Long gone are the days when the best road bike helmet looked something akin to an upturned mixing bowl. Although providing an element of head protection in the event of an accident, trendy, by any stretch of the imagination – they weren’t. Bicycle helmet wearing in the UK has always been a matter of personal choice. With this in mind, manufacturers have been forced not only to produce helmets which provide maximum protection. But in a range of styles and comfort which appeal to all age groups.
What to look out for
A cycling helmet should always be considered the most essential of cycling equipment. So how do we choose the best road cycling helmet for our needs?
- Protection – Maximum head protection should always be the deciding factor. After all, there seems little point in becoming cycling’s latest fashionista if the hat doesn’t do the job it was designed for. All of the following elements will have a bearing on how effective your bike helmet will be in the event of an accident.
- Weight – When trying on any helmet it will feel relatively light. Most helmets come in at around 250/300 grams so feel light. But consider the length of time you may be wearing it.
- EPS – Stands for Expanded Polystyrene, and is the lining used in a large range of helmets for both protection and comfort.
- MIPS – Stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection System and is the latest technology to help reduce head movement or twisting in the helmet which could result from some impacts.
- Padding – Usually of expanded polystyrene, it is the inner lining of the helmet which absorbs some of the impact while creating a more comfortable helmet. In some designs the padding can be nylon, polypropylene, or steel mesh.
- Shell – The shell is the outer lining of the helmet which can be manufactured from a variety of materials. Available in a range of colours and styles, it includes the vents to allow through-flow of air to keep the head cool.
- Visor – Visors are available as part of the helmet to protect the upper face. Some helmets have an attachable visor included in the purchase price. With others a visor is an optional extra. Whether or not you feel the need for a visor is a matter of personal preference. Tthe type of road cycling you intend to undertake plays a part. Down-hill mountain bikers are far more likely to need a visor.
The Top Six Road Bike Helmet Reviews
C ORIGINALS S380 Cycle Helmet Road Bike Cycling CE Safety Helmet
A good middle of the road helmet which costs just over £20 and is available in 13 different colours. It is adjustable to head sizes 55cm to 61cm, although if your head size is at the higher end take care, some say the fit can be tight.
Manufactured with a polycarbonate outer shell which is heat bonded to an EPS inner lining it provides head protection to EU standards. With its modern styling, 14 cooling vents, light weight at 260g, and large range of colours, it is a good buy for the family who want the same, but different. This lid (helmet) ships with a removal visor.
Prowell R6800 Road Bike Helmet
Also known as the ‘AirGlider’ due to its heavily vented appearance, this helmet is available in three colours and costs around £25, less than a third of its RRP. A helmet in two sizes which adjust from 55cm-61cm for medium, and 59cm to 65cm for large. It has the usual polycarbonate outer shell and softer inside padding. A helmet designed to absorb multiple impacts which often occur in high speed crashes, it meets all required EU and UK safety and impact regulations.
Weighing in at 254g, both models have a reflective strip for better visibility, but do NOT include a visor.
Giro Savant Road Bike Helmet
When I say this helmet costs from just under £50 to just over £90 you begin to realise we’re talking some serious kit. A skid-lid which probably appeals to the more serious or club rider. It is, none-the-less, available in a large range of sizes. Sizes range from children to youth to adult, and from extra small to extra large. If ordering online make sure you know your head size in either inches or centimetres to avoid the disappointment of having to return it for the correct size.
A smart slim lid manufactured using the in-mould process, and a cooling system which has undergone extensive wind tunnel development. This helmet ticks all the required boxes, includes a good head fit and stability system. It weighs in at an average 250g.
IREALIST Eco-Friendly Super Light Road and Mountain Bike Helmet For Men and Women
Although at the cheaper end of the market at just over £15, this helmet meets all EU safety parameters. Lightweight and wind tunnel tested for venting, it looks stylish and is available in three colours. Although advertised for men and women, it is an adjustable one-size-fits-all helmet. Make sure it will fit your particular head size. This is especially important if buying for children.
The helmet is made of polyvinylchloride and imported EPS. It has a detachable visor and rear adjustor dial, and the chin strap pads can be removed for washing. Suitable for hobby road or mountain biking, it is a reasonable lid for the money.
Premium Quality Airflow Bike Helmet for Road & Mountain Biking for Men, Women and Teens
You want quality, at just under 50 quid you’ve got quality. Everything about this helmet says class. From its newly patented adjusters to its matt white finish, it is a helmet for the hobbyist and the serious biker alike.
Suitable for both road riding and mountain trailing it is manufactured in-mould from high quality EPS materials. It comes with an additional shock absorbent layer inbuilt. Noticeably oval in shape and with 22 large vents for maximum airflow everything about it says serious. Offered in two sizes, small/medium and medium/large, its patented horizontal and vertical adjusting system are its claim to fame. So confident are the manufacturers about the helmet’s comfort when properly adjusted they will gladly exchange it should you be unhappy about the fit. The helmet also ships with a lifetime manufacturer’s warranty.
Giro Foray Cycling Helmet
At just over £25, another middle priced helmet which is noticeably oval in shape. A pretty lid, it is available in a range of colours and small, medium and large sizes. It is suitable for men, women and children. This is a helmet which includes the Multi-Directional Impact Protection System (MIPS). The shell is constructed of polycarbonate using the in-mould process, with EPS for the interior lining.
The three sizes will fit a range of head measurements, the snugness of fit coming from the horizontal and vertical adjusters. Cooling is provided by the 21 vents. This is the second review of a helmet by this manufacturer. They produce a large range of skid lids in all price ranges. All are high quality, well made and robust products.
Let’s put a lid on it
So, if you are looking for the best road bike helmet, one of these should fit the bill. It is not compulsory to wear any form of head protection when cycling in the UK. I guess when it comes down to it, it depends on how much you value your brain. All cycle helmets sold in the UK have to meet the safety and impact tests laid down by EU and UK legislation. So whatever make or model you choose to buy it should be fit for purpose.
Year on year the number of cyclists in the UK is increasing and overall serious and fatal accidents are decreasing. In part this is due to greater numbers choosing to wear helmets and other protective equipment. Councils spending more money on designated cycle tracks and cycle lanes are also helping reduce accident numbers. Finally, base your helmet choice on whether you intend to cycle for a hobby, to commute back and fore to work, or whether you intend to get more serious. Happy pedaling.