There's no more important bike accessory than a helmet, but choosing one isn't easy. Apart from finding one that fits, you need to choose a helmet that fits your needs. You can spend plenty on a lightweight, aerodynamic helmet, but that may be overdoing things if you're just riding your bike to work.
Here are ten options to consider across different budgets, performance, and style.
It’s a couple of years old at this point, but Giro’s Trinity remains one of the more widely well-reviewed and best-selling affordable bike helmets. It’s as simple and straightforward as helmets get, with a relatively lightweight design and easy one-handed adjustment to ensure a snug but comfortable fit. You can also take your pick from highly-visible or more understated colors, although both will be easily seen at night thanks to a reflective rear decal.
It may cost more than some people’s bikes, but serious cyclists looking to get the most performance and protection from their helmet aren’t likely to be disappointed with Bell’s Zephyr MIPS. The helmet was singled out by for an Editor’s Choice award, something largely due to its fully-integrated MIPS liner that doesn’t compromise on comfort or airflow while offering all the protection you could ask for.
If you do more bike commuting in the city than racing, you may find Nutcase’s street helmet more to your liking than other more aerodynamic options. At $70, it’s fairly affordable, and it’s available in a slew of different colors and patterns, from basic grey and black to the stars and stripes and Union Jack. The helmet also comes with a removable visor, and it’s certified for skateboard use as well if you like to leave your bike at home and skate instead some days.
If you're not a fan of traditional-style bike helmets, consider a more commuter-focused helmet like Bern's Brentwood. What you lose in aerodynamics you gain in versatility, including an interchangeable liner system that lets you use a lightweight one in the summer and a warmer one in the winter. The helmet itself can even do double-duty for other winter sports and not look out of place, and a full range of size options from small to XXXL ensure a great fit.
A cheap helmet isn't necessarily a bad helmet. The $25 Schwinn Thrasher (sometimes available even less) with its comfort and decent ventilation, and there's no shortage of positive customer reviews that attest to its great bang for the buck. As The Sweethome notes, however, while the helmet doesn't compromise on safety, it does definitely look like an inexpensive helmet, and it's one size fits all (but fully adjustable), which means it'll look big on some heads and small on others.
Lazer's Blade helmet for its great value and features that'll please commuters and serious road cyclists alike. It's lighter than many more expensive helmets, has no less than 22 vents to keep plenty of air circulating. It can also be adjusted with one hand thanks to Lazer's Advanced Rollsys System. It also has a more well-thought-out unisex design than many helmets, with ample space at the rear to accommodate a ponytail.
For most everyday cyclists, their main concerns with a helmet are simply something that's safe and comfortable (and doesn't look ridiculous on their head). The good news is that you don't have to spend a bundle to meet all of those criteria. The Sweethome Specialized's Echelon II as a particularly good choice for the money ($70), noting that it boasts a number of features and safety certifications normally found on more expensive helmets, including a particularly good strap adjustment system that ensure a comfortable fit with no hassle.
If you're really serious about cycling, you're probably looking at higher-end helmets that promise great aerodynamics in addition to solid protection. Giro's Synthe MIPS won't disappoint in that department, and to be a great (if pricey) helmet in most other key areas, including what they describe as "class-leading comfort and adjustability," as well as good ventilation. It's also a MIPS-equipped helmet (or Multi-directional Impact Protection System), which promises some additional protection from certain types of impacts.
Anyone looking for versatility and style in a helmet may want to add Bell's Annex to their shopping list. As , not only does the helmet have an easily-adjustable venting system, but it comes with a range of other customizations, including an optional face shield, a removable visor, and rear mount for a safety light. However, these options will add to the cost of what is already a somewhat pricey helmet.
If money is seriously no object and you need something great in aerodynamics and high performance, not only delivers in functionality but also style. Equipped with adjustable fit system, an airflow design for maximum aerodynamics, and lots of unique color options, the Podium TT is a helmet that can't help but make a cyclist stand out.
It's most standout feature from the rest of the helmets on this list is its visor, crafted by Smith, that can be attached to the helmet by strong magnets. If you need something for intense cycling competitions, this could be the helmet you're looking for.