When it comes to bike gear, there’s not much that’s more important than a good mountain bike helmet. It’s easy to prioritize flashy new parts for your bike, but it doesn’t matter how nice your bike is, it’s never going to be as valuable as your brain. A good bike helmet will protect you, and if it fits right, you should barely even notice it on your head.
What separates helmets from the pack? Safety, first and foremost, however, there are other important features to compare. Fit, weight, and ventilation are also important considerations. With this in mind, we’ve broken it down with our top five best mountain bike helmets for 2020.
Troy Lee Designs, or “TLD” has been making high-end mountain bike gear for decades. Their A2 helmet is their flagship “trail” helmet, which means it’s a pretty perfect helmet for all-round mountain biking. It’s light and well-ventilated enough for all-day rides, but has more protection, especially on the back of the head than a pure cross country helmet.
On the safety front, the A2 uses a combination of different density foams to protect from different types of impacts. It also has MIPS technology, which allows the helmet to move independently from your head and help absorb rotational impacts. The TLD is a strong all-round helmet that will work well for most people doing most kinds of riding.
Fox’s Speedframe Pro helmet is new for 2020 and builds on the success of their popular trail helmets. It has more coverage toward the back of your head than previous models. That means that the Speedframe is perfect for aggressive trail and enduro riders. Despite the added coverage, the ventilation is still a focus, meaning you can still wear this helmet on long rides without overheating.
The small details set this helmet apart. The visor is easy to adjust and is completely removable, and there is a FidLoc magnetic buckle that’s much easier to open and close with gloves on than a traditional buckle. The Speedframe also features MIPS to help deal with rotational impacts, and has dual density foam to help it cushion both high and low speed crashes.
The Speedframe is perfect for the rider who’s looking for a little extra protection, whether because they’re riding more technical terrain, or racing enduros. And Fox offers some of the most comprehensive colorways out there, so your helmet is sure to match the rest of your kit.
The Radix is Giro’s budget-oriented trail helmet. It’s very affordable, at under $100, but doesn’t skimp on safety. Giro calls the Radix a trail/adventure helmet, it’s designed for long days on the bike, with lots of pedaling. This means it doesn’t have quite as much protection on the sides and back of the helmet as some of the more enduro-focused helmets. It does mean that it’s a little lighter, though, with a lot of vents. In fact, this is the best-ventilated helmet on this list, perfect if your head often overheats on long rides. While the Radix doesn’t have quite all the bells and whistles of some of the other, more expensive helmets on this list, it’s got everything the serious rider needs, at a great price point. If budget is your concern, the Radix is our top choice.
The Tectal Race Spin is POC’s take on the enduro trail helmet. It’s designed for the most technical trail riding and enduro racing in terrain that’s just short of justifying a full-face helmet. In line with those intentions, the Tectal Race has excellent ear and back of head protection, with a whole slew of safety technologies.
It’s not the most ventilated helmet on this list, and if you tend to run hot you may overheat on long, pedaly days, but that’s not really what this helmet was made for, instead, it’s built for riders that are pushing high speeds on gnarly descents. POC’s Spin system that is is similar to MIPS, allowing the shell of the helmet to rotate and help absorb twisting impacts. The POC Tectal Race Spin isn’t our top choice for riders looking for something light and airy for long mellow rides. Instead, it’s aimed at anyone who’s looking for a half shell designed for high speeds and big terrain.