The best road bike helmets balance comfort, aerodynamics, ventilation and protection.
Choosing the best road bike helmet will transform your cycling experience, so it’s important to find the right one for you. There are various types tailored to different rides. Some have lots of ventilation for hotter climates, others are aerodynamic for racing, and some offer integrated safety technology.
In the list below, we take a look at some of the best road bike helmets available, along with some key things to consider when it comes to buying your next road bike helmet.
What to look for
A helmet will always be a personal choice, so the most important factors to consider are fit and safety. Getting a secure fit should be the priority, and if you can’t try-before-you-buy, check the manufacturer’s size guide. You just need to measure your head circumference.
The majority of most modern cycling helmets will have passed the rigorous industry standards of safety testing, which differ between North America, Europe and Australasia. Check the helmet you are purchasing has passed these tests for your region.
Added safety measures
In recent years, scientific research and independent laboratory tests have shown helmets that also reduce the rotational forces experienced in a crash can, in turn, reduce the risk of brain injuries or concussions.
With independent testing facilities taking it upon themselves to quantify safety and verify manufacturers' claims, the safety of the helmet is no longer a given. Brands are now putting additional resources into the research and development of helmet safety, rather than just the ventilation, aerodynamics and weight.
‘MIPS’, ‘SPIN’ and ‘WaveCel’ technologies all aim to reduce rotational forces. While SPIN and WaveCel are proprietary for POC and Bontrager helmets, respectively, MIPS is used in an array of brands’ helmets and all of the helmets featured in this list are marked as to whether they feature this technology.
Extremely comfortable, well-ventilated and stylish
This sharp-looking road helmet from POC is packed with performance-enhancing features, making it our top pick. It offers a comfortable and snug fit, thanks to the 360-degree tightening system, meaning you get even adjustment from all sides, while the easily adjustable straps separate around the ears to keep the whole thing firmly in place.
With 10 generous vents, the POC Omne Air SPIN channels great airflow from front to back, which helps keep your head cool in hotter climates, despite having the mid-section covered over. Finally, it features SPIN technology that provides additional rotational impact protection, making this an ideal helmet for any safety- and style-conscious roadie.
Great performance for a great price
The Isode sits in the middle of Giro’s range of helmets, hitting that sweet spot between having the most important features without breaking the bank. It’s a lightweight and comfortable helmet that’s impressively capable and durable. It’s created with Giro’s in-mold construction, which is known to withstand the test of time, plus it features a MIPS rotational impact liner for added safety.
With 22 vents, it’s great for riding in hotter weather, and the Roc Loc sport harness system makes it easy to get a great fit. In fact it very closely resembles the usual 360-degree adjustment you’d normally find on more high-end models. This, plus the stylish design, makes the Isode feel like it should cost a lot more than it does. With seven different color options to choose from, and a universal one-size fit, it’s the perfect option if you want something no-fuss that provides all the comfort and safety needed for a day in the saddle.
A well-rounded option to do it all
The Giro Register MIPS has a lot of the same features as the Isode MIPS model, sharing the same shell, harness and straps, plus the MIPS rotational impact protection.
However the Register is a more versatile option, featuring a small visor to help shield your eyes from the elements. It also makes life easier when tackling narrow and overgrown paths. Of course, if you’re not a fan of the visor you can simply remove it to give yourself an aero boost.
Easy adjustment and simplicity
The TeamObsidian Airflow offers a simple package that’s perfect for beginners who don’t feel they need the most high-tech helmet on the market. You won’t find any bells and whistles here, but you will find all the basics you need for a comfortable ride.
Its lightweight and low-profile design is complemented by a detachable visor for added eye protection, and 22 air vents for much-needed cooling. Inside, the pads are washable, while the cushioned chin strap and rotating dial at the back make it easy to adjust the fit. It’s also possible to accommodate a ponytail for long-haired cyclists.
Lots of colors available
Schwinn is iconic in American biking history, meaning its products are designed for use on America’s roads. The Thrasher helmet comes in a huge amount of color options, making it easy to match your helmet to your kit for that all important aesthetic.
With 21 integrated vents, your head will stay nice and cool, while the easy-to-adjust side straps offer a fine-tuned fit. At the front is a removable visor, while at the back is a dial that allows for a 360-degree fit, offering both comfort and safety while out riding. Speaking of safety, it’s amazing how many of its reviewers have vouched for the protection it’s offered when they themselves have been involved with collisions. That certainly speaks volumes in our books.
With its unique design, you’ll look like a pro
Inspired by aerodynamic design, the Lixada bike helmet is one of the more interesting looking lids in our list. It has all the basic things you’d expect to find - an adjustable dial and strap system, plus 22 vents for increased airflow - plus some more unique features.
At the back you’ll find an LED rear light that’s integrated into the helmet. This comes with three safety modes: constant beam, slow flashing, and fast flashing. This is an excellent way to make sure you’re seen in low light on the roads.
At the front, it’s difficult to miss the goggle visor. This protects your face against wind, sand and other debris, plus it offers UV400 protection as well. It fastens magnetically, making it easy to remove, and also possible to flip upside down in case you decide to temporarily remove it mid-ride and have nowhere to store it. We think it’s a nifty feature, and we also like the many color options you get as well.
Thank you for signing up to Cycling News. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.