What are the best mountain bike helmets worthy of protecting your head? If your riding trails its only a matter of time before you crash and hit your head.
So make sure what you have on your head is going to protect it.
But what should you look for in a helmet? And what factors are most critical?
We took 8 of the most popular models and tested them for durability, protection, comfort, adjust-ability and ventilation.
First lets take a look at the mountain bike helmets, then well talk about how to choose the best one for you.
Here is a feature overview of the helmets with full reviews and our buying guide below.
The 3 Best Mountain Bike Helmets
Mountain Bike Helmet Reviews
The Troy Lee Designs A-1 Helmet is a straight forward option that is designed for optimal protection of your head. The helmet has 16 air vents that move air into, over, and out of the helmet and the CoolMax pads will keep you dry– perfect for riding in hot and humid conditions.
The helmet has wide range of adustability, I was easily able to get a great fit by adjusting the simple cam-lock stabilizer.
The shell of the helmet is constructed with an advanced smoot, polycarbonate, shell material. This simple and effective design is for the mountain biker and cross country rider whose is looking for safety and functionality, instead of extra unwanted features.
Probably the first thing I noticed about the helmet was the design provides full protection of your head, because if it doesn’t do that, what good is it as a helmet?
The A-1 Helmet helmet also provides excellent protection for the back of your head, so if wipe out doing a back flip or just manage to hit the back of your head, you will have full protection.
The padding is minimal compared to other helmets in its class, but the strategic placement and easy adjustability of the pads makes this a non-issue.
As is the case with most helmets we tested, they tend to run tight, so when you measure your head and if your on the borderline of a size, go up to the next size.
The Troy Lee is the best mountain bike helmet for a big head because its the only one with size of extra large.
The helmet felt a little odd compared to other helmets we tested because of the thinner padding but you will come to appreciate the stream lined feel.
Its price point places it square in middle of the pack compared to other helmets tested. In my opinion it is the best mountain bike helmet for the money.
The Giro Feature Mountain Bike Helmet is the perfect blend of protection and performance. This model is deal for trail riding in rough terrain.
You will love Giro’s updated shape that provides more coverage than most other mountain bike helmets.
The In-Form fit system provides maximum stability adjustment, while the adjustable moto-style visor offers additional protection for the eyes.
Giro is well known for making excellent helmets and this model is no exception. The adjustable visor is a nice feature of the helmet keeping the sun out of your eyes.
The wrap around design hugs your head comfortably and not only looks good but provides full protection for your head.
This is a solid helmet with its best features being the 12 effective cooling vents, the light weight design, and the comfortable, secure fit.
The Bell Super 2R Helmet 2015 is a full face, feature packed helmet to keep your head protected on the trails and give you confidence go all out knowing your melon will not get hurt.
This top of the line helmet includes:
- Wraparound Protection with a removable chin bar
- 23 channeled openings,
- 4 Velocity Flow over brow ports,
- 6 chin-bar vents,
- Integrated Breakaway Camera Mount,
- GoggleGuide Adjustable Visor System
- Twin Access Gear Retention system
The helmet is comprised of a Fusion In-Mold Polycarbonate Shell with internal reinforcement– this helmet packs in all the safety features you will ever need, while going above and beyond minimum safety standards.
The Bell Super 2R MTB helmet is a versatile helmet for both recreational rides and extreme trail riding. Its unlike the other helmets tested, it features a modular construction so you can take the chin guard off when not needed, making it two helmets in one. You really get the best of both worlds, a great open face helmet AND the best full face mountain bike helmet.
The wheel adjustment system gives you a custom fit and the option to add in a ‘Go Pro’ camera is a nice added bonus for catching your best rides (or crashes) on video.
Whether you are a pro or just want to ‘look like a pro’—this helmet will do the trick. The Bell Super 2R Helmet is well worth the money and is packed with added features that make it one of the best full face MTB helmets on the market.
One thing to keep in mind is it tends to run a little small to size so if you are borderline in a size, go up to the next size. If you are into more extreme riding then the Bell Super 2R Helmet is your best bet.
How to Choose a Mountain Bike Helmet
Mountain bike helmets are specialized helmets that are designed to protect a bicyclist while riding through rough terrain. They are well ventilated even at low speeds, and are often built with visors to protect riders from mud, rain, and sun.
They are typically made with rear-head coverage, and some options provide full face protection with a wraparound chin bar. These helmets are ideal for downhill mountain biking and park riding. Here are some things to think about when selecting a mountain bike helmet.
What to look for in a Mountain Bike Helmet
There are two styles of mountain bike helmets to consider; the first is the open face design. An open face model resembles a traditional road bike helmet and is typically lightweight, aerodynamic, well-ventilated and provides coverage to the side and back of the head.
Similar to road bike helmets, mountain bike helmets are made with an inner EPS liner, molded or glued to a hard outer plastic shell. Open face helmets are great for versatile riding styles because they can be used for road biking as well.
Full face options are ideal for downhill mountain bike riding or other high speed riding where the risk of injury is increased. Full face styles provide full protection around the head, while shielding the chin, jaw, and cheeks, as well.
These models are heavier than open face designs, though they are made of light, high-tech materials such as carbon fiber. Due to their intricate design, full face helmets are typically more expensive, however, they provide the option of customizing your helmet to include additional safety features, such as neck braces.
All mountain bike helmets must meet the American Society for Testing and Materials, Snell, and/or U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission safety requirements, regardless of the designs, features, or price range.
This allows you to focus on which type of helmet to purchase based on your individual riding needs, as oppose to attempting to discern whether or not the helmet is a generally safe choice. For example, a full face helmet provides more overall protection, but it is not the best option for an individual who wants to ride cross country, or on a single track, due to the limited visibility.
Likewise, an open face option is not ideal for someone participating in extreme sports because the lack of coverage and increased risk of injury require a more comprehensive design.
Finding the Right Fit
The most important factor when choosing your mountain bike helmet should be selecting a model that has a secure fit. The helmet should be snug, but not too tight, and should sit about an inch above your eyebrows. There should also be enough wiggle room on the side to wear goggles or sunglasses as well.
If possible, try on your favorite pair of sunglasses with the helmet you are considering, to make sure they are a good fit. No area of the helmet should be painfully tight, and any area that does not make secure contact with the skull should be supplemented with additional pads or liners.
Most sizes are general and include small, medium, and large options. To determine which size is best for you, measure around the head just above the eyebrows. Record the measurement in inches or centimeters and look for the size range in which your measurement falls.
Overall, when looking for the best mountain biking helmet it is essential to assess what type of riding you will be doing– recreational or extreme adventure. This will influence what type of added features to look for in a helmet.
Always remember that safety comes first—and finding the right fit and style for your needs can save your life. While some models are equipped with additional features and intricate designs, all helmets are certified to provide full protection in the event of an accident. Taking the time to find the right fit and style for your needs is the best decision you can make.
Need a bike rack to take your bike to the trails? Here is my guide to the best bike racks, covering roof racks, trunk mount racks and hitch mounted, ride at night? If so see my bike headlight reviews. Need a quality road bike helmet, see my guide to the best road bike helmets. No matter your riding, you should have a good hydration pack, here are my recommended ones.