We tested seven mountain bike helmets and found the Fox Racing Rampage Carbon the best for mountain biking.
Fox Racing has put out many top-notch mountain bike helmets over the years. They value safety and continually improve their designs to limit head and spine injuries caused by rotational force.
When looking for the best mountain bike helmet, it’s essential to consider the safety factors of the helmet. Things like fit, ventilation, and weight all play an essential role.
Throughout this list, we examine our top choices concerning the best helmets for protection, along with some helpful advice to guide you on your search.
How Do Mountain Bike Helmets Work?
Mountain bike helmets focus on increased protection and adaptability. Unlike road bike helmets, which serve as protection that is both ventilated and aerodynamic, mountain bike helmets need much more structure.
Because mountain bike trails lead through narrow spaces with lots of potential debris, crashing can become much more dangerous. Barring the fact that you can’t get hit by a car when you’re on a trail, mountain biking involves traveling downhill at high speed and can require much more control than if you’re riding on a straight and well-paved path.
Therefore, mountain bike helmets need to provide certain protection that a road biker helmet doesn’t. Specifically, they need more protection over the base of the skull and the top of the spine. Mountain bike helmets also feature heavier materials to prevent scrapes and abrasions and often cover more of the face to protect from branches.
Usually, mountain biking is undertaken at lesser speeds than road biking because there’s a lot more vertical change. Slower speeds mean mountain biking helmets don’t need to be as aerodynamic. Because of this, mountain bike helmets can use visors.
Visors are an essential element of mountain bike helmets because they keep the sun off a biker’s face. Riding in an upright position, as on a mountain bike, means light casts a greater influence on how a biker can perceive their surroundings.
Road bikers don’t need visors because their position allows them to focus on the path directly in front of their tires. In contrast, mountain bike riders have more risk of sunlight distorting their vision, so their helmets require visors to prevent blindness.
How We Judged
Considering the top pick of mountain bike helmets, we looked at several contributing factors like protection stats, ventilation, and MIPS availability. We also looked at weight and visor use and any other special features the helmet might have.
Our Top Picks
Below are our top picks for mountain bike helmets.
Bell Super Air R MIPS—Best Overall
This lightweight convertible helmet offers a redesigned chin bar attachment with two straps. Bell has revolutionized its product by changing the design and weight from previous models such as the Super 2R or 3R. The Super Air R is lighter than previous models and offers more comfort than competitive brands.
- Superior chin-bar attachment
- MIPS safety features
- Great for trail and enduro riding
- Less robust
- Less protection than other models
Exclusky MTB Helmet— Best Adjustable Helmet
The Exclusky MTB helmet comes equipped with multi-density EPS foam that helps absorb impact in the event of a crash. The helmet has a single-hand dial retention system so that you can easily adjust it for the perfect fit. With 18 holes, the helmet is extremely lightweight.
- Detachable sun visor for glare protection
- Dials can be adjusted vertically and horizontally for a perfect fit
- Insect-proof net to keep pests out while riding
- Comes with a warranty
- Chinstrap may break easily
- Materials may feel cheap
Troy Lee Designs Stage MIPS—Best Lightweight Helmet
This Troy Lee helmet is one of the most lightweight and impeccably ventilated mountain bike helmets available. The shell is fiber-reinforced Polylite, and the entire helmet weighs in at just 690 grams, making it comfortable for longer periods.
- Very lightweight
- Contains 25 air vents
- Serviceable visor
- MIPS safety features
- Tight chin guard and cheek pads
Smith Mainline MIPS—Best for Enduro
This Smith model encompasses all the needs for a mountain bike helmet. It’s a good weight, it has plenty of ventilation, and it’s robust enough to last for years. The Smith helmet is also designed for integration with all Smith performance googles. The airvac system creates fog-free goggles for a clear ride.
- 21 vents
- More comfortable than competitor models
- Lightweight while still robust
- MIPS safety features
- Not the best for bike parks
Giro Switchblade MIPS—Best Convertible Helmet
The Switchblade combines easy convertibility with secure downhill safety. With its ASTM Down Hill certification, the Switchblade provides great protection charging down a mountain even as a half face. The chin bar is easy to remove for ultra convenience, and the extra protection is reassuring on downhills but will keep you cool on warm days.
- MIPS safety features
- 20 vents and sweat-absorbing interior
- Half-face mode provides more protection than comparative models
- Extra visor with mount for recording devices
- Not the best for long climbing
- Not as light as other convertibles
OUWOR Mountain Bike MTB Helmet– Best Multi-Use Helmet
The OUWOR MTB helmet is a great choice for those who want the best of trail biking and urban biking in one. The removable visor makes it easy to shift from trail to city riding in no time. The sturdy PC shell and high-end EPS foam offer comfort and safety. In addition, you’ll receive an included carrying bag to store your helmet for safekeeping.
- Easy two screw removal for visor
- Adjustable dials and chin straps offer 360-degree fit
- Removable inner sponge pads for easy cleaning.
- May not be comfortable on all head shapes
- Not packaged well for shipping
Mokfire Mountain Bike Helmet– Best Features
If you’re looking for a mountain bike with plenty of extras, the Mokfire is for you. Equipped with a camera mount, rechargeable LED light, USB charging port, and a detachable visor, this helmet has everything for the sports enthusiast.
The dial fit retention system and the multi-density EPS structure provide extra security while biking. Stay safe on the trails while recording your great adventure!
- USB rechargeable light has three modes
- Washable helmet pads for easy cleanup
- Fully adjustable chin straps for a customized fit
- Visor may be hard to attach
- May become loose with GoPro attached
How to Choose the Best Full-Face Mountain Bike Helmet
Mountain bike helmets have several features to consider before you take one home.
Every helmet you own should fit your head. However, not every skull has the same shape. Trying on a helmet is the only way to see if it can properly fit. Some manufacturers might have a wider or narrower build depending on their preferences. Some might have a rounder interior or a boxy one.
If your head is a more unique shape than most, you might have to do some searching before you can find a manufacturer who provides the perfect helmet for you.
Thankfully, all helmets have some ability to adjust to unique shapes. Full-face mountain bike helmets are less forgiving than open-faced mountain bike helmets, as they generally have two different kinds of padding (thinner or thicker) for adjustability. Open-faced helmets, by contrast, can be more flexible in terms of straps and interior comfort.
Protection doesn’t necessarily involve coverage from potential crashes. It also prevents sticks and twigs, and other debris from becoming stuck in your helmet as you fly past. But more coverage results in less ventilation. A more ventilated helmet will provide you with relief, but it’s not worth it if you always bike in heavily wooded areas.
A helmet with a poor structure is a terrible choice all around. A structurally sound helmet designed to withstand spills is essential. Today the design of full-face helmets incorporates post-crash recovery to provide better protection than ever before.
Goggles are necessary for complete eye protection, especially with full-face helmets. If you want to keep your goggles on your head, your helmet should be able to hold them securely. Grooves and clips for goggle straps will prevent unwanted movement, so your goggles always stay on your face.
No matter how cautious you are, spills and injuries can still occur. Therefore, many mountain bike helmets have evolved to accommodate potential head and neck injuries with easily removable chin guards and inflation systems that help stabilize the neck.
Type Of Helmet
You can choose between a couple of different types of helmets:
Full or Half Face
Riders who love to tear down the steepest slopes for a wild ride favor full-face helmets. These helmets provide more protection than the half-face ones by far. However, full-face helmets are hard to breathe in, especially if you’re climbing hills. So, bikers who love to use their legs instead of a lift to gain elevation prefer half-face helmets.
A convertible helmet switches between full and half face by removing the chin guard. If you like switching up your terrain, you can consider buying a convertible. It protects the same as a full-face helmet and is breathable as a half-face if you’re working hard.
For the best overall mountain bike helmet, the Fox Racing Rampage Carbon encompasses all aspects needed on the trail. Not only is it one of the safest helmets available, but it also has substantial ventilation and durability, not to mention you can choose the non-carbon version for less expense.
If you agree and want in on the action, consider buying a Fox Racing Rampage today!