Let’s not get into a debate about the merits of wearing them, let’s just get on with recommending 12 of the best mountain bike helmets.
Our favourite lids
- Oakley DRT 3 MIPS
- Smith Engage MIPS
- Fox Mainframe MIPS
- Giro Chronicle MIPS
- Bell Sixer MIPS
- Endura SIngleTrack II
- MET Roam MIPS
- Bontrager Rally MIPS
- 661 EVO AM MIPS
- POC Tectal Race MIPS
- Kali Maya
- Endura MT500
Which are you going to choose? And how are you going to decide? They can vary widely in price – and with that you may read bewildering lists of ‘features’. Here’s our quick guide to the things we think matter most.
Full face, open face, or removable chin bar – If you’re planning to some pedalling, you’ll probably want an open face helmet (those are the helmets that we’re covering in this guide.
A helmet with removable chin bar gives you the option of a two-in-one helmet, though the protection level on some may not be as high as a fixed full face helmet, and ventilation is often better on a standard open face helmet. Some bike parks and races will require that you have a full face helmet/chin bar.
More expensive helmets will usually have some form of rotational impact protection. MIPS is one of the most common technologies you will see that does this, but some brands have their own versions.
It needs to fit your head without any uncomfortable pressure points. Different brands can have slightly different shapes to them, so if you’re switching brands you might want to try one on.
Fasteners and adjustments
More expensive helmets will generally have a broader range of adjustment across different parts of the head, making it easier to get comfortable. Cheaper models will generally have more basic clips, which may be harder to use with gloved hands.
May be fixed, or may have multiple positions. If you’re going to ride drop bar bikes and mountain bikes you may find an adjustable visor useful, so you can move it out of your line of sight. Some helmets allow you to stow goggles under your visor.
Many helmets will offer additional features, but we think the key ones to consider are those above.
You can browse all our mountain bike helmet reviews here.
12 of the Best Mountain Bike Helmets:
Oakley DRT 3 MIPS
Overall: The Oakley DRT3 MIPS helmet’s stability is the clear highlight of the whole product, Oakley’s boasts in this instance are well-founded. As well as the sweat band’s effect, the helmet’s inner cage really closes around the head, giving a stable fit with no wobble.” Read our review.
Smith Engage MIPS
Overall: “While we’ve not tested the Engage to destruction, we’re happy enough knowing that it has been lab tested etc. It has a MIPS liner that we rate. Fit, performance, cost – we can’t really fault it. It looks great, performs well and is well priced for a MIPS equipped helmet.” Read our review.
Fox Mainframe MIPS
Overall: “This Fox Mainframe helmet keeps things simple: the visor is in a fixed position, the fastening is a standard plastic buckle – no magnets, and it makes no claims for having eyewear or goggles stowage. What is does have is MIPS. So your money is going head (and brain) protection rather than any functional accoutrements.” Read our review.
Overall: “If you’re after a high-tech helmet that has a subtle Enduro look and offers a good amount of protection then the MT500 is well worth a look. It is a pricey helmet but remember it is your head, brain, and possibly your life that you’re saving in an event of an accident so that extra £ really is well spent.” Read our review.
Overall: “The Maya is a comfortable helmet that should suit many heads, apart from maybe the very smallest ones. The integrated light/camera mount is a neat idea. In general, the Maya provides loads of coverage in a well-made lid that’s packed with clever technology.”
POC Tectal Race MIPS
Overall: “Definitely at the top end of the market but what price do you put on protecting your head? Fit wise, we can’t fault it. The vents do an excellent job of keeping you cool on even the hottest of rides. It looks as cool as hell while there is the designed in reassurance that it comes from a highly respected company”. Read our review.
661 EVO AM MIPS
Overall: “Sitting near the very top of 661’s open-face helmet lineup, there is quite a bit of tech going on underneath that shiny, colourful exterior. The Evo AM MIPS ticks a lot of boxes. It’s lightweight, and very comfortable. Neat styling and high-tech features, like the excellent Fidlock buckle and BOA adjuster. A high quality, every-day riding helmet.” Read our review.
Bontrager Rally MIPS
Overall: “The chunky EPS construction and sturdy harness provide added reassurance when riding technical, high-risk trails. Add in the MIPS liner, that clever Blendr mount and the Crash Replacement Guarantee, and the Rally MIPS will have you questioning why anyone would spend any more than 100 quid on a helmet.” Read our review.
MET Roam MIPS
Overall: “The Roam is a really versatile solution for those who don’t just stick to XC or enduro, but like to mix it up a bit. The sort of rider who rides both uphill and downhill, wants optimum safety, and who wears goggles sometimes but don’t want the stuffiness of a full-face lid for a day in the saddle – which is probably most of us.” Read our review.
Endura SingleTrack II
Overall: “A very comfortable, lightweight and secure helmet. The large vents and clever channels make it great for riding in warmer conditions and the unique accessory mounts do give you some piece of mind when using a helmet camera. Certainly one to put on your short list.” Read our review.
Bell Sixer MIPS
Overall: “A top quality helmet that fits well with minimal MIPS-induced wobble, and for the amount of coverage and protection on offer, it is supremely well ventilated. With a well thought-out visor and clever camera and goggle compatibility, it’s well finished too.” Read our review.
Giro Chronicle MIPS
Overall: “The Chronicle sits fairly neutral in terms of both internal fit and external volume. Compact is probably a good way to describe the lid, especially with the inclusion of MIPS technology One of the best mountain bike helmets: comfortable and close-fitting, with excellent coverage. Ticks plenty of boxes.” Read our review.
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