MTB (Mountain Bike) Helmets 

What is an MTB helmet? 

A mountain bike (MTB) helmet is a specialised item of headwear designed to provide protection to riders during off-road cycling  adventures. It is an essential piece of safety equipment that helps reduce the risk of head injuries and ensures the rider's well-being while navigating rugged terrains and challenging trails.

The primary function of a mountain bike helmet is to absorb and dissipate the impact energy in the event of a crash or fall. It features a hard outer shell made of durable materials such as polycarbonate or carbon fiber, which can withstand high-velocity impacts and protect the head from direct hits against rocks, branches, or other hard surfaces. Inside the shell, a layer of impact-absorbing foam, typically made of expanded polystyrene (EPS), helps cushion and distribute the force of an impact across a larger surface area, minimising the risk of skull fractures and brain injuries.

Mountain bike helmets are designed with several key features to enhance their effectiveness. They have adjustable straps and retention systems that allow riders to customise the fit for maximum comfort and stability. Ventilation ports or channels are strategically placed to promote airflow and prevent overheating during intense rides. Some helmets also incorporate visors that shield the eyes from the sun, rain, or debris, while others provide extended coverage at the back and sides for enhanced protection.

Saftey Standards

When choosing a mountain bike helmet, it is crucial to consider safety certifications. Reputable helmets should comply with standards such as the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in the United States, the European/UK EN 1078 standard, or other relevant certifications in different regions. These certifications ensure that the helmet meets rigorous safety requirements and has undergone extensive testing to guarantee its protective capabilities.

Helmet Fit

Riders should also pay attention to the helmet's fit and comfort. A properly fitting helmet should snugly encase the head without being too tight or too loose. It should sit level on the head and cover the forehead, with the chin strap securely fastened. Comfort features such as padding and adjustable retention systems contribute to a pleasant riding experience and can be crucial for long rides.

Are MTB Helmets a Legal Requirement? 

Ultimately, while it is not mandatory for adults to wear mountain bike helmets when cycling in the UK, the potential risks and benefits of wearing one strongly favour making it an essential part of your mountain biking gear. Prioritising your safety and well-being by wearing a helmet is a smart choice that can help prevent or minimise the impact of accidents and ensure a more enjoyable riding experience. 

All competitive events and most private bike parks will require you to wear a mountain bike helmet when riding. 

Cycling, especially off-road mountain biking, involves inherent risks due to the challenging terrain, varying weather conditions, and potential obstacles encountered on trails. Accidents can happen unexpectedly, and falls from a bike can result in serious head trauma. Wearing a helmet significantly reduces the risk of severe head injuries, including concussions and skull fractures, which can have long-lasting consequences.

Furthermore, wearing a helmet sets a good example for others, especially children, promoting a culture of safety and responsible cycling. Children under the age of 16 must wear a helmet by law while cycling on public roads in the UK, so wearing a helmet as an adult demonstrates the importance of protective gear and encourages younger riders to do the same.

It is worth noting that not all mountain bike helmets are created equal and it's essential to choose a helmet that meets safety standards and offers proper protection. Look for helmets that comply with recognised safety certifications such as the CE EN1078 mark, which indicates that the helmet meets UK & European safety standards. Additionally, ensure that the helmet fits correctly and is securely fastened to provide optimal protection.

Mountain biking enthusiasts often encounter rough terrain, high speeds, and technical challenges that increase the likelihood of accidents. Wearing a mountain bike helmet can make a significant difference in reducing the severity of head injuries. Even experienced riders can benefit from wearing helmets as they cannot control external factors such as unforeseen obstacles or the actions of other riders on the trail.

MTB (Mountain Bike) Helmet Buying Guide

Please click below to browse a selection of the best MTB helmets, or read on for more advice. 

Guide to Buying a MTB / Mountain Bike Helmet

With a wide range of options available in the market, finding the right helmet can be a daunting task. This guide aims to provide you with the necessary information to make an informed decision when purchasing a mountain bike helmet. 

Sizing and Fit

Measure your head.
Use a soft measuring tape to measure the circumference of your head, approximately 1 inch above your eyebrows - imagine the rim of a baseball cap, this is the measurement you need. This measurement will all allow you to follow the manufacturer guidelines to get the correct size. 

Helmet sizes.
Most helmets come in sizes such as small (55cm), medium (57cm), large (59cm), and extra-large (61cm). Refer to the manufacturer's sizing chart to find the appropriate size for your head circumference. Child sizes are also available and are measured in the same way. 

Fit adjustment.
Look for a helmet that offers adjustable fit systems, such as a BOA dial or strap adjustments to ensure a snug and comfortable fit. Helmets should be securely fitted so they don't move around on your head, but not so tight that they cause discomfort or pain. 

Features to Consider.
1. Look for helmets that comply with safety standards such as CPSC (US), EN 1078 (Europe/UK), or ASTM F1952 (downhill).
2. Shell construction: Opt for helmets with a durable and lightweight outer shell, such as in-mold or hard shell construction.
3. Ventilation: Consider helmets with ample ventilation to keep you cool during intense rides.
4. Impact protection: Look for helmets with features like MIPS (Multi-Directional Impact Protection System) or similar technologies designed to reduce rotational forces during impacts.
5. Visor: A removable visor can shield your eyes from the sun, rain, or branches, and is especially useful for trail riding.
6. Straps and buckles: Ensure the helmet has adjustable and comfortable straps with secure buckles for a proper fit.
7. Padding and comfort: Helmets with well-padded interiors and moisture-wicking liners provide comfort during extended rides.
8. Compatibility: Check if the helmet is compatible with accessories like goggles, camera mounts, or lights if you plan to use them.

Additional Information
Mountain bike helmets typically range from £30 to £400, depending on the brand, features, and materials used. 

If your helmet sustains an impact during a crash or shows signs of damage, it's crucial to replace it, as the structural integrity may be compromised.

Follow the manufacturer's guidelines for cleaning and caring for your helmet to ensure its longevity.

While safety and fit are paramount, don't forget to choose a helmet that matches your style and personal preferences.

Investing in a well-fitting and high-quality mountain bike helmet is a crucial step in ensuring your safety while riding. Remember to consider sizing and fit, key features, reputable brands, and other relevant factors discussed in this guide. By making an informed choice, you can ride with confidence and peace of mind on your mountain bike adventures.

Top Ten MTB / Mountain Bike Helmet Brands

  1. Giro is a renowned brand in the world of cycling, known for its innovative and high-performance products. With a focus on design, comfort, and safety, Giro has been a favorite among cyclists for decades. Giro helmets feature cutting-edge technologies, advanced ventilation systems, and lightweight construction, ensuring optimal protection without compromising on comfort. The brand also offers a wide range of helmet styles, catering to various disciplines such as road cycling, mountain biking, and BMX. Giro's commitment to safety is evident in its incorporation of features like MIPS and its compliance with industry standards. Whether you're a casual rider or a professional athlete, Giro delivers helmets that combine style, functionality, and uncompromising protection.

  2. For over 60 years, Bell has been synonymous with quality and performance in the helmet industry. Bell helmets are designed to deliver exceptional protection, comfort, and style. The brand's extensive research and development efforts have resulted in cutting-edge features like Fusion In-Mold construction, Float Fit systems, and progressive energy management technologies. Bell offers a diverse range of helmets for cycling disciplines ranging from road racing to mountain biking, ensuring there's a suitable option for every rider. With a commitment to rider safety, Bell continuously pushes the boundaries of helmet design and technology, making them a trusted choice for cyclists of all levels.

  3. POC is a Swedish brand that has gained international recognition for its dedication to safety and innovation. POC helmets are engineered with a focus on providing exceptional protection against impacts, while also delivering comfort and performance. The brand's helmets often incorporate technologies like MIPS and SPIN, designed to minimize rotational forces and enhance safety. POC's commitment to safety is complemented by its attention to detail and stylish design, ensuring that riders not only feel safe but also look great. Whether you're an avid mountain biker or a road cycling enthusiast, POC offers a range of helmets that prioritize safety without compromising on style or functionality.

  4. Troy Lee Designs (TLD) is a leading brand in the world of mountain biking, recognized for its distinctive style and exceptional craftsmanship. TLD helmets combine advanced safety features, durability, and artistic flair. The brand's helmets are designed in collaboration with professional riders, resulting in products that meet the demands of the most challenging terrains. TLD helmets often feature lightweight construction, optimal ventilation systems, and customizable fit systems, ensuring riders can perform at their best while staying protected. With their eye-catching graphics and attention to detail, TLD helmets are favored by riders who seek both performance and individuality.

  5. Fox Racing is a globally renowned brand that has been at the forefront of motocross and mountain biking apparel and protective gear for decades. The brand's helmets are built to withstand the rigors of extreme riding while providing exceptional comfort and protection. Fox Racing helmets boast innovative features like MIPS, dual-density EPS liners, and high-performance ventilation systems. With a commitment to style, durability, and cutting-edge technology, Fox Racing delivers helmets that cater to the needs of professional athletes and enthusiasts alike. Whether you're conquering challenging trails or pushing your limits on the racetrack, Fox Racing helmets ensure you're protected without compromising on performance.

  6. 7iDP (Seven Intelligent Design Protection) is a brand that specializes in producing protective gear for mountain biking and other action sports. 7iDP helmets are designed with a strong focus on safety and comfort. The brand utilizes advanced technologies like Conehead EPS foam and MIPS to enhance impact protection and reduce rotational forces. With thoughtful design and attention to detail, 7iDP helmets offer an optimal balance between ventilation, weight, and impact absorption. Whether you're riding downhill, enduro, or cross-country, 7iDP provides helmets that meet the demands of aggressive off-road riding while ensuring your safety on the trails.

  7. Kali Protectives is an innovative brand that prioritizes safety and pushes the boundaries of helmet design. Kali helmets feature technologies such as Composite Fusion, LDL (Low-Density Layer), and Nano Fusion, which improve impact protection and enhance overall safety. The brand's helmets are designed to be lightweight, well-ventilated, and comfortable, making them suitable for various cycling disciplines. Kali Protectives focuses on continuous research and development, resulting in helmets that meet and exceed industry standards. Whether you're shredding trails or racing on the road, Kali Protectives offers helmets that combine performance, style, and advanced safety features.

  8. MET (Moto Enzo Test) is an Italian brand that has been producing high-quality helmets since 1987. Known for their meticulous craftsmanship, MET helmets are designed for cyclists who value both performance and aesthetics. The brand's helmets feature advanced construction methods, such as In-Mould and HES (Homothetic Embedded Skeleton), which provide excellent impact protection and structural integrity. MET places a strong emphasis on ventilation, ensuring optimal airflow to keep riders cool during intense rides. With sleek and stylish designs, MET helmets offer a combination of Italian elegance and cutting-edge technology, making them a favorite among discerning cyclists.

  9. Leatt is a brand that specialises in protective gear for various action sports, including mountain biking. Leatt helmets are engineered with an emphasis on safety, utilizing technologies like 360° Turbine Technology, which reduces rotational forces during impacts. The brand's helmets often feature lightweight and durable constructions, excellent ventilation systems, and adjustable fit systems for enhanced comfort. Leatt's commitment to research and development ensures that their helmets provide the necessary protection without compromising performance. Whether you're hitting the trails or taking on challenging downhill tracks, Leatt offers helmets that provide the confidence and peace of mind needed for a safe and exhilarating ride.

  10. Smith Optics is a well-established brand known for its eyewear and helmets designed for outdoor enthusiasts. Smith helmets combine style, functionality, and advanced safety features. The brand's helmets often incorporate technologies like Koroyd and MIPS, enhancing impact protection and reducing rotational forces. Smith helmets are designed with attention to detail, offering features like optimized ventilation, adjustable fit systems, and compatibility with goggles. With a focus on innovation and craftsmanship, Smith Optics ensures that their helmets not only meet safety standards but also provide optimal comfort and performance for riders across various disciplines.