What are the best road bike helmets worthy of protecting your head? What should you look for in a helmet and what qualities are most critical?
To answer these questions we took 10 of the most popular models and tested them for durability, protection, comfort, adjust-ability and ventilation.
Modern bike helmets now combine style and protection so concern about your appearance shouldn’t be an excuse for neglecting safety. Be sure to check out our reviews of Bike Lights, Bike Racks and if you have small children, Bike Trailers.
First lets take a look at the road bike helmets, then we’ll talk about how to choose the right helmet for you.
- Team Obsidian Cycling Premium Airflow Bike Helmet
- Giro Foray Road Bike Helmet
- Kask Mojito Helmet
- Giro Savant Road Bike Helmet
- Schwinn Thrasher Adult Road Bicycle Helmet
Here is a feature overview of the helmets with full reviews and our buying guide below.
The 3 Best Road Bike Helmets
Road Bike Helmet Reviews
The stylish Obsidian Airflow Bike helmet provides you safety combined with cutting edge features. Team Obsidian utilizes in-mold advanced technology to combine an American made, expanded polystyrene shell. Combined with a thick outer plastic layer which will provide you with superior protection.
This new patented adjustment system allows you to adjust the helmet both vertically and horizontally and it is backed by the “perfect fit guarantee.” The Obsidian helmet has 22 high air flow vents which have the efficiency of 30 standard vents to give you unmatched ventilation.
The oval design of the helmet will give you a more comfortable fit when compared to traditional round models.
The Obsidian Airflow Bike helmet is well know for their “feather light” fit and sleek design. The visor is removable so you can use it for both road and mountain biking.
I found that the helmet is incredibly easy to fit because the straps are quick to adjust and give a wide range of fit.
This helmet is ideal for long rides because of its efficient ventilation system. Even in warm weather, I found that the helmet is so comfortable I was barely aware of it. Made from quality materials, the helmet is very durable with just the right amount of padding.
Of course not everyone will find the helmet to be a perfect fit for their head but you shouldn’t have any issues.
The padding is thinner than you find in some other models, but this doesn’t detract from its combined comfort and safety.
Team Obsidian stayed true to its goal of offering a lightweight helmet that won’t cause you to over-heat.
Overall, I give the Obsidian Airflow top marks in every category and is the best road bike helmet under $100.The Team Obsidian helmet provides stylish design, safety and comfort at a bargain price.
The Giro Foray helmet is a great road bike option that is lightweight and well ventilated. The sleek design consists of many of Giro’s most popular features including the In-Mold Construction and Roc Loc 5 fit system.
The Foray comes in small, medium, and large and can be customized to your size by using the two-way fit adjustment.
There are 21 ventilation holes that enclose a soft, plush interior which ensures your head will stay comfortable and cool.
The Giro Foray helmet stands out among the competition due to its lightweight design maximum protection and bright colors which offers optimal visibility while biking on the road.
I found the helmet incredibly easy to adjust to get the right fit and the the 3 different sizes ensures that one of them will be compatible with your head size.
The ventilation of this helmet is outstanding and the air flow provides exceptional cooling. On the cosmetic side, the helmet does not have the “mushroom” effect that most road bike helmets have.
The Giro Foray helmet is not the cheapest helmet on the market, but is one of the more affordable Giro products and the best road bike helmet for the money.
On the negative side the padding inside is somewhat thin compared to their more expensive models.
This model is not as fancy or expensive as some of the other Giro helmets, but it will provide good protection and durability, and isn’t that why you buy a helmet?
The Giro Foray is one of our top picks for a road bike helmet. For some reason Giro does not include the sizing chart on Amazon, so here it is from their website: Click here for chart. (also good for the Savant, below)
The Kask Mojito helmet is 100% Italian in design and shies away from traditional rounded models. The reinforced in-mold construction and 26 air vents provide safety and comfort. The air vents are supported by the removable Coolmax pads made from Kask’s 3D Dry System.
The Up-N-Down ratchet adjustment holds the helmet below the occipital bone to ensure a perfect fit. The Leatherette chin strap is hypoallergenic and easily cleaned, and the reflective stickers give an added measure of safety on the road.
One of the first things I noticed was the fit and comfort, the straps and adjustment system are extremely high in quality– a step above the other helmets tested.
Overall the helmet is lightweight and comfortable with great airflow, and will turn heads with its eye-catching design.
Even when temperatures were nearing 100 degrees, the Kask helmet was still comfortable and I never felt too hot, I think this is the best helmet for hot weather.
One major benefit is that most styles of sunglasses are comfortable with the helmet and the leatherette strap has a nice solid fit.
I would advise to make sure you get an accurate size of your head before ordering, as the straps do not have the same range of adjustment as the other helmets reviewed.
The Kask Mojito comes in more colors and styles than any other helmet on the market, so you will no doubt be able to find one that suites your style.
If you ride after dark there are plenty of bright colors available for an added layer of safety.
The Kask Mojito was the most expensive helmet tested but is worth the extra money. The Mojito is in my opinion the best commuter bike helmet, It has impressive safety features, superb ventilation and awesome style.
Super short feature overview of the Kask Mojito helmet:
Giro is well known for making quality helmets and the Savant is a solid shot at one of the better road bike helmets. It is made with the more expensive and better quality In Mold construction.
The racing inspired design is aerodynamic with 25 wind tunnel designed vents for keeping your head cool in the hot summer weather.
The Savant has Giro’s patented Roc Loc® 5 fitting system to get a perfect fit. It also offered in 4 sizes so it will fit small children to an adult.
If you have a larger than normal sized melon head, you will still be able to get a good fit.
This is a seriously light weight helmet that once you put it one you will forget it’s on your head.
The Savant features Giro’s “MIPS” which stands for Multi-Directional Impact Protection System. The design provides maximum protection against impacts from any direction.
This type of construction offers better protection in case of impact and isn’t that why you want a helmet? The Giro Savant offers unmatched protection and may be the safest bike helmet for a very reasonable price.
Video overview of the Giro Savant helmet:
Did you now Schwinn has been around for over 100 years? While they haven’t been making helmets that long they have come up with a helmet that is extremely inexpensive for what you get.
This is a one sized adult helmet, it will most likely not fit a child. Even though its only offered in one size you can get a fit for a wide array of head sizes with its dual fitting system that allows a lot of customization for sizing.
Even at a bargain price if comes with a rich feature set. There are 21 vents providing good airflow in the warm weather to keep you cool.
When the weather turns hot the moisture wicking pads will help keep you head dry.
It even has a built in visor for shade when the sun is shining overhead. Nobody wants to wear a helmet while out and about riding but it’s a proven fact wearing a helmet will reduce your chances dramatically of a head injury.
The Schwinn Thrasher is the best road bike helmet under $50.
How To Choose a Helmet
A helmet is one of the important thing you can invest in when it comes to bicycle riding. In accidents involving bicyclists, head injuries are the most common, and easily preventable injury.
Nearly 2% of motor vehicle crashes that result in death involve bicyclists, and statistics from New York City reveal that 74% of the crashes resulting in death, involved a head injury.
Finding the right helmet can be the difference between life and death in a bike accident. Here is a guide which will assist you in choosing the best helmet for you.
There are three general types of bicycle helmets to consider when making your purchase:
Road Bike Helmets
Road bike helmets are those that used for everyday bicycle riding for transportation, fitness, and leisure purposes. They cover the upper portion of the head and tend to be lightweight and well ventilated.
These helmets have a thin foam inner layer, and a hard outer plastic layer. These are ideal for riding on busy city roads or for adventurous road racing.
Half-Shell Mountain Bike Helmets
Half-Shell Mountain bike helmets resemble classic road bike helmets in that they are designed to give maximum protection to the top portion of the head. They are typically used for riding in more rough terrain, and are designed with a visor to protect the rider from rain, mud, or sun.
These helmets are popular for trail riding in varied terrain. Mountain bike helmets are more durable and typically somewhat heavier than their road bike counterparts. While mountain bike helmets can be worn on the road, the visor which restricts visibility does not make it the ideal choice for busy streets.
Full Face Downhill Helmets
Full-face downhill helmets are those that often used in extreme motor sports. They are designed to protect the entire head and include a chin guard. Though much heavier than other types of helmets, they provide full coverage protection for the rider. Many models include added safety features, such as goggles and a neck brace.
Full-face downward helmets are best suited for those traveling at high speed or performing stunts. Their weight, lack of ventilation, and obstructing view could make road riding dangerous.
Comfort is one of the most important features to think about when selecting a helmet. After all, a helmet that is not comfortable will likely not be worn, and will increase your risk of injury or death. The safest helmet should have a snug fit, but not be too tight.
It should lie centered on the head, and not tilt back towards the crown, or slide forward over the eyes. The front edge should lie approximately one inch or less above your eyebrows and should not move more than one inch in any direction when moved around the head.
Finding the right size for your head is the first step in ensuring comfort. Sizes are typically very general and are usually available in small, medium, large, and sometimes extra-large. Some of the cheaper brands provide “one size fits all” options for men, women, or children, though these options should be evaluated with caution to ensure that the fit is secure. Each size falls in a range measured in inches or centimeters.
Fitting The Helmet
To find which size is the best fit for you, measure the largest part of your head with a measuring tape (approximately one inch above the eyebrows) — or for simplicity, use a piece of string to measure the same area, and compare the string to a tape measurer. The length in inches or centimeters will determine which size of helmet you require.
Once you have the proper general size, you can adjust the helmet to your specific level of comfort and optimal protection. Begin adjusting your helmet by expanding the sizing wheel on the back as far as possible, and then tightening once it is on your head. Continue tightening the wheel until the helmet fits snugly.
The next step in adjustment is buckling and tightening the chinstrap. The strap should create a “v” under each ear. To ensure the chinstrap is correct, open your mouth and make sure you feel the top of the helmet pressing into your head. If you do not feel pressure from the helmet, that is a sign you should continue to tighten the strap.
You will find that most helmets are surprisingly light weight. They are typically made of an expanded polystyrene foam layer covered in an outer plastic shell. Expensive helmets will typically have these two layers molded together. These versions are often lighter, include more vents, and tend to have a more appealing appearance. Less expensive versions glue or tape the plastic to the inner foam,and will usually separate after a short period of time.
As long as they are worn appropriately, most any helmet will give you proper protection in the event of a crash because, the United States requires all “bicycle helmets” to meet Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) standards. These standards guarantee you are getting a product that has passed rigorous safety measures.
All helmets are required to meet these minimum requirements, regardless of their price range or added safety options. You can look for the CPSC sticker inside each helmet to ensure you are buying a product that is truly made for bicycle riding.
You can see the Giro “MIPS” protection system here for the Savant and Foray helmets.
When selecting a helmet one of the key things to keep in mind is how well ventilated it is. The use of vents allows you to keep cool in high temperatures and helps keep moisture away in cool temperatures. This becomes much more important in areas with extreme summer climate.
Many products boast that their helmet is the optimal choice for vent technology, however conclusive results are difficult. How cool one feels in a particular helmet is highly subjective. Keep in mind that helmets with larger vents are generally more expensive.
Durability is also an important factor that you should consider when selecting your bike helmet. Most manufacturers will recommend replacing your helmet every three to five years regardless of condition, however it is important to always ensure the straps and buckles are working correctly.
Other facts can impact durability as well including exposure to chemicals like sunscreen or insect repellent, seasonal temperature fluctuations, excessive UV exposure, or physical damage like dents. As is usually the case you get what you pay for. Buying a $20 helmet a Walmart is not a good idea, better to spend a little more for better protection. It is your head after all!
Proper Care Of The Helmet
Inspect your bicycle helmet regularly for any wear of foam pads, break down of glue, or other damage. While some things like broken buckles can be replaced, you should follow the manufacturer guidelines when it comes to deciding whether or not a helmet needs to be replaced.
While everyone wants to look good, it should not be a determining factor in buying your helmet. All helmets in theory, whether cheap or expensive should provide the exact same level of protection. In practice however, this is not the case. Just because a helmet meets the minimum standards doesn’t really make it safe. Better to get a quality helmet like the Kask Mojito to be sure your head is protected.
Once you have chosen your helmet based on safety, then you can look for secondary factors like ventilation, padding, straps, and visibility factors such as florescent colors, lights or optional cameras. The most important factor should be a properly fitting helmet.
Overall, when shopping for a bicycle helmet it is important to keep in mind fit, comfort, durability, and safety. Understand your specific needs and riding conditions– and choose a helmet that provides optimal safety in those conditions. Most bicycling fatalities happen among riders who were not wearing a helmet, which illustrates how important a helmet is in saving lives. Maybe yours!