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The top 5 most expensive road bike helmets

One of the most enjoyable articles to write for any product category is how far your money has to go to cover the absolute cream-of-the-crop. The topic here being the most expensive road bike helmets on the market today.

I’m going to cover standard road bike helmets, not helmets for time-trials or aero helmets. And the prices go all the way up to a suggested retail price of 300 USD.

Helmet technology hasn’t changed that much over the years. They still offer EPS liners, which is the same material used as packaging filler. And only the cheapest helmets use something else than a polycarbonate shell.

However, it seems there’s a strong correlation between price and quality, which means you actually get you money’s worth if you’re willing to spend a large amount of it on a helmet. That’s becasue the most expensive helmets use added crash technology to improve upon the overall safety of the helmet, and obviously entice people to dig deeper into their wallet to obtain said helmets.

Some people could care less about what they ride and how they look doing that. I have to admit I’m not one of those people. I love the research that brands come up with to steal each other’s thunder, and am willing to spend money for those I consider to be the winners.

This list contains those winners, one from each brand, and you can bet you have to spend a lot of money to obtain one of them. But if you work hard for your money, and you treat yourself once in a while, you put your money to good use.

Here’s the list of the most expensive road bike helmets. You can find a table overview at the end of the article.

Giro Aries Spherical

Giro Aries Spherical
Giro Aries Spherical
Giro Aries Spherical
Giro Aries Spherical
Giro Aries Spherical
Giro Aries Spherical

The Giro Aries Spherical is one of the safest if not the safest helmet within its category. It also has the highest suggested retail price at 300 USD. On its product page Giro boasts the helmet having the lowest Virginia Tech helmet rating (lower is better), and you have to if you charge this price.

So what exactly do you get for the money? This is one of a couple of helmets offering the MIPS Spherical technology, which reduces rotational damage with a ball-in-socket helmet setup. Furthermore the polycarbonate shell is reinforced with twin bridges on each side, alongside a roll-cage-like reinforced band. It all makes for an incredibly strong helmet that doesn’t weigh more than your average similar helmet.

It has silicon beads so sweat doesn’t drip into your eyes, or runs down your glasses, which is a feature far more useful than you might think.

The helmet is tightened on your head with the Roc Loc 5 Air fit system, something featured in all of their premium models. And something that does a great job of keeping the lightweight lid in place.

Expert Experience

Suvi Loponen | Technical writer – July 07, 2023

The Giro Aries Spherical is the company’s latest pro-level helmet, featuring its Spherical Technology system, a unique ball-and-socket design that adds more safety on top of Mips. As well as ranking as one of the safest helmets out there, the Aries is also one of the lightest helmets on the market, and the abundant vents definitely make it one of the coolest I’ve used. It does, however, come at a high price.

Pros and Cons

Kask Protone Icon

Kask Protone Icon
Kask Protone Icon
Kask Protone Icon
Kask Protone Icon
Kask Protone Icon
Kask Protone Icon

The Kask Protone Icon stylish looks underwrites its premium nature as the best road bike helmet the brand has to offer.

Extremely lightweight at 230 grams, the helmet has huge intake vents which are reinforced. A well-chosen color-scheme provides a sharp contrast between the glossy or matt polycarbonate and the black reinforced EPS liner.

The amount of ventilation achieved, makes this one of the best helmets for hot and summer rides. And well-placed vents in the front alongside the CoolMax padding keep your head dry and prevent hot spots and sweat from going places where you don’t want it to go.

The Octo Fit system does a perfect job of fastening the helm evenly around your head, offering both vertical and horizontal adjustment.

Everything pro peloton riders use can be had for a small fortune, and the same goes for this helmet, which is incredibly expensive. But for that money you get an exceptionally well-designed, highly ventilated, and comfortable road bike helmet.

Expert Experience

Shaun Audane | Technical writer – July 04, 2022

An evolution of the Protone helmet, the Kask Protone Icon is reckoned to have improved on its predecessor ‘in every way possible’. Having not tested a Protone it’s difficult for me to comment on this statement, but what I can say is that the Icon is the airiest and most comfortable helmet I’ve ever used, in 35 years of cycling. At 223g it’s also possibly the lightest – I barely noticed it.

Pros and Cons

Lazer G1 MIPS

Lazer G1 MIPS
Lazer G1 MIPS
Lazer G1 MIPS
Lazer G1 MIPS
Lazer G1 MIPS
Lazer G1 MIPS

The Lazer G1 MIPS is marketed as one of the lightest helmets in its category. And to be fair it is.

Yet I want to put the 235 grams of this helmet in perspective, because the average road bike helmet weighs 280 grams. That’s 45 grams heavier and something you will not notice while riding.

On the other hand, things like ventilation and fit are far more important things with respect to comfort than a couple of grams less. And luckily this helmet performs exceptionally well in that area. You get 2 different sets of padding to fully customize the fit.

Unlike your classic dial at the base of your skull you actually modify the fit with a wheel on top of the helmet. This non-indexed dial draws the helmet tight around your head around the entirety of its circumference.

Although it does a fantastic job of creating a superb fit, the two strings underneath the helmet look rather delicate. And I’m familiar with fit systems breaking with helmets being stuffed into bags. So that’s something you might want to keep in mind if you’re not the type of person who’s really careful with her/his material.

In terms of safety it offers MIPS technology and sits just behind Giro’s Aries Spherical, so its most important feature is taken care of. And a helmet cover is included to marginally increase aerodynamic properties or protect you from the rain.

Expert Experience

Brandon Bilyeu | Professional cyclist – January 13, 2020

The marketing of this helmet as superlight might only appeal to a small subset of cyclists, but the reality is that this is a great, no compromises helmet that just happens to be lightweight too. The Lazer G1 shines in fit, comfort, and ventilation. Extra safety is available with the MIPS version and extra aero performance with the Aeroshell. It is by no means cheap, but for a top of the line helmet in today’s market it is a relative value.

Pros and Cons

POC Ventral MIPS

POC Ventral MIPS
POC Ventral MIPS
POC Ventral MIPS
POC Ventral MIPS
POC Ventral MIPS
POC Ventral MIPS

It says something about a product if they offer incremental payments, but it says that quite clearly on the sales page of the POC Ventral MIPS, the Swedish brand’s most expensive piece of road bike kit for your head.

So what do you get for a helmet that is twice the amount of the average road bike helmet? Well it’s a helmet that underwent the rigors of a CFD testing, which stands for Computational Fuild Dynamics. I’m no aerodynamics expert, but there’s a general consensus that aerodynamics are a factor.

The fact that this helmet is wind-tunnel tested also says something about its target market. You either actually do races and crits, have too much money, like to have the latest-and-greatest, or a combination of those.

In terms of safety it offers POC’s best. The MIPS Integra version, which means the slip plane was customized for this specific helmet. The helmet also has a unibody design for added structural integrity.

Everything about the helmet oozes premium quality, including its overall minimalistic design and the comfort of the padding and its ability to achieve high levels of ventilation.

Pros and Cons

Smith Trace

Smith Trace
Smith Trace
Smith Trace
Smith Trace
Smith Trace
Smith Trace

As one of the standout features, the Smith Trace uses a Koroyd liner for impact protection.

Koroyd has a honeycomb-like structure, and is made by gluing polymer tubes together. It means you don’t have to cut holes into your liner, but instead can cover the interior of the helmet entirely.

EPS liners have been around for as long as I can remember, and judging from its widespread use across all major brands, it looks like the majority hasn’t jumped on the Koroyd bandwagon. That’s because there are both advantages and disadvantages associated with it.

A Koroyd liner is a full shell inside the helmet. So it offers impact protection no matter where it occurs, but still keeps the weight down because it’s lighter than EPS. The Smith Trace weighs 280 grams, which is average for a road bike helmet.

It is said Koroyd has a better energy absorption effect, yet the Virginia Tech ratings for the Forefront and Overtake, the only two helmets using Koroyd on that list, doesn’t support that notion with a respective rating of 18.62 and 15. These are mid-level ratings at best.

So talk about better energy absorption aside, there’s no clear-cut evidence which would support an industry-wide adoption of the Koroyd for helmet liners.

Another thing is that with Koroyd being a full shell, ventilation seems to be lower no matter what helm you pick. Depending on what weather conditions you use the helmet, that could be a good thing, but in general it’s not. And it at least makes the helmet less versatile from a seasonal perspective. Because you can wear a thermo-cap underneath a helmet, but you can’t strip out the liner for hot summer rides.

The Smith Trace is a very well designed helmet, and the Koroyd liner peaking through the ventilation holes looks distinctive. You can easily put your glasses on top of it. And like basically every other helmet, it has a vertical and horizontal adjustment system with excellent padding.

Expert Experience

Tom Weijand | Tech writer – September 19, 2023

It’s not especially light – it has a claimed weight of 280g though on our scales it was 289g. Neither is it especially aero or incredibly well ventilated, but it has a foot in both camps. It doesn’t have the most daring looks, nor is it drab, and it doesn’t scream roadie or mountain biker.

To be fair, if you’re looking for a super-light lid or a helmet for maximum aero-friendliness, then you have lots of options from which to choose. But if you ride a variety of disciplines and want a very good performance across all of them, the Smith Trace MIPS is well worth considering for its impressive versatility.

Pros and Cons

Specifications most expensive road bike helmets

Name
Price
Technology
Shell
Liner
Visor
Fit
weight (gr)
eyewear port
rating
Giro Aries Spherical
300 USD
MIPS Air/Spherical/Aura II
polycarbonate
Progressive Layering 3-layer EPS
none
Roc Loc 5 Air
275
yes
8.4
Kask Protone Icon
275 EUR
MIT/Inner Frame
polycarbonate
EPS
none
Octo-fit
230
Lazer G1 MIPS
250 USD
MIPS
polycarbonate
EPS
none
ARS
235
9.23
POC Ventral MIPS
300 EUR
MIPS Integra/Unibody
polycarbonate
EPS
none
adjustable 360-degree fit
264
yes
Smith Trace
250 USD
MIPS
polycarbonate
EPS/Koroyd
none
VaporFit
280
yes

Sources

Suvi Loponen, Giro Aries Spherical Helmet, Road.cc, July 07, 2023
Shaun Audane, Kask Protone Icon helmet, Road.cc, July 04, 2022
Brandon Bilyeu, Lazer G1 Helmet Review, Road Bike Rider, January 13, 2020
Tom Weijand, Smith Trace MIPS, Road.cc, September 19, 2023
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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