The Best Road Cycle Helmets

Our no-nonsense guide to the best road cycle helmets. The best value, best performers, the best safety features.

The best road cycle helmets: black helmet resting on handlebars

by Chris Williams |

When it comes to finding yourself a cycle helmet, there are a few factors to consider: safety, fit, ventilation, and if you're after that extra bit of time gains aerodynamics. If you are looking at sticking to a budget, your utmost priority is safety. It's best not to be tempted by the super cheap, and super-light helmets that favour form over function. But by the same token, don't just fork out for an expensive helmet without checking its credentials.

If you are willing to spend around £40 or £50, you can start to get a noticeable step up in quality that will incorporate style and safety. Up to £100 and you will start to get into helmets that incorporate clever designs that improve aerodynamics, and bring the weight down further while remaining, or even improving in, strength. Beyond £100, you should expect to get the best – top aerodynamics, superb ventilation, incredible lightness and the best safety features.

Related: The best winter cycling jackets

Don't forget bike helmets have a use-by date - no they don't go off if you don't fit them to your head after three weeks of purchasing but they have a date on them, usually on the inside, which is a recommended replacement date. This is for safety reasons as helmets get dropped over time and the materials can be prone to corrosion over time. as a rule of thumb, it's probably a good idea to update your helmet every five years or after an incident.

What is MIPS?

When shopping around, you will inevitably come across this acronym, so it's handy to know what it means. MIPS stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection Systems. Why does it exist?

Our brains are particularly sensitive to rotational impacts, which cause strain on the brain tissue. Rotational impacts are the most common type of impact that comes from cycling falls. This is because when we fall off our bikes, it's most frequently at an angle.

MIPS protection is designed specifically to address this issue and mitigate the risk of brain injury from such accidents. On helmets with MIPS, between the padding and the expanded polystyrene (EPS) there is the MIPS Brain Protection System which allows the head to move slightly inside the helmet which helps reduce the rotational impact that would otherwise be soaked up by the brain.

Helmets with MIPS have an extra layer of protection that will bring you added peace of mind while out riding. Happily, as MIPS becomes more commonplace in helmets we're seeing it more and more in the lower cost bracket.

So what is SPIN?

Unlike most of its rivals who deploy the popular MIPS technology, POC has created their very own protective system known as SPIN, a patent-pending rotational impact protection system that reduces the effects of an oblique fall by limiting the amount of force transmitted to the head and brain. Using an innovative and unique pad technology to keep you safe you'll be protected from unexpected falls hopefully keeping your brian in check.

OK, but what's Koroyd?

Tens of thousands of co-polymer extruded tubes are thermally welded to create an unparalleled consistent and fully engineered core, ready to be cut, shaped, CNC-ed, thermoformed or laminated and further integrated into the best sport and protection products that give you the edge. The cores plastically deform for higher speed impacts, absorbing energy linearly. Up to 84% of the material thickness can be utilised in case of an accident. Existing energy absorbers densify around 60%.

What's The Best Road Bike Helmets for £0-50?

As we have said before - we understand people have budgets to work towards but sometimes going for a cheaper helmet isn't always the best option. For sure purchase what you can afford but it may be a little bit better to purchase a helmet with a better safety rating than a cheaper one.

Wiggle's own brand dhb (don't hold back) offers quality products across a range of budgets and that is true with their helmet, too. The dhb R3.0 Road Helmet has been designed to give you peace of mind while on the road without compromising on style thanks to its aerodynamic and low-profile design. With 20 large intake vents, this helmet will keep you cool and comfortable.

In-Mold Construction allows the hardened polycarbonate shell to be fused to the shock-absorbing EPS foam liner. By combining these two layers during the construction process this keeps the weight down. Additionally, the EPS foam liner has been constructed from recycled material making it a conscious choice with maintained performance.

Often been a mainstay in the world of cycling, Mavic has also been in a price bracket which has been out of reach for many. The former Tour de France sponsors though offer a fantastic lower cost option for a cycling helmet with this, the Aksium Elite Helmet.

The amount of technology crammed into the helmet is astounding; the Ergo Hold SL Retention System delivers optimal adjustability and the Elite Fit Pad provides exceptional comfort, hard to find in this level of helmet.

The Tonic offers protection, style and comfort for riders just getting into cycling.

Lightweight in-mould construction keeps the weight low, 28 vents make sure you're always cool and a turn of the TS Plus dial gives a snug, comfortable fit that keeps the helmet firmly in place.

What's The Best Road Bike Helmets for £51-£100?

We're now in a really aggressive price point, around the pricing we have a huge competition. We get a good mix of construction and materials used and also weight saving and ventilation. MIPS is also present and more common at this price point.

The Omne Air SPIN Helmet achieves that fine balance between aero performance, comfort, ventilation and of course first-rate protection, making this a helmet you can easily use every day. In the event of a fall, it's the combination of optimal liner density, thicker core protection zones and SPIN (Shearing Pad INside) technology that will help prevent injury through optimal energy dispersal.

Delivering superior levels of comfort, fit and performance, the Omne Air SPIN Helmet can see you take safely to the race track, work commute or big weekend gravel epic.

Oakley don't just make sunglasses, they make bike helmets, too. The very latest in head protection technology and sublime streamlined aerodynamics with the Oakley ARO5 2.0 Helmet. This is a cycle helmet built for speed and yet offers the finest protection possible, while minimising weight and optimising comfort. Oakley have exceeded expectations with the creation of the ARO5 helmet. Redefining the way you ride with its high-end protection and incredibly smart features, this stylish helmet will sure to be a regular feature on podiums and on your local training roads in no time.

The HJC Valeco is the helmet that sits just below their high-end helmets, offering the privateer racer and keen cyclist pro-level performance at a more affordable price. It still benefits from wind tunnel development so not only is it keeping you safer on the bike it's fast too.

Airflow into the helmet has also been fully optimised. This HJC calls Ventury Dynamics. Using pressure difference between the front and rear of the helmet, the air is actively drawn inside via copious vents, 12 in total, circulates through the helmet along careful designed channels and exits through the rear exhaust vents. This dissipates the heat you build-up, cools your head and boosts comfort on the bike.

What's The Best Road Bike Helmets for £100+

Here we enter the exotic mix of materials and superlightweight helmets which bring together comfort and fit which is unrivaled by the ones in the lower price brackets

The KASK Protone has long been considered one of the best road bike helmets in the world, not only does it fit like a glove (except on your head, not hand) but it has fantastic ventilation, superb weight and takes comfort beyond the helmet on your head and features a lovely Italian leather strap under your chin.

The Protone Road Cycling Helmet (WG11) has a revolutionary design that combines the best of both worlds. Originally developed and extensively wind-tunnel tested together with Team Sky (Now Team INEOS), the Protone delivers professional performance in a sleek and stylish package.

A premium choice for discerning cyclists, the Lazer Vento KinetiCore Helmet is engineered for uncompromising speed, delivering superior aerodynamic performance and comfort to your road rides. Optimised for a sprinting position, the design sees a 15° angle and reduced frontal surface to shave off valuable time. The ScrollSys system is simple to adjust, letting you dial in your preferred settings, even on the move, and an eyewear dock allows for safe storage of your optics.

Crafted with the innovative Koroyd technology, the Pro SL Helmet from Endura redefines how we ride the road. Giving you the upper hand over your rivals, the outstanding shock absorption and the lightweight performance of this classically designed lid ensure that professional performance levels are simple to achieve.

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