While bike helmets may feel clunky and not always fashionable, they play an important role in preventing brain injuries and death. While you hope to never experience a cycling accident, they do happen. A 2016 study in Australia that looked at bike helmet use from more than 64,000 cyclists around the world found that helmets reduce the risk of serious head injury by almost 70%. If you choose to wear a helmet, there are a few things to take into consideration. Obviously, you want a helmet that will provide the utmost safety features. For racing, you want a helmet with a sleek, aerodynamic design and that will feel lightweight. These tend to come in teardrop-like shapes. If you ride in hot weather, a helmet that offers good ventilation and air flow can make you feel a lot more comfortable during your ride though can reduce the aerodynamics. Some bike helmets offer reflective features to make riders more visible when riding early in the morning or later in the evening. Color and pattern options may be important to you. Price also can play a role in your decision, though of course you do not want to compromise safety just to save a few bucks. Generally, helmets should be replaced within 5-10 years depending on how much they were used and how they were cared for. Below, find some of our favorite road bike helmets to keep you safe without sacrificing speed.
Giro Synthe MIPS
The Giro Synthe helmet is a road biking helmet weighing in at 9.5 ounces. It has featherweight webbing with a slimline buckle. It is ponytail compatible, which is great news for long-haired cyclists. It is MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System) equipped, meaning that it helps to protect your brain from both linear and rotational forces in event of a crash. It has a polycarbonate shell with EPS (Expanded PolyStyrene). The helmet felt lightweight and well-ventilated thanks to the Aero Mesh Panels and 26 wind tunnel vents. The Roc Loc Air system helps to fit the helmet to a variety of head shapes.
Bell Stratus MIPS
The Bell Stratus MIPS helmet is a buget-friendly road biking helmet weighing in at 9.7 ounces. It is MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System) equipped so it will protect your brain from linear and rotational forces in case of a crash. The helmet features a fusion in-mold polycarbonate shell and lightweight internal polycarbonate roll cage. This helmet is more budget-friendly than some of the other helmets reviewed. It felt comfortable and offered a good fit thanks to the adjustment wheel at the back. Reviewers felt like their heads stayed cool. There are certainly lighter helmets out there if that is of utmost important for you, but this is a good bargain road cycling helmet that feels durable and offers great protection.
The Kask Protone helmet is the lightest out of our recommendations, weighing just 7.6 ounces. The In Moulding technology is designed to provide better shock absorption, joining the inner polystyrene cap to the outer polycarbonate one. High visibility stickers help to keep you safe in low visibility conditions. MIT Technology provides protection via the polycarbonate layer covering the shell on top, on the base ring, and on the back. It felt aerodynamic and heads did not feel too hot wearing it. The rubberized micro dial can be used to adjust the fit, allowing supports to move through 180 degrees to ensure the perfect fit for your head. Overall, it felt very comfortable to wear and not too bulky. Not all sunglasses fit well with this helmet.
The Kask Mojito is similar to the Kask Protone but at a lower price and not all of the extra features. This helmet is very lightweight, weighing just 7.7 ounces. Adjust the fit with the ratchet wheel in the rear of the helmet and the Up & Down Fit System. The MIT Technology provides a high level of protection with a polycarbonate layer that covers the shell on the top, the base ring, and the back. The chin strap is made out of eco-leather. It is anallergenic and washable so your skin won't end up irritated. Some long-term users noted stickers peeling off over time.
When choosing a helmet for road biking, safety is a big priority. If you like to race, however, you're also going to want a helmet that has an aerodynamic design and is lightweight. Good air ventilation can make a big difference as to the comfort of your rides. Our favorite helmet for road cycling is the Giro Synthe MIPS. It felt comfortable to wear thanks to its fit and the 26 wind vents. We also liked that it is MIPS-equipped. Our budget pick is the Bell Stratus MIPS. For lighter weight helmets, we love the Kask Protone – just be ready to shell out more money for the features such as 3D dry padding, removable and washable inner padding made out of Coolmax material, and more. Finally, the Kask Mojito doesn't offer all of the bells and wishtles of the Kask Protone but is still a great helmet at a friendlier price that the Protone.