With so many people catching bicycle fever since the beginning of the pandemic, more and more are starting to realize there is a lot to learn about biking. Likewise, they’re learning about the best biking gear. And the most important piece of equipment is, of course, the helmet. So if you just got a new mountain bike and you’re eager to escape the crowded streets and find some peace in the woods on the trails, you’ll need a mountain bike helmet. As prices for helmets have crept up, so has their technology, which makes the increase in price point worth it for more protection. What could be better than having a safer mountain biking helmet?
Not sure what kind of mountain biking helmet you need? Since there are so many options, let’s break it down by style and material first. Some helmets are on the more expensive side because of their material, usually, polycarbonate and MIPS — which stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection System and is a material that covers the inside of the helmet to prevent rotation during a crash. Some mountain biking helmets may be made of plastic and foam, but you generally want to avoid those.
Another key feature of the best mountain biking helmets is the visor. Does it adjust as much as you like? How large is it? Some are better than others but most mountain bike helmets contain a visor. The last key feature is weight, which may not matter to some but is very important to others, so be sure to check how much the helmet weighs before purchasing.
Ready to get rolling? Check out our list of the best mountain bike helmets below!
1. Giro Source MIPS Helmet
Giro has to be our favorite helmet company for comfort and style. Some helmets just don’t fit right but Giro always seems to have a great, snug fit for everyone. The Source MIPS helmet is made from polycarbonate and has 17 vents, which is a wonderful amount for anyone working hard on their bike. More vents equal more comfort, so bring on the vents. This mountain biking helmet also has a low visor which is adjustable and has a Roc Loc 5 on the back to dial in on your exact size. A top choice for any mountain biker.
2. Bontrager Solstice MIPS Helmet
The MIPS is a key component in making the helmet safe as it is a low friction layer that slides in all directions which reduces rotational motion. When you crash, your head will rotate in a loose-fitting helmet, which can cause a major injury. The Bontrager helmet contains this layer of MIPS as well as an easy locking component to tighten the helmet. It is a soft, comfortable helmet with a moisture-wicking material. It also has 17 vents and weighs 13.2 ounces.
3. POC Octal X Spin Helmet
POC has a polycarbonate helmet on offer and it is amazing. With a low visor attached to the front, a quick dial in the back for the proper adjustment, and extra secure padding with no extra weight added, the Octal X Spin is an excellent choice for all mountain bikers. For a long day in the saddle, many vents are desirable and the POC has 21 which is an added plus for hot days. At the higher price point though, this helmet may fall only to competitive cyclists for its super lightweight and aerodynamic design.
4. Smith Forefront 2 MIPS Helmet
The best feature of the Smith helmet, aside from the MIPS lining, is the Aerocore in-mold construction that adds an extra layer of protection for all users. At a higher price point, the Smith Forefront 2 definitely has some amazing details and features and is a well worth it investment for all hard-core mountain bikers. With 20 vents, there is ample space for your skull to breathe and on a sweltering day when you’re climbing up that hill, every vent counts. Smith makes sleek and well-designed helmets for all types of cycling sports and this mountain bike helmet is definitely a highlight of their line.
5. Smith Convoy MIPS Helmet
Smith’s Convoy mountain bike helmet has all the same details and vents as the Forefront 2 above but at a lower price. With a VaporFit adjustable fit system and 20 vents for easy air, it is just as nice and an equally safe helmet for all mountain bikers. The MIPS molding will help save your head from rotating during a crash and the integrated visor will keep the sun from your eyes. An excellent choice for a polycarbonate helmet.
6. Troy Lee Designs Stage MIPS Helmet
The Troy Lee Designs have been a competitive player in the mountain biking market and their latest Stage helmet has beat many odds for its functionality and full-face-covering style. At $299 though it’s a steep price and many ask: is it worth it? With the MIPS lining, the 25 vents for a maximum amount of air, and another layer of protective lining, many would say yes, pay the extra bucks for all the perks. As one of the leading brands for a full-face mountain biking helmet, the Stage is worth your attention. And if weight is a leading factor in your decision, it’s only 1 pound, 8 ounces.
7. Bontrager Rally WaveCel Helmet
A mid-range mountain biking helmet for non-competitive mountain bikers, the Bontrager Rally is of great value if you don’t miss all the perks of their higher-end model. It has the MIPS-style lining for crash protection but none of the magnetic mounting capabilities for lights and cameras. A good trade-off for the price most would say as it is still an excellent helmet with plenty of vents and a WaveCel lining for extra padding.
8. POC Tectal Race Spin Helmet
POC has another high-tech helmet on the market for competitive users and its design has a lot of perks most helmets don’t. One downside is the lack of ventilation so if you’re a serious summer rider, that might be a key factor. The protective shield also lends a hand to keep the vents smaller than usual, which may keep your head too hot on a long ride. POC’s new SPIN patent is in a similar vein to MIPS in terms of protection from rotation during a fall and might be well worth the price point.
9. Giro Switchblade MIPs Helmet
Another full-face mountain biking helmet on offer, the Giro version is just as nice if not a spot more affordable than the Troy Lee Designs. With MIPS lining for full protection during a crash, this helmet will keep you very safe on a racecourse. There are two visors, which come in handy when you want to mount a camera for extra footage of your epic day. Another great feature is the removable chin piece, which takes the weight off from the bulky frame. A well-designed, comfortable helmet that is well worth the higher price point for its amount of coverage and protection.
10. FOX Pro Frame Camo Helmet
The FOX Pro mountain biking helmet is a higher-end range mountain biking essential for its moisture-wicking material, protective MIPS lining, and full-face covering. A must-have for summer riders looking for extra ventilation as it has 15 regular vents and nine exhaust vents, it will keep you comfortable as you push on those rocky trails. The FOX helmet has an integrated chin bar which will help protect your entire face if you crash. Another excellent option for a full-face helmet for serious riders.