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
- Supreme coverage and protection
- Minimalist design
- Brilliant sunglasses integration
- Expensive compared to rivals
Best value for money mountain bike helmet
When the resident send-it maestro Adam Binnie
- Long, height adjustable peak
- High-quality shell and fixtures
- Chinstrap distributors for a comfy fit
- Slightly nose-heavy
- Runs warms
The Bell 4Forty has impressive features, such as ample ventilation to keep you cool on longer
- Relatively low cost
- Fantastic airflow
- An indexed visor adjustment would be appreciated
Best premium mountain bike helmet
Yep – it’s a high price point, but it’s considerably more ventilated than its rivals and offers
- Great ventilation
- Loads of tech
- High saving
- High price point
Fancy a little bit more coverage? Well, the Giro Tyrant (with MIPS) brings a full-face feel
- Comfy and well ventilated
- Plenty of coverage
- Trickle-down tech from the higher end of Giro’s helmets
- High price
- It might not be the best-looking helmet for everyone
Here’s a clever helmet design - Smith has combined two third-party technologies to make a helmet
- Good cooling
- Consistent comfort
- Not many at this price