Looking for the best bike helmets to protect your head when out cycling on the road? You’ve come to the right place.
While you may want to look cool and fashionable when out on your bike (especially in your designer cycling kit), the fact of the matter is, you need to be wearing a bike helmet to protect the most important part of your body: your head.
In years gone by, head protection was a second thought for cyclists. But now amateurs and professionals alike are fully aware of the potential risks involved when on the road.
There have been some major shifts recently in terms of technologies used in the best bike helmets, the most significant of which is every cyclist’s favourite new buzzword, MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection Systems).
What is MIPS?
MIPS basically offers resistance against a larger range of potential head injuries. And when we consider that most accidents involving cyclists are out of their control, it’s easy to see why the technology has been welcomed with open arms and adopted by all major helmet manufacturers.
You should also be considering the airflow of a helmet carefully. Airflow can speed you up or slow you down in some cases – it’s also a great way of trying to keep cool over long distances when the sun is beating down.
There are plenty of other additional variables you should also consider when buying a bike helmet, such as weight, strength, construction, and how they work in conjunction with your cycling glasses. You may also want to look at what type of cycling you’ll be practising most, for example, endurance, commuting, or time trialling, and choose your helmet accordingly.
Bike helmets have never been more stylish, effective, or fashionable, so we’ve put together a list of the best brands around so you can clock up those kilometres looking like a real pro.
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Bontrager is Trek Bikes’ own brand. The company’s bike helmets offer a combination of style and substance, thanks to its proprietary technology called WaveCel. WaveCel is sort of similar to MIPS, in that it offers advanced protection, but it does so by fitting a collapsable, cellular structure to the lining of the bike helmet. Think of it like a crumple zone, something that absorbs all shocks, preventing them from reaching your head.
Virtually all of Bontrager’s bike helmets use this technology, so with head protection taken care of, all you need to do is decide which style is best for you. We’ll leave that choice to you.
The go-to brand for both amateur and professional cyclists, Giro has been at the top of its game for close to 35 years. Check out just about any road race on TV, from the Tour De France to the Tour Down Under, and a Giro bike helmet will be adorned by 80% of the Peleton. Their bike helmet designs are innovative, effective, and above all, they look fantastic.
Mavic are true innovators in the road cycling world, and have helped transform the way we ride over the 100 years they have been in business. Although known for cycling components, shoes, and rims, they also know how to make an excellent bike helmet.
The Comete Ultimate MIPS Helmet is Mavic’s most advanced bike helmet to date and was developed using wind tunnels to ensure it slices through the air when you’re cycling. Alongside the MIPS inner shell, this Mavic helmet also benefits from EPS-4D technology for even greater shock absorption, should you take a fall. If safety and protection are imperative, this is the bike helmet for you.
If you’re into your track cycling or fond of a triathlon, chances are you’ll have come across the name Louis Garneau. The Canadian brand’s road bike helmets are sleek and elegant, and also great value for money. The Vitesse Helmet is perfect for aerodynamic speed on endurance stints or time trials. It’s lightweight and has 14 air vents, not bad for an aero.
Road cycling helmets were a natural progression for Oakley after their success in sports eyewear and ski helmets. Their Aro range provides models for both road racers and time trialists using innovative shapes incorporating MIPS technology. Their Aro bike helmets marry Oakley’s expertise in headwear and high-performance lenses and are made to add speed for greater aerodynamic performance.
The reason that Team Ineos (formerly Team Sky) have remained so successful is their belief in ‘fine margins; the little percentages that make you better than the rest’ is sometimes accredited to the fact all of their riders wear helmets from the pioneering Italian helmet manufacturer Kask. Their bike helmets are light, highly durable, and will have other cyclists looking at you with a bit of jealousy in their eyes.
Poc was set up in Sweden back in 2005, bursting onto the scene with a quality ski-racing mask. They soon moved into cycling and now produce some of the best aerodynamic bike helmets that also offer increased airflow and ventilation. Their Ventral Spin AVIP helmet is one of their most popular models, offering complete crash protection and excellent visibility.
Rapha seems to have taken advantage of the recent rise in popularity of single speed bikes and crit racing. The London brand is famed for its classy jerseys and has finally decided to dip its toe into helmets. The Rapha Helmet, a highly breathable lid with MIPS technology is made to give you confidence during everyday rides and comes in Fluro yellow to heighten your visibility whilst on the road.
Aussie cyclists will have a close affiliation to this brand as they back Australian road cycling team Mitchelton-Scott. Although they’re known for creating stunning bike frames to be used across different disciplines, they also manufacture a tidy range of accessories including helmets. They create a variety of bike helmet styles, including the Centric Plus Helmet, a great all-rounder whether you’re heading into the city for coffee or riding up a lung-busting ascent.
You may associate Suomy more with Moto GP than road cycling, but their ability to produce high-standard bike helmets across both disciplines is the same regardless. Their helmet designs are made for long-distance rides, offering complete lightweight comfort when the challenge heats up. They also have a great selection of mid-price-range helmets that are great value for such a major player.
Californian helmet specialists Bell may have made their name in motor racing, but it hasn’t stopped them from creating excellent performance headwear for road cyclists. Their highly comfortable bike helmets are more affordable than some of the bigger players, but provide the same level of protection thanks to MIPS technology. Their polycarbonate designs also offer supreme ventilation for both roadies and commuters.
Bern is a brand that effortlessly makes both snow and bike equipment. Their designs often carry a signature peak, much like a cap, and are aimed towards the commuter market more than performance. The company has only been around for around for 15 years, but in that time they have established themselves as a quality option for cyclists looking for a helmet on a tighter budget.
Lazer bike helmets come straight out of cycling’s spiritual home Flanders, in Belgium. They’ve been producing quality helmets for every type of bike from road and cyclo-cross to track and mountain for over 100 years. They’re all about staying cool on those long day rides, much like the Belgian classics, highlighted by their Z1 MIPS, which features 31 vents and a polycarbonate shell.
Smith’s love for the mountains has helped them effortlessly make the transition from skiing to cycling. Their range of bike helmets covers everything from road cycling and endurance to downhill and mountain biking. They are less expensive than a lot of their rivals, but you get real value from their well-designed headwear, along with practical pass-through channels for your sports shades.