By Lars Hundley
Bike helmet technology has rapidly improved over the past five years, but standard helmet testing really hasn’t kept up. The regular old CSPC bike helmet safety standard just tells you if a helmet meets the minimum standards to sell into the US market. That’s all helmets! Meanwhile, new safety features like MIPS have hit the market for bike helmets, but are those helmets actually safer than regular helmets? Or is it just a selling point?
Fortunately, Virginia Tech has designed a new series of tests to definitely rank which helmets they believe are the safest overall. They’ve recently updated their results with several new bike helmets, so we thought we’d cover the 10 safest road specific bike helmets here in case you’re shopping for a new lid. We’ve also covered the safest helmets here previously.
We are writing this in the order starting with the very highest rated helmet first. But all of these helmets were rated 5 star, which is the safest rating that Virginia Tech offers. So don’t be worried that one of these is near the bottom of the list, because every single one of these are a highest ranked 5 star pick!
Lazer Century MIPS bicycle helmet
The Lazer Century MIPS is the best rated road bike helmet that Virginia Tech has tested to date. It comes in many high visibility colors, and has a Twist Cap feature that allows you to change between varying levels of ventilation or improved aerodynamics.
Bontrager Specter Wavecel Helmet
Trek / Bontrager made some bold claims with their new Wavecel helmet technology when they introduced it, and it appears that those claims have some validity since two different Wavecel models appear here in the top rated helmet list. Usually runs around $150.
Bontrager Ballista MIPS aero road helmet
Even without Wavecel, this Bontrager aero road helmet jumped up near the top of the list. Read our full review. Usually runs around $199.
Bell Z20 Mips road bike helmet
Bell’s flagship road bike helmet, which usually costs around $215. Features MIPS, aerodynamic features and plenty of venting. And a 5 star safety rating!
Bontrager XXX Wavecel aero road bike helmet
We were surprised that Virginia Tech gave this one a slightly lower score than the previous Ballista model that doesn’t use Wavecel. But both helmets still have a very high rating. See our full review of the XXX. Usually sells around $299.
Lazer Z1 MIPS road bike helmet
It’s possible to have a helmet that is very light weight and also safe, it turns out! Lazer focused on ventilation and weight with this helmet, with an optional aeroshell.
Specialized Echelon II MIPS bike helmet with ANGI
Finally, Specialized makes an appearance. And guess what, this helmet usually only runs around $90! Also includes compatibility with the new ANGI safety feature from Specialized that can sense and impact and make a call or text on your behalf if you are in an accident and running an app on your phone that allows the system to work.
Rudy Project Racemaster MIPS road bike helmet
Lots of vents and a unique bug stop netting. This is their top of the line helmet that runs around $275.
Lazer Blade+ MIPS road bike helmet
Here’s another great value in a safe bike helmet, from Lazer. It usually runs under $100. 22 vents and MIPS included.
Giro Aether MIPS SP road bike helmet
Giro, where have you been? Finally you appear on the list! This one is expensive though, and usually costs around $350.
You can see the rest of the list directly on the Virgina Tech site, which we also linked to at the beginning of the article.
Do you have experience wearing any of these helmets? What do you think of it? Leave a comment so we can hear from our readers which ones that cyclists actually like to wear.