While it’s possible to spend north of £300 / $300 on a cycling helmet, our pick of the best budget bike helmets prove you don’t have to pay a fortune to get quality protection.
Whether you’re looking for a mountain bike helmet, road bike helmet or a helmet for commuting, all our picks – rated and reviewed by the BikeRadar team – are comfortable, offer a good fit and cost less than £100.
MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection) used to be confined to premium helmets, but it’s now found in many cheap cycling helmets too. It’s designed to add extra protection in the event of a rotational impact to the head in an accident.
We’ve included the best helmets under £100 here for road cyclists, mountain bikers and commuters who only cycle to work.
If you want to consider more expensive helmets though, check out our separate guides to the best road bike helmets and the best mountain bike helmets. These lists cover all of our top-rated helmets, from budget to top-end lids worn by the pros, and our full buyer’s guide.
We’ve also got a guide to the best enduro helmets, which can be worn with or without a chin protector for mountain biking, if that’s what you’re looking for.
For now, however, let’s get onto our pick of the best bike helmets out there for less than £100 (or around $150). As ever, all of these helmets have been fully reviewed by the BikeRadar team.
Best budget bike helmets under £100 in 2023
Bell Avenue MIPS
- £65/$120 as tested
- MIPS included
- Easy adjustment and good retention
The Avenue MIPS, as its name says, includes MIPS for additional protection. There are 18 vents, so there’s good airflow, while we liked the ease of use and effectiveness of the fit adjustment system.
Although at 310g, the Bell Avenue MIPS is a little heavier than some of the best cheap bike helmets, it’s not out of line considering the excellent value on offer.
Specialized Propero 3 ANGi
- £95/$140/€130/AU$200 as tested
- Both MIPS and ANGi sensor included
- Quality details and high airflow
With an internal skeleton, the Specialized Propero 3 weighs 305g in medium size, which is reasonable. We liked the quality straps that stay dry and comfortable when working hard and the shape, which mimics the high-end Prevail helmet.
Specialized has packed plenty of additional safety features into its budget road helmet, with MIPS as well as its ANGi crash protector that identifies abnormal accelerative loads and works with your phone to alert your designated contacts to possible accidents.
Bell 4Forty MIPS
- £90/$110 /AU$180 as tested
- Comfortable to wear and the fit system is easy to adjust
- Great airflow and top value
There’s great airflow from the Bell 4Forty’s 15 vents, and it’s comfortable on long climbs. The shape works well if you have a more rounded head and the fit system is easy to adjust.
You can push the visor up high enough to park your goggles, although we’d have liked to see indexed adjustment.
- £65 / $95 / €98 as tested
- Brilliant value
- Overly long straps
The Cannondale Junction is an affordable MIPS-equipped all-road helmet that performs nearly flawlessly. The straps are excessively long, but you could trim them.
The Junction feels safe enough to wear off-road on gravel rides. It even has a small, removable peak.
Yet the Junction’s fairly low weight and ample ventilation stop it from becoming too cumbersome or hot on long, warm days out.
Lazer Chiru MIPS
- £60/$60/$120 as tested
- Comfortable, neutral fit
- Some glasses won’t fit on the helmet
The Lazer Chiru MIPS helmet fits well and very comfortably, with good adjustability and without bouncing as you ride.
The airflow isn’t as good as some of the best mountain bike helmets, so it runs hot, although not excessively so. There’s a non-adjustable pop-on visor.
Check your sunglasses will fit on the helmet though, because some larger-framed models may run out of space. The fit with goggles wasn’t an issue though. The included MIPS is a bonus for a budget helmet.
Scott Argo Plus
- £75/$100/€80 as tested
- Includes a MIPS liner
- Comfortable, with an effective visor
Although there’s no MIPS in its name, the Scott Argo Plus helmet does include a MIPS liner.
At 366g, the weight is reasonable for the price, although the rear coverage isn’t as deep as some trail lids. The visor is non-adjustable, but it’s effective and non-intrusive.
We found the cradle fitted well and the ratchet dial is easy to use wearing a pair of the best mountain bike gloves. Sweat wasn’t handled as well as the best mountain bike helmets.
Van Rysel RoadR 500
- £30/$40/€35 as tested
- Great looks for a budget helmet
- Good ventilation from its 14 vents
Decathlon has some great-value cycling kit, the Van Rysel RoadR 500 helmet being a case in point. It looks racy and more expensive than its price tag suggests, and its 14 vents give you good airflow.
Adjustment works well, although the dial adjuster isn’t a match for those on many higher-priced helmets. You don’t get extra sliding plane protection, but the RoadR is still a great-value option.
Endura Xtract II
- £60/€75 as tested
- Great airflow and a quality feel
- No MIPS option
There’s a quality finish to the Xtract II road helmet that belies its position as Endura’s entry-level helmet. The shell wraps around the EPS foam core, for example, so the latter is less likely to become gouged and look tired with use.
The dial adjuster has a rubber coating, so it’s easy to grip and fine-tune your fit.
There’s good airflow to help keep you cool and at 270g it’s light, partly due to the absence of MIPS, which typically adds around 20 to 40g to a helmet’s weight.
Giant Relay MIPS
- £45/$50/€47.50/AU$80 as tested
- Great value for a MIPS helmet
- Decent ventilation
Another low-priced road helmet that manages to slot MIPS into its spec, the Giant Relay MIPS has good airflow from its 17 vents and anti-odour padding. It’s been given a five-star rating by the independent Virginia Tech annual helmet safety testing.
Adjustment is effective, even if it’s a little clunky. Weight is just under 350g, but we didn’t find this noticeably heavier than other helmets when riding.
Limar Air Stratos
- £80/€100 as tested
- Well made, lightweight budget helmet
- No MIPS option
Technically a gravel helmet (you can tell by the muted matt colours), nothing else marks out the Limar Air Stratos as different from a road helmet. The shape is similar to the best road bike helmets, there’s plenty of padding inside the shell and easy adjustability, even if the dial adjuster is on the small side.
Limar helmets are among the lightest out there and the Air Stratos clocks just 240g on the scales, beating many much more expensive lids. That’s partly due to the absence of MIPS though.
- £70/€80 as tested
- Gravel-specific design
- Integrated light and sun visor
Mixing a road-going shape with MTB features such as a removable peak, the MET Allroad is another helmet aimed at gravel riders. If you do stray onto a road, there’s an integrated rear blinkie in the adjuster dial to up your visibility.
We rated the comfortable fit and easy adjustment from the ponytail-friendly cradle design.
- £85 as tested
- Comfortable with deeper coverage suitable for gravel
- Peak isn’t adjustable
MET’s Veleno design sits between a lightweight vented road helmet and a deeper-coverage mountain bike trail helmet.
The rear of the Veleno is deeper than your average road lid, extending right up to behind your ears with its extra coverage helping to protect you from spills on rougher terrain. The tough polycarbonate shell covers the edges and underside, which helps protect the foam core from wear and tear.
The mid-sized peak is big enough to do its job. The peak is removable, but it doesn’t have any adjustment.
The rear micro-adjust is a little fiddly, but our tester never felt the need to adjust the helmet from its standard height setting.
In a size large, the Veleno weighs 305.8g. There is a version with MIPS for £120.
- £65/$85/€75 as tested
- Great fit and good ventilation
- Non-wrapped core edges means the rim is prone to gouges and dents
Smith integrates MIPS into its low-priced Convoy helmet and offers pretty good rear coverage, although not as much as on some of its pricier helmets. Other economies include a shell that doesn’t fully wrap around the Convoy’s foam core, which may lead to quicker wear.
Fit is great despite the low-profile padding, which copes well with sweat build-up. The visor is non-adjustable, but we found it easy to keep it out of our line of sight by adjusting where the helmet fitted on our heads. The 325g weight is reasonable too.
Smith Engage MIPS
- £95/ $110/€100 as tested
- Well padded and good ventilation
- Core is fully wrapped by the shell to help prevent damage
Unlike the Smith Convoy, the Smith Engage MIPS does feature a shell that wraps fully around the core, potentially upping durability.
While you get MIPS, unlike Smith’s more expensive lids, there’s no Koroyd crushable layer, although Koroyd can restrict airflow somewhat.
The VaporFit retention system wraps all the way around the head for good adjustability and there’s a positive click to the adjuster dial.
The fit of the helmet is comfortable too, with plenty of padding, 21 vents and good internal channelling.
Specialized Align II
- £45/$55 /€60/AU$80 as tested
- Includes MIPS in a low-priced helmet
- A little heavy at 374g for a M/L
Yet another quality budget helmet that proves MIPS has been democratised, the Specialized Align II also gives you a secure fit, with a quality dial adjuster, and plenty of padding to keep your head comfortable.
The 16 vents ensure good airflow, although we noticed the Align II’s 374g heavier weight when out riding.