BEST BIKE HELMETS – BUYING GUIDE
The most crucial function that a helmet can provide is to protect your head from any impact. All manufactured bike helmets must meet minimum standards that guarantee our safety. However, if you are looking for a bike helmet that is also light and with a sound ventilation system, you will see how prices increase significantly.
For professional cyclists, aerodynamics is also essential. A high-end helmet is tested in a wind tunnel and can provide us with information on the saving of watts of energy that can retain thanks to the improved aerodynamics of the helmet. You may be interested in my other accessory guides, such as bike locks, racks, odometers, or electric scooters. Here are some of my favorite bike helmets.
What are the 10 best road bike helmets?
In recent decades, the helmet has become one of the essential accessories of the modern cyclist. The organizers of cyclosportives have made it mandatory since the late 1990s. The organizers of the race did the same. Its port is highly recommended on bike tours, but in any case, few clubs allow their members not to use it. On the market, the offer is abundant—a brief guide to choosing the best bicycle helmet.
The “hard shell” bicycle helmet arrived in France in the early 1980s and 1990s. Bicycle club safety committees (regardless of any federal affiliation) promoted helmet use. It was made mandatory at cyclosportive events (in full swing since the mid ’90s) but simply “highly recommended” on cyclosportive touring and left to the couriers’…in racing. The deaths of Fabio Casartelli in the 1995 Tour and Andrei Kivilev in the 2003 Paris-Nice have revived the debate to make it mandatory, for everyone, all the time.
In May 2003, the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale, the international federation) decided to act. The helmet becomes mandatory in the race, except for the final climbs (!). In 2005, it became compulsory all the time. We won’t go back to that. And the bicycle helmet is becoming widespread for leisure activities, especially when they are sports.
Regularly questioned on the subject, French deputies, under pressure, ended up voting, in December 2016, for a law that makes the use of a bicycle helmet mandatory for children under twelve years of age. The oldest is free to ride with or without a helmet (!)
Here is our selection of the ten best bicycle helmets:
- Foray Turn
- Laser Tonic
- Limar Air Master
- Aeon Twist
- Kask Protone
- Kask Mojito X
- Poc Omne Air Spin
- Endura Sports Pro SL Koryod
- BBB Master BHE-09
- Speedairo RS Helmet
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The bicycle helmet: a technical product
Several elements make up a bicycle helmet. Together, they optimize the protection of the skull in the event of a fall. It all starts with the outer shell. First protection, this plastic shell (usually PVC) is thermoformed most of the time. That is, it is heated and vacuum molded.
Once cooled, it maintains the shape of the mold. Beneath this outer layer is the inner layer. Particularly important, the latter provides most of the protection of the skull. Made of steam “puffed” polyester beads, this inner shell is “welded” to the press on the outer surface.
The price of a bicycle helmet depends on several variables.
The first of these is the choice of materials used. It is the qualities of resistance and lightness that determine this choice. Therefore, the outer shell can be polycarbonate or ABS instead of PVC. Carbon reinforcements can add for better protection along with increased durability. At the level of finishing comes the question of the choice of varnish. It is not trivial because such a varnish can improve aerodynamics, such as scratch resistance. But of course, the best varnishes come at a price.
The second variable that justifies the price of a bicycle helmet: is the manufacturing technique. In addition to the classic method (mentioned above), it is possible to improve strength and lightness. It is what happens with the so-called in-mold technique. It all happens during the assembly phase from the inner casing to the outer case (press). With the inner mold, the outer shell is heated and molded directly when the polyester is injected, which hardens and solidifies the very structure of the two parts.
With Swedish MIPS technology, the helmet takes on an even higher level of protection, reducing rotational forces that can occur during an impact. The effects of head movements inside the helmet are absorbed, minimizing brain damage from a severe blow.
A matter of comfort
Even if that means spending several hours with a helmet “screwed” on your head, you could also make sure that this safety element is comfortable and, why not, forgotten. To do this, manufacturers have striven to make their production as comfortable as possible.
It all starts with excellent ventilation (and thus ventilation of the skull). It helps, not too much, to find your damp hair. Friends, it is possible thanks to the multiplication of openings arranged at the front and the rear of the helmet. Sometimes these holes are protected by mesh cloth or fine mesh netting that prevents intruding insects from dying between the hoof and the scalp (which can cause dangerous and painful bites).
Still, with a view to comfort, manufacturers do not hesitate to equip their helmets with foams that stick (or scratch) to the inner shell. Therefore, the bicycle helmet no longer rests directly on the head. The most exclusive models (often the most expensive) generalize the velcro to remove the foam reinforcements and wash or replace them quickly. Likewise, please note that some models benefit from an antibacterial treatment. Hygiene is optimized for longer.
Manufacturers have generalized the adjustment wheel to better adjust the helmet to the head, located at the rear on the occiput. It allows tightening and loosening of the internal structure according to the circumference of the head. The fit is optimized—the perfectly fitted helmet. Very useful for growing children, this system also allows the occasional use of a helmet or bandana.
A viewer, fixed or removable (sometimes offered as an option), can complete the comfort devices. Due to its shape and color, this visor protects from the sun or the wind and from mud and insects (it may be more advisable to wear glasses).
On a bike, particularly at night or in low light, the important thing is, of course, to see, but also to be seen. It can go through the hull. Some manufacturers offer front and rear lights thanks to the insertion of a few LEDs. Others have gone even further, equipping helmets with integrated traffic lights or installing them on vents.
Sometimes the bicycle helmet is attached. Then it syncs with the smartphone via Bluetooth (speaker, listen to music, microphone, phone conversation). The communication fields are increased. You can attach cameras to just about any helmet. Safety is improved, as is the hands-free kit for the motorist.
A range of removable accessories completes this creative side. Therefore, do we find equipment that protects against the cold (earmuffs, hats, helmets, etc.) or anti-theft devices specially designed to connect to specific peripherals? It avoids having the helmet with you when the cyclist (re) becomes a pedestrian.
Apart from any aesthetic concept, it is essential to verify that the helmet chosen has the CE standard, ensuring that it is marked “CE,” with the name and address of the manufacturer, the reference of the standard, the size, the weight. The year of production, the name of the helmet, and its use. Please note that the minimum standard required for a bicycle helmet is NF EN1078.
On the road, especially for sport-oriented leisure practices, (aerodynamic) shape, ventilation and weight should have privileges when choosing. One or another of these criteria will present itself, depending on the season and the average number of hours in the saddle.
Note that some manufacturers offer plastic shells (optional or not) removable that obstruct the ventilation openings. It is a real advantage in terms of aerodynamics and in cold weather or when it rains.
BEST BIKE HELMETS – BUYING GUIDE
Once the model has been chosen (according to your practice), it is essential to adopt a size adapted to your Head Measurement. This size is expressed in centimeters. If you want to know it accurately, there is no other solution than to measure the circumference of her head as accurately as possible. The operation takes only tens of seconds, but it imposes a specific “protocol.” You need a tape measure and pass it through the middle of the forehead and the occipital hump.
Once the correct size has been chosen, it is essential to properly fit the helmet to your head to ensure optimum safety. It can do by loosening the adjustment wheel as much as possible and supporting the helmet with the front part, two finger-widths above the eyebrows. Once the operation is done, you have to squeeze the occipital knob to lock the helmet without it being painful. Be careful; the bottom of the “V” on the side straps should sit just below your ears. The chin strap should touch the skin, under the chin, without being tight.
The ten best road bike helmets on the market
Lapalissade, not all road bike helmets on the market are the same. The budget often determines the choice, but it is always made according to your needs, desires, and practices. Perfection is not of this world. However, a small study, supplemented by some actual test sessions, produced a top 10 of the best road bike helmets on the market.
BEST BIKE HELMETS – BUYING GUIDE
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1. Giro Foray road bike helmets
Officially introduced in the spring of 2015, this Giro Foray is an entry-level helmet that is practically unbeatable in terms of value for money (€60). Available in three sizes (S 51/55 cm; M 55/59 cm; and L 59/63 cm) and six colors (white; fuchsia; grey; black; red, and vermilion), it follows the main aesthetic lines of the flagship. Of the American brand, the Giro Synthe.
On the scale, it weighs 257g in size S, which is about fifty grams more than its big brother. But this is not a problem as long as the shape of the cap matches that of the user’s skull. The in-mold technology, 21 ventilation holes, fine and washable foams, straps, and Occipital Roc-Loc 5 tightening wheel (notched wheel easily manipulated with one hand) give you great comfort and excellent ventilation and ease of use.
Whether it is boiling (let’s be precise, we are talking about a heatwave), spring mildness or extreme cold, when the road is dry, or it rains bucket. This bicycle helmet knows how to be forgotten, even when you decide to wear a helmet, even a reasonably thick one. In this case, it is essential to leave a small margin in terms of size.
+: A high-end look – 21 vents – in-mold technology – ease of use – quality/price ratio.
–: a bit heavy.
2. Lazer Tonic Road Helmet
For over 100 years, Lazer has been THE Belgian specialist in bicycle helmets, whether for motorcycles, jet skis, paragliders, snowmobiles, or bikes. It is also the official supplier of the Dutch team Jumbo Visma. With the Lazer Tonic, the manufacturer from Mont-Saint-Guibert offers, at a low price (€57), a product particularly suitable for the hot season or even the heatwave.
With no fewer than 29 well-placed air vents, air gently circulates over your head, immediately releasing heat from behind. Comfort is guaranteed by a series of thick but not too thick foams that are very well placed. While with the internal tightening system, TS + Turnfit, an occipital knob, remarkable ergonomics, this Lazer Tonic road helmet is easy to put on. In addition, it shows a reasonable weight (228 g in size S). We would almost forget it—a good point for those who like prolonged efforts.
The design is superb and timeless. This helmet should pass modes, no problem. Its in-mold design gives it, as an added benefit, a high degree of safety, thanks to optimized shock absorption.
Available in three sizes (S 52-56 cm; M 55-59 cm; and L 58-61 cm) and seven colors (black; white; navy blue; gray; yellow; orange; and red) play the safety card by maximum, with its reflective branding and the possibility of connecting an LED light to the rear.
+: Timeless look – 28 vents – exceptional value for money – Weight – Compatible with LED light.
–: Timeless look: a bit heavy with the LED light.
3. Limar Air Master Road Helmet
Specialist in bicycle helmets since 1986, the Italian Limar offers high-end products (even very high-end, at generally competitive prices). This Limar Air Master helmet, introduced at the end of 2018, is no exception to the rule. Developed in a wind tunnel for professionals, it offers a sober and elegant look, if not very original. Available in 3 colors (blue, red, or matte black) for €120, it is not among the lightest on the market (241 g in size M), but it is on a good average.
Note that it only offers 15 openings But wide enough and judiciously placed, they provide more than optimized ventilation, thanks to the “creation” of a rather impressive venturi effect. As a result, aerodynamics are far superior to many competitors’ offers.
The manufacturing technology (in-mold triple shell) must guarantee excellent impact resistance. It is what laboratory studies tend to show.
Adjustment is carried out using a classic (notched) tightening wheel located at the level of the occipital bone. The adjustment of the straps, whether on the chin strap or the famous “V” of the ears, is done with alarming ease, while the internal foams guarantee perfect comfort.
+: the quality of the assembly – the aerodynamics – the ventilation system – the ease of adjustment.
–: Very few colors available.
4. Giro Aeon road bike helmets
Officially presented in 2017 and offered for sale since 2018, this Giro Aeon helmet is positioned at the top of the range offered by the American manufacturer, with a fairly favorable quality/price ratio. Available in 6 colors (matt black; white; black/silver; black/white/red; black/blue/purple or fluorescent yellow) and three sizes (S 51/55 cm; M 55/59 cm; and L 59/63 cm). cm), this Giro Aeon has gone all out for lightness (190 g) and ventilation (24 vents). The label indeed has a price of €170, but considering the quality of the set’s finish, it is an excellent offer.
In-mold technology is one back in order. The use of internal, static x foams (washable and interchangeable) provides excellent comfort, gently adjusting the shell and through very efficient absorption (and evacuation) of sweat. The Roc-Loc five occipital tightening wheel (sprocket easily manipulated with one hand) guarantees an excellent and comfortable fit.
In heat waves, like in extreme cold, this helmet can forget, thanks to its weight, of course, but also because of its exceptionally soft fit, which makes no concessions to fastening. Hard-core competitors, such as those who enjoy long distances and sustained effort, will appreciate it. In cold weather, a reasonably thick helmet is recommended.
+: The look – lightness – 24 vents – in-mold technology – easy use – internal foams.
–: the colors offered.
5. Kask Protone road bike helmets
Since 2016, the Kask Protone helmet has been at the top of the range offered by the Italian manufacturer Kask. Used by Sky training professionals (now Ineos), it was developed thanks to the active partnership of the brand’s engineers and the team’s riders.
Three sizes are listed in the catalog (S 50-56 cm; M 52-58 cm; or L 59-62 cm), for nine colors (white; blue; light blue; dark blue; matte black; black; red; pink ; or green). The design is in-mold, with wind tunnel testing.
The objective of this Protone, in addition to optimal protection of the head in the event of an accident, is to offer a high level of heat dissipation while optimizing the aerodynamics of the product. Kask is sold for having the lowest drag coefficient on the market. With a little over 19 starts, that’s a real plus. Relatively light (220 g in size S), it is adorned with many interior foams that ensure a perfect overall fit for very high comfort. And this, mainly as a 3D Dry padding with antibacterial treated CoolMax fabric, guarantees excellent head keeping dry In all climates.
Despite a relatively moderate price of €178, it is one of the best bike helmets on the market. It will delight the most demanding competitors, such as long-distance hikers.
+: The look, weight, aerodynamics, ventilation, and interior design.
–: occipital adjustment too banal.
6. Kask Mojito X road bike helmets
A star element of the Italian brand, the Kask Mojito X helmet is probably one of the most elegant helmets on the market. Sober and elegant, it is available in three sizes (S 48-56 cm; M 52-58 cm; L 59-62 cm). In seven colors (white; blue; dark blue; black; pink; red; or green) with eight color details (white; blue; Fluo; fuchsia; gray; black; orange or red), which leaves a wide variety of combinations. All tastes are in nature.
With no less than 29 openings, this in-mold design Kask Mojito X is only 212g in size S, for a price of €100. It makes it one of the best values on the market.
Thanks to a clever double pivot system, the internal Up’n’Down adjustment system offers the most comfortable fit. The adjustment without is facilitated to the point that the tightening of the occipital knob can be done with one hand, whether gloved or not. Attaching the chin strap is also very easy. In addition, the MIT part (exclusive to Kask) provides a significant gain in protection and, therefore, insecurity.
In use, this Kask Mojito X road bike helmet can forget, but its shape makes it more comfortable in hot weather than cold and wet weather. When it rains, it’s best to equip yourself with reasonably thick headphones.
+: Elegance – the price – the fastening system – the ventilation.
–: Prefers heat over humidity.
7. POC Omne Air Spin Road Helmet
A great novelty from the Swedish brand Poc, this Omne Air Spin helmet is only part of the catalog of this manufacturer recognized for the quality of its production. While it is primarily aimed at the most demanding competitors, it will also be suitable for more versatile cyclists who like to vary the pleasures, even when they have to go through daily use. Gravel and long-distance hikers will find something for themselves, too.
Original in its design, the Poc Omne Air Spin road bike helmet has an EPS shell of variable density, formidably protective during the most severe falls. And this, especially since Spin technology is emerging, provides improved protection in the event of a side impact when the head rotates. Adorned with ten vents that perfectly channel airflow, creating a cooling Venturi effect, this helmet is easy to adjust.
Available against €160, in six colors (white; light blue; yellow; matt black; white/orange, and light green) for three sizes (S 50-56 cm; M 54-59 cm; L 56-61 cm), you know, in use, which should be wholly forgotten, especially in very humid climates. Is it the internal “foam”? Is it the very well-thought-out shape of the cap? Friends, is it the weight (289g anyway)? Maybe all three!
+: Original – EPS shell – Spin technology – comfortable – very well finished.
–: Original: colors with little consensus.
8. Endura Sports Pro SL Koryod Road Bike Helmets
Known for the excellence of its cycling clothing, the Scottish brand Endura also offers very high-quality accessories. This Endura Sports Pro SL Koryod helmet is no exception to the rule. Unveiled at the end of 2019 and on the market for just a few weeks, this revised and corrected high-end helmet is available in three sizes (S 51-56 cm; M 55-59 cm; and L 58-63 cm). But it is only available in two colors (black and white). Retailing for €178, advertised at 183g and weighing 184g, it turns out to be full of good ideas, precisely materialized.
Admittedly, the design is quite classic (in-mold with EPS liner), and the helmet has only eight openings, but its surface and positioning actively work for your comfort. The circulation of air keeps the coolness of the skull very well, significantly since the internal structure of the honeycomb, which fits into the shell, hardens the whole very considerably.
It is the specialty of the house to integrate the Koryod protective layer with a high shock absorption capacity. The occipital adjustment wheel ensures, for its part, a smooth and precise adjustment, while the Internal padding benefits from very antibacterial treatment cash. Those who like to work more will appreciate it.
And then, a big plus, Endura promises to replace your Sports Pro SL Koryod bike helmet with an identical or equivalent model.
+: The weight – the quality/price ratio – the Koryod technology – the precision of the occipital tightening wheel.
–: minimal choice of colors.
9. BBB Maestro BHE-09 Road Helmet
Developed by the Dutch BBB brand used by the Circus Wanty Gobert Team, this new Maestro helmet is exceptionally versatile. Developed by the Dutch brand BBB used by Team Circus Wanty Gobert, this new Maestro helmet is versatile. Available in four colors (white; fluorescent yellow; black; or red), for three sizes (S 52-55 cm; M 55-58 cm; L 58-62 cm), at a moderate price (€96).
Its weight is correct (284 g in size S) without exception. This helmet will meet the needs of most riders, starting with those who prefer the price. But the level of finish is such that it will also delight those who demand impeccable quality.
According to in-mold technology, the manufacturing is classic, but the genuine interest in this helmet lies in its ventilation capacity. The Halo Guard inner shell provides quality ventilation through 17 ports. Air circulation is optimized by a very original design of the foams. How? Or what? By forming a channel that guides the air in the upper part of the head.
The tightening, classic, by strap and by occipital adjustment wheel, is carried out without any problem. The shape of the shell is exceptionally well thought out; the adjustment is precise and straightforward, even when it must be done while riding, in winter, with gloves. This BBB Maestro BHE-09 bicycle helmet is quickly made to be forgotten. Even in humid and rainy weather, hours of feces can accumulate without any problem.
+ : Great versatility – very good ventilation – low price – excellent finish.
–: Banal design – a bit heavy.
10. Speedairo RS road bike helmets
German specialist in high-end helmets, Casco has forged a reputation for quality through highly original production, which is not usurped. This Casco Speedairo RS helmet is not an exception to the rule; remove the opposite.
Designed based on the Speedairo, the Speedairo RS has a Vautrin photochromic visor (protection from 1 to 3), capable of coping with all light conditions while retaining specific aerodynamics with, as an added benefit, more than ‘original. This very round and concave shape (30 ventilation openings) ensure excellent ventilation of the skull. Cloud point, therefore, even when the humidity level is high. Therefore, this does not limit this Speedairo RS road bike helmet to pure competition.
At first confusing, the jugular tightening system, Casc-Loc, quickly becomes very intuitive, while the Disk Fit Vario occipital tightening is a marvel of precision. But the highlight of this helmet is the internal mesh that prevents the skull from touching the shell. Comfort is at the top, increased ventilation.
Available in two sizes (SM 54-58 cm; and ML 59-63 cm) and four colors (black/red; black/yellow; black/white; or anthracite/black), it shows a slight surplus on the scale (301 g in size SM) for a price of €240. But, given its exceptional comfort qualities, it’s a must that might be hard to do without
+: Comfort – excellent ventilation – special finish – tightening precision – delivered with hard case.
–: Unconventional design – a bit heavy – a bit expensive.
The helmets in our selection are all excellent. Capable of operating in all conditions, including the most extreme. However, they are not intended for the same audiences. Those looking for optimal comfort won’t hesitate for long and will opt for the Speedairo RS Helmet unless they prefer the more consensual look of the Kask Protone. Those who favor versatility will choose the BBB Maestro BHE-09 or the Limar Air Master. For endurance, the Poc Omne Air Spin or Endura Sports Pro SL Koryod will come first, while those on a budget will prefer the Giro Foray or Lazer Tonic.
BEST BIKE HELMETS – BUYING GUIDE