Every cyclist knows the value of a safe helmet, but you don’t have to invest $200 to $300 to get top safety features in a lid. Here at Road Bike Rider, we think the most important feature of a helmet is protecting your head. So we’ve rounded up this list of bicycle helmets that meet or exceed the bar in safety, without breaking the bank. These helmets might not be the lightest or the most aerodynamic, but they are inexpensive and safe.
Do you ride with one of these helmets? If so, leave a comment and let us know what you think of it.
One feature to look for in a helmet is the MIPS yellow dot. MIPS stands for Multi-Directional Impact Protection System. In a nutshell, the majority of head injuries are not linear, they are angled or rotational blows, which cause more damage to brain tissue. MIPS provides a small 10-15mm leeway layer that takes most of the rotational impact of a fall. To learn more about MIPS, visit their website at https://mipsprotection.com/. MIPS has really taken off in the last few years as a safety feature, and we are believers.
Another key safety feature to look for in a lid is the CPSC sticker. CPSC stands for Consumer Product Safety Commission, and they conduct rigorous testing on many consumer products to ensure our safety. When it comes to helmets, it’s legally required for them to pass CPSC testing, so don’t buy or wear one without the CPSC sticker on it. To learn more about the tests safe cycling helmets go through, visit the CPSC’s page about cycling helmet testing here: https://www.cpsc.gov/Business–Manufacturing/Business-Education/Business-Guidance/Bicycle-Helmets
Each helmet on this list sports a CPSC sticker and is also a MIPS model.
Bell Draft MIPS
Bell’s Draft helmet features 25 vents for cooling airflow and a one-handed dial system for convenient fit adjustments. It weighs 299g and rings up for about $60 suggested manufacturer price.
Learn more and see reviews on Amazon.
Bell Formula MIPS
With 18 vents and weighing 285g, Bell’s Formula helmet is quite light! It sports a “float fit” system with a dial for fit adjustments. It also features a sweat guide pad liner to keep the sweat out of your eyes. At $85 for the suggested manufacturer price, you can’t go wrong.
Learn more and see reviews on Amazon.
Specialized Echelon II MIPS
This lid’s biggest perk may be ANGi compatibility. Developed by Specialized and sold separately at $50, ANGi is a sensor paired with your phone that can monitor your rides, track speed, location, and crashes, and notify emergency contacts in the event of a crash or accident when the speed or rotational forces exceed a certain limit. To read more about ANGi, check out the Specialized page here: https://www.specialized.com/us/en/stories/angi.
At $90, the Echelon II helmet also features an adjustable Headset SL II with six height positions at the touch of a dial. Its 4th Dimension Cooling System provides ventilation and its reflective decals will increase visibility during low-light conditions.
Giro Isode MIPS
Giro’s Isode helmet is one-size fits all with 22 vents to keep you cool. Fit adjustments can be made with one hand using its Roc Loc Sport system. This helmet is the most inexpensive on this list, coming in at around $50 suggested manufacturer pricing.
Giro Register MIPS
Another universal fit helmet from Giro, the Register has a removable visor and 22 vents. This is another inexpensive helmet at around $55 suggested manufacturer pricing.
Giro Foray MIPS
The Foray from Giro has a Roc Loc 5 fit system for two-way adjustments. For ventilation, it sports 21 vents and comes in at $85 suggested manufacturer price.
Bern FL1 Pave MIPS
At 248g, Bern’s FL1 Pave helmet is on the lighter side. It features a Boa 360 degree retention system and is around $119.99 suggested manufacturer price.
Lazer Blade+ MIPS
Lazer’s Blade+ helmet has more features for $100 suggested manufacturer pricing than many other helmets. It has a Rollsys® retention system, a “ponytail-friendly” top- mounted fit system, Rear LED Light, and is Lazer Aeroshell compatible. You can upgrade this lid for strap-free heartrate monitoring since it’s also Lazer LifeBEAM compatible. It has 22 vents and weighs 265g.
Garneau Raid MIPS
This Raid helmet from Garneau weighs 315g. With 14 vents and its X-Static® XT2T padding, you’ll be kept cool and dry. The Raid visor has three adjustable positions, and this helmet’s Spiderlock® Pro MTB adjustment system also allows you to control both horizontal and vertical fit. Its Tri Glide PRO adjustment will help keep straps from tangling. This lid is priced at $119.99 suggested by the manufacturer.
Nutcase Midnight Black MIPS
This commuter helmet from Nutcase, Midnight Black has suggested manufacturer pricing of around $60. Its cloth visor is removable and it features a Fidlock® magnetic buckle as well as a reflective dial adjustable fit system. It has 10 vents, but also sports a CoolControl™ vent system for added cooling. Its straps from 3M™ are reflective for extra visibility.
Bontrager Solstice MIPS
The Bontrager Solstice helmet has a one-handed Headmaster adjustable fit for both height and width. It weighs about 310-350g and has a built-in brim and LockDown dividers for easy adjustability for straps. It is another inexpensive helmet with $54.99 suggested manufacturer pricing.
One neat things about this helmet is its Crash Replacement Guarantee, which provides for a replacement if you get in a crash within the first year of purchase. A second neat thing is Bontrager’s support for PeopleForBikes! $1 from every Bontrager helmet sale goes to PeopleForBikes, whose mission is to create a bike-friendly nation.
Bontrager Starvos MIPS
Another helmet from Bontrager, the Starvos is around $99.99 suggested manufacturer pricing. Featuring a Crash Replacement Guarantee, its reflective parts on the rear will help prevent need of the guarantee due to added visibility. Weighing 265-340g, it also features a Boa® System and FlatLock dividers to keep straps easily managed.
Smith Portal MIPS
Smith’s Portal helmet weighs 300g and features VaporFit adjustability, 18 vents, and AirVac ventilation to keep you cool. It also sports XT2 anti-bacterial padding. Smith’s Portal goes for around $110 suggested manufacturer pricing.
Giant Rev Comp MIPS
Coming in at $85 suggested manufacturer pricing, Giant’s Rev Comp helmet is Numen+ Link TL magnetic light mount compatible! Its LiteForm™ webbing can be counted on for added comfort and security, and claims to be anti-absorbent so it won’t absorb or stretch the way some other webbing does. This helmet has 14 vents and a Cinch Pro fit system. For extra resistance against bacteria, its TransTextura Plus™ anti-microbial padding will wick sweat away from your head and out of the vents.