Whether you are a seasoned mountain biker or an occasional rider, choosing a bike helmet that looks good and does its job well can be an exhausting process.
Everyone you talk to will have different opinions about different helmets, and the sheer number of options will have you running to the hills without a helmet – quite literally.
While there is no substitute for quality, protection can come at a high price. If you are new to riding a bike and don’t know what to look for in a bike helmet or want to upgrade your older one, we have the perfect buying guide for you!
We have assembled a list of helmets that vary in prices, features, and distinctive qualities. By the end of this article, you will know exactly which helmet is best suited for your needs.
Best All-Rounder Full Face Helmet
Demon United Podium
Item Weight: 2 lbs, 2 oz
Inner Lining: EPS foam liner. Removable/washable
Outer Shell: Injection-molded resin polycarbonate shell
Ventilation: 13 airflow vents
Visor: Present, with aluminum side visor screws
Certifications: U.S. CPSC Safety Standards, Australian AS/NZS 2063 Standards
- High-end EPS foam lining
- Great durability
- Fulfills safety standards
- Removable/washable inner lining
- Confusing sizing chart
- Demon United Podium comes with the U.S. CPSC certification that vouches for its superior safety standards. The tough outer shell of the helmet makes it ideal for protection.
Unlike most helmets, protection does not come at the expense of comfort. Demon United Podium has a flexible design owing to the inner lining of EPS foam. Over time, the liner conforms to fit the rider. The contouring feature makes it more comfortable and personalized.
Since the helmet is full-faced, it prevents concussions and severe damage to the skull and face.
The best thing about this helmet? It doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg to get it. Demon Podium has a reasonable price without compromise on quality.
However, there are some downsides that you should be aware of. Demon United Podium isn’t the best in terms of weight. For people with shorter heads or those running uphill, managing weight can be a problem.
Another thing to consider is the sizing chart. While the product has a broad spectrum of customizable choices, the sizing chart can be misleading. Make sure you pay attention when selecting the helmet. The selected size has been known to fall short of the requirement. Hence, it is always better to pick a size bigger than yours.
Best Lightweight Full Face Helmet
Fox Racing Rampage Pro
Item Weight: 43.5 oz
Inner Lining: EPS, mesh
Outer Shell: Carbon fiber, FPS resin
Visor: Present, Magnetic Visor Release System 2.0
Certifications: ASTM safety standards
- Good visibility
- High-end technology
- Better visor release system
- Good breathability
- Confusing size charts
- Fox Racing Rampage Pro is a well-designed full-face helmet for hardcore riders. What makes this helmet stand out among the rest? The use of high-end technology gives the ultimate protection and comfort.
If you are a fan of fancy technology, this one’s for you. Fox Racing Rampage Pro uses Fluid Inside technology which acts as a shock absorber underneath the lining of your helmet. What does this do? Basically, these fluid/oil-filled pods act as a floating device similar to the MIPS technology and reduce the impact of rotational forces on the head. Additionally, they also act as compressible protection in case of a fall.
This helmet features a multi-composite technology outer shell with dual-density EPS lining underneath. This combination works to spread out the impact of forces over a larger surface area.
The Magnetic Visor Release System is another technological wonder that makes the visor easy to detach in case of a crash. There are 19 ventilation ports to improve breathability and airflow. The company uses a CAGE chin bar and eye-port in the shell.
Due to the impressive features, this helmet is one of the most expensive ones on the list but worth it all the same.
Best Ventilated Full Face Helmet
Bell Super 3R MIPS
Item Weight: 433 g, 783 g with the chin bar
Inner Lining: NO-TWIST TRI-GLIDES & X-STATIC AND XT2 PADDING
Outer Shell: Fusion in-mold polycarbonate shell
Ventilation: 23 helmet vents, four brow ports, six chin-bar ports
Visor: Present, adjustable
Certifications: U.S. CPSC Safety Standards
- Better ventilation as compared to competitors
- Space for goggles/camera
- Removable chin bar
- Easily adjustable visor
- Trail riding adaptability
- It does not fulfill the ASTM DH safety standards
- Lack of MIPS spherical features
- Stiff chin guard clips
Bell Super 3R MIPS has the most versatile features among all the helmets on this list. Made to be used for riders who are seasoned in sudden terrain chains, this helmet gives you the best of both worlds.
The helmet is lightweight with a removable chin-bar. It is one of the best convertible helmets offering you options to pick between a full-face helmet for hardcore rides and a half-lid helmet for a recreational ride. It provides trail riding adaptability.
What makes it stand out among its competitors? The excellent ventilation system it offers. Bell Super 3R MIPS has 23 ports in the helmet for maximum airflow and overbrows ventilation to ensure full-head cooling and to keep your goggles fog-free.
The visor is the best among convertible helmets. It is easily adjustable and has enough room to wear goggles and glasses. Despite its great features, this helmet is still not qualified for DH riding.
Best Aesthetically Designed Full Face Helmet
Troy Lee Designs Stage
Item Weight: 691 g, 24.3 oz
Inner Lining: EPS
Outer Shell: Polyline Shell construction with fiber reinforcement
Ventilation: 11 high-flow air intakes, 14 open-core exhaust ports
Certifications: DH certification
- Ultra-lightweight design
- Great look
- Good for downhill riding
- Comfortable lining
- Moisture-free padding
- Straps and cheek pads may irritate ears
- No space for goggles
Troy Lee Designs Stage is the best helmet for downhill riding there is. The helmet is built for downhill roughness and constructed for a safe transition from uphill to downhill.
One of the best features of this helmet is the ventilation it offers. The most important thing to manage in a downhill ride is breathability which is affected due to the drop in pressure. The deep maximum airflow internal channeling ensures a versatile range of airflow. With its cooling capacity, there are seldom chances you will overheat.
The X-static pure silver comfort lining adds to the protection it offers and keeps the helmet moisture-free.
However, it is one of the most expensive helmets on the market. The other downside is the occasional irritability riders experience due to the straps.
Otherwise, Troy Lee Designs Stage is a great choice.
Best Budget Full Face Helmet
POC Coron Air Spin
Item Weight: 43.0 oz, 1220 g
Inner Lining: EPP
Outer Shell: Fiberglass
Certifications: EN 1078, CPSC 12.03, ASTM F1952, DH certification
- Excellent protection
- Rock-solid outer shell
- EPP lining with multiple impact protection
- POC spin technology for better protection
- Sufficient space for ear chambers
- Poor ventilation
POC Coron Air Spin is a rock-solid helmet that is designed for enduro and downhill riding. The Expanded Polypropylene (EPP) underneath the fiberglass shell works as a shock absorber that can take multiple hits.
Moreover, this helmet provides ultimate protection by its integrated POC SPIN technology, which is designed to reduce the impacts of angled forces. The shearing pads inside ensure that the head is protected from oblique forces by reducing the transmission of forces. The incorporated slip-plane in the padding absorbs direct forces.
The helmet has multiple certifications along with authorization for DH riding. The helmet boasts a superior level of comfort due to its heavy padding. Despite the padding, ear chambers are free and retain balance and hearing abilities.
Despite a number of excellent features, POC Coron Air Spin won’t take the crown for its breathability features or its weight.
Key Considerations For Full Face Mountain Bike Helmets
The safety standards of a helmet dictate the kind of protection it provides and how suitable it is for your niche of use.
In the United States, the law makes it mandatory for every mountain biking helmet to meet the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) minimum safety standards. The helmet you pick must pass the necessary tests for g-force impact, helmet straps, stability, and amount of coverage.
So, make sure you check the certifications of the helmet before you make a purchase.
Helmet construction is another essential feature to assess its quality. The outer shell should be strong enough to not only bear the impact but spread it over the foam.
In mountain bike helmets, an advanced protection system in the form of a Multi-Directional Impact Protection System (MIPS) has been introduced. MIPS ensures the reduction of rotational forces that incur in the event of an impact.
The helmet’s outer shell is mainly made up of a polycarbonate shell responsible for providing puncture resistance. It also protects the head and neck from significant damage by sliding over the head in case of an impact.
Most of the helmets that are good at protection usually have lower ventilation due to thick inner linings. Denser foam enforcement can result in better ventilation but more inadequate protection. Hence, it is vital to get a helmet that has strategically placed vents.
Since you lose a significant amount of heat through your head while biking, it is essential to have a ventilation system that keeps your head cool.
Get a helmet that has ventilation ports at the front and back to remove heat efficiently. Remember, more is not always better.
How a helmet adjusts to your face structure is vital for its ability to protect your head. The full-face coverage of your helmet makes it harder to adjust to your particular bone formations.
A fit helmet is not only comfortable but also helpful in keeping your head in place in the event of a fall or impact. Your helmet must be equipped to cradle your head comfortably by adjusting to the height and outline of the inner helmet cage.
Check the helmet straps of the product to see if it is adjustable to clasp under the chin. They should move around the ears and meet as a Y in front of them. Helmet straps should be durable and robust to not break under pressure.
The helmet’s inner lining is usually made up of an expanded polystyrene foam that provides an additional layer of protection to your head.
Expanded Polystyrene or EPS insulation is the ideal material used for the inner lining of helmets. It helps dissipate the impact forces and slows down the motion of the head in case it is hit by load or back-fill forces. The material has high mechanical compressive strengths that add to the closed-cell insulation. Its high dimensional stability keeps the head and neck intact.
Pick a helmet with a rigid inner lining with compressive strengths and durability.
In order for a helmet to provide the best protection to the rider, it is important to keep the weight in check. A heavyweight helmet would put excessive pressure on the neck, straining the muscles, and resulting in disbalance of the rider.
The weight of the helmets also reduces comfort and increases the chances of you getting tired easily. Most of the fiberglass helmets are on the heavier side, and plastic helmets are lighter.
Ideally, pick a helmet that is both lighter and offers excellent protection.
A helmet’s visor plays an important role in protecting the rider from different kinds of disturbances such as direct sunlight, debris, and other obstructions on the road.
While the benefits of visors are countless, it is also crucial to pick one that dislodges easily in the event of a crash. The first step of helmet extrication is disarming the visor. If the visor does not unhook easily, there could be a delay in medical attention or risk of further damage in an attempt to remove the helmet.
If you have a good budget, get a helmet with Magnetic Visor Release System for fast visor removal.
While prices of the helmets may vary according to the specifications and bonus features of the helmet, it is imperative to invest in a helmet that meets your budget while maintaining quality.
Full-face mountain bike helmets are usually insanely expensive, which discourages bikers from getting one. A good helmet that falls within your budget and has good longevity is always an ideal purchase.
Get a helmet whose advantages outweighs its cost. Remember to not compromise on your safety for the sake of a cheap product.
Whether you want to go for enduro biking, uphill or downhill riding, or want to take your bike out for a spin simply; there is a helmet for every use. This article only covered the five best helmets for different purposes, but your options are limitless. Whichever helmet you choose, you need to keep the key considerations in mind and pick a helmet that is best suited for your needs.
Remember to not pick a helmet based on a single feature or buy it because a friend who rides once in a while told you so. Explore all the options, scrutinize all the features, take your time, and then pick a helmet that will not only protect you but also look good on you.