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The top 6 most ventilated road bike helmets

With this article I’m going to share my list of the most ventilated road bike helmets currently available.

No matter how you slice it, riding with a helmet is hotter than riding without one. It’s the core reason Tour de France riders are allowed to ditch their otherwise mandatory helmet when going uphill.

However, during those scorching summer rides when you need it the most, some helmets showcase far superior ventilation characteristics than others, and those helmets you can find here.

Keeping you ventilated isn’t just a matter of having huge holes in your helmet. That’s just one element, and yes, big intake ports do help a lot. The best helmets move air through the helmet in such a way it takes away excessive heat.

Another big thing, which has less to do with ventilation, is how well a helmet fits the shape of your head. A well padded helmet that applies equal pressure, prevents hot spots where heat can build up. The most classic area, and most annoying one is the brow, since this is also the place where sweat might either get in your eyes or on your glasses, if you’re wearing those.

Some helmets have small intake vents directly located on top of your brow. Together with moisture wicking padding, or specialized silicone strips, sweat is moved away to the side or across ventilated areas to evaporate.

And with the advent of MIPS technology, well designed helmets are able to create a small area between your scalp and the liner to create the ultimate in airflow.

So with all that out of the way, let’s take a look at what made it on my list of the most ventilated road bike helmets.

Giro Aether Spherical

Giro Aether Spherical
Giro Aether Spherical
Giro Aether Spherical
Giro Aether Spherical
Giro Aether Spherical
Giro Aether Spherical

The Giro Aether Spherical is arguably a better value-for-money proposition than the far more expensive Aries Spherical.

That’s because it boasts the exact same crash technology in a slightly different package. MIPS Spherical crash technology to reduce rotational impact forces, a multi-density EPS liner, and a reinforced polycarbonate shell. All are the same.

The Roc Loc 5 Air fit system is also featured, ensuring a great fit of the helmet with multiple ways to adjust the padding, vertical height and circumference. To keep you cool, air is ingeniously guided along your head.

There are many colors to choose from to fit the rest of your outfit or your bike. All in all a no-brainer if you value safety and are willing to spend the money on a premium helmet such as this one.

Expert Experience

Nick BruckBauer | Contributor – October 2, 2019

The Giro Aether is a very elegant-looking helmet with a uniquely designed built-in MIPS liner, excellent ventilation, and one of the highest list prices in our lineup. Giro’s unique Spherical design houses the MIPS liner between different layers of the EPS foam shell, rather than directly against the rider’s head, allowing for the placement of internal airflow channels in the foam liner that add to the already excellent ventilation. Riders willing to shell out a bunch of cash for high-end features and a fancy design will love this model, but those looking for better value can likely find something with similar or better performance and comfort at a lower price.

Pros and Cons

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

POC Ventral Air MIPS

POC Ventral Air MIPS
POC Ventral Air MIPS
POC Ventral Air MIPS
POC Ventral Air MIPS
POC Ventral Air MIPS
POC Ventral Air MIPS

The POC Ventral Air MIPS is a premium road bike helmet from the Swedish brand.

POC offers cleanly designed products crammed with the best technology within its specific product category. In the case of the Ventral AIR, it offers the MIPS Integra technology within a unibody shell. It’s a custom fit slip plane for a helmet with excellent structural integrity.

In terms of comfort they offer their rather finicky adjustable 360-degree fit system. However, once set up it proves a solid fit, no hot spots, and great ventilation.

The helmet has been wind-tunnel tested. I don’t have any comparison data between helmets, but it speaks volumes about POC’s approach towards road bike helmet design.

The helmet is known for its ability to keep your head cool during the hottest summer rides.

Expert Experience

Ryan Baker | Review Editor – May 9, 2023

The POC Ventral Air MIPS lands on the awards podium with a Top Pick Award, earning very high marks in every category. This prize contender should be highly considered by any rider looking to cool their head on a hot day and those tired of neck strain from lowering performing competitors. Our testers were wowed by its unique design but it may not be the style for everyone. The big recessed air channels reduce noise and move air efficiently keeping our heads dry even during record heat in the summer sun.

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

Lazer Sphere MIPS

Lazer Sphere MIPS
Lazer Sphere MIPS
Lazer Sphere MIPS
Lazer Sphere MIPS
Lazer Sphere MIPS
Lazer Sphere MIPS

The Lazer Sphere MIPS is an excellent choice if you want a helmet with a proven track record in safety without paying an absurd price.

When looking at the catalog of helmet manufacturers you can see an exponential increase in price to obtain the latest technology or the lightest variants. The Lazer Sphere MIPS is an excellent example of this, where a decent price get’s you all the latest bells and whistles in a slightly heavier package than Lazer’s top dog.

MIPS technology, the ARS fit system with the non-indexed dial on top of the helmet, and a weight of 280 grams, which is the exact average for road bike helmets all make for a great package.

Expert Experience

Steve Williams | Product reviewer – March 10, 2021

Despite a terrible first impression, I ended up really liking this helmet, because I simply don’t notice it when I’m riding – yet the safety features promise benefits I hopefully will notice if I crash. It’s not the lightest, coolest or sexiest helmet you can buy, but it’s a very comfortable, stable and reassuring one indeed.

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

Specifications most ventilated road bike helmets

Name
Price
Technology
Shell
Liner
Visor
Fit
weight (gr)
eyewear port
rating
Giro Aether Spherical
225 USD
MIPS Air/Spherical/Aura II
polycarbonate
Progressive Layering 3-layer EPS
none
Roc Loc 5 Air
280
yes
12.51
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
POC Ventral Air MIPS
260 EUR
MIPS Integra/Unibody
polycarbonate
EPS
none
adjustable 360-degree fit
295
Lazer G1 MIPS
250 USD
MIPS
polycarbonate
EPS
none
ARS
235
9.23
Lazer Sphere MIPS
160 USD
MIPS
polycarbonate
EPS
none
ARS
280
10.23
Kask Protone Icon
275 EUR
MIT/Inner Frame
polycarbonate
EPS
none
Octo-fit
230

Sources

Nick BruckBauer, Giro Aether MIPS Review, Outdoorgearlab, October 2, 2019
Suvi Loponen, Giro Aries Spherical Helmet, Road.cc, July 07, 2023
Ryan Baker, POC Ventral Air MIPS Review, Outdoorgearlab, May 9, 2023
Brandon Bilyeu, Lazer G1 Helmet Review, Road Bike Rider, January 13, 2020
Steve Williams, Lazer Sphere MIPS helmet, Road.cc, March 10, 2021
Shaun Audane, Kask Protone Icon helmet, Road.cc, July 04, 2022
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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