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The top 11 most comfortable mountain bike helmets

Sure safety is important, but hopefully you’ll never need to rely upon this most important aspect of a bicycle helmet. What you do want with every ride is not noticing you’re wearing a helmet while riding, and in this list of the most comfortable mountain bike helmets you’ll be given the ones that do that best.

Comfort is achieved with fit and ventilation. The first one ensures the helmet does pinch and/or wobble. Having to constantly put the lid back into place as you’re juddering down a trail is downright annoying, and maybe even dangerous. And if there’s one thing I hate even more is sweat accumulating in the padding, getting squeezed out into my eyes and onto my glasses.

The best helmets offer the best of the best in both areas. With great antimicrobial resistant silver-lined padding with exotic names, brow vents, sweat-wicking silicone pads, and both horizontal and vertical adjustment. Huge intake vents and move the air into the helmet, over the MIPS liner and out the back, keeping you cool on ascents and frosty when reaching terminal velocity going downhill.

So for the best of the best in comfort, take a look at the next most comfortable mountain bike helmets.

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

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

Giro Manifest Spherical

Giro Manifest Spherical
Giro Manifest Spherical
Giro Manifest Spherical
Giro Manifest Spherical
Giro Manifest Spherical
Giro Manifest Spherical

The Giro Manifest Spherical offers the airiness of a road bike helmet in an open face mountain bike helmet package.

The general notion of this helmet is that Giro played around with the design of the helmet to ensure maximum air flow. With 19 air vents it seems to do the trick creating probably the best mountain bike helmet for hot summer rides.

In terms of protection it offers the same as the already very expensive Giro Merit Spherical, but tops it off with an added ring of polycarbonate called the Auro Arch, which serves as a kind of roll-cage for your head.

So it means you also get the MIPS Air technology, the Spherical ball-and-socket setup for the EPS liner, which has a dual-density characteristic.

The Manifest is not only one of the safest helmets on the market, it’s also one of the best-ventilated. A total of 19 huge vents in a relative low-weight package ensure maximum air flow and a reduced risk of heat building up. When you don’t do prolonged stretches of slow climbing the chances of the helmet feeling hot and uncomfortable is near zero.

Does that kind of tech win awards in the safety department? Yes it does. Does that kind of tech win awards in how fast it’ll drain your wallet? It does that equally impressive, being the most expensive helmet of its specific category.

Expert Experience

Matt Miller | Managing editor – August 29, 2020

I will say that the Giro Manifest is one of the comfier helmets I’ve worn in a while. Everyone’s head is different, but the Manifest feels like it wraps around my entire head, without any noticeable pressure points. Whether this has anything to do with the use of the MIPS Spherical over the plastic liner, I can’t say for sure, but I don’t mind it on my head at all.

Other features like AURA keep the air flow up inside the helmet while ensuring a level of safety. It is hard to ignore the price tag on the Manifest, however.

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 Radix MIPS

Giro Radix MIPS
Giro Radix MIPS
Giro Radix MIPS
Giro Radix MIPS
Giro Radix MIPS
Giro Radix MIPS

Giro has some of the best rated helmets, and the Giro Radix MIPS is another example of a great mid-tier helmet, that offers great protection, but lacks a number of features which would otherwise add up to the price.

Whereas the most expensive helmets in the Giro lineup offer reinforced polycarbonate shells, MIPS Spherical technology, and dual density EPS, you’ll have to make do with just the MIPS technology with this one.

It does mean you pay less than half the price and still get an incredibly comfortable and great-looking helmet, with a fully adjustable visor and Roc Loc 5 fit system. This system, like many others, works with a dial located at the back of the helmet.

At 315 grams it’s significantly lighter than the average helmet, which adds to the overall comfort. A thick anti-microbial resistant liner ensures there’s a tight but comfy fit and a staggering 25 vents make this one of the better ventilated helmets out there.

Expert Experience

Zach Wick | Review Editor – May 9, 2022

Giro’s recently introduced Radix MIPS continues their fine tradition of high-quality, mid-range offerings. It doesn’t boast Giro’s latest and greatest tech innovations, but this durable helmet does offer an extremely comfortable, secure fit, a light weight, and all of the basic must-have features that I expect from a modern mountain bike helmet. The ventilation leaves something to be desired when compared with the breeziest models on the market, and the trail-lid style shell doesn’t provide quite as much coverage as the burlier all-mountain shell styles. Regardless, the Radix MIPS was among the most comfortable helmets I tested, and I think it’s one of the best values on the market. I fully recommend this lid to any trail rider who values comfort, weight, style, and functionality.

Pros and Cons

POC Tectal Race MIPS

POC Tectal Race MIPS
POC Tectal Race MIPS
POC Tectal Race MIPS
POC Tectal Race MIPS
POC Tectal Race MIPS
POC Tectal Race MIPS

The white/orange version of the POC Tectal Race MIPS has the honor of being my personal favorite bike helmet design-wise. But what’s more important than how I feel about design is whether or not it does the job it was designed for. And as with many POC products, it does.

Similar to its bigger brother, the Kortal Race, it offers the MIPS Integra version of this crash technology, aimed at the reduction of energy transfer caused by rotational forces during an impact.

It also features the aramid reinforcement attached to the EPS liner, otherwise known as Kevlar.

And where it ditches the NFC chip, it still has the Recco Reflector should you find yourself flying off the trail and ending somewhere in the ravine.

The ventilation is similar to that of the Kortal Race, with the exception of the dual slits, which are missing in this model. Yet, the helmet offers the same fantastic air flow into the helmet.

The helmet offers a snug fit, but it is still highly ventilated offering great air flow capability. It has a standard helmet weight of around 365 grams.

Expert Experience

Ty Rutherford | Contributor – July 10 2023

This is by no means a cheap helmet. However, the tech and protection on offer do go someway to justifying the expense. At this high end of the market, another option to consider would be the classic Troy Lee Designs A3. The A3 is the same price, is also impressively comfortable and the pads manage to deal with sweat better.

The lack of a magnetic buckle and the poor sweat management is a shame but these are small issues on an otherwise excellent helmet.

Pros and Cons

POC Kortal Race MIPS

POC Kortal Race MIPS
POC Kortal Race MIPS
POC Kortal Race MIPS
POC Kortal Race MIPS
POC Kortal Race MIPS
fallback

The POC Kortal Race MIPS is a trail and enduro open face mountain bike helmet offering above-average coverage and protection in a very premium package.

The Swedish company has made an exquisite-looking helmet with a Halo’s Master Chief blocky design. But rather than fighting the flood, you’ll be tackling the trail with one the most unique entries in the open face mountain bike helmet lineup.

With almost every helmet manufacturer choosing to integrate MIPS technology into their premium offerings, POC decided to ditch their otherwise excellent SPIN crash protection in favor of the newest MIPS Integra version. It means the MIPS system is customized for the specific helmet, which should improve its effectiveness in decreasing rotational impact damage.

Something they call an aramid bridge is part of the helmet, which sounded very much like the Kevlar breaker used in tires to make them more puncture resistant. Aramid, which is the non-brand name of Kevlar, is not meant to protect the tube in this case, but to protect your head. It’s not known for being inexpensive and neither is this helmet.

They also included a NFC medical ID, and Recco reflector. To me that means you’re either one of the most hardcore lone-wolf riders out there, or a tad too much. The stuff is usually reserved for people who’re being rescued unconsciously from underneath an avalanche.

Neatly placed dual slits in the front of the helmet keep your brow cool. This is the most important area to keep cool because much more than simply being a nuisance, sweat buildup can trickle over your glasses or into your eyes. Goggle straps don’t cover the ventilation holes and the helmet is designed in such a way that it does an excellent job of moving air into, over, and out the back of the helmet.

The 3-position adjustable visor sits quite high so you’ll have no trouble propping your glasses underneath them. On the other hand, when confronted with a low-sitting sun, you might still get blinded.

It’s a tad heavier because of the amount of coverage it provides, and fits snugly around your head with the 360 Fit system.

Expert Experience

Jeremy Benson | Product reviewer – April 15, 2021

POC pulled out all the stops to make the new Kortal Race MIPS one of the most protective helmets on the market. It has a deep fit and the most head coverage of any traditional half-shell model we’ve tested. Inside, it features MIPS Integra, a new, low-profile rotational impact protection system that doesn’t impede the airflow in this very well-ventilated helmet. A 360-degree fit adjustment system and well-designed straps ensure a secure fit, although we found it to be a touch narrower than some other models. The 3-position adjustable visor is designed to work with goggles and breakaway in the event of an impact. Aramid bridges, a Recco reflector, and an NFC medical id chip round out the features of this impressive helmet. Compare it to top competitors in our review of the best mountain bike helmets.

Pros and Cons

Bell Sixer MIPS

Bell Sixer MIPS
Bell Sixer MIPS
Bell Sixer MIPS
Bell Sixer MIPS
Bell Sixer MIPS
Bell Sixer MIPS

One tier below the Super Air sits the Bell Sixer MIPS.

In terms of value-for-money it’s significantly less expensive, while only sacrificing the full-face optional chin bar and Spherical technology.

It doesn’t mean this helmet is not expensive, it’s just that the Super Air is really expensive. But what you do get for that type of money is the same solid design and MIPS Evolve protection underneath a reinforced polycarbonate shell. This helmet also features the progressive EPS 3-part layering.

One of the things I especially like about this helmet is the 3-point adjustable visor. The ratcheting mechanism lets you easily click the visor in the right position. You can store your eyewear at the front or back.

For an open faced mountain bike helmet it’s really well ventilated. I don’t know exactly how this Dual-flow Ventilation system works, but it does, and that’s what matters.

The Float Fit system lets you adjust, tighten or loosen the fit with a dial, and includes 4 positions for vertical adjustment as well.

Expert Experience

Zach Wick | Review Editor – April 23, 2020

he Bell Sixer MIPS hung tough with our favorite helmets in testing despite its mid-pack price tag. With a durable, protective construction and all of the necessary features for a top-level, modern mountain biking helmet, the only thing that dragged this helmet down our rankings slightly was its above-average weight. For everyday trail riders, though, we don’t think a few extra grams makes or breaks a helmet. Riders will love the secure harness with plenty of vertical and circumferential adjustment, sweat-mitigating brow padding, and indexed, four-position adjustable visor. In the unavoidable case that your head hits something it’s not supposed to, the multi-density, high-coverage EPS shell and MIPS rotational impact system should provide plenty of protection to keep you safe.

Pros and Cons

Bell 4Forty MIPS

Bell 4Forty MIPS
Bell 4Forty MIPS
Bell 4Forty MIPS
Bell 4Forty MIPS
Bell 4Forty MIPS
Bell 4Forty MIPS

The Bell 4Forty MIPS is a solid contender in the mid range open face mountain bike helmets.

As many other helmets in this category it offers the latest MIPS Evolve crash technology, but lacks a dual-density EPS liner. In mid-tier helmets you see that a lot, where MIPS is included for its marketing and sales value, and obvious improvement of safety, and less known but expensive other technologies are left out.

Bell usually makes great but slightly heavier helmets, and at 380 grams this one sits 30 grams above the average of 350. The helmet is fastened with their Float Fit system, which is used in all of their helmets, even the most expensive ones. As with the mid-tier Fox Speedframe, you don’t get the Fidlock buckle.

The non-indexed adjustable visor leaves ample room for both glasses and goggles.

I’ve read some reviews stating that as a negative the helmet can get hot when climbing. That’s stating the obvious, because all helmets get hot when climbing and air flow is reduced.

Expert Experience

Alex Evans | Senior technical editor – September 22, 2020

The lid never wobbled or jumped around on tricky, fast or rough descents and I always felt well-protected thanks to its deep coverage. The pads also felt luxurious and soft against my head even after a long day in the saddle or when they were saturated in either sweat or rain water.

Unfortunately, the 15 vents are fairly small and the forward-facing ones don’t reach very far down the lid. This means ventilation is limited and I found the 4Forty to be pretty hot.

Pros and Cons

Smith Convoy

Smith Convoy
Smith Convoy
Smith Convoy
Smith Convoy
Smith Convoy
Smith Convoy

The Smith Convoy is one of the very few sub-100 dollar open face mountain bike helmets featuring MIPS technology.

That makes it worthy of inclusion here. It has a distinctive-looking, and lightweight design at 300 grams and features an integrated visor with eyewear ports.

Although I’ve read otherwise it does not provide comparable protection when compared to the most expensive mountain bike helmets on the market. Those helmets always offer multi-density EPS liners and some form of reinforcement to the polycarbonate shell. This helmet does not.

I never had an issue with EPS liners being exposed, which is the case for the lower edge of this helmet. Premium helmets wrap the polycarbonate shell around this edge. But if you’re less careful with your helmet, expect scratches and nicks in this area.

There’s a huge market for people who start out with mountain biking and want an entry-level helmet. Or people who like their everyday casual ride and looking for a nice looking lid. Those people should look at this helmet. If you’re not unfamiliar with crashing you might consider looking for a helmet that offers more crash technology.

Expert Experience

Zach Wick | Review Editor – Jan 18, 2021

The budget-friendly Smith Convoy is a comfortable, lightweight helmet, but it doesn’t offer the refined features or performance that we found in the higher-end models we tested. With a fixed visor position and a basic internal strap mount, the Convoy keeps it fairly simple. It includes MIPS rotational impact protection, a highly-adjustable harness system, and the EPS shell has a versatile, comfortable shape. However, we found that the ventilation leaves something to be desired when things heat up. As one of the least expensive mountain bike helmets available with rotational impact protection, this is a good introductory model for riders just getting into the sport, but veteran riders will likely be looking to get a little bit more out of their lid.

Pros and Cons

Specifications most comfortable mountain bike helmets

Name
Price
Technology
Shell
Liner
Visor
Fit
weight (gr)
eyewear port
rating
Fox Racing Speedframe Pro
190 USD
MIPS
polycarbonate
dual density EPS
3-position adjustable
360° Fit System w. Fidlock buckle
380
yes
10.84
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
Giro Manifest Spherical
260 USD
MIPS/Spherical/Hardbody/Aura Arch
polycarbonate
dual density EPS
bolt-on adjustable
Roc Loc 5 Trail w. Fidlock buckle
340
yes
12.20
Giro Tyrant Spherical
160 USD
MIPS/Spherical/Hardbody
polycarbonate
dual density EPS
bolt-on adjustable
Roc Loc 5 Air
600
yes
11.22
Giro Radix MIPS
100 USD
MIPS/Hardbody
polycarbonate
EPS
adjustable
Roc Loc 5
316
yes
POC Tectal Race MIPS
230 EUR
MIPS Integra/Aramid bridge
polycarbonate
EPS
adjustable
adjustable 360-degree fit
365
yes
POC Kortal Race MIPS
250 EUR
MIPS Integra/Aramid bridge
polycarbonate
EPS
3-position adjustable
adjustable 360-degree fit
407
yes
Bell Sixer MIPS
170 USD
MIPS Evolve
polycarbonate
Progressive Layering 3-layer EPS
4-position adjustable
Float Fit Race
395
15.56
Bell 4Forty MIPS
110 USD
MIPS Evolve
polycarbonate
EPS
adjustable
Float Fit
380
Smith Convoy
85 USD
MIPS
polycarbonate
EPS
integrated
dial
300
yes

Sources

Drew Rohde, Fox Speedframe Pro Helmet Review, The Loam Wolf, August 25, 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
Nic Hall, Giro Tyrant MIPS Helmet Review, The Loam Wolf, August 25, 2020
Zach Wick, Giro Radix MIPS Review, Outdoorgearlab, May 9, 2022
Ty Rutherford, POC Tectal Race Mips helmet review, Off.road.cc, July 10 2023
Jeremy Benson, POC Kortal Race MIPS Review, Outdoorgearlab, April 15, 2021
Zach Wick, Bell Sixer MIPS Review, Outdoorgearlab, April 23, 2020
Alex Evans, Bell 4Forty MIPS review, Bikeradar, September 22, 2020
Zach Wick, Smith Convoy Review, Outdoorgearlab, Jan 18, 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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