Search
Close this search box.
Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, when you buy through our links, we may earn a commission from qualifying purchases.

The top 6 budget MIPS road bike helmets

In this article I’ll be giving you my top picks for the best budget MIPS road bike helmets.

MIPS is shorthand for Multi-directional Impact Protection System, which is a low-friction layer located between the EPS and inner helmet liner that reduces rotational impact forces.

The Swedish technology was already invented in 1996, yet has only in recent years taken the bicycle helmet industry by storm, and has basically become a safety standard. As such the MIPS technology has transcended being just a feature and moved into the area of being a marketing and sales attribute.

Although initially wanting to sell all kinds of helmets themselves, MIPS settled into being a licensed technology being incorporated into almost all leading bicycle helmet brands. Some big brands have ditched their own proprietary technology to reduce rotational impact energy and opted for the incorporation of MIPS.

Helmets which have the best safety rating according to the Virginia Tech crash tests incorporate MIPS. Yet we have to be careful to unequivocally equate helmet safety with the incorporation of MIPS technology. Nonetheless you can safely assume its ubiquitousness is at least a very good indicator of its ability to increase helmet safety.

So it makes sense to want a helmet that features this technology, while being somewhat affordable. The average road bike helmet price of all the helmets I’ve looked at was 180 USD. For this list I’ve looked at road bike helmets from big brand names that feature MIPS, but don’t cost more than 100 USD.

The list features helmet’s designated for female riders, yet there’s no anatomical difference between men and women when it comes to helmets. It means both men and women can use all the helmets shown here, provided you choose the correct size.

Let’s see which helmets made it onto my overview of the best budget MIPS road bike helmets.

Bell Avenue MIPS

Bell Avenue MIPS
Bell Avenue MIPS
Bell Avenue MIPS
Bell Avenue MIPS
Bell Avenue MIPS
Bell Avenue MIPS

The Bell Avenue MIPS is the cheapest road bike helmet featuring the MIPS technology I could find.

Being the cheapest within a certain category is always a good thing from a budget perspective. The biggest question then remains, how well does it score in other areas. It’s 3 times less than the average price for a road bike helmet, so something has got to give. But the sacrifices have been minor in comparison.

The MIPS technology included is the latest Evolve variant. This is the same technology featured in the Bell Z20 MIPS, which is one of Bell’s top-of-the-line models.

It’s not a light helmet at 340 grams (the average road bike helmet weighs 280 grams). So for each dollar less than the average price you add about a single gram. It means the helmet’s construction is somewhat less sophisticated. Adding strength to its structural integrity has simply been done by adding more material.

To keep the price as low as it is, the helmet also doesn’t wrap its polycarbonate shell around the lower edges, leaving the EPS liner exposed to scuffs and scratches. Otherwise the overall helmet design looks just as good as more premium variants.

The helmet features the ErgoFit system to tighten it. It’s the entry level fit system, which means it’s heavier yet works with a dial at the base of the head, just like a huge number of other fit systems. And both the shape, liner, and fit system ensure a comfortable feeling when wearing the helmet, so no issues there.

All in all, you can honestly state that this is one of the best value-for-money road bike helmets. Good looks, in a comfortable package, for an excellent price makes you forget that it’s somewhat heavier than other options.

Expert Experience

Ian Osborne | Contributor – June 14, 2020

The 18-vent shell features a tough-wearing polycarbonate outer and I liked the matt black colourway I tested. There are reflective logos and detailing on the side and rear to help keep you seen at night.

The Avenue might not have the small refinements of some of the more expensive MIPS helmets on the market, but the performance, user-friendly features and top-end safety make it outstanding value.

Pros and Cons

Giro Isode MIPS

Giro Isode MIPS
Giro Isode MIPS
Giro Isode MIPS
Giro Isode MIPS
Giro Isode MIPS
Giro Isode MIPS

The Giro Isode MIPS is the brand’s most affordable entry into road racing helmets featuring MIPS technology.

It’s a fairly standard helmet at 285 grams, with an EPS liner and polycarbonate shell. The entry-level Roc Loc Sport fit system does a great job of keeping the helmet in place.

With so many helmets to choose from and prices as far removed from each other as one helmet costing multiples of another, it’s difficult to make a helmet distinctive enough to warrant a certain price.

This helmet doesn’t have any of the features more expensive helmets do, yet is a great option to obtain a helmet for entry-level, recreational cyclists. It’s not the lightest, not the best-ventilated, and probably not the most comfortable because of its standard liner and basic fit system, but it’s hard to argue with the price. Especially since design-wise it looks just as great as many other options.

Expert Experience

Stu Kerton | Senior Product Reviewer – August 25, 2020

The padding that comes with the Isode is quite thick as well, and quite soft, which makes it feel like the helmet is kind of squished on. If you back off the tension on the cradle to alleviate it, then the helmet becomes too loose.

I wouldn’t say that the Giro is uncomfortable, but it does have quite a few compromises in the fit – for me anyway; a helmet’s fit is a very personal thing after all.

Pros and Cons

Giro Women's Agilis MIPS

Giro Women's Agilis MIPS
Giro Women's Agilis MIPS
Giro Women's Agilis MIPS
Giro Women's Agilis MIPS
Giro Women's Agilis MIPS
fallback

The Giro Women’s Agilis MIPS is exactly the same as the non-women’s version. The only difference is the color options.

It has the same design, shape, weight, number of vents, and Roc Loc 5 fit system. And since the colors don’t necessarily strike me as characteristically feminine (e.g. pink), the moniker “women’s” is nothing more than marketing for what is indeed one of the best mid-level helmets on the market.

Expert Experience

Michelle Arthurs-Brennan | Technical writer – April 17, 2020

I can see the merit in a helmet like this if you’re tackling the trails and want to know your helmet provides extra coverage in the event of a crash. However, for me the lack of breathability when pushing the pace was distracting.

Pros and Cons

Giro Agilis MIPS

Giro Agilis MIPS
Giro Agilis MIPS
Giro Agilis MIPS
Giro Agilis MIPS
Giro Agilis MIPS
Giro Agilis MIPS

The Giro Agilis MIPS is a mid-tier road bike helmet for a reasonable enough price.

The biggest difference between this helmet and the much cheaper Isode MIPS is the number of vents and fit system.

This helmet is markedly different from the Isode by incorporating 32 instead of 22 vents. The number of vents isn’t necessarily indicative of its cooling characteristics, but in this case the Agilis indeed does a better job of controlling airflow and keeping your head cool.

Furthermore it offers the hardbody polycarbonate reinforced shell besides the MIPS Evolve technology. And it has the lighter Roc Loc 5 fit system keeping the weight of this helmet around 300 grams for a medium. The padding is anti-microbial as well.

It makes for an incredibly comfortable helmet for a price half that of its more premium counterparts. It seems that for the top-of-the-line safety features like MIPS Spherical and dual-density EPS liners you also have to pay top dollar. Although this kind of makes sense, there’s no denying that the Agiliis offers a tremendous value-for-money package.

The shell wraps the edges of the entire helmet, making it more sturdy and resistant to liner damage and comes it a number of excellent color combinations. It’s one of my favorite mid-tier helmets, where you get almost all of the features you need for a decent price.

Expert Experience

Nick BruckBauer | Contributor – October 25, 2022

The Giro Agilis MIPS is a durably built helmet with an impressive feature list and one of the most comfortable and adjustable headband systems that I tested. The Agilis has many of the same features and creature comforts found on much pricier helmets, though it sacrifices a bit in weight, ventilation, and finish quality. Riders who can sacrifice a few dozen grams to save several dozen bucks on a comfortable and versatile helmet for training, racing, or casual riding should give the Agilis a look.

Pros and Cons

Giro Women's Ember MIPS

Giro Women's Ember MIPS
Giro Women's Ember MIPS
Giro Women's Ember MIPS
Giro Women's Ember MIPS
fallback
fallback

The Giro Women’s Ember MIPS is up there with the Agilis version, offering the same technology in a different looking design.

The helmet includes the MIPS technology, weighs about the same as the Agilis, has the same price, the same antimicrobial liner, and the same Roc Loc 5 fit system for both vertical and horizontal adjustment.

This helmet features a webbing called roll-cage, which strengthens the helmet’s EPS liner when impacted. That could be the same technology as the Hardbody roll-cage reinforcement found in the similarly priced Giro Agilis. Unfortunately I couldn’t find any information on the subject, and both helmets haven’t been rated, so I couldn’t say whether one trumps the other in terms of safety either.

The helmet looks great, with subtle color combinations and both gloss and matt finishes on the polycarbonate shell. If you ask me.

Expert Experience

#N/A

Pros and Cons

Smith Signal

Smith Signal
Smith Signal
Smith Signal
Smith Signal
Smith Signal
Smith Signal

The Smith Signal is a nice-looking and affordable helmet. Smith describes this helmet as a commuter helmet. I have no idea why, since it features almost the same shape, same liner, and same fit system as the Persist.

It could simply be the price, which doesn’t break the bank. The reason is that this is not an in-molded helmet where the EPS liner and polycarbonate shell are fused together in the same mold. In terms of safety this doesn’t matter. In terms of ventilation and cost it does.

The helmet does feature an exposed EPS liner sticking underneath the shell. Besides the fact that this doesn’t look great, the delicate EPS might nick more easily. I never had to throw away a helmet because of it though.

It’s one of the most affordable road bike helmets (or commuter) that feature MIPS. And because it has the same weight, VaporFit dial system, AirEvac 21 vents, and eyewear port as the Persist, it’s one of the best choices for budget-minded cyclists.

Expert Experience

Shaun Audane | Technical writer – August 11, 2020

Though closer to what I’d describe as a ‘commu-tour’ (commuting/touring) model, the Signal has performed rather well on my off-road exclusions, too, offering reasonable protection against brambles.

Its shape is also fairly conducive to mounting lights and lightweight cameras. I found my TomTom Bandit a touch on the weighty side but the Go-Pro (and its emulators) were a better bet.

Pros and Cons

Specifications budget MIPS road bike helmets

Name
Price
Technology
Shell
Liner
Visor
Fit
weight (gr)
eyewear port
rating
Bell Avenue MIPS
55 USD
MIPS Evolve
polycarbonate
EPS
none
Ergo Fit
340
yes
Giro Isode MIPS
65 USD
MIPS
polycarbonate
EPS
none
Roc Loc Sport
285
Giro Women’s Agilis MIPS
90 USD
MIPS/Hardbody
polycarbonate
EPS
none
Roc Loc 5 w. Slimline buckle
300
Giro Agilis MIPS
100 USD
MIPS/Hardbody
polycarbonate
EPS
none
Roc Loc 5 w. Slimline buckle
300
Giro Women’s Ember MIPS
100 USD
MIPS/Roll Cage
polycarbonate
EPS
none
Roc Loc 5
295
Smith Signal
85 USD
MIPS
polycarbonate
EPS
none
VaporFit
300
yes
15.49

Sources

Ian Osborne, Bell Avenue MIPS helmet review, Bikeradar, June 14, 2020
Stu Kerton, Giro Isode MIPS helmet, Road.cc, August 25, 2020
Michelle Arthurs-Brennan, Giro Agilis MIPS helmet review, Cycling Weekly, April 17, 2020
Nick BruckBauer, Giro Agilis MIPS Review, Outdoorgearlab, October 25, 2022
Shaun Audane, Smith Signal MIPS helmet, Road.cc, August 11, 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. 

You might also like

gravel road bike helmets
road bike helmets

The top 16 best gravel road bike helmets

In this article I’m going to give my thoughts on what the best gravel road bike helmets are.

The first question that pops up is “is there such a thing as a gravel helmet?”, and if you’d ask me I’d sa

Read More »
safest road bike helmets
road bike helmets

The top 8 safest road bike helmets

In this article I’m going to give you an overview of the safest road bike helmets worth your money.

There are many things which are important when choosing a road bike helmet. But the main focus of a

Read More »
women's road bike helmets
road bike helmets

The top 10 best women’s road bike helmets

In this article I’m going to give you a list of the best women’s road bike helmets. And let me follow up that statement by saying immediately that there arent’ any.

Although some brands have designat

Read More »