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With so many options on the market, which is the best bikepacking helmet for you? Here's our in-depth guide to the best Helmets for 2022.

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Steph C

In a rush? Here's the best helmets in 2022

Best for: backcountry roads - Giro Agilis MIPS Women’s Bike Helmet

Best for: saving space - Closca Foldable Bike Helmet

Best for: technical trails - Oakley DRT5 mountain bike helmet

Best for: those who want quality on a small budget - Bell Tracker Helmet

Best for: those gnarlier trails - Giro Men’s Helios Spherical

Best for: coping with a variety of terrain - MET Allroad Helmet

Best for: those looking to cut weight as much as possible - HJC Furion

Best for: those riding at night or in poor visibility - Bell Formula LED MIPS road helmet

Best for: cold weather riding - Troy Lee Designs A1 Drone Helmet

Best for: riding in extreme heat - POC Unisex Ventral Lite Helmet

Best for: comfort - Kask Protone Helmet

Kicking off your guide to the best bike helmets

Protecting your head’s got to be the most important thing to consider on a bikepacking trip. Well, okay, the bike may actually be the most important thing but a good cycle helmet is way up there. Helmet technology has come a long way since the brain buckets of a few decades ago; these days you can sit back, enjoy your ride and forget you’re actually wearing one.

No, it’s not mandatory and yes, we all know people who swear by never wearing one, but we can’t stress the importance of protecting your bonce enough. Being dead can seriously ruin your trip. Just saying.

But with so much choice out there how do you choose your ideal lid? And what even is a bikepacking helmet anyway? Is it different from a mountain bike helmet? Luckily we’ve done the work for you so you don’t have to – read on to find the best helmet for you.

Do I need a specialist bikepacking helmet?

There’s not really any such thing as a specialised bikepacking helmet and it’s not a one size fits all. Don't worry though - you won't need two helmets. It depends on what sort of terrain you’ll be covering on your trip. Traditionally, bikepacking differs from cycle touring in that you’re more likely to be getting off the beaten track, but lines can blur from time to time. Who’s counting, right? Anytime spent out on the bike is a bonus!

Depending on where you’re going, you may get away with a road cycling helmet, but if those roads are likely to be rougher then a mountain bike helmet or gravel helmet should be fine.

How are bicycle helmets constructed?

Most helmets are constructed along similar lines. Basically they have a hard, plastic outer shell with air vents and a cushioned inner liner to take the brunt of an impact. Most have some extra padding for comfort and a fully adjustable fitting system. All helmets should be certified by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

The shell

This is the most obvious part of the helmet as it’s the bit that’s on show. It’s your first line of defence in a crash and is designed to take the first brunt and protect the foam liner. It’ll also help protect against sharp objects from piercing the helmet.

Most shells are made from some form of plastic, usually polycarbonate, as it’s cheaper to manufacture yet tough. Polycarbonate is heavier than other materials, so some manufacturers use composite fibres like fibreglass or carbon fibre. These are lighter but usually have a price tag to match.

In cheaper helmets, the shell is usually glued to the liner whereas more expensive helmets have the shell moulded to the liner. Moulded bicycle helmets are usually stronger but remember all helmets need to pass rigorous safety tests so this shouldn’t necessarily be a deal-breaker.

The liner

This is a crucial component of the helmet and is made up of a foam that’s light, yet designed to compress on impact, reducing the force on the brain during a crash.

The most popular foam liner used is expanded polystyrene (EPS). Some helmet brands have experimented with new materials but it's still EPS foam that’s mainly used.

Once EPS foam has been compressed though it won’t spring back into shape, which is why your helmet needs replacing after a knock.

The Straps

These are essential as they stop the helmet from flying off your head! Straps are generally nylon and can be adjusted to get the best fit. They fasten under your chin using a buckle to keep everything in place.

There’ll also be some form of mechanism for adjusting the straps. Depending on the brand and price, this will usually be a wheel, knob or slider.

Helmets usually also have some sort of interior padding for extra fit and comfort. These can often be removed for washing.

What different types of bicycle helmets are there?

Road Bike Helmets

Road helmets are all about aerodynamics and ventilation. They’re designed with speed in mind and weigh less due to having more air vents to help you keep you cool when you’re pounding it out along the tarmac.

The downside is they don’t offer as much protection as other types of helmets, particularly if you’re taking some gnarly trails. Mountain bike helmets really come into their own here.

Mountain Bike Helmets

The best mountain bike helmets also offer good ventilation but are sturdier and heavier, and often come with extra features such as visors and extra coverage at the back of the head for more protection. Downhill riders often opt for a full-face helmet so their entire head is covered but this is probably a bit overkill for bikepacking.

Gravel Bike Helmets

You’d think that these would be basically the same as mountain bike helmets, but there are subtle differences. This is due to the fact that gravel riding tends to be a combination of tricky rough roads, high-speed road riding and slow climbs plus everything in between, so gravel helmets have evolved to cope with whatever’s thrown at them.

Gravel bike helmets tend to be lighter and well ventilated, plus they often have some cool extra features such as a clip to secure sunglasses or riding eyewear when you’re not wearing them – if you want to be posh it’s called an eye garage (ooer!)

Collapsible Cycle Helmets

These have really taken off in recent years. Although fairly lightweight, cycle helmets are still on the bulky side, so unless you’ve bags of room chances are you’ll need to wear them when you’re not on the bike.

Foldable helmets score here because they’re easier to stow away when they’re not needed and you don’t run the risk of permanent helmet hair.

But are they safe? All helmets sold still need to pass rigorous tests to be certified by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). However, they’re designed more for a commute across town on an electric bike so they may not stand up to the rigours of a proper gnarly route.

MIPS

If you’ve spent time looking at bike helmets lately (and we’d guess you have as you’re reading this) then chances are you’ll have come across the term MIPS.

So what is a MIPS helmet and what does it mean for you?

MIPS stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection System. Doesn’t exactly roll easily off the tongue, but the technology is based on the work of Swedish Neurosurgeon Hans Von Holst, who realised the human brain handles straight-on impacts better than impacts that force the brain to rotate.

He found that most cycling accidents result in rotational forces on impact, which can do some serious damage even when a helmet’s worn. Van Holst discovered that making a helmet with two low-friction layers inside causes a certain motion between the helmet and head which reduces rotational brain injuries.

How does MIPS helmet technology work?

A thin layer of material, known as a slip plane or slip liner, is fitted into the bike helmet. Although it’s a part of the helmet, it’s anchored at key points which means there’s some freedom of movement. It’s this movement that means less pressure is placed on your brain in an impact.

Helmet brands have been flocking to partner with MIPS and use its technology in their helmets, but does it really work? MIPS claim that a helmet using MIPS rotational impact protection system gives at least 10% more protection than those without. In reality, this 10% figure is a minimum baseline and most helmets see a much larger improvement than this.

All helmets, with and without MIPS, need to pass certain safety standards before they can be sold, but MIPS also has its own testing standards and they have brought out a range of designs to fit particular brands.

The downside to MIPS technology is that helmets using it tend to be on the pricier side and can also fit differently. You may need to go for a larger size than you’re used to.

MIPS helmets also used to be less breathable due to the slip planes blocking the vents, although MIPS has developed a lighter-touch design that gets around this. 

Should I get a MIPS helmet?

Helmets using MIPS technology do seem to offer better protection in the event of an impact, although do bear in mind that all helmets on the market have undergone rigorous safety checks and although we can’t guarantee that one helmet's ability to protect you is better than another, any helmet is better than no helmet.

How do I fit my helmet?

First you’ll need to know your helmet size. Chances are you’ll already know this if you’re a seasoned cyclist but it doesn’t hurt to check, just in case you’ve been wearing the wrong size for years. It can happen.

Grab a tape measure (not the metal kind – that’ll hurt!) and wrap it around the widest part of your head, around two inches above your eyebrows. A length of string will do if you don’t have a tape measure handy, just make a mark where it meets and measure this against a ruler.

If you’ve not worn a particular type of bike helmet before, the best option is to physically try it on for size and fit. If you can’t get to a store to try it, don’t be frightened to send an online order back if it’s not right and try another size – you need to get this right and helmet sizes can vary from brand to brand.

No two heads are the same so your new helmet should adjust to get the fit just right for your noggin. Most have a sizing dial on the back you can twist; the helmet should feel tight but not overly so. As a good rule of thumb, you should be able to put two fingers together and place them between the top of your eyebrows and the helmet.

Adjust the chin strap so it’s snug but doesn’t cut into your skin; there should be just enough room to fit one finger between the strap and chin. The side straps should form a ‘V’ shape that fits around your ears, not on top of them.

When you feel the helmet fits, give it a wobble. There shouldn’t be too much excessive movement. Straps loosen over time, so check them from time to time to make sure all’s still snug.

Summing it all up

The best helmet for you will largely depend on two things; your budget and where you'll be going. Bike helmets designed for roads, mountain biking or gravel riding all have their place on a bikepacking trip.

Looking for a good quality lid on a shoestring budget? The Bell Tracker might fit the bill nicely. Going somewhere hot? You'll need a lightweight helmet with adequate ventilation like the Ventral Lite. Looking for the best protection on those gnarlier trails? The Giro Men's Helios should have you covered.

Riding in low light? You'll appreciate the LED fitted into the Bell Formula. Going somewhere considerably cooler? Give the Troy Lee Designs A1 a spin.

New to bikepacking and want to give it a try? Why not come along on our intro to bikepacking beginner's weekend in the Cotswolds?

FAQ's

How often should I replace my bicycle helmet?

It’s generally recommended that you replace your lid every three to four years. This is because exposure to the elements can degrade the helmet over a period of time. The EPS liner will gradually lose its volume even if there’s been no major impact. Even the act of putting the helmet down or accidentally knocking it against the door frame has an impact over time.

Of course, you need to replace any helmet after a hard knock. But what if you only took a small tumble and it doesn’t look as though it’s damaged?

You should still think about replacing it, as any damage might not be visible. Plus if any part of the inner helmet was crushed during the impact it’ll be less able to protect you a second time.

Do I Need a Visor?

The main visual difference between road helmets and mountain bike helmets/ gravel bike helmets is that off-road helmets usually sport a visor. Road helmets don’t usually have these to keep them light and aerodynamic, but visors do offer some extra protection from the sun, overhanging branches and impacts. An adjustable visor gives you greater flexibility.

It’s really down to personal preferences and the difficulty of the terrain you’ll encounter. Many helmets come with a detachable visor so you’ll have the choice.

How do I look after my bike helmet?

Once you’ve paid over a decent wedge of cash for your helmet, you’ll want it to last as long as possible. For starters, treat it gently. The fewer knocks it has the better, so try not to drop it and don’t just chuck it into the car or cupboard under the stairs (or is that just us?)

Clean it from time to time with some mild soap and water and a non-abrasive pad. Don’t even think about putting it in the washing machine, dishwasher or tumble drier.  

If the fit pads are removable they can be machine washed on a cool setting or replaced when they’re worn. Be careful which insect repellent you use as those containing DEET can damage your lid.

Can I use a mountain bike helmet for bikepacking?

Absolutely. Mountain bike helmets will give you brilliant protection on those rougher, less-developed roads. The best mountain bike helmets will have extra coverage but still allow for sufficient airflow to keep you cool.

Can I use my mountain biking gear for bikepacking?

No reason why not. Bikepacking involves getting off the beaten track and tackling a whole variety of terrain from single-track to trail riding so mountain bike gear would suit the trail nicely. You don't need to spend a small fortune to start bikepacking - just use what gear you have already, whether it's mountain bike gear or road gear.

Our founder George quit his job to take an epic trip from Alaska to Panama - read all about the gear you'll need for your own bikepacking trip.

Mountain bikes stand up to the rigours of the trail nicely and as long as you can fit some bags onto the frame of your mountain bike for your stuff, you're good to go!

What are the best mountain bike helmets for bikepacking?

If you're going totally off-road and onto particularly gnarly trails, a mountain bike helmet might suit you better than a road helmet. The best mountain bike helmet for you may not be the best mountain bike helmet for your bestie though. Lids are like fingerprints - they're individual.

Some mountain bike helmets have features you won't necessarily need on a bikepacking trip - you probably won't need a full-face helmet or full head coverage for example (unless you're going somewhere really interesting... in which case, can we come?)

We've researched a whole host of helmets, including some of the best mountain bike helmets for bikepacking, so take a peek above!

ourComparison

Kask Protone helmet

A sleek and compact design Which won’t make your head look like a mushroom

POC Unisex Ventral Lite Helmet

It’s so light and airy you’ll forget you’re wearing it

Troy Lee Designs A1 Drone Helmet

We love the stylish yet serious design

Bell Formula LED MIPS road helmet

Feels more high-end than it actually is

HJC Furion

It’s super light yet stylish

MET Allroad Helmet

A good all-rounder at a good price

Giro Men’s Helios Spherical

A great all-rounder

Bell Tracker Helmet

A good basic no-frills lid

Oakley DRT5 Mountain bike helmet

It's packed with all the features you'd expect in a high end mountain bike helmet

Closca Foldable Bike Helmet

Can be stashed away and taken anywhere

Giro Agilis MIPS Women’s Bike Helmet

Cool design meets functionality

final score

84

%

final score

78

%

final score

80

%

final score

78

%

final score

84

%

final score

81

%

final score

85

%

final score

78

%

final score

84

%

final score

81

%

final score

88

%

The Good

  • Octo Fit Micro Dial adjusting system suits all head shapes
  • Inner liner is made from antimicrobial Coolmax fabric and can be removed for washing

The Good

  • 360-degree size control gives a great fit
  • 14 vents and 6 exhaust ports suck away the heat

The Good

  • 8 vent system draws air through the helmet for maximum cooling effect
  • Full-spectrum adjustable visor

The Good

  • Innovative Sweat Guide pad design draws moisture away from the eyes and eyewear
  • LED light is chargeable with the included micro USB

The Good

  • 3D fit system works well
  • Padding is treated with silver ions to keep you fresh as a daisy  

The Good

  • Foam pads are detachable and machine washable
  • Safe-TE-DUO Fit system keeps things snug

The Good

  • Amazing fit thanks to Giro’s Roc Loc 5 Air Retention System
  • Brow pad is designed to draw away moisture

The Good

  • Handy removable visor
  • Ergo Fit adjustment system allows quick and easy adjustment

The Good

  • Great protection against sweat
  • Uses MIPS technology to good effect

The Good

  • It’s reflective
  • Supercool colours

The bad

  • Not the airiest helmet for warmer rides
  • Design could do with an upgrade

The bad

  • Surprising given the price, the Ventral lacks the MIPS rotational impact protection system
  • The non-adjustable side straps won’t suit everyone

The bad

  • Pricy – it's not the cheapest helmet out there
  • Some users have found the liner splits after relatively little use

The bad

  • Could use some reflective patches on the back
  • The LED light is rather low so can easily be obscured by clothing

The bad

  • Shorter than other helmets which some find less comfortable
  • No MIPS and may be too lightweight for proper off-roading

The bad

  • No MIPS technology but this is reflected in the price
  • Battery powering the light isn’t rechargeable

The bad

  • It's pricy
  • Not the lightest helmet for the money

The bad

  • May not give as much protection as other mountain bike helmets
  • Not as padded as higher-end mountain bike helmets

The bad

  • It’s a tad on the heavy side compared to other mountain bike helmets
  • Eye garage is in the wrong place – it’s too easy for a stray branch to swipe your shades

The bad

  • Not designed with the gnarlier mountain biking stuff in mind
  • Clip under the chin can be fiddly to adjust

Comfort

95

%

Weight

85

%

Protection

85

%

Eco Score

70

%

Comfort

70

%

Weight

95

%

Protection

80

%

Eco Score

65

%

Comfort

90

%

Weight

70

%

Protection

90

%

Eco Score

70

%

Comfort

83

%

Weight

75

%

Protection

95

%

Eco Score

75

%

Comfort

90

%

Weight

95

%

Protection

80

%

Eco Score

70

%

Comfort

90

%

Weight

80

%

Protection

80

%

Eco Score

75

%

Comfort

90

%

Weight

80

%

Protection

95

%

Eco Score

75

%

Comfort

75

%

Weight

90

%

Protection

75

%

Eco Score

75

%

Comfort

90

%

Weight

70

%

Protection

90

%

Eco Score

85

%

Comfort

80

%

Weight

85

%

Protection

75

%

Eco Score

85

%

Colour

Black, white, red, grey, light blue

Weight

230g

Price

£££

Style

Road bike helmet

Colour

Uranium black, basalt blue matt

Weight

200g

Price

£££

Style

Road bike helmet

Colour

Drone black

Weight

907.18g

Price

£££

Style

Mountain bike helmet

Colour

Ghost matte black, matte black, matte green, slice matt/ gloss white, matt/ gloss red/ black, tsunami matte/ gloss green/ black, tsunami matte/ gloss slate/ grey/ orange

Weight

1kg

Price

££

Style

Road bike helmet

Colour

Black, MR pattern grey, MT pattern red, navy/ pink, olive, white/ grey/ fluro, white/ silver

Weight

195g

Price

££

Style

Road bike helmet

Colour

Black, black/ blue, grey, yellow

Weight

285g

Pice

£

Style

Gravel/ trail helmet

Colour

Matte warm black, harbour blue matt, matte black/ highlight yellow, matte white/ silver fade, matte black/ red, matte black fade

Weight

303g

Price

£££

Style

Gravel/ trail helmet

Colour

Matt lead, matt black, matt red, matt silver, matt grey-blue, matt Hi-Vis

Weight

289g

Price

£

Style

Mountain bike helmet

Colour

White, grey, green, blue/ black

Weight

600g

Price

£££

Style

Mountain bike helmet

Colour

Pearl, abyss, Amazonia, black, black/mustard, black/ red wine, black/ reflective, black and white, Himalaya, pearl/ black, pearl/ reflective, Sahara

Weight

340g

Price

£

Type

Commuter helmet

Why we like it

A sleek and compact design Which won’t make your head look like a mushroom

The Good

  • Octo Fit Micro Dial adjusting system suits all head shapes
  • Inner liner is made from antimicrobial Coolmax fabric and can be removed for washing

the bad

  • Not the airiest helmet for warmer rides
  • Design could do with an upgrade

Colour

Black, white, red, grey, light blue

Style

Road bike helmet

Weight

230g

Price

£££

Developed in collaboration with Team Sky, the Protone has graced the heads of some of the best WorldTour riders and is the helmet of choice for Team Ineos. It uses 3D padding with a multilayer open cell build process to make your ride as comfortable as possible.

Kask’s multi in-Moulding technology which moulds the shell to the liner for extra stability. It has a reinforced internal sub-frame which reduces the chances of the shell breaking.

The Protone’s design has stood the test of time for sure. However, the age of the design does mean that Kask hasn’t embraced the MIPS technology. Instead, Kask use their own impact protection system and undertake rotational impact testing to ensure their helmets stand up to crashes, so it'll still keep your head protected.

Add a soft, eco-leather chin strap helps reduce skin irritation when things get sweaty and you've got one of the most comfortable helmets out there.

Comfort

95

%

Weight

85

%

Protection

85

%

Eco Score

70

%

No items found.

final score

84

%

Kask Protone helmet

Check latest price

Why we like it

It’s so light and airy you’ll forget you’re wearing it

The Good

  • 360-degree size control gives a great fit
  • 14 vents and 6 exhaust ports suck away the heat

the bad

  • Surprising given the price, the Ventral lacks the MIPS rotational impact protection system
  • The non-adjustable side straps won’t suit everyone

Colour

Uranium black, basalt blue matt

Style

Road bike helmet

Weight

200g

Price

£££

POC claim that the Ventral Lite is ‘among the lightest helmets ever produced’ and this superlight helmet certainly lives up to the claim. It’s all about the weight and the airflow – precise ventilation openings and integrated channels direct air through the helmet. It's one of the best ventilated helmets we've seen.

Every gram is counted; so much so that even the eye garage is a sticker that you can leave off if it’s not needed.

The one-piece shell gives better structural integrity while the liner has different density EPS foam so the shell only needs to cover the necessary areas. Although the shell's been pared back, the changes to the design have actually enhanced the helmet's structure so you'll still get the head protection you need.

If you’re looking to reduce as much weight as possible you may want to give the Ventral Lite an eyeball.

Comfort

70

%

Weight

95

%

Protection

80

%

Eco Score

65

%

No items found.

final score

78

%

POC Unisex Ventral Lite Helmet

Check latest price

Why we like it

We love the stylish yet serious design

The Good

  • 8 vent system draws air through the helmet for maximum cooling effect
  • Full-spectrum adjustable visor

the bad

  • Pricy – it's not the cheapest helmet out there
  • Some users have found the liner splits after relatively little use

Colour

Drone black

Style

Mountain bike helmet

Weight

907.18g

Price

£££

Troy Lee Designs have been developing some of the best mountain bike helmets and protective gear for the world’s fastest riders since 1981, so it’s fair to say these guys know what they’re doing. And the A1 is certainly a serious piece of kit.

The reinforced polycarbonate shell extends down the back and sides of the helmet for extra protection and the triple position adjustable retention system allows a custom fit for your riding style and head shape.

Troy Lee Designs have developed a padded one-piece liner that's anti-microbial and has wicking properties to keep you as fresh as possible. It can be removed for washing, which will be a bonus for your riding buddies!

Comfort

90

%

Weight

70

%

Protection

90

%

Eco Score

70

%

No items found.

final score

80

%

Troy Lee Designs A1 Drone Helmet

Check latest price

Why we like it

Feels more high-end than it actually is

The Good

  • Innovative Sweat Guide pad design draws moisture away from the eyes and eyewear
  • LED light is chargeable with the included micro USB

the bad

  • Could use some reflective patches on the back
  • The LED light is rather low so can easily be obscured by clothing

Colour

Ghost matte black, matte black, matte green, slice matt/ gloss white, matt/ gloss red/ black, tsunami matte/ gloss green/ black, tsunami matte/ gloss slate/ grey/ orange

Style

Road bike helmet

Weight

1kg

Price

££

A quality offering from Bell, the Formula boasts Bell’s Fusion-in-Mold Construction Polycarbonate shell, which bonds the outer shell to the EPS foam liner to create a sturdier, more rugged helmet. Bell is one of the few manufacturers to cover the exposed EPS liner at the base of the shell with another shell, which gives better protection against knocks as well as looking stylish.

The Formula features a 20-lumen rear LED light which is easily adjustable using an easy to turn rubber dial. One useful feature is the No-Twist Tri-Glides – quick-adjust fasteners that allow straps to be positioned properly on the go.

The Formula is fully loaded with the kind of technology you'd expect from higher-end options. It's also equipped with Bell's Float Fit system, which works the same way as other retention systems except it's just connected to the front using a velcro tab. This allows you to easily adjust on the go.

Comfort

83

%

Weight

75

%

Protection

95

%

Eco Score

75

%

No items found.

final score

78

%

Bell Formula LED MIPS road helmet

Check latest price

Why we like it

It’s super light yet stylish

The Good

  • 3D fit system works well
  • Padding is treated with silver ions to keep you fresh as a daisy  

the bad

  • Shorter than other helmets which some find less comfortable
  • No MIPS and may be too lightweight for proper off-roading

Colour

Black, MR pattern grey, MT pattern red, navy/ pink, olive, white/ grey/ fluro, white/ silver

Style

Road bike helmet

Weight

195g

Price

££

Better known for motorbike helmets, HJC have made their first foray into the world of cycle helmets. And the HJC Fusion is a worthy first offering. Wind tunnel tested and aerodynamic, it ticks all the boxes for those wanting a lightweight, airy helmet - it's one of the best ventilated lids on the market.

The pads supplied are soft and squishy without flattening too much when the helmet's put on, plus they contain silver particles which help eliminate bacteria. Perfect for those sweaty miles.

The Venturi Dynamics technology balances ventilation with air-resistant forces to keep you cool at any speed. And if that isn’t effective enough, the Advanced Air Channel System allows air to circulate before being expelled via the exhaust vent. Combined with the 15 vents you’ll be hard pushed to find a helmet as light and airy as this one.  

Comfort

90

%

Weight

95

%

Protection

80

%

Eco Score

70

%

No items found.

final score

84

%

HJC Furion

Check latest price

Why we like it

A good all-rounder at a good price

The Good

  • Foam pads are detachable and machine washable
  • Safe-TE-DUO Fit system keeps things snug

the bad

  • No MIPS technology but this is reflected in the price
  • Battery powering the light isn’t rechargeable

Colour

Black, black/ blue, grey, yellow

Style

Gravel/ trail helmet

Weight

285g

Pice

£

The MET Allroad helmet does exactly what it says on the tin; it’s an all-rounder designed for every ride, whether that's bikepacking, trail riding, mountain biking, or just everyday riding. It's pretty light and well ventilated so will keep you cool on the warmest days.

The snap-in/ snap-out visor suggests it’s at home on the gravel but you can leave it behind if you want a more streamlined helmet. The Allroad’s even ponytail compatible, plus it’s pretty light and well ventilated so will suit you if you tend to ride hot.

There’s an integrated LED rear light, which can be a constant or flashing red light. Whilst useful, this won’t be everyone’s cup of tea and it’s powered by a non-rechargeable lithium battery.

Comfort

90

%

Weight

80

%

Protection

80

%

Eco Score

75

%

No items found.

final score

81

%

MET Allroad Helmet

Check latest price

Why we like it

A great all-rounder

The Good

  • Amazing fit thanks to Giro’s Roc Loc 5 Air Retention System
  • Brow pad is designed to draw away moisture

the bad

  • It's pricy
  • Not the lightest helmet for the money

Colour

Matte warm black, harbour blue matt, matte black/ highlight yellow, matte white/ silver fade, matte black/ red, matte black fade

Style

Gravel/ trail helmet

Weight

303g

Price

£££

The Helios takes the MIPS technology further than most by using two EPS liners with a ball and socket joint that allows the two liners to move independently of each other. This allows the outer shell to rotate independently over the inner, but also gives a much better fit as it feels more like the outer shell is tightened around your head rather than just the inner.

The Helios also boasts 15 ventilation points so you keep a cool head, and the antibacterial Ion lining is sweat absorbing so helps to keep road stink at bay. Reflective decals mean you’ve a better chance of being seen when the light’s poor.

Comfort

90

%

Weight

80

%

Protection

95

%

Eco Score

75

%

No items found.

final score

85

%

Giro Men’s Helios Spherical

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Why we like it

A good basic no-frills lid

The Good

  • Handy removable visor
  • Ergo Fit adjustment system allows quick and easy adjustment

the bad

  • May not give as much protection as other mountain bike helmets
  • Not as padded as higher-end mountain bike helmets

Colour

Matt lead, matt black, matt red, matt silver, matt grey-blue, matt Hi-Vis

Style

Mountain bike helmet

Weight

289g

Price

£

If it’s a low cost, all-round performer you’re looking for then this handy offering from Bell could be the one for you. The Bell Tracker is at the more basic end of the market – it doesn’t have MIPS technology for example, but did you really expect it at this price? If you’re looking for a good low-cost option to get you into bikepacking and mountain biking then you could do a lot worse.  

Bell has pioneered the Fusion In-Mold system, meaning the outer shell is bonded with the EPS liner, making the helmet stronger and hard-wearing. It’s refreshing to find this feature on the Tracker as it's usually reserved for higher-end offerings. The 25 generously sized vents help keep you cool on the road, whilst the visor can be removed if it’s not your thing. 

Easily adjustable fasteners keep straps flat and in place.

Comfort

75

%

Weight

90

%

Protection

75

%

Eco Score

75

%

No items found.

final score

78

%

Bell Tracker Helmet

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Why we like it

It's packed with all the features you'd expect in a high end mountain bike helmet

The Good

  • Great protection against sweat
  • Uses MIPS technology to good effect

the bad

  • It’s a tad on the heavy side compared to other mountain bike helmets
  • Eye garage is in the wrong place – it’s too easy for a stray branch to swipe your shades

Colour

White, grey, green, blue/ black

Style

Mountain bike helmet

Weight

600g

Price

£££

Best known for their cool shades, Oakley has branched out into cycle gear with the Greg Minaar signature DRT and for a first effort at a mountain bike helmet, it’s seriously impressive. It’s got loads of great features which manage to stay on the right side of being gimmicky.

The BOA-branded Retention System adjusts easily for a snug fit, and although it’s not as padded as other helmets it’s still comfortable. A silicone sweat gutter keeps the sweat from running into your eyes; useful if you’re going somewhere warm. There’s a clamp at the back for your sunglasses – and they don’t even have to be Oakleys!

It’s a touch more expensive than other high-end mountain bike helmets but the DRT is a quality option with attention to detail and a great finish.  

Comfort

90

%

Weight

70

%

Protection

90

%

Eco Score

85

%

No items found.

final score

84

%

Oakley DRT5 Mountain bike helmet

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Why we like it

Can be stashed away and taken anywhere

The Good

  • It’s reflective
  • Supercool colours

the bad

  • Not designed with the gnarlier mountain biking stuff in mind
  • Clip under the chin can be fiddly to adjust

Colour

Pearl, abyss, Amazonia, black, black/mustard, black/ red wine, black/ reflective, black and white, Himalaya, pearl/ black, pearl/ reflective, Sahara

Type

Commuter helmet

Weight

340g

Price

£

Although it’s primarily marketed more for the urban cyclist, there’s no reason why this handy little helmet shouldn’t find its way into your saddlebags. It folds down to less than 50% of its size in a literal second so you can take it anywhere. Just stash it in your backpack and go when you’re not on the bike.

Foldable helmets are fairly new on the market and tend to be on the ugly side, but the Closca has a cool award-winning design that looks almost futuristic.

The interior boasts a super soft and comfy padding that keeps your head surprisingly well cushioned and it extends beyond the rear of the helmet so it doesn't look odd while you're wearing it. There's a teeny little visor on the front which does help deflect the wind.

An adjustable rear band allows for a good fit and it’s even got a decent ventilation system.

Comfort

80

%

Weight

85

%

Protection

75

%

Eco Score

85

%

No items found.

final score

81

%

Closca Foldable Bike Helmet

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Why we like it

Cool design meets functionality

The Good

  • Coolfit anti-bacterial padding – helps keep nasty whiffs at bay
  • Super ventilated – ideal for warmer climates

the bad

  • Fitting can be on the narrow side
  • You’ll probably need a skull cap on cooler rides

Colour

Matt blue/ grey

Type

Road bike helmet

Weight

280g

Price

££

Giro is well known for making quality cycle helmets and this is a very worthy offering from the Giro stable. With 32 ventilation openings, the Agilis combines great ventilation with extra coverage behind the ears so it’ll keep you cool and give you better protection if you land on rough ground.

Although it’s marketed with other road helmets, it’ll also protect you on rougher roads and even on off-roading adventures, making it suitable for easier mountain biking too.

The easy adjustable Roc Loc 5 system keeps the fit snug and secure and the positioning systems are integrated with MIPS technology to give that extra layer of protection. The webbing straps are soft and light and overall the Agilis has the feeling of a much more expensive lid.

Comfort

85

%

Weight

85

%

Protection

90

%

Eco Score

90

%

No items found.

final score

88

%

Giro Agilis MIPS Women’s Bike Helmet

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