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The top 10 best female mountain bike helmets

With this blog I’ll share my top picks for the best female mountain bike helmets.

Let me start by saying there really is no such thing as a female mountain bike helmet. Apart from the fact that on average a woman’s head might have a smaller circumference, there’s no anatomical difference between a man and a woman, which necessitates a specific helmet.

It doesn’t mean that helmet manufacturers do not specify certain helmets as a women’s version. Giro has a “Women’s Series”, yet specifically states:

“The Women’s Series is a diverse collection of helmet styles, fits and prices tailored to the demands of female riders. While the level of detail and range of colors is unique within the Women’s Series helmets, they do not feature a unique “women’s fit.” That’s because there is no anatomic difference between women and men’s heads except for the average skull diameter measurement.

I’ve looked at the sizes and technology used in Giro’s women’s lineup vs. unisex helmets, and have found no difference. There isn’t any difference in sizes offered, and there’s no women-specific technology or anything used in the Women’s series.

So with that out of the way let’s head over to the list of the best female mountain bike helmets, or rather best mountain bike helmets.

At the end of the article I’ve created a table overview of all the helmets for easy comparison. The “rating” refers to the Virginia Tech rating; a lower number is better.

Bluegrass Rogue Core MIPS

Bluegrass Rogue Core MIPS
Bluegrass Rogue Core MIPS
Bluegrass Rogue Core MIPS
Bluegrass Rogue Core MIPS
Bluegrass Rogue Core MIPS
fallback

The Bluegrass Rogue Core MIPS is a distinctive-looking open face mountain bike helmet for trail and enduro riding with quite a name.

Its unique visor is a non-indexed fully adjustable one that leaves enough room for large goggles to be fitted underneath. Sunglasses are supposed to be stored in the visor instead of eyewear ports. It remains to be seen if this works for all types of glasses out there.

Each helmet manufacturer uses fancy names for their fit system, so with this helmet you get the Safe-T system. The name notwithstanding, it’s the same we see with other premium helmets, offering indexed customizability both vertical and horizontal.

The helmet has the average weight for a mountain bike helmet of 350 grams, and you can achieve a snug fit without any pressure points.

The Rogue Core has one of the best crash ratings on the market and I feel it’s because of lack of marketing that this helmet doesn’t really get the attention it deserves.

Expert Experience

Ross Demain | Contributor – May 16, 2023

As with pretty much all helmets I’ve got, I’ve run the rogue Core MIPS with the visor slightly up to get it out of my vision and it’s stayed where I put it, with no moving or wobbling about. Storing glasses on the visor isn’t simple as some storage systems but once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty straightforward. The glasses have also stayed put while climbing and contouring although they can be a little rattley if you want to keep them there for descending.

Pros and Cons

Fox Racing Dropframe Pro

Fox Racing Dropframe Pro
Fox Racing Dropframe Pro
Fox Racing Dropframe Pro
Fox Racing Dropframe Pro
Fox Racing Dropframe Pro
Fox Racing Dropframe Pro

The design of the Fox Racing Dropframe Pro is certainly unique, and a hit-or-miss design-wise depending on the person you speak to.

Design arguments aside, what you can’t deny is the added amount of crash protection you get with this helmet, there’s simply more of it.

The shell is made from a mix of thermoplastic, polycarbonate, and polyamide instead of your regular polycarbonate. The liner is a dual-density EPS for added energy absorption versus a regular EPS liner.

The helmet wraps around the ears, providing more coverage without getting in the way of your field of vision. And it also comes with the MIPS crash technology, something almost every high-end helmet currently has.

At 460 grams it’s about a hundred grams heavier than your standard open face mountain bike helmet, but that added weight is something you won’t notice while riding.

One thing to keep in mind is that the visor is fixed into place, which might impair your vision on very steep descends.

Because the helmet covers a much greater area, Fox decided to ditch the adjustment wheel normally used to create the desired fit. Instead Fox achieves a comfortable fit by providing a padding fit kit with two different sets of padding. Together with the Fidlock buckle it does a great job in keeping the helmet in place.

In terms of heat management, more coverage also means more heat buildup. If you’re using this helmet for a lot of ascending, it’s noticeably warmer. On the other hand, slow climbing is not really the intended use of this helmet.

The Fox Racing Dropframe Pro is a perfect choice for those who’re seeking for more protection, without wanting to ride with a full face helmet. And it fulfills this role outstandingly, offering better crash protection than any other standard open face mountain bike helmet.

Expert Experience

Zach Wick | Review Editor – April 23, 2020

The Dropframe is a full-coverage trail helmet that aims to please those of us who spend most of our time on high-speed, chunky, descents but still like to pedal back to the top. Billed by Fox as an enduro/trail helmet, this model provides nearly the same coverage as a full-face helmet without the chin bar. It doesn’t offer any fit adjustment other than two sets of pads with different thicknesses, however, and the sizing is a little bit on the small end when compared to the rest of the helmets in our test. After a few weeks smashing down the most technical trails, we discovered that we appreciated the extra coverage this helmet provides, but it left us wanting for better ventilation when the trail turned back uphill.

Pros and Cons

Fox Racing Speedframe Pro

Fox Racing Speedframe Pro
Fox Racing Speedframe Pro
Fox Racing Speedframe Pro
Fox Racing Speedframe Pro
Fox Racing Speedframe Pro
Fox Racing Speedframe Pro

The Fox Racing Speedframe is the same helmet as the Pro version in everything but a small number of features.

The Speedframe Pro is one of the best helmets in terms of safety, and the standard Speedframe inherits many of its safety features except for the multi-density EPS liner.

The helmet is known for having an excellent fit, and you can fit a pair of goggles underneath the 3-point adjustable visor, as well as stash your glasses.

A good fit without pressure points, and a huge number strategically placed vents funneling air into and over your scalp keeps the heat buildup at bay. The air flow is especially noticeable when you pick up speed.

To keep the price down when compared to the Pro version, there’s a cheaper liner and the Fidlock snap buckle is missing from the straps, in an otherwise similar 360 degrees fit system.

It’s a great-looking mountain bike helmet, available in many colors and 3 sizes to choose from.

Expert Experience

Drew Rohde | Editor in Chief – August 25, 2020

If you are in the market for a lightweight trail helmet, the Fox Speedframe should be on your list. At 394 grams, this helmet offers a more aggressive and stylish look than other XC-lids on the market with some nice coverage and a comfortable fit. Features like a Fidlock Snap buckle, MIPS protection and removable XT2 liner pads further add to the value you get from the Speedframe helmet. In all honesty, I always thought of Fox as more of a marketing and lifestyle brand than a protection brand, but they have really stepped up their helmet game in recent years. I have total faith in the Fox Speedframe and although I hope to never need to test the Varisorb EPS’s protective qualities, I’m sure it will do its job when I need it to.

Pros and Cons

Giro Merit Spherical

Giro Merit Spherical
Giro Merit Spherical
Giro Merit Spherical
Giro Merit Spherical
Giro Merit Spherical
Giro Merit Spherical

The Giro Merit Spherical offers superb crash protection in a fantastic open face mountain bike helmet.

There are multiple crash technologies ensuring this helmet sits at the top of the range in terms of protecting. As do many other helmets it offers MIPS technology. The Merit uses MIPS Air which is the lightest variant.

Furthermore it offers Spherical technology, commonly referred to as a ball-and-socket setup where the inside of the helmet can move independent from its outer shell. A dual-density EPS liner is the last piece of tech to ensure maximum crash protection.

The entire package is still very light at 360 grams. Other great features are the bolt-on adjustable visor and the multi-point Roc Loc adjustment system.

The only downside I can think of is that you have to pay a lot of money for all that tech.

Expert Experience

Robin Weaver | Technical editor-in-chief – June 1, 2022

I’m a big fan of the new Merit helmet. Okay, it might not be quite as airy as the pricier Manifest, and doesn’t feature all the same bells and whistles either, but that’s fine by me because it’s still a top performer that’s supremely comfortable. It’s also light and airy enough to leave on all day. The price is still high, but there’s a lot of safety tech here, which feels like a plus to have – if you can afford it.

Pros and Cons

Giro Tyrant Spherical

Giro Tyrant Spherical
Giro Tyrant Spherical
Giro Tyrant Spherical
Giro Tyrant Spherical
Giro Tyrant Spherical
Giro Tyrant Spherical

The Giro Tyrant Spherical is Giro’s single offering of a mountain bike helmet with ear protection. The brand consistently scores high rates in crash tests and this helmet is no exception.

Besides the now standard MIPS technology, it has a reinforced polycarbonate to keep the helmet structural integrity intact in case of an impact. The helmet also features dual-density EPS foam, to increase the energy absorption characteristics.

Its shape also means that besides added coverage you get added weight. The 600 grams of this helmet means it’s the heaviest open-faced helmet I know.

In terms of design the helmet obviously distinguishes itself from your average half shell mountain bike helmet. It also has a much cleaner look, especially when you go for an all black one.

Since the helmet covers a larger area of your head it’s meant for those either seeking added protection over your standard half shell, or more ventilated version of a full-face helmet.

Expert Experience

Nic Hall | Contributor – August 25, 2020

If you are looking for a unique new helmet option or want a bit more coverage without the confiement of a full face helmet, the Tyrant certainly has something to offer. It’s lighter, slimmer and more breathable than the Giro Switchblade, however it doesn’t have the ability to convert into a full face nor does it offer quite the same coverage. Granted the Switchblade is a burlier helmet and noticeably warmer. Our crew was split on the looks of the Tyrant, but we all agreed it fit and rode well. If the looks are up your alley, then we’d suggest trying one on, and if you’re looking for a retro inspired jersey to compliment your new lid, check out our Vantage Loam Wolf Jersey. Any time a company can squeeze in a bit more safety and innovation into a product with a bit of unique styling, we’re into it, so kudos to Giro for thinking outside the box, or at least recycling it.

Pros and Cons

Giro Women's Merit Spherical

Giro Women's Merit Spherical
Giro Women's Merit Spherical
Giro Women's Merit Spherical
Giro Women's Merit Spherical
fallback
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The Giro Women’s Merit Spherical is, as the name implies, exactly the same as the standard Merit, yet offers a range of colors Giro calls the “women’s series”.

As they state themselves on the sales page, there’s no anatomical difference between women and men’s heads.

Pros and Cons

MET Terranova MIPS

MET Terranova MIPS
MET Terranova MIPS
MET Terranova MIPS
MET Terranova MIPS
MET Terranova MIPS
MET Terranova MIPS

The MET Terranova MIPS is a great-looking trail helmet with a premium-quality finish.

Although sometimes noted as “lightweight” it isn’t, weighing 355 grams for a size M. That’s 5 grams above average for an open face mountain bike helmet.

At such a weight the helmet sits comfortably when correctly adjusted with the Safe-T Duo system. If that name sounds somewhat familiar, it’s because the Bluegrass Rogue uses a similar system you can adjust both vertically and horizontally using an indexed dial.

There’s an optional gel padding kit for sweat wicking and an LED you can buy. Not including these means the price is kept low enough to be a mid-tier helmet with an excellent crash protection rating.

Expert Experience

Robert Johnston | European Editor – September 8, 2021

The Terranova flies under the radar out on the trail, with a generally comfortable and well-ventilated performance and no shaking or creaking on the head. Once you’ve started wetting out the padding, it does saturate quite quickly due to its low volume, which can lead it to dripping into the eyes before you might expect. In this regard it’s a shame that MET doesn’t equip the Terranova with their Dual Gel padding as standard, which they claim to act as a sweat guide, and would lessen this issue massively if so. At €9 it sounds like a worthy investment for sweatier riders or those often riding in hotter climates. Overall, the Terranova is a solid lid, though I’d have a hard time settling for the standard version instead of adding a little extra cash to have the reassurance of a MIPS liner in a crash. But for those not fully sold on the MIPS benefits, it could well be the ticket.

Pros and Cons

Sweet Protection Trailblazer MIPS

Sweet Protection Trailblazer MIPS
Sweet Protection Trailblazer MIPS
Sweet Protection Trailblazer MIPS
Sweet Protection Trailblazer MIPS
Sweet Protection Trailblazer MIPS
Sweet Protection Trailblazer MIPS

The Sweet Protection Trailblazer MIPS has one of the best Virginia Tech crash test ratings.

It’s the only helmet I know of that offers a polycarbonate shell made up of multiple pieces with variable thickness. And it seems to improve its impact resistance.

Naturally for a helmet with the premium category, you get MIPS technology as well to reduce and dissipate rotational impact energy.

To get the right fit the helmet offers both vertical and horizontal adjustment, with two sets of padding with different thickness. The vertical adjuster sits at the back, which means adjusting it lowers the back part of the helmet.

It’s extended coverage means it runs a little hotter than your average road bike helmet you might use for XC and light trail riding. But the weight of 325 grams is still light enough to make you forget it’s there while riding and setup correctly.

The helmet now includes an adjustable visor which let’s you easily fit glasses underneath it.

Expert Experience

Lydia Tanner | Contributor – June 29, 2020

The Trailblazer instantly felt lighter and more attached to my head, if that makes sense. Like, if I put it on and do the Breakfast Club dance, it moves with me instead of lagging. On the trail, that means the visor hasn’t blocked my vision once, and I never have to re-adjust it to get the fit I want. We all have different skulls and will naturally have brands that work best for us. In fact, I was handed this assignment after another tester didn’t find the Trailblazer suited his skull. But I think it’s worth noting that even within the Sweet Line, the fit on the Trailblazer felt much more natural, for my head at least.

Pros and Cons

Troy Lee Designs A2

Troy Lee Designs A2
Troy Lee Designs A2
Troy Lee Designs A2
Troy Lee Designs A2
Troy Lee Designs A2
Troy Lee Designs A2

The Troy Lee Designs A2 is one of the most affordable, high quality, open-faced mountain bike helmets worth your money.

It offers superb comfort and fit, with an anti-bacterial X-Static Pure Silver padding. The padding sits within a dual-density EPS liner. The polycarbonate shell wraps around the edges to further protect the rather delicate EPS.

The decade-old design has been updated to feature the MIPS technology. Safety is further enhanced with the bolt-on breakaway visor, and 3-point fit system.

Part of the popularity of the A2 can be attributed to the comfort it provides. Both with the excellent fit and its ability to keep your head cool when you try and get the most out of your ride. 2 vents on the side extend far into the front. Together with elongated vents on top they suck in cool air, which can exit through a number of vents located at the back.

It’s a great looking helmet, available in many colors, with a perfect track record in crash protection, for a price below many of the top-of-the-line offerings from its competitors. An unbeatable proposition when it comes to mountain bike helmets.

Expert Experience

Will Brett-Atkin | Contributor – August 31, 2020

The A2 helmet has plenty of airflow and boasts 25% more than the Troy Lee A1 helmet. However, I wouldn’t say it’s an industry leader as I do find I sweat more with this helmet than I have with others on the market.

In summary, the Troy Lee A2 Mips mountain bike helmet is a great look, extremely comfortable helmet that offers industry-leading protection. However, it is an expensive lid and with only a small amount of peak adjustment, it is hard to store your goggles enduro style.

Pros and Cons

Troy Lee Designs A3

Troy Lee Designs A3
Troy Lee Designs A3
Troy Lee Designs A3
Troy Lee Designs A3
Troy Lee Designs A3
Troy Lee Designs A3

The Troy Lee Designs A3 is literally the bigger brother of the A2, offering more coverage in basically the same package.

The A2 is one of the best helmets on the market, so it’s no surprise the A3 scores just as well. and does so with a helmet that extends lower at the back of your head.

Offering MIPS technology dual-density EPS foam, and the overall excellent fit with an additional liner included in the package.

The antimicrobial resistant liner covers the entire inside of the helmet and provides an extremely comfortable experience that makes you forget you’re wearing it. Something the Troy Lee helmets are known for. A handy Fidlock buckle can be opened one handed wearing gloves.

The visor is 3-way adjustable. I actually prefer such a ratcheted system. And when pushed upwards it leaves more than enough room if you like wearing goggles.

The ventilation setup is different from the A2. I don’t know why they’ve done this, since there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the air flow of the A2. Luckily the amount of ventilation is just as good in keeping you cool.

As a flagship product it’s very expensive indeed, and might prove to be too big a jump with the A2 being just as good and much cheaper. But if you want extra coverage in a well-designed, good-looking Troy Lee helmet, this is the one.

Expert Experience

Mike Kazimer | Technical reviewer – Mar 17, 2021

How about that Sweat Glide system? Well, I didn’t really get along with it, or at least my skin didn’t. At the end of a ride the foam would leave a super bright red mark on my forehead, alerting the world that I’d been wearing a helmet recently. I eventually decided to pull it out, since I don’t usually sweat that much in general. That did the trick, and the red mark stopped appearing.

The A3 is another strong option in Troy Lee’s helmet lineup. The fit wasn’t exactly perfect for my head shape, but that’s not going to be the case for everyone. As it is, the A3 offers lots of adjustment options, contemporary looks, and modern safety features.

Pros and Cons

Specifications female mountain bike helmets

Name
Price
Technology
Shell
Liner
Visor
Fit
weight (gr)
eyewear port
rating
Bluegrass Rogue Core MIPS
170 EUR
MIPS
polycarbonate
EPS
adjustable
Safe-T Heta w. Fidlock buckle
350
yes
9.95
Fox Racing Dropframe Pro
200 USD
MIPS
thermoplastic
polycarbonate
polyamide
dual density EPS
integrated
custom padding w. Fidlock buckle
460
8.85
Fox Racing Speedframe Pro
190 USD
MIPS
polycarbonate
dual density EPS
3-position adjustable
360° Fit System w. Fidlock buckle
380
yes
10.84
Giro Merit Spherical
220 USD
MIPS Air/Spherical/Hardbody
polycarbonate
dual density EPS
bolt-on adjustable
Roc Loc 5 Air
360
yes
9.90
Giro Tyrant Spherical
160 USD
MIPS/Spherical/Hardbody
polycarbonate
dual density EPS
bolt-on adjustable
Roc Loc 5 Air
600
yes
11.22
Giro Women’s Merit Spherical
220 USD
MIPS Air/Spherical/Hardbody
polycarbonate
dual density EPS
bolt-on adjustable
Roc Loc 5 Air
360
yes
9.90
MET Terranova MIPS
140 EUR
MIPS
polycarbonate
EPS
adjustable
Safe-T Duo
355
yes
10.52
Sweet Protection Trailblazer MIPS
200 EUR
MIPS
4-piece variable thickness
polycarbonate
EPS
adjustable
Occigrip
325
yes
8.69
Troy Lee Designs A2
170 USD
MIPS
polycarbonate
dual density EPS
bolt-on breakaway
3-point dial fit
350
yes
9.99
Troy Lee Designs A3
250 USD
MIPS
polycarbonate
dual density EPS
3-position adjustable
3-point dial fit w. Fidlock buckle
411
yes
11.01

Sources

Ross Demain, Bluegrass Rogue Core MIPS Helmet Review, Singletrack World, May 16, 2023
Zach Wick, Fox Racing Dropframe Review, Outdoorgearlab, April 23, 2020
Drew Rohde, Fox Speedframe Pro Helmet Review, The Loam Wolf, August 25, 2020
Robin Weaver, Giro Merit Spherical helmet review, Bikeradar, June 1, 2022
Nic Hall, Giro Tyrant MIPS Helmet Review, The Loam Wolf, August 25, 2020
Robert Johnston, MET Terranova Helmet Review, The Loam Wolf, September 8, 2021
Lydia Tanner, Tested: Sweet Protection Trailblazer, Bike Mag, June 29, 2020
Will Brett-Atkin, Troy Lee Designs MIPS A2 Review, One Track Mind Magazine, August 31, 2020
Mike Kazimer, Review: Troy Lee Designs’ New A3 Helmet, Pinkbike, Mar 17, 2021
bio vanseijen

Johan van Seijen

Founder Restoration.bike

Johan van Seijen is the founder of restoration.bike. His cycling career has seen him at the starting line of classics such as the Amstel Gold Race and Liege Bastogne Liege. Realizing his racing capacity would fall short of what was needed he obtained a MS from the University of Amsterdam in engineering. His love for cycling changed into riding in an amateur capacity with his local cycling club TFC Weesp as a roadie and supporting MTB Noordwest as a mountain biker. He repairs, restores, and builds bicycles and shares his knowledge on YouTube, Facebook and this website. 

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