Mountain biking is an intense activity that requires a lot of protection. When you’re out there on a mountain bike, you’re trusting your life to your helmet—so you want to make sure it’s the best possible choice.
Mountain biking has a rich history, with many of the early pioneers of the sport being seasoned vets in the world of cycling. To this day, there are still people out there clinging on to the dream of cycling with their family down a dirt path – and if there are any old-schoolers among you, well, we wish you the very best of luck!
If you’re any more of a modern sort, however, you’ll know that there are now many options for gearing up for a mountain bike ride, from off-road touring bikes to all-out-bros-only race machines.
Did you know that the brain needs oxygen to function properly? The brain is the most important organ in the body, but it is also the one that is the most fragile, and the second to last to be repaired if it is damaged.
The brain is also surprisingly susceptible to damage from outside sources, such as sudden loss of consciousness, head injury, and even a single fall. Mountain bike helmets are designed to protect the brain from serious injury in the event of a fall. You would be surprised how much damage a fall can do to your head, which is why you want to wear a helmet while on the trail.
In the rough and tumble world of mountain biking, where accidents are all too often, head protection is essential. That’s why investing in the finest mountain bike helmet is critical to being safe and comfortable.
We’ve compiled a list of the finest trail helmets presently on sale, as well as some tips on what to look for when purchasing a new helmet.
Our professional testers have ranked the best mountain bike helmets for 2023
- £90 for MIPS Bell 4Forty
- £135 for Gyro Tyrant
- £135 for Scott Stego
- £29.99 B’Twin All Mountain
- £130 for a Dropframe by Fox
- MIPS Giro Fixture: £69.99
Bell 4Forty MIPS
The Bell 4Forty MIPS is a helmet with a lot of features. MBUK
- It’s simple to change the fit system and it’s comfortable to wear.
- Excellent airflow and top-of-the-line quality
- It’s possible that an indexed visor adjustment might help.
The 4Forty is a feature-rich device that is reasonably priced. It offers excellent airflow over the top of the head thanks to the big vents, which helps minimize heat accumulation on lengthy climbs.
The fit system is simple to modify using an indexed dial on the rear of the lid, and the form is well-suited to people with rounder skulls.
The peak adjusts high enough to accommodate goggles as well.
Tyrant of the Giro
The lid provides a substantial amount of covering. Andy Lloyd is a writer who lives in the United
- It’s comfortable and well-ventilated.
- Coverage is plentiful, comparable to that of many convertible helmets, such as Giro’s Switchblade.
- The appearance may not be to everyone’s liking.
The Giro Tyrant helmet embodies a new-school approach to trail riding, in which greater protection is a must-have at the cost of weight and heat dissipation.
It has a MIPS Spherical system that helps protect your head in the event of a collision, and its design provides a lot of low-down protection in the back.
It may become hot on long, sluggish climbs, but we believe it’s a small price to pay for the additional protection.
MIPS Scott Stego
When we first tried the Stego in 2015, we were blown away. It has remained unaltered since then. Scott Sports is a company that specializes in sports
- MIPS technology improves security.
- It’s really comfy and provides a lot of protection.
- On climbs, having enough of ventilation helps minimize heat build-up.
Since its introduction, we’ve been huge admirers of the Stego, but new MIPS version utilizes smart technologies to keep you safer than ever. The MIPS technology minimizes rotational forces that may cause brain injuries by using a plastic liner inside the helmet.
There is just a 15 to 20g weight penalty, therefore there aren’t many disadvantages to the method.
The Stego features a squared-off shape that may not be to everyone’s taste, but it does provide enough of covering for your temples and back of your head, making it perfect for anybody seeking for a lighter trail lid with some added protection.
It’s also a really comfortable lid that provides lots of ventilation due to wide channels that distribute air over your head. It also stands up to the rough and tumble life of mountain riding thanks to its completely in-moulded shell.
All Mountain B’Twin
The lid’s large ear cut-outs may divide opinion. Andy Lloyd is a writer who lives in the United
- Good on-head stability and a pleasant wearing experience
- Reasonable head coverage and a good price
- On lengthy climbs, it may become very hot.
The B’Twin All Mountain is an excellent lid for the money, providing enough of coverage, remaining comfortable on extended rides, and refusing to budge even while riding over difficult terrain.
It works with a wide range of riding glasses, but it lacks the adjustable retention cradle that most other lids have. This should not be an issue if you get the correct size helmet for your head.
Although we didn’t dislike its appearance, it may not be to everyone’s liking.
Despite the lack of a MIPS lining, Fox has utilized a dual-density EPS shell to improve impact resistance. Andy Lloyd is a writer who lives in the United
- Full-head coverage is excellent.
- Good ventilation and a fair weight for the coverage provided
- Cradle with fixed peak and no adjustability
The Fox Dropframe, like the Giro Tyrant, is another example of the new-school open-face, extra-coverage trail helmets that resemble full-face helmets without the chin bar.
Lids with this design tend to split opinion, but the added protection is undeniably appealing.
Although the Dropframe lacks MIPS, it does have a dual-density EPS casing. Because it lacks an adjustable retention cradle, the fit can only be changed by switching out the pads, so try it on before you purchase.
MIPS Giro Fixture
Nobody told Giro’s Fixture MIPS helmet that it was meant to be a low-cost option. Immediate Media / Russell Eich
- MIPS protection, excellent aesthetics, and plenty of ventilation
- Over difficult terrain, it remains put.
- A fixed visor may be inconvenient.
Given the amount of technology on offer, the Fixture is a bit of a steal. MIPS and an adjustable fit system with a one-size-fits-all design that spans 54 to 61cm are included.
The Fixture is a fantastic performer for the price, even though the visor is fixed and the inside cushioning isn’t as soft as other lids.
Buying a mountain bike helmet
The finest mountain bike trail helmets strike a mix between protection, ventilation, comfort, and weight, which are all important considerations.
Many open-face helmets now provide more covering across the back of the head and the temples than cross-country or road-style helmets, thanks to the growing popularity of enduro racing.
Unless you’re concerned about every gram or need extreme cooling, they’re a good bet for the majority of riders.
To offer cushioning in the case of an accident, most bike helmets utilize expanded polystyrene, or EPS foam, which is constructed around a core of another, harder material.
When the foam is hit, it crushes, distributing and delaying the power of the blow to the user, ideally to a level that prevents damage.
While a variety of test requirements exist to verify that helmets function when they are required, manufacturers have been adding additional technologies to attempt to improve on this.
A MIPS liner is standard on the Speedframe Pro. Immediate Media / Matthew Loveridge
MIPS (multi-directional impact protection system) is one such device, which employs a floating plastic liner between the head and the EPS structure to minimize the amount of rotational force transferred to the brain during a collision.
Because rotational force is responsible for a significant number of accidents, including brain damage, many manufacturers are now incorporating MIPS into their helmets, despite the fact that it raises production and therefore retail costs.
The hard plastic outer shell of most bicycle helmets is now moulded to the EPS structure. This is referred to as in-moulding, and it protects the EPS from small bumps and scratches that might otherwise harm it.
This is usually confined to the top and sides of the helmet on less expensive helmets. Fully in-moulded helmets are more costly, but they extend the plastic protection down and around the rim, making it considerably more effective at preventing damage.
While the additional covering provided by trail-style helmets is appreciated, it can obstruct ventilation, resulting in a considerably warmer and sweatier head in hot weather or while pushing hard.
The 23 vents and extensive interior channeling contribute to the low weight, at least in part. Andy Lloyd is a writer who lives in the United
It’s now feasible to create a lid that’s nearly as stylish as a traditional design, due to increasingly smart use of materials and design.
It’s essential to have a lot of vents, but it’s the interior channels that allow air to flow in from the front, over the head, and out the rear that really make a difference.
Look for large vents on the front and back of the lid, as well as deep channels on the interior.
The size and shape of your head will determine how well a helmet fits. Many individuals like certain brands that utilize a certain form, but choosing the perfect one is mostly a matter of trial and error.
If feasible, go to your local bike store to check out various lids or ask your friends if you may borrow theirs, keeping in mind the newest Covid-19 recommendations.
The most important thing is to get the helmet to fit properly on your head, with no pressure spots or excessive movement.
Most helmets have some kind of retention mechanism that allows you to modify how snugly it fits on your head. Many of them will tighten and loosen around the head’s circumference, but others may adapt in other ways as well.
This helmet comes with a lot of cushioning for comfort and to absorb perspiration while you’re working hard. Weaver, Robin
Make sure you can use the system effortlessly while wearing gloves and that it doesn’t catch hair or squeeze skin in any way.
Make sure you can adjust the straps to achieve a secure, non-restrictive fit, and that when completely fitted, you have a clear, unobstructed vision, particularly if you’re riding aggressively with your head down.
Make sure the peak can be adjusted to keep the sun out of your eyes while riding without getting in the way or flapping about. If you prefer to ride with your glasses on, ensure sure they fit snugly within the cover.
While weight may seem little in comparison to the other features of a helmet, a lightweight helmet will be considerably more comfortable to wear after a long day on the bike.
A light lid is also less prone to slide around when riding.
Some helmets, such as the Switchblade, feature chin bars that may be removed. Immediate Media / Andy Lloyd
A chin guard may now be removed from a variety of helmets on the market. This is mainly due to the rise in popularity of enduro racing, where lengthy climbs benefit from an open-face lid to let you to breathe and remain cool, but nasty descents need the extra protection provided by a full-face-style lid.
Riders get the best of both worlds with a detachable chin guard.
Weight is often a tradeoff because if the helmet has full ASTM downhill certification (so it can be used as a DH racing helmet), more protection must be put in. However, not all convertible helmets satisfy this requirement.
The quantity of covering, along with the MIPS liner, should keep your bonce well-protected in open-face mode. Immediate Media / Andy Lloyd
It’s up to you whether or not to wear a convertible helmet, but we’re seeing a lot more of them on the trails these days.
Is there anything more I should know?
If you want to film and share your rides on social media, you’ll be happy to hear that more and more helmet manufacturers are include detachable camera attachments.
These provide you a snug fit for your camera while still allowing you to return to using an unrestricted helmet when you desire.
Many enduro-style lids also let you use goggles for almost impenetrable eye protection. Look for helmets with a peak that rises high enough to allow you to put your goggles beneath, as well as a rear strap to keep them tight.
Some of the comments below may be out of date since this story has been changed after it was originally published — latest updated 12 May 2023
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