Best mountain bike helmets for trail riding

By BikeRadar UK | Sunday, December 8, 2013 9.00am

Unless you're a particularly cautious rider, mountain biking will involve falling off at some point. So it makes sense to protect your head. With that in mind, we've rounded up the best mountain bike helmets for general trail riding.

Every helmet on the market passes the same safety standard, so whatever you spend, your head will be equally well protected. To find the right helmet for you, you need to consider other factors such as fit, comfort and venting and other features.

Start by measuring your head. Pass the tape measure around the circumference of your head, just above your ears, then try a few helmets on for size. Retention systems have come a long way, but although each manufacturer offers a range of sizes you may find that your head shape is best suited to a particular brand. You need a snug – but not tight – fit. It's important that the helmet is comfortable if you intend to use it for long rides.

Next, check out the venting. When you’re working hard your head is one of the places that helps your body regulate heat, so plenty of cooling is important. More vents are generally better, but their design – and the position of any internal channels – is also key.

A visor that’s adjustable for angle can be useful for keeping low sun out of your eyes, or tilting out of the way on a particularly steep, tricky descent. And a shell that wraps around the base of a helmet can help protect the vulnerable expanded polystyrene inner from everyday knocks and scrapes.

Finally, check to see if the helmet has a crash replacement scheme. Many suppliers offer subsidised replacements if your lid is damaged within the first year or two of ownership – which, if you’re particularly accident-prone, could be worth having. Terms and conditions vary though, so check the small print.

Five of the best mountain bike trail helmets

The following helmets have all scored 4.5 stars out of five in tests by Mountain Biking UKWhat Mountain Bike and BikeRadar.

Scott Stego

£119.99 / US$160

4.5:

Scott stego:

Scott's Stego falls firmly in the enduro side of the trail family of helmets. It has a dropped rear that offers plenty of skull protection as well as the innovative Mips brain protection system that's designed to dissipate rotational forces during crashes more effectively.

Click here to read our full review of the Scott Stego

Bluegrass Golden Eye

£99.99 / US$N/A

4.5:

Bluegrass golden eye:

Despite giving plenty of coverage, the Golden Eye offers plenty of ventilation too, making it one of the coolest helmets we've tried recently. It also has a sizable visor that has a decent range of adjustment.

Click here to read our full review of the Bluegrass Golden Eye

Giro Xar

£114.99 / US$130

4.5:

Giro xar :

The Xar is the updated replacement for the much-loved Xen. The sum of its parts really does add up to one multifunctioning whole.

Click here to read our full review of the Giro Xar.

Fox Flux

£70 / US$99.95

4.5: 4.5

Fox flux: fox flux

Fox isn't a specialist helmet manufacturer, but it's done a fantastic job with the Flux.

Click here to read our full review of the Fox Flux.

Scott Lin MIPS 

£80 / US$128

4.5: 4.5

Scott lin mips: scott lin mips

The Lin is a fantastic helmet made even better by the inclusion of the unobtrusive MIPS liner, an ultra-low friction, lightweight liner that allows the helmet to independently rotate under impact. All-day comfort is right up there with the best of them and the Lin weighs just 278g.

Click here to read out full review of the Scott Lin

Also consider…

These helmets all scored four out of five in tests by Mountain Biking UKWhat Mountain Bike and BikeRadar.

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