My Best Mountain Bike Helmets (Reviews & Buying Guide)

My Best Mountain Bike Helmets (Reviews & Buying Guide)

Truth be told; for great safety and protection, a mountain bike helmet should be the first piece of equipment you need to focus on

Are you looking for the best helmets in the market? Here is our round-up of the best designs in the market.

QUICK ANSWER: MY BEST MOUNTAIN BIKE HELMETS

 

MY BEST MOUNTAIN BIKE HELMETS COMPARISON:

Product:
Features:
Pros/Cons:
Price:
Best for technical downhill rides
Best Mountain Bike Helmets
GIRO CHRONICLE MIPS
-Number of vents: 14
-Weight: 13oz
- Construction (Materials): in-mold polycarbonate and EPS liner
-MIPS: YES
  • Equipped with MIPS
  • one hand adjustment
  • maximum protection
  • Expensive
Best for single-track
Best Mountain Bike Helmets
SHRED OPTIC SHORT STACK
-Number of vents: 20
-Weight: 13oz
-Construction (Materials): Polycarbonate shell
-MIPS: NO
  • equipped with adjustable dial
  • enhanced odor protection
  • impact management design
  • eavier than its competitors
Best for superior protection from impact
Best Mountain Bike Helmets
POC TECTAL MTB HELMET
-Number of vents: 14
-Weight: 16oz
-Construction (Materials):  In-molded polycarbonate
-MIPS: NO
  • Superior protection
  • outstanding level of ventilation
  • Bulkier
The best option for cross country and downhill rides
Best Mountain Bike Helmets
SWEET PROTECTION BUSHWHACKER II
-Number of vents: 13
-Weight: 11.3oz
-Construction (Materials): in-mold polycarbonate shell, EPS Liner
-MIPS: NO
  • Ultralight
  • breathable
  • maximum protection
  • hypoallergenic moisture wicking fabric
  • Expensive than most alternatives
Best for all-mountain and downhill rides
Best Mountain Bike Helmets
TROY LEE DESIGNS STAGE MIPS
-Number of vents: 25
- Weight: 24oz
- Construction (Materials): Polylite shell construction, EPS co-molded
-MIPS: YES
  • Maximum ventilation
  • incredibly light
  • great protection
  • Expensive
Best for Enduro trail and cross country
Best Mountain Bike Helmets
KALI PROTECTIVES MAYA 2.0
-Number of vents:  12
-Weight: 12.7oz
-Construction (Materials): Low-Density layer and Composite Fusion Plus
-MIPS: NO
  • Budget-friendly
  • maximum protection
  • cumbersome 2-piece fit system
 Best for an all-mountain riding adventure
Best Mountain Bike Helmets
BELL SIXER MIPS-
-Number of vents: 26
-Weight: 14.5oz
-Construction (Materials): In-mold Polycarbonate shell
-MIPS: YES
  • an impeccable combination of comfort and performance
  • heavier than most alternative
Best for cross country and downhill rides
Best Mountain Bike Helmets
FOX PROFRAME MIPS
-Number of vents: 24
-Weight: 26.5oz
-Construction (Materials):  ABS Shell
-MIPS: YES
  • great ventilation
  • full face protection
  • bulky design
  • non-adjustable visor
Best option for hot ascents with optional ventilation
Best Mountain Bike Helmets
OAKLEY DRT5
-Number of vents: 13
-Weight: 16oz
-Construction (Materials): Polycarbonate shell
-MIPS: NO
  • 360-degree design
  • perfect fit every time
  • optimal ventilation
  • Could be great without the visor

 

MY BEST MOUNTAIN BIKE HELMETS REVIEWS

GIRO CHRONICLE MIPS

  • Number of vents: 14
  • Weight: 13oz
  • Construction (Materials): in-mold polycarbonate and EPS liner
  • MIPS: YES
  • Pros:  Equipped with MIPS, one hand adjustment, maximum protection
  • Cons: Expensive

SHRED OPTIC SHORT STACK

  • Number of vents: 20
  • Weight: 13oz
  • Construction (Materials): Polycarbonate shell
  • MIPS: NO
  • Pros: equipped with adjustable dial, enhanced odor protection, impact management design
  • Cons: heavier than its competitors

POC TECTAL MTB HELMET

  • Number of vents: 14
  • Weight: 16oz
  • Construction (Materials):  In-molded polycarbonate
  • MIPS: NO
  • Pros: Superior protection, an outstanding level of ventilation
  • Cons: Bulkier

SWEET PROTECTION BUSHWHACKER II

  • Number of vents: 13
  • Weight: 11.3oz
  • Construction (Materials): in-mold polycarbonate shell, EPS Liner
  • MIPS: NO
  • Pros:  Ultralight, breathable, maximum protection, hypoallergenic moisture wicking fabric
  • Cons: Expensive than most alternatives

TROY LEE DESIGNS STAGES MIPS

  • Number of vents: 25
  • Weight: 24oz
  • Construction (Materials): Polylite shell construction, EPS co-molded
  • MIPS: YES
  • Pros: Maximum ventilation, incredibly light, great protection
  • Cons: Expensive

KALI PROTECTIVES MAYA 2.0

  • Number of vents:  12
  • Weight: 12.7oz
  • Construction (Materials): Low-Density layer and Composite Fusion Plus
  • MIPS: NO
  • Pros: Budget-friendly, maximum protection
  • Cons: cumbersome 2-piece fit system

BELL SIXER MIPS 

  • Number of vents: 26
  • Weight: 14.5oz
  • Construction (Materials): In-mold Polycarbonate shell
  • MIPS: YES
  • Pros: an impeccable combination of comfort and performance
  • Cons: heavier than most alternative

FOX PROFRAME MIPS

  • Number of vents: 24
  • Weight: 26.5oz
  • Construction (Materials):  ABS Shell
  • MIPS: YES
  • Pros: great ventilation, full face protection
  • Cons: bulky design, non-adjustable visor

OAKLEY DRT5

  • Number of vents: 13
  • Weight: 16oz
  • Construction (Materials): Polycarbonate shell
  • MIPS: NO
  • Pros: 360-degree design, perfect fit every time, optimal ventilation
  • Cons: Could be great without the visor

 

HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST MOUNTAIN BIKE HELMETS:

It is for a fact, nailing a perfect mountain bike helmet is never easy. With tons of choices you have to sieve through and endless features you are always on the lookout for, the whole process can be quite tricky. Here is how to choose the best helmet for your next weekend of adventure.

Helmet categories

We currently have three main categories; all-mountain, downhill, and XC. You can decide which one to choose depending on your needs, especially where you will be riding and the amount of protection you need.

  • All-mountain

This is tough and more technical; and will require you to up the level of protection you get a little bit. We are talking about more coverage around the sides, back of the head and all around the temples. However, the helmet should come with plenty of openings for maximum ventilation. Some other great features you may want to look out for if you are a mountain rider includes, soft interior padding, larger visors.

  • Downhill

If you do those aggressive downhill rides and maneuvers, a lot of coverage, especially on the sides is highly recommended. Moreover, if you often take things a little bit extreme, going for a full-face mountain bike helmet might just be what you need.

  • Cross Country (XC)

For cross country, obviously, any rider would need something lightweight. You will be riding for hours and hours and you just want to keep the weight as low as possible. Technology has advanced so much and we can now get those extremely lightweight helmets with an outstanding level of protection all the time.

Half Shell or Full Face

  • Half shell

This type of helmet comes with no face protection. It often sits right on top of your head. For added protection at the rear, we have also seen some designs extend quite far down the back of the heads. Ideally, half shell helmet does not provide the same level of protection as a full-face helmet, making it not so great option for dangerous biking.

It does come with a few advantages though; half shell helmets are incredibly lightweight. They also offer the best ventilation features. It is actually an amazing option for those flat road biking adventures.

  • Full-face Helmets

This option offers the highest level of protection than half shell helmet. It goes around your face and all the way to the jaw area, for maximum protection. Because of this, a full-face helmet is heavy and often feels less comfortable when you wear it.

These types of helmets are the best for high risk riding. So if you do those crazy stunts in the mountains, there is no way you would go wrong with a full-face helmet. Full face helmets are not suitable for those leisure rides through the countryside.

Helmet Fit

For comfort, the fit is one of the biggest considerations when buying a helmet. That helmet you choose must come with a perfect fit. Whether you are doing those crazy downhill rides or you are just standing, the helmet must not in any way be too constrictive. You also don’t want it to be too loose as that can flop when you hit those rocks and roots along the ways.

For that great fit, there are a couple of features you might want to look for in your helmet.

  • Adjustable straps: Helmets now come with great adjustment straps.  This can be used to perfectly secure the helmet to your head.
  • Adjuster: This is a single turn kind of adjustment found right at the back of most helmets. Ensure your helmet comes with this great feature, you can use it to achieve that great fit

Level of protection

One of the key reasons you are buying this piece of equipment is for protection; a key reason why you need to focus on the level of protection you get. Most of these devices now come with different features and designs, all aimed at protecting your head. The push to have better protection has given birth to a number of features.

Multi Direction Impact Protection System (MIPS); one of the most common protection features you will fund in Mountain bike helmets. This technology basically involves the use of a slip-plane liner in the helmets. It is placed between the pads and foam of your helmets. It is said the liner can shift in case of an impact, reducing the rotation forces suffered by your brain.

Weight

Weight is also one thing most shoppers pay a lot of attention to. Most riders would want something that is not too heavy but still manages to bring a great sense of protection, as well.

Those half shell helmets often come with almost the same weight; however, taking things a little bit lighter comes with some practical benefits. It reduces rider fatigue and enhances comfort.

Full face helmets are also no longer heavy. Designers have introduced the best weight saving technologies and the weight you can carry has been significantly reduced.

Ventilation

This is a great feature and must be taken seriously at all times. Those vents found on your helmet come with great benefits. They channel cool air right to your head as it allows that hot air escape as well. Helmet designers have also taken things a notch higher; you can now get a helmet that comes with great channels, which allow cool airflow over the entire scalp. That is from the front all the way to the back. This offers an impeccable relief from the heat. Helmets now come with different numbers of vents and the higher the number the better the ventilation. So if you are looking for the best ventilation, go to the highest number possible. It will also help bring the overall weight of the helmet down.

So when considering the kind of ventilation your helmet comes with, you might want to focus on the helmet’s style as that determines the comfort you get. Local weather, as well as riding style, can also dictate the type of helmet you should actually go for.

Padding and Comfort

Other than just protecting your head from injuries, the helmet must also leave you feeling very comfortable. This is why you need to consider the kind of padding it comes with. The interior padding plays a key role when we talk of overall comfort. However, keep in mind that the quality of cushioning that has gone into the whole design correlates closely with the price. Those high quality cushioned helmets will cost you more money.

In other cases, you might want to ensure the interior does come with a great anti-odor mechanism. Your helmet can get really smelly if you sweat a lot. That could impact negatively on the overall comfort. However, with great anti odor features in place, you don’t need to worry about a thing.

Other Features to consider

By now, chances are you have narrowed down the list to the best helmet option in the market. You now want to single out the best. To help you with that, check out these convenience features. They come with practical benefits and can differentiate between a great biking helmet and one that is just perfect.

  • Removable chin bar

This feature allows you to transform your half face helmet to a full face helmet and vice versa. This can be an amazing feature if you are looking for a perfect fit and also that great peace of mind. While it doesn’t give you the kind of protection you would get from a full face, it comes pretty much close. It is worth every other consideration.

  • Compatibility

Most full face helmets have been designed to work well with other gadgets like the goggles. However, those half shell helmets can turn your new helmet purchase into a new pair of goggles purchase as well. So when you are out there shopping for the best, you might want to take your sunglasses with. That gadget must play nice with the choice of helmet you pick. It is as simple as that.

  • Visor

You might want to inspect the kind of visor the helmet comes with. The attachment points must be easy to use. It should also be durable.

  • Camera mounts

A pretty good number of helmet designs come with camera mount ready feature. While you can make a few modifications and accommodate this feature if the choice you make doesn’t have one, a helmet that comes with a built in camera mount will make a lot of sense.

  • Recco Reflector

Now, this is one feature that can come truly in handy when you are out there in the wilderness. It does help a lot in case you get lost in the wild. What this feature does is pretty much simple. When a RECCO detector emits a sort of a directional radar signal, it is picked up by the reflector and replied with an echo. Rescues can use the signal to zero in the exact place you are. This amazing technology is found in those high-end helmets and be sure to pay a lot of money for it.

Final Thoughts

So as you can see, pretty much like any purchase you make today for your biking needs, it is important you access a number of things before you make a choice. Many times, the type of riding will come first before any other thing. This is one thing that dictates the type of features you would need from your helmet. In the end, really, make sure you select one that will give you the highest level of protection possible.

Leave a Comment