With rising temperatures and the remaining snow banks dwindling in size, it's safe to say that spring has arrived and so have the good times on two wheels. Getting the cycling gear tuned and ready for the upcoming season is a real joy for some of us because we all know what lies ahead. For us, spring means new product and new safety features in cycling protection and this year, the top contenders have stepped up in a big way.
Safety features and helmet designs are ever evolving and it can be hard to keep track sometimes. The advancements in safety have come a long way in just a short few years and luckily for you riders, so has the cost. Helmets come in all price ranges but this doesn't mean you're missing out on features when spending less. This guide will showcase some of our favorite mountain bike helmets for this year in all price ranges and what we feel are worth the buy.
The POC Tectal Race has been a staple in the line up for quite some time now and it's easy to see why. The sleek, low profile design of the Tectal Race fits around the head more rather than the top providing superior protection and coverage all around the head. This also means the helmet sits a bit lower on your head creating the ever sought after sleek and stylish look. This helmet looks darn good, and the safety features outweigh the looks here. POC optimized the shell by eliminating seams in crucial impact areas around the helmet. The shell itself is designed like a skeleton with Aramid filaments reinforcing the harder EPS shell to make a tough and durable protective layer. The inner Aramid filament reinforced EPS core is tough and resilient while the outer polycarbonate shell is constructed with the seams located in the areas of least exposure.
Last year, one of our favorite helmets was the Giro Feature featuring MIPS at a $100 price point for the first time. The Feature has returned in the form of the Chronicle and it's looking better than ever. Just as its previous rendition, the Chronicle features MIPS. MIPS is designed to protect the head against rotational forces to the brain by using a liner on the inside of the helmet. This low friction layer mimics the membrane between the skull and brain which allows the brain to slide along the inner surface of your skull during an impact. To have this level of safety in a sub $200 helmet was unheard of in the years past but Giro has once again proved that you don't have to break the bank for a high performance helmet. Along with MIPS, you get 21 air vents that create a wind tunnel across the top of your head keeping you cool on those hot days.
This is the world’s first ¾ coverage helmet with ODS technology. An engineering masterpiece, the ATB-1T has been painstakingly crafted to deliver all of the exceptional benefits of ODS into a more effective protective device. The ATB-1T reduces angular acceleration energy transfer by means of the 3-dimensional displacement capability of ODS when subject to impacts. Low-threshold energy accelerations are also dramatically reduced providing a more forgiving helmet over a much broader range of energy demands. There is simply no other helmet technology that can offer the athlete these combined safety benefits. To learn more about ODS technology, check out the video below from 6D.
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Bell Super 3R MIPS - $219.95
When Bell introduced the Super 2R helmet, it quickly became one of our favorites because of one simple yet awesome feature, the removable chin bar. This year Bell introduced the Super 3R which again features the removable chin bar along with some fun and refreshing color schemes. With the Super 3R, you have all your bases covered from those long, grueling uphill climbs to the fast and aggressive downhill speeds. The chin bar is quick to remove and locks in place with three simple levers with no tools needed. This year, the Super 3R also features the new Float Fit system by Bell. The Float Fit is a minimalist, lightweight fit adjustment system with an easy-to-turn rubber over-molded dial for on the fly adjustments.
These helmets are just some of our favorites this year and this list barely scratches the surface. We know some of the features and technical safety systems can be overwhelming but we hope this can help you in your endeavors to shred town. No matter the helmet you're wearing, you're at a good starting point by just wearing a brain bucket. Always remember to stay safe but never forget to keep the good times rolling on two wheels!