Best Mountain Bike Helmets: 2022 Edition

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Mountain biking without a helmet is a ridiculous thing to do. Mountain bike helmets save lives, so you need to buy one fit for purpose.

There are quite a few different mountain bike helmets, so it is easy to choose the wrong one. There are a few things you need to consider before making your purchase.

In this article, we will go into:

  • Features to look out for in mountain bike helmets
  • The best mountain bike helmets available right now

Are you ready to look after your head in the best way possible?

Best Mountain Bike Helmets 2022 Edition

Features To Look Out For In Mountain Bike Helmets

Protection

The more coverage a helmet gives you, the better you are protected. Mountain bike helmets give you more coverage than road bike helmets, especially around the back and sides of your head.

More helmets now have MIPs, which reduces the rotational forces experienced in a crash. If you can afford a MIPS helmet, you should buy one or one with a similar system.

Fit And Comfort

A mountain bike helmet that doesn’t fit properly is nearly useless in a crash. Make sure you take note of the sizing guide and measure your head correctly.

Your mountain bike helmet should be comfortable; any pressure points will become painful. Therefore, you may need a different size or a different helmet altogether.

If you buy a helmet online and it is uncomfortable, send it back. Do not put up with it; it will make your rides unbearable and potentially dangerous.

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Most mountain bike helmets are adjustable. You can tweak the fit with different pads and boa systems. These are good features to look out for.

Weight

Before buying one, you need to consider how heavy a mountain bike helmet is. Lighter helmets are more comfortable, especially when on rough ground, as they don’t strain your neck.

Ventilation

You need good airflow through your helmet, especially if you ride in hot places.

Mountain bike helmets have holes that allow cold air at the front and exhaust warm air out the back. A helmet with lots of air holes doesn’t mean its ventilation is better than one with fewer holes. Good ventilation comes from where the holes are placed.

Some helmets allow you to close the ventilation holes for riding in cold weather.

Mountain Bike Helmet Features

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Features you can find on mountain bike helmets include:

  • Adjustable visors
  • Goggle clips
  • Sunglasses storage
  • Light mounts

These are all great, but your primary considerations should be fit comfort and protection.

Types Of Mountain Bike Helmet 

Half Shell

Half shell mountain bike helmets are primarily used for mild cross country riding and commuting. They are easy to be confused with road bike helmets, but they offer more protection, especially around the back of the head.

They usually have a peak that protects your eyes from sun and rain. Half shell mountain bike helmets also tend to have a matt finish rather than a shiny one. Road bike helmets are shiny to allow them to slide along the road during a crash.

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Enduro

Enduro helmets look a bit like half shell helmets. But they are better for aggressive riding, thanks to their extra coverage.

These helmets are usually less ventilated to reduce the likelihood of sharp objects penetrating them.

Full Face

There are three categories of full-face mountain bike helmets, lightweight, downhill, and convertible.

Lightweight full-face helmets are designed to give you lots of protection without getting too hot. If you go for one of these, make sure it is downhill certified.

Downhill helmets give you the most protection and look a little like motocross helmets. These are used for gnarly lift-assisted downhill riding. They don’t have much ventilation, so your head will get very hot while pedalling.

Convertible helmets are full-face, but you can remove the chin bar. This gives you two helmets in one. Some people think they are not as strong as a downhill helmet. Still, many riders use convertible helmets for big alpine riding.

The Best Mountain Bike Helmets Available Right Now

1. Giro Fixture

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The Giro Fixture is a great half shell helmet for cross country mountain biking. It is excellent value for money, especially as it has MIPS and provide you with lots of coverage.

It is also lightweight, so cross country riders love it. But it is an excellent choice for someone just getting into mountain biking. It isn’t too expensive, and it is suitable for anyone not riding particularly technical terrain yet.

2. Fox Dropframe Pro

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The Fox Dropframe is an excellent helmet for several reasons. But most people love it for its comfort and fit.

You can fine-tune the Dropframe Pro’s fit by swapping the foam pads. You get a range of pads o play with until you get the perfect fit.

If you are between sizes, you may want to go for the larger size and use thicker padding to ensure your Dropframe Pro is as comfortable as possible.

This brilliant mountain bike helmet is well ventilated, so you know you get good airflow as you ride. But don’t think that it doesn’t focus on protection.

Fox has used the Pro version of the Dropframe as an opportunity to provide a MIPS helmet. It also has lots of coverage, giving you more confidence on the trails.

3. Bell Super 3R

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The Bell Super 3 R is a convertible helmet, so you can remove the chin bar. You can ride those long uphill slogs with the chin bar in your backpack and re-attach it before you take on the techy downhill sections.

It is an incredibly comfortable mountain bike helmet, too, thanks to its light weight. After a while, you forget you are wearing it, as it is so airy.

Some people find that they get pressure points in the back of their heads. But this all depends on head shape, so ideally, you should try one on before buying. 

You can also buy a downhill version. This has less ventilation and is more robust for people who spend most of their time riding downhill. But both versions have MIPS, so you get extra protection, as well as a versatile helmet.

4. Giro Switchblade

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The Giro Switchblade is an alternative to the Bell Super 3R. It is just as good, but if you feel any pressure points when wearing the Bell, you may want to try the Switchblade.

The Switchblade is a MIPS helmet and has lots of ventilation. It has a distinctly different style to the Bell too, which you may prefer.

5. Fox Speedframe Pro

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The Fox Speedframe Pro is a superb open-face trail helmet with many features. It has a multi-position adjustable retention system that provides a comfortable fit all the way around your head. You can also fine-tune the fit with the dial at the rear.

For ventilation, the Fox Speedframe Pro has 21 vents and internal channelling. These give you fantastic airflow through the in-moulded EPS.

Protection is enhanced with the MIPS system and a dual-density EPS.

A useful feature is an adjustable visor. This might sound trivial, but being able to pop your visor up for somewhere to put your goggles is pretty useful.

This mountain bike helmet is fantastic for trail riding. It has loads of safety features, is super comfortable, and looks great.

6. Oakley DRT 5

Best Mountain Bike Helmets 2022 Edition

The Oakley DRT 5 is a great looking mountain bike helmet with some excellent features. Some people find that wearing takes a bit of getting used to, as it feels like it is hovering over your head.

But once you get around this new feeling, you will appreciate how good the DRT5 is. If you are looking for an alternative to the Fox Dropframe, this helmet is worth checking out.

The Oakley DRT5 was developed with Greg Minnaar, the world’s most successful downhill mountain bike racer. The result is a very feature-rich helmet.

One of the unique features is the eyewear landing zone. This consists of some hooks on the back of the helmet. These keep your sunglasses in place when you are not wearing them. Some people could see the eyewear landing zone as a gimmick, but everyone is entitled to their opinion.

However, other features include a 360 BOA system for optimum fit, silicone sweat guard, adjustable visor and MIPS integration.

The Oakley DRT5 is an excellent mountain bike helmet, ideal for trail riding.

7. POC Tectal Race SPIN

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The POC Tectal Race SPIN is pretty expensive for an open face enduro helmet. But it is excellent, especially if you want a helmet that is very well ventilated.

It has deep air channels that allow air to flow over your head, keeping you nice and cool.

Riders who wear this helmet love how well it fits. It has adjustable straps using a four-point system, combined with a rear dial to tweak the fit. Therefore, you can fine-tune the fit, so it doesn’t move.

The POC Tectal Race SPIN also looks excellent, with its clean style and shiny finish.

The “SPIN” part of the helmet’s name refers to POC’s in house version of MIPS. This works by allowing the internal pads to move around relative to your head during an impact. The result is reduced energy transferred to your brain in a crash.

8. Troy Lee Designs A1 MIPS Drone

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This fantastic helmet from TLD is very popular with enduro mountain bikers. It is a little heavy, but it does fit well, and its level of comfort will make you forget about the extra weight.

The main downside is that its ventilation isn’t great. This might not bother you if you ride in colder temperatures, but summer riding may cause your head to get pretty hot.

To dial in the fit, the A1 MIPS Drone has a 3 point system to ensure you get it just right. Other features include a large visor, goggle compatibility, removable liner for cleaning and race-inspired styling.

Now You Know How To Stay Safe On The Trails

The number one rule of protecting yourself while mountain biking is to wear a helmet. The ones above are all great, and you will find one that suits your riding style.

If you want more mountain bike safety tips, check this article out: 5 MTB Safety Tips: How To Stay Safe When Mountain Biking

One of BikeTips' regular content creators, Tom lives in the French Alps. When he isn't writing, he can be found charging downhill on a mountain bike or snowboard. Tom's other passion is fitness, which goes a long way to help him make the most of the Alpine lifestyle.

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