What’s the Best Mountain Bike Helmet for You?

Mountain biking is downright fun. It’s also a great way to bond with your family and friends while staying fit and healthy.

But you don’t just think about where you’ll ride or what bike you’ll use. You also need to think about your safety especially that mountain biking means that you ride only on two wheels off-road.

There’s so much that can happen to you. You can crash on a tree or after you hit a huge rock. You can even slide when you cross a slippery root or muddy trail. And what happens when you fall off your bike? Well, there’s a huge chance you’ll hit your head and get head injuries.

This is very dangerous especially that your head is where your brain is. It’s your body’s command center, which is why you need to take good care of it and protect it at all costs.

That’s where mountain bike helmets come in.

This is a huge and basic requirement when biking because you’re putting your head at risk. They might be a bit pricey and a bit uncomfortable at first. But you’ll get the hang of it later. You’ll even notice sooner or later that it’s weird to bike if you’re not wearing any helmet!

So, what’s the best mountain bike helmet for you? And what are the top brands and things you should consider when choosing one?

That’s what we’ll discuss in this article. We’ll also share some tips on how you can choose the right kind of helmet for your riding discipline and style.

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Giro Fixture Recreational

Giro is one of the top brands when it comes to mountain biking helmets. One of their helmets that proves that is the Giro Fixture Recreational. It features a stylish design that adapts to your mountain biking wear.

It also has a breezy ventilation design with 18 vents that lets air in through it. This goes well with its compact design that is made to protect your head when you go over the bars of your bike.

The other standout features of this helmet are its in-mold construction and Roc Loc Sport fit system.

The in-mold construction provides added protection and absorbs the impact when you crash. Meanwhile, the Roc Loc Sport system ensures that the helmet is the right fit. There are three color options to choose from. These are gray, black, and lime, all of which are in matte textures.

Pros

  • It is very breathable. Your head won’t accumulate hot air because it has 18 vents.
  • It’s also lightweight.
  • The simple and minimalist design looks nice and clean.

Cons

  • It doesn’t have MIPS technology. This makes it not very safe when crashing.
  • It’s only for light trail riding because of the amount of protection it has.

Troy Lee Designs A2

Troy Lee Designs is a top mountain bike gears brand that designs some of the most stylish and durable mountain bike helmets. One of their best-selling helmets is the Troy Lee Designs A2 MIPS.

This is designed for light and aggressive trail riding, which makes it easy for riders to go uphills and ride downhills as fast as they can without compromising safety. It features an excellent venting system that promotes airflow around your head.

It also has the popular MIPS technology which absorbs impact by rotating the inner lining when you crash. Unlike the A1, the A2 has 16% more coverage on the frontal area and 25% more airflow.

The visor also has a breakaway design that goes well with its semi-adjustable strap and low-profile design.

These ensure that it perfectly fits anyone regardless of their head shape. It comes in various colorways, with black, gray, green, lime, silver, and navy being some of the most popular ones.

Pros

  • The sleek and low-profile design is very stylish.
  • It’s very comfortable to wear because of its perfect and adaptive fitting.

Cons

  • It’s a bit pricey for a half-shell helmet.

Bell Super 3R

Bell is another top bicycle helmet brand that has been around for decades. And a popular mountain biking helmet they’ve got in store is the Bell Super 3R.

It’s what you need if you want a lightweight full-face helmet that can protect your head and jaw when riding enduro trails. It features no-twist tri-glides and XT2 padding. These provide a quick-adjust fastening system with quick-drying materials made from silver fibers.

It also has MIPS which reduces rotational forces upon impact. But what sets this apart from other full-face helmets is its removable chin bar.

You can remove this when you’re going uphill, and then attach it back when going downhill. It even has an adjustable visor system and a breakaway action camera mount. There are 4 brow ports and 6 chin bar vents on this helmet.

Pros

  • It is very breathable because of its many vents and removable chin guard.
  • This is one of the lightest full-face helmets as it only weighs 784 grams.

Cons

  • There are a lot of exposed areas on this one, compared to other full-face helmets.
  • There’s also a truckload of fake helmets that copy the design of the Bell Super 3R.

POC Ventral Air Spin

Then there’s the POC Ventral Air Spin. This is one of the best mountain bike helmets, but unlike the previous helmets reviewed because this one’s specifically designed for cross-country riding. In other words, it’s for uphills. If you’re into XC or long rides or want a road helmet and aren’t fond of enduro or downhill trails, then this one’s for you.

The Ventral Air Spin draws inspiration from POC’s other best-selling helmets like the Ventral and Octat. But this has a better aerodynamic design and ventilation which makes it ideal for cross-country races.

It has a fully-wrapped unibody shell, a SPIN rotational impact system, and an EPS foam liner. This helmet features a whopping 15 ventilation ports that combine with its internal air channels. It even has a dial adjustment system at its rear.

Pros

  • It is an aerodynamic helmet that lessens drag and makes you go faster.
  • It’s very light, weighing only 280 grams.

Cons

  • It’s a great choice if you’re into cross-country races and road cycling long rides.
  • It doesn’t provide great protection because there’s no visor and very little coverage at the back.
  • It’s also expensive for a cross-country helmet.

Smith Engage

The Smith Engage is another half-shell trail helmet that is a great choice if you want a good-looking helmet that provides great protection.

It’s one of the best mountain bike helmets because it’s a nice pick if you’re into half-shells with low-profile designs. The Engage features Smith’s VaporFit fit system that provides a 270-degree fit adjustment via its dial. This provides a comfortable and personalized fit.

It also has the new tech standard for helmets, MIPS. This slides 10 mm to 15 mm in all directions to reduce rotational motion and protect the brain during impact.

The coverage extends to the back of the head, but it is still breathable because it has an AirEvac ventilation system that has 21 vents. The visor can also be adjusted into 3 positions.

And it only weighs just 12 ounces.

Pros

  • It provides excellent safety features thanks to its MIPS system.
  • Smith’s VaporFit system gives a perfect fit regardless of your head shape and head size.
  • This can easily be adjusted by using the back dial.

Cons

  • The design is a bit too simple and minimalistic. It also just comes in three colors, black, cinder, and white.

Troy Lee Designs A1

The Troy Lee Designs A1 is very similar to the previously reviewed A2 variant. But this caters to beginner mountain bikers because of its entry-level price and features.

Nonetheless, it’s still one of the lightest, safest, and well-designed half-shell helmets in the market. This makes it a nice choice if you want to look cool and stay safe when riding your favorite trails or bike park and follow the safety standards.

It features eight intake vents that draw in cool air, as well as another 8 rear outlets that serve as an exhaust for warm air.

This has an adjustable retention system that can be positioned into three positions. The visor design also draws inspiration from motorcycle helmets. It’s also made from anodized aluminum hardware. This is also the reason why it is called one of the best mountain bike helmets.

Pros

  • It’s one of the most stylish-looking half-shell helmets in the market.
  • The design is very sleek and makes you look cool and hip and safe thanks to its slip-plane liner and density foam retention system
  • It’s affordable and has a way lower price compared to its similar-looking A2 and A3 variants.

Cons

  • It doesn’t provide maximum protection for enduro and downhill riding.

POC Axion Spin

Here comes another POC helmet, the Axion Spin. You’ll find this trail riding helmet product as a great choice if you are into trail and cross-country riding and want a breathable helmet that promotes airflow and maximum head protection, and also has a simple yet stylish design.

POC designed this as an enduro helmet, but it works best for light trails because of its low-profile structure. However, it’s very breathable, lightweight, and provides a comfortable fit thanks to its 360-degree adjustment system and SPIN protective technology that features POC’s silicone pad system.

It also has a breakaway visor that directly snaps off the main shell upon impact. This also has an integrated 360-degree adjustment system that provides a comfortable and secure fit, making this one of the best mountain bike helmets in the market.

Pros

  • It’s one of the lightest trail and enduro mountain bike helmets, weighing only 10.4 ounces.
  • The helmet comes in a minimalistic design with various color options such as lead blue, fluorescent yellow, pink, black, and white.

Cons

  • The chin strap is a bit short. It’d be better if it became longer to accommodate larger heads.

Fox Speedframe

Fox Speedframe is another contender to the best mountain bike helmets, not only because of its brand but also because of its safety features and design.

This is a top pick for riders who are into aggressive trail riding because of its stylish visor and MIPS technology that protects your brain against impact while reducing rotational motion and pressure points.

It also has dual-density Varizorb EPS that provides added protection by scattering the forces of impact so it isn’t directed in one area. But what’s best about it is the Fidlock SNAP buckle that gives you a quick and secure way to snap the buckle using its magnetic system.

Pros

  • Its magnetic strap is very convenient because it makes buckling very easy.
  • The design is very stylish and elegant. It’s an ideal half-shell helmet for aggressive enduro riding.
  • It provides large coverage which protects the frontal and rear end of your head.

Cons

  • It’s a bit heavy as it weighs 14 ounces.
  • The large visors can block your vision a bit.

Bell Nomad

Bell is another top brand when it comes to mountain bike helmets. And one of the best-selling trail-oriented helmets is the Bell Nomad.

This is what you need if you’re looking for a lightweight and breathable helmet you can use on light to moderate trails. It’s made from a fusion in-mold polycarbonate shell and is equipped with MIPS liner technology for utmost protection. This is also called a multi-directional impact protection system.

It also has Bell’s proprietary all rights reserved Ergo-Fit feature which improves the dial’s feel and function. You don’t even have to worry about adjusting the buckle because it has a quick-adjust fastener that keeps the straps flat and positioned correctly. You’ll also find a stylish-looking visor on this one that’ll surely make you look cooler on whatever bike you have, be it a Santa Cruz or Nukeproof.

There are 15 vents on this helmet. You can also choose between the black, blue, red, and gray color options.

Pros

  • The fit is comfortable and is breathable. It doesn’t feel awkward.
  • You can easily adjust its fit using its quick-adjust fasteners.

Cons

  • The padding is a bit too thin, which provides less cushion on crashes.
  • The color options are very limited and only come in common flat colors.

Troy Lee Designs Stage Born From Paint

Here come Troy Lee Designs with another mountain bike helmet. But this time around, it’s going to be a full-face helmet made solely for enduro. The Troy Lee Design Stage is one of the most popular enduro full-face mountain bike helmets today because of its design, protection, and looks.

This one’s for you if you’re an enduro rider who wants to wear a full-face helmet, but don’t want to compromise breathability and comfort. What sets this Stage helmet apart is its design theme and colorway which is done manually in the TLD Paint Shop.

It is made from polylite shell construction supported by fiber reinforcement. It also has 11 intake ports and 14 vents as well as a Fidlock buckle system. You’ll also find 2 liner options and 3 sets of cheek pads and two neck rolls for the perfect fit.

Pros

  • It is a very versatile helmet because its full face structure means you can use it both for enduro and downhill.
  • It also has Fidlocks straps that close magnetically.
  • The design is one of the coolest-looking shapes in the mountain bike helmet market.

Cons

  • Its many vents and exhaust points expose the head.
  • This mountain bike helmet has a high price tag, especially that it’s made by Troy Lee Designs.

POC Tectal Race Spin

The POC Tectal Race Spin is an elegant half-shell helmet that’s made specifically for trail riding. It’s the go-to helmet for mountain bikers who want to stay as light and cool as possible when handling uphills and thrashing light to moderate downhill trails.

It features an adjustable visor, a goggles clip, and an integrated RECCO reflector that makes it easy for people to locate you. It also has SPIN protection which has a shearing pad inside the helmet. It’s also one of the lightest choices out there as it only weighs less than a pound.

The Tectal Race Spin even has a strap adjustment system that gives a secure and precise fit. Furthermore, you’ll find an EPS liner inside of it which adds an extra foam layer of support to focus on a safe helmet that is at the right price point.

Pros

  • It is very breathable and keeps your head cool.
  • This one’s very lightweight as it only weighs 12 ounces.
  • It is specifically designed for trail and enduro riding.

Cons

  • It’s pricey because again, it’s from POC.

BELL Super Air

The Bell Super Air is another noteworthy option for an enduro racer who is looking to go down downhill and enduro trails.

The Super Air is a half-shell helmet made specifically for aggressive mountain bike trail riding. It’s made from a fusion polycarbonate shell and has a progressive layering that features an EPS foam liner.

It also has the now-standard impact protection system MIPS liners to better absorb impacts during crashes. This is also commonly referred to as a multi-directional impact protection system.

Furthermore, the Super Air has a float fit and sweat guide that provides a lightweight fitting system that ensures you wear it comfortably. It even has overbrowed ventilation, adjustable visors, and an integrated action camera mount. You’ll find 18 vents on this helmet, making this great for riding trails on mountain bikes.

Pros

  • It has a very secure fit. It doesn’t rattle even if it’s loosely worn.
  • This has an impact protection system MIPS technology which is very good in terms of protecting you from crashes.

Cons

  • The design is a bit off because it looks like a cross-country enduro trail helmet hybrid.

Troy Lee Designs D3

The Troy Lee Designs D3 is what you need if you want a downhill-focused mountain bike helmet that provides the maximum amount of protection needed.

It is a mountain bike helmet that is specifically designed for hyper-aggressive downhill races and dirt jumps. But even if this is fully covered, it still is lightweight thanks to its fiberglass shell that sheds off weight. It also has 3D cheek pads that secure the helmet comfortably on your face.

It also has a full spectrum adjustable visor that is easily adjustable. This is very effective in blocking the sun’s heat and branches out from your way. It also has 20 vents that keep your head cool, as well as a drawstring helmet sock storage bag for transportation when you are going to a race event or a weekend ride event.

Pros

  • It provides the maximum amount of protection compared to all the other mountain bike helmets reviewed.
  • This mountain bike helmet is also ideal for downhill use because of its fully covered full-face structure.

Cons

  • It’s a bit heavy as it weighs 41 ounces.
  • It is a bit hard to breathe on this one because of its enclosed jaw guard.

Conclusion

So, what’s the best mountain bike helmet for you?

Well, there’s no one single answer to this because it all depends on you. You need to factor in your chosen mountain biking discipline, riding style, and personal preferences.

It’s all about weighing things out and compromising one feature to another so that it will perfectly fit your own choices.

Just remember to always be cautious of the brand, the safety, design, aesthetics, and most importantly, the price tag. Never settle for less because mountain bike helmets protect your brain. You can’t get another brain or head if it gets damaged. But you can always buy another mountain bike helmet.

Related:

Is Mountain Biking Dangerous?

How to Make a Mountain Bike Faster

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AUTHOR
Jomar Teves
A writer by day, a tech enthusiast by night, and a mountain biker at the weekends. After four years in business school and working for multinational clients, Jomar believes he can improve the world through his writings. Jomar has six years of experience as a writer and has a degree in entrepreneurial marketing. Some of his works have been published on Blokt, Clutch Points, and iTech.