Finding A Good Road Bike Helmet

If you are getting ready to do a bit of road cycling, then you’ll want to be sure to get yourself a good fitting helmet before you head out for your ride. Not only are helmets required by law in most places, they seem to be the best way to keep your noggin safe in the event that you fall off the road bike.

One thing to keep in mind when shopping for your helmet is that you should look for one that is specific for road cycling because there are different types on the market, like mountain bike helmets. I’ll share some of my top picks below and you can use them as a good place to start your shopping.

Top 7 Best Road Bike Helmets for the Money (2017 - 2018)

HELMETMODELEDITOR NOTESOUR RATINGWHERE TO BUY
POC Octal AVIP MIPS Bike HelmetPOC Octal AVIP MIPS Bike HelmetAward Winning Safety Rating5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)REI
Giro Synthe MIPS Bike HelmetGiro Synthe MIPS Bike Helmet4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5)REI, , Perfomance Bike
Kask Mojito HelmetKask Mojito Helmet4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)Amazon, JensonUSA
Smith Route MIPS Bike HelmetSmith Route MIPS Bike HelmetOverall Best Value4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)REI, Amazon, Performance Bike
Giros Savant Road Bike HelmetGiros Savant Road Bike Helmet4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)REI, Amazon, Sun and Ski, Eastern Mountain Sports, JensonUSA
Giro Revel Helmet Giro Revel Helmet Best Cheap Bike Helmet4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)REI, Amazon, Sun and Ski
Kask Rapido Road Cycling HelmetKask Rapido Road Cycling Helmet4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)Amazon, JensonUSA

Why Wear A Bike Helmet?

If you’re a cyclist on a budget, then you might be wondering if you really need to get yourself one of these. Well, just because you set out of find a road bike under $500 doesn’t mean that you can skip getting a helmet just to save money. Unless you think protecting your brain is just too big of an expensive to justify.

The fact of the matter is that all of the helmets listed above can meet your budget. You can choose from road bike helmets under $50 as well as some upgraded models with a little higher cost but that still come in under $100. You can definitely buy a good road bike helmet under $100 – $200 if you use my list above as your starting point.

And here’s the thing – the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that in a whopping 87% of cyclist deaths spanning the previous two decades no helmet was being worn by the rider. Just think – how many of those deaths could have been prevented with a helmet? Even non-fatal injuries are higher without helmets. The Institute of Medicine formed a committee that studied and found that just the simple act of wearing a helmet reduces the risk of traumatic brain injury by 70 percent!

Sure a bike helmet can’t protect you from all types of head injuries, but you get a drastic reduction in them. This is cause they help to absorb the impact, which is less of a force on your head when you hit. Trust me – you definitely want to be wearing one when you ride. Even if you think you’re the best rider in the world, that doesn’t mean that you can account for other riders and drivers out there. They are what you really have to worry about.

Since roadies don’t tend to have as many falls as mountain bikers, this type of helmet is a half-shell design (it only covers half of your head). Road helmets are well-ventilated and the most lightweight type of bike helmet on the market.

Shopping Guide for the Best Road Bike Helmets For The Money

When you compare the different road bike helmets on the market, keep in mind that the most important feature is how it fits your head. So, don’t buy one just because you like the look of it unless it also gives you a really great fit. And, it needs to be easy to adjust for the best fit.

In my experience, the best road bike helmets for the money are made by Giro. You’ll see several of their models in my list above. And I find that they give a really secure fit, but do be sure to check out how it fits your head. But when it comes to comfort, nothing beats the Kask line of helmets. Kask is based in Italy and their helmets are actually made there.

The top of the line helmets feature Multi-directional Impact Protection System (MIPS),which is basically just a special protective inner lining designed to minimize rotational force in the event of impact to your head. Basically the is the most protection that money can buy. But don’t worry if you can’t find one with MIPS cause all bike helmets feature some type of lightweight foam lining that works to absorb the impact between your skull and whatever surface your head collides with during an accident.

Some other factors that you will want to consider when searching for the optimal fit are ventilation, fit adjustment and weight.

Being able to adjust your helmet is vital to a proper fit and you definitely don’t want a helmet that is difficult to adjust. Of course, I am talking about the chin strap. You should be able to get it snug, without choking yourself, very easily. After all, a properly tightened chin strap is essential for safety. If you leave it too lose, the helmet can fall off in a crash and do you no good!

You’ve also got that rear retention band that adjusts, but these are pretty similar from one helmet to the next. The main difference that you’re going to see is a slider versus a click wheel mechanism to adjust the strap. Of course, the thickness and shape of the strap can vary, too. In my experience, Giro’s helmets have the best retention system out there.

When it comes to the weight of your helmet, know that all roadie helmets are very lightweight. But, the most lightweight road bike helmet is the Giro Aeon (at least that I’ve seen). It weighs 225 grams, or less than  8 ounces.

If you spend a lot of time on your bike for your ride, then ventilation is going to be a major concern for you. This is especially true if you are using your bike to commute to work. Here’s my tip – instead of looking for the most vents, go with a helmet that has the most open space for air flow. That is how you get the most ventilation. Again, the Giro Aeon is the best one that I’ve found when it comes to the most ventilation.

An important thing to remember about cycling helmets is that they are designed to take one impact and then be replaced. Definitely do not continue using a helmet that has already been banged into something. Why? Because it no longer offers the same type of protection and a single impact event is all the use you get out of the helmet.

Giro Savant Road Bike Helmet Review

Active Weekender rating: Comfort: 4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5) Quality: 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5) Value: 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5) Overall: 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

Giro Savant Road Bike Helmet ReviewWhere to buy: REI, Amazon, Sun and Ski, Eastern Mountain Sports, or JensonUSA (they price match)

Giro is one of the top brands in cycling helmets, and for good reason – the gear that they make is solid and offers a pretty good value for the money. And this Giro Savant helmet is proof of that.

What I like about it: fits comfortably on your head, feels very lightweight and you don’t overheat while wearing it. The compact design is also nice if you’re self-conscious about looking like a mushroom head.

What I don’t like about it: the strap adjustment system is just terrible. Honestly, I’m not sure what they were thinking with this cause it feels really awkward. You can sort of hack it to make it less awkward, but it’s not ideal.

Giro Revel Helmet Review

Active Weekender rating: Comfort: 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5) Quality: 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5) Value: 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5) Overall: 4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)

Giro Revel Helmet ReviewWhere to buy: REI, Amazon, Sun and Ski

This is another good option from Giro, but note that the sizing on this one is different than the one listed up above. It also has some design differences.

What I like about this one: has a detachable visor that is nice on sunny days, feels lightweight, breathes well, and the price is very affordable.

What I don’t like about this one: the strap is just as awkward as on the one listed above, the padding doesn’t feel quite as thick and comfortable, and that visor seems a bit weak like it could easily break off in a fall.

Kask Mojito Helmet Review

Active Weekender rating: Comfort: 4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5) Quality: 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5) Value: 4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5) Overall: 4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5)

Kask Mojito Helmet ReviewWhere to buy: Amazon or JensonUSA (they price match)

There is no denying that Kask makes some awesome helmets. If you compare them to other brands on the market, then you’ll probably notice that they make more high-end options and many of their models cater to cyclists who are into racing. That being said, they work just fine for the weekend warrior and this Kask Mojito helmet is a good example of that.

What I like about this one: it looks great and has a nice design, the fit it comfortable and true to size, feels lightweight, and has good airflow. And I really love that it looks so small when it’s on.

What I don’t like about this one: seems like there are two different strap systems that you can get – one is very comfortable and the other strap system has some of the same issues as the Giro models listed above.

Kask Rapido Road Cycling Helmet Review

Active Weekender rating: Comfort: 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5) Quality: 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5) Value: 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5) Overall: 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Kask Rapido Road Cycling Helmet ReviewWhere to buy: Amazon or JensonUSA (they price match)

If you really like the Kask Mojito but find it out of your price range, then this Kask Rapido is a good alternative for you to consider. It’s a really good bike helmet for the money and I really like it.

What I like about this one: affordable price, good fit, comfortable to wear for long periods, breathes well, easy-to-use strap system, and seems slightly more lightweight than the Mojito.

What I don’t like about this one: I haven’t found anything yet! Sure, it has a higher price tag than a lot of the helmets on the market, but it is worth it so that’s not a disadvantage in my opinion.

Shawna Newman

Shawna currently lives in Las Vegas where she gets in lots of great hiking at Red Rock Canyon and Valley of Fire State Park. When she has time, she visits National Parks in a quest to visit each one in the U.S. Shawna’s favorite outdoors activity is hiking and her favorite National Park (so far) is Badlands National Park in South Dakota.

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