Road bike helmets are gaining popularity amongst daily commuters as well as mountain bikers and it’s not hard to see why. The best road bike helmets are light on the head, have great airflow and excellent impact protective technologies like MIPS integrated! We’ve briefed below 8 of the best ones available as well as a guide on how to choose the perfect one for you.Road bike helmets are gaining popularity amongst daily commuters as well as mountain bikers and it’s not hard to see why. The best road bike helmets are light on the head, have great airflow and excellent impact protective technologies like MIPS integrated! We’ve briefed below 8 of the best ones available as well as a guide on how to choose the perfect one for you.
The 8 Best Road Bike Helmets
Let’s look at a few industry-leading, top-reviewed road bike helmets, complete with their features, pros and cons to help you invest in the perfect one and ride your best on the road!
Our Top Pick – Most Feature-Fed
Constructed with a hard-shell polycarbonate exterior, the Sena R1 road bike helmet is durable against impact and protects the rider’s head from bumps and scrapes.
To maximise safety, it is equipped with a layer of EPS foam as well as soft padding that also cushions the riders head increasing the level of comfort.
The R1 helmet has a spin lock system integrated to adjust the fit proportional to the rider’s head which reduces wind drag and allows the headgear to sit securely while speeding on the road.
The best-selling feature of the Sena R1 helmet is definitely its smart system which includes a set of speakers and a mic. Riders can use it for group intercom while riding with friends and communicate at a half-mile range.
To ensure the audio is sent and heard crystal-clear, the helmet has an Advanced Noise Control technology engineered which transmits the rider’s voice without wind rush and white noise.
For long-distance solo riders, the Sena R1 Smart Communication helmet also offers a Bluetooth-pairing option through which riders can connect their mobile and listen to a podcast, stream music or hear navigations. Also, riders can customise the settings using the Sena app.
The Sena R1 Smart Communication bike helmet leads the industry with its incredibly smart features, intelligent design and durability.
Best Overall – Most Impact Protective
A blend of tradition and technology, the Giro Adult Isode MIPS road bike helmet offers incredible impact-protection using the hard-shell exterior that comes with the industry’s best safety feature, MIPS, integrated. It reduces rotational impact to the head and protects the rider from even getting a headache after a fall.
Whether riding far or biking fast, the Giro MIPS helmet ensures the rider feels secure wearing the helmet using a Roc Loc Sport system which offers a one-handed way of fitting the helmet snug on the head.
That isn’t all! In fact, Giro MIPS road bike helmet also utilises in-mould construction to shave off some of the weight of the helmet so every ride feels like a breeze.
For nighttime riders, the incredible Giro Adult MIPS helmet comes equipped with reflective features to improve visibility and decrease the risk of accidents and injuries.
A total of 22 vents are placed inside the Giro Isode MIPS helmet which circulate cool air inside and expel warm air out. This, coupled with the quick-dry padding, create a sweat-proof atmosphere and dissipate heat which maximises comfort level.
The Giro Adult Isode MIPS road bike helmet is almost a dream come true for all cyclists. Its incredible safety features, careful integration of aerodynamics and a universally-compatible sizing is worth every penny.
Editor’s Choice – Most Size Inclusive
A true best seller at the market, the Schwinn Thrasher helmet is constructed with not one but two high-quality microshells that provide full-coverage – down to the base of the rider’s skull, maximising safety and impact protection. A layer of EPS foam makes the helmet feel lighter on the head and safer on the road.
With the Schwinn Thrasher road bike helmet, fitting will be the least of concerns because the integration of the 360° Comfort system allows riders to adjust the helmet according to their head size using a one-hand dial fit knob. Not only that, the side straps on the helmet are adjustable too so riders can fine-tune adjustments as they like.
The interior of the Schwinn Thrasher is fully padded and equipped with 20 large vents that provide optimal airflow and keep the rider’s head cool during the summers. The addition of a visor is a healthy bonus (especially for long-distance riders). It protects against the sun’s glare and keeps away flying bugs and insects. Also, it’s removable!
All the features of the Schwinn Thrasher are compounded into a sleek helmet made in an angular design which reduces wind drag and is timeless.
The Schwinn Thrasher road bike helmet is incredibly effective against crashes, scratch-proof, well-fitting, exceptionally cooling in the summers and offers spatial awareness.
Premium Choice – Best Ventilation
POC Ventral Air Spin road bike helmet is one of the best choices for summertime adventure cyclists. It is constructed with a unibody shell which maximises safety and improves impact protection.
The durable POC helmet is lined with a layer of EPS foam which not only absorbs impact energy, it also cushions the rider’s head for a comfortable pedal on the road. Speaking of cushioning, the interior is equipped with POC’s exclusive silicon pad system called SPIN which takes comfort levels up several notches.
The best feature, however, of the POC Spin helmet is its ventilation system. The precise placement and large size of vents allow greater cooling and lesser wind drag.
The POC Ventral Air Spin road bike helmet is well-named – its best features are the ventilation and cushioning.
Reliable Choice – Best for Mountain Cyclists
Constructed with a strong polycarbonate shell, the Retrospec Rowan keeps riders safe from impacts and protected against gravel rash. The addition of a dense EPS foam layer makes every ride comfortable and provides extra safety.
As a bonus, the helmet’s outer shell is designed with an in-mould which reduces the weight of the helmet and makes long rides a breeze. Speaking of breezy rides, the Retrospec Rowan bike helmet has 14 large vents placed all around for optimal airflow.
The fitting can be adjusted according to the head size using the Ergo Knob dial. Also, the helmet has a removable and adjustable visor so riders can have a clearer view of the front.
The Retrospec Rowan bike helmet ticks off all boxes for tough-terrain cyclists
Value Choice – A Climber’s Choice
The Oakley ARO3 Lite road bike helmet is specially designed for cyclists looking for a headgear with great impact-protection and as much ventilation as a climbing helmet provides.
Constructed using a lightweight polycarbonate shell, the ARO3 road bike helmet offers incredible durability against falls while the EPS layer under it cushions the cyclist’s head during accidents.
Ventilation is ARO3’s best feature, it’s optimised for strenuous climbs up the mountain so it keeps the head cool and dry. Oakley’s exclusive BOA 360° Fit system adjusts the rider’s head perfectly and keeps it secure.
The Oakley ARO3 Lite road bike helmet is gaining momentum for its unmatched aerodynamics and durability – perfect pick for climbers.
Recommended by Experts – Most Durable
The Smith Mainline MIPS helmet is the definition of durable for its full Koroyd coverage, hard-shell exterior as well as the integration of MIPS technology. It reduces the impact of rotational forces during a crash and lightens the weight exponentially.
The Smith Mainline full-face MIPS helmet is specially designed for the tough pedals up a mountain and its 21-vent AirEvac ventilation system is proof of it. It keeps things cool while hiking up an altitude and wicks away moisture.
Also, the Smith MIPS mountain helmet ensures a snug fit of the helmet using three cheek pads, two neck rolls and two crown liners along with a easy-to-use D-ring chin strap fastener.
The Smith Mainline MIPS mountain helmet can be used on the road and on the tough terrain confidently.
Unique Choice – Most Lightweight
The KASK PROTONE Off-road Gravel road bike helmet is designed in a strong polycarbonate shell which is also in-moulded so it protects the riders head during an accident and lightens the load so every ride feels like air.
The interior is well-equipped with 3D CoolMax padding which keeps the head dry and dust-free. Combine that with multiple large ventilation holes and airflow circulation is levelled up greatly. This also reduces wind drag, irrelevant noise of wind rushing and dissipates heat.
The KASK PROTONE Off-road Gravel road bike helmet is a must-grab for cyclists looking for a high-quality, well-ventilated, comfortable and durable headgear. Its features make it well worth the buck.
Is There a Difference Between a Road Bike Helmet and a Mountain Bike Helmet?
Though a road bike helmet and a mountain bike helmet look similar, there are a handful of differences between them which can make or break the choice. Ultimately, it comes down to the type of riding you’ll be doing. Here are all the contrasts between the two helmets:
Since road biking is high speed riding on smooth roads, riders need a helmet that feels like air and keeps their head cool. This is why road bike helmets are generally lightweight. On the contrary, MTB helmets are heavier weighted and well-padded since the chances of impact is higher on tough terrains.
Since mountain biking is rough, the helmets are packed with padding and construction is made tough by employing heavy-duty systems like MIPS. This makes MTB helmets less aerodynamic but more impact protective while road bike helmets are well-ventilated but have less padding which works well when speeding on paved roads.
Road bike helmets have larger sized and greater amount of vents fitted while MTB helmets do not. This is because mountain bikers generally ride at low speeds on the murky mountains while road biking is done with high speed. Also, road bike helmets have less padding so airflow is maximised.
Since MTB helmets are generally designed with tough terrains in mind, they are constructed to have greater levels of impact protection than a road bike helmet which also makes them bulkier to handle.
Road bike helmets usually don’t come with a visor but most, if not all, mountain bike helmets do. The extra addition shields the mountain biker’s eyes from the glaring sun and allows them to have clarity in their field of vision.
How Do I Choose a Road Bike Helmet?
There are plenty of road bike helmets available on the market and every one of them may perform well but how can you know which of them is the perfect one for you? Well, here are a few considerations you can keep in mind to make an intelligent purchase!
Consider Your Ride
The style of riding matters a lot when it comes to choosing a helmet. Though every helmet is impact protective, the degree of safety and the addition of features can vary across helmet types. In case of a road bike helmet, look for one that has great aerodynamics so the summers are cool and the winters are comfortable. Also make sure it is lightweight as pressure on the head can be as disarming as a sudden impact.
Always make sure to consider your head size and get a helmet that fits accordingly. The better the fitting, the greater the safety while riding and the more comfortable you’ll feel. To check if the helmet fits well, push two fingers under the cheek area. If there’s room for more, the helmet is loose and if the fingers get stuck at the chin bar, the helmet is too tight. The helmet should feel light while riding.
When looking for a helmet, also try to factor in any extra additions you might need such as a built-in camera mount, speaker cut-outs or even a built-in smart system for group rides. You could spend an extra penny and get a helmet that is easier to use like one with a magnetic buckle instead of a double D-ring fastener or a removable chin bar for extra ventilation and versatility.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use a road bike helmet for mountain biking?
Yes, a road bike helmet can be used for mountain biking especially if you need extra ventilation. However, MTB helmets are more impact protective so it’s generally advised to use them when the ride is tough or the hike is uphill instead of a road bike helmet.
Can I use a road bike helmet for climbing?
A road bike helmet is generally not recommended to be used when climbing since each helmet has varying levels of impact protection. A road bike helmet is meant for single ground impact which is why it may not provide as much protection as a helmet specially designed for climbers will.
Are road or MTB helmets safer?
Yes, road bikes and MTB helmets have their differences but each offers great levels of impact protection. They are safe to travel with and can be swapped for either type of riding i.e a road bike helmet for mountain biking and vice versa.
Now that you have a clearer idea on the differences between a mountain bike helmet and a road bike helmet as well as a general know-how of how to choose the perfect one, you can zero in on any of the above expert-recommended products and ride the road like a breeze!