A good helmet should always be your first purchase after getting a bike. Though you shouldn’t skimp on protecting your head, affordable helmets are better than ever. But, it may be worth upgrading to a mid-to-high-end helmet that is safer, lighter, and better ventilated. Plus it usually looks cooler.
If you’re ready to upgrade your road or mountain bike helmet, here are some of our favorites.
Best road helmets
Good road helmets are sleek and prioritize weight, ventilation, and aerodynamics. The Limar Air Speed is an affordable aero option that is used by WorldTour teams like Astana and Direct Energie. POC helmets are immensely popular and they provide great crash performance and penetration protection thanks to unibody construction. The outer shell is actually structural and covers the entire helmet like an exoskeleton. If you’re looking for more unique Euro styling, try the lightweight, aerodynamic, and eye-catching Mavic Comete.
Best MTB helmets
Good mountain bike helmets provide extra coverage on the back and sides of the head and ample ventilation for slow climbs. The Mavic Deemax MIPS and POC Axion SPIN are affordable options with safety features that protect your head from rotational impacts and reduce the likelihood of concussion. The higher-end Fox Speedframe Pro and POC Kortal will satisfy enduro and trail riders with goggle compatibility and better impact ratings. For those pushing the limits on gnarly trails, the Fox Dropframe has the most coverage short of a full-face helmet.
If you’re riding a lot, make sure your helmet is a pleasure to wear. You can’t go wrong with any of the above helmet choices, but if you shop elsewhere, I recommend serious cyclists spend around $100-200 for a high-quality helmet. In this price range, you get all the features you need, and for many brands, the top-of-the-line offerings can be had for around $200.
If you’re interested in POC helmets, check out our guide to POC’s full helmet line-up.