BIKING

Best Road Bike Helmet: Protect Your “Noggin” from Harm

Best road bike helmet
Daniel Carraway
Written by Daniel Carraway

When it comes to cycling there is one key accessory that everyone should properly invest it. A helmet, whether you choose one that is simple or integrated with aerodynamic technology, a helmet is the one investment that you must rely on if something happens. I’m here to help you find the best road bike helmet that fits your needs and your wallet.

What Makes a Helmet safe?

It is a well known fact that by wearing a helmet it will protect you and can even save your life. Let’s take a look at some of the factors that make a helmet strong enough to offer you this protection.

Polycarbonate shell

Polycarbonate plastics are frequently used to make helmets. This is because they are incredibly durable and lightweight with loads of impact resistance. Also, this material is low cost to manufacture, making it the perfect choice for safety.

Biking helmet shell

EPS Liner

The EPS (expanded polystyrene) liner is made for absorbing the shock of an impact. This liner is great protection in the event of a hard hit, as your helmet won’t bounce on impact with the ground.

EPS LINER bike helmet

Instead, the helmet will absorb the shock of the hit, keeping your head from bouncing around and protecting you from pain or internal damage. While it is excellent for protection, this liner is not good at absorbing multiple large hits and shocks.

In-mold technology

This helmet construction technology is made to be very lightweight, while still keeping a strong protection. This effect is created when the foam liner of the helmet is blown in while the outside shell is still in the manufacturing mold.

in mold technology helmet

This gives the helmet a lightweight design, allows it to have a more interesting shapes and gives the helmet a better vented integration.

Back of helmet adjustments

Recently helmets have started to add an extra level of comfort and security, known as Retention. This easy to reach knob is located on the bottom back of the helmet. With a few turns you will begin to feel the helmet start to contract in, cradling your head and giving you a no-slip fit. Once adjusted, you can turn your head upside down and the helmet should not fall off without the straps on.

back of helmet adjustments

This new feature gives riders a better grip and provides better protection from impact since the helmet will remain in place. This feature is mainly featured on higher end models, but can appear in some affordable options as well.

CPSC certified

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has a basic set of standards for all bike helmets to determine whether they are labeled as safe or not. If you are wondering, you can easily look inside a bike helmet and you should see the sticker showcasing the certification.

cpsc bike helmet

This certification ensures that the helmet has passed a number of tests that look at the following:

  • Shock Absorbing Properties
  • Helmet Construction
  • Retention system
  • Field of Vision
  • Chin Strap
  • Fastening Devices

Night riding

What you should look for is a helmet color that has reflective paint integrated into the design. This is a must-have if you are riding at night. Some helmets offer neon colors, while others keep a standard simple color and add reflective neon accents.

night riding with helmet

Some manufacturers install rear caution lights in the back of the helmet. These lights blink or flash with a bright light to alert drivers. When you are riding at night, you need to have some level of reflection or light so that drivers and other individuals can clearly see you.

How to prepare for buying a helmet?

 A few preparations will give you the upper hand when you begin to shop for a helmet. Whether you go in a store or shop online, a few things to consider beforehand will help you when you start looking.

Price

When you start shopping, one of the first things you need to determine is how much you want to spend. Helmets can range from $40 to over $300. One thing you need to know is that a lower priced helmet is not less safe than a higher priced helmet.

price bike helmet

All countries have a minimum safety standard that helmet makers have to meet. In the end, when you are paying for a pricier model, you are paying for a different fit, material or just for the name brand.

Head sizing

It is a good idea to measure your head with a soft measuring tape before you shop. This will give you a better idea of what size fit you will need. When measuring your head, wrap the tape around the back of your head, just above your ears and back around to your forehead.

bike helmet sizing

Most helmets will come in a few sizes ranging from small to large. Keep in mind, some of the higher end helmets will have an adjustment gauge in the back to give you a closer fit.

Aerodynamics

The aerodynamics of a helmet come down to the way a helmet is shaped and how well it resists wind. Helmets that are more vented will take in more air which lowers the level of aerodynamics. A closed helmet will allow wind to wash over it without much collective resistance.

Aerodynamics of bike helmet

If speed is a large factor in your riding, you should opt for a less vented style. Some styles on the market offer a convertible open vented style that can close when you need better speed.

Ventilation

This refers to the cut away on some helmets that leave holes in the top. These vents allow cool air to filter into the helmet and push out stale air that can cause your head to overheat and sweat.

helmet ventilation

Ventilation is a great option to look for, especially if you will be riding on warm days. If you are prone to riding your bike in cooler zones, then you may want to consider a more closed option to keep your head warm.

Rider type

Finally you need to find out what kind of rider you are. Will you be plummeting down hills at top speeds, racing others or simple peddle down streets at a leisurely pace? Realizing what type of rider you are will give you better insight into what key features you really need and what you don’t.

bike rider type

If you are more leisurely, then you don’t really need the most high-end helmet; a simple one will do. On the other hand, if you are frequently biking in races or take more risky routes, then you should look at more durable and higher – end helmets.

At the end of the day, it really comes down to what you like and what fits well. While all helmets are not made alike, they are all made to be safe. So whatever you decide on, the main feature of safety is covered.

What’s Available for Purchase?

Now that you have an idea of what makes a helmet tough and how different features can help you have a better ride, let’s take a look at some of the popular helmets that are currently on the market.

Kask Vertigo Helmet

Kask Vertigo Helmet

Weight: 11.35 ounces

Features: Hinged adjustment; 24 large air vents; Reflective stickers; Two sizes available; Leather straps

The Kask Vertigo helmet was made with your head in mind. This helmet easily adjust to your shaped head with an easy to reach knob in the back. Once turned it begins to cradle your head until you can achieve the perfect fit.

Since it is integrated with multiple air vents, you can still feel the wind in your hair while you ride. Made with an inner strengthening frame, this gives the helmet great protection while remaining lightweight.

Inside breathable padding keeps you dry on long rides. It is fitted with leather straps for comfort and security. This great helmet comes in different colors, from all black to flashy white and red.

Check the price on Amazon

Giro Atmos Helmet

Giro Atmos Racing Bike Helmet

Weight: 9.7 ounces

Features: Wind tunnel ventilation; In-mold construction; Roll cage reinforcement; 3-size super fit system.

Built with advanced helmet technologies in mind, the Giro Atmos helmet has multiple integrated features to give you the best time while you are out riding your bike. The in-mold construction is fused with an EPS liner that is impact absorbing. This reinforces the two layers, making them more durable.

This helmet doesn’t just have vents built in, it has wind tunnel technology that funnels the cool air through the helmet to ensure the dry and stale air is pushed out.

A tough web of DuPont nylon inside the EPS liner gives this helmet a roll-cage reinforcement. This is an extra layer of protection in case you ever need it.

Check the price on Amazon

Giro Savant Helmet

Giro Savant Road Bike Helmet

Weight: 9.48 ounces

Features: Polycarbonate shell; Value pricing; Roc Loc 5 fit system; 25 vents; Super fit engineering.

Giving the best protection for the best price, the Giro Savant helmet has similar features of the top helmets while maintaining an affordable price. Quickly and easily adjust the helmet to fit your head with a few clicks at the back base of the helmet. The straps also have an easy slide adjustment to give you a no slip fit.

Keep your head cool with 25 built in vents to push cool air to your scalp. This lightweight yet strong and durable helmet will keep you safe without weighing you down.  It is available in multiple colors such as vibrant yellow, bright red, white and matte black.

Check the price on Amazon

POC Octal Bike Helmet

poc helmet

Weight: 7.05 ounces

Features: EPS liner; Fully wrapped unibody shell construction; POC’s ventilation design; Size adjustment system; Temperature regulating padding.

Sleek and stylish, the POC Octal Bike helmet is not only good looking, it is also made to keep you safe. The fully wrapped unibody shell construction is made to enhance the safety and durability while keeping this helmet lightweight.

The EPS liner has been strategically placed and is thicker in places that need the most protection. The temperature regulating padding keeps your head cool on hot days and secures the helmet from sliding.

The turn-wheel adjustment system gives you a snug fit. POC has made a unique ventilation design, using fewer vents than competitors but making them larger so that more air can flow through, giving this helmet an aerodynamic edge.

Check the price on Amazon

Giro Aeon Cycling Helmet

Giro Aeon Cycling Helmet

Weight: 7.94 ounces

Features: X static padding; Featherweight webbing; In-mold polycarbonate shell; Thermoformed roll cage; 24 vents.

One of the lightest helmets on the market, the Giro Aeon Cycling helmet has comfort in mind. X Static material padding keep you comfortable and dry while cutting down on odors from long days of use.

Find your perfect fit with the adjustable retention system. This is a small click wheel located on the back of the helmet, when turned it will tighten or loosen the grip on your head to make sure the helmet molds to you.

The twenty-four vented system allows cool air to enter while pushing hot air out. The polycarbonate shell, while lightweight, is prone to dents easily. Expect to see normal wear and tear with use. This lightweight helmet is great for easy on road biking.

Check the price on Amazon

Bell Volt Bike Helmet

Bell Volt Bike Helmet

Weight: 9.9 ounces

Features: 11 frontal vents; Rearward exhaust ports; Moisture wicking X-static padding; Twin axis gear fit system.

Regularly seen on the Pro Tour, the Bell Volt bike helmet is a top notch choice for safety and durability. This helmet is a perfect mix of ventilation, lightweight and high tech comfort.

The Volt has deeply sculpted channels built in the frame to make sure air is moving through, even if you are slowly pushing uphill. The ventilation is designed to push cool air through the helmet and move it along the channels to flush out stale air.

Internal reinforcements fortify the body of this helmet and allow it to be strong and sleek. A rear dial conforms this helmet to your head, giving you a close fit with an easy click. This helmet comes in a wide variety of colors, from black to a blue steel titanium.

Check the price on Amazon

Leadtry HM-1 Bicycle Helmet

Leadtry HM-1 Bicycle Helmet

Weight: 7.76 ounces

Features: EPS liner; Standard size fit; Innovative aerodynamic design; 21 vents; Adjustable chin strap.

Simple yet effective, the Leadtry HM-1 bicycle helmet delivers safety first with comfort in mind. This helmet has a lower price point than others currently on the market.

The fit is a standard medium which should fit heads from fifty-seven to sixty-two centimeters. Adjustable chin straps allow you to get a close fit and a quick release buckle keeps you from wasting time taking it off.

The innovative design features twenty-one vents that allow cool air to flow through and keep air resistance at a minimum. This helmet comes in three great colors; blue, white and black.

Check the price on Amazon

GoMax Aero Adult Safety Helmet

GoMax Aero Adult Safety Helmet

Weight: 8.8 ounces

Features: Innovative aerodynamic design; Polycarbonate shell; Reflective rear adjustment dial; Optimal ventilation; Detachable visor.

The GoMax Aero Adult Safety helmet is loaded with features, from being eye catching to excellent protection. The molded in polycarbonate shell with EPS liner gives you real protection against any bumps.

The Innovative aerodynamical design features 22 air vents to ensure the best airflow and minimal resistance. Also included is a built in detachable visor to help shield you on hot sunny days.

A reflective rear adjustable dial and adjustable strap let you get a closer no slip fit. This helmet comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee, if you aren’t happy with your helmet, then you can contact GoMax for an alternative solution or refund.

Check the price on Amazon

Gonex Adult Bike Helmet

Gonex Adult Bike Helmet

Weight: 9.17 ounces

Features:  3-modes durable LED caution back light; Adjustable rotary regulator and comfort lining; EPS lining; 24 integrated vents.

Feel safe riding at night with the Gonex Adult bike helmet. The durable polycarbonate frame and EPS lining give this helmet a safe and comfortable fit. Nylon

An adjustable rotary regulator adjusts the tightness of the head circumference so that you can feel secure when the helmet is on. Twenty-four vents keep cool air moving through as you ride.

A durable LED caution back light lets drivers and other riders see you from a distance at night. The LED light has three modes for flashing. This helmet is available in black, red and white.

Check the price on Amazon

Final Verdict

Like these helmets, each head is unique. While it is important to find protection when you are out riding, it is equally important to invest in a durable and comfortable helmet. You will be out riding for long periods, so choose something that fits well and is comfortable.

best road bike helmet

On a final note, if you have a significant crash, you should check with the manufacturer to see if they offer any discounts on a new helmet. It is not advised to continue with your helmet if you take a very hard hit, even if there is no damage showing,. Internally, it could be fractured, offering you less protection in the event of a second hard crash.

Like what we’ve provided or have a question? Leave us a comment!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Daniel Carraway
Daniel Carraway

Daniel Carraway joined our team last year. He is a gear freak when it comes to hiking, climbing and camping. He went to REI Outdoor School to meet new people and learn best practices. Don’t even try to argue with him about the latest backpack or ice axe, he tried most of them. Daniel’s dream is to climb Mount Everest.

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