POC increased coverage around the temples, which is a positive in terms of protection, but the extra mass meant that it didnt accommodate our sets of standard glasses (including a couple Smith-brand models). Whether or not this is an important feature is a personal decision, but the differences are worth considering when choosing your next helmet. The goal is to click it in place and leave it alone until you wrap up your ride. Cheap helmets lack the plush feel and can lead to occasional skin irritation over time. For a simplified version of the Sixer with a step down in venting and features, check out Bells 4Forty MIPS for $100. Moreover, the helmet boasts features typically found on more expensive models: the visor is large enough to shield the sun but also adjusts to accommodate glasses and goggles, and the fit system is secure and easy to use even with gloves on (dont let its small diameter dial fool you). In place of the large, plastic liner that inhibits airflow on other models are small pieces placed underneath each pad, which help to improve airflow and drop weight without sacrificing protection. At $250, the obvious downside with the Octal X SPIN is its very steep price, especially when you consider that the focused build will only appeal to XC, gravel, and cyclocross athletes. The Giro Switchblade MIPS with its removable chin guard is a nice hybrid option, but it still falls short in terms of ventilation with most other half-shell trail helmets (the same goes for Fox's Proframe). Another issue we ran into is that the visor doesnt slide high enough to fit a goggle, which is a letdown for enduro riders (the A3 addresses this with a more adjustable, goggle-friendly visor). Now the middle child in Troy Lee Designs' growing A family, the A2 hits a strong combination of price and performance. If anything looks questionable, we recommend erring on the side of caution and replacing it. In addition to its somewhat polarizing fit, another complaint we had with the Kortal was glasses compatibility (or lack thereof).
Read more about us. If you crashed and the impact is significant, the foam inside will be compromised, which diminishes its performance for future crashes.
If youll be seeing a lot of aggressive downhill time, we highly recommend erring on the side of a lot of coverage. If youre an enduro racer or someone wanting to upgrade in protection from a standard half shell, we think the TLD should be at or near the top of your list. This category is quickly growing in popularity, and most of the top designs on the market land here, including the Troy Lee Designs A2, Giro Manifest, and Bell Sixer. Fit and retention systems continue to improve, and safety advances like the Multi-Directional Impact Protection System (MIPS) aim to reduce the chances of a serious injury. 29ers For many mountain bikers, understanding the background, history, and ethos of a company has a major impact on the purchase of a new rig. But in the end, most trail riders will want to stick to one of the more traditional, visor-equipped options on this list. For long, pedal-heavy days in the saddle, a lightweight and well-ventilating helmet is a priority. Weve removed our MIPS liners and its impressively simple: theres one thin plastic layer that connects to the helmet with a few small tabs. The Giros value is what makes it so appealing, but there are a couple design compromises. From the moment you put it on, the quality is evident: theres extremely plush padding covering the full interior, and the wide, accommodating shape and highly adjustable fit system give it all-day comfort. Helmets can also provide a bit of extra utility by keeping the sun out of your eyes with a visor. For $70, you get the aforementioned slip plane liner (a non-MIPS Solistice is available for $50), surprisingly good ventilation from 17 total openings, and a simple but effective twist-style adjuster at the back. And most recently, Bontrager has released their WaveCel, which shakes up the market with big concussion prevention claims and a unique look. Giro has long been known to incorporate this feature, and weve found the design on the Montara MIPS is particularly functional. Of note: Specialized released the revamped Ambush 2 for 2022, although were not convinced all ofthe updates are positive (heres our Ambush 2 review). Its a lid thats well suited for those hitting bike park lapsor if you have the luxury of removing your helmet on non-technical, forest service road climbs before a rough and rowdy descent. Troy Lee Designs' A2 is a great example of a helmet that isnt technically optimized for goggles but still works well. Category: Trail/downhillWeight: 1 lb. From enjoying the wind in your hair to getting an excellent view, a bike run is a great way to enjoy exercise. If those happen to be your top priorities, then we have no problem recommending the Blaze WaveCel. Theres nothing fancy about the design, and you do miss out on premium touches like soft and highly absorbent padding, but the Convoy is a nice option for those who dont venture out on big rides or into the gnarliest of terrain. In addition, the Solstice MIPS is only offered in two sizes (most pricier designs are made in three), so it can be a little harder to dial in a perfect fit. If you can swing the steep cost, we think the Manifest is a market leader.See the Giro Manifest Spherical. Its ultralight, airy, and still provides enough protection for less extreme conditions. The second feature with a visor is adjustability. In terms of fit, we found that the A2 has a deep, wide, and very adjustable interior that was a favorite among our group of testers. Specialized may not be the first to use this technology (POC helmets featured a similar device back in 2013), but theyve certainly helped to streamline it. Giro Fixture MIPS Adult Mountain Cycling Helmet, Bike Helmet Sports Safety Cycling Bicycle Helmet for Men Women Cycle Helmet Mountain Biking Helmet with Rechargeable Tail Light 57-62cm Black, BASE CAMP Mountain Bike Helmet, Bike Helmet with Visor for Adult Men Women, Lightweight Adjustable Cycling MTB Helmet, Sponsored | Based on star rating and number of customer ratings, ILM Bike Bicycle Helmet Quick Release Strap Lightweight Casco Suits Biking Cycling MTB Model B2-21. The system on Bell's Sixer MIPS is stable and designed to break away in a crash. 100% may not be a household name like Fox, Giro, or Troy Lee Designs, but their background in the motorsports industry has given them years of helmet safety experience. Taking this a step further, some high-end helmets have a built-in action camera mount. This comfort letdown means it cant compete with the options above, but if Bontrager were to boost the amount of cushioning, this lid is well-poised to work its way up our rankings.See the Bontrager Rally WaveCel. 6 oz.Vents: 20What we like: Removable chinbar helps keep you cool on the climb.What we dont: Very heavy. The extreme jumps, swerves, and skids of mountain biking require more protection than a regular bike helmet can provide. Category: XCWeight: 11.8 oz.Vents: 17What we like: Nice combination of comfort, style, and price.What we dont: Not a standout in coverage and only offered in two sizes. POC targets the serious rider in generalthe $250 Kortal Race below is similarly expensiveand the quality and attention to detail are without a doubt impressive. How does the Smith stack up to Bontragers popular Solstice below? An evolution of the popular T2 Classic, this is a fully featured rack with an easy-to-use Not long ago, mountain bikers didnt have a choice when it came to wheel sizes26 inches was the only option. If you want an integrated kit, POCs own line of goggles and glasses are designed to work with the Kortal, but that strikes us as very limiting. If you ride consistently in cool weather, this shouldnt be a deal-breaker, but even in the Pacific Northwest, its important to have good ventilation for long climbs. MIPS put slip-plane technology on the map, but a growing number of alternatives have emerged over the past couple years. Are there any signs of deterioration on the outer shell or inner lining? Unfortunately, all of the small holes around the head do little for ventilation, and the Forefront 2 is among the warmer premium half-shell options. While some brands claim that you can machine wash them, we recommend gently hand washing to reduce the chance of breakdown of the material. Top subscription boxes right to your door, 1996-2022, Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. Your recently viewed items and featured recommendations, Select the department you want to search in, Keeping you from and early grave since 99', Demon Tailgate Pad for Mountain Bikes with Tool Pocket for Mechanic Tools/Tailgate Cover with Secure Bike Frame Straps. But in the end, we think the Stage hits a great middle ground of build quality, protection, and comfort.See the Troy Lee Designs Stage MIPS. The Manifest also has fairly polarizing stylingparticularly in colorways that highlight that two-piece setupbut thats mostly a matter of personal preference. For more information on MIPS, weve found this article by the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute to be an interesting resource. After viewing product detail pages, look here to find an easy way to navigate back to pages you are interested in. Troy Lee Designs has been in the mountain bike helmet game for a long time and is known for making very comfortable lids. ), both the listed weight and feel are the same, but the similarly lightweight Bontrager Solstice can feel a bit more ungainly and heavier. Its still an improvement from the discontinued Chronicle, but the Source isnt a standout in this regard (XC riders in hot regions will prefer a more ventilated option, including the Giros own $100 Radix). Nearly all forms of mountain biking require good ventilation. If youre looking for a dedicated downhill lid, the 100% Status provides a lot of bang for your buck.See the 100% Status. Adjustable Sizing Adult Bike Helmet for Women and Men. Bontragers Solstice is a top budget pick, combining MIPS technology and modern styling at a palatable price. Along with a modern look and a wide range of colorways, the 100% Status is a top choice for downhill riding. Another benefit of premium padding is sweat absorption: more expensive pads do a better job taking in sweat while on the trail. We tested and liked their Ambush helmet last year and were excited to try out this years version, the Ambush 2 POC has been at the forefront of helmet safety for years, and their Kortal Race MIPS carries the torch. Taken together, we think the Manifest is the best trail helmet available. We also think the Giro Source is the better all-around deal at $40 less, but stepping up to the Sixer does get you better ventilation and nice touches like a rubberized material at the back to keep goggle straps in place. Nitpick aside, at $169, the A2 offers an impressively premium build and great trail performance for a solid value.See the Troy Lee Designs A2. 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In all seriousness, its not worth making excuses to avoid replacing a helmet. The massive vents dominate the styling and keep you decently cool (by full-face standards), and the MIPS liner adds a bit of security for a high-speed crash. Importantly, theyve still managed to keep features like trail-ready coverage around the back and sides of the head, an adjustable visor, and Boa dial for tweaking the fit. 10.5 oz.Vents: 24What we like: Massive vents and full-face protection.What we dont: Non-adjustable visor and bulky looks. The fit is on the narrow sideunlike some of the picks above, itll favor a more oval-shaped headbut if it works with you, the design is comfortable and great for long days in the saddle. Another POC helmet to have on your radar is their Tectal Race MIPS, which we found compromises a little coverage for a more glasses-friendly shape Read in-depth reviewSee the POC Kortal Race MIPS. But once the helmets are in the bike shop, its up to you to do the rest. This is a common feature on trail helmets, but less so on XC-focused designs (including the Smith Convoy). When available, we have included a link to the womens version of the helmet in the product specifications. Category: Trail/downhillWeight: 1 lb. Its worth noting that the Stage does prioritize weight and ventilation, and there are burlier options out there for dedicated park and very rough downhill use (including TLDs own D4). Skip that extra bit of carbon instead. Mountain biking is closely linked to the rise in the action camera market, and a helmet mount offers a fun, first-person perspective. With a high price tag, bold claims in concussion reductions, and polarizing looks, Bontragers Blaze WaveCel helmet certainly made a splash when it hit the market. Importantly, Bell got the details right with the Sixer: the helmet has a modern, low-profile shape that doesnt look or feel bulky, the padding along the interior is high-quality, and a total of 26 well-designed vents keep air flowing around your head. Comfort is near the top of the pack too with a minimalist but smart design with thicker padding around the forehead. We also liked the fit system, which cinched evenly all around the head, and ventilation was a strong suit with 17 large openings that kept air flowing. If youll be riding rough and rowdy trails with rocks and roots, its best to upgrade to an all-mountain-ready model.