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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 any helmet should be to protect you in case of a crash, and some simply do that better than others.

Road bike helmets haven’t changed all that much in the last 2 decades. For the most part, an EPS liner still makes up the bulk of your helmet. For more premium helmets, this standard EPS liner has been replaced by a multi-density version to increase its ability to absorb energy when impacted.

If the material is the same across the entire range of road bike helmets, it’s obvious that how the EPS is structurally used is of great importance as well. 95 percent of the time the EPS liner is covered by polycarbonate, which is a very strong thermoplastic. How you design and reinforce this polycarbonate shell gives the helmet the strength it needs when you do a faceplant. And helmet manufacturers have come up with a number of ways to improve the strength of this polycarbonate to be more than a plastic shell.

One of the more recent technologies is MIPS or Multi-directional Impact Protection System, which is a low-friction layer located between the EPS and inner helmet liner that reduces rotational impact forces. Especially the MIPS Spherical technology has been proven to drastically reduce the risk of a concussion.

The helmets on these list offer some or all of the technologies just mentioned. I’ve cross-referenced them with the Virginia Tech crash ratings. Keep in mind that a lower rating is better, because it denotes the number of concussions within 24 different impact tests.

The helmets and all their information you can find at the end of the article in a table overview. For now, let’s head over to the list of the very best and safest road bike helmets.

Bell Z20 MIPS

Bell Z20 MIPS
Bell Z20 MIPS
Bell Z20 MIPS
Bell Z20 MIPS
Bell Z20 MIPS
fallback

The Bell Z20 MIPS is a helmet that offers excellent crash protection with a great fit.

At 310 grams it’s not exactly a lightweight. On the other hand, they’ve included the latest MIPS Evolve crash technology with multi-density EPS liner.

The Float Fit Race fit system allows for multiple ways to get to the ultimate fit for your head, cleverly integrating it with the MIPS technology. Both the vertical height, circumference, and even padding width is adjustable.

Furthermore the EPS liner has a multi-density structure, which allows for progressively stronger impact absorption.

A great helmet, with a great overall value.

Expert Experience

Nick BruckBauer | Contributor – May 7, 2020

The Bell Z20 MIPS stands out from the pack with its class-leading comfort and ventilation that comes in a modern and stylish package, earning it one of our highest honors. With a MIPS liner that is built into the adjustable headband retention system, and the perfect location and amount of padding, the Z20 is one of the most comfortable helmets in our lineup. The numerous large vents provide excellent ventilation, and the modern, sleek design completes the high-end look. The Z20 is ideal for any type of road cyclist looking for the ultimate in protection, comfort, ventilation, and style.

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

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

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 Eclipse Spherical

Giro Eclipse Spherical
Giro Eclipse Spherical
Giro Eclipse Spherical
Giro Eclipse Spherical
Giro Eclipse Spherical
Giro Eclipse Spherical

The Giro Eclipse Spherical is a helmet meant for aero-fanatics.

Offering the same crash-protection technology as the Giro Aries Spherical. That means this one also has the MIPS Spherical ball-in-socket helmet setup, with the multi-density EPS liner, and the Aura II polycarbonate reinforcement.

The weight difference is negligible, you get the same Roc Loc 5 Air fit system, this time without the DryCore silicone pads that wick sweat away from your brow and to the sides of your helmet.

Giro claims the helmet is best-in-class in the aero department and offers some data to back this up. Whether or not that’s true I don’t know. The helmet certainly looks the part.

Expert Experience

Nick Cox | Contributor – August 08, 2022

Overall, I really enjoyed using the Giro Eclipse. The only issue I had was that the helmet sometimes clashed with my sunglasses. I needed to adjust the arms of my Oakley Jawbreakers to their shorter length to avoid any contact, and my Oakley Sutro and Encoders both clashed a little. The Mips technology is reassuring, and though the aerodynamic claims are impossible to verify, it passed the toughest of tests on cooling.

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 Octal MIPS

POC Octal MIPS
POC Octal MIPS
POC Octal MIPS
POC Octal MIPS
POC Octal MIPS
POC Octal MIPS

I will not hide the fact that I’m a fan of the Swedish brand, and with the POC Octal MIPS they’ve created another fantastic-looking product to their already impressive lineup.

Always striving to cram their products with the best technology the Octal MIPS features the Integra version of this crash technology, which means the slip plane is customized to the specifics of this helmet. The helmet has a unibody build for enhanced structural integrity in case of a crash.

It’s touted as being extremely lightweight, with a stripped down EPS liner and fit system, but it isn’t really. 270 grams sits just below the average for a premium bike helmet such as this one, and if you really want the lightest helmet you have to look somewhere else.

Personally, I feel again that this helmet is the best-looking of the whole bunch, but am acutely aware of the subjectivity of that statement. And I have read a number of comments from people being less favorable about its above-average width. Nonetheless is the craftsmanship of this helmet undeniable, and it has a safety rating to match.

Expert Experience

Nick BruckBauer | Contributor – May 7, 2020

The POC Octal is a well-built, extremely lightweight helmet with excellent ventilation that has a very distinct Swedish design. This lid provides solid crash protection with its thick EPS foam liner, but falls short of our top awards with lower rankings in our comfort and adjustability metrics with minimal padding and a simple and lightweight adjustment system. While there are other helmets out there with more creature comforts and better adjustability to fit a wider range of heads, riders looking for extreme ventilation in a lightweight package with a classic Swedish design will appreciate the Octal.

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

Specifications safest road bike helmets

Name
Price
Technology
Shell
Liner
Visor
Fit
weight (gr)
eyewear port
rating
Bell Z20 MIPS
200 USD
MIPS Evolve
polycarbonate
Progressive Layering 3-layer EPS
none
Float Fit Race
310
11.23
Lazer Sphere MIPS
160 USD
MIPS
polycarbonate
EPS
none
ARS
280
10.23
Lazer G1 MIPS
250 USD
MIPS
polycarbonate
EPS
none
ARS
235
9.23
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 Eclipse Spherical
250 USD
MIPS Air/Spherical/Aura II
polycarbonate
Progressive Layering 3-layer EPS
none
Roc Loc 5 Air
270
11.2
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 Octal MIPS
200 EUR
MIPS Integra/Unibody
polycarbonate
EPS
none
lightweight system
270
yes
10.59
POC Ventral MIPS
300 EUR
MIPS Integra/Unibody
polycarbonate
EPS
none
adjustable 360-degree fit
264
yes

Sources

Nick BruckBauer, Bell Z20 MIPS Review, Outdoorgearlab, May 7, 2020
Steve Williams, Lazer Sphere MIPS helmet, Road.cc, March 10, 2021
Brandon Bilyeu, Lazer G1 Helmet Review, Road Bike Rider, January 13, 2020
Nick BruckBauer, Giro Aether MIPS Review, Outdoorgearlab, October 2, 2019
Nick Cox, Giro Eclipse Spherical Road Helmet, Road.cc, August 08, 2022
Suvi Loponen, Giro Aries Spherical Helmet, Road.cc, July 07, 2023
Nick BruckBauer, POC Octal Review, Outdoorgearlab, May 7, 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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