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  • Buyers Guide to the Best Mountain Bike Helmets
  • stwhannah
    Full Member

    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.

    By stwhannah

    Get the full story on our front page at:

    Buyers Guide to the Best Mountain Bike Helmets

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    Bruce
    Full Member

    Lovely, but I dont want a helmet designed for enduro with a massive peak for wearing with googles.
    I don’t want to ride with a road helmet unless I am on my road bike
    I want a helmet with a sensible peak, good ventilatiion and decent quality.
    I am never going to race or be rad again.
    Any advice?

    fazzini
    Full Member

    Giro Fixture…right up until you said this:

    good ventilatiion

    Sweatiest helmet I’ve owned, but by god its lightweight and fits brilliantly. That plus a Halo headband for less than £50. Job jobbed.

    kelvin
    Full Member

    Any advice?

    Mountain bike helmets now give you much better protection than in the past (if you want it). More of the head being protected, and advancements such as MIPS, aren’t just for “Enduro”, but good for all off road riding. My advice would be to not worry about looking as if you have “all the gear no idea” and embrace the newer better protecting helmets even if you aren’t “RAD” (I’m not).

    I admit I hadn’t watched that video before… it’s really good! Lots of things I hadn’t considered were covered in an easy to consume way. Like it.

    Bruce
    Full Member

    I have Giro Chronicle helmet, its hot and I am constantly catching the peak on things. I don’t wear it often. I mostly wear a Giro Arca I bought from Decathlon. It just works.
    I have been mountain biking since thumbshifters were common and have survived with most of my brain intact. I get that modern helmets may have better protection but I am far from convinced that my riding warrants it.
    If you take that argument to its logical conclusion a motocross helmet will give more protection.

    alanclarke
    Full Member

    Very timely as I’m looking for a new helmet. Last one was IXS trail and don’t think it deserves full marks – I crashed about 20 km/h on a stoney lane, taking it gently as had just turned on lights after sunset – don’t know what happened as I was knocked unconscious. Helmet is scraped on one side so I guess this is where MIPS would help, as must have been a rotational impact. Obviously the helmet saved me from far worse injuries, but losing consciousness is not taken lightly – luckily I seemed to have no lasting damage.
    I’d be interested to know what the test methodology is for MTB helmets and how to chose on basis of protection rather than styling.

    Yak
    Full Member

    Edit – Virginia tech impact test scores do include rotational and regular impact forces.

    Here it is
    https://www.helmet.beam.vt.edu/bicycle-helmet-ratings.html

    alanclarke
    Full Member

    Thanks Yak, my searches took me to same site – actual testing of helmets for relevant impact! – have updated my shortlist a bit!

    Yak
    Full Member

    Yes, I think it’s a reasonable place to start + good fit. I went through the same process as you after a concussion and wanted quantifiable impact reduction, not just style and features.

    Shred
    Full Member

    I ride XC, but that does include some rocky descending, and lots of time in tree lined singletrack. I used to just wear my road bike helmet, but decided a while ago to look at a dedicated MTB helmet. My main requirements are MIPS, not too hot, and a good place to mount an exposure axis as a head torch for winter night riding.

    I got a Bell Sixer MIPS for a few years now, having been very happy with the fit of Bell helmets on the road. I have not been that happy with the overall fit and comfort with this. It seems to put pressure in odd places, and just seems a bit off, not enough that I can’t wear it, but just a bit uncomfortable.
    The other major problem for me is the sunglasses compatibility. I don’t own googles, nor will likely ever ride with them. But the bell interferes with all my different sunglasses that I have tried, making the glass uncomfortable or not sitting quite right.

    All these helmets seem to have a similar design in how low they come down in front of the ear, and where the straps enter the helmet, so all look like they might have a similar issue with glasses. Trying these on is also a problem, as my LBS does not stock a lot of these.

    ads678
    Full Member

    As i’ve got Oakley Jawbreakers, if I can find a reasonable deal, I’ll look at Oakley helmets next as they have been designed to work with their glasses.

    ££££’s though innit….

    Edit: they’re not as pricey as I thought they were actually!

    jimthesaint
    Full Member

    Interesting that you don’t rate any Specialized lids although they are some of the most commonly available (therefore easier to try on) and come out as probably the best brand with regards to safety on the Virginia Tech tests. Also surprised at the omission of Troy Lee lids, always seem to be sold at trail centre bike shops and come out better in safety tests than some of the lids on your list.

    kelvin
    Full Member

    I was trying the Specialised lids on the other day (currently reduced in bike shops) and the fit is lovely. Not sure I can get past the peak/visor though… just look odd and not very useful to me. If you think otherwise, they offer MIPS without the expected price right now. Worth a look.

    stevextc
    Free Member

    I usually work on the premise that the best helmet is the certified one I can afford to replace after a crash.

    LAT
    Full Member

    If you take that argument to its logical conclusion a motocross helmet will give more protection.

    but it wouldn’t be light or well ventilated.

    alanclarke
    Full Member

    Video showed a specialized tactic 4 so presume review of this coming up soon – though I have one coming my way in the post to try on sooner.

    Other one in list above with good safety rating is bontrage but where I looked this was no longer available

    jairaj
    Full Member

    If you take that argument to its logical conclusion a motocross helmet will give more protection.

    Not sure if this was “Internet Science” or real science but I remember a while back when full face helmets started becoming more popular for mountain biking. It was said that a motocross helmet is designed for higher speed impacts than a cycle helmet and so was made to be stiffer and therefor transmitted more force to the human than a cycle helmet when tested at lower impact loads.

    Having the right certification is important; “higher” specification does not always mean better safety.

    zerocool
    Full Member

    The main feature I look for in a helmet is it fitting my big head. That usually narrows it down to about 2 or 3 options across the whole of the biking industry.
    Then I go by colour and which ever look the least like a giant mushroom head.
    Then I’m probably left with one option.

    We need more helmets for us big-heads.
    I can only dream of wearing a buff or headband underneath one.

    zerocool
    Full Member

    Motorbike helmets don’t offer increased protection (they might from something like penetration) as the main function of a helmet is to reduce the energy that actually gets to your brain (think crumple zones, etc in cars) so you actually want a ‘softer’ helmet which is made using different types of foam. A motorcycle helmet is designed to pass a completely different test at much higher speeds.

    The SNELL test that people used to see as the motorcycle benchmark was/is actually producing helmets that were too stiff and thus not reducing the energy to your head.

    There’s some good reading about it online although I haven’t seen anything recently.

    TLDR – New helmets are supposed to reduced the energy transferred to your brain.

    Old helmets and motorcycle helmets were designed to be harder to stop injury to your skull.

    b33k34
    Full Member

    I was trying the Specialised lids on the other day (currently reduced in bike shops) and the fit is lovely

    Go for it then. Not everyones head is the same shape – spec lids fit K really well but I found the one I had really uncomfortable (in a similar way to the Endura I tried). Giro fit me like a glove however.

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