The 5 Best Mountain Bike Helmet In 2020

Mountain biking is a courageous sport that requires endurance, bravery and a sense of adventure.

In this guide, we will go over qualities that make a great helmet along with some of the best mountain bike helmets on the market so you can get back to biking without stressing over safety.

Product Table

The best mountain bike helmet is the Smith Optics.

Last update on 2020-07-02 at 08:13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Mountain Bike Helmet Buying Guide

Your cycling style will determine the type of helmet that is ideal for you. Mentioned below are some of the most important features that we think you should consider before making that purchase.

Weight

Helmet weight will affect your overall comfort when cycling, especially if you are into lengthy adventures. A well-made, lightweight helmet creates a freeing experience that leaves you barely feeling the weight atop your cranium. However, you will shell out more money for a lightweight helmet.

Lightweight or Heavy Helmet

Lightweight helmets will cause less fatigue with long-term use. The strain on your neck and shoulders can cause lasting pain from wearing a helmet that is too heavy for you to support.

A heavy helmet might make you feel more stable and protected, but that is not always the case. The material that a helmet is made from can add weight, but other factors, like ventilation, can lighten them immensely.

More Considerations Regarding Weight  

Most all-mountain helmets are in the 13-ounce range, and this is ideal for the average cyclist. When considering this, it is also important to understand that the shape and other features of the helmet can affect how heavy the helmet feels on your head.

Ventilation holes in the helmet generate airflow, and this movement helps you perceive a lighter feel to an otherwise heavier helmet. If you are into long rides, though, the heaviness will eventually be felt more in your muscles no matter the helmet’s other features.

Size and Fit

Safety is the single most important aspect of wearing a helmet. Size and fit play a vital role in your safety while wearing a helmet. Imagine pushing yourself to your limits to crest the great slope, only to have your helmet slide down uncomfortably over your eyes while you are gliding down the hill.

Similarly, a loose-fitting helmet will bounce around as you travel over rocks and roots. Lastly, constrictive helmets are likely to leave you with a pulsating headache at the end of the day.

How to Get the Right Fit

So, what can you do to ensure that your helmet fits properly?

Ideal fitting helmets will snap into place and you can forget about it while enjoying your day.

To obtain this ideal fit, the first thing you need to do is measure the circumference of your head and confirm that your measurements fit with those of the helmet you are wanting to purchase.

Helmets have a variety of contraptions and components that help secure it after you put it on. Chin straps snap in place with a buckle and can be tightened either by manually adjusting the straps or with a nifty dial on the back of newer model helmets.

Other Size Options

If you are a serious rider, you may want to spend a bit more on quality helmets that come in a larger assortment of sizes. Some of these helmets are made specifically for those with larger or smaller than average head circumference.

Many helmets for those with a smaller circumference will be advertised for women, so keep that in mind when looking for the right size for you.

Ventilation

Mounting biking is a high-intensity sport and requires a helmet with decent ventilation. Even for those who take a lift, mountain biking is a strenuous activity that will build up a sweat. Between keeping yourself balanced as you bounce over rough terrain and holding on tightly as you fly downhill, you will appreciate the airflow good ventilation provides.

Design

Ventilation is all about the design of the helmet. Holes, or vents, are a great place to start, but the overall design will bring the whole ventilation system together. Depth of the internal air ducts guides air through the helmet, letting it cool you down as you glide through the mountain.

Materials that the helmet is crafted from can also impact its ventilation system.  

Airflow

Strategically placed vents across the shell of the helmet let air flow in from the front of the helmet and out of the backside of the helmet. This allows the air to flow in, and take some of the hot air out with it as it exits through the back.

Padding

Padding plays a role in the helmet’s ability to fit properly as well as its ventilation system. The interior padding also keeps you cool and comfortable. Comfort is no joking matter when it comes to mountain biking, as you will want to be as comfortable as possible to keep your focus trained on the path ahead.

Quality

Unfortunately, it is pretty common for quality padding materials to be used in more expensive helmets. Cheaply made materials that do not provide the type of support and comfort that you will want on the trails lack in many regards.  

Cheaper helmets use padding that is often itchy and can lead to skin irritation over time, especially when combined with the humidity and wetness from your sweat. Pricier helmets are made with padding material that is plush and feels smooth on your skin.

Most padding is hand washable, no matter the quality of the material. We strongly recommend hand washing in warm water with a mild detergent to avoid harming the materials.

Moisture-Wicking

Moisture-wicking materials work by whisking sweat away from your skin to keep you dry and comfortable. This feature is more common in higher quality helmets as well.

Material

Bicycle helmet shells are made from several types of materials.

Liner and Shell

The shell of most helmets are made from a material called polycarbonate (PC), and this is the best option for the average user. Liners are installed with EPS core. Both of these materials are lightweight; however, single-impact materials like EPS will require you to replace them after one impact.

Other helmets are made with EPP core instead of EPS. This material is crafted to return to its original shape after impact, ensuring its durability and lengthening its overall lifespan.  

 A Review Of The Best Mountain Bike Helmets

1. POC Tectal, Helmet for Mountain Biking

This helmet is simple to use and adjust, but it provides great protection and has a more advanced ventilation design than other helmets. The visor is nice, because it keeps more sun off your face, and helps keep debris away.

The visor is adjustable too, which is a really functional added feature; you can change it to suit the riding you’re doing. It does feel lightweight, but it’s made for high endurance riding and rugged mountain bike trails. If you’re a rider that isn’t big on visors, don’t worry, it’s removable.

The inner liner is comfortable, and doesn’t feel hot and stuffy after riding for a couple hours, which is a big bonus. Of course, they’re also really handy because you can easily remove them and wash them to keep your helmet fresh.

It also comes with extra pads, which is great for people that have trouble getting the typical pads to fit. Even better, it also includes a bag to carry the helmet when you’re toting it around. 

Key Features:

  • Provides more full head coverage than other mtb helmets
  • Easy adjustment system, visor is also adjustable 
  • PC outer shell designed with unibody construction 
  • Includes recco reflector for safety and visibility 
  • Removable visor and extra pads 

Pros:

  • Has a stylish look, cool design  
  • Feels very secure and stable on your head  
  • Has enough vents (and they’re well placed), so it’s well ventilated
  • Comfortable fit, includes extra pads to switch out  

Cons:

  • Sizes seem to run slightly smaller than other brands, check the sizing chart before ordering 

Last update on 2020-07-02 at 08:12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

2. Smith Optics Forefront All Mountain Bike Helmet [Best Choice]

This is a really special helmet; it’s almost more engineered than designed. That’s mainly in part to the unique interior construction. It uses little 6 sided tubes to deliver airflow, but also to absorb more impact than traditionally designed padding.

These tubes are basically honeycombed through the entire inside of the helmet. As you might guess, this makes the whole helmet a lot lighter than almost any other mtb helmet too. The tubes really get fresh air into the helmet, which you’ll see a huge difference in.

The other nice thing is that it ventilates differently than other helmets. Other mountain bike helmets use vents, and you can feel airflow going through those few areas. With this helmet, you can feel air going around your entire head.

The adjustment system is another unique feature. Other helmets use a dial, and it kind of feels like a band tightening around your head. Effective, but not ideal. Smith calls the system the Vaporfit, but it basically feels like a whole head fit. You use a dial to tighten it like on other systems, but this one lets you make tiny adjustments so you get a more accurate fit. 

Key Features:

  • Uses Koroyd tube structure for better impact protection
  • Tubes allow open ventilation
  • Designed to absorb up to 30% more impact than others 
  • Designed to prevent fogging 
  • Uses VaporFit adjustment system 

Pros:

  • Feels airy and cool all around 
  • Very comfortable (one of the most comfortable on the market)  
  • Greater impact absorption means better protection
  • The VaporFit adjustment system is really effective 
  • Includes visor (2 positions) and can mount aftermarket accessories 

Cons:

  • Gives a fair amount of wind noise, especially from the straps 

Last update on 2020-07-02 at 08:13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

3. Giro Montaro MIPS Bike Helmet

The Giro Montaro MIPS helmet covers more of your head than most helmet, which instantly gives you better protection.

One thing we really like with this helmet in particular is the padding. It’s nice and cushy, without getting too toasty. Although as every rider knows, no matter how cool and airy the helmet feels, you’re still going to work up a sweat on a long ride.

That’s where our biggest reason for loving the padding comes in: the pads are designed to repel microbes that leave you feeling icky after a ride. They’re also ‘hydrophilic,’ which basically means that they absorb water (in this case sweat and moisture) at every opportunity. They’re really absorbent too, and can apparently soak up about ten times their own weight in moisture. 

It’s easy to attach lights or a camera to the back of the helmet, and they stay on well (don’t worry about your gear falling off in the middle of your ride). That said, the mount is breakaway style, which is always important for safety reasons. It comes with a visor that you can adjust and lift up when you don’t need it. 

Key Features:

  • Built with strap grippers and mount for aftermarket cameras and lights 
  • Pads are absorbent and antimicrobial 
  • Includes P.O.V. visor 
  • Roc Loc 5 Air system allows ventilation 
  • Mount designed with breakaway feature 

Pros:

  • Feels very well padded and lightweight 
  • Easy to adjust and put gear on mounts  
  • The antimicrobial pads are a huge bonus after long rides
  • Visor can be put back when not in use 

Cons:

  • A better fit for rounder heads, oval shaped heads may not fit as well  

Last update on 2020-07-02 at 08:13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

4. MOKFIRE Adult Bike Helmet 

Since we’re looking at the cream of the crop, this Mokfire mountain bike helmet is definitely one of the best out there. When a lot of people think about helmets and safety, they only consider impact protection.

While that should always be your main concern when choosing the best mountain bike helmet, this one does that and more. It’s tough and will keep you safe if you ever have an impact, but it can keep you safer when you ride at night too. 

It comes with a USB light built in, so you never have to worry about remembering to take an aftermarket light with you. Lights are important to keep you visible to other riders and drivers if you’re riding at night or in inclement weather.

This helmet doesn’t just have a constant light, you can choose between three different modes. It’s well ventilated, and has larger vents than most helmets. Not only that, there’s 22 of them so you’ll stay cool for the entire ride.

Another thing we loved was the net that comes with the helmet. It keeps your hair clean and free of bugs (which love to creep up on you when you’re riding along nature trails).

Key Features:

  • Built with 22 extra large vents for airflow 
  • Pads easily detach for cleaning 
  • Includes safety light with three different setting options 
  • Comes with carrying bag and extra insect net 

Pros:

  • The straps and chin pad are more comfortable than on other helmets 
  • Built in light is ideal for nighttime rides  
  • Feels very cool and airy (the vents do their job!)
  • Adjusts well to get a perfect fit 

Cons:

  • Chin strap is comfortable, but might be too short for some people 

Last update on 2020-07-02 at 08:13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

5. Bell Super 2 MTB Helmet Closeout

Bell is a company that’s well known for the superior helmets and gear they make. This helmet met our high expectations for a Bell helmet and then some. The helmet looks really unique, and you can tell how much extra coverage you have from the get go. It especially covers more of the back of your head, which is paramount if you have an accident.

The Super 2 is a helmet that’s going to turn heads; you can tell how much care and thought was put into the design, and it’s a real standout for it. Like any good camera mount, this one has a breakaway feature. If you’re ever caught in a situation and need to release your gear, you’ll be glad that it’s there.

Another neat thing about this helmet is how the ventilation system is designed. Of course, it works well and we found our head kept cool throughout our ride. The real bonus though is that it’s designed to be more aerodynamic, and lessen wind resistance as you go up hills and steep trails. 

Key Features:

  • Uses the TAG system to adjust multiple areas for a more secure fit 
  • Designed with more back of head coverage 
  • Includes 23 vents total  
  • Has a built in camera mount with breakaway functionality 
  • Compatible with goggles and glasses 

Pros:

  • It’s easy to get a good fit, since it adjusts multiple planes 
  • Keeps your head cool and dry  
  • Provides extra security with more back coverage
  • Goggles don’t feel cramped with the helmet 

Cons:

  • Helmets run a size smaller than other brands 

Last update on 2020-07-02 at 08:13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Our Top Pick!

We put our confidence in all the helmets we’ve chosen as the best mountain bike helmets out there. We only choose the best helmets that give great impact protection and comfort, while keeping mountain bike riders in mind. If you’re wondering which helmet really won us over, then the wait is over.

It’s the Smith Optics mountain bike helmet. Why did we choose this one? The protection it gives you is unparalleled, and that was our top priority. After that, we loved how the VaporFit adjustment system created a whole head tailored fit, but still stayed nice and cool.

Last update on 2020-07-02 at 08:13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Perry
Perry
Hello, my names Perry and I've been a freelance writer for the past 5 years and a cycling enthusiastic since I can remember. I love the road, but my main passion is mountain biking.