When we are talking about mountain bike activity, we would not neglect the importance of safety especially for mountain bike helmets. Mountain bike helmets are by far the most important gear that is crucial for your safety. Mountain bike helmets come in a wide array of models, shapes, and designs to meet the bikers’ needs and requirements.
For instance, some bikers probably want to focus on riskier forms of riding like downhill. Such risky activity will need extra protection. Therefore, they will need to wear the full face mountain bike helmet for solid protection. Meanwhile, the cross country mountain bikers would need to wear open face helmets for good ventilation.
It is true that choosing the right mountain bike helmet for you is a daunting task to do. If it is your first time, you could consider the points listed below before making your decision.
1. Troy Lee Designs A2
Weight: 13.3 oz.
Pros: Very comfortable fit
Cons: Limited visor adjustability
The helmet uses an innovative design with two types of foam: EPS, which is found in most bike helmets for absorbing impacts at high speed, and tough EPP for low-speed crashes. With MIPS, a low-friction layer slides 10 to 15mm in all directions, reducing rotational motion to the brain during impact. Comfort is near the top of the pack with a minimalist but smart design with thick padding around the forehead. The helmet features multipurpose cam-lock adjustable stabilizer and full spectrum adjustable visor.
2. Giro Fixture MIPS
Weight: 10.7 oz.
Pros: Premium safety features with a budget price
Cons: Only made in one size
Giro’s Fixture combines MIPS technology and modern styling at a very reasonable price. The helmet includes the aforementioned slip plane liner, very good ventilation from 18 total openings, and Giro’s well-respected Roc Loc twist fit adjuster. Fixture’s Roc Loc® Sport system enables you to quickly and easily dial in your fit. Moreover, the helmet offers excellent coverage along the back of the head, and its lightweight in-mold construction makes it a nice pairing for XC-style trails. This helmet is a great option for those just getting into the sport or riders that stick mostly to non-technical terrain.
3. POC Octal X SPIN
Weight: 9.4 oz.
Pros: Low weight
Cons: The price
The POC Octal X Helmet has been created to suit the needs of XC mountain biking. It features great ventilation and low weight, along with having a unibody shell construction and aerodynamic efficiency. The extended helmet shell covers the helmet liner to give enhanced strength with barely any increase in weight. The helmet has an eye garage to keep your sunglasses.
4. Troy Lee Designs A1
Weight: 12.6 oz.
Pros: Very comfortable design
Cons: Ventilation falls short of the newer A2
While the A2 above has overtaken the A1 on our list, the original Troy Lee Designs is still one of the best mountain biking helmets on the market. Troy Lee Designs A1 is one of the best mountain bike helmets you can find out there. you It features high-quality, plush padding that holds up well over the long-term and plenty of coverage for all-mountain riding. The helmet offers comfort and it has a reinforced polycarbonate shell that is in-molded with the EPS liner that extends down the sides and back of the head for maximum protection and durability.
5. Smith Forefront 2 MIPS
Weight: 13.4 oz.
Pros: Comfortable fit
Cons: Not so good ventilation
The helmet’s design combines layers of EPS foam and Koroyd—a unique material that looks like a bunch of plastic straws glued together. This improves the absorbing low-speed impacts. In addition the cutouts help make the Forefront among the lightest all-mountain lids on the market. The helmet provides a VaporFit adjustable fit system. For added protection, Koroyd has been extended into the back of the helmet to now fully encompass the helmet.
6. Troy Lee Designs Stage MIPS
Weight: 24 oz.
Pros: Excellent protection
The Stage MIPS is one of the lightest certified full-face helmets out there. It features 25 well-placed vents, a MIPS liner and a magnetic Fidlock system that makes buckling quick and easy. The liner contains silver X-Static® fibers to help prevent the growth of odor-causing microbes in the fabric. The Stage MIPS has extra interior pads to help customize the fit.
7. Smith Convoy MIPS
Weight: 11 oz.
Pros: The price
Cons: The comfort
Smith Convoy MIPS is a great helmet that provides decent ventilation with a total of 20 large vents, and includes a MIPS liner. The VaporFit adjustable fit system combines aerodynamic performance and cooling airflow. Each VaporFit system has a full 5cm of rotary adjustability; the system can be moved up/down or forward/backward at the attachment points.
8. Kali Protectives Maya 2.0
Weight: 12.7 oz.
Cons: Annoying two-piece fit system
This helmet is a full-blown Enduro helmet that showcases many of Kali’s premiere protection technologies. Kali’s Composite Fusion Plus Technology utilizes a core of multi-density conical shaped foam structures that assist dissipate energy while an outer layer of super-soft density foam acts as a crumple zone for your head. The 12 vents with internal channeling offer ample ventilation on hot days and the moto-inspired visor will keep the sun out of your eyes.
9. Bontrager Blaze WaveCel
Weight: 15.5 oz.
Cons: The weight
The Blaze is one of the most comfortable helmets on the market, the magnetic Fidlock system found on the chinstrap is very user-friendly, and the included Blendr accessory mount makes using a light or action camera a seamless experience.
Boa® closure system allows you easily secure and adjust your fit with just 1 hand. AgION antimicrobial pads wick away moisture and inhibit the growth of odor-causing bacteria. Additional NoSweat pad with silicone channel keeps sweat out of your eyes.
10. Leatt DBX 3.0 All-Mountain
Weight: 12.7 oz.
Cons: The price
This wonderful helmet features a large and adjustable visor, a great ventilation system, and all-day comfort from the deep, cushy interior. Combining the 360 ° Turbine Technology and Armourgel® cushioning material, it will carry you safely across any terrain. These technologies deliver premium protection and give you the confidence to push limits. Fidlock magnetic closure system offers precise custom fitting with the turn of a dial. Moisture-wicking, breathable, anti-odor and washable liner uses zinc pyrithion to ensure a sanitary and comfortable ride, every time.
The Cross country or XC helmet tends to be lighter and more open. The type of helmet is more vented than the other types of mountain bike helmets. Sometimes, people mistakenly pinpoint it as an enduro helmet while the huge difference is in its ventilation system. XC helmets are more open to give the perfect ventilation. It is also more lightweight.
All-mountain bike helmet has more coverage on its part. It comes with the peaks to keep the sun or rain out of your eyes. Well, the design does make sense because it is specially created for multiple mountain bike disciplines such as cross country, trail riding, Enduro or all-mountain, downhill, freeride, and dirt jumping. If you are not yet specifying your discipline, or perhaps wanting to explore all of the disciplines before determining one, you could use this All-mountain bike helmet. All-mountain helmet is the most versatile amongst all types. You can use it for multiple purposes.
For extreme chasers, you cannot go wrong with the Downhill mountain bike helmet. In downhill discipline, the key to solid performance is speed and extreme. Therefore, you will need to cope with the speed and hard imp[acts. In this case, you will need a full face helmet to completely protect your head. Downhill mountain bike helmets usually come with extra padding and wrap to protect you from heavy impacts. The good helmet for extreme activities are the models which come with MIP protection. We’d go down with it in the next point.
The weight of the helmet is also an important aspect to consider. You must choose the helmet which is not too light, or not too heavy. The typical mountain bike helmet weights can be around 28 to 32 pounds at max. Lighter helmet is usually better if you are doing all-mountain or cross-country missions because you will need more endurance with adequate protection. But for the extreme ones, you could use a heavier helmet. There’s a good reason for this. Most of the downhill mountain bike helmet comes with extra padding. That explains why these helmets tend to be heavier than their brothers.
Helmet ventilation is the key to your game. The ventilation ports in the helmet will help the bikers to draw the air and breathe out to the right exit points. But there’s an important part besides the in and out points: the convection. The convection has the cooling effect which is the supportive key to the endurance of the biker. If you are looking for endurance, consider picking the helmet with the larger front vents. But in some cases, it might hinder your speed because of the g-force in the denser foamed helmet. In a nutshell, larger ventilators are not always better.
The fit of the helmet is altogether with safety and comfort. When it comes to the helmet fit, it will be down to the personal choice, rather than authorized tests. Some helmets fit might be better for your friends, but not yours. So, how to find out the best helmet fit for you? First things first, make sure that the helmet is in contact with your entire head, just above the brow. Make sure that you have clear vision when wearing the helmet. The ring system in the helmet should be tight enough, but not make you uncomfortable.
Consider to choose the models with multiple height adjustments to make a more appropriate tuned fit. Also, consider checking the straps of the helmet.
While it is a great idea to check the helmets physically when visiting a brick-and-mortar store, you could also get the best helmet from an online store. But when you purchase online, make sure to double check the measurements. The last thing you want is that you receive too small or too large a helmet at your home.
Padding and Comfort
The padding quality is the key to the safety and comfort of the mountain bike helmet. In common cases, the more padding will reduce the acceleration and impacts to the head. When a helmet is able to reduce the acceleration to the head, it will reduce the risks of concussion when the greater impacts happen. As much as important is safety, the padding can also give comfort to your head. Wearing a helmet does not necessarily make you inconvenient, right?
Helmet Safety: MIPS, SPIN, Turbines
There are some helmet safety systems that you need to comprehend: MIPS, SPIN, and Turbines. What do they mean?
MIPS is a thin layer of material which is placed between your head and your helmet. This layer gives slight flexibility in your helmet to allow it rotating when your head receives an impact while wearing your helmet. The slip plane system in the MIPS will protect your head from impact.
When it comes to the mountain bike activity, you will be challenged with various impacts and forces. One of the most significant forces to consider is the rotational force on your brain. Therefore, you’d like to pick a helmet with SPIN. The SPIN system is easy to understand. It uses the pads on the interior to reduce the rotational force medley.
Turbine Technology uses the system which inserts the circular flexible pads into the liner of the helm. The turbines are distributed through the liner. The main objective of this safety system is to absorb the impact maximally and prevent the conclusion. It also helps to reduce the rotational forces around the brain.
Mountain Bike Helmets Price Guide
If you are serious with your mountain bike interests, you need to spare anything between $100 to $350. The good news is that most of the types of helmets come within this price range.