The 10 Best Adult Bike Helmets
This wiki has been updated 14 times since it was first published in October of 2016. If you've ever ridden your bicycle on a city street, then you already know that your right-of-way can quickly lead to an ambulance ride, courtesy of distracted drivers, off-leash dogs, and poorly-maintained roads. Mountain biking isn't any safer, considering all the obstacles that are in your path. These helmets can minimize the chance of suffering a serious head injury in a crash or fall. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best adult bike helmet on Amazon.
Garneau Raid This helmet offers an impressive level of customizability to achieve the perfect fit and comfort with your accessories. You can adjust both the height and the tension, and the visor can be placed into three different positions. Plus, it features moisture evacuation channels to guide the sweat away from your head on those warm days. garneau.com
Rudy Racemaster Featuring the company's proprietary Hexocrush liner, this safety-focused model is specially designed to direct impact forces away from the head. It features a removable cloth liner, and comes with an extra one so that you can still ride while your soiled one is the wash. Conveniently, it also features a dedicated eyewear storage spot on the back of the helmet. rudyprojectna.com
Bontrager Blaze WaveCel This premium model should definitely keep your noggin well-protected in the event of a crash. Though it is extremely pricey, it has many features that make it worth the cost, such as a magnetic buckle that allows for one-handed operation, a comfortable and secure fit for most, and a magnetic mount system to accommodate action cams. Plus, it comes with a crash-replacement guarantee. trekbikes.com
June 16, 2019:
When it comes to comfortable and reliable bike helmets, there's no shortage of quality options out there. First and foremost, we always recommend buying a model with MIPS. MIPS, which stands for multi-directional impact system, essentially minimizes the rotational forces that are encountered in certain types of crashes, which would otherwise be transmitted to the brain. Except for the Schwinn Thrasher, every other model on our list features MIPS. The reason we still included the Schwinn Thrasher is because MIPS helmets are generally expensive, and for the person who can't afford or doesn't want to pay for a MIPS-equipped helmet, it is still better to wear any helmet than no helmet at all. Despite not having MIPS, the Schwinn Thrasher still actually made the list of the top 69 safest helmets according to a Virginia Tech study.
It is also important to choose the right model for your style of riding, too. For the mountain bikers out there, we have included the Giro Chronicle, Bell Super DH, and Troy Lee Designs A1. Of these three, the Giro Chronicle is best for warm climates and the full-face Bell Super DH offers the most protection. It is worth nothing that the Bell Super DH is actually a convertible helmet, so the chin bar can be removed when riding on a hot day or around town.
All of the rest of the models on our list are intended for road cycling. The Giro Synthe and Bell Stratus offer the best ventilation, while the Smith Optics Route and Giro Foray are the most affordable of the MIPS-equipped models. For urban riders, we recommend the edgy Bell Annex.
Why It’s Vital To Wear A Bike Helmet
At the time, most helmets weren’t designed to look anything but awkward, and many of them were large enough to make their wearers resemble humanoid lollipops.
Today’s models boast much sleeker, more aerodynamic designs, as well as some advanced safety features that make them seem more futuristic than archaic.
I get it: you spent your whole childhood under the thumb of your parents, who told you time and time again that if you wanted to ride your bike, you had to wear your helmet. At the time, most helmets weren’t designed to look anything but awkward, and many of them were large enough to make their wearers resemble humanoid lollipops.
To make matters worse, the coolest kids in the neighborhood often rode without their helmets, and if they saw you wearing yours, they might have made fun of you. The good news (depending on your perspective) is that those kids are dead now, or at least in a vegetative state after sustaining blunt force head trauma after a bicycle accident. Not so cool now, are they?
The not-so-good news is that bicycle injuries and deaths are both on the rise. In the ten-year period leading up to 2015, fatalities rose by six percent, and injuries rose by a little over two percent (though it’s important to realize that a large quantity of bike crashes and injuries go unreported).
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, bicycle accidents result in around 67,000 head injuries each year, with about 27,000 of those incidents requiring hospitalization of the injured parties. The NHTSA also reports that bike helmets are more than 90 percent effective in preventing brain injuries, which would bring that number down from 27,000 to no more than 2,700.
If you’re still haunted by the visage of those giant foam children’s helmets, and you ride your bike with any regularity, you’ll be pleased to know that the field of adult bike helmets has come a very long way. Today’s models boast much sleeker, more aerodynamic designs, as well as some advanced safety features that make them seem more futuristic than archaic.
What To Look For In An Adult Bike Helmet
In order to get a helmet you can be proud to wear, and that will also keep you safe, it’s worth taking a few variables into account. These include everything from safety ratings to the latest features, and they can easily be among the aspects of your helmet that allow you to walk away from an accident, or to avoid one altogether.
For starters, ask yourself what kind of riding you do. Helmet styles often fall into one of two camps. The first camp is designed for speed, with angled, aerodynamic lines and plenty of vents for efficient airflow. Even if you don’t need something that can shave seconds off a race time, those vents can be a lifesaver if you regularly ride in the heat. These helmets also usually incorporate a visor in the front to help shield your eyes from the sun.
The first camp is designed for speed, with angled, aerodynamic lines and plenty of vents for efficient airflow.
The second camp covers a little more of the head, placing an emphasis on safety over speed. These are ideal for cyclists who prefer a more modern, city look to their helmets or those who plan on performing tricks that can increase the parts of the head that might meet the pavement. You won’t get quite as many vents in a helmet like this, but you might find a model or two that do feature visors.
In order to ensure that your helmet is a good fit, most manufacturers include some kind of ratchet for internal adjustments. If you find that your helmet has a lot of front-to-back or side-to-side movement, you can reach toward the back and turn a little wheel that will tighten an internal strap. This will allow the helmet to rest snugly around your cranium, keeping it in place in the event of an accident and increasing your comfort as you ride.
For better visibility, look for helmets that come in bright colors or that include reflective or retroreflective accents. This is especially important if you do a lot of night riding, as that’s when the majority of bike accidents take place. Between reflective and retroreflective materials, the latter is superior for its ability to scatter light in many directions, making you visible from more angles.
If you ride a lot in a city, many of which have very poor bike infrastructures, you may need something that can increase your safety even further. A smart bike helmet might be the ticket for you. These devices often have integrated LED lights and turning signals that respond to wireless controllers installed on your handlebar. No driver will be able to miss seeing you.
Other Accessories To Improve Your Safety
Riding a bicycle should be a fun and carefree experience, and the more investments you can make in your safety before you hit the road, the less you’ll have to fret about it while you’re out touring the town. These purchases may seem like they’re adding up pretty fast, but you can take them one at a time, getting progressively safer with each addition to your riding arsenal.
These are so small and effective there’s no excuse not to use them.
For starters, invest in a good LED headlight and brake light. These are so small and effective there’s no excuse not to use them. Many models recharge via USB, so you can plug them into a smart outlet or into the USB port on your computer for a quick charge. They can often be seen over a great distance, with solid and blinking settings.
It’s also a great idea to invest in a vest. As we discussed above, few things reflect light as well as retroreflective material, and you can get your hands on the same high-quality gear roadside construction crews use to stay safe while out on the highway.
Finally, a good bell or horn is a must. While it might not save you from that oncoming truck, a bell on your bike is a polite and effective way to alert pedestrians to your presence. Safety, after all, is a courtesy you can pay forward, protecting everyone from harm, whether on the roads, trails, or sidewalks of the world.
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