Best Mountain Bike Helmet Reviewed in 2021
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The mountain bike helmet is an essential biking accessory because it’s not just meant for safety but it adds to creating a complete biking look. In fact, the biking helmet is one of the first things you should purchase after buying a bicycle. This is because you’ll be using it every time you ride your bicycle.
However, you can’t just go out there and buy the first bike helmet you see. The key to finding the best mountain bicycle helmet is to keep a few important considerations in mind during the process. For one, you have to buy a helmet that features high-quality materials. This way, you know it has the ability and capacity to protect your head from potential injuries no matter what happens.
It should also fit comfortably while enabling free airflow, and it should go well with the other accessories that you’ll wear, such as your glasses.
Read on for more tips and reviews of the best mountain bike helmets.
What is the Best Mountain Bike Helmet?
To help you find the best MTB helmet for your needs, we decided to do some research on your behalf. Coupled with our own experience with these helmets, the following list represents our findings:
1. Giro Chronicle MIPS Dirt Cycling Helmet
Next up we have this adult cycling helmet from Giro Chronicle, complete with a MIPS liner, ventilation features, and padding to keep you nice and comfy when riding through rough terrain. Despite these features, this helmet is relatively lightweight and perfect for mountain biking. You can go for long stretches of time without seeing any signs of civilization.
Although affordable, this helmet is surprisingly sturdy. It comes with a lot of great features. This includes a generously sized visor to protect your eyes from the sun and accommodate goggles should you wish to wear them. This helmet also offers a secure but comfortable fit despite its small diameter.
With that said, we should’ve known that there’d be a few compromises to make with this cycling helmet considering its price point. There’s the cheaply made plastic padding which isn’t as absorbent as what you’d find on the other models, for example.
There aren’t nearly enough vents on this helmet. But as we said, it’s very sturdy and will last for more than just a few seasons.
2. POC Tectal Helmet for Mountain Biking
The POC Tectal helmet is the best full face mountain bike helmet. It’s made from the best quality materials carefully put together and expertly designed unibody construction. If you’re after roughing it up on the MTB trail then this Tectal helmet will protect your head from harmful impact.
It comes with a custom aramid grid that absorbs impact by minimizing the amount of force that your head experiences during a fall in order to reduce injury.
This helmet is well-ventilated with big openings that make it feel like you have a breeze whizzing by your head while wearing it. It also comes with an adjustable visor and a goggle for maximum sun protection. Thanks to the 4-point harness system, you can rest assured that this helmet won’t come off no matter what. You can adjust it to fit your unique head shape and size.
To wear it, simply bring it to the back of your head to cover a part of your neck, which is lots more protection than you’ll get from any other helmet. Lastly, we’re glad to say that this helmet comes with a comfortable liner designed to protect your head.
3. Troy Lee Designs A1 MIPS Cycling Helmet
The A1 model from Troy Lee designs is one of the best mountain bike helmets on the market.
For one, it fits like a glove no matter what your head shape is. This is all thanks to its huge open and closure system. The interior is padded with plus, high-quality materials that won’t give out on you after a few uses.
But, this model does have some room for improvement. The biggest issue we have with this particular bike helmet is just how difficult it is to get some air when wearing for a few hours.
The MIPS liner certainly doesn’t help with ventilation either. But this is to be expected considering the price point.
4. 100% Status Helmet Arsenal
Like most people, this is probably your first time hearing about the 100% brand. They may not be as popular as the other manufacturers in this list, but they sure do know their stuff when it comes to designing a safe and effective bike helmet. This full-face helmet from this brand is constructed from a lightweight material.
The lid is constructed from fiberglass and weighs just 2 pounds 1.5 ounces. It comes with a padded interior for maximum comfort. We love the modern design and the fact that it comes in several different colors.
But, what makes the 100% mountain bike helmet unique is the fact that it’s perfect for downhill riding. This isn’t something that you come across every day.
Plus, it comes at a price that’s quite reasonable considering just how much value for money it offers. The ventilation system alone is worth the price, and it’s perfect for use in all seasons.
5. Kali Protectives Maya 2.0 Revolt
Kali isn’t the most well-known bike helmet brand on the market but it should be. This small brand is one of the best manufacturers of high-quality bike helmets on the market including the latest Maya 2.0 model which is reasonably priced.
This helmet covers both the back and sides of the head. It comes with a composite foam cushion that can easily handle low to high-speed impacts with relative ease. However, it could use a few more vents because as it is, it’s not very comfortable to ride in hot weather conditions. But, it’ll work just fine in cold weather conditions.
Although the cutting-edge design of this helmet places it in the top of the best MTB helmets, it falls short when it comes to fit. Instead of using the traditional single twist dial, it requires you to pinch it with both hands so you can adjust the back area.
Sure, the adjusters are pretty good at their job. But it can get annoying when you’ve just come off of a long mountain bike ride and just want your helmet to come off.
6. Smith Optics Forefront 2 MTB Cycling Helmet
This mountain biking helmet from Smith Optics has to be on the higher end of the price spectrum out of all of the options on this list. This is by design, considering just how incredibly well-designed it is. It comes with some features as layers of Koroyd and EPS foam to protect your head from impact should you come into an accident. This material sort of looks like glued plastic straws.
The aim of using this type of padding is due to the fact that it has the ability to absorb low-impact crashes about 30% better than its closest competitor. After using this for a couple of seasons, we found that it still works pretty much in the same way. This is all thanks to the high-quality materials that it’s constructed from.
But, there’s one caveat though. It doesn’t offer nearly enough ventilation due to how tiny the small holes are located around the head. Although this is a 2nd generation design that comes with a considerable number of updates, it still falls short of Troy Lee Design’s A2.
But, it’s perfect for use in really cold weather if you’re not going to ride for extremely long periods of time.
7. Bell Sixer MIPS MTB Bike Helmet
Seasoned bikers know all about the Super 3 helmet that Bell released a couple of years ago, which they later replaced with the Sixer MIPS. This came as a surprise to most people as the Super 3 was incredibly successful for many years before that.
But, we have no complaints when it comes to the Sixer. This helmet features a low-profile, lightweight shape. It comes with 26 vents to keep you nice and cool when it’s warm. Its versatile design means that you can wear it for recreational rides as well as cross-country grinds.
The Sixer is perfect for those long trail rides in the summer thanks to its optimal design. But, because of the durable materials, it’s made from this is much heavier than its closest competitor, the A2. This might have something to do with the camera mount that it comes with, which adds to the weight.
If you’re looking for a more affordable alternative, then you might want to look into the Giro Chronicle which offers better ventilation and design.
8. Bell Super 3R MTB Bike Helmet
The Bell Super 3R MIPS bicycle helmet is perfect for trudging through severe mountain trails. It comes with a plethora of different features designed to keep your head safe and ensure that you ride confidently into the sunset.
The shell is made from in-mold polycarbonate with added reinforcement. It’s a full-face helmet so it’ll even protect your face from potential damage upon impact. The company has literally gone overboard when it comes to safety features, incorporating all the safety features you’d expect from a high-quality, well-made bicycle helmet.
It’s suitable for extreme trail and recreational riding alike, thanks to its modular construction. It’s like getting a two-in-one deal. Talk about value for money! In addition to covering both your head and face, this helmet is well-ventilated and makes it easy to see the road ahead thanks to its open visual field.
It’s generously sized enough to accommodate wearing protective goggles if you feel like it. Then there’s the wheel adjustment system which helps to guarantee a nice and snug fit, even while attaching a “GoPro” camera to capture your rides.
How to Get the Best Mountain Bike Helmet
As you can see, all great bike helmets come with similar elements. They’re comfortable to wear, lightweight, well-ventilated, and offer optimal protection.
This is an important feature to look out for when shopping for a new helmet.
Aside from testing out different helmets by trying them on, you could ask friends and family members how they feel about theirs. Or you can check online reviews and find out what people are saying about the helmets that you’re considering.
The most important thing is to ensure that the helmet fits nice and snug. This way, there won’t be any pressure points that could cause uncomfortable movement.
The good news is that most manufacturers design their bike helmets to feature retention systems made to fit nice and snug. Most of them are adjustable so you can tighten and loosen them according to your preferences.
Open-face lids were initially introduced in Enduro racing scenarios but are now becoming increasingly popular. They cover the head and temples which makes them ideal for off-road and cross-country bike riding. In addition to optimal protection, these sensible bike helmets are great all-rounders.
A majority of bike helmets have an EPS foam or expanded polystyrene interior to cushion and protect your head from impact.
When the helmet strikes concrete, the foam takes the heat first and crushes while protecting your head and delaying the impact from affecting your head. Their goal is to prevent injury by any means possible.
Impact-resistant helmets are safety tested time and again to ensure that they don’t disappoint. However, that’s not all. Manufacturers have also come up with multidirectional impact protection system technology or MIPS for short.
It features a floating plastic liner to provide further protection through an EPS structure. It helps to reduce the transmission of rotational force thus alleviate brain damage during a crash.
The last thing you need with a bike helmet is to feel constricted or extremely warm while wearing it. That’s why trail-style helmets have fallen out of favor in recent years, because they simply get too hot and moist the hotter it gets.
The good news is that manufactures are getting smarter and are using materials innovatively to create cooler and well-ventilated helmets.
The vents can really come in handy. But what you want is a helmet that comes with internal airflow channels that help to channel airflow to the front.
Make sure the helmet you purchase has big vents located on both the back and front. The interior of the lid should also contain deep channels to help circulate air optimally.
Most modern helmets feature detachable chin guards which are incredibly beneficial to open-face lids specifically. This makes it easier to breathe while wearing the helmet and improves its ventilation overall. A removable chin guard makes for an even better experience.
The only downside with flexible helmets is that they’re heavier on account of containing built-in extra protection in order to get ASTM downhill certification. But, this isn’t always the case with convertible helmets.
With all that said, you don’t have to pick a convertible helmet you could always go with something different.
Weight matters when it comes to mountain bike helmets as it does when it comes to mountain bikes for heavy riders as well. It’s much better to wear a lightweight model than a heavy-duty one. This is especially if you plan on taking long-distance trail at some point.
However, you want the lid to be lighter so that it doesn’t wobble around while you’re riding your bicycle.
Usability of MTB Helmets
Another consideration to make when looking for a bike helmet is to consider the specific application that you’ll be using it for.
Most road cycling helmets aren’t made for off-road and mountain biking applications. They just can’t handle rough terrain at all.
For best results, pick from the following options; downhill, all-mountain, and cross-country bike helmets:
This type of riding often requires going down really steep and rocky hills which requires focus and power. Full-face mask bike helmets are required for this particular application.
But, it’s often too hot and not ventilated properly for regular biking applications.
One thing to know about cross country riding is that it requires you to cover an astronomical amount of ground.
You’re going to go up and down hills, which is super challenging and requires lots of ventilation to ensure that you stay safe and protected.
All-mountain riding is all about tackling tough terrain so you want a tough helmet that can handle anything thrown at it. This means something tougher than your average road or XC helmet.
The great thing about all-mountain helmets is that they cover the entire head, the back of the neck, the temples, and the sides of the head.
They also feature additional padding.
Well, that’s your guide to finding the best mountain bike helmet for your needs. We tried to include all the important pointers that you need to consider to ensure that you make an informed choice.
But, if you’re still wondering what is the best mountain bike helmet, we’re happy to recommend the Giro Chronicle MIPS Cycling Helmet.
This is one of the most comprehensive mountain bike helmets available right now. It’s a full-face model that’s constructed from high-quality materials following a unibody design.
It also features a flexible design that’s perfect for any head size and/or type. To put this all, all you have to do is slide it on from the back of your head.
It’ll cover the entire head including the back of your neck. There’s an internal liner for increased comfort, as well as a recco reflector for increased safety.