Biking

The 5 Best Road Bike Helmets Reviewed For [2018]

Wear One of These Cycling Helmets to Protect Your Head!

What are the best road bike helmets worthy of protecting your head? What should you look for in a cycling 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.

For more of my top gear recommendations, have a look through these popular Outside Pursuits guide links: Bike Lights, Bike Racks, Bike Trailers.

Quick Answer: The 5 Best Road Bike Helmets For 2018

  1. Team Obsidian Cycling Airflow Bike Helmet
  2. Giro Foray Road Bike Helmet
  3. Kask Mojito Helmet
  4. Giro Savant Road Bike Helmet
  5. Schwinn Traveler Bicycle Helmet

Here is a feature overview of my top 3 overall picks. Our guide and comparison table of the top rated bike helmets will help you choose the right one for you.

Best Bike Helmets

 Obsidian Cycling Premium HelmetGiro Foray HelmetKask Mojito Helmet
editors choice
Weight:8.7 Ounces8.5 Ounces8.1 Ounces
Vents:22 Vents21 Vents26 Vents
Shell:
Molded polycarbonate shell with EPS Liner constructionMolded polycarbonate shell with EPS LinerReinforced In-mold composite construction
Features:Unique fitting system adjusts vertically AND horizontally for a more comfortable fit.Patented Roc Loc 5 Fit System for superior comfort and fit."Up-N-Down" double-pivot fitting system for a great fit.

Road Bike Helmet Reviews

#1 Team Obsidian Cycling Airflow Bike Helmet Review

Team Obsidian Cycling Airflow at a Glance:

  • Shell: In-Mold construction
  • Liner: EPS Liner
  • Weight: 8.7 Oz
  • MIPS: No

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.

team-obsidian-helmet-review
Team Obsidian Helmet.

This cycling 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.


#2 Giro Foray Bike Helmet Review

Giro Foray Bike Helmet

Giro Foray MIPS Road Cycling Helmet at a Glance:

  • Shell: Molded polycarbonate
  • Liner: EPS Liner
  • Weight: 8.5 Oz
  • MIPS: Yes

The Giro Foray cycle 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.

This road cycling helmet stands out among the competition due to its lightweight design maximum protection and MIPS (Multi-Directional Impact Protection System). MIPS is a new technology that in the event of an impact absorbing rotational impact.

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.

Giro Foray Bike Helmet
Giro Foray Road Bike Helmet

The ventilation of this bicycle 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 helmet 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 the best cycling 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)


#3 Kask Mojito Bike Helmet Review

Kask Mojito Helmet at a Glance:

  • Shell: Reinforced In-mold composite construction
  • Liner: EPS Liner
  • Weight: 8.1 Oz
  • MIPS: No

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.

Kask Mojito Bike Helmet
The Kask Mojito comes in more colors and styles than any other helmet on the market

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 road bike 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.

Video: Short feature overview of the Kask Mojito helmet.

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.


#4 Giro Savant Road Bike Helmet Review

Giro Savant MIPS Cycling Helmet at a Glance:

  • Shell: In-mold polycarbonate
  • Liner: EPS Liner
  • Weight: 8.6 Oz
  • MIPS: Yes

Giro is well known for making quality helmets and the Savant is definetly one of the better road bike helmets on the market. 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 (like me), you will still be able to get a good fit.

Giro Savant Road Bike Helmet
Giro Savant Road Bike Helmet

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.

Video: Overview of the Giro Savant helmet.

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 best bicycle helmet at for a very reasonable price.


#5 Schwinn Traveler Bike Helmet Review

Schwinn Traveler Bicycle Helmet at a Glance:

  • Shell: Polycarbonate shell
  • Liner: Moisture-wicking pads
  • Weight: 12.8 Oz
  • MIPS: No

Did you know 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 and 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 bicycle helmet will reduce your chances dramatically of a head injury.

The Schwinn Traveler is the best road bike helmet under $50.


Bicycle Helmet Comparison Table

Bike Helmet ShellVentilationOtherMIPSRating
Team Obsidian CyclingIn-Mold construction 22 Air ventsDetachable visor, washable linerNo4.8 / 5.0
Giro ForayIn-mold polycarbonate 21 Air vents Roc Loc 5 Fit System with EPS foam linerYes4.5 / 5.0
Kask MojitoReinforced In-mold composite construction 26 Air vents Reflective stickers and straps No (MIT Technology)4.6 / 5.0
Giro SavantIn-Mold construction 25 Air vents Roc Loc 5 Fit System for a perfect fit Yes4.6 / 5.0
Schwinn TravelerPolycarbonate shell20 Air vents Dial-fit retention systemNo4.5 / 5.0

How to Choose the Best Road Bike Helmet

Best Bike Helmet

Types of Bike Helmets

A bicycle helmet is one of the important thing you can invest in when it comes to bike 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 HelmetsRoad cycling 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 toHalf-Shell Mountain Bike Helmets 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 andFull Face Downhill Helmets 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

Comfort is one of the most important features to think about when choosing a cycling 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.

Safest Bike Helmet

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.

Weight

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.

The best road cycling 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.

Road Bike Helmets

Protection

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 cycle 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.


Retention System

All cycling helmets will have some type of retention system to fully secure the helmet so in case of impact it stays on your head. There are two parts to a retention system

Chin Strap

The chin strap that connects to both sides of the bicycle helmet and wraps under your chin. It should not be too loose that it could slip over your chin but you obviously don’t want it choking you. It should have a buckle to properly size it with a clip to easily remove the helmet.

Tightening Mechanism

The most common form of tightening system is a “dial” on the back of the cycling helmet that will adjust the interior of the helmet to fit snugly to your head. Less common is a “ratchet” type system that you use to tighten the helmet.

Ventilation

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 manufactures 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

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.

A common problem that affects the life of a helmet is how it is transported and stored. If you drop it on the floor, or throw it in the back of your car, your helmet can suffer structural damage even if it looks fine on the outside.

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!

Caring For Your Bike 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 bicycle 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.

FAQs For Bike Helmets

Q: When should I replace my helmet?

If you’re even thinking about replacing your helmet, it’s probably time to replace it. Common reasons for getting a new helmet involve:

Damaged adjustment device

If you can’t be sure that your lid will stay on your head in the event of an accident, the helmet is no longer safe and you should replace it.

Old helmet

Safety standards change over time, so if you have a vintage helmet that you want to dust off and try out, remember that it is very possible that it provides less protection. Why take the risk?

You had a crash which impacted the helmet

The absorbent inner part of the helmet compresses upon impact, but often shows no outward sign of damage, especially under the outer shell. If your helmet takes a hit, get it changed.

Q: I heard that wearing a helmet is actually less safe than not wearing one.

A: There has been a lot of debate recently about whether the wearing of a helmet is actually a bad thing for encouraging people to cycle and the safety of those who do. You can easily find some compelling arguments, such as helmet-wearers take more risks, or that drivers take less care around a cyclist with a helmet.

However, much of what is quoted is infused with hyperbole and it is difficult to provide a coherent argument for not wearing a helmet.

At the end of the day, accidents happen. When they do, you are much better off with a quality, well-fitted helmet protecting your skull.

Q: Does more expensive equal more protection?

A: Between the helmets on this list, you won’t find any difference in safety in real terms.

The difference in price is largely based on comfort, how many ventilation holes it has and if it has been endorsed by one of the big guns in the peloton.

The best way to get maximum protection is to ensure your helmet isn’t loose or damaged.

Q: Can I wear a hat underneath my helmet?

A: As a general rule, helmets should be the only thing on your head while cycling. Wearing a cap, even a cycling cap, will stop your helmet fitting properly and can be dangerous.

However, there are some sun-protection fabrics that are thin enough to be worn under the helmet, and waterproof covers that can be worn on top.

Q: Do aero helmets make you faster?

A: Aerodynamics are all the rage in the “marginal gains” era of cycling. A test by FastFitness Tips showed that over a 38 kilometer time trial course, a time trial helmet can save a massive 48 seconds over a standard road bike helmet.

However, if you don’t happen to be a professional athlete, you won’t notice a difference between the most hi-tech helmets and those on this list in terms of speed. What’s more, they are notorious for being unbreathable, trapping in heat and weighing considerably more.

My advice would be to enjoy your riding and focus on the factors outlined in the buyer’s guide.

Best Bike Helmet Brands

Best Bike Helmet BrandsAs you might imagine the “best” brands of anything are subjective. Bike helmets are no different and there are several manufactures of bike helmets that produce helmets worthy of protect your helmet.

Giro – Without a doubt one of the top makers of helmets. They make a WIDE variety of types, from ski helmets to bike helmets. They make helmets with the MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System).

Team Obsidian – A recent upstart focused only on biking accessories, they make a both adult and kids helmets.

Kask – They are an Italian company that only makes helmets. They have a wide variety of helmets for recreational and bike racers. Their helmets are both stylish and among the safest available.

Schwinn – Who hasn’t heard of Schwinn? They have have been around for over 100 years and make some of the best budget options for helmets as well as high end ones. Hard to go wrong with Schwinn!

Bottom Line

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!

Back to reviews


I hope this guide was helpful for finding the best road bike helmet to fit your needs. If you want to comment or recommend a helmet I didn’t include, please use my contact form to get in touch.

Have fun and enjoy the ride!

Now that you have a good helmet, read my reviews of the best folding bikes for road and trail use.

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Rich Remick

I work part time as an IT security consultant. Luckily I can work from anywhere so I go back and forth between Colorado and Florida. I get my fix of skiing, hiking and camping in Colorado in the Dillion area, and when I am in Florida you can usually find me on the water either paddleboarding or kayaking. My recent passion is scuba diving, I got certified a few years ago and "get wet" as frequently as I can.

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