When purchasing safety equipment, there is a natural temptation to believe that investing more money would provide you with a safer product. However, because bike helmets come in such a wide variety of prices, it’s difficult to determine how much extra protection you’re getting. Fortunately, as with most safety equipment, safety certifications are a more dependable indication of bike helmets safety than price. In order to be legally worn when riding a motorbike in the United States, all bike helmets must be certified by the Department of Transportation (DOT). DOT approval is the most “basic” of the primary certifying agencies. That isn’t to say it isn’t a rigorous and trustworthy standard.
1- Giro Source MIPS Helmet
For comfort and elegance, Giro has to be our favorite helmet manufacturer. Some helmets just don’t fit right, but Giro always manages to find the perfect fit for everyone. The Source MIPS helmet is composed of polycarbonate and features 17 vents, which is a great number for someone who spends a lot of time on their bike. Greater vents equal more comfort, so crank up the air conditioning. This mountain bike helmet also has an adjustable low visor and a Roc Loc 5 on the back that allows you to dial in your perfect size. Any mountain rider will find this to be an excellent pick.
2- Bontrager Solstice MIPS Helmet
The MIPS is an important part of the helmet’s safety since it is a low-friction layer that slides in all directions, reducing rotational motion. In a loose-fitting helmet, your head will twist when you crash, potentially causing serious harm. This layer of MIPS is included in the Bontrager helmet, as well as an easy locking component for tightening the helmet. It’s a lightweight, breathable helmet with moisture-wicking properties. It weighs 13.2 ounces and has 17 vents.
3- POC Octal X Spin Helmet
POC has a fantastic polycarbonate helmet on sale. The Octal X Spin is a perfect choice for all-mountain bikers, with a low visor linked to the front, a quick dial in the back for optimal adjustment, and extra secure padding without adding weight. Many vents are desirable for a long day on the saddle, and the POC offers 21, which is an added bonus on warmer days. However, due to its higher price tag and exceptionally lightweight and aerodynamic design, this helmet may only appeal to elite riders.
4- Smith Forefront 2 MIPS Helmet
Aside from the MIPS liner, the Smith helmet’s strongest feature is the Aerocore in-mold design, which gives an extra layer of protection for all users. The Smith Forefront 2 boasts some fantastic details and features at a higher price range and is a well-worth investment for those hard-core mountain riders. There’s enough room for your skull to breathe with 20 vents, and every vent counts on a hot day when you’re trekking up that hill. Smith offers slick, well-designed helmets for a variety of cycling sports, and this mountain bike helmet is a standout among them.
5- Smith Convoy MIPS Helmet
The Convoy mountain bike helmet from Smith includes all of the same features and vents as the Forefront 2, but at a lesser price. It’s just as nice and safe for all-mountain riders, with a VaporFit adjustable fit system and 20 vents for easy air. During a crash, the MIPS molding will protect your head from spinning, and the integrated visor will keep the sun out of your eyes. A fantastic option for a polycarbonate helmet.
6- Bontrager Rally WaveCel Helmet
The Bontrager Rally is a terrific mid-range mountain biking helmet for non-competitive mountain riders if you don’t need all the bells and whistles of their higher-end model. It has a MIPS-style liner for crash protection, but no magnetic mounting options for lights or cameras. Most would consider it a fair value for the money, as it is still an outstanding helmet with plenty of vents and a WaveCel lining for further padding.
7- Giro Switchblade MIPs Helmet
The Giro version of the full-face mountain bike helmet is equally as beautiful as the Troy Lee Designs, if not a little more inexpensive. With a MIPS liner for complete crash protection, this helmet will keep you safe on the racetrack. There are two visors, which are useful for mounting a camera for the additional film of your spectacular day. Another nice feature is the removable chin piece, which relieves the heavy frame of some of its weight. A well-designed, comfy helmet is well worth the extra cost due to the amount of coverage and protection it provides.
8- FOX Pro Frame Camo Helmet
Because of its moisture-wicking material, protective MIPS liner, and full-face coverage, the FOX Pro mountain biking helmet is a higher-end range mountain bike staple. With 15 normal vents and nine exhaust vents, it’s a must-have for summer riders searching for extra ventilation. It’ll keep you cool while you pedal through those rocky trails. If you crash, the FOX helmet has an integrated chin bar that will assist protect your entire face. Another great full-face helmet option for serious cyclists.