The best mountain bike helmet is the most vital piece of gear for you. If you want to make their trip safer, easier, and more comfortable. But picking a helmet that fits and is comfortable is hard. Let me introduce you to the best helmets of 2022.
- Part 1: The Best Mountain Bike Helmet Features
- Part 2: The Top 5 Mountain Bike Helmets of 2022
- Part 3: The Best Overall Mountain Bike Helmet: Giro Manifest Spherical
- Part 4: A Close Second (With Standout Comfort): Troy Lee Designs A3
- Part 5: The best budget mountain bike helmets: Smith Convoy
- Part 6: The Best Lightweight XC Helmet: POC Octal X Spinning
- Part 7: The Best Full-Face Mountain Bike Helmet: Stage MIPS by Troy Lee
- Part 8: The Best of the Others: The Giro Source
- Part 9:When to Replace Your Helmet
Part 1: The Best Mountain Bike Helmet Features
Off-road best MTB bike helmets are separated from street bicycle models. Because of their more prominent head inclusion and the expansion of a visor. As to last, an enormous visor is extraordinary for keeping the sun out of your eyes. And offers additional security from downpours. There is divergence in the shapes-Troy Lee Designs’ A2 visor is wide and moderately short, while Fox’s Drop frame Pro is limited and long-however enormous moto-propelled charges that stick out almost to the extent that a baseball cap is turning into the standard.
Mountain biking is firmly connected to the ascent in the activity camera market. And a protective cap mount offers a tomfoolery, first-individual viewpoint. Like the various GoPro models, most activity cameras incorporate a tacky mount that can connect straightforwardly to head protectors with a smooth space at the front. Vigorously ventilated protective caps might require a little adjustment; however, GoPro, Sony, and others sell tie frameworks that space through the vent openings to hold everything set up.
Some very good quality caps have an implicit activity camera mount, making this a stride further. This separates a portion of the mystery from getting the ideal camera point and saves you from being required to utilize one of your tacky mounts. Chime’s Sixer MIPS framework is steady and intended to split away in an accident. We absolutely wouldn’t go with our cap decision just in view of this component remember that you can connect an activity that came to your handlebars or utilize a chest mount-however they are an attentive and shrewd answer for those able to pay some extra.
Standard glasses are the most common eyewear for mountain bikers, but the increased coverage and protection with goggles make them popular with enduro and downhill racers. To start with, you don’t necessarily need many characteristics to ride with goggles—if they suit the bill of the best MTB helmet and the form of the shell does a good job of keeping the lashes set up, you can wear them fine and dandy. Troy Lee Designs A2 is an extraordinary illustration of a head protector that isn’t in fact better for goggles yet functions admirably.
Part 2: The Top 5 Mountain Bike Helmets of 2022
- The Giro Manifest Spherical is the best overall mountain bike helmet.
- A Close Second (With Standout Comfort): Troy Lee Designs A3.
- The Smith Convoy MIPS is the best budget mountain bike helmet.
- The POC Octal X SPIN is the best lightweight XC helmet.
- The Troy Lee Designs Stage is the best full-face mountain bike helmet.
Part 3: The Best Overall Mountain Bike Helmet: Giro Manifest Spherical
Giro’s Manifest was released about a year ago to relatively little fanfare, but we think it’s a real winner. It’s been our primary lid for the past six months, and we have yet to identify a true weakness. The open and wide interior fits great, offers excellent all-around coverage, and has just the right padding.
And safety is a real hallmark of the design. Features Giro’s innovative Spherical Technology (developed alongside MIPS). The shell is essentially made up of two pieces, which allow the top portion of the shell to move independently of the lower in a crash (minimizing rotational forces on the brain). And by building this into the shell’s design—rather than using a separate liner like most MIPS lids—you also get fantastic ventilation. Taken together, we think the Manifest is the best trail helmet available.
Unfortunately, that do-everything feature set includes niceties like a magnetic buckle and a highly adjustable fit system. It comes with a steep $260 price tag. It’s a tough pill to swallow at twice the price of the Giro’s Source, shown below, for riders who don’t get out much or don’t mind a mildly warmer build. The Manifest also has fairly polarizing styling. Particularly in colorways that highlight that two-piece set-up. But that’s mostly a matter of personal preference. We think the Manifest is the market leader if you can swing the steep price.
Part 4: A Close Second (With Standout Comfort): Troy Lee Designs A3
All three iterations of Troy Lee’s A series of trail helmets have been favorites among our test group. Each has had its respective strengths—the A2 below is a great ventilator—and TLD has honed in on comfort and safety with this latest model.
There’s extremely plush padding covering the full interior, and the wide, accommodating shape and highly adjustable fit system give it all-day comfort. It’s also well-tuned for rough trail use with extended coverage around the temples and back of the head. But they’ve managed to leave sufficient space so you can pair it with most goggles and glasses. Finally, the shell is co-molded with EPP and EPS foam to protect against low-and high-speed impacts.
The A3 comes up a little short compared to the Giro Manifest above in ventilation and weight. The super comfy interior and smaller vent openings block more air than the Giro. However, on the plus side, we’ve found the A3’s sweat management system does a better job at keeping droplets from falling directly onto your glasses. And at just under 14 ounces, the A3 is a bit heftier, and the extra bulk is noticeable when wearing the two back-to-back. But we’re talking about small quibbles here. And the reality is that Troy Lee Designs has thoughtfully assembled yet another strong trail offering.
Part 5: The best budget mountain bike helmets: Smith Convoy
As the best bike helmet for mountain biking prices trends higher each year. It’s nice to see a quality yet budget-friendly option like Smith’s Convoy pop up. For $75, you get a solid lid for recreational riding. It’s highly adjustable (you can tweak the fit both up and down and forward and backward), offers decent ventilation with 20 large vents, and includes a MIPS liner. There’s nothing fancy about the design, and you do miss out on premium touches like soft and highly absorbent padding. But the Convoy is a nice option for those who don’t venture out on big rides or into the gnarliest of terrain.
How does the Smith stack up to Bontrager’s popular Solstice below? Both helmets are ideal for casual riders and cross-country trails with moderate coverage, non-adjustable visors, and fairly simple interiors. On the other hand, the two designs are lightweight, reasonably airy, and can pull double-duty for road or gravel use. The Smith is easier to dial in a snug and comfortable fit thanks to its four available sizes (the Bontrager only comes in two), and it edges out the Solstice in back-of-the-head/neck protection.
Part 6: The Best Lightweight XC Helmet: POC Octal X Spinning
A lightweight, well-ventilated helmet is a priority for long, chilly days in the saddle. And among the numerous options on the market, POC’s Octal X SPIN is a standout. Its feathery 9.4-ounce weight is generously sized with 21 vents and nice touches, like a place to store your glasses when not in use. Check off all the right boxes. In terms of safety, the high-end Octal features POC’s SPIN technology (similar to MIPS) and includes Aramid reinforcements on the EPS liner for increased protection—features not found on the vast majority of helmets that weigh so little.
At $250, the obvious downside to the Octal X SPIN is its very steep price. The POC is designed for serious riders in general—the $250 Kortal Race below is similarly priced—and the quality and attention to detail are undeniably impressive. But its appeal is likely limited to competitive riders that get out a lot and will appreciate the superlight build and aerodynamic shape.
Part 7: The Best Full-Face Mountain Bike Helmet: Stage MIPS by Troy Lee
Troy Lee Designs has been in the best MTB helmet game for a long time and his character is making very comfortable lids. So, it should come as no surprise that their first foray into building a lightweight full-face helmet is impressive. Coming in at a scant 1 pound, 8 ounces, the Stage MIPS is one of the lightest downhill-certified full-face helmets on the market. And it doesn’t sacrifice in terms of features: A 25-well-placed vent maximizes airflow. A MIPS liner increases protection, and a magnetic Fidlock system makes buckling quick and easy. If you’re an enduro racer or someone wanting to upgrade their protection from a standard half shell. We think the TLD should be at or near the top of your list.
The Stage packs a lot of features into a good-looking helmet, but it’s certainly not a value leader. At $299, it’s around $20–$40 more than popular competitors like Giro’s Switchblade and Fox’s Proframe below. The good news is that it’s another quality TLD product, and the comfort is top-notch. Furthermore, the Stage MIPS includes extra interior pads to help customize the fit, which factors into the added cost. It’s worth noting that the Stage does prioritize weight and ventilation, and there are burlier options out there for dedicated park and very rough downhill use (including TLD’s D4). But, in the end, as of one the best MTB bike helmets. We believe the Stage strikes a good balance of build quality, protection, and comfort.
Part 8: The Best of the Others: The Giro Source
Giro’s Source MIPS is proof that you don’t have to spend a ton to get a safe, comfortable, and lightweight best mountain bike helmet. It has fantastic coverage for trail riding, a low-profile MIPS liner, and plenty of padding and decent ventilation for long days over variable terrain.
Moreover, the best mountain bike helmet boasts features typically found on more expensive models. The visor is large enough to shield the sun but also adjusts to accommodate glasses and goggles. The fit system is secure and easy to use even with gloves on (don’t let it small diameter dial fool you). Overall, the Source delivers what most riders need at a great price.
The Giro’s value makes it so appealing, but there are design compromises. For one, you get smaller vents than some of the high-end models. On this list, including Giro’s own Manifest Spherical above. It’s still an improvement from the discontinued Chronicle. Still, the Source isn’t a standout in this regard (XC riders in hot regions will prefer a more ventilated option, including the Giro’s own $100 Radix). Furthermore, you miss out on extras like a magnetic buckle and an integrated light mount, plus the padding is a small step down in quality. These are pretty minor complaints, and the Source’s impressive all-around performance at a discount is what makes it one of our top picks.
Part 9:When to Replace Your Helmet
The decision to replace an old helmet isn’t always a clear one—and there are still debates to this day about when the perfect time is. To start, helmets do have a shelf life. So it’s never a good idea to grab your old lid that’s been collecting dust for the past decade without at least taking a good look at it. It’s a good idea to start with the following: can you see any cracks in the foam? Are there any signs of deterioration on the outer shell or inner lining? If anything looks questionable, we recommend erring on the side of caution and replacing it.
The rules for replacing the best mountain bike helmet after a crash are far simpler. If you crash and the impact is significant, the foam inside will be compromised, diminishing its performance for future crashes. So replace it. In all seriousness, it’s not worth making excuses to avoid replacing a helmet. If it’s old or knocked around, get a new one.