Using some good old-fashioned pedal power to get to work saves you money, improves your fitness, and might even get you there faster. No one should consider biking without a crash helmet though.
The needs of a commuter are different to those of a road racer. That means knowing what to look for and finding the best commuter cycle helmets on the market. We’ve done the hard work for you, giving you access to the best helmets with the best features. They’re not going to leave you out of pocket, but they will help protect your head should you need them to.
You’re about to see the diverse features you can expect from this type of bicycle helmet. Knowing what to look for and what your preferences are should help you pick out the best helmet for you.
Size is important – a helmet won’t protect you unless it fits properly. However, there are other things to think about as well. Read on to find our complete guide on the most important features your new helmet should offer. Some might just surprise you… while others could leave you asking, “Why didn’t I think of that?”
The Best Commuter Bike Helmets
1. Scott Fuga Plus Cpsc Bike Helmet
This low-key design shouldn’t be taken for granted – it features many appealing and essential features to keep you safe. This is a MIPS helmet, so you’re getting additional protection to reduce the impact of rotational forces on the brain if you’re in an accident.
An intelligent venting system has been used to make sure the helmet keeps you cool. Meanwhile, the Halo fit system used in the Scott Fuga helmet ensures easy adjustment from the start. The helmet also uses in-mould construction, keeping down the weight and reducing the bulkiness it would otherwise have.
2. Thousand Adult Anti-Theft Guarantee Bike Helmet
Available in a range of colors from black through to gold, this helmet is available in small, medium, and large. It also comes with two sets of padding for the inside, so you can achieve the perfect fit even when purchasing the correct size.
The lightweight design keeps you safe and meets all relevant safety standards. The logo pops out of the side of the helmet, revealing a handy hole to allow you to lock the helmet to your bike when you leave it. This solves the problem of always needing to carry it with you.
3. Specialized Echelon II Mips Road Bike Helmet
Another great MIPS design, this Specialized bike helmet delivers on style and substance. Available in several eye-catching colors, the helmet includes the Specialized 4th Dimension cooling system. This ensures you’ll stay cooler on your commute even in the middle of summer.
The design also includes decals with reflective properties, making it easier for other road users to see you. It doesn’t come with an ANGi crash sensor, but it is ready to receive one if you decide to upgrade to the system later. A future-proof choice many commuters would be delighted with.
4. Retrospec CM-2 Bicycle Helmet
Available in a host of matte finishes, the Retrospec CM-2 crash helmet has passed tests to meet approval for all safety regulations. It comes complete with two sets of interior pads, ready to be added or removed to achieve the ideal fit.
Eleven vents have been fitted into all portions of the helmet, ensuring your commute won’t leave you sweaty and giving you great ventilation along the way. Designed with an ABS shell coupled with EPS foam, it gets rid of sweat and provides essential safety features and protection for every journey.
5. Giro Camden Mips Bike Helmet
This helmet shows what happens when you couple the famous Giro brand with MIPS technology. The stylish Camden bike helmet is ideal for commuting, offering antimicrobial padding inside and more protection for the back of your head. The bigger helmet design also manages to stay light on its feet, with several vent holes to keep you cool on the road.
It also has a large red rear light fitted inside the helmet, making you even more visible no matter which color helmet you choose. Simple and robust straps can be adjusted to make sure it fits perfectly.
Guide To Choosing A Bike Helmet For Commuting
First question – can’t you just choose a regular road bike helmet for commuting? You can, of course… but your needs are very different to those a racing cyclist would demand from a lid like this. Taking part in a road race where the roads are closed to traffic is a totally different proposition compared to cycling to and from work every day. You’re going to encounter heavy traffic, pedestrians, cabs, other cyclists, potholes…
Suffice to say you need the best protection you can get. While you would look for a super-light crash helmet to keep the weight down during a road race, you’re not going to be too concerned about weight when you’re heading to the office.
So, with that in mind, here are the things you need to think about before you buy a commuter bicycle helmet.
This is, after all, the reason you’re shopping for a helmet to begin with. We’ve all read horror stories of cyclists who were left with significant brain injuries (or even lost their lives) following a road accident involving a vehicle. Let’s face it, the cyclist is always going to come off worst in an accident. Helmets can and do save lives, so it is worth spending more to get the best level of protection you can.
There are four letters you should certainly look out for when browsing – MIPS. This acronym stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection System. It’s said that most head injuries don’t merely occur as a result of a linear impact to the skull. Instead, they occur due to rotational impacts along with linear ones.
If your new helmet includes the MIPS system, it will have two layers that work together to reduce rotational impacts (and therefore any effect on the brain) that incur as a result of an accident. Of course, no helmet is 100% safe and will protect you from every impact, but it makes sense to get the most out of it that you can.
You’ll see most helmets come in small, medium, large, or similar size options. However, you should still be able to adjust the strap under your chin. You should also have further adjustment points to make sure the straps sit neatly underneath and to the front and back of your ears. If your helmet doesn’t sit properly on your head, it’s not going to give you the protection you need if the worst does happen.
Some makers, such as Giro for instance, have their own quick adjustment systems built into their designs. These are intended to make it easier for you to get the right fit to start with, and to keep that fit in place when you use the helmet in future.
Bear in mind that if you drastically change your hairstyle at some point, you may need to get a new helmet. It’s possible to go down a size by doing this.
You won’t see this on every cycle helmet you look at, but some commuter bike helmets do include them. It should easy to remove if you decide not to use it, but it does provide additional benefits.
A visor is ideal for keeping the sun out of your eyes – just what you need when you are zipping along city roads to and from your workplace. A blinding flash of sunlight when you least expect it could easily cause an accident.
Ah, the dreaded helmet hair… There is nothing worse than arriving at work with squashed hair. However, while ventilation is important in a good commuter cycle helmet, it’s not as vital as it is in a helmet designed for road biking in competitions. You’ll see far fewer ventilation holes in a commuter helmet. Most are designed to provide as much protection as possible, while still giving you a reasonable amount of air holes to help keep you cool.
That said, you don’t want too many, otherwise you could end up with a wet and dry hairstyle simultaneously if you get caught in a downpour.
This isn’t as important for a commuter as it would be for a racing cyclist. However, you don’t want anything too heavy or your hair will suffer. This is going to be more important for you if you have longer hair or a hairstyle you’d like to survive once you take your helmet back off again.
Look for something light enough that offers several ventilation holes spread over the helmet, rather than all being on top.
You’ll pay more for a helmet with lights included, but it’s hard not to be impressed with them. Some have red brake lights to alert other road users that you are slowing down. Others include indicators as well – quite a nifty piece of kit to have. It certainly makes you far more visible.
Another thing to think about is purchasing a brightly colored helmet. Some are neon, some are in two contrasting colors, and others are just very bright and hard to miss. Again, it’s all about visibility.
Folding helmets and helmets that cannot be stolen…
Are we into the realms of oddities now? No – both these types of commuter helmets are readily available on the market. A collapsible helmet may appeal if you are short on locker or desk space once you get to work. Make sure it still adheres to all relevant safety conditions and regulations, though, not to mention being easy to collapse and get back to a proper helmet shape again.
If space is really at a premium and you cannot take your helmet with you into work, some are designed to be locked to your bike with a regular bike lock. These usually have a slightly larger hole or vent built into the design (sometimes covered by a logo for the brand) that releases and can then be used to safely leave your helmet with your wheels.
Whatever you want from a safe and solid commuter cycling helmet, you can likely buy it.
Our Final Conclusion
When reviewing the various helmets on the market for this piece, we were surprised at the options available. Manufacturers have thought of everything, from onboard lights to collapsible designs that make it easier to stow your helmet in your bag.
Protection should always be your number one concern, but visibility is a close second in our eyes. Integrated lights and bright colours make an obvious combination in this area. Furthermore, our research has shown you don’t need to break the bank to invest in a great helmet for those weekly commutes either.