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A Guide to the Best Cycling Helmets

There was a time when wearing a cycling helmet was not considered to be part of your essential kit. But as time went on, helmets started to be worn more and more in racing and at the local club run. In 2003, bike helmets became mandatory, first in UCI racing and later in all racing. First and foremost they need to protect your head but today they are also a tool and marginal gain, which we all now take very seriously. The best cycling helmets are packed with features, technical materials and aerodynamic qualities to ensure you are getting the very best in protection, style, speed and more. Here we talk about the different types of helmets available, based on performance and cycling discipline.

Image source: POC Cannondale-Drapac

Key Features of Cycling Helmets

  • Ventilation

Depending on what kind of rider you are and where you are riding can mean ventilation is a key feature that you require from a bike helmet. If you are riding in hot conditions or do a fair bit of climbing then well-ventilated helmets would be something you would require. Well positioned vents let the heat out of the right places and can help to stop your glasses from steaming up. Ventilated helmets are often the lightest as there is less material. If you are riding abroad alot, get hot easily or climbing at slow speeds often then this would be one of the first features you would consider to be important for you.

  • Protection

Protection is the main factor of a helmet but is not something you actually really consider when buying one as all helmets have to adhere to the standards of the law, so you have that peace of mind that you are as protected as you can be when buying your helmet. There are some cool features on helmets now that make them more secure such as retention systems at the back of the helmet that moves up and down to ensure the perfect fit. You must remember that a well-fitted helmet is essential to its performance. If the helmet does not fit correctly then the helmet cannot do the job it is intended for. Measure your head with a tape measure to see what size your head is to give you a good starting point.

  • Style

This is probably how most choose a helmet. How is it going to look? A helmet can really finish off your outfit nicely. If your kit is bright yellow, then a red helmet isn’t going to look that great. There are so many helmets now in different colours and styles, choosing one couldn’t be easier.

  • Comfort

This comes with the fit of the helmet. Don’t just choose a bike helmet for its looks or ability. If the helmet isn’t comfortable then the chances are it doesn’t fit you properly. Try a brand that works for you. Some brands just don’t suit some peoples heads so don’t settle for a comfortable helmet.

Image source: Met Helmets

  • Features

The best cycling helmets these days now have tonnes of cool features. Some have visors that are removable and or flip up and down for extra aerodynamic benefits. There are also features such as sunglasses holders for when you aren’t wearing your glasses. This keeps them secure.

If you are a commuter some helmets have built in lights at the back of the helmet. This is a real safety feature and gives a little extra peace of mind on those dark nights.

Most helmets now have bug catchers built in. This is to stop unwanted bees and bug from getting in your hair.

Below we have picked out some of the key models.

Some of the Best Cycling Helmets

RudyRudy is a favourite with the pros. They are comfortable, lightweight, stylish and functional. Handy sunglasses holder on the helmet for when you don’t want your glasses on.

Image source: Bahrain Merida

Bell – The Bell Star Pro is probably the star product of their range: rigorously tested in their wind tunnel to make it one of the best aero helmets out there whilst offering ventilation at the same time.

Salice – Italian Style! Salice have any colour you could ever want! There specially placed ventilation slits ensure max ventilation whilst providing aerodynamic features. Incredible value for money that is sure to keep you comfortable and without helmet hair at the end of the day.

Met – The Met Rivake road helmet is jam-packed with features. This would be hard to beat for an all-round helmet. It has everything you may want from a helmet, including built-in lights to order and shock absorbing materials for extra safety.

Casco – The Casco Speedairo RS Helmet with Vautron Visor is a pinnacle among the best cycling helmets with aerodynamic features, ventilation, style and protection all-in-one. Yes, it’s madly expensive but if you want it all this is the helmet to have.

Image source: Casco

POC – The POC Octal  AVIP really does stand out of the crowd. This stylish and eye-catching helmet is renowned for its comfort and breathability. Hot and sweaty conditions are not a problem for this helmet. With its bold colouring, this is one to look cool and feel cool in. Oh and don’t forget the super cool sunglasses to match!


Image source: POC

Aero Helmets

Image source: Giro Helmets

Lastly, aero helmets are specifically designed to allow the flow of air pass over the helmet more easily. They are often tested in a wind tunnel environment to watch and analyse how the flow of air reacts the helmets contours.  You may think that this is taking aerodynamics to the extreme but the benefits of an aerodynamic helmet can be in fact more advantageous that an aero bike! These type of helmets are mostly used in racing and time trial racing where speed and aerodynamics play a big part.

Browse our handpicked helmet range and if you have any questions or need some advice please ask us @probikekit or with #YourRide

Writer and expert