Best cycling helmets for men - from budget to high performance models

·9-min read
 (CLOSCA )
(CLOSCA )

As more and more people take to peddling to work – influenced by Government and employee initiatives to reduce our carbon footprint – protecting our skulls is paramount. Quality is a must and naturally we need to protect our heads but comfort, ease-of-use, visibility, airflow and style all play their part too. Not all helmets are created equal.

There are a few things to consider before you splash the cash; the size and fit of your helmet is crucial so ensure your choice has several adjustable methods to maximise snugness (not just for comfort but for effectiveness in an impact too). Look out for MIPS (Multidirectional Impact Protection System) – a technology that helps to absorb impact (an investment worth making in my mind); and finally, how long the helmet will last? Guidance on this varies from 3-8 years. As a rule of thumb, the more you pay, the better quality and in theory, the longer the lifespan - so do factor that into your decision. Remember to always replace your helmet if it does suffer impact.

All the models included in this list are top notch but the one for you depends on a few different factors. Is it for a leisurely Sunday ride out around the park, a commuter cycle into town or a serious fast-paced 100k? Safety is paramount but do you need to spend the extra bucks on advanced technology that goes over-and-above the safety regulations? How aerodynamic does your helmet really need to be? How important is ventilation to you (well, no one likes a sweaty head!)? We all like a comfortable fit and easy- to-use adjustment mechanisms but at what price? And finally, aesthetics… do you want to look like Mr Bean or Michael Sheen?

Each of the helmets below all meet the required European safety certified standards (CE EN 1078). They were all tested on the same 15k ride through SW London to Kensington under similar weather conditions at 6.30am and 3.30pm (give or take the odd degree).

Ride safe with the best helmets below.

HEXR

Weight: 2-300G (depending on your head size, final weight is engraved into the honeycomb)

Comfort rating: 11/10

Standout feature: Sheer comfort

Not all helmets fit snugly and can slip whilst out on the road. In the same way you might visit a tailor to make you a suit, or a bicycle frame builder to create a custom bike, there’s nothing like wearing a helmet that fits you perfectly. That’s where HEXR steps in. For a bespoke moulded fit, there simply is no better offering on the market.

Once your scanning cap is received, you can use your iPhone to relay the info (it’s really straight-forward). HEXR then reviews your headscan data and your helmet is sent to print. You can even add a personalised engraving. What follows is quite remarkable; a one-off helmet made to the precise dimensions and curvature of your head. And what’s more, the honeycomb structure is made entirely out renewable raw material. You can even interchange the outer shell.

Buy now £299.00, HEXR

PROVIZ Reflect 360 Bike Helmet

Weight: 290-300G

Comfort rating: 8/10

Standout feature: Reflective shell

The fully reflective shell (which incorporates millions of tiny, mirrored glass beads) is incorporated in to the helmet and protects it from damage, which was a real plus for me as there I nothing worse than a dog-eared helmet. I found fitting the multi-setting chin clip and adjustment system quick and easy - especially when I switched from wearing my woolly skull cap. It sits well on your head and is really comfortable due to the padding positions, while also meeting the highest of safety standards.

Buy now £59.99, PROVIZ

VAN RYSEL Aerofit 900 Cycling Helmet

Weight: 255-300G

Comfort rating: 8/10

Standout feature: Aerodynamics

Developed in a wind tunnel to minimise drag, this aerodynamic helmet also ventilates your head to improve thermoregulation. Okay, most helmets have holes in them, but actually, I did feel the benefit whilst hammering it through Richmond Park on my way to work one particularly blustery morning. Psychosemantic maybe, but for the price point, this helmet, you can’t fault it.

Buy now £39.99, Decathlon

Closca folding helmet

Weight: 250-290G

Comfort rating: 9/10

Standout feature: Aesthetically pleasing

Inspired by the Guggenheim in New York, this foldable helmet not only looks stunning but compacts down to carry once you’ve ended your cycle route. The adjustable straps are easy to use and it’s a very comfortable fit. Ventilation holes are subtle but effective.

This is no style over substance helmet. Collision impact is distributed across its surface and the foldable mechanism instantly locks itself on impact.

An optional extra is the stylish water bottle that comes with a water app that highlights the free water available in your area and measures in real time the CO2 and plastic you’re saving.

Buy now £80.58, Amazon

DASHEL Urban Cycle Helmet

Weight: 430G (large)

Comfort rating: 8/10

Standout feature: Dashel promise to recycle your helmet when its time for a new one (with money off your next purchase too)

Stylish, recyclable and made in the UK; this helmet certainly ticks the sustainability box. I especially appreciated the one-hand opening clasp (no skin nip risk) which is worth the money alone.

The five air vents are nicely positioned along the top with coolmax pads that wick away sweat to ensure comfort and adequate ventilation. The carrying loop on the back of the helmet meant that I can attach an additional rear light. A great helmet for a cycle about town.

Buy now £79.00, Dashel

DHB R2.0 Road Helmet

Weight: 280G

Comfort rating: 8.5/10

Standout feature: Adjustable nylon webbing straps

This is one of the most comfortable dhb helmets I’ve tried - although they’re all good. The Coolmax pads and under-chin strap are welcome features. I haven’t tested this out on a hot day (if only) but the 21 vent design claims to aid ventilation without compromising performance.

This helmet feels like the all-rounder and for the price point is well worth considering. It feels like it fits around your head a little more naturally than some others, although it’s a little bulky. Great colour choices.

Buy now £34.99, Wiggle

HARDNUTZ Urban Stealth Hi Vis Cycle Helmet

Weight: 330G

Comfort rating: 8.5/10

Standout feature: Reflective panelling

Unashamedly named after The Stealth Bombers that were invisible to radar, this cycle helmet boasts 15 panels of Scotchlite reflective vinyl that are undetectable in daylight but highly reflective under street or car lights.

This helmet had a certain charm about it and feels indestructible. While this may be down to its canny marketing, I felt safe riding in this. The dial-fit adjustor and chin strap made for a comfortable fit. The only thing I struggled with was attaching the removable visor, although it’s a useful feature.

Buy now £34.99, Amazon

OAKLEY ARO3 Helmet

Weight: 300G (med)

Comfort rating: 8.5/10

Standout feature: Integrated eyewear dock

Taking their first steps into the protection bracket, Oakley, famed for their sunglasses, have incorporated an eyewear dock to store your shades should the sun disappear (!). Particularly suited for a hotter, sweatier ride whilst tackling those uphill climbs, the extremely breathable ventilation and the anti-microbial brow pads keep your head cool and sweat/odour free – IN YOUR FACE MOUNTAIN GOATS! (or in my case, Richmond Park deer). MIP technology incorporated for additional safety.

Buy now £66.00, Wiggle

KASK Utopia Road Cycle Helmet

Weight: 260G (medium)

Comfort rating: 8/10

Standout feature: Aerodynamic

Where to start with this helmet? It has it all – and more. For safety, it passes the stringent WG11 test for increased protection, with MIT technology in its shell cover. I noticed a quieter ride due to the reduced wind rush design and the comfort and fitting system were spotless. No detail has been missed – a triumph in precision engineering resulting in a helmet for the serious – and fast – cyclist.

Buy now £129.00, Wiggle

HJC Furion 2.0 Road Helmet

Weight: 190G

Comfort rating: 8/10

Standout feature: Ultralight

Despite its appearance, this Furion 2.0 model is so light to wear, without compromise on safety. It is crafted from a polycarbonate outer bonded to a shock-absorbing EPS foam liner. Developed and refined in HJC’s own wind tunnel facility, the smooth airflow design minimises drag as you pick up speed, with its CoolPath technologies keeping you cool. In fact, my head was unusually sweat-free after an especially gruelling ride.

Buy now £90.00, Wiggle

ABUS Gamechanger Road Cycling Helmet

Weight: 260G

Comfort rating: 8/10

Standout feature: Multi-position design

Air resistance is often claimed as the biggest obstacle when going fast. This helmet by ABUS claims to be the game-changer. After a stealthy ride out around Richmond Park (love those climbs!), I found the ability to tilt the helmet really beneficial, which kept the drag levels as low as possible. The flow straps are also ‘aerodynamically optimised’ which reduces flapping and fluttering. Real attention to detail. The air cooling tech deals with the heat generated by riding at speed with cool air drawn in and warm air ejected – its like a micro-climate.

Buy now £179.00, Wiggle

GRIPGRAB Windproof Lightweight Thermal SkullCap

It would be remiss of me to exclude skullcaps and helmet covers in this review as they compliment the comfort and effective of your helmet. During these cold winter months, I found this GripGrab skull cap lived up to its credentials of being lightweight, windproof and thermal…. Ideal for protecting your ears and forehead on those cold rides out! I found the top area of the cap fitted well under my helmet too and didn’t ruffle up.

Buy now £20.76, Wiggle

GRIPGRAB Reflective Helmet Cover

Not all helmets offer and night time visibility, so a helmet cover may be an option to use for when you really need it. This GripGrab cover is completely waterproof and windproof too and folds up to stow away when not in use. Its pull cord elastic hemline means it can be adapted to fit any size helmet too, which is great, as my head is considerably larger than my partners so we can share it!

Buy now £18.41, Amazon

Verdict

For me, hands down all-round winner for all of the above is the bespoke-made HEXR. The whole experience from ordering to wearing was second-to-none and the end product of a safe, ultra-comfortable, beautiful looking helmet was worth every penny. Not got 300 quid to spend? Then go for the Closca folding helmet – commendable sustainability credentials along with stunning design aesthetics – this helmet will be hung in a design museum one day.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting