The best mountain bike helmets

The most important safety item for MTB is a helmet - here we rank the best

Man in Mountain bike helmet

by Myles Warwood |
Updated on

You might think that the most important thing on the trails is your bike - you wouldn’t be ripping down them without it, so... you might be right. But coming in a close second to your perfect bike is your personal protection equipment - without a mountain bike helmet, a happy day on the trails could swiftly become unhappy.

The top of the importance pile for personal protection is the helmet. Protecting your head from knocks, bashes and scrapes is incredibly important, and manufacturers have come along leaps and bounds in the development of the technologies which keep you protected. Falls on rapid downhills, tricky technicals and ‘hidden’ tree roots on the trails can easily have you off a mountain bike, so we’ve been through the best MTB helmets to help you make an informed decision about what you might need.

What is MIPS?

This safety feature on cycle helmets has become more and more prominent in recent years. MIPS stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection System. This system has been about for several years and is an added layer of protection designed to provide added safety for helmets in many accidents. For specific impacts, the MIPS can reduce harmful rotational motion that might otherwise be transferred to the user’s head.

Rotational motion is a common cause of concussions in oblique hits to the head. In a crash, the MIPS system is designed to move slightly inside the helmet to help redirect forces away from the head.

What are the best trail helmets?

The best mountain bike helmet for trails

In short this is a brilliant lid that fits a tonne of features into a lightweight and minimalist package. Koroyd, Mips, and Smith Optics eyewear integration makes for a protective and satisfying to use mountain bike helmet, with premium build quality and about a billion different colours to choose from, too. If you want the full run down read our Smith Forefront 2 review.


  • Supreme coverage and protection
  • Minimalist design
  • Brilliant sunglasses integration


  • Expensive compared to rivals

Best value for money mountain bike helmet

Abus MoDrop MIPS - Adam BinnieWhat's The Best

When the resident send-it maestro Adam Binnie reviewed this helmet, he was impressed by its fully-featured specs and affordable price. It offers great coverage, which can easily be manipulated to fit your personal swede, and offers peace of mind via MIPS. While your head might get a little warm during hard-push climbs, this is a stellar mountain bike helmet.


  • Long, height adjustable peak
  • High-quality shell and fixtures
  • Chinstrap distributors for a comfy fit


  • Slightly nose-heavy
  • Runs warms

Good airflow
Bell 4Forty Helmet (MIPS)
Price: £60.49 (starting)

The Bell 4Forty has impressive features, such as ample ventilation to keep you cool on longer climbs, an adjustable peak to make room for your goggles and an easy-to-adjust indexed dial on the back. It’s affordable, but due to its dimensions and worn position, it's a mountain bike helmet better suited to users with rounder head shapes.


  • Relatively low cost
  • Comfortable
  • Fantastic airflow


  • An indexed visor adjustment would be appreciated

Best premium mountain bike helmet

Giro Manifest Spherical (MIPS)
Price: £69 (starting)

Yep – it’s a high price point, but it’s considerably more ventilated than its rivals and offers decent coverage. It's also a very light mountain bike helmet.

Plenty of padding is thick enough to keep things comfortable and absorbs sweat to avoid leaks. This helmet has MIPS and three peak positions to suit your riding style. Giro has also added a few nice finishing touches, such as goggle-grips on the back of the helmet, reflective decals and integrated eyewear grippers.


  • Great ventilation
  • Loads of tech
  • High saving


  • High price point compared to others

Best coverage
Giro Tyrant Helmet (MIPS)
Price: £119.99 (starting)

Fancy a little bit more coverage? Well, the Giro Tyrant (with MIPS) brings a full-face feel without an enduro helmet's additional chin and jaw protection. The tyrant offers more over-the-ear protection to cover any bumps on the side of the head.

This helmet doesn’t provide as much tech inside it as the Manifest Spherical above, and you may be confused by the higher price point. If you miss out on the whopper offer above and want a Giro helmet, our advice would be to go for this one.


  • Comfy and well ventilated
  • Plenty of coverage
  • Trickle-down tech from the higher end of Giro’s helmets


  • It might not be the best-looking helmet for everyone

Best comfort
Smith Session MIPS helmet
Price: £46.99 (starting)

Here’s a clever helmet design - Smith has combined two third-party technologies to make a helmet which is trying to be as safe as possible. Not only does this helmet use MIPS to reduce the rotation impact, but it also uses Zonal Koroyd® coverage technology. This is effectively a crumple zone which absorbs the forces caused by effects in a controlled and consistent way.


  • Good cooling
  • Consistent comfort


  • Not many at this price

[Myles]{href='' target='_blank' rel='noreferrer noopener'} is an Autos & Fitness Product Writer for What's The Best, Parkers and CAR. His areas of expertise include cycling, fitness tech and hot hatches.

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