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The top 8 best mountain bike helmets for hot weather

After reading this article you’ll know what the best mountain bike helmets for hot weather are, to keep you cool while you’re giving it your all on the trail.

Personally, the number one irritation I have with mountain bike helmets is not that they’re running hot. I expect nothing less during a warm summer ride, where parts of a trail can tax your system, especially going uphill.

What I do find extremely frustrating is when you push back your lid on your head because your visor is impeding the view, and you accidentally empty a fully soaked liner sitting atop your brow. As a result not only do you get stinging sweat running into your eyes, but it also runs on the inside of your glasses.

That might be a little bit too graphical for you but I just want to make clear how much I appreciate a well-ventilated helmet. A helmet that might not prevent such a scenario from happening, but is designed in such a way that it drastically reduces the risk.

These mountain bike helmets for hot weather offer a number of ways to keep your focus on the trail, not having to stop to wipe your eyes. Huge intake vents to get cool air into and underneath the helmet’s interior, brow ventilation, sweat wicking padding, and an allround great fit without hot spots and pressure points.

You can find an overview of all the helmets and their features at the end of the article.

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

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

POC Kortal Race MIPS

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

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 Tectal Race SPIN

POC Tectal Race SPIN
POC Tectal Race SPIN
POC Tectal Race SPIN
POC Tectal Race SPIN
fallback
fallback

The POC Tectal Race SPIN is a fantastic-looking half shell mountain bike helmet featuring the SPIN crash technology.

SPIN is POC’s proprietary crash technology and is an abbreviation of “Shearing Pad INside”. Its goal is the same as MIPS, with rotational forces being dissipated by using silicone bladders in the liner.

The SPIN technology in combination with the unibody EPS structure, and aramid puncture-resistant reinforcement makes for an excellent impact-resistant helmet.

I believe that because of its proprietary nature POC decided to ditch SPIN in favor of MIPS in their recent lineup, for what is probably a marketing and sales reason. Because SPIN proved to be an excellent approach to increase a rider’s safety with respect to the helmet.

It is what it is, and it does mean that excellent can probably be had for less than its initial suggested retail price of 230 euros.

Expert Experience

Alex Evans | Senior technical editor – September 17, 2020

I found the helmet really comfortable with a host of glasses from different brands and neither the glasses nor helmet needed adjusting once they were set. The lid worked best with POC’s Crave glasses, of course.

It also felt impressively light on my head, despite the plethora of features. The padding absorbed sweat well and remained comfortable and soft against my head once it was saturated. It also appeared to dry quickly once the excess moisture was squeezed out.

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

Specifications mountain bike helmets for hot weather

Name
Price
Technology
Shell
Liner
Visor
Fit
weight (gr)
eyewear port
rating
Bell Sixer MIPS
170 USD
MIPS Evolve
polycarbonate
Progressive Layering 3-layer EPS
4-position adjustable
Float Fit Race
395
15.56
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
POC Kortal Race MIPS
250 EUR
MIPS Integra/Aramid bridge
polycarbonate
EPS
3-position adjustable
adjustable 360-degree fit
407
yes
POC Tectal Race MIPS
230 EUR
MIPS Integra/Aramid bridge
polycarbonate
EPS
adjustable
adjustable 360-degree fit
365
yes
POC Tectal Race SPIN
230 EUR
SPIN/Aramid bridge/Unibody
polycarbonate
EPS
adjustable
368
11.67
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

Sources

Zach Wick, Bell Sixer MIPS Review, Outdoorgearlab, April 23, 2020
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
Jeremy Benson, POC Kortal Race MIPS Review, Outdoorgearlab, April 15, 2021
Ty Rutherford, POC Tectal Race Mips helmet review, Off.road.cc, July 10 2023
Alex Evans, POC Tectal Race SPIN NFC helmet review, Bikeradar, September 17, 2020
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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