Round-Up: 21 Of the Best Mountain Bike Helmets for 2021

Jun 28, 2021
by Nikki Rohan  



Helmets occupy unique space in the world of mountain bike culture. On the one hand they’re a necessary safety item, and on the other—let’s face it—they’re a bit of a fashion statement, mainly because with global distribution, helmets have to meet a variety of different international standards of consumer safety. In essence, a company like Giro, Lazer, or Smith, to name a few, is making their helmets to meet not just the CPSC standard, or just the CE-EN 1078 standard, or just the AS/NZL 2063:2008 standard, but to meet all of these standards.

So a high-end helmet sold in New Zealand, for example, legally will have to meet the same level of protection as a low-end helmet sold in New Zealand. And from a manufacturing perspective, given the cost of tooling, molds, etc. these same helmets in New Zealand are identical to their European or North American counterparts, regardless of the different standards found in Europe, etc.

But from a safety perspective, how do helmets actually protect your one and only precious brain? Gone are the days of the glorified hair nets of 70’s and 80’s. A bike helmet is now typically composed of a vented, polycarbonate shell mated to Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) foam or a material with similar performance characteristics (like the Koroyd material in Smith’s helmets and the WaveCel technology in Bontrager’s helmets). This protective material is designed to crush in a controlled manner, thereby reducing the forces impacting your skull in the event of a crash.

Many helmets also now use a rotational energy management system—MIPS is the most well known of these—to further protect riders in the event of a crash. These systems are essentially a slip plane between the head and the outer shell of the helmet designed to deflect forces from an impact to one side or the other in order to reduce head trauma in a crash—think of it like a ball and socket joint embedded within the helmet. Currently, while rotational management systems are known to add significant protection for our delicate gray matter, there is no standard of certification for this newer technology.

All this boils down to the fact that the safety of your head is in good hands. Below are 21 helmets that represent some of the latest of what’s available to protect your head when you ride. Please note that helmet makers all use different head forms for molding their helmets, so some helmets won’t necessarily fit your head as well as they fit someone else’s. So try before you buy.




Table of Contents
Bontrager Blaze WaveCel Mountain Bike Helmet
Leatt Helmet MTB 4.0 AllMtn V21
Bluegrass Rogue Core MIPS
Smith Forefront 2
Giro Manifest
POC Kortal Race MIPS
Fox Speedframe Pro
Sweet Protection Trailblazer MIPS
Troy Lee Designs A3
Bell Super Air Spherical
Lazer Jackal MIPS
Scott Stego Plus
Oakley DRT5
Uvex quatro integrale tocsen
MET Roam MIPS
Specialized Ambush w/ANGi
Kali Protectives Maya 3.0
Rudy Project Crossway
Giant Rail SX MIPS
100% Altec
iXS Trigger AM MIPS
7iDP M2









Bontrager Blaze WaveCel Mountain Bike Helmet.

Bontrager Blaze WaveCel Mountain Bike Helmet

• Weight: 380g (S) - 448g (XL)
• Fit System: Boa
• Buckle type: Fidlock buckle
• Rotational Impact Protection System: Bontrager WavCel
• Sizing: XS (50-55cm)/ S (51-57cm)/ M (54-60cm)/ L (58-63cm)/ XL (60-66cm)
• MSRP: $299.99 USD
trekbikes.com/


The Bontager Blaze is trail-tested mountain bike helmet designed with advanced WaveCel technology—a collapsible cellular structure lining the inside of Bontager's helmet. It's designed to work like a crumple zone on a car bumper to help absorb and redirect the force of an impact, protecting your brain in certain impacts. Additionally, the helmet features Bontrager's Blendr integration which allows for foolproof integration of Bontrager helmet mount riding lights and GoPro cameras. Bontrager offers a free crash replacement for helmets damaged within the first year of purchase.

Bontrager
Bontrager
Bontrager Blaze WaveCel




Leatt Helmet MTB 4.0 All Mtn

Leatt Helmet MTB 4.0 AllMtn V21

• Weight: 430g (S)
• Fit System: Boa helmet retention system
• Buckle type: Fidlock magnetic closure
• Rotational Impact Protection System: 360 ̊Turbine Technology
• Sizing: S (55-56cm)/ M (57-58cm)/ L (59-60cm)
• MSRP: $189.99 USD
leatt.com/


Leatt touts this as "the most comfortable all-mountain helmet with head and brain protection technology money can buy." The Leatt Helmet MTB 4.0 AllMtn V21 has a universal sunglasses dock that lets you safely dock your sunglasses under the visor when not in use, which protects them from scratches and unwanted impacts. The adjustable visor also opens up enough to place your goggles underneath the visor, too, so you don’t have to constantly remove them. It secures via s a Fidlock buckle system, utilizes Leatt's 360 ̊Turbine Technology to reduce both rotation acceleration and concussion level impact energy, and features a Dri-Lex liner to wick moisture.

Leatt Helmet MTB 4.0 All Mtn
Leatt Helmet MTB 4.0 AllMtn V21





Bluegrass Rogue Core MIPS

• Weight: 350g
• Fit System: Safe-T Heta
• Buckle type: Fidlock magnetic closure
• Rotational Impact Protection System: MIPS C2
• Sizing: S (52-56cm)/ M (56-58cm)/ L (58-61cm)
• MSRP: $180 USD
met-helmets.com/


The Bluegrass Rogue Core MIPS is an all-new helmet with extended head coverage and a MIPS-C2 option, to boot. It utilizes the Safe-T Heta Fit System with 360-degree head belt and a vertical adjustment. It's eyewear and goggle compatible with sunglasses ports and it's made to work with ponytails too. The 16 vents with internal channeling keep riders' heads cool and there's a gel-padded head support. The helmet has 'Air-Lite' straps, adjustable cam dividers, reflective rear decals, and is secured with a Fidlock magnetic buckle.

Bluegrass Rogue Core MIPS







Smith Forefront 2

• Weight: 374g (M)
• Fit System: VaporFitdial adjustment system
• Buckle type: Fastex-style side release
• Rotational Impact Protection System: MIPS
• Sizing: S (51-55cm)/ M (55-59cm)/ L (59-62cm)
• MSRP: $240 USD
smithoptics.com/


"Ready, Set, Send" is the mantra for the Smith Forefront 2. This next generation of Smith's award-winning Forefront mountain bike helmet has incorporates MIPS technology and utilizes complete Koroyd impact protection vs EPS foam. It's designed to work with goggles or sunglasses, has 20 vents warm to keep you cool, and utilizes XT2 antimicrobial lining to keep sweat stink away. The visor adjusts for easy goggle storage between laps, and you can slide your glasses for secure storage on the front or back.

Smith Forefront 2.




Giro Manifest

Giro Manifest

• Weight: 346g (M)
• Fit System: Roc Loc Trail Air
• Buckle type: Fidlock magnetic
• Rotational Impact Protection System: Spherical MIPS
• Sizing: S (51-55cm)/ M (55-59cm)/ L (59-63cm)
• MSRP: $260 USD
giro.com/


Among the Manifest's many features is Spherical Technology, which utilizes a ball-and-socket design powered by MIPS to reduce rotational forces. Spherical Technology allows the outer liner to rotate around the inner liner during a crash and also eliminates contact with a MIPS hard-plastic slip-plane. In addition to leading head protection, the Manifest offers wide-open airflow via the AURA reinforcing arch, which both adds structural integrity while at the same time allowing air to channel through the massive "Wind Tunnel" vents. You'll also get a comfortable, secure fit with the Roc Loc Trail Air fit system and a plush, antimicrobial XT2 padding for exceptional sweat absorption.

Giro Manifest
Giro Manifest
Giro Manifest.





POC Kortal Race MIPS

• Weight: 390g (M)
• Fit System: Adjustable 360° Fit
• Buckle type: Fastex side release
• Rotational Impact Protection System: MIPS Integra
• Sizing: XS - S (51-54cm)/ M - L (55-58cm)/ L - XXL (59-62cm)
• MSRP: $250 USD
pocsports.com/


"Complete protection for trail and enduro" is the name of the game with the POC Kortal helmet. It provides lightweight, extended protection and is designed to offer a seamless fit with goggles without compromising ventilation. With extended protection zones and uninterrupted ventilation, the Kortal "offers safety and comfort wherever you choose to ride", regardless of how hard you're pushing. This helmet is certified for use with e-bikes, too; it passes the Dutch NTA8776 standard, which tests helmets at higher impact speeds than for standard bicycle use. Currently, this is the only standard for e-bike helmets. The Kortal uses MIPS technology, and the visor is designed to break away to further reduce rotational forces generated in a crash. It also has the TWICEME NFC MEDICAL ID_ stashed in the shell so first responders can instantly get vital medical info and emergency contacts.

bigquotesThe Kortal has lots of smaller vents on the top and big ones on the back. This lessens the chance of OTB'ing and getting punji sticked in the dome. The dropped temple region works well with goggles for enduro-ists, and it has the latest MIPS. All winners in my book.Matt Beer

POC Kortal Race MIPS.




Fox Speedframe Pro

Fox Speedframe Pro

• Weight: 380g (M)
• Fit System: 360 fit system
• Buckle type: Fidlock SNAP helmet buckle
• Rotational Impact Protection System: MIPS
• Sizing: S (51-55cm)/ M (55-59cm)/ L (59-63cm)
• MSRP: $159.95 USD
foxracing.com/


The Speedframe Pro Helmet has earned Virginia Tech’s best rating (5 STARS) in its Bicycle Helmet Ratings program. Designed with input from Fox's pro mountain bike athletes, this top-tier open-face mountain bike helmet offers a market-leading feature set, including MIPS, an easily adjustable multi-position visor, and a 360-degree fit system. The pro version is equipped with a Varizorbdual-density EPS liner, has a Fidlock SNAP helmet buckle for easy helmet retention, and an XT2 antimicrobial comfort liner to keep sweat out of your eyes.

bigquotesI've ridden the Fox Speedframe a lot. I like it. It stays in the right place on my head - not too low or too high. It's noticeably cooler than my TLD A1 or A2 and fits well around goggles and glasses. I don't like the magnetic snap helmet buckle though as it sometimes snaps together and catches a bit of neck skin which really hurts.Seb Stott

Fox Speedframe Pro
Fox Speedframe Pro
Fox Spreedframe Pro.




Sweet Protection Trailblazer MIPS

Sweet Protection Trailblazer MIPS

• Weight: 325g (M)
• Fit System: Occigrip Turndial
• Buckle type: unknown
• Rotational Impact Protection System: MIPS
• Sizing: S/M (53-56cm)/ M/L (56-59cm)/ L/XL (59-61cm)
• MSRP: $179.95 USD
sweetprotection.com/


"Set the trails on fire in full confidence", says Sweet Protection, noting that, "as trail riding and bikes evolve, so should the performance of your helmet." The Trailblazer is the latest evolution of their pioneering multi-piece variable elasticity shell technology. In this case it has a 4-piece variable shell construction crafted from various shapes and thicknesses of polycarbonate to optimize impact protection as well as a MIPSslip plane to protect against rotational forces. The visor can be adjusted, there's a completely new Occigrip turn-dial system for a secure fit on the head, and it uses patent-pending STACC ventilation to cool your temporal artery without exposing the temple.

Sweet Protection Trailblazer MIPS.





Troy Lee Designs A3

• Weight: 400g (M)
• Fit System: TLD Micro Adjust 360-degree Fit System
• Buckle type: Fidlock Buckle
• Rotational Impact Protection System: MIPS
• Sizing: XS/SM (53-56cm)/ MD/LG (57-60cm)/ XL/2X (60-63cm)
• MSRP: $220 USD
troyleedesigns.com/


"So comfortable you won't ever want to take it off," says Troy Lee's website. The A3 mountain bike helmet is TLD's premium open face mountain bike helmet, featuring EPP and EPS foam for high and low sped impact protection, MIPS, EVA wicking foam behind the comfort liner along the front brow is designed to direct sweat away from the eyes and optics, 16 vents to keep you cool, a 3-Way Magnajust visor that slides up to accommodate goggles, and a 3d Fidlock magnetic buckle system to secure the A3 to your head. For added safety, the visor bolts are designed to sheer off to further reduce rotational forces in a crash, helping the A3 achieve a 5-STAR rating from the Virginia Tech helmet safety lab.

Troy Lee Design Kyle
Troy Lee Design Kyle
Troy Lee Designs A3.




Bell Super Air Spherical

Bell Super Air Spherical

• Weight: 410g (M)
• Fit System: Float Fit
• Buckle type: Fastex Side Release
• Rotational Impact Protection System: Spherical MIPS
• Sizing: SM (52-56cm)/ M (55-59cm)/ L (58-62cm)
• MSRP: $225 USD
bellhelmets.com/


The Super Air is the first Bell trail helmet to offer Spherical Technology, making it their most advanced trail helmet. Spherical Technology's Ball-and-Socket design, powered by MIPS, helps redirect impact forces away from the brain by allowing the outer liner to rotate around the inner liner during a crash. Further, Bell utilizes progressive layering and variable density EPS foam to better manage certain impact energies. This combination of outstanding safety, optimized overbrow ventilation to channel cool air through the helmet, adjustable visor to accommodate goggles, and a simple "float fit" controlled by an easy to adjust overmolded rubber dial combine to make an extremely lightweight trail helmet. Even better: when you're ready to step up, upgrade your Super Air by adding the optional chin bar.

Bell Super Air Spherical
Bell Super Air Spherical
Bell Super Air Spherical.




Lazer Jackal MIPS

Lazer Jackal MIPS

• Weight: 390g (M)
• Fit System: Advanced Turnfit System (ATS)
• Buckle type: Magnetic Buckle
• Rotational Impact Protection System: MIPS
• Sizing: SM (52-56cm)/ M (55-59cm)/ L (58-61cm)
• MSRP: $199.99 USD
lazersport.us

The Jackal MIPS is designed to excel on the way up and on the way down, with safety and performance as priorities. It has goggle compatibility, an adjustable visor, a removable light/camera mount , and Lazer's ATS Fit System to tighten 360 degrees around your head for a secure fit and all-day riding comfort. There are eighteen vents to keep you cool on the longest of climbs. The MIPS layer and deep coverage on the sides and back of the helmet give your head more protection if you fail to keep the rubber side down. The Jackal MIPS was awarded the esteemed Virginia Tech 5-Star “Best Available” protection rating, the Jackal MIPS is a great choice for your next MTB helmet.

Thomas Vanderham with Lazer Helmets in Squamish BC
Thomas Vanderham with Lazer Helmets in Pemberton BC
Lazer Jackal MIPS.





Scott Stego Plus

• Weight: 420g (M)
• Fit System: HALO 360 with rubber dial
• Buckle type: Fidlock Buckle
• Rotational Impact Protection System: MIPS
• Sizing: SM (51-55cm)/ M (55-59cm)/ L (59-61cm)
• MSRP: $189.99 USD
scott-sports.com

As Scott notes, "Bikes have evolved and we are riding faster, on ever more technical trails." Drumroll, please... Introducing the new Scott Stego Plus helmet, "built with a focus on safety and functionality". For safety, this lid has an integrated MIPS Brain Protection System and a polycarbonate progressive absorbing construction to reduce impacts. It also features convenient goggle storage, a mount for attaching an action camera (or other go pro mount accessories), has an optimized series of vents, extended cranial coverage, and Scott's Halo fit system.

Scott Stego




Oakley DRT5

Oakley DRT5

• Weight: 425g (M)
• Fit System: BOA 360
• Buckle type: strap anchor attachment
• Rotational Impact Protection System: MIPS
• Sizing: SM (52-56cm)/ M (54-58cm)/ L (56-60cm)
• MSRP: $200 USD
oakley.com

"Engineered, designed, and validated by mountain bikers, including a close collaboration with 3x World Champion Downhill racer Greg Minnaar, Oakley's DRT5 will give you the confidence to rip down technical descents." Greg gives it the style, and Oakley adds a whole lot of tech: MIPS, a BOA 360 fit system, X Static anti microbial brow padding, a unique silicon sweat band, an adjustable visor (60 degrees, so room for goggles), and an eyewear "dock". The helmet includes a bag and spare pads, too.

Oakley DRT5
Oakley DRT5
Oakley DRT5




Content-Production Productshots 04-06 2020

Uvex Quatro Integrale Tocsen

• Weight: 350g
• Fit System: Uvex IAS 3D system
• Buckle type: Monomatic
• Rotational Impact Protection System: n/a
• Sizing: S/M (52-57cm)/ M/L (56-61cm)
• MSRP: €199.95 Eu/ $240 USD
uvex-sports.com

There is a fair bit of tech with the Uvex Quatro Integrale Tocsen helmet! An intelligent Tocsen crash sensor is integrated into the dial of the helmet adjuster. When combined with an accompanying smartphone app, the system triggers an emergency call and transmits GPS data fully automatically to a list of key personal contacts if the rider no longer reacts. Notification of the crash additionally goes out to the ever-growing Tocsen community in the immediate vicinity so that first responders can often be on site much faster than in the past. From there, the Uvex Quatro Integrale Tocsen ticks the usual all-round enduro helmet boxes: seamlessly construction, a large adjustable visor, 17 vents, but (surprisingly) no MIPS.

Uvex quatro integrale tocsen





MET Roam MIPS

• Weight: 360g
• Fit System: HALO 360 with rubber dial
• Buckle type: Fidlock Buckle
• Rotational Impact Protection System: MIPS-C2
• Sizing: SM (52-56cm)/ M (56-58cm)/ L (58-62cm)
• MSRP: $200 USD
met-helmets.com

The MET Roam MIPS is designed for all-mountain and enduro riding. For safety, it features the MIPS-C2 brain protection system, enabling the MET Roam is able to slide relative to the head in the case of a crash, redirecting damaging rotational motion. There'a a bit of extra temporal coverage, a series of large vents designed to let air in but ward off sticks or other trail debris, an adjustable visor with 3 positions, and a "Safe-T Orbital" fit system managed via a speed dial to securely snug the Roam MIPS to one's head (ponytail compatible for us ladies). There's also an optional LED light with an intelligent "night" sensing mode and an optional gel pad cushion for the forehead.

MET Roam MIPS





Specialized Ambush w Angi

Specialized Ambush with ANGi

• Weight: 350g (L)
• Fit System: Mindset 360 fit system
• Buckle type: Fastex-style buckle
• Rotational Impact Protection System: MIPS SL
• Sizing: XS (50-55cm)/ S (51-57cm)/ M (54-60cm)/ L (58-63cm)/ XL (60-66cm)
• MSRP: $200 USD
specialized.com/


Specialized created the Ambush with ANGi as "the lightest and most ventilated extended coverage helmet available" for worry free ripping down the fall line. It utilizes Specialized's new ANGi Crash Sensor that, when combined with a smart phone app, will detect a crash and send a text message to specified contacts in your phone. The big red S has also teamed up with MIPS researchers to introduce MIPS SL—a new, ultra-light version of MIPS that's advertised as being "supremely comfortable". The Ambush boasts a significant amount of extended coverage, has an Energy Optimized Multi-Density EPS foam to manage the energy from impacts, and a Aramid-reinforced skeleton that provides extra structure for the foam. It fits comfortably utilizing a fully integrated Mindset 360 fit system which has five height positions and an integrated dial for on-the-fly tinkering. The Ambush also keeps riders cool with their "4th Dimension Cooling System"— a collection of vents and exhaust ports.

bigquotesThe Specialized Ambush has been my go-to helmet for years. It fits my head well and sunglasses fit easily (and securely) into the back of it better than any other helmet I've ridden. This is critical for riding in humid weather, as putting glasses in your pockets inevitably leads to scratched lenses.Daniel Sapp

bigquotesThe Specialized Ambush saw me through a pretty rough accident in 2019, so I felt like I had to get another one to replace it. No concussion symptoms despite destroying the helmet (and also my humerus). I've tried several of the helmets on this list, and I think it's still one of the best options. It's crazy light, the MIPS being integrated into the padding is smart, and it suits my head shape. It's definitely my go-to helmet.

It's not perfect though. It could have a little more coverage down the back of your head, and for my money the Giro-style retention systems are better. Also, while the ANGI idea is neat, it's borderline useless for me because I am too boomer to remember to open an app every time I ride. I'd love to see something cleaner and less reliant on your phone, but I suspect that would require an expensive Iridium network subscription.
Brian Park

bigquotesThe Ambush gets my pick. The light weight, fit, and ventilation are the best I've found, and the same goes for the glasses retention. I don't use the Angi feature, but I'm sure there's someone out there who does, and it doesn't detract at all from the helmet's fit and overall function.Mike Kazimer

Specialized
Specialized Ambush with ANGi






Kali Protectives Maya 3.0

• Weight: 245g
• Fit System: Vent and Dial retention system
• Buckle type: locking buckle
• Rotational Impact Protection System: Composite Fusion Plus w/ Low Density Layer (LDL)
• Sizing: XS/S (50-54cm)/ S/M (55-61cm)/ L/XL (60-63cm)
• MSRP: $120 USD
kaliprotectives.com/


The Kali Protectives Maya 3.0 is equipped with Kali's proprietary Low Density Layer (LDL) to optimize foam density to better absorb impacts from low-g linear and rotational impact forces. This is combined with the high-g impact protection of Composite Fusion Plus, creating a helmet designed to protect riders from a wide range of impacts. The helmet includes anti-Microbial Pads, a flexible Moto-Style Visor to deflect rotational forces, a dial retention system, and a locking buckle (fastex).

Kali Protectives Maya 3.0
Kali Protectives Maya 3.0






Rudy Project Crossway

• Weight: 288g (S)
• Fit System: RSR 10 retention system
• Buckle type: Fastex-style buckle
• Rotational Impact Protection System: None
• Sizing: S/M (53-59cm)/ L (59-62cm)
• MSRP: $129.99 USD
rudyprojectna.com/


Rudy Project designed the Crossway as "the MTB lid for bikers looking for a cool, safe and great fitting helmet". The compact in-mold construction with extended coverage on the back ensures maximum protection in a lightweight package, while 23 vents offer ventilation (with an integrated bug net to keep bees out of your bonnet, so to speak). It also features the "frontal air frame band" padding to enhance sweat evaporation, the "RSR10S retention system" for a secure, comfortable fit, and a fully integrated visor. A standard Fastex buckle keeps this lid securely fastened.

Rudy Project Crossway





Giant

Giant Rail SX MIPS

• Weight: 360g (M)
• Fit System: Cinch One Profit system
• Buckle type: Fastex-style
• Rotational Impact Protection System: MIPS
• Sizing: S (51-55cm)/ M (55-59cm)/ L (59-63cm)
• MSRP: $199.99 USD
giant-bicycles.com/


Giant offers their new Rail SX to all-mountain and enduro riders seeking a helmet with greater coverage than a typical trail lid. It was developed to meet the demands of the Giant Factory Off-Road Team’s pro enduro riders, and offers significantly greater head coverage than, say, their Roost helmet. For safety, it features an in-mold EPS foam liner with an integrated MIPS for impact protection, 18 channeled vents, an infinitely adjustable visor, the Cinch One Profit system allows complete customization of the helmet fit, a TransTextura Plusanti-microbial padding to wick sweat, and an integrated dual-position mount for GoPro cameras or Giant's Recon light system.

Giant
Giant
Giant Rail SX MIPS






100% Altec

• Weight: 350g (M)
• Fit System: Adjustable Ratcheting Fitment System
• Buckle type: Fidlock closure
• Rotational Impact Protection System: Smartshock suspended rotational system
• Sizing: XS/S (50-55cm)/ S/M (55-59cm)/ L/XL (59-63cm)
• MSRP: $165 USD
100percent.com/


100%'s ALTEC is "the advanced rider’s choice for confidence inspiring, protective, lightweight and ventilated All-Mountain helmet." There's more than one way to skin a cat, and for rotational energy management and some impact absorption,100% utilizes Smartshock suspended rotational system, a 14 point rotational "shock absorber" system that acts to shunt impacts aside in a manner similar to a MIPS slip plane. While these shock absorbers will compress somewhat, the hemet still uses EPS foam for the meat and potatoes of impact absorption. But what's important is that the ALTEC’s Smartshock elastomers reduce energy transfer to the brain over a wide range of speed and impact types. From there it's the usual: glasses retention, fifteen vents for airflow, goggle friendly adjustable visor, a washable anti-microbial liner, an adjustable ratcheting fit system, and a Fidlock SNAP magnetic buckle (NEW for 2021).

100 Altec
100% Altec





iXS Trigger AM MIPS

iXS Trigger AM MIPS

• Weight: 349g (M)
• Fit System: Ergo Fit Ultra fit system
• Buckle type: Fidlock magnetic
• Rotational Impact Protection System: MIPS
• Sizing: SM (54-58cm)/ ML (58-62cm)
• MSRP: $189.99 USD
ixs.com/


Like most helmets, the Trigger AM MIPS utilizes in-mold technology to fuse the helmet shell to the internal EPS material, which features a MIPS slip plane. It has a number of strategically placed ventilation openings (their site doesn't say how many, and I'm not counting) and exit ports for continuous cooling. It's got a precision interlocking "ErgoFit Ultra" system that allows you to adjust the fitting ring both vertically and around the head, for a precise fit for any head. There's a 3-level visor with sufficient space to rest goggles. Lastly, it uses a Fidlock magnetic buckle for quick, efficient closure and release without compromising security.

bigquotesThe Trigger is a helmet I've spent a reasonable amount of time in and I've always quite liked it. It might be lacking the "bucket feel" of other helmets but I don't consider that a bad thing - it just depends on what you're after. In fact, for every company that seems to get a great fitting helmet with large amounts of coverage, there seems to be one that misses the mark. The Trigger feels distinctly more XC, which I really like for general riding. It also adds to its trail-friendly credentials by taking glasses above the visor easily and securely.Henry Quinney

iXS Trigger AM MIPS
iXS Trigger AM MIPS
iXS Trigger AM MIPS





7iDP M2

7iDP M2

• Weight: 336g (M/L)
• Fit System: Boa retention system
• Buckle type: Fastex-style buckle
• Rotational Impact Protection System: Coneheadtechnology
• Sizing: XS/SM (52-55cm)/ M/L (56-59cm)/ XL/2XL (60-63cm)
• MSRP: $99.99 USD
7idp.com/


7iDP's M2 slots neatly into the current generation of open face trail and all-mountain protection, offering full coverage on the sides and extended coverage down the back. They utilize a dual-density foam to dissipate impacts on the M2. The outer layer, which is the black part, is made of high-density foam and has cones facing inwards. The inner layer, the grey part which is close to the head, is made of softer low-density foam and has cones facing outwards. Their buzzword is Conehead technology. There is no MIPS or other rotational energy dispersion technology. But there are nineteen channeled vents to cool things down, and a BOA system for on the fly, one handed adjustments to fit. Helmet retention is via a fastex type buckle.

7iDP M2
7iDP M2
7iDP M2




Note: All imagery was provided by the respective company who holds the rights and ownership to the photos and has granted us permission to use in this round-up.


177 Comments

  • 418 7
 Things this needed:
- Actual testing by a reviewer
- Any independent test scores (e.g. Virginia Tech)
- Details of what head shape the helmet works best for
- Relative sizing (does it come up big/small)
- Adjustable peak?
- Breakaway peak?
- Works with goggles?
- etc.
And also some indication of by what criteria these have been picked as 21 of the best?
  • 82 1
 It's also worth including where the companies crash replacement schemes are valid
  • 100 1
 Some actual testing would have been nice, coping and pasting the market BS doesn't count- Looks like a Google search for some mountain biking helmets
  • 17 1
 Length of visor. Some block zero sun.
  • 5 1
 TL/DR....if its over $200.00, you are good, don't worry about it. Under $200.00...look at the above review and 3rd party testing.
  • 16 0
 At least they didn't include amazon referral links for each of them like most google hits for 'best' of anything these days
  • 18 0
 also, EXTRA LARGE SIZING! I'm so sick of helmets topping out at 63cm. It's hard enough finding anything to ride if you're over 6'4 in ways of a bike, why do companies not even entertain larger shoe sizes and helmet sizes? It's already somewhat of an exclusive sport, and the limited sizing just makes it all the more exclusive.
  • 5 6
 @CantClimb: Came here looking for a helmet with no visor at all. Left disappointed...
  • 8 2
 @novajimmer: yeah and have read 1-2 which were obviously not sense checked.... "has 20 vents warm to keep you cool" ....this plus the clickbait article make it such a lazy piece of journalism.
  • 4 0
 @TotalAmateur: I have 64cm (6´7" BTW) and never had problems to find helmets, and even had some that were too big (Giro size XL) - just go to a shop and try them. I have Giro and Smith now, size L.
  • 18 50
flag meagerdude (Jun 28, 2021 at 9:51) (Below Threshold)
 We are working on a removable chin bar helmet review. Between those five helmets and these twenty-one, there is simply not enough time to do an in depth review of them all. So we opted for a round up with the half shells, covering either the newest or most popular helmets available and focused the pedal time on the removable chin bar lids.

Yes, we could have checked Virginia Tech, etc for independent test scores, etc; but that wasn't the point of this round up, rather it's to show what's available. And if a helmet in this batch catches someone's eye, if they want to dive deep, answers to your other questions (and VT's ratings) are all just a click away.
  • 10 0
 @DaveinAlberta: sir, the road helmets are down the other aisle (or you could simply detach the visor)
  • 38 0
 @meagerdude: I think it's the "Of the Best" bit that implies some testing or comparison has occurred? I was excited when I saw the title as I'm after a new lid, but was then disappointed by it not being a review. If the article was called "21 of the newest or most popular helmets available" (although again, where are the metrics for popularity coming from?), or perhaps more accurately again "Round up of 21 helmets currently available" then it would be clearer? I get that it's maybe about titling an article to make it shareable etc., but this is PB comments, you knew someone would say it!

Looking forward to the removable chin bar lid review. Hopefully you'll have an opportunity to pick up on some of the points raised. I've always wondered if those removable chinbar helmets are more dangerous if the worst happens and the impact exceed their safety margins and the chinbar breaks away? Personally I've always avoided them just in case. It would be great if you could do some digging into that and help us make a comparative choice between those and the lightweight 'enduro' fixed chinbar full face lids.
  • 2 0
 @cxfahrer: damn you're making me feel like megamind over here (65cm). I have a Giro that fits but my main gripe is seeing cool ass helmets I want, then having to settle for what fits. Same problem I have with shoes (as you do I imagine).
  • 1 0
 @mountainpossum: can confirm Smith honour the crash replacement on the new forefront 2
  • 1 0
 And the winner is.......
  • 2 0
 Indeed! If I may add, any helmet without rotational force absorption system is not worthy of advertised as part of the best... The Virginia Tech ranking shows that well!
  • 5 1
 ... and "Huck To Flat" video.
  • 2 1
 Baseball bat to helmet test. If you aren't knocked out you can pick the winner....
  • 2 0
 Lol, I was hoping for more/more easily digestible information on the differences between the rotational protection systems. There are five iterations of MIPS alone.
  • 1 0
 but this is pinkbike..
  • 1 0
 Yes, this review that cost you nothing is far from the best use of your resources....
  • 2 1
 Dude this is PB the largest mountain bike site... Not Enduro mag...
  • 2 0
 This was brand product description copy and paste to create content... *YAWN*
Pink Bike... Please create content, don't repost it.
  • 1 0
 @xdeathtodadbodx: I found Pinkbikes SEO director. jk jk
  • 1 0
 @DaveinAlberta: you can just remove the visors on most of these helmets.
  • 1 0
 As I'm looking for a new brain bucket, I was pretty disappointed to see that this is just a list of features and not a review whatsoever. Gotta go look somewhere else. Bad Pinkbike, bad!
  • 41 1
 I’m not a sweaty guy, but the POC Kortal MIPS has turned me into aqua man. With my Forefront 2 I would occasionally get some drips onto my glasses. The pads on the Kortal don’t absorb anything, so it’s a legit steady stream down my face, into my eyes, onto my glasses, and down my nose.

It’s disgusting. 0/10 would not recommend.
  • 4 0
 I have the Oakley drt helmet. Can also confirm an open faucet of sweat down my head. Thanks mips. Really comfortable helmet though. Love the thing.
  • 1 0
 I am a sweaty guy and even with my forefront 2 I find myself squezzing out bucket of water from my forehead. I live in the southeast though, so it is like biking through a cloud the humidity is so thick. I can't imagine a helmet that didn't breath well.
  • 1 0
 I sweat like an iced tea in Florida and the Urge Endur-O-Matic is the only helmet of any kind I've ever used that traps 100% of my human rainwater until I squeegee it out. It looks weird, but its not weird if it works!
  • 3 0
 @gserrato: are you using the silicone gutter strip, or the standard padding up front? I have the silicone gutter strip in my DRT5 and it's great at stopping sweat from getting into my face and eyes, if anything runs it's toward my ears which feels a little weird. I do look like a dork for a while after riding to because it leaves such a defined imprint. Awesome helmet though.
  • 3 0
 @PTyliszczak: Dude, the crazy thing is that I'm in an insanely dry climate. If I was in the southeast, I legit would throw out the Kortal. I can't imagine it.
  • 4 0
 One of the reasons I like my Super DH is the plethora of positioned cushioning that soaks up sweat without it dripping right into my eyeballs.
  • 3 0
 @Peally: Same. That Super DH gutter is a godsend for heavy sweaters. Sweat drips all over my bars instead!
  • 3 0
 @lncorgnito: agree with you. My DRT silicon gutters stop sweat from running into my eyes. It’s a heavier helmet but I didn’t see anything on this list I’d replace it with. Big fan.
  • 7 1
 @Peally: Better stop talking about Bell Helmets, or Pinkishbike will be up here in the comments.
  • 2 0
 I'm super sweaty and I've had good luck with IXS's sweat management in a couple recent iterations of their Trigger
  • 1 0
 So it's the same as the POC Tectal as well then? Never had a helmet that rains down sweat into my glasses so fast as the Tectal.
  • 3 0
 Had a lot of sweat running into my eyes even with the Forefront 2.. Now I wear a super thin headband or cap beneath and it's a game changer!
  • 2 0
 Same with my Bell Super 3!
  • 1 0
 In the last 4-5 years I have had Bell, Poc, 661 and back to Bell. All modern ‘enduro’ helmets are hot and sweaty. Nothing like a brief touch of the helmet to see the waterfall. Funny how Giros and Bells from 10-20 years ago were not this bad and they were still very good helmets - thinking my old Y2K Giro Exodus for example
  • 4 0
 I'm running the bell sixer and that salt lick pad thing they have on the front is awesome for keeping the drips off my face. Holds a lot of sweat before it drips and when it does it's away from your face. Depending on your speed when it drips it can get on your glasses but generally not in your eyes.
  • 1 0
 The Speedframe Pro doesn't absorb sweat for sh*t...had to start wearing a headband to help combat eye sweat. Great helmet other than that.
  • 1 0
 @Tortatortatorta: Interesting....I was looking at the Speedframe Pro hoping it was the solution to that very problem!
  • 3 0
 I have always used these www.traxfactory.com/product-page/copy-of-sweat-buster-2-pack-black

Instead of the stock front inserts. It works way better and I can have a spare in my bag if need be mid summer ride. Just a thought. Works with existing Velcro too.
  • 1 0
 @steezysam:
Agreed I’m super happy with mine sweat drips out but away from eyes and glasses…have a smith forefront 2 that doesn’t work as well
  • 2 0
 @JonnyTheWeasel: I run the Speedframe Pro and it’s the best ventilated helmet I’ve ever worn. I sweat a ton and it’s awesome.
  • 2 2
 thats what you get for buying something called 'poc kortal'
  • 1 0
 @FrankS29: It looks like it would be very good at keeping sweat out of the eyes and I imagine I'd sweat less with that vent across the forehead. Two very different experiences though!
  • 1 0
 @JonnyTheWeasel: just came off the old Bell Super 2 or whatever it was called to a Speedframe pro, on the plus side the Speedframe fits my headshape infinitely better, I had to cut out sections of side padding with a stanley knife on the Bell to relieve pressure on the temples, it also felt like it would fall off in a crash rather than protect my head, I could knock it backwards just by flicking the brim of the helmet... the only two downsides I've found with the Speedframe is the strap rubs my neck a bit and it pours sweat all over my face, the Bell was very good at keeping sweat out my eyes. The Fox is also better vented though.
  • 1 0
 @gserrato: I have the Oakley DRT5 too (love the eyeglass keeper) and while the gutter was kinda neat it would get overwhelmed quickly in the Georgia heat. I've tried all the different alternative pad systems, but the best kept secret and most simple solution are WickFlow headbands. They are just a thin wicking spandex headband with a silicon bead at the bottom. Your sweat never pools and is easily directed past your temples. I can keep my glasses on without them becoming a mess and without sweat getting in my eyes for any length of ride. No, I don't work for nor am I sponsored by them. wickflow.com
  • 1 0
 @JonnyTheWeasel: The big thing I've found with the Speedframe is that the padding is pretty minimalistic, at least when compared to my old Kask Rex that had pretty thick padding. I found that with air flow the thinner padding evaporates sweat away quickly while the thicker padding absorbed it and stored it so that later in the ride it was like a faucet on my face. With the Speedframe I found that when climbing or on mellow sections if I flip the visor up the helmet vents a ton more from the front and evaporates sweat away quickly.
  • 1 0
 @lncorgnito: Likewise - I have found it to work great but don't deal with insanely hot rides on the regular. I do find that the helmet fits low on the forehead so can interfere with my Smith glasses (I know should have gotten Oakley glasses or a Smith helmet). The silicone is wearing out and I have flipped it upside down to hopefully extend its life - could not find a replacement strip online anywhere.
  • 1 0
 @djyosh: bummer to hear about replacement silicon strips. I also struggled with my helmet pushing my glasses down. Ended up with a pair of 100%s that fit snug on my head and could resist a little bucking
  • 1 0
 Hey, we don't want none of that real-life experience in this promotional post, you hear?
  • 30 1
 It baffles me that our mindset towards the capability of trail bikes has changed so much yet most peoples minset towards protection on a trail ride has not, we often ride trail bikes as hard a DH bikes on just as tough terrain these days yet an open face is still the norm?
  • 12 1
 I'm surprised there aren't more convertible/removeable chin bar helmet options.
  • 5 2
 Depends on who you're asking. If it's a trail that would be unpleasant on a hard tail (or has a reasonable number of features) I'll grab a full face and probably a chest/spine protector. I don't heal as fast as I used to, not worth it if I eat shit railing down a rocky drag strip of a trail.

There's always the folks that like to wear the bare minimum, but they usually change their tune if they get real hurt. I like to think I'm at least smart enough to learn from their broken ass bodies and skip that learning process.
  • 7 1
 Its all about comfort level. If you dont feel comfortable in a half shell then wear a full face. Some people have a higher tolerance for risk than you or I do. That being said, I don't hammer every descent like a race when I'm just riding so I wear my half shell on most normal rides unless the riding area dictates otherwise. At the end of the day, pedaling in a full face still kinda sucks, even if they have enduro-ised the weight and breathability of some full faces.
  • 3 0
 @j-p-i:

The Leatt has a removable chin bar helmet that’s very similar, I think they call it the Dbx enduro vs all mtn.

Great helmet, I have it, has great ventilation and their own crash protection system which rivals mips in testing.
  • 4 1
 Pedalling anywhere for any length of time in a ff sucks. Pretty much no matter how well vented it is. Removable chin pieces might help but you've still got a heavier helmet and need to store it somewhere.
  • 9 0
 I've got the Bell Superair with removable chin bar. When I'm using it, I almost never remove the bar, the difference in air flow is negligible. Definitely nice peace of mind. Don't always wear it on the local trails, because honestly don't wanna be the only knob with a full face. I need to get over that...
  • 5 2
 I used to ride dh everyday and I would use a half shell and trail knee pads, wouldn’t even wear gloves. I usually have one or two good crashes a season but I never saw a point in wearing more armour as the only bones I’ve broken are in my hand and ankle and no padding will stop that. I’ve seen guys hit features they normally wouldn’t hit because they felt safe as they were all armoured up and they still broke bones. I think being aware of how you can ride and how you are riding that day is the real way to prevent injuries not by tossing on armour and throwing caution to the wind. When racing I’ll wear a full face because you are laying it on the line more and most races require it but for an everyday ride there’s no need to ride past what you are fully in control of.
  • 3 0
 @j-p-i: I had a convertible Bell Super for 5 years that worked well, but it was heavy, didn’t breathe well, and the visor was pretty rattly. I found that using a dedicated trail helmet was better for my daily rides and if I was doing lift-serviced riding, I would be better with a helmet with actual DH-rated protection.
  • 5 0
 I came here to say the same thing. Bikes are more capable, and we are able to ride gnarlier trails than we used to at higher speeds. To each their own, I guess. Weigh the risk to the benefits, and do what you think is right, but to me the discomfort of a full face is really nothing — you get used to it — compared to facial reconstruction surgery.
  • 10 0
 @maglor THIS. Been riding with the lighter style FFs for 5 years now. Last year random pedal catch on a trail I've ridden a bunch of times, and literally face first into a tree at speed. TLD Stage likely saved my life as my whole jaw would've been caved in, and before anyone to get to me I'd probably have died. As it was, 30 seconds of full paralysis which was the most terror I've felt in my life, crushed chin bar, and three stitches in lip and chin. The whole "I be riding chill trails so I don't need it" is foolish fallacy. Life comes at you fast, and often at the most unexpected moment.
  • 2 0
 @Peally: Lighter neck brace too. Plenty of GoFundMes for people that came out of crashes fine, except for neck damage.
  • 3 0
 @wilsonians: I dunno man. I do 20+ miles SoCal, 4k vertical foot hot AF rides in mine and have no issues.
  • 2 0
 @kingtut87: Gotta disagree. I do plenty of SoCal 20+ mile, 4k+ vertical foot hot AF rides in my TLD Stage without even knowing it's there. And hey, if I take it off for a fire road climb it hangs off my bar without flopping around like a halfsie does.
  • 3 0
 @TheR: Which mine saved me from, or actual death, last year. On a familiar sing track descent in VT. FF4Life
  • 2 0
 @sjma: Did you know your helmet has a best before date which I think is three years. You’ll have a date inside the helmet telling you when it’s not advised to use it. Something about the materials breaking down over time and not being safe anymore but what you said was bang on. Just buy two helmets and I don’t think the best before thing applies to full face helmets so I’m theory even if you don’t use it all the time you should still get your money’s worth.
  • 3 0
 @Chuckolicious: Maybe it's my Scottish blood but just can't do it. When it's already hot af in BC I need all the airflow I can get, they just don't cut it.
  • 1 0
 @thenotoriousmic: I’ve heard conflicting data about when to replace the helmet but I went ahead and replaced my Super after 4.5 years and no head strikes. It had a few scuffs on it from low hanging branches and general handling but no major structural issues - learning that the MDPE and HDPE breaks down over time was what caused me to take my safety more seriously. I got an Ambush w/ ANGi and a Troy Lee Stage MIPS helmet as I mostly do general trail riding and enduro - no need for a full DH lid but I still wanted DH protection. I think I’ll replace them after 3 years just to be safe.
  • 2 1
 you can't fix stupid.
  • 2 1
 @Chuckolicious: agree 100% with you. You never know. Its like roadies wearing half shells sharing the road with semi trucks. I run on those f*ckers all the time. broken jaws, missing teeth, split open lips.Even from just low speed crashes. Same with trails. You love your half shell until you make a mistake and rub your face on a tree or some rocks. Those ventilated chin bars help prevent more injuries than most people think.
  • 4 1
 @jason475: you think roadies would be more protected from semis of they were to wear a FF helmet?!
  • 2 2
 Wearing full face, braces, etc on trail rides is for the most part, totally excessive.
Look at it a different way, in your car which goes way faster than older cars, has better brakes, etc, do you wear a 3 point belt? Or did you install a race harness, wear a helmet and install an extinguisher system? Thought not.
Trail riding is still trail riding. Just on better bikes! - and that comes from a guy on the sofa with a set of crutches
  • 3 0
 @kingtut87: yeah no. My brain and my typing were not working together. Just was trying to make a point/ suggestion from my experience treating road biker facial/ jaw injuries daily, and seeing the same injuries on my trails in relation to half shell helmets. Indeed not much can help against an 18 wheeler except hopefully its over real quick.
  • 1 0
 @jason475: Easy done, makes sense.
  • 3 0
 @ilovedust: As I described above, wearing a FF on a trail ride most likely saved my life, or at least massive jaw implosion and subsequent surgeries or whatnot. Last month a seasoned buddy of mine bailed on a trail he's ridden a million times, and broke three ribs since he didn't have any chest protection. Again, trail ride. And comparing to a car seems a bit silly, with all due respect. Your car already has a suite of airbags, crumple zones, etc, already built into it. Why not compare it to riding a motorcycle? Many riders wear FF, and full armor jackets with D3O, etc. Look, you be you, total respect. But just speak for yourself in this regard.
  • 4 0
 I finally bit the bullet and earlier this year ordered and tried the TLD Stage, Leatt Enduro, Kali Invader 2.0 and IXS Trigger. After trying all of them, I found the IXS was the best fit that worked with my prescription glasses and sweatband (getting old, having to wear glasses, and losing your hair don’t make finding stuff easier). I have worn it on two hot rides where it was 90f, including a 4 hour shuttle ride with 2400 feet of climbing. Despite my concerns of lack of breathability and overheating, it has been fine. Not quiet as good as a lightweight open face, but close enough the extra safetry more than makes up for the small difference.
  • 3 0
 @Chuckolicious: Coming from the motorcycle world, the whole discussion really reminds me of the ATGATT (all the gear all the time) crowd vs those who think wearing jeans and vans on a ride is a good idea. A lot of it is just the look isn't it? I'm hoping protective gear keeps evolving and looking less dorky, so less people feel awkward about wearing it. I see it happening with riding pants, hope to see more armor come into play as well.
  • 1 0
 @ilovedust: idk hard comparison, I find trail riding more dangerous than driving
  • 2 0
 Safety third
  • 2 0
 @ilovedust: slightly irellevent comparison, if anything it backs up wearing more armour than not, cars are faster but they also have soo much more safety than they used to, crumple zones, airbags, and sensors for auto braking etc, people died in old cars at low speed, now people survive pretty high speed crashes, so by the same logic we should be more protected given the increased speed and technicality of trails these days, i wear a proframe on every ride and its honestly no more hassle than having an open face on and not much hotter so why not have that piece of mind of face protection?
  • 2 0
 I'd 100% wear a lightweight full face for all types of MTB riding if the majority of other people did. There are two things that stop me from doing so at the moment: I'd feel embarrassed being in a minority riding with one on normal XC trails (although I see more and more full faces at e.g. Swinley forest now) and it feels a bit odd wearing goggles on XC routes.
  • 2 0
 @Woody25: I feel ya. But just consider how embarrassed you'd feel if you were laid up in the hospital with a mountain of bills and months or years of rehab ahead of you? Also, I never wear goggles unless super dusty conditions. Sunglasses of choice work just fine. Any "cool kids" who would even consider teasing you should be looked upon as poor fools who've got a world of hurt ahead of them, and likely an ordinary or even mediocre life in general. I grew up with cool kids, and literally none of them amounted to anything. Not. A. One. That old trope of the high school quarterback star becoming a fat, bald, kid-laden, menial job working slob really does hold true. And my nerd and safety-Sally friends are living large after killing it in silicon valley and similar. That's a long way of saying Eff other people!
  • 3 1
 @Chuckolicious: woody is in the uk so hospital bills aren't something to worry about.
I know a few people who said screw fashion and started to wear ff helmets on the regular, they all stopped pretty quickly as they're not just not as comfortable. It might be a tradeoff you're willing to make, if so, good for you, but it's still not for everyone.
  • 2 0
 I'll give it about 70% balls-to-the-wall effort on the downs if I'm in an open face... I'm sure to hold back a bit for fear of losing control and knocking a few teeth out.

Even then, you never know when you might take a spill!

We met this kid while out riding in Wales. His group seemed to be following the same trail ours and would often overtake us when we took a break or fixed a flat. We must have ridden 99% of the loop (which consisted of some really nasty techy sections filled with wet roots and rocks) when we finally hit the last bit of easy flat singletrack that linked us back to the trail centre. That's when we spotted the kid in front of us. He'd taken a spill and split his top lip on a rock... My god the image still haunts me to this day! His lip was open all the way up to his nostril and the blood was pouring out like a fountain! AND THIS WAS ON THE FLAT PATH TO THE TRAIL CENTRE!

Staying vigilant and knowing when to hold back is probably the best line of defence... otherwise, I can see myself having to wear a full face absolutely everywhere!
  • 1 0
 @kingtut87: LOL, I be half Scott too! If you get a chance, try a TLD Stage. Honestly, I just don't notice any heat difference from my 3/4 that I sometimes wear when riding the street. And for long fire road climbs, much easier to hang a FF off the bars than a half that dangles and bounces on the strap.
  • 15 0
 Virginia Tech helmet rating site: helmet.beam.vt.edu/bicycle-helmet-ratings.html
  • 2 0
 I'm surprised they have not tested the Smith Forefront 2. It's been out for a while and yet they only have the non mips forefront on there, yet they have newer helmets like the Speedframe. Anecdotal evidence from two concussions a year apart says that the Forefront 2 is better, or at least fits me better, and a much more violent crash in the forefront resulted in a less severe concussion than with my Speedframe.
  • 6 0
 @PTyliszczak: Bro stop crashing. It's bad for you. Wink
  • 3 0
 @fullendurbro: Lol I know. But how would I provide this data if I didn't send it so hard?
  • 4 0
 @PTyliszczak: I bet if you donated enough to buy one and mentioned it in your donation they'd probably do it
  • 7 0
 Ambush is hands down the best helmet I’ve worn. I’m no weight weenie when it comes to bikes but having such a light helmet is great, and I actually really like the fastening system.

On my third one right now, that thing saved my life once.
  • 1 0
 Definitely agree, I own a few helmets right now POC, Troy Lee and FOX and I still think my 4 year old Specialized is the best of the bunch.
  • 1 0
 Same here, I specifically bought it for the coverage below and behind my ear. 3rd ride out and I crashed, smashing a rock right into that spot that would have been very bad without it. Happily rode away with a little headache and a broken helmet. On MY third as well. Fantastic helmet. but the app thing is maybe a little extra
  • 2 0
 agree its really impressive (weight -> fit / functionality)

only thing is Angi. It would be great to get it without at a lower price point. This feature is just useless for many customers and paying for it is a pain.
  • 11 0
 man there are some ugly freaking helmets on the market.
  • 5 0
 If anyone's looking for a cheaper option, the Fox Speedframe (not Pro) is a worth a look, still got MIPS, comfortable, very cool, lightweight.

It's a sample size of one so other options could be ace, but I've done a few thousand kms with it and will buy another if it ends up getting wrecked
  • 3 0
 I’ve got both and there’s no real reason to buy the speed frame pro. Highly recommend though. Best fitting helmets I’ve owned so far.
  • 8 0
 Can we get a budget list for the poor ones among us?
  • 4 0
 Been riding the Fox Speedframe Pro, love it! Vents really well and is very comfortable. I sweat a ton, so venting is a huge priority for me. My first Speedframe Pro saved my noggin when I smashed my head on a rock during a crash. Did its job great and I replaced it immediately with another Speedframe Pro, Fox even threw in a good discount for the replacement.
  • 4 1
 Bell for the win. Best helmet I've owned. Im on my second one, it's all upto head fit though tbh. What ever fits you well and gives you what you need to get out of it. If you're a good weather rider or all weather rider. breathability and sweat mediation is big and rain coverage is a big one for me, don't like rain hitting me in the face, and I don't like not riding so I ride in the rain, how you supposed to get faster in the wet if you don't ride in the wet. The bell ticks all. I bought a smith a while back it was useless, sweat streaming down my face and rain drops coming straight through a hole right above the eyes, rain was landing Inside the glasses. Used it 3 times went and got a Bell, expensive week on helmets. Haha but worth it.
  • 2 0
 I have two Bells, Sixer MIPS and Super DH MIPS with the removable chin bar. I like them both overall and love the fit/comfort but sweat has always been their weak point for me. I sweat a lot and as soon as the brow pad saturates on both helmets its a steady stream of sweat right onto my glasses/eyes/nose. During the warmer months I have to stop often to squeeze out the brow pad.
  • 1 0
 @WY228: yep. But better to squeeze it out than to have a continuous stream. Sweats going to happen with any helmet. I like that the bell stores it in the brow pad until you tip the head forward and push the front. I don't see a better way around that. Other than only riding when the weather not too hot or not too cold. So not much riding. No thanks.
  • 1 0
 @solf: Yup. I stick my thumb into the my sixer at the front there and squeeze out a bit of sweat every now and again on stops.
  • 1 0
 Super Air R owner here, I love this thing, plus the removable chin bar is stellar and lightweight. I've had some occasional sweat drips, but the pads do a wonderful job, especially on the brow, and I am a very sweaty guy when it comes to helmets. Light and breathable, it's a sweet helmet.
  • 2 0
 @solf: Yeah that's why I'm not too hard on the helmet for it, I sweat so much that probably any helmet would have trouble. I've tried using the Halo headbands with the rubber sweat strip and they help extend the time until the brow pad starts dripping. Still unavoidable on long rides though.
  • 3 0
 There must have been a mix up or there is no QA/proof reading for this article.
According to the official Giro website the Manifest does NOT use a BOA fit system, unfortunately.

www.giro.com/p/manifest-mips-mountain-bike-helmet/100000000500000097.html?gclid=Cj0KCQjw4v2EBhCtARIsACan3nxGQWUyi6Q9uwzxabtm7bGjLGc9nX0SAqJz6U3ceBBNTBvsCJq3L4EaAi-yEALw_wcB
  • 1 0
 Fixed. Thanks for catching it.
  • 3 0
 Amazing how a lot of helmet brands doesn't care to teach their ad models to correctly tighten helmet straps. www.pinkbike.com/photo/20687714 www.pinkbike.com/photo/20715981 www.pinkbike.com/photo/20689384

Wearing helmet this way is useless. No matter how much it cost or what kind of Rotational Impact Protection System it have.
  • 6 0
 This was one of the worst PB articles ever - Pictures and no real info. I'm no PB basher, but c'mon. You can do better. Smile
  • 2 0
 I found a helmet with mips right near the top of the Virginia tech listing for less than $150 last year, but let’s use the Fox helmet at $160 listed here as a benchmark. My question is what are we he added safety or added comfort that the VT testing isn’t yet capturing that can justify the premium/difference in price for helmets >200 USD?

For example lower weight doesn’t seem to track well with higher price. With full face helmets I always thought I knew what I was getting for my dollar. I don’t understand these
  • 5 0
 Feels like a participation awards list. How can +20 items constitute the n = "best" set?
  • 3 2
 One head shape and three sizes of helmet is a joke. There’s 5 sizes of glove let alone shoes. Specialized used to offer something different by have there small run larger than anyone else but now it’s wobbly MIPS mediums all round.
  • 5 1
 Ambush without MIPS is the best helmet ever. Mips version is heavier, less comfortable and sizes are different.
  • 1 0
 This.
  • 1 0
 Do they still sell this, or has it been discontinued in favor of MIPS?
  • 1 0
 @shakabro: Unfortunately. I have two of the non MIPS version and I’m trying my best to make the last.
  • 1 0
 @shakabro: they still sell a non-MIPS ambush
  • 1 0
 @WoodenCrow: Where? Link?
  • 1 0
 @jclnv: sorry I thought the comp version didn't have mips, but now it does
  • 1 0
 I’m a huge Stan for the Ambush with ANGi. I took a scary crash earlier this year that landed me on the crown of my head and the ANGi sensor worked flawlessly and was alerting my contacts by text and email before I could even get off the trail. Beyond the usual feeling of “damnit I crashed” I had no concussion symptoms, which is nice because I’ve already had 4. The shell was shattered and the foam was visibly deformed. I brought it back to the shop I bought it from and got a replacement helmet the exact same day for no charge. My LBS told me that Spesh has a 1-year free replacement plan and 3-year 50% discount plan, they just ask for the old helmet to be sent back and it’s all done through your local Spesh shop. Expensive? More so than other options. Lightweight, low profile looking, breathes exceptionally well, and above all actively safe? Yes. Absolutely.

I also use it for gravel/road rides and it was super comfy on a century ride this weekend. 10/10 don’t mess with your brain, get a helmet that fits and is safe.
  • 2 0
 Bought the Sweet Trailblazer MIPS recently. Great adjust-ability and it's very very light. My favorite helmet to this point. Coming from a Montero MIPS which was great, but not as comfortable for me as the Sweet.
  • 1 0
 Good to know ! Mine is on it's way and I come from a Montaro too !
  • 3 2
 I’m a MIPS skeptic. I’ve heard and seen the explanations, but they conflict with what I’ve experienced. Have you ever crashed and got up with your helmet in the same position it was before the crash? No, it’s always crooked, and here’s my reasoning: If you’re wearing the helmet ‘comfortably’, the chin strap isn’t super tight, and whatever circumference adjustment isn’t either. I’m guessing that when helmets are tested in a lab they’re adjusted much more snugly than anybody actually wears them. Also, your hair or beanie is relatively slick and shifts around to allow motion. So, rotationally, there’s a relatively large range of motion just from practical reasons. Now go look at how much range of motion the MIPS liner gives – a few millimeters, compared to the multiple centimeters of shifting the helmet does normally. One exception to my skepticism is on a full face helmet. I think in that case MIPS *probably* gives some additional protection because of the much more limited natural slippage. And I wear a full face with MIPS.

I’m certainly open to being proven wrong. But I think the correlation of lab testing to real life at this point is very weak. And it’s not too likely that we’ll ever be able to ever devise a test with real life variability. MIPS has done some great marketing, and I can certainly understand the idea that if there’s a chance it might give you extra protection why wouldn’t you pay extra for it. But I don’t buy the marketing, and MIPS isn’t a consideration for me when I’m looking at helmets.
  • 5 1
 You care to state your qualifications on head trauma? Your skepticism means nothing without genuine research.

You see, im an internet commenter skeptic, I dont trust medial advice from people that don't have medical experience.
  • 1 0
 The bells tighten around the skull. The chin straps never super tight, but tight enough so its comfortable. I've crashed on my head just a few times lets say, with and with out mips. The mips outer shell seems to take 80% or so of the original movement and 100% of the impact and the inner shell takes 20% movement only let's say. With out mips 100% of the movement and impact is direct. It's totally different. Unless it's a serious crash where I'm dazed I generally have to look at my helmet and go " yep, I did hit my head again it seems, haha" and off I go. And Less neck jerk for sure. But only my opinion from my experiences.
  • 3 0
 You can believe whatever you want to believe. If MIPS makes you feel better about your choices, then by all means believe in it. If you think strapping a helmet to a generic bald metal head mold and dropping it onto a metal anvil is a realistic approximation of a mountain biking crash, that’s great. I don’t think you need to be a medical professional to deduce that the standardized tests don’t reflect the actual experience of a biker with long or short or no hair, or a buff, or a beanie, or pads that haven’t ever been washed, or a chin strap that dangles down to his clavicles who crashes at between 1-40 mph into grass or dirt or rocks or a tree.

I’m not saying standardized tests are worthless, you have to be able to test all helmets with a consistent method. And the results are certainly comparable between models, so there’s value in that. I’m saying that until someone in the free world finds a way to ethically test helmets on real humans in real crashes, I’m going to remain skeptical that these standardized tests give us any more than a hint of whether MIPS or any other rotational energy compensating technology actually work in the real world. Nevertheless, kudos to all the companies who are working to make helmets better and safer.

What's genuine research? Good question, but generally it's something we already agree with.

helmets.org/mips.htm
  • 2 0
 @solf: I also wear a Bell helmet (super 3R). I do think MIPS makes more sense in a full face helmet where your head is much more locked into place and you have a chinbar that could cause some serious leverage issues.
  • 3 0
 All you heavy sweaters out there, do yourself a favor and get a Sweat Buster. Game changer.

www.traxfactory.com/sweat-buster
  • 1 0
 I kinda get why this isn't a helmet review. Pinkbike isn't going to ask their testers to slam their heads on the ground and see how it goes (who knows... maybe the Canadian health system would cover that). IMO, the most important part of a helmet is how well it fits you. If it doesn't fit you than it doesn't matter what the Virginia Tech helmet ratings say. For instance, I cannot wear TLD or Giro helmets. TLD (I've tried an A2, A3, and a Stage) helmets give me a headache almost immediately. TLD helmets could give me whatever the opposite of a TBI is when I crash, but I still wouldn't wear them.
  • 1 0
 The Specialized Ambush saved my head last year. Basically broke the back out of the helmet and somehow got away without a concussion. If the LBS had it in my size I would have gotten another one but now I’m rocking the TLD A2 and loving it.

Also, something worth checking out on the Hydraulic Press Channel on YouTube, they compare a bunch of different kinds of helmets to see how much force they can take. The results were pretty surprising.
  • 1 0
 Would be nice to see a full face roundup, I'm not exactly a "Halfshell hero". For DH, freeride, and especially enduro I wish full face helmets were more common place. XC, trail, and even DJ sometimes a half shell is totally fair. But In my opinion I think full faces should be mandatory in the bike park, its just way too often I see people get absolutely worked when wearing a halfshell. IDK, just sucks to see people get hurt.
  • 1 0
 Been really happy with my Fox Dropframe Pro. The downside is it has no fine adjustment knob but just grow your hair out and you'll be fine. The occipital and lower ear coverage has saved be a couple times!
  • 5 1
 Best helmets of 2021: ALL OF THEM
  • 1 0
 One helmet criteria I have is the absence of massive branding/logos. So that means no to Bluegrass, POC and Fox. I would only considering wearing them if they paid me for the advertising.
  • 3 0
 @smithoptics I burn my bald head with the forefront 2! bring back the mesh on top please
  • 1 0
 I've got stung on the head three times in the last three years getting bees in my vents riding bike park or shuttle laps. The mesh would be nice
  • 1 0
 Out of all the helmets above which have you found to be the most breathable? I really struggle with sweat. Everytime I stop to squeeze my helmet against my head a waterfall comes out!
  • 1 0
 We should talk about the Specialized Align II Mips, 50 bucks and it smokes almost all the competition in the Virginia Tech security ranking... Specially the x4 more expensive Ambush they like so much !
  • 1 0
 You should do an article on when to replace your helmet and how to properly care for one. A lot of people, me included, will buy a helmet and eventually get a new one when its too broken to use.
  • 2 0
 Seems worth mentioning that the Sweet Trailblazer is the highest ranking helmet in Virginia Techs testing.
  • 1 0
 I'm with you! Hey Pinkbike, worth mentionning that the Sweet Trailblazer is the highest ranking helmet in Virginia Techs testing, don't you think?
  • 1 0
 Can we talk about the fact that there are dozen's of links on this post and the fact that they don't open a new tab or browser?
  • 1 0
 Good point. All these posts are written in code. I will see if there is a code option for links to open in new tab for future posts.
  • 1 0
 After reading through this article my take away is.....Damn, stopping my brain turning into noodle soup after a slam is getting fookin' expensive.
  • 1 0
 in the future there will be helmets made out of impact responsive expanding foam that "deploy" on contact , and won't make you look like a dork. read this somewhere
  • 1 0
 Is the guy in the MET Roam hiking his bike strait up a cliff? How did he even get there?!
  • 1 1
 He hiked.
  • 1 0
 MIPS sucks if you have no hair. Plastic directly on head is annoying and painful.
  • 3 0
 Buy yourself a wig, dude !
  • 1 0
 Troy Lee A2, everything else is a distant 2nd. A3 looks like some donald duck steez im not really a fan
  • 1 0
 A1 for the win. You can still fin the MIPS for €120 and non-MIPS under €100. I just bought a spare.
  • 1 0
 Kool Moe Dee rides for Trek? Sick!

images.app.goo.gl/MWj9XSz6B6mEx2uJ8
  • 2 0
 Why are helmets soo expensive!
  • 2 0
 Is protecting your head not worth the cost?
  • 1 0
 I get it, you can’t test them all. If you do get a chance the Endura MT500 series if worth every penny.
  • 1 0
 @troyleedesigns please redo the stage helmet and make it with softer curves like the a1.
  • 1 0
 probably every helmet you can buy....no review marks...it's just pretty pictures i see. Some nice looking helmets
  • 1 0
 Where's the ear protection?
  • 1 1
 I cant believe people still wear non full-face helmets. Its not worth the risk to me.
  • 1 0
 MIPS - May I Please Steal ?
  • 1 0
 Thanks? I guess?
  • 6 8
 if it isn't MIPS, i don't want it
  • 1 0
 I wear a buff under my non mips helmet and it gives me that rotation similar to mips Razz
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