Choosing how someone will use the helmet is the initial step in purchasing one. The base of your head will be more protected in a trail version than in a street-style helmet. Those often place more emphasis on ventilation and weight than other back and side protection.
Chin bars, a few detachable, are used in downhill helmets to provide even more safety. Road and cross-country (XC) mountain bicycle helmets are small and incredibly ventilated. So, they may not offer the same level of protection as route helmets. They frequently don’t have visors or are made to fit goggles.
Some make headgear with commuting in mind. To withstand the rough usage, they typically contain elements like light attachments or even built-in lights. They naturally have a more laid-back design and usually have less airflow than street helmets.
Best road bike helmets under £50
Van Rysel RoadR 500
- As tested, $30, $40, or €35
- Stylish for a cheap helmet
- Its 14 vents provide adequate ventilation
The Van Rysel RoadR 500 helmet from Decathlon is stylish and comfortable. It’s with a sport form and 14 sizable vents that effectively circulate air. However, compared to more expensive helmets, the dial adjustment feels a little bit more flimsy.
The road is available in two different sizes and three colors. Although the Van Rysel Aerofit 900 helmet costs £10 more, it isn’t relatively as little.
Giant Relay MIPS
- As tested £45, $50, €47.50, and AU$80
- Excellent price for a MIPS helmet
- Reasonable ventilation
In independent helmet testing conducted by Virginia Tech, the Giant Relay MIPS achieved a 5-star rating. Anti-odor cushioning and in-mold construction are examples of premium features. Although not lightweight at 348g for a size M/L, the 17 vents assure sufficient ventilation. The helmet doesn’t feel heavy when riding.
The MIPS Cinch system is effective, and the retention adjustment functions well despite being slightly awkward. For a cheap helmet, it performs admirably.
Advanced Align II
- As tested, £45 / $55 / €60 / AU
- MIPS is present in a cheap helmet.
Amazingly, Specialized’s Align II budget helmet offers MIPS security while being a touch heavy (374g for an M/L). There is a nice amount of interior cushioning. The fit is stable and straightforward to change while wearing it, thanks to an excellent dial adjustment. The 16 apertures also allow for decent cooling.
On the other hand, the style M/L helmet’s 374g mass is a tad on the heavy side. It was noticeable throughout our test.
Best road bike helmets under £100
Bell Avenue MIPS
- As tested, $120 / £65
- Outstanding MIPS technology at an affordable price
- MIPS technology
Once carried a hefty premium and was virtually solely found in the most expensive helmets. The Bell’s Avenue MIPS is a prime illustration of how such days are firmly in the past.
The polycarbonate shell has 18 vents to keep things cool and reflective accents to improve visibility. And its retention mechanism is simple to use and quite effective.
Given how well this lid performs for its price, we believe that its 310g weight is a reasonable trade-off. It is heavier than many helmets at this price.
Specialized Propero 3 ANGi
- £95, $140, €130, AU$200, according to tests
- MIPS and ANGi sensors are both present.
- High airflow and fine detailing
The Specialized Propero 3 is a budget-friendly helmet with many safety mechanisms. It’s like MIPS and the ANGi crash sensor, which utilizes your smartphone to notify of a potential collision. It also has the same premium Prevail helmet from Specialized’s aesthetic and airflow.
The interior skeleton makes the Propero 3 very light. 305g for a size M—and the straps performed well even during strenuous, perspirant exertion.
Coros Safesound Road
- $100 / £93 as determined
- Rear light and built-in Bluetooth speakers
- Detection of incidents
The Safesound from Corus includes Bluetooth technology, allowing you to enjoy music while drowning out sounds surrounding you. With the accompanying bar-mounted control or the Coros app, you can adjust the playback level. Functions like taking calls, and switching on and off the built-in back blinkie.
Additionally, an event detection feature incorporated into the app will notify your emergency numbers.
It is a well-ventilated, comfortable helmet in and of itself. The Safesound Road isn’t very hefty either, weighing only over 300g for a standard helmet.
Endura Xtract II
- As tested, £60 / €75
- Excellent airflow and a premium feel
- No MIPS choice
Although the Xtract II is Endura’s introductory level road helmet, it is lightweight. It’s 270g for just a bit, attractive, and well-made.
Five sizable vents face ahead, eight more that face back. Deep channels that let the air circulation among them. A helmet’s high-quality characteristics, such as a cover will completely enclose the EPS interior. The solid and durable straps, reflect its affordable price.
Limar Air Stratos
- As tested, £80 / €100
- a sturdy, lightweight, inexpensive helmet
- No MIPS choice
The 240g Limar Air Stratos is a helmet that functions well on and off the roadway. This performs well while being designed with dirt riders in mind. The predominant gravel characteristic is the subdued, matte colors.
Despite its modest price, the helmet is beautifully built and has lots of cushioning and flexibility. However, the dial adjuster is a little tiny. The helmet doesn’t have MIPS.
- As tested, £70 / €80
- Design tailored to gravel
- Integrated sun visor and light
Although the MET Allroad is mainly for gravel riders, don’t let the marketing stand in the way. If you like your road or commuter lid to have some mountain bike style, chose your best option.
The flexible retention mechanism works with ponytails and incorporates a backlight.
Even with the additional protection, it provides for off-road tasks. The Allroad is quite comfortable and breathes well, much like a premium road helmet.
Best road bike helmets under £200
Endura Pro SL
- As tested, £150 or €200
- high caliber and comfort
The Endura Pro SL helmet incorporates Koroyd features of the system. This is to help shield your brain from straight and slanted blows. It is warm in sweltering conditions.
Within the helmet, some tubes resemble honeycombs that provide protection. The soft cushioning makes sure that they don’t make the helmet feel uncomfortable to wear.
The Pro SL is quite cozy to wear. You can dial in the best fit with the ratchet and vertically adjustable cradle.
The helmet’s surface had a tough shell, so even after weeks of research, it still appeared brand-new.
One factor to remember is that the helmet was comfortable in the heat.
Scott Centric Plus
- MIPS implementation
- Aerodynamic and well-ventilated doesn’t obstruct anything.
- £150 / $200 / €200 / AU as tested
The new Centric Plus helmet picks up where the predecessor left off. It has properties of an airflow-validated design and big vents for excellent airflow. The cushioning has been combined with MIPS’ anti-rotation mechanism. It’s found on Specialized’s premium helmets, and there is a simple modification.
Then we compare it to the Centric of the preceding version. There is improved airflow across the top of the head and more vents. It is nicely constructed and remarkably light for a size L of 272g.
- As tested, £130
- Extremely airy, cozy, and well-ventilated
- Non-existent with MIPS
The third helmet in Abus’s road range, after the Difference maker and AirBreaker, is an exceptionally lightweight 238g StormChaser. Due to less substance in the reduced shell, this also results in a more compact form. This weighs approximately 80g lower than the primary competitors at its price.
Deep airflow channels and soft straps provide lots of comfort while riding. The set fasteners also help to limit the adjustment of the straps.
The internal structure is made to retain the helmet’s system after an accident. And the large reflection at the back boosts visibility. However, unlike most other helmets, MIPS is not an option.
Bell Stratus MIPS
- £135 (tested) / $170
- MIPS liner with ideal fit and function
The Stratus is not the most miniature helmet on the marketplace. At 317g for a size large, but it is hardly apparent when using it. This is a superb helmet for people who live in warm climates. A good option for people who frequently gets hot when climbing because of the excellent ventilation.
It’s terrific to see a MIPS liner at this price. It helps that it also has a very slick appearance. Additionally, there are eight different color options if lime green isn’t your favorite shade. So you’ll be able to find what works for you.
- As tested, $125 / €149
- well-built, attractive, and lightweight
- It can become a little toasty in the unvented rear part.
HJC offers cyclists its aero knowledge, gained over 50 years of producing motorcycle helmets. The Valeco is highly polished, attractive, and relatively light for an aerodynamic model. It’s built at 272g (sized large), even though it does not include MIPS. All of its helmets have undergone wind tunnel testing.
Several densities of EPS polystyrene are used in the Valeco. They are positioned for more excellent protection in high-stress regions and lighter weight in less crucial zones.
The helmet has seven vents facing the front and seven facing the back. However, despite this, the sturdy back might cause the back of the neck to feel a little humid.
Giro Quarter MIPS
The Quarter is a terrific choice if you enjoy the appearance of a skater helmet but want something a little more sophisticated. It comes at a fair price, looks well, and includes some well-considered touches.
You don’t need to treat this helmet as gingerly. Because you would prefer a lighter model. This is since the plastic solid outer layer and urethane border cushion protect the foam against regular hits. The cushioning is soft, and the MIPS liner is well-incorporated.
Thus it should aid in some crashes. There is a lot of foam on your head, and ventilation is just fair. There is no channeling within the helmet, and the ports are tiny. There is no fit mechanism in place; the fit is just Giro’s customary somewhat oval form with cushioning to fine-tune it.
Lazer Vento Kineticore
- As tested: £250, $300, €269, and AU$439
- A comfortable aero helmet with enough airflow
Within the helmet, Kineticore crash protection provides a collapse zone.
The top-tier aero road helmet from Lazer was created in collaboration with Team Jumbo-Visma. It looks excellent and is efficient and well-ventilated.
Lazer claims that it has a 12 percent increase in cooling efficiency. It is 2.3% more efficient than its forerunner. We might trust in the cooling advantage if we felt a stream of air pouring through the base of the helmet while riding. This is even though it’s difficult to prove the aero boost.
For the leisure rider, the aero benefits might not be game-changing, but greater conditioning could significantly affect the performance on a warm day.
What to consider when purchasing a road bicycle helmet?
Nowadays, everything is affected by the aero brush. This raises costs and makes all of your existing gear feel antiquated. But with helmets, it definitely makes sense. If you’re worried about riding quickly, you shouldn’t ignore the possible watt savings that aero helmets may provide.
There are sacrifices, of course. Improving aerodynamic efficiency typically entails blocking off air holes or tolerating oddly shaped lids. To be honest, this can occasionally verge on being absurd in appearance. However, if your primary goal is to ride faster, maybe appearances aren’t all that significant.
Systems for fit and retention
First and most importantly, for a helmet to be useful during a collision, it must remain on your head. It’s vital to try before buying a helmet since people manufacture different types to fit somewhat differently.
The vertical adjustable range, or how high the back adjustment plates sit on your head, will differ amongst helmets. This is something to watch out for. Most helmets employ a dial-based retention system. For example, Giro’s Roc Loc 5 or Kask’s Octo Fit to modify the fit.
For best efficiency, you must be able to wear the straps with a pretty snug fit on your chin. Therefore, they must be both adjustable and comfortable.
Expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam makes up the majority of bicycle helmets. This increases strength and safeguard the EPS foam from unintentional bumps and scrapes. This framework is partially or completely coated in a strong polycarbonate shell (occasionally with carbon fiber).
This fundamental concept has been in use for many years. New production processes and materials, such as Polyamide 11, which can be 3D printed are starting to appear.
Manufacturers unavoidably assert that new designs provide advantages over conventional cycle helmets. But if we recognize these advantages in practice remains to be seen.
It’s important to note that all helmets marketed in the EU must comply with the EN 1078 European Standard. This affects even if we won’t remark on the general effectiveness of helmets (and therefore have a CE mark). They must have CPSC certification in the US.
Each helmet on our list accomplishes at least that and should also least provide some protection. Protection for your head from bumps and scrapes if you tumble off your bike outside riding.
Extra safety innovations, such as rotating liners (like MIPS) and Bontrager’s WaveCel material, have significantly increased recently. These advances provide additional safety from brain and head injuries by lessening rotational forces or employing substances. These better suited to absorb some shocks.
Cycle helmets have undergone some impartial safety testing. But the numerous factors involved beyond the lab make it more difficult to evaluate these products outside. These additional safety measures are probably worth checking for and have already permeated to quite cheap lids.
Cycling enthusiasts should never skimp on a helmet since it is one item of safety gear. It is a barrier between the skull and the floor or other objects. It marks the difference between a serious or fatal injury and a lifetime of riding.