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The Best Bike Helmets of 2024

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Whether you simply enjoy getting your bike out for a weekend cruise or are a bonafide, road, gravel, or mountain biker with a garage full of bikes, the simple truth is this — you need a bike helmet. They are vital to staying safe and protecting yourself while you’re on the bike, regardless of surface or riding style. Safety is paramount, but the best bike helmets of 2024 are much more than plastic brain buckets. 

Modern helmets provide next-level ventilation to keep air flowing throughout a ride, they’re built lighter and stronger than ever before, and the tech has become so advanced that the lines between road, gravel, and mountain bike helmets are as blurry as ever — which is actually a good thing for consumers. If you spend most of your time on the road but enjoy the occasional mountain bike ride, your road helmet will do just fine on the trails. The same goes the other way — if you love spending time on the trails but get roped into a Sunday gravel ride with your local club, you can easily sport your mountain bike helmet on a drop-bar bike. 

On the flip side, helmets have never been so specific. Roadies can pick up a low-profile, ultra-light, ultra-breathable helmet that won’t leave them feeling bogged down after a long day of climbs. Enduro mountain bike enthusiasts can choose a lightweight lid with an adjustable visor and expanded coverage. Commuters can choose between stylish, vintage-inspired options or pick their favorite from the performance bunch. Even gravel riders have their pick of helmets tailor-made for skinny-tire speed off the tarmac.  

To help you decide which one (or two, or three) is best for you, we got our hands on dozens of the best bike helmets across all of the most popular categories, gathering first-person insights, taking notes, and digging into the details that we think move the needle. 

Read on to explore our ten favorite options across the road, mountain, and commuting categories. Also included is buying advice with all the information you need to know when choosing a bike helmet, a comparison chart, and answers to the most popular helmet FAQs.

The Best Bike Helmets of 2024

Best Overall Mountain Bike Helmet

  • Intended Use
    MTB
  • Weight
    362 g (Medium)
  • Rotational Impact Protection System
    MIPS Spherical
  • Adjustable Visor
    Yes
  • Number of Vents
    19
  • Available Sizes
    S, M, L
  • Virginia Tech Helmet Safety Rating
    5-Star

  • Comfortable

  • Great Ventilation

  • Good Coverage

  • Eyewear integration

Best Budget Mountain Bike Helmet

  • Intended Use
    MTB
  • Weight
    400 g (Large)
  • Rotational Impact Protection System
    MIPS
  • Adjustable Visor
    No
  • Number of Vents
    13
  • Available Sizes
    XS, S, M, L, XL
  • Virginia Tech Helmet Safety Rating
    5-Star

  • Very reasonably priced

  • High-end look and feel

  • Comes in 5 shell sizes

  • Surprisingly comfortable

  • 5-star Virginia Tech safety rating


  • Non-adjustable visor isn’t great at blocking the sun

  • Basic strap design

  • Moderate ventilation

Best Overall Road Bike Helmet

  • Intended Use
    Road, gravel, XC Mtb
  • Weight
    271 g (Medium)
  • Rotational Impact Protection System
    MIPS Spherical
  • Number of Vents
    24
  • Available Sizes
    S, M, L
  • Virginia Tech Helmet Safety Rating
    5-star
  • Colors
    Matte Ano Blue, Matte Ano Harbor Blue Fade, Matte White, Matte Black, Matte Carbon/Red, Matte Metallic Coal/Space Green

  • Supremely comfortable

  • Great ventilation

  • Light

  • Excellent coverage

  • Easy eyewear storage

Best Budget Road Bike Helmet

  • Intended Use
    Road
  • Weight
    240 g (M)
  • Rotational Impact Protection System
    KinetiCore
  • Number of Vents
    18
  • Available Sizes
    S, M, L
  • Virginia Tech Helmet Safety Rating
    5-star
  • Colors
    Tour de France, matte white flash orange, matte blue black, black flash yellow, white, matte black, red black, cosmic berry

  • Very affordable

  • Lightweight

  • Comfortable fit


  • Comparatively less ventilated

  • Bland-ish looks

Best Mid-Range Road Bike Helmet

  • Intended Use
    Road, gravel, XC Mtb
  • Weight
    350 g (Large)
  • Rotational Impact Protection System
    MIPS
  • Number of Vents
    10
  • Available Sizes
    S, M, L
  • Virginia Tech Helmet Safety Rating
    4-star
  • Colors
    Lead Blue Matte, Sapphire Purple Matte, Lemon Calcite Matte, Epidote Green Metallic/Matte, Uranium Black Matte, Hydrogen White, Himalayan Salt Matte, Fluorescent Orange AVIP, Cerussite Kashima Metallic/Matte

  • Sleek profile

  • Excellent coverage

  • Reassuringly snug fit

  • More affordable than high-end options

Best Gravel Bike Helmet

  • Intended Use
    Road, gravel, MTB
  • Weight
    300 g (M)
  • Rotational Impact Protection System
    MIPS
  • Adjustable Visor
    No (comes with removable fabric visor)
  • Number of Vents
    19
  • Available Sizes
    S, M, L
  • Virginia tech Helmet Safety Rating
    Not tested

  • Relatively lightweight

  • Versatile

  • Removable visor helps shield eyes from the sun

  • Moderately priced

  • Numerous color options


  • Straps could use some refinement

Best Commuter Bike Helmet

  • Intended Use
    Commuting, urban
  • Weight
    370 g (M)
  • Rotational Impact Protection System
    MIPS
  • Visor
    Yes, removable
  • Number of Vents
    8
  • Available Sizes
    S, M, L
  • Virginia Tech Helmet Safety Rating
    5-star
  • Colors
    Club Navy, Racer Black, Supermoon White, Skyline Grey, Metro White, Deep Burgundy, Desert Sage

  • Comes with a rechargeable magnetic light

  • Multi use adapter to attach light to bike

  • Easy-to-use magnetic fastener

  • MIPS protection

  • PopLock to secure helmet to lock


  • We’d prefer more cushioning inside the helmet

  • Pricey for a non-performance helmet

Best Budget Commuter Bike Helmet

  • Intended Use
    Commuting, urban, skate
  • Weight
    ?
  • Rotational Impact Protection System
    None
  • Visor
    Yes
  • Number of Vents
    18
  • Available Sizes
    S, M, L
  • Virginia Tech Helmet Safety Rating
    Not tested
  • Colors
    Emerald Green, Emerald Pink, Matte Black, Matte Grey, Matte Navy, Matte Orange, Matte Yellow, Meteorite Black

  • Great bang for your buck

  • Integrated, rechargeable rear light

  • Quality airflow

  • Stylish for a budget pick

  • Numerous colors


  • No rotational impact protection system

  • Feels more fragile than pricier options

Best of the Rest

Another Excellent Mountain Bike Helmet

  • Intended Use
    MTB
  • Weight
    401 g (M-L)
  • Rotational Impact Protection System
    MIPS Integra
  • Adjustable Visor
    Yes
  • Number of Vents
    17
  • Available Sizes
    XS-S, M-L, XL-XXL
  • Virginia Tech Helmet Safety Rating
    Not tested

  • Generous coverage

  • Lots of safety features

  • Great Ventilation

  • Meets Dutch NTA 8776 e-bike standard

  • Comes in multiple colors


  • Extended coverage at temples can conflict with some sunglass arms

  • Expensive

Premium Road Performance

  • Intended Use
    Road
  • Weight
    240 g (Medium)
  • Rotational Impact Protection System
    MIPS Air
  • Number of Vents
    16
  • Available Sizes
    S, M, L
  • Virginia Tech Helmet Safety Rating
    5-star
  • Colors
    Viper Red/Cobra Blood, Dark Aquatic, Black, White, Red, White/Nautical Navy

  • Well-ventilated

  • Super compact profile

  • Liberal use of carbon fiber for impressively low weight

  • Unconditional comfort guarantee

  • Eyewear storage


  • Expensive

  • Not a great application of BOA

Bike Helmet Comparison Chart

Bike Helmet Model MSRP Weight Impact Protection # of Vents Sizes Virginia Tech Rating
Giro Manifest Spherical $260 362 grams (M) MIPS Spherical 19 S, M, L 5-star
Specialized Camber MIPS $75 400 grams (L) MIPS 13 XS, S, M, L, XL 5-star
Giro Aries Spherical $300 271 grams (M) MIPS Spherical 24 S, M, L 5-star
Lazer Tonic KinetiCore $80 240 grams (M) KinetiCore 18 S, M, L 5-star
POC Omne Air MIPS $180 350 grams (L) MIPS 10 S, M, L 4-star
Smith Network MIPS $170 300 grams (M) MIPS 15 S, M, L Not tested
Thousand Chapter MIPS $145 360 grams (M) MIPS 8 S, M, L 5-star
Outdoor Master Goat Helmet $50 500 grams (L) MIPS 18 S, M, L Not tested
POC Kortal Race MIPS $270 401 grams (L) MIPS Integra 17 XS-S, M-L, XL-XXL Not tested
Trek Velocis MIPS $300 240 grams (M) MIPS Air 16 S, M, L 5-star

How We Tested Bike Helmets

Our team is composed of cyclists and outdoor-oriented athletes looking for the best products on the market. Our staff includes professional gear reviewers, former and current racers, recreational cyclists, folks who bike commute 60 miles a week, and everyone in between — people who care about fit, finish, and function but, at the end of the day, want a product they can trust.

Our team spends its time carefully evaluating new products so that you don’t have to, which translates to more time in the saddle for you. We strive to create thorough, comprehensive, helpful reviews to help you find the best gear for your individual needs.

Our bike helmet buyer’s guide is more general in its scope and combines our favorite models from our more specific best mountain bike helmet and best road bike helmet guides with a few additions for commuting and gravel riding. Our mountain bike helmet tester, Jeremy Benson, has been professionally testing and reviewing bikes and related accessories for the past 8 years. Benson is an avid mountain and gravel rider and racer who spends an inordinate amount of time in the saddle training, riding for fun, and testing all manner of new gear for reviews. He isn’t immune to crashing (spectacularly), and he takes his safety seriously, so he’s always searching for the most comfortable and protective helmets he can find to protect his brain. He has tested over 30 mountain bike helmets, including all of the models in our guide to the best mountain bike helmets.

Our road bike helmet buyer’s guide author, Bennett Shane, has been cycling seriously for over two decades. While his racing days are behind him, he’s shifted his focus to achieving other goals on the bike, riding for fitness, and testing countless road-related products for reviews. He also spent years working for various prominent brands in the cycling industry and has an uncanny depth of cycling products, technology, and material knowledge. As a father of a young child, Bennett is extra conscious of his own safety while riding, and he takes head protection very seriously. In the past year, he’s tested over 15 different helmets, including those in our guide to the best road bike helmets.

Another tester and contributor to this story, Will Porter, loves to ride his XC bike in the foothills outside of Boise, Idaho, spend hours in the saddle of his gravel bike, and restore old mountain bikes to their former glory — right now, he’s in the middle of making a 90s Hard Rock his go-to daily rider.

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose a Bike Helmet

Riding Style: Mountain, Road, Gravel, or Commute

The terrain you ride will ultimately dictate the helmet you buy. Before you open your wallet, give some thought to where and how you plan to spend the majority of your time in the saddle. It will point you in the right direction. Below are some considerations to check out before you throw down on a new lid.

Mountain Bike Helmets

Mountain-oriented helmets have more materials that wrap the side and back of the head, creating extended coverage to protect the occipital lobe (the bony knob on the back of your head) and temples. Steep trails increase the risk of falling backward and onto the back of your head. This makes good occipital coverage like that offered by our favorite mountain bike helmet, the Giro Manifest, that much more important.

Mountain bike helmets typically also come with a visor similar to the one found on the POC Kortal Race MIPS, which provides shade as riders move in and out of the direct sun. A visor also brings a little extra protection from brushy limbs that tend to stretch out over unmaintained roads. Our favorite visors are also adjustable, so you can optimize their position to keep the sun out of your eyes. To learn more about helmets for tackling your favorite trails, check out our guide to the best mountain bike helmets.

Road Bike Helmets

In general, helmets designed for road cycling tend to be a bit more streamlined and provide a bit less coverage than their chunkier mountain bike counterparts. With more of a focus on aerodynamics and ventilation, road bike helmets are often much lighter and racier looking, too. Still, the goal is protection, and modern road helmets feature innovative designs and technologies to keep riders safe out on the road.

Helmets like the Giro Aries Spherical do an excellent job of combining good coverage, excellent ventilation, and the newest safety technologies to provide a great helmet for road cyclists looking to maximize safety, style, and comfort. Other road helmets may prioritize aerodynamics more, and there is a growing number of aero options available for those seeking marginal gains. If you’re in the market for a road bike helmet, we cover lots of options in our guide to the best road bike helmets.

Gravel Bike Helmets

Gravel riding is essentially road biking on gravel roads. As such, the protection demands are similar, but with the addition of sometimes less predictable loose or rocky surfaces. Realistically, most road and mountain bike helmets can easily pull double duty for gravel riding. While there certainly are many gravel-specific helmets on the market these days, most serious gravel riders are typically seen wearing high-end road helmets that are lightweight, well-ventilated, and protective.

Ultimately, gravel riders should consider the terrain they ride most often, and factor their favorite backroads, routes, and trails into choosing a helmet that will best suit their needs. Check out our FAQ for more on gravel-specific helmets.

Commuter Bike Helmets

Commuter helmets occupy a bit of a middle ground in the helmet world. Even if your commute is short and mellow, a good helmet is an excellent and necessary investment. While weight may not be the top priority, coverage, visibility, and comfort certainly are. You might not be shredding the gnar on your way to work (or maybe you are), but cars and pedestrians are omnipresent hazards that warrant a good helmet regardless of your riding style.

While you can wear any helmet you like while commuting, many riders prefer not to look like they’re heading out on a serious road or mountain bike ride when they’re pedaling to the office or running errands around town. For this reason, many commuter helmets have more casual styling that fits in better with casual or work clothes. Additionally, many commuter helmets also have features for enhanced visibility, such as the lights on the Thousand Chapter MIPS and the Outdoor Master Goat Helmet.

Fit

The best helmet is one you don’t notice. Because you’ll be wearing it every mile in the saddle, look for a helmet that fits your head. Compromising on fit can be dangerous, increasing your exposure to injury in an accident or fall.

A helmet should fit snugly, but not too tightly, and never cause pressure points or hot spots. A good-fitting helmet should be snug around the head even before clipping the straps.

Look for a helmet that sits level on your head without tilting forward or backward and that cradles the shape of your skull all around without any gaps. The straps should feel snug but not strained while you ride. It shouldn’t move more than an inch in any direction. If you can pull, twist, or slip it off, try a different size or another helmet.

Most helmets have a range of measurements — small, medium, large — that have some wiggle room for folks who are between sizes. Not all brands fit the same.

Once you decide on the style, it’s time to try a few on. And this is where your local bike shop is a huge asset. You’ll want to actually try on several helmets to get a feel for what works and what doesn’t.

If you do decide to buy a helmet online, start by measuring your head. Take a tailor’s tape measure and wrap it around the dome of your head — the widest circumference of the skull, just above the brow.

Microadjustment features, like a dial-fit system and chinstraps, tighten behind the head and under the chin to fine-tune the fit, minimizing movement. In recent years, this feature has become almost ubiquitous, and all of our top picks feature this technology, usually in a proprietary design.

Ventilation

Because cycling is a highly aerobic sport, good ventilation is a necessary component of any helmet to help manage heat. Helmets with ventilation holes allow fresh air to pour over the head, cooling you as you exert more energy. How important ventilation is to you will likely depend on your environment, the intensity at which you ride, and your tolerance for heat and humidity.

Well-designed ventilation, like that of the Giro Aries Spherical or the Trek Velocis MIPS, is a godsend in hot and humid environments. That said, riders should be mindful of eschewing good coverage for good ventilation if they are riding aggressively. Fortunately, you don’t really need to these days, as most modern helmets successfully provide good ventilation and a high level of protection.

Rotational Impact Protection

Innovations in crash protection, like MIPS (multidirectional impact protection system), have been shown to reduce rotational forces on the brain in a crash. Helmets with this kind of protection may cost a little more, but it’s our brains we’re talking about here, so we feel it is worth the extra cost.

In a crash, a bicyclist can experience an angled impact, which causes rotational motion. When you hit the ground, the brain will continue to travel through space until it hits the skull. In addition to the impact force, the shear force can pull brain tissue, causing trauma. While CPSC certification guidelines account for vertical free fall, they don’t address angular collision.

MIPS is a Swedish-based company that specializes in helmet safety and brain protection. It specializes in a polycarbonate plastic layer that creates a slip-plane to allow the head to shift 10-15 mm relative to the helmet, with the goal of reducing the rotational forces on the brain. MIPS now comes in many different forms, but they are all intended to work similarly to the classic liner system. The evidence certainly shows MIPS reduces brain trauma when you hit the ground at an angle. Good marketing has awarded MIPS gold in the headspace. Check out more about MIPS here.

While MIPS was first on the scene, over the past decade or so, other brands have poked at the problem with their own solutions. Bontrager uses WaveCel, Kali developed its Low-Density Layer, Lazer uses KinetiCore, and other brands have developed similar systems. All of them work to achieve the same goal of reducing rotational impact forces transferred to the brain.

To be clear, all bicycle helmets are built with a layer of stiff foam materials that crushes, expands, or collapses to absorb energy in a crash. To measure their impact protection, helmets sold in the U.S. must meet the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) bicycle helmet standard. Your best bet is to look for the CPSC sticker label inside the liner, certifying that the helmet meets safety standards.

Is MIPS the best? As Vibram is to outsoles, MIPS is to helmets. As a consumer, expect to pay a little extra for the yellow sticker.

FAQ

The helmets in this guide range from $50 to $300. Recreational bike helmets with basic impact protection are adequate for casual, mellow rides and will sit on the lower end of the price scale.

Expect to pay more for helmets that provide above-and-beyond accessories like chin guards, proprietary clips, and rotational motion impact reduction. For $75 or $80, respectively, you can’t go wrong with the Specialized Camber MIPS or Lazer Tonic KinetiCore, but keep in mind that at that price point, you might be skipping out on some extra comfort and ventilation features.

The further you ride, the more you might want to consider extra protective features. A helmet is like buying an insurance plan. Yes, they are expensive, but we can guarantee they are cheaper than a hospital bill.

Gravel is at the crossroads of road and mountain biking. While a handful of helmets are specifically geared towards gravel riding, you can probably use the cycling helmet you already have, depending on the terrain you ride.

Road bike helmets are generally more aerodynamic and lighter. Stylistically, they look different. Most mountain bike helmets have extended coverage on the back of the head, which is important if you fall backward. They usually have an integrated visor that shields the eyes from the sun and brush.

For the most part, gravel riders tend to gravitate towards road-style helmets. In fact, most road helmets are versatile enough for gravel and cross-country mountain biking.

If you primarily mountain bike and are dabbling with gravel, you can save a few bucks by using your mountain bike helmet. Be sure to check out the Giro Manifest if you’re looking for a rock-solid dirt and gravel-oriented lid. If you’re coming to gravel from the road and want to tackle more remote roads and maybe dabble with singletrack, we’d err toward safety and recommend buying up for more protection.

Regardless, all bicycle helmets in the U.S. are CPSC-certified, whether they’re designed for road or trail rides. You can safely wear a road or mountain-oriented helmet.

Helmets are sport-specific, designed to mitigate specific risks. Mountain bike helmets are not verified to protect a climber or mountaineer in an accident and vice versa.

Keep track of your helmet’s age. Over time, exposure to environmental factors like sunlight or extreme cold, moisture, and sweat will diminish the lifespan of the helmet. So will repeated small impacts, such as dropping the helmet at the trailhead or tumbling around the back of the rig on the commute home.

The CPSC recommends replacing your helmet every 5-10 years, depending on the frequency of use, storage conditions, and overall care. However, each manufacturer’s guideline is different. If you need to retire a helmet, it’s one gear item you shouldn’t donate at the local thrift shop. You can check with the manufacturer to see if they will properly dispose of it for you.

Some brands have a crash replacement policy and may sell you a replacement at a discounted price. You’ll need to register your helmet, and they may want to see the damage. If they approve your claim, they’ll often award a discount toward your next helmet purchase.

It is always recommended that you replace your helmet after a crash in which you hit your head, even if you can’t see any damage. Sometimes, even minor impacts can result in a crack in the foam. That’s not because a helmet is cheap or defective — it’s because it’s doing its job. Helmets absorb impact forces by compressing and cracking, and once they do, their ability to do so again has been compromised.

Our experts put the best mountain bike helmets of 2024 to the test. Whether you need a budget pick or overall winner, we’ve got you covered.

While we all do our best to avoid them, accidents can and do happen, so a quality road bike helmet is the most important piece…



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