Best Mountain Bike Helmets: The Definitive Guide

If you value safety you may be looking for one of the best mountain bike helmets.

It’s really important to choose this piece of equipment correctly and I’ll show you how to do that – after you’ll see my top picks for 2017.


What To Consider When Buying Your Helmet

When I pick new head gear I consider the following:

  • Different constructions
  • Size and ventilation
  • Smaller features (visor, straps, etc.)

There’s a few different helmet constrictions to choose from and the one you select will depend on personal preference and riding style. If you’re a downhill mountain biker you’ll want a full face helmet – this offers a little more protection. Casual riders won’t need this much.

You’ll notice a lot of “MIPS” helmets on this list and I highly recommend them. MIPS stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection System and this feature adds protection against rotational forces during a crash.

Next, shift your attention to sizing and ventilation. To get the proper size measure around your head, just above your eyebrows. Here’s the corresponding size for each measurement range:

helmet sizing

Ventilation is key too; it keeps your head cool. Mountain bike helmets are designed to vent well and will do so even at slow speeds.

Lastly, look at smaller features like visor, straps and how comfortable the product is to wear. A visor is important to keep the sun out of your eyes and you’ll want easy to adjust straps.

All the helmets on this list offer excellent protection and are well made – there’s many different price ranges too. Let’s take a look at them now.

Smith Optics Forefront MIPS Helmet *Top Pick*

smith optics forefrontCompany: Smith Optics

Price: $$$$

Rating: 5/5

The Smith Optics Forefront is my favorite helmet this year for a lot of reasons. First off, it has a sleek design and is very lightweight. You won’t have to worry about the Forefront being uncomfortable and taking away from performance either – it’s designed for skilled bikers. Some top features include:

  • Vaporfit retention system makes this product easy to adjust
  • Highly protective and will keep you nice and safe
  • A superior venting system ensures your head will stay cool

This helmet isn’t cheap, however, and will cost around $250. I think it’s definitely worth the price, though, and I know you’ll agree if you decide on it.

Take A Closer Look At The Smith Optics Forefront MIPS Helmet

POC Trabec Bike Helmet

poc trabekCompany: POC

Price: $$$

Rating: 4.8/5

POC is an excellent company and they make some of my favorite ski helmets – they have awesome bike helmets too. Their Trabec extends farther down than most products and comes with an:

  • Ultra comfortable foam EPS liner
  • 16 different vent holes to reduce weight and keep air flow moving
  • Adjustable visor so you can keep the sun from blinding you
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It may not have all the bells and whistles of the product you just saw but it’s still highly protective and well made – it’s cheaper, though, and will only cost around $119.

Take A Closer Look At The POC Trabec

Giro Switchblade MIPS Helmet

giro switchbladeCompany: Giro

Price: $$$$

Giro is an excellent company and they make some of the best gear on earth – you’re going to see a ton of their products on this list too. Their Switchblade MIPS Helmet is designed for high performing mountain bikers who like to push things to the limit. That’s because it’s:

  • Certified by all major safety commissions and gives you maximum head protection
  • Has a removable chin bar that detaches with a bush of a button
  • CoolMax padding and 27 different ventilation holes

If you’re a downhill biker this is a helmet you must consider. It’s priced fairly high, at around $250, but you’ll have a hard time finding better quality.

Take A Closer Look At The Giro Switchblade MIPS Helmet

Bern Brentwood Bike Helmet

bern brentwoodCompany: Bern

Price: $

Rating: 4.7/5

The Bern Brentwood is an expensive helmet for anyone on a budget (it’ll cost between $50 to $70). If you’re a very skilled rider and need top of the line protection, this isn’t the product for you. If, however, you’re a leisurely mountain biker and hit the trails for fun, the Brentwood can work for you. Some top features include:

  • Designed so you can wear sunglasses without the arms digging into your head
  • An adjustable and removable visor so you get the shade and style you desire
  • Comfortable foam and low profile fit

This helmet is non intrusive and very lightweight too. It has a ton of positive reviews on Amazon and if you’d like to see what actual customers are saying about this head gear, click below:

Take A Closer Look At The Bern Brentwood Bike Helmet

Bell Super 3R MIPS Helmet

bell super 3rCompany: Bell

Price: $$$$

Rating: 4.9/5

Here we have another high performing helmet and the Super 3R from Bell is a product all skilled mountain bikers should consider. It has a removable chin guard and comes with:

  • Enough ventilation to keep your head cool in the desert
  • Maximum protection against all forces and dangers
  • Adjustable visor and can easily be worn with goggles

You can choose from 8 different colors and designs too; you’ll be able to get the exact look you want. You can pick this helmet up for a little over $200, which isn’t bad all things considered.

Take A Closer Look At The Super 3R MIPS Helmet

Giro Hex Mountain Bike Helmet

giro hexCompany: Giro

Price: $

Rating: 4.7/5

The Giro Hex is an affordable helmet that’s best suited for intermediate and beginner riders. It has massive vents to keep your head cool and to eliminate sweat. The Hex also features:

  • An easy to adjust fitting system
  • Tough outer shell will absorb the worst type of impacts
  • Lightweight and won’t distract you

You can choose from several different colors so you can match your bike too – not bad for around $40!

Take A Closer Look At The Giro Hex

Smith Optics Rover MIPS Helmet

smith optics roverCompany: Smith Optics

Price: $$$

Rating: 4.8/5

Here we have another MIPS helmet from Smith Optics. Their Rover is a high end product that can be worn by beginners all the way to advanced – it has something all skill levels will like, including:

  • Extended coverage over the most vulnerable parts of your head like your temples
  • Non-intrusive and sleek design protects without overwhelming or distracting
  • Shock absorbing outer shell and comfortable EPS Foam
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The price isn’t cheap or overly high and will cost around $150 – this makes it one of the best values on this list.

Take A Closer Look At The Smith Optics Rover

Fox Metah Bike Helmet

fox metahCompany: Fox Racing

Price: $$

Rating: 4.8/5

The Fox Metah is another helmet that’s perfect for intermediates and beginners – the price reflects that (it’ll cost around $100). The Metah features a low profile design that’s very comfortable to wear. It also comes with:

  • Varisorb impact reduction technology that’s highly protective
  • Straps which are easy to adjust
  • 15 different colors and designs to choose from

The ventilation is strategically placed to maximize airflow too. I wouldn’t consider this the best of the best but for the price, and on the right biker, this is an excellent helmet.

Take A Closer Look At The Fox Metah

Giro Chronicle MIPS Helmet

giro chronicleCompany: Giro

Price: $$

Rating: 4.8/5

The Giro Chronicle is a MIPS helmet so it protects your head from all kinds of impacts and dangers. I really like the design and colors of this product too – they really pop and look good. Additionally it features:

  • Roc Loc 5 fitting system that easily let’s you adjust how the helmet feels on your head
  • Adjustable visor so you get the exact sun protection you need
  • CoolMax liner does a good job reducing sweat build up and keeping you nice and dry

The price is really fair too and the Chronicle will only cost around $99 – that’s rally good for Giro quality.

Take A Closer Look At The Giro Chronicle

Bell Super 2 Helmet

bell super 2Company: Bell

Price: $$

Rating: 4.7/5

The Bell Super 2 is ultra affordable and will cost well under $99. It’s not suited for aggressive bikers and anyone that likes to push the boundaries. If, however, you’re a casual rider you’ll like that it comes with:

  • A lightweight design that won’t slow you down or get in the way of your vision
  • Extended rear coverage protects the most vulnerable parts of your head
  • Massive ventilation holes cool you down and prevent sweat build up

The quick dry padding stops bad odors from forming too. There’s 11 different colors to chose from, and if you’d like to see them all, click below:

Take A Closer Look At The Bell Super 2

POC Tectal Bike Helmet

poc tectalCompany: POC

Price: $$$

Rating: 4.9/5

The POC Tectal is a product that all skill levels will love to wear. The Tectal sports one of the best designs and it looks really athletic/sleek – it’s extremely comfortable too. It covers all parts of your head and features:

  • An adjustment system that can be used with one hand
  • Extensive vent system eliminates sweat build up
  • Compatible with goggles and sunglasses

This helmet isn’t cheap but it’s not the most expensive either; you’ll have to pay around $180 to rock this gear.

Take A Closer Look At The POC Tectal

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6D ATB-1T Trail Helmet

6d atb-1tCompany: 6D

Price: $$$$

Rating: 5/5

This 6D helmet is lightweight, highly protective and ultra stylish – it truly is one of the best products on this list. Any biker who likes to push the envelope and really gets after it should consider the ATB-1T. I know you’ll like the:

  • Removable and washable liner so you don’t develop any foul smells
  • Polycarbonate shell absorbs all kinds of impacts
  • Plenty of vents to keep you from over heating

This piece of equipment will cost over $200. For some that’s a little too expensive while others will have no problem paying for this level of quality; it really comes down to your budget and riding style.

Take A Closer Look At The 6D ATB-1T

Giro Montaro MIPS Bike Helmet

giro montaroCompany: Giro

Price: $$$

Rating: 4.8/5

The Montaro is another excellent MIPS helmet from Giro and is reasonably priced at around $149 – not too expensive but not cheap either. All riders will enjoy this product, especially intermediates, and it has:

  • Anti-odor padding will have you smelling fresh at all times
  • Adjustable visor so you can wear goggles and sunglasses
  • 16 different air vents that fight off overheating

This is another helmet that has a ton of positive reviews on Amazon and if you’d like to check them out, click below:

Take A Closer Look At The Giro Montaro MIPS

Bern Morrison Helmet

bern morrisonCompany: Bern

Price: $$

Rating: 4.8/5

The Bern Morrison has a pretty basic design which is perfect for a lot people – it’s fairly priced too, at around, $100. This product is best suited for beginners and intermediates and features:

  • A low profile and lightweight materials
  • Removable visor so you can have the exact look you want
  • Crank fit dial let’s you adjust fit on the fly

The Morrison may not have all the bells and whistles of some of the top helmets on this list. Not everyone needs that, though. If you’re looking for something simple, yet protective, you should consider this piece of equipment.

Take A Closer Look At The Bern Morrison

Giro Timberwolf Helmet

giro timberwolfCompany: Giro

Price: $$

Rating: 4.8/5

Last on the list comes from a brand you’ve seen plenty of times already, Giro. Their Timberwolf helmet is an inexpensive (around $99) and comfortable option that most bikers will enjoy, especially when you consider it comes with:

  • Brushed fleece that feels nice on your head
  • Perfect in cold weather
  • Form fit system that’s easy to adjust

You can control the venting too, so you get the exact amount of airflow you desire. For the right person, the Timberwolf has a ton to offer.

Take A Closer Look At The Giro Timberwolf

Protect You Head Properly This Year!

Head injuries can be really, really serious and you’re at risk for one if you’re a mountain biker. In order to be properly protected you’ll need a high performing and comfortable helmet – like the ones on this list. No matter your needs, skill level, or budget there’s product here for you.

If you have any questions about what you’ve read, comment below and I’ll respond as fast as possible. You can let friends and family see by sharing on social media too.

Are you excited to get out there this year?