A helmet should do two things. First and foremost, it should protect your most valuable asset (your head) in the event of an accident. But it should also be something you want to wear—something that is both comfortable and fits your personal style—because otherwise you either won’t ride or you’ll leave your helmet at home.
What To Look For
Today’s helmets feature built-in liners—often from a brand called MIPS but other brands have developed their own versions—that move independently from the helmet in the event of a crash, reducing some of the trauma to the brain caused by the rotational motion of an impact. This added protection is something you want to look for in your next helmet. And luckily it is now even available in price points well south of $100.
There are many other features to consider. Some helmets have integrated rear lights to provide an extra layer of visibility and safety. Others feature brims to keep the sun out of your eyes, or sweat guides to route stinging perspiration away from your eyes. Here are some good choices to check out.
Lazer Cameleon MIPS
The Cameleon features the comfortable adjustability we expect from Lazer, thanks to the brand’s Advanced Rollsys System which prevents pressure points by adjusting evenly around the entire head, rather than just at the back of the head. Extras like an optional integrated LED tail light improve visibility. And a removeable brim provides a bit of relief from the sun. Plus this $90 helmets features the protection of a MIPS liner.
$90; 3 colors; lazersport.us
Bontrager Charge WaveCel Commuter
Helmets are first and foremost about safety. That’s why Bontrager lines its helmets with a collapsible cellular material called WaveCel that helps reduce the forces of impacts. That material finds its way into the Charge WaveCel Commuter, a comfortable helmet featuring easy one-handed adjustment and a rear-light mount for added safety. And hopefully you never need to use it, but Bontrager’s Crash Replacement Guarantee provides a free replacement helmet in the event of an accident during the first year of ownership.
$150; 4 colors; trekbikes.com
Swedish brand POC is known for making safety equipment with innovative designs. While the Corpora features styling similar to skate helmets, it offers superior ventilation to those helmets. Internal channels between the shell and the liner allow for increased air flow for cool heads. And smaller ventilation holes on top in addition to vents on the front allow airflow in, while keeping rain out. Factor in the ABS shell and multi-impact EPP liner and this helmet is ready for the rigors of daily use.
$150; 2 colors; pocsports.com
If you’re looking to add a pop of color to your ride at an amazing price point, check out the Specialized Align, which retails for $60 and comes in three great colors. It’s equipped with the added protection of a MIPS liner (Multi-Directional Impact Protection System) which helps reduce the rotational forces to the brain during an impact. And for added peace of mind, the Align is ANGi crash sensor compatible, which can detect a crash and notify emergency contacts.
$60; 3 colors; specialized.com
Bell Daily MIPS LED
The Daily MIPS is a commuting helmet from Bell that features plenty of comfort. Quick adjust fasteners help keep the straps flat and in place, while a sweat guide keeps your vision unimpaired on hot days. For extra visibility that’s always on hand, the back of the helmet features a 20-lumen rechargeable tail light. The Daily also includes a MIPS liner that is integrated into the retention system, allowing the helmet to shed weight and fit closer to the head, while getting improved ventilation.
$100; 3 colors; bellhelmets.com
Giro Camden MIPS
The Camden MIPS is Giro’s top-end commuter helmet. Featuring a compact design and lined with soft, antimicrobial padding, the Camden provides all-day comfort. To keep things cool, Giro uses two tricks: vents that actively pull in fresh air and push out heat, and a design that suspends the helmet just above the top of the head, letting you feel all that extra airflow around your entire head. And with a MIPS liner, a certification to the latest Speed E-Bike Standard and a tail light that illuminates the rear of the helmet, the Camden has plenty of safety chops.
$190; 3 colors; giro.com
The Smith Signal is another helmet bringing MIPS technology south of the $100 price point. By utilizing in-mold construction, Smith has managed to keep the weight down to 300 grams. And Smith’s AirEvac ventilation, with 21 vents, provides ample airflow. Available in six colors, the Signal comes in a shade to match your personal style. And if you like to take sunglasses along everywhere you go, the Signal has got you covered with a place to stow shades when not in use.
$75; 6 colors; smithoptics.com