Looking for the best mountain bike helmets?
Then you are the right place at the right time. Mountain bike helmets have never been as light, comfy, and safe as they are now in 2019.
To help you find the perfect product, we have analyzed and researched tons of helmets and narrowed it down to the very best you can get. No matter your riding style, we have a good option for you:
This guide covers everything from lightweight XC helmets to durable, padded enduro helmets.
Let’s have a look at the best products of the year:
Best Helmets for Mountain Biking 2019
How to Choose a Mountain Bike Helmet
Wearing a helmet when mountain biking is a no-brainer. Why would you want to put yourself in danger and get grief from other mountain bikers by not wearing a helmet? If you go over the handlebars and land on your head, you risk a concussion, a fractured skull or even worse.
The two most important things when choosing a mountain bike helmet is the safety and the fit of the helmet. But if you don’t like the helmet and never use it doesn’t matter how safe it is. To help you find a safe and comfy helmet that you’ll want to use, we created this buying guide.
What Type of Helmet to Get
Before we even consider the fit, it’s time to decide what type of mountain bike helmet to go for. There are many different designs of mountain helmet available these days, and different designs fit different riders.
For XC riders, the main helmet considerations is to keep the head cool and avoid a bunch of extra weight. Cross-Country mountain bike helmets have big vents on the front and rear of the helmet and are designed to work with sunglasses. These helmets are similar to standard road helmets, but there are some differences. The most significant difference is the shell of the XC helmet. XC helmets are slightly deeper than ordinary road helmets. They also have a tougher shell with aramid bridges to better spread any impact over a larger surface while still keeping the weight low.
All-mountain / Trail Helmet
If you compare the shape of a trail helmet with an XC helmet, you’ll notice that the trail helmet have more coverage on the sides and the back of the helmet. These are common risk areas for trail riders and will protect the back of the head and the temple better. Just like the XC helmet, it comes with tons of vents to keep cool. However, due to the added coverage, it tends to weigh a bit more.
Dirt Jump Helmet
Helmets made for dirt jumps and skate parts have more protection and fewer vents than ordinary trail mountain helmets. These helmets have a hard shell and solid EPS liner for maximum protection from hard impacts you might get on the big jumps.
Downhill / Full Face Helmet
If you are charging hard down the mountain on tough trails and want maximum protection, a full face helmet might be the best choice. These kinds of helmets, designed for downhill mountain biking, have fewer vents and tend to be hotter and heavier than other helmets. This is not the kind of helmet you spend a long time in, but if you want maximum protection, this is the style of mountain biking helmet to get.
Getting the Right Fit
Getting the right fit is crucial. A helmet that is too big will roll around and won’t protect you adequately in the case of a crash. A helmet that is too small will give you headaches and will be so uncomfortable you might end up not wearing it at all. You should aim to get a snug fit that’s not too constricting.
The first step to get the right helmet fit is to measure your head. Measuring your head is really easy. Use a measuring tape and wrap it around your head. Wrap it around half an inch over the eyebrows and just above the ears.
If you don’t have a measuring tape, you can use a string. Just wrap the string around your forehead.
Start in the middle of the forehead and make a note where the two pieces of the liner or string intersect. Then you can use a regular ruler to measure where you marked the string.
Once you have the size of your head reference the manufacturer’s size chart to determine what the best size would be for you.
To get the to get the right fit keep on reading this section or watch this video:
Make sure it doesn’t sit too high up on the forehead. The right spot to have it placed is midway down the forehead. You don’t want to have it too high since it offers less protection.
The chinstrap should fit just below the globes of the ears and around your neck. You should have enough room, to fit a few fingers between the strap and the chin, but avoid having it too loose so comes off in a crash.
To get the final adjustment down, you can use the helmets retention system. Many have a slider or a BOA to tighten the fit on the back of the helmet.
Buying your mountain helmet bike online often gives the best possible price. However, getting the right fit can be harder when purchasing online. Don’t be afraid of returning it if it didn’t fit you. It’s often easy to return it and get a better size or try a better fitting model even if you bought it online.
Construction and Safety
Almost all mountain bike helmets on the market have an EPS liner. EPS is made of polystyrene, a protective material, that absorbs impacts by compacting. If you push it down, it will deform and once crumpled it won’t spring back. That’s why helmet manufacturers are urging to change the helmet after a big crash.
Some high-end helmets have an EPP liner. EPP works similarly to EPS, but it has elastic properties and bounces back after an impact. This gives the helmet multi-impact protection, but it’s still rare to find affordable helmets with EPP these days.
When it comes to safety, there are some standards to look out for. The main one to look out for is that the helmet is that it’s CPSC certified. Another common safety standard in mountain helmet is ASTM F1447. A helmet that meets the requirements of these standards means that it was tested that it could handle a serious impact.
A great way to get additional safety is to get a helmet with MIPS technology. MIPS stands for multi-directional impact protection system and will protect from rotational forces to your brain. Here is a 1-minute video that explains MIPS:
MIPS works by adding an internal plastic liner that slides on the moment of impact and helps to reduce rotational brain injuries. Helmets with MIPS cost a bit more and add a bit of weight, but the added safety is almost always worth it.
Features to Look Out For
An adjustable visor is ideal when you want the visor out of the way. Some adjustable visors tilt so far back you can place your goggles underneath the peak of the helmet. This is perfect when climbing uphill to avoid fogging on the goggles.
Some modern mountain bike helmets come with mounts for an action camera or a headlight.
Make sure to get a helmet with a proper distribution of ventilation. If you are riding in warmer climates, a helmet with good vents running all the way over the head will keep you cool by letting air flow over the scalp of the head.
Almost all mountain bike helmets have some kind of retention system, usually found at the back of the helmet. A good retention system will give you that last bit of adjustment for a really good and snug fit.
Attachable chin bar
Some trail helmets come with a chin bar that you can attach when you know you’ll be charging hard down the mountain.
Final Tips for Choosing a Mountain Bike Helmet
- Avoid buying a used helemt – you can never be sure of how it was previously treated and even if it looks good it may contain hidden fractures
- If you have a hard crash, replace your helemt – most helmet are single-crash only and are not guranteed to protect you after you had a hard crash
- Spend what you need to protect your brain – the most important things to look for is safety and fit but you need to like it too so you actually use it
Best MTB Helmets Reviewed
Giro Chronicle MIPS
The Giro Chronicle MIPS is a comfortable helmet with a sturdy design, nice fit, and the latest in helmet security.
It has an in-mold design with an EPS liner. The build quality is excellent, and it has a CPSC bicycle certification.
With a compact shape and a nice peak, it does look nice. You can lift the P.O.C Plus visor all the way back and place the goggles on the front of the helmets on climbs. It doesn’t come with an included mount for action cameras, but you can buy the Giro Universal mountain bike mount and add it to the Giro Chronicle.
The Giro Chronicle Mips has a snug fit that will grab on to the head and stay in place. Some people felt the helmet tended to roll too much forward. It has a natural sitting position quite low on your forehead. You can make some adjustments to get it less tilted forward, but some people might still find it a bit too much forward-leaning.
It has good goggle compatibility and works well with both goggles and sunglasses.
You both adjust the tension and vertical position with the Rock Loc 5 dial system. It was designed so you can make adjustments with a single hand on the go.
The padding of the helmet is plush and comfy; however, some customers felt the moisture-wicking could be better. It has 14 wind tunnel vents, but if you are prone to sweat or do lots of steep climbs, sweat might pool up in the front of the padding.
One of the key security features of the helmet is the MIPS protection. The flexible inner liner allows the outer layer to slide against the inner liner and protect from rotational forces of an impact. One customer that choose to review this helmet on Amazon hit a root at high speed. He flipped over the handlebars and hit rocks and dirt after flying 6 feet in the air. He felt the MIPS really helped reduce any impact that otherwise could cause serious injuries.
|Can tilt the visor all the way up for having goggles on top of the helmet|
|Easy to adjust fit, even on the go|
|MIPS for protection against rotational forces furing impacts|
|Tendency to be too tilted forward|
|Sweat can start to pool up in the front of the helemt|
Bell Super 3 MIPS
If you want everything in a top-of-the-line mountain bike helmet but for a much more affordable price, then the Bell Super 3 Mips might be the helmet for you.
It has in-mold construction with EPS impact foam. One of the best things about the Bell Super 3 construction is the excellent coverage you get on the back of your head.
On the back of the helmet, there’s also a sticky rubber dial. It’s sticky so you can adjust the fit on the fly even if you have muddy or cold hands. It has many detents for a really precise fit.
This model was designed for all-mountain and trail mountain bike riders. The very similar Bell Super 3R Mips is the Bell Super 3 helmet to go for if you are a downhill- or freeride mountain biker that need additional protection.
When you are wearing this helmet, you’re never going to have to worry about getting too warm. It has 23 vents in the helmets body and four vents along the brows.
It has some nice features that make it stand out against the crowd. It has an integrated camera mount, something quite rare for its low price. If you want a truly versatile mountain bike helmet, you can get it with an adjustable chin bar. This means if you’re ever riding some steeper technical terrain and want a chin bar for additional protection, you can strap it on.
The biggest disadvantage of the helmet is the weight. With a weight of 431g (0.95lbs), it’s quite heavy compared to other modern mountain bike helmet options.
|Additional chinbar for a truly versitile mountain bike helmet choice|
|Tons of ventilation|
Smith Optics Forefront All Mountain Bike
Smith has used the latest in helmet manufacturing to get a super lightweight mountain bike helmet. It’s made of something called Koroyd tubes. These extruded co-polymer tubes absorb around 30% more of the impact than a traditional EPS foam.
The hollow nature of the tubes makes air flow freely over the head, and since you need less material to construct a safe helmet, it weighs less. With a weight of just 285g (0.63lbs), it’s one of the more light mountain bike helmet options you can get.
It’s available in 9 different colors, but you won’t usually find all colors in all sizes in stock.
Fit is adjusted by what Snith calls their VaporFit adjustment system. Instead of just tightening a ring around the head, it’s like the whole helmet shirks around your head when you adjust the fit.
Ventilation is handled by what Smith calls Aerocore ventilation. Thanks to the hollow tubes that it’s constructed by, air can pass right through the helmet. This gives thhelmet excellent airflow and will keep most riders cool all day. Some mountain bikers that ride in hotter climates felt the helmet was a bit warm on hot days.
You can adjust the visor of the Smith mountain bike helmets to two positions to keep the sun out of your eyes.
Another cool feature is the mount on top of the helmet for installing aftermarket action camera mounts or for adding motion lights.
|Modern lightweight construction (weigh only 285g / 0.63lbs!)|
|Many color options|
|Chin strap genertes fair amount of noise from wind|
|Bit warm in really hot temperatures|
POC Tectal Race Spin
If you want the best of the best when it comes to mountain bike helmets, the POC Tectal Spin might be the perfect helmet for you. This is Poc’s top-of-the-line model made for trail and enduro riders.
To suit enduro riders and trail racers, POC has added more robustness and added protection. It has added coverage on the temples and the back of the head.
It features POC SPIN system. Similar to MIPS, it’s a system to protect your head from rotational forces when the helmet hits something from an angle.
The helmet has a glossy finish that might not be for everyone. Another disadvantage to be aware of is the weight. It’s still a lightweight helmet, but with a weight of 345g (0.76lbs), it’s not the lightest helmet on the market.
To adjust the size, you can easily turn a ratchet dial. Almost everyone who has tried this helmet though it had a really good fit. Just turn the dial, and you’ll most likely get a fit that suits you. The only exception is if you have a round head. A few people with rounder heads felt it was sat a bit too low.
The adjustable straps are molded into the liner for added comfort. The straps sit just right, and they never seem to get tangled.
It has an included Recco reflector, so if you ever get lost in the forest, people can easily track you. It also comes with a goggle clip on the back and has good google compatibility.
|Made of high quality materials and excelllent workmanship|
|Added protection to suit pro level trail and enduro riders|
|Excellent fit for most head shapes|
|Material has a very glossy finish|
|Not the lightest helmet on the market|
There is never a reason to risk severe injury or death by not wearing a mountain bike helmet. However, the right helmet is not only safe; it also feels good to wear it.
Choosing the right helmet for mountain biking depends on many factors. Key factors to consider are style, how you ride, budget, and features you need. In our buying guide we covered how to fit your mountain bike helmet in-depth. Since most modern mountain bikes have so many ways to adjust the fit, if you know how to get the right size, you will most likely get a helmet that fits you.
We have done tons of research to make this guide possible. We have considered what both customers and experts said about the recommended products. Each of the recommended helmets has their quirks and flaws, and we are not afraid to tell you about them. If you haven’t already, make sure to read the mini-review of the helmet you’re interested in so you know what to expect.
No matter what helmet you ultimately decide to go for, we hope it you enjoy wearing it. If you enjoy wearing the helmet, you’ll wear it out on the trail, and that is crucial because a good helmet might one day save your life.