Best Bike Helmets: Stay Safe and Stylish on Your Next Ride

Man with bike helmet


Bike riding has arguably never been more popular—and it's likely the pandemic we have to thank for it. During quarantine, many people turned to cycling as a safe way to get out of the house and boost their personal health. While the days of quarantine are mercifully behind us, there's still plenty of joy to be found in riding your bike.

Whether you're a casual cyclist or a true competitor, it's important to put safety first. Remember that even the most experienced and confident cyclist can wind up in an accident, whether due to uneven road conditions or erratic traffic. The best way to promote personal safety, specifically minimizing the risk of head injury, is to invest in a good bike helmet.

The ACTIVE Reviews Team has compiled a list of some of the best bike helmets on the market today, including options for every cyclist. Whether you're currently helmet-less or it's simply time for a replacement, we hope you'll find our guide to be useful.

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The Best Bike Helmets - Our Top Picks

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What To Look For When Buying a Bike Helmet

As you shop for a new bike helmet, there are several factors to keep in mind:

  • Proper fit is paramount. Above all, make sure you have a helmet that's properly sized for your head, offering comfort and security. Not only can a poorly fitting helmet make cycling less pleasant, but it can also compromise your safety.
  • Select the right style. Pick a bike helmet that matches your preferred riding style. Recreational helmets are a good pick for casual cyclists. Road bike helmets are made to be aerodynamic and well-ventilated. Mountain bike helmets offer extended coverage in the rear, since mountain bikers are more likely to tumble backward.
  • Shop for special features. Do you need a helmet that allows you to mount a light or camera? Is it especially important that you get an aerodynamic helmet or one that promotes airflow? Think about these special features as you shop for the best bike helmet for you.

Best Overall Bike Helmet - Schwinn ERT Halcyon Helmet

Schwinn ERT Halcyon Helmet

SPECS

  • Weight: 0.56 kg
  • Number of vents: 19
  • Size range: 54-62 cm
  • Key features: Energy Reduction Technology, removable visor, dial fit

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Whether you're a bike commuter, a road racer, or just love zipping through neighborhood parks, the Schwinn ERT Halcyon Helmet is an outstanding choice. Its 19 vents ensure plenty of airflow to keep your head nice and cool, yet this helmet is no slouch when it comes to safety. On the contrary, the use of Energy Reduction Technology actually helps to absorb indirect impact, undercutting any trauma you experience if you tumble or fall.

Getting an ideal fit is one of the most important aspects of finding the best bike helmet but Schwinn makes that easy: With a simple dial, you can select the tightness you need for maximum comfort and safety. We also love the removable visor, which can help protect your vision on sunny days. And while it might be nice to have a couple more color options, the four that are available all look chic and stylish.

What We Like

  • Easy to get the right fit by using the dial
  • Absorbs indirect impact for outstanding safety
  • Great air circulation thanks to 19 cooling vents
  • Stylish design

What We Don't Like

  • Would be nice to have a couple more color options
  • Not recommended if you're looking for a mountain bike helmet

BUY: Schwinn ERT Halcyon Helmet

Best Road Bike Helmet - Rudy Project Racemaster MIPS Helmet

Rudy Project Racemaster MIPS Helmet

SPECS

  • Weight: 11.9 oz.
  • Number of vents: 17
  • Size range: Large
  • Key features: MIPS technology, Hexocrush technology

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When you're sharing the road with big, bulky cars and trucks, having a safe and sturdy helmet becomes all the more important. For road bikers, we recommend the Rudy Project Racemaster MIPS Helmet. While it isn't the cheapest item on our list, we believe that its overall quality, longevity, and incredible features make it a great investment.

MIPS safety technology mimics the brain's own protection system, providing a low-friction layer that fits snugly between head and helmet. Extensive crash dummy testing shows that this technology considerably mitigates the impact of any indirect collision. There are a number of other features that ensure comfort and convenience: A total of 10 vents for airflow, a Fastex buckle closure system, and a removable helmet ring to ensure a precise, comfortable fit.

What We Like

  • Advanced safety technologies, including MIPS
  • Removable and adjustable helmet ring
  • 10 vents to ensure proper air circulation
  • Removable visor to protect your eyes

What We Don't Like

  • Higher price point
  • With limited size options, it may be a bit tougher to find the ideal fit

BUY: Rudy Project Racemaster MIPS Helmet

Best Dirt Bike Helmet - Smith Mainline Mips Full-Face Helmet

Smith Mainline Mips Full-Face Helmet

SPECS

  • Weight: 1 lb. 15.6 oz. (large)
  • Number of vents: 21
  • Size range: Small, Medium, and Large
  • Key features: MIPS technology, washable anti-odor pads

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Dirt biking is rough and rowdy by its very nature, leaving plenty of opportunity for accident and injury. The Smith Mainline Mips Full-Face Helmet is the product we trust for maximizing safety on the trail and for reducing the risk of potential head trauma. Once again, you'll find MIPS technology providing a low-friction layer between helmet and head. And that's just one safety feature among many—in fact, this helmet offers safety features so robust that it's ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) certified for downhill mountain bike racing.

Safety is just one reason why we love this dirt bike helmet. Take note of the 21 vents, offering generous air circulation. Anti-odor pads can be removed and washed. There are also a number of cool colors to choose from, allowing you to select the one best suited to your style.

What We Like

  • Advanced safety technologies, including MIPS
  • A number of cool colors are available
  • Anti-odor pads can be removed and washed
  • ASTM certified for downhill mountain bike racing
  • An incredible 21 vents to keep your head cool

What We Don't Like

  • Higher price point
  • Multiple pads ensure the right fit, but tweaking and adjusting them may take some trial and error

BUY: Smith Mainline Mips Full-Face Helmet

Best Mountain Bike Helmet - Giro Fixture MIPS Helmet

Giro Fixture MIPS Helmet

SPECS

  • Weight: 13 oz.
  • Number of vents: 18
  • Size range: 1 size (XL)
  • Key features: MIPS technology, built-in visor

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The Giro Fixture MIPS Helmet earns our recommendation as the best helmet for mountain bikers. Here's another example of a helmet that employs MIPS technology, providing an important protective layer between helmet and head. At the same time, this helmet is wonderfully lightweight and well-ventilated, making it a comfortable choice for long days spent on the trail.

Beyond that, we like this helmet for its sleek, aerodynamic construction, perfectly enhanced by a range of vibrant colors. A built-in shield helps protect your eyes from the sunlight as well as stray branches. There is also a sizing dial that makes it easy to adjust the fit of your helmet however you need to, making it easy to adjust.

What We Like

  • Advanced safety technologies, including MIPS
  • A number of cool colors are available
  • Very lightweight design
  • 18 vents ensure airflow
  • Easy to adjust with a sizing dial

What We Don't Like

  • With limited size options, it may be difficult to find the ideal fit
  • Visor is adjustable but not removable

BUY: Giro Fixture MIPS Helmet

Best Skatepark Helmet - Schwinn ERT Sequel Helmet

Schwinn ERT Sequel Helmet

SPECS

  • Weight: 0.67 kg
  • Number of vents: 12
  • Size range: Medium, Large
  • Key features: Energy Reduction Technology, dial fit

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Skateparks are attractive places for riders who prefer jumps and tricks to casual cruising. With that being said, spending time at the skatepark comes with risks of its own, requiring you to invest in a decent helmet. The Schwinn ERT Sequel Helmet offers just about anything you could want from a skatepark helmet: It's cool, comfortable, safe, and affordably priced.

Among its other features, we love the helmet's use of Energy Reduction Technology, a Schwinn staple that helps offset indirect impact on your head. A dial fit makes it pretty simple to size your helmet just right. In addition to the vents, you'll also get interior pads that help wick away moisture and sweat.

What We Like

  • 12 vents ensure airflow
  • Easy to adjust with a sizing dial
  • Energy Reduction Technology minimizes impact trauma
  • Reasonably lightweight
  • Modest price point

What We Don't Like

  • Limited size and color options

BUY: Schwinn ERT Sequel Helmet

Best Commuter Bike Helmet - Kask Moebius Helmet

Kask Moebius Helmet

SPECS

  • Weight:14.8 oz. (medium)
  • Number of vents: 3
  • Size range: Medium, Large
  • Key features: ABS shell, removable visor

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If you don a bike helmet for daily commutes, then you'll need something that can take some wear and tear. Consider the Kask Moebius Helmet. Made with a scratch-resistant ABS shell, this bike helmet is built with durability in mind. It's a product that should hold up for years, even if you put it through its paces every single day.

While it only has three vents, it still manages to feel fairly cool and lightweight. Other noteworthy features include an easy-fit dial, a removable visor, and a soft cotton chinstrap that can also help divert sweat and moisture. All told, this is a sleek and sturdy option for anyone who cycles with regularity.

What We Like

  • ABS shell is rugged, long-lasting, and scratch-resistant
  • Super-soft, moisture-wicking chinstrap
  • Easy to size with a simple dial

What We Don't Like

  • Not very many vents compared to other helmets
  • Limited color options

BUY: Kask Moebius Helmet

Best Full-Face Bike Helmet - iXS Trigger MIPS Full Face Helmet

iXS Trigger MIPS Full Face Helmet

SPECS

  • Weight: 1 lb. 5 oz.
  • Number of vents: 27
  • Size range: XS, S/M, M/L
  • Key features: Fidlock magnetic closure

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Dirt and mountain bikers often want helmets adorned with full-face shields. The iXS Trigger MIPS Full Face Helmet is our top pick in this category, for a simple reason: It's by far the most compact, lightweight full-face helmet we've come across, without sacrificing quality, durability, or safety.

With 27 ventilated openings, it's also remarkably cool and with a Fidlock magnetic closure, slipping this helmet on and off is a breeze. Yes, it's a little on the pricey side, but if you want a full-face helmet that you'll actually enjoy wearing, we think this one offers significant value.

What We Like

  • Incredibly lightweight and comfortable for a full-face helmet
  • Very easy to get on and off
  • Cool and well-ventilated
  • Several color options to choose from

What We Don't Like

  • Sizing is somewhat imprecise
  • Higher price point

BUY: iXS Trigger MIPS Full Face Helmet

Best High End Helmet - Rudy Project Protera+

Rudy Project Protera+

SPECS

  • Weight: 13.24 oz. (large)
  • Number of vents: 18
  • Size range: S/M, L
  • Key features: Bug-stop netting, removable visor, antibacterial padding

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You can get a really great bike helmet without spending an arm and a leg, but if you do want to splurge, consider the Rudy Project Protera+. Though it falls toward the pricier end of the spectrum, it also gives you plenty of amenities and extra bells and whistles. It's the helmet we recommend for cyclists seeking a premium experience.

What sorts of premium flourishes are we talking about, exactly? There's bug-stop netting, a removable visor, antibacterial padding, and a generous number of vents, just for starters. More generally, it's a very sturdily constructed, robust helmet that's designed to withstand the test of time. We'll also note the goggle compatibility and the interchangeable chinstraps, allowing you to customize your fit.

What We Like

  • Robust and durable
  • Very well-ventilated and cool
  • Bug netting
  • Multiple chinstrap options
  • Compatible with goggles and safety glasses

What We Don't Like

  • Sizing is somewhat imprecise
  • Limited color options
  • Higher price point

BUY: Rudy Project Protera+

Best Affordable Bike Helmet - Smith Express Helmet

Smith Express Helmet

SPECS

  • Weight: 13.7 oz. (large)
  • Number of vents: 13
  • Size range: Small, Medium, Large
  • Key features: Rear dial for easy customization

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Looking for a great bike helmet that doesn't require you to splurge? We love the Smith Express Helmet, which comes in a low price range but doesn't scrimp on quality or durability. In fact, this commuter-friendly helmet comes backed with a lifetime warranty.

While the features won't blow you away, there are some solid amenities to mention. A rear dial makes sizing simple. Over a dozen vents ensure air circulation. There's also some reflective detailing on the chinstrap, increasing your visibility when riding in low-light conditions.

What We Like

  • Reflective detailing included
  • Very well-ventilated and cool
  • Modest price point
  • Bright colors

What We Don't Like

  • Color range is limited
  • Safety features aren't as robust as other helmets

BUY: Smith Express Helmet

Best Kids' Bike Helmet - Schwinn ERT Halcyon Helmet

Schwinn ERT Halcyon Helmet

SPECS

  • Weight: 0.56 kg
  • Number of vents: 19
  • Size range: Medium, Large
  • Key features: Energy Reduction Technology

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No matter your age, it's important to wear the proper protective gear any time you ride your bike. If anything, kids are even more prone to tumbling than their parents are. Our pick for the all-around best bike helmet for kids is the Schwinn ERT Halcyon Helmet.

Like the other products in the Schwinn catalog, this helmet offers Energy Reduction Technology, helping protect your little one's noggin from indirect trauma. As with the grown-up Schwinn helmets, this junior edition is made to be rugged, resilient, and scratch-resistant.

What We Like

  • Easy to get the right fit by using the dial
  • Absorbs indirect impact for outstanding safety
  • Great air circulation thanks to 19 cooling vents
  • Stylish design

What We Don't Like

  • Color range is limited
  • Sizing your child's head can be tricky

BUY: Schwinn Halcyon ERT Helmet

FAQs About Bike Helmets


How should a bike helmet fit?

Ideally, your bike helmet will feel snug, but not uncomfortably tight. It should be level on your head, not tilted back. The front edge should be no more than an inch above your eyebrows to ensure that your forehead is fully protected.

How do I measure myself for a bike helmet?

The best way to measure the circumference of your head is to wrap a flexible measuring tape around the largest part of your head, an inch or so above the eyebrows.

How long does a bike helmet last?

It varies depending on the quality of the helmet and the conditions in which you ride. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends getting a new one every five years or so. Also, if you fall with a head impact while wearing a helmet, you need to get a new one.

What color bike helmet is best?

From a safety standpoint, there is some evidence to suggest that wearing a white or light-colored helmet can reduce your risk of getting hit by a car, as opposed to darker-colored helmets. Beyond that, it's really just a matter of personal preference.

What is the coolest cycling helmet?

There are plenty of good options, but the Kask Moebius Helmet may be especially worthy of consideration to keep your head nice and cool during your ride.

Do bike helmets expire?

While bike helmets do not "expire" per se, consumer safety advocates do recommend replacing your bike helmet every five years or so.

What is the safest bike helmet to get?

For safety, the Schwinn ERT Halcyon Helmet, Rudy Project Racemaster MIPS Helmet, and Smith Mainline MIPs Full-Face Helmet are all great options.

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