The best mountain biking helmet is designed to ventilate during low-speed riding conditions. They also have reinforced rear-head coverage because of the nature of a fall on a trail, changes in the shape of the visor, and a very firm fit. High-speed mountain biking helmets may even include full-face protection and look more like a motorcycle helmet.
|Giro Feature Mountain Bike Helmet|| 4.5 || $$$ |
|Bell Super 2 Helmet|| 4.5 || $$$$$+ |
|Fox Racing Flux Helmet|| 4.6 || $$$$ |
|Demon Podium Full Face Mountain Bike Helmet|| 4.7 || $$$$ |
|Troy Lee Designs A-1 Helmet|| 4.7 || $$$$$+ |
|Giro Hex Mountain Bike Helmet|| 4.5 || $$$$$ |
|Gonex Mountain Road Cycling Bike Helmet|| 4.0 || $ |
|Bell Sanction BMX/Downhill Helmet|| 4.5 || $$$$$+ |
|GoMax Aero Adult Safety Helmet|| 4.7 || $$ |
|Arcus Mountain Bike and Enduro Helmet|| 4.4 || $$$ |
What Features Do the Best Mountain Biking Helmets Have?
When you’re shopping for the best mountain biking helmet, there are several different design features that you can look at. Many are based on personal preferences for your trail ride, but some may be nearly mandatory, depending on your activity. Take a look.
- Some mountain bike riders prefer to have a visor on their helmet to shield their eyes from the sun. When combined with the best cycling sunglasses, you can reduce glare, have better vision, and not really add any weight to your head in doing so.
- Some people sweat more than others. For those who do sweat heavily, a mountain bike helmet with strategic ventilation openings can keep you from overheating while still protecting your head.
- Your strap system should be comfortable, but tight around the chin. It shouldn’t pinch when buckled. It should also be easy to unbuckle, but not come unbuckled on its own.
- Hair Ports. If you have long hair and love mountain biking, then this feature is a “must have.” It allows you to put your hair into a pony tail so it doesn’t bunch up under your helmet.
Then there’s the feature of full-face protection to consider. Instead of having a strap around the chin, the mountain bike helmets with this level of protection offer a chin bar that provides an added level of protection to the ride. It’s usually worn by downhill races or endurance racers, but some park riders enjoy the extra level of protection this type of helmet provides as well.
How to Find the Correct Mountain Bike Helmet Size
Different manufacturers have different sizes included in the standard sizing parameters. This means you need to measure your own head to make sure you purchase the correct size. Take a string, wrap it around the largest part of your head, and then measure that length of string with a yardstick, measuring tape, or something similar.
Please note: Your hat size does not automatically correlate into a mountain bike helmet size.
In general terms, you’ll find that most manufacturers follow these general sizing parameters within a couple of centimeters here and there.
- Small Helmets: 51-55 centimeters
- Medium Helmets: 55-59 centimeters
- Large Helmets: 59-64 centimeters
- Extra Large Helmets: Above 64 centimeters
The only problem is that some mountain bike helmets are designed to be one-size-fits-all solutions. These helmets are generally going to fit a head size of 50-57 centimeters, though some men’s helmets will go up to 60+ centimeters. Kids helmets are generally 46-57 centimeters in this category. If your head is smaller or larger than that range, you’ll need to look for a different solution to have a safe riding experience.
What if I am between mountain bike helmet sizes? If you find that your head doesn’t quite match the standard sizing options and a one-size-fits-all option doesn’t quite work, you still have some ways to get the helmet to fit right. The best option is to opt for the smaller size of helmet. The fit will be firm, but you’ll get used to it after a ride or two.
You can also wear cycling caps or beanies to improve the fit of a larger helmet.
And for adults with heads that are smaller than 51 centimeters, don’t be afraid to purchase a kids helmet so you have the correct fit.
Should You Purchase a Mountain Bike Helmet with MIPS?
One of the best innovations in the mountain bike helmet industry in the last generation is MIPS technology. MIPS is an acronym which stands for Multi-Directional Impact Protection System. On mountain bikes especially, there can be strong rotational forces occurring to the body, especially in the head and neck area, during a crash or impact. MIPS can help to prevent injuries which occur due to this rotational movement.
Here’s how it works: a low-friction layer is included within the structure of the helmet to allow the foam, which absorbs the energy of the impact, to actually rotate during a crash or impact incident. The movement is only a few millimeters, but this reduces the rotational force of an impact, which then takes away some of the added energy from the movement.
Mountain bike helmets are an affordable way to add an extra layer of protection to your ride. In some areas, they may even be required by law. Entry-level helmets will general cost between $20-$40 and give you a firm fit with good ventilation, but with minimal features.
Advanced mountain bike helmets, including those that include MIPS technology, are generally in the $50-$100 range. You’ll also find some full-face protective helmets within this pricing category.
Premium mountain bike helmets are priced above $100. You’ll also find brand name helmets, like Giro, often priced into this category as well.
When it comes to the best mountain biking helmet, the general rule of thumb is to purchase the best helmet you can afford. Although there is quality at every level, the threat of an impact cannot be ignored. One bad moment is all it takes to change a life when you are mountain biking. The quality of your helmet can be what allows you to walk always.
Here’s Our Reviews:
We love the fit and breathability of this mountain bike helmet. It gives you full coverage and performance that is suited for both short and long rides. With an EPS liner and an in-mold polycarbonate shell, this moto-style helmet stays in place, doesn’t dig into your jaw, and won’t make your sweat uncomfortably. Multiple color choices are available to match your gear and your cycling goggles or glasses are compatible as well. It may cost a little more than other helmets, but in our view, it’s worth it.
We liked this helmet for three specific reasons: 1) there is better helmet coverage for the back of the head; 2) there are breakaway screws that help to protect you from injury should a high-impact incident occur; and 3) there is over-brow ventilation included in this moto-inspired design. You can also use the visor to act as a face-guard if you prefer. Multiple color options are available, with each offering an effective camera mount. We loved this helmet and think you will too.
If you love a good mountain trail race, then this is going to be the helmet you’re going to love. It offers a deeper rear profile than most standard helmets and larger venting. This reduces the impact resistance of the helmet somewhat, but it also adds to a better overall fit and more comfort when riding. The ratchet straps at the back of the helmet don’t pinch like others tend to do and you really can get a customized fit, which is somewhat rare for this style of helmet. It’s a solid investment.
If you want an extra level of protection while on a mountain bike, then this is the helmet we recommend. It’s a full-face mountain bike helmet, reminiscent in design to a motorcycle helmet, and features an injection-molded thermal alloy resin as part of the shell to add to its toughness. Although it is a full-face helmet, the venting design is still effective, though you can feel some sweat buildup. The helmet liner is washable, your purchase includes a helmet bag, and at just over 2 pounds, is surprisingly lightweight. This mountain bike helmet earned its recommendation.
This mountain bike helmet is more for the cross country biker. With 16 vents, the amount of protective coverage just isn’t there for serious trail riding. Otherwise, everything you’d expect on a great helmet can be found with this particular model. The polycarbonate shell covers an EPS foam interior that works with a cam-lock stabilizer to give you a superior fit. We found the sizing was true and there are plenty of style variations so you can express yourself when you’re on the saddle.
The best mountain biking helmet will provide you with the impact protection you need at a price you’re going to like. It’s not about spending “more.” It’s about being wise with your investment. That’s the experience you’ll find when you purchase a helmet like these today.