June 18, 2024


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Best Bike Helmets 2022

10 min read


If one good thing came out of the pandemic, it was that interest in cycling exploded. Whether biking to work to escape crowded public transit or riding laps in the park to avoid indoor gyms, Americans hit the streets in huge numbers—cycling to stay fit, have fun, and get to their destination in a more eco-conscious manner. And while fancy pants spandex are optional, helmets are mandatory cycling gear, regardless of your riding experience. After all, we’re talking about critical life saving equipment, so you should want the best bike helmet on your head whenever you get on a bike.

Even cautious riders can experience an accident while riding in a bike lane, park path or on county road. And helmets are the best way to keep safe from the unexpected. Just about any helmet is better than no helmet—assuming you’re purchasing a helmet that meets the latest safety certifications—but not all helmets are not created equally. Typically, the more expensive the helmet, the better the design (for instance, more premium helmets often include an aerodynamic design with loads of vents to keep your head cool). But aside from price, you should consider the style of riding you’ll be doing before choosing a dome protector. For instance, will you need a folding helmet that’s easy to stash when you’re not riding?

Want to learn about the most important considerations and safety technology when shopping for a helmet? Curious about what that “MIPS” reference is several product reviews? Wondering if there’s a difference between men’s and women’s helmets? Scroll down to the very end of the article for some thoughts from a cycling expert.

Finally, whether you’re a recreational rider on an electric bike, a casual commuter seeking something stylish, a roadie wanting an aerodynamic and highly-ventilated design or a serious mountain biker who needs a helmet that can handle rugged trails, here are 9 of the best bicycle helmets you can buy right now.

Best Commuter Bike Helmet

Stylish, Affordable Helmet For Your Commute

Weight: 428 grams (Medium) | Vents: 13 | Sizes: Small 51-57 cm; Medium 54-60 cm; Large 58-63 cm

Bontrager (that’s Trek’s aftermarket brand) is one of the most well-respected cycling brands in the world, so it’s no surprise it is behind the brand’s WaveCel technology, with development and testing partially funded by the National Institute for Health (NIH). According to helmet safety testing conducted by Virginia Tech, WaveCel earned a five-star rating (the highest level) from Virginia Tech University’s helmet testing facility.

Though this stylish commuter helmet provides top of the line protection, it’s price point is relatively affordable, giving riders serious bang for their buck. Moisture-wicking pads keep your head cool and dry and prevent sweat (and sunblock) from dripping into your eyes while riding. The helmet also comes with a crash replacement guarantee that provides a free helmet replacement if it’s involved in a crash within the first year of ownership.

Bontrager’s BOA Fit System allows you to easily secure and adjust helmet fit with just one hand, a thoughtful improvement on older helmet designs that require both hands to fiddle around for the perfect fit. The helmet also utilizes a Fidlock magnetic buckle that quickly and easily fastens the helmet strap, which can also be customized for the perfect fit. Though most brands of bike lights and accessories are compatible with most bikes, if you prefer to have a light on your helmet, the rear Blendr mount system easily integrates Bontrager light accessories directly onto the helmet.

“The Bontrager Charge WaveCel feels surprisingly light… I hardly noticed it,” said one enthusiastic buyer. Indeed, as much as we all should and need to wear helmets while riding, it’s nice to sometimes forget that you even have one on.


  • Affordable
  • Excellent buckle mechanism


  • Somewhat heavy
  • Limited color options available

Best Budget Helmet for Recreational Cyclists

Urban-Designed Helmet For Recreational Riding

Weight: 538 grams (Medium) | Vents: 11 | Sizes: Small 52-56cm; Medium 56-60cm; Large 60-64cm

With vibrant graphics like racing stripes, lightning bolts, polka dots and a slew of appealing, poppy colors, Nutcase’s helmets are right on point when it comes to fun style. While a bit on the heavier side—with a shell made from ABS rather than polycarbonate—these helmets still offer the safety of MIPS technology, along with injection-molded construction with protective foam, three-piece padding with a dial to adjust the fit and a visor brim.

You should also expect good airflow and a magnetic buckle that secures the strap. “Fits, is cool and comfortable,” said one recent reviewer. “I love the magnetic closure.”


  • Affordable
  • Many colors and pattern options


  • Fairly heavy
  • Some riders prefer a more traditional-looking helmet

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Best Luxury Helmets For Road Cyclists

Seriously Lightweight And Well-Ventilated Road Helmet

Weight: 269 grams (Medium) | Vents: 11 | Sizes: Small 51-55cm; Medium 55-59cm; Large 59-63cm

The Aether is Giro’s top cycling helmet that one-ups its popular Synthe model, with an excellent lineup of features that many customers say makes it well worth the price. For starters, it improves upon standard MIPS design by nixing the plastic strip plane and using technology that integrates protection between layers of EPS foam. The result is a lighter helmet that’s arguably more comfortable.

One important part of the design is an arch that runs across the top of the helmet for added structural reinforcement. The six-piece polycarbonate shell has wide air vents in between, plus deep channels inside to maximize airflow, and the fit can be customized in three directions, including one that lifts the helmet slightly off the head for better cooling. In addition to the helmet’s exceptional venting and top-of-the-line safety features, it also has useful features like a super-adjustable fit system and sunglass ports to keep your shades in place when you’re not wearing them.

“I previously owned a Giro Synthe which I was very happy with,” said one five-star reviewer. “This is a great upgrade with an excellent fit and nice breathability.” 

“Exceptionally good helmet that is by far the most beautiful design I have ever owned,” said another satisfied customer. For another high-end helmet with similar features that’s a bit more affordable, check out the Giro Helios.


  • Extremely lightweight
  • Very well-ventilated


Best Overall Bike Helmets For Road Cyclists

Ultralight Road Helmet With Innovative Crash-Detection Tech

Weight: 260 grams (Medium) | Vents: 34 | Sizes: Small 51-56cm; Medium 55-59cm; Large 59-63cm

This smart helmet from Specialized is designed with technology that can detect a crash and notify your emergency contacts, complete with GPS coordinates of the incident. This impressive feature, called ANGi (which stands for angular and g-force indicator) is activated pre-ride via the Specialized phone app (available for both iPhone and Android). And it isn’t the brand’s only calling card: Specialized is also unmatched when it comes to producing helmets with exceptional airflow.

The Prevail II boasts a whopping 34 vents for cooling and only weighs 260 grams, or just over a half a pound. Part of the reason it’s so lightweight is because, like the Giro Aether, it also improves upon standard MIPS by integrating the technology into the helmet’s padding and eliminating the plastic strip plane. Other notable pros include brow pad with a gutter to keep sweat away from the eyes and dial to adjust height for a perfect fit. 

“For me, this helmet fits like no other I’ve tried,” said a buyer who gave the helmet five stars. “Not only does it have MIPS but it achieves this without the yellow plastic insert found in most helmets and the pad set they designed for it is excellent. Since I often ride alone, I’m pleased to have ANGI along with me… There are cheaper options out there but I think the value that is being delivered in this helmet justifies the price.”


  • GPS and crash detection
  • Very lightweight and well-ventilated


  • Limited color options
  • Somewhat expensive

Best Overall Bike Helmet For Mountain Biking

Lightweight Mountain Biking Helmet With Crash Protection Tech

Weight: 365 grams (Medium) | Vents: 13 | Sizes: XS 50-55cm; Small 51-57cm; Medium 54-60cm; Large 58-63cm; X-Large 60-66cm

While all cyclists, from casual commuters to renegade roadies, need to protect their domes while riding, mountain bikers need a specific type of protection. Whether you’re blasting through gnarly a singletrack or charging down steep hills and forested trails, the Bontrager Blaze WaveCel will provide all the protection you need from potential crashes while the sturdy visor helps keep rain, mud, and wayward branches out of your eyes.

Like all WaveCel helmets, Bontrager’s patented cellular structure lines the inside of the helmet and collapses on impact so that the helmet absorbs the impact and not your head. The top of the helmet has an attachment to mount a light, which is especially helpful when riding trails because the light follows where your head goes, helping you see everything ahead. You can also mount a GoPro on top of the helmet in case you want to capture all the action on the trails. If that’s not enough, the GoPro camera mount doubles as a screwdriver that can be used to adjust the visor.


  • Light (for a mountain bike helmet)
  • Collapsible crash design


  • Somewhat expensive
  • Some riders have had issues with the chin strap

Best Runner-Up Bike Helmet For Mountain Bikers

Affordable Mountain Bike Helmet With More Sizing Options

Weight: 410 grams (Medium) | Vents: 26 | Sizes: Small 52-56cm; Medium 55-59cm; Large 58-62cm; X-Large 62-65cm

This sharp-looking helmet from Bell is available in an assortment of colors, including an especially striking matte red and black. Along with a polycarbonate shell and in-mold construction, and integrated with MIPS technology just like the Bell Z20, it has the same progressive layering of EPS foam of different densities said to be more effective in handling impact. It also has a dial for precise vertical and width adjustments. Other perks include a visor that adjusts to four positions, an impressive 26 vents for excellent airflow, a sweat pad designed to keep drips off the face and air ports along the brow so goggles won’t fog up.  

“Best on the market,” a five-star reviewer said. “Solid, stable, and balanced feel, making it feel lighter than its actual weight. Great air flow due to design of channeling air vs others with just larger vent openings. Looks cool, as much as an MTB helmet can, sleek and not too bulbous.”


  • Affordable
  • Four sizes for a more precise fit


  • Slightly heavy
  • Less well-ventilated than more expensive models

Best Overall Bike Helmet Under $100

Best Lightweight Helmet On A Budget


Weight: 283 grams (Medium) | Vents: 22 | Sizes: Universal Adult 54-61cm; Universal XL 58-65cm

Even though this helmet comes in universal sizes, it has a fine-tuning fit system that’s similar to other Giro helmets with higher price tags. It’s also a customer favorite, with more than 500 reviewers giving it an average 4.6-star rating. The Register has a polycarbonate shell, in-mold construction and MIPS technology, along with quick-dry padding and reflective strips. And the stylish colors and designs for 2020, including some with tone-on-tone details, give it an expensive-helmet vibe.

“The dial-a-fit system is terrific and so easy to use,” said one enthusiastic five-star buyer. “It took me less than a minute to get the thing out of the box and fitted to my head. The level of protection and safety certification seems as high as you would expect from Giro. Lightweight, good airflow. Affordable with MIPS. Happy with the purchase!”


  • Very affordable
  • Good air flow and ventilation


  • Older model
  • Some riders have had issues with the chin strap

Best Mountain Biking Helmet Under $100

Lightest, Most Affordable Mountain Bike Helmet You’ll Find

Weight: 289 grams (Small/Medium); 326 grams (Medium/Large) | Vents: 17 | Sizes: Small/Medium 51-58cm; Medium/Large 55-61cm

It’s tough to beat a mountain biking helmet that has high-end style, MIPS technology and can single-handedly adjust in circumference and height—for only $45. The Bontrager Solstice is a smart pick all around, with a polycarbonate shell and in-mold construction, plus a removable visor, washable padding and a magnetic buckle closure.

It also has a replacement guarantee if it’s damaged in a crash within a year of purchase. “Great-fitting helmet,” said a five-star reviewer. “Very comfortable at a great price point!”


  • Very affordable
  • Lightweight


  • Limited color options
  • Only two sizes

Best Foldable Helmet

Cutting-Edge Helmet Folds Up When Not In Use

Weight: 445 grams (Medium/Large) | Vents: 22 | Sizes: Small 54-56cm; Medium/Large 56-61cm

Whether you have limited space in your office or apartment or you need something small that you can stash in your backpack while walking around, a foldable helmet just might be the helmet of your dreams. The FEND One helmet is attractive, lightweight, well-ventilated, and most importantly, it collapses to half of its size with a simple sleight of hand. According to FEND, the helmet exceeds US CPSC safety standards for bikes, skateboards and scooters that are traveling under 20mph. In other words, it looks like a non-folding helmet and it’s just as safe as a non-folding helmet but it has this one huge benefit that non-folding helmets lack.


  • Convenient folding design
  • Relatively affordable


  • Somewhat heavy
  • Limited size options

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