The 10 Best Bike Helmets

Updated June 03, 2018 by Ben G

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We spent 42 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Protect the most important part of your body -- your head -- and stay safe when out cycling on the roads or over difficult terrain with one of these stylish and affordable bike helmets. We've included both traditional and MIPS-equipped models, as well as units that are suitable for skateboarding, snowboarding, and skiing in addition to their place atop a cyclist. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best bike helmet on Amazon.

10. Bern Morrison

The sleek Bern Morrison sports a low-profile design that still offers high-performance protection. It uses a crank dial fit system for quick adjustments, and the thin chinstrap doesn't irritate the skin when you need to look down.
  • winter kit available for snow use
  • sizing runs small
  • can get exceedingly hot
Brand Bern
Weight 1.8 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

9. Traverse Vigilis

The Traverse Vigilis is suited for bike trails or ski slopes, with removable earmuffs and a cushioned chinstrap. Its mesh material provides some ventilation, and its EPS foam is pleasantly firm, in addition to being great for absorbing impacts.
  • space for headphones
  • a rear clip for goggles
  • doesn't have any cooling vents
Brand Traverse
Model 2156
Weight 1.1 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

8. Lixada Cycling Mountain

The Lixada Cycling Mountain has an internal net to repel bugs, making it great for wilderness rides. The pads inside are antibacterial and extra cushiony, while remaining lightweight, and its frame incorporates 21 vents to cool you off as you go.
  • lining is removable for washing
  • fits comfortably with sunglasses
  • too small for most adults
Brand Lixada
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

7. Bern Allston

The Bern Allston has a thinner profile than most of its competition because it uses zip mold liquid foam technology instead of the standard EPS. This, along with a bevy of ventilation holes, makes it lighter and more comfortable to wear for long rides.
  • visor can flip up and down
  • easy to adjust fit while riding
  • sizing is difficult to ascertain
Brand Bern
Model Bern
Weight 2 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

6. Bell Hub Bike

The Bell Hub Bike has an aggressive look and a two-tone design that is available in colors like gunmetal and matte platinum. It also provides over-brow ventilation that lets in a good amount of airflow, making it a great choice for those who often ride on hot days.
  • flexible soft-brim visor
  • clip-on light mount
  • sizing runs large
Brand Bell
Model Bell
Weight 1.6 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

5. Schwinn Thrasher SW124

The Schwinn Thrasher SW124 keeps you comfortable all ride long, with 21 integrated flow vents and moisture-wicking pads to help keep you dry. It's created to break apart upon impact, absorbing the blow that your head would've received otherwise.
  • built-in sun visor
  • easy-to-adjust webbing
  • rear light for nighttime safety
Brand Schwinn
Model SW124 2PK
Weight 12.8 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

4. Giro Sutton

If you are concerned about looking dorky in a helmet, then you'll appreciate the sleek design of the Giro Sutton. It looks like it belongs on the head of an X-Games finalist, and it offers protection to match with its EPS impact foam.
  • ideal for urban commuting
  • easy to lock to the bike
  • equipped with mips technology
Brand Giro
Model Giro
Weight 1.6 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

3. Nutcase Solid

The Nutcase Solid comes in nine stylish color choices, all with a matte finish for a more subtle look. It also has three sets of pads of different thicknesses, as well as a spin dial, so it should fit almost anybody perfectly. Plus, it's easy to open with gloves on.
  • very durable magnetic buckle
  • 360-degree reflectivity for safety
  • visor is detachable
Brand Nutcase
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

2. Bell Draft

A Multi-directional Impact Protection System is the biggest advancement in helmet technology in a long time. The Bell Draft is equipped with it, and is designed to rotate on impact so that your skull doesn't. It's a good choice for those whose hat size runs a little small.
  • easy to adjust with one hand
  • great value for the price
  • pleasantly lightweight
Brand Bell
Model pending
Weight 2.4 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

1. Giro Savant MIPS

The Giro Savant MIPS is ideal for those who sweat a lot or live in hot climates. It features an impressive 25 vent holes and has internal channeling to direct the airflow over your head. It also cradles the cranium nicely for a secure fit.
  • impact-absorbing foam liner
  • padding can be removed for washing
  • can be worn over a cap or visor
Brand Giro
Model Giro
Weight 1.7 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

Proper Skull Insurance

Just as a construction crew avoids working around dangerous machinery without the use of hard hats, a bicyclist should likewise never go for a ride in traffic or among the elements without wearing a bicycle helmet to protect their head from life-threatening injuries and impacts. While the bicycle helmet is designed to absorb impacts, it also minimizes interference with a rider's peripheral vision. At the same time, the helmet is not designed to be a heavy object. As a person's body temperature rises during strenuous physical activity, the helmet must allow one's head to regulate its temperature without overheating or burdening the rider with excess weight.

A typical bike helmet has three major components, including the liner, shell, and strap (with buckle). The liner is considered the most important part of the helmet, as it represents the internal layer where the energy from the impact of a potential crash is managed. For that reason, liner material is both lightweight and strong. Most helmet liners are molded in expanded polystyrene foam. This type of foam offers several advantages that include its strength and ability to be molded with multiple layers in varying densities.

With different liner densities, soft layers can absorb moderate impacts, while the hard layers can bear the brunt of more intense impacts with vehicles or sharp objects. This allows manufacturers to fine tune a helmet's impact management system. Other types of foams can also be used, which include expanded polypropylene and expanded polyurethane, each with different manufacturing techniques.

The best helmet shells are full-cover, vented hard shells constructed from materials like fiberglass, lexan, or ABS plastic. The most expensive shells are often integrated into a helmet's molding for the liner, while less expensive models may include shells taped or glued around their edges.

Most helmet straps are made from either nylon or polypropylene and are fashioned after the helmet comes out of its molding with an anchor that sits atop the helmet's shell. Some straps can also be riveted and attached to the shell directly. The buckle is typically the last accessory to be added after the straps. Helmet buckles are made from plastic or nylon with side-pinch release mechanisms that make it easy for the rider to fasten quickly. Some helmets use a motorcycle-style D-ring buckle requiring riders to thread the straps through two D-shaped metal rings in order to fasten the helmet around their heads.

Choosing The Best Helmet

When it comes to protecting your skull and brain, it's worth spending a bit extra to ensure you have the best quality helmet that meets the most current safety standards with the most durable materials possible. The chosen helmet should be lightweight, offer the proper fit, be well ventilated, and feature easy adjustments of its straps and buckle without interfering with one's line of sight.

The straps should also be sturdy and snug to prevent the need for adjusting them in the middle of a bike ride, which could prove both inconvenient and dangerous. Some helmets also incorporate an additional, fold-down visor that can provide extra protection from sun glare when riding in the late mornings or early afternoons. Some of the most cutting-edge bike helmets boast antibacterial padding, which comes in particularly handy if you tend to sweat a lot.

Once you've got safety and convenience checked off the list, then you can start thinking about style. The more aerodynamically-designed the helmet is, the faster you'll be able to ride, especially downhill. The helmet should be considered more of a supportive and encouraging force in this regard instead of a hindrance to your speed and agility. If the helmet also happens to look sleek, then that's an extra bonus.

Finally, consider the times of day that you'll be riding. Many helmets are designed with bright colors and can easily accommodate reflective strips for riding at night.

A Brief History Of The Bike Helmet

The earliest bike helmets were made from pith and were used as early as the 1880s as the popularity for riding clubs grew and more people recognized the problems caused by head injuries. By the beginning of the twentieth century, racing cyclists began using helmets made from strips of leather-covered padding with a ring of leather around the head surrounded by an outer ring made from wool.

This ring of leather was then supplemented by strips of leather arranged longitudinally over a rider's head, which offered somewhat better protection than pith helmets, but not enough to withstand heavy impacts. Hard helmet exteriors with foam liners began development over the coming decades.

By 1970 at the beginning of the bicycle popularity boom, the Snell Memorial Foundation instituted one of the first bicycle helmet standards in the United States. In 1975, American helmet manufacturer Bell Sports developed the first practical, commercially-successful, and purpose-designed bike helmet called the Bell Biker, which was constructed with a polystyrene-lined hard shell.

In 1984, the American National Standards Institute released the ANSI Z80.4, which was considered the first workable bike helmet standard for the United States. This standard had a major function to rid the helmet market of ineffective products while increasing the quality of the accepted models. By the early 1990s, a thin hard shell was added to the polystyrene foam helmet for extra durability.

By the beginning of the twenty-first century, helmets began to incorporate more advanced retention and fitting systems that included cradles designed to adjust precisely to a rider's head. Today's helmets are designed to be as light as possible with multiple vents to keep a rider's head cool. Also, many states have made wearing helmets mandatory.

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Last updated on June 03, 2018 by Ben G

Ben is a writer from California. He mostly dives into film, videogames, and science fiction literature. Also Hello Kitty. He likes Hello Kitty a whole lot.

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