If you’ve ever slapped on a cheap lid from 1994, you know the term Mushroom Head intimately. Perhaps that experience has led you to searching for the best bike helmets. Guess what? You’re not alone. We’ve also been on a journey to finding stylish cycling lids that banish the old school mushroom-head look.
In fact, we got all of our staffers in on the hunt–trying out helmet after helmet to get a feel for what looks stylish on most heads. We’re using the following criteria to compile our list: FIT, COMFORT, SLEEK PROFILE, LACK OF BULK, and SAFETY.
We’ve narrowed it down to 8 of the best bike helmets that hit these criteria for the most people.
OUR PICKS FOR THE BEST LOOKING BIKE HELMETS OF 2017
Below, we’ve got all the helmets listed out by Manufacturer including links to our trusted online retailers that carry them. Plus, we’ve found the cheapest prices (as of this writing) for you and listed it below. Easy stuff!
Small note: If you’re buying from Amazon, please make sure you buy from a reputable seller! Counterfeits do happen.
Best Bike Helmets by Giro: Cinder, Synthe, Foray
Giro’s complete line of helmets are less bulky than they used to be, and their road-worthy aero offerings look much better than more space-ship-styled brands. We’ve got 3 helmets by Giro that will make sure you’ll look good.
The Foray, Giro’s cheapest option here, looks great and sits close to your head. Honestly, most people won’t know you’re not wearing a $250+ lid.
Cheapest Price: Currently, Competitive Cyclist has the Foray for $45.46
Moving up the line, the Cinder offers aero and stylish benefits without the huge price tag of their top-of-the-line racing helmet, this season’s Synthe. In fact, the Cinder actually fits a bit narrower than the Synthe for an even less mushroom-head look.
Cheapest Price: Currently, Competitive Cyclist has it for $104
The Synthe offers about a 30 gram drop in weight as well as larger vents for more cooling power and higher aero properties. At full price, it’s a $100+ jump for the premium features of the Synthe. One that I don’t think warrants making the leap, unless you’re doing a lot of hot weather rides or climbing.
Do note, however, Giro tends to fit a more oval shaped head, so make sure to try it on before you buy. Rounder heads will likely feel pressure points.
Best Bike Helmets by Kask: Mojito
You’ve probably seen the Mojito on some Team Sky heads in seasons past. And for good reasons. There’s nothing quite like the Italian comfort and finishing touches (we’re talking leather straps, people) that Kask puts into their helmets.
The retention system is fully articulated to pull down and up so that it fits your head just right–and in the cases of ponytails, they always fit. Available in a detailed range of colors, you’re bound to find one that matches your bike–assuming you’re into that sort of thing–or your favorite kit.
If you’re not really ready to spend nearly $300 on other helmets, but you still want a premium helmet, you can grab similar styling for less cash with Kask’s Mojito. At 220 grams and with 26 vents, it’s relatively light and allows for plenty of air flow. Even on some of the warmest days, the Mojito makes for a comfortable and super stylish head.
Cheapest Price: At the time of this writing, Jenson USA has the Mojito for just over $150.
Best Bike Helmets By Lazer: Blade, Z1
A much more cost-effective helmet with plenty of trickle-down tech from Lazer’s Z1. Fits lots of head shapes, and at just $95 it’s hard to go wrong. With 22 vents, it does a decent job of keeping your head cool; though, not quite as well as the Z1.
While Lazer claims the Blade weighs in at 240 grams, it’s actually closer to 290 on our scale. So, I wouldn’t let the weight sway you on this one.
The Rollsys dial at the top of the helmet makes fitting it precisely to my head a serious dream, and it fits pony-tails without any hassle because the retention system sits above your gathered hair (none of that pulling your hair through the loop business). It actually casts a slimmer and sleeker profile than the more expensive Z1, and it carries plenty of top-level features. It’s hard to go wrong with the Blade.
Cheapest Price: Currently, Jenson USA has the Blade MIPS at 20% off with code SAVE20
That having been said about the Blade, I also own and ride regularly with the Z1. And, in fact, it’s one of my favorite helmets. The comfort and performance is peerless. While it does cast a slightly larger profile than the Blade, it still avoids mushroom-head by a good bit. This helmet looks stylish, fits fantastically wonderful, and has the best retention system I’ve ever used.
While the $270+ price tag may be a bit too hefty for most, the Z1 definitely delivers. Massively cool with 31 vents and weighing at sub-200 grams, this is a serious contender for competitive riders.
Current Cheapest Price: At the time of this writing, Competitive Cyclist has the premium Lazer Z1 on sale starting at $120! I’d definitely go for the upgrade here.
Best Bike Helmets of 2017: Kali Phenom, Chakra
Kali is blazing new trails of safety, and their helmet always carry a unique design. The Phenom fits a surprising number of faces and head shapes without looking bulky or lame. At $160 MSRP, it’s one of the cheaper offerings for a high-end helmet.
The Phenom uses Kali’s “conehead” technology that crumples to direct energy to the sides if the helmet without the vents collapsing. All this and super padding (Bumperfit) that feels extremely comfortable and moulds to your own personal head with memory foam. The look is sleek and slim, so you’re never in danger of mushroom-head here.
All right, I know what you’re thinking. It’s got a visor. That’s no helmet for a roadie! I thought the same thing until I saw how the Chakra looked without the visor (pops off pretty easily). Oh, and the price tag is super tempting. About $50 gets you a sweet helmet that banishes bulk, and looks great with any kit–on road or off. And it’s sub-300 grams. Not shabby.
In fact, this puppy has great cooling factor with 25 vents, an easily adjustable dial-fit system at the back of the head, and it sits lower to protect a larger area. Plus, it comes in a huge variety of colors. Honestly, I have two friends who regularly wear this helmet on road rides, and it looks great, fits great, and performs great.
Kali also has the Chakra Plus version with 22 vents that sits about 30 grams heavier. But this one is marketing with greater strength in construction over the regular version. We, clearly, haven’t tested the differences in the two, but the Chakra Plus is going for the same price as the regular version over at Competitive Cyclist, which may make the choice moot.
If you don’t want to drop a ton of cash, but you still want a good look, Kali’s Chakra is a great choice.
Cheapest Price: Currently, Bike Nashbar is selling the Chakra Plus via Amazon.com for just $19.99
SOME FINAL THOUGHTS
As always, although you might be tempted to grab the helmet that appeals most to your aesthetic, there is one key factor you’ve just got to consider: fit. Even the most awesome, lightest, and bluest lid won’t help you much if it’s uncomfortable. Just ask my old Giro Atmos how often we rode together after I found it created painful pressure points on my forehead.
Try it on. Make sure you’ll really love it.
And, of course, these aren’t the only cool lids we’ve seen. But these are the best bike helmets we’ve personally tried. Have any you’d like to add to the list? Let us know!
If you’re still on the hunt for the best bike helmets, you might also like our articles on Giro’s foray into affordable MIPS helmets, or Kali’s innovative research into reducing concussions with LDL technology.