also features a secret ‘PopLock’ for securing onto your bike.

  • Hidden Poplock – If you’d like to lock the helmet with the bike
  • Magnetic Buckle – One hand fastening
  • Dial Fit System – For a snug fit
  • Vegan Leather Straps – Sweat free and eco-friendly microfiber
  • 3x Vent Holes – In a sci-fi design

Availability – Thousand Helmets


 

Bontrager – Charge WaveCel Commuter

One of the few top-rated commuting helmets according to Virginia Tech Helmet lab 🏆

wavecel helmet

MSRP $150 USD
> Trek

This Bontrager bike helmet is e-bike approved and features advanced WaveCel technology, a collapsible cellular structure that provides better impact protection. It includes a FidLock magnetic buckle and BOA Fit System for easy adjustment with just one hand. 

Use the Blendr mount system to attach a light to the rear and enjoy the ease of removable, washable helmet pads. Comes with a built-in visor and 1-year crash replacement guarantee.

  • E-bike approved
  • WaveCel – Advanced helmet technology
  • BOA® Fit System lets you easily secure and adjusts helmet fit with just one hand
  • Fidlock magnetic buckle
  • Rear Blendr mount system easily integrates Bontrager light accessories
  • Soft, comfortable, moisture-wicking, and washable helmet pads
  • A built-in visor provides constant coverage against sun and rain

Availability – Trek


 

Smith – Maze

Smith Maze Bike Helmet

MSRP $110 USD
> Competitive Cyclist

This lightweight Smith bike helmet has a self-adjusting lifestyle fit system that flexes to fit your head shape and features trademark AirEvac ventilation. AirEvac uses two front vents to provide airflow and integrates with Smith goggles to reduce lens fog.

The Maze helmet also uses an XT2 antimicrobial lining for sweat-activated odor control and is CPSC and CE EN 1078 certified.

  • A low-profile helmet for everyday wear
  • Vents run from front to the rear while cooling the head during your commute
  • A self-adjusting fit system that fits nicely around the head while moving, unlike a traditional BOA system
  • Single-layer webbing straps lay flat and won’t impede movement

Availability – Competitive Cyclist


 

Smith – Signal MIPS

Product image for Black

MSRP $75 USD
> REI

This urban bike helmet from Smith features VaporFit’s tuned elastic rotary dial adjustment system to fit any head snugly. It also benefits from the MIPS safety system to reduce rotational motion to the brain during impact.

With the AirEvac ventilation system, you get 21 optimized vents plus integrated eyewear storage. The unisex helmet weighs 100 ounces and comes in three sizes.

  • VaporFit™ fit system – Rotary dial adjustment system integrated with a tuned elastic fit
  • MIPS, a low-friction layer that slides 10 to 15mm in all directions, reducing rotational motion to the brain during impact
  • AirEvac™ ventilation system with 21 optimized vents and engineered eyewear storage
  • In-mold construction makes for a lightweight helmet that’s perfect for daily exploration
  • Performance comfort lining
  • Ultralight single-layer webbing
  • Certifications: CPSC, CE EN 1078, AS/NZS2063

Availability – REI


 

NutCase Helmets – Onyx MIPS

black bicycle helmet

NutCase helmets – 30 different designs

MSRP $80 USD
> Nutcase Helmets

Based in Portland, Oregon, Nutcase helmets produce high-quality headgear for all types of cyclists. The Onyx helmet has an injection-molded ABS shell with EPS foam and features the industry-leading Multi-directional Impact Protection System (MIPS) for improved safety.

The new 2020 model has double the reflectivity, improved ventilation, and internal heat sealed pads. Onyx helmets come in 3 sizes, all with dial-adjustable fit and a FidLock magnetic snap-and-go buckle.

  • MIPS
  • Injection-molded ABS shell and tuned EPS foam to keep you safe on the road
  • Redesigned 11x air vents
  • Fidlock magnetic closure for one-handed snap and go buckle
  • 3-piece internal heat sealed pads to provide next to brain comfort
  • Dial adjustable fit
  • 2x reflectivity for increased visibility on the road
  • 3 sizes: Small (52cm-56cm), Medium (56cm-60cm), Large (60cm-64cm)
  • Visor Included

Availability – NutCase Helmets


 

#2 – Best Mountain Bike Helmets

 

 

 

Fox – Dropframe Pro

 #1 – Safest & best mountain bike helmet according to Virginia Tech Lab! 🏆

fox dropframe - the safest bicycle helmet in 2020

MSRP $200 USD
> JensonUSA

The Fox Dropframe is one of the safest MTB helmets available, providing maximum coverage in an open face format. With both the trusted MIPS rotational reduction system and a dual-density Varizorb EPS liner, you get double the impact protection in one helmet.

What’s more, you get 8 Big Bore vents and 7 exhaust vents, allowing for maximum cooling and minimum moisture build-up. Clip-in quickly with a Fidlock SNAP buckle stay clean with removable antimicrobial liners.

Availability – JensonUSA


 

Bontrager – Rally MIPS

One of the top-rated, safest mountain bike helmets 🏆

bontrager mips mtb helmet

MSRP $160 USD
> Trek

Bontrager bicycle helmets are known for their excellent value, and this MIPS-enhanced MTB helmet is no exception. Beyond the excellent rotational impact protection, you also get the proven BOA Fit System for ultimate adjustment and an in-mold composite skeleton that provides increased airflow through larger vents.

FlatLock dividers simplify strap management and internal recessed channels keep your head cool and dry. Bontrager includes a one-year Crash Replacement Guarantee.

  • MIPS Brain Protection System
  • BOA® Fit System
  • Blendr mount system easily integrates GoPro & Bontrager light accessories only
  • Drop-in coverage on the back of the helmet offers extended protection
  • In-mold composite skeleton increases helmet integrity for larger vents and increased airflow

Availability – Trekbikes.com


 

Troy Lee Designs – A2 Decoy MIPS

Ranked as #4 among the safest helmets on the market

mountain bike helmet with mips system

MSRP $189 USD
> REI.com

This Troy Lee Designs mountain bike helmet is a steal for only $189, offering everything you need in a quality MTB helmet. Not only does it include the MIPS impact system but also a dual-density EPP + EPS liner for protection against both low and high-speed impacts. 

The additional X-Static Pure Silver liner with an adjustable strap and huge ventilation shafts allows for the best possible fit and comfort at all times.

  • MIPS Brain Protection System – Reduces rotational forces to the brain
  • Dual-Density EPS molded with EPP
  • 3-Position custom adjustments by rear stabilizer fit system

Availability – REI


 

Giro – Radix MIPS

giro mips mtb helmet

MSRP $95 US
> REI.com

Giro helmets offer this budget mountain bike helmet which combines durability with a lightweight, ventilated design. It uses a specialized Roc Loc 5.5 MIPS system for impact protection and a customizable fit that provides long-lasting comfort.

The outer shell is formed from a polycarbonate material fused with an EPS foam liner to maintain strength without sacrificing ventilation. Ideal for long-distance trail riding.

Availability – REI


 

Bontrager – Solstice MIPS

 

a yellow bontrager solstice helmet

4 different colors

MSRP $65 USD
> REI.com

The Bontrager Solstice MIPS bike helmet is an impressive all-purpose budget helmet with rotational impact protection and a Fidlock magnetic buckle. The removable built-in visor has variable lighting options and the adjustable Headmaster strap clips in easily with just one hand.

For added comfort, you get internal recessed airflow channels and LockDown dividers for easy strap management. The Solstice MIPS comes with a 1-year Crash Replacement Guarantee.

Availability – REI


 

#3 Best Road Bike Helmets

 

Lazer – G1

#1 Best Road Bike helmet according to Virginia Tech Helmet lab safety score 🏆

Lazer G1 Helmet - best road cycling helmet in 2020

MSRP $220 USD
> CompetitiveCyclist

The G1 is the lightest Lazer bike helmet available, weighing only 225 grams. It feels almost like you’re not wearing anything at all and yet maintains high strength via its polycarbonate shell and EPS internal foam.

Fit it snugly to your head with Lazer’s Advanced Rollsys System (ARS) that helps avoid hotspots or pressure points by contouring to your skull shape. Front and side vents provide ventilation and can be covered by the Aeroshell attachment for increased speed and protection from rain or cold.

  • Lazer’s Aeroshell
  • Ponytail friendly
  • 200g
  • Adjustable from the top
  • Made of EPS Foam, Polycarbonate, Nylon
  • ARS – Advanced Rollsys System

Another great alternative by Lazer helmets is the Cyclone Mips, a multi-sport bicycle helmet.

Lazer G1 Helmet Back view

Availability – CompetitiveCyclist


 

Bontrager – Specter WaveCel

One of the best helmets for road, gravel, and trail 🏆

bontrager helmet with wavecel interior

MSRP $150 USD
> Trek

The Spectre WaveCel helmet uses Bontrager’s collapsible cellular structure to provide the most cutting-edge safety technology available. With the integrated BOA Fit system and Fidlock magnetic buckle, you can perfectly fit and secure the helmet to your head with just one hand.

The Spectre WaveCel also includes multiple ventilation shafts, reflective rear decals, and washable, moisture-wicking inner pads. Bontrager provides a free replacement guarantee if you crash within the first year.

  • WaveCel System
  • BOA® Fit System
  • Fidlock magnetic buckle
  • Highly ventilated design
  • Washable, moisture-wicking helmet pads
  • Reflective elements on the back of the helmet

Availability – Bontrager


 

Bontrager – Ballista MIPS

5/5 star on Virginia Tech Helmet lab🏆

black mips bike helmet

MSRP $210 USD
> Trek

This high-grade Bontrager MIPS helmet is the ultimate road bike helmet, aerodynamically designed using wind-tunnel technology. Beyond the MIPS multi-directional impact protection system, it also benefits from Bontrager’s BOA Fit one-hand adjustment system and internal recessed channels or better ventilation.

Best-optimized ventilation

It’s the perfect lightweight road helmet to reduce drag and improve speed and comes with Bontrager’s first-year Crash Replacement Guarantee.

  • MIPS
  • BOA® Fit System
  • Front Center Channel’s distinct vent shape for increased airflow
  • LockDown helmet strap dividers
  • Crash Replacement Guarantee – Free helmet replacement if involved in a crash within the first year of ownership

Availability – Trekbikes


 

Bell – Z20 MIPS

bell bike helmet

MSRP from $200 USD
> JensonUSA

This advanced Bell bike helmet benefits from a progressive layering process that uses varying EPS foam densities to better absorb the shock of impact. It is also MIPS-enhanced for multi-directional protection and uses an in-mold polycarbonate shell for even better durability.

With 18 vents, X-static quick drying material,  and a sweat guide pad design to redirect moisture, you’ll be sure to stay cool and dry at all times.

  • Progressive Layering helps to better manage the transfer of energies from impacts
  • MIPS-equipped reduces the rotational forces from certain impacts
  • Float Fit Race system provides three-way adjustability
  • Made of EPS
  • Float Fit Race Closure System

Availability – JensonUSA


 

Specialized – Echelon II MIPS

The cheapest 5-star safety rating road cycling helmet! 🏆

Specialized mips best budget road cycling helmet

MSRP $90 USD
> CompetitiveCyclist

One of the more affordable Specialized bike helmets, the Echelon II offers excellent value for money. Not only does it benefit from MIPS rotational impact protection but also has a 4th Dimension Cooling system that uses a composite matrix for larger vents and better internal reinforcement.

The Tri-Fix web splitter offers easy adjustment for better fit and comfort, and reflective rear decals ensure visibility in low light.

  • MIPS Technology
  • Headset SL II fit system
  • 4th Dimension Cooling System
  • Tri-Fix web splitter
  • Reflective details add visibility in low-light conditions

Availability – Competitive Cyclist


 

#4 Best Kids’ Bike Helmets

 

Bontrager – Jet WaveCel

cool helmet for kids, with wavecel

MSRP $100 USD
> REI.com

This top-quality Bontrager kids helmet uses WaveCel technology for improved safety due to its collapsible cellular structure. The Jet WaveCel meets ASTM safety standards, specially designed to account for the small head mass of younger riders.

The FidLock magnetic buckle allows for quick and easy fastening with removable soft padding and a Dialed fit system for ultimate fit and comfort.

Availability – REI


 

Specialized – MIO MIPS

An awesome choice for toddlers – In a bike trailer or on a balance bike

specialized kids bike helmet

MSRP $55 USD
> JensonUSA

At only $55, this high-quality boy’s helmet is a steal. The MIPS-equipped helmet uses a Headset SC fit system to accommodate smaller heads and a Tri-Fix web splitter for the most comfortable fit. 

The magnetic buckle is safe and easy to use for young children, plus you get an integrated visor for sun protection and reflective webbing for low light conditions.

  • Headset SC fit system
  • In-molded shell
  • Magnetic buckle
  • Reflective webbing
  • Integrated visor provides shelter from the sunlight
  • Front mesh-covered vents help keep out bugs

Availability – JensonUSA


 

BELL – Span Kids’

BMX style helmet for youth

Bell Span mtb Helmet - Kids'

4 different colors & sizes

MSRP $55 USD
> CompetitiveCyclist

This Span Helmet is part of Bell’s excellent collection of youth bike helmets, providing top-class protection for your kids. With 10 vents and an Action Fit adjustment system, your child will stay safe and comfortable at all times.

Perfect for children 5 years and above, the Bell Span Helmet uses a skate-style design and is certified for both two wheels and four.

  • A skate-style kids helmet certified for two wheels and four
  • Comfortable Action Fit design for adjustable comfort
  • 10 vents promote cooling airflow
  • Ages 5 and older

Availability – Competitive Cyclist


 

NutCase Helmets – Captain Gloss w/MIPS

2 sizes – For toddlers & youth (S/M)

nutcase helmets review

MSRP $70 USD
> Nutcase Helmets

This toddler helmet from Nutcase is ideal for first-time riders, featuring an injection-molded ABS shell with Crumple zone EPS foam and MIPS for extreme protection. 

The GROW Flex Fit system ensures ultimate fit and comfort with a heat-sealed 3-piece pad set and snap-n-go Fidlock magnetic buckle. This new and improved helmet comes with a visor, 11 ventilation shafts, and reflective logos for low light conditions.

  • Durable Injection-molded ABS shell with engineered Crumple Zone EPS protective foam featuring MIPS Safety Protection
  • New improved visor included!
  • 11 contoured vents for ultimate cooling
  • Fidlock Magnetic closure
  • Heat-sealed, 3-piece pad set
  • Sizes – Toddler ( 48cm – 52cm ), Youth ( 52cm – 56 cm )

Availability – NutCaseHelmets


 

NutCase Helmets – Sock Hop Gloss w/MIPS (Little Nutty)

For toddlers, 15 new designs

nutcase toddlers helmet review

MSRP $70 USD
> NutCase Helmets

Sun-visor included.

  • Durable Injection-molded ABS shell
  • Engineered Crumple Zone EPS protective foam featuring MIPS Safety Protection
  • Visor included
  • 11 contoured vents
  • Magnetic closure
  • 2 sizes: Toddler ( 48cm – 52cm ) / Youth ( 52cm – 56 cm )

Availability – NutCaseHelmets


 

Bern – Nina Jr

For bike and snow – Girls bicycle helmet with an integrated cap and a low-profile fit

girls helmet with watermelon design

MSRP $40 USD
> REI

Stay stylish this summer with this girl’s bike helmet from Bern. With several attractive designs, including strawberry, you can rest assured your child won’t want to take it off!

High strength-to-weight ratio!

Features ZipMold liquid injection foam for added protection in a lightweight PVC shell. Easily adjustable for a quick and easy comfortable fit using the hook-and-loop stabilizing system. Your child will stay dry and comfortable with the removable and machine washable polyester linings.

Availability – REI


Helmets are compulsory in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand


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