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Best road bike helmets 2023 | 30 of our favourite road helmets from entry-level to high-end

Top choices rated from MET, Specialized, Giro, Kask, Lazer and many more

Best road bike helmets 2022

The best road cycling helmets will combine head protection, aerodynamics and ventilation.


They can be expensive, but the best budget bike helmets hold their own for less than £100/$100.

Cheaper models might lack crash protection technology (see our buyer’s guide further down this post). However, all helmets must pass stringent testing standards to be approved for sale. Even without extra safety features your helmet will help protect you in a crash.

For drag-reduction, head to our best aero road helmets list. If you’re looking for off-road head protection, we have a guide to the best mountain bike helmets.

We’ve organised this buyer’s guide into the best road cycling helmets at different price levels. You can click the links below to jump to the section you need.

Then scroll down to the bottom for our buyer’s guide to choosing the best road cycling helmet.

Best road bike helmets under £50

Cannondale Junction

4.5 out of 5 star rating
You won’t get much more for five times your money.
Our Media
  • £65/$95/€98 as tested
  • Great value
  • All-road versatility

The Cannondale Junction has many of the attributes of premium road bike helmets without the price tag.

Its quality comfort, cooling, protection and low weight make it an outstanding bargain.

Its small, removable peak hints at gravel riding potential and our tester was happy to wear it when venturing off road.

Van Rysel RoadR 500

4.5 out of 5 star rating
If you’re just starting out on the bike and don’t want to break the bank, it’s a great choice.
Immediate Media
  • £30/$40/€35 as tested
  • Great looks for a budget helmet
  • Good ventilation from its 14 vents

Looking more expensive than its price tag, the Van Rysel RoadR 500 helmet from Decathlon is comfortable with a race-oriented outline and 14 large vents that do a good job of cooling. The dial adjuster feels a bit cruder than higher-priced helmets, though.

The RoadR comes in two sizes and three colour options. It’s not quite as compact as the Van Rysel Aerofit 900, although that helmet will cost you £10 more.

Giant Relay MIPS

4.0 out of 5 star rating
Giant’s Relay MIPS helmet gives you a MIPS liner at a bargain price.
Our Media
  • £45/$50/ €47.50/AU$80 as tested
  • Great value for a MIPS helmet
  • Decent ventilation

The Giant Relay MIPS is a budget helmet with a 5-star rating in Virginia Tech‘s independent helmet testing. Quality features include in-mould construction and anti-odour padding.

The 17 vents ensure good airflow and the helmet doesn’t feel heavy when riding.

The retention adjuster works well and the MIPS Cinch system is well integrated.

Specialized Align II

4.0 out of 5 star rating
Specialized’s Align II helmet is a quality option, if a little heavy.
Our Media
  • £45/$55/€60/AU$80 as tested
  • Includes MIPS in a low-priced helmet
  • A little heavy at 374g for a M/L

The Specialized Align II budget helmet provides MIPS protection, good padding, ventilation and fit.

On the flip side, the 374g weight for the size M/L helmet is a little on the high side and could be felt during our test.

Best road bike helmets under £100

Bell Avenue MIPS

5.0 out of 5 star rating
The Bell Avenue MIPS helmet offers truly outstanding value.
Dave Caudery / Immediate Media
  • $120/£65 as tested
  • Outstanding value
  • MIPS tech and user-friendly features

The Bell Avenue MIPS helmet offers crash protection technology at a comparatively affordable price.

Its retention system is easy to adjust and very effective. The polycarbonate shell is well ventilated and reflective.

Its 310g weight is heavier than some other helmets at this price.

Specialized Propero 3 ANGi

5.0 out of 5 star rating
The Specialized Propero 3, which takes many of its design cues from Specialized’s top-end Prevail helmet, features MIPS and ANGi
Dave Caudery / Immediate Media
  • £95/$140/€130/AU$200 as tested
  • Both MIPS and ANGi sensor included
  • Quality details and high airflow

The Specialized Propero 3 is packed with safety features. It also shares the looks and high airflow of Specialized’s high-end Prevail helmet.

The Propero 3 is pretty lightweight at 305g for a size M. The straps worked well even under high-intensity, sweaty efforts.

Coros Safesound Road

4.0 out of 5 star rating
The Safesound is the best iteration of Coros’s helmet range yet.
Immediate Media
  • £93/$100 as tested
  • Built-in Bluetooth speakers and rear light
  • Incident detection 

Corus builds Bluetooth connectivity into the Safesound road helmet, enabling you to listen to music without blocking out sounds from around you. Incident detection alert your emergency contacts via the app.

It’s a comfortable helmet with good ventilation and reasonably low weight. 

Endura Xtract II

4.0 out of 5 star rating
Endura’s Xtract II is its entry-level road helmet.
Immediate Media
  • £60/€75 as tested
  • Great airflow and a quality feel
  • No MIPS option   

The Endura Xtract II is light at 270g for a large road bike helmet and looks good.   

Large front and rear vents and deep channelling to encourage airflow between them. Quality features such as a shell that fully wraps the EPS core and thick, hard-wearing straps make for a helmet that belies its budget price. 

Limar Air Stratos

4.0 out of 5 star rating
The Limar Air Stratos cycling helmet is aimed at gravel riders, but does just as well on the road.
David Caudery / Our Media
  • £80/€100 as tested
  • Well made, lightweight budget helmet
  • No MIPS option

Although targeted at gravel riders, the Limar Air Stratos is a 240g road bike helmet that works well on the road too.

There’s plenty of padding and adjustability, and the helmet is well finished, belying its low price. But the dial adjuster is a little small. There’s no MIPS in the helmet.

MET Allroad

4.0 out of 5 star rating
The MET Allroad is a helmet designed specifically for the needs of gravel riders.
Dave Caudery / Immediate Media
  • £70/€80 as tested
  • Gravel-specific design
  • Integrated light and sun visor

The MET Allroad is designed for gravel riders, but if you like your road or commuting lid to have a bit of mountain bike style then don’t let the marketing get in your way.

The adjustable retention system also integrates a rear light and is compatible with ponytails.

The Allroad is very comfortable and breathes well, just like a high-quality road helmet, even with the extra protection it offers for off-road duties.

Best road bike helmets under £200

Bontrager Starvos WaveCel

4.5 out of 5 star rating
Bontrager’s Starvos WaveCel features its collapsible cellular construction technology.
  • £100/$100/€110 as tested
  • WaveCel construction
  • XL helmet available for heads up to 66cm

The Bontrager Starvos WaveCel road bike helmet contains collapsible cellular construction technology, which is claimed to be more effective at impact absorption than EPS.

It’s very airy, adding extra comfort to rides in hot weather. Despite weighing 375g in size large, we didn’t notice the heft in testing. 

 The Starvos WaveCel is comfortable and adjustable. An extra-large option fit heads from 60cm to 66cm. 

Endura Pro SL

4.5 out of 5 star rating
The Endura Pro SL helmet is a high-quality lid.
David Caudery / Immediate Media
  • £150/€200 as tested
  • Great quality and comfort
  • Warm in very hot weather

The Endura Pro SL helmet uses Koroyd impact-protection technology, which is said to help protect your brain from direct and angled impacts. The protection comes in the form of honeycomb-like tubes inside the helmet, and plush padding ensures these don’t lead to an uncomfortable fit.

In fact, the Pro SL is very comfortable to wear. It has a cradle with vertical adjustment and a ratchet that enables you to dial in optimum fit.

One thing to bear in mind is we found the helmet was warm in hot weather.

Scott Centric Plus

4.5 out of 5 star rating
Scott’s Centric Plus has a similar angular shape to the first-generation Centric helmet.
Warren Rossiter/Immediate media
  • £150/$200/€200/AU$300 as tested
  • Aero and well vented
  • Minimalist MIPS implementation doesn’t get in the way

The new Centric Plus helmet carries on where the original left off with a design that’s been wind-tunnel tested and has large vents for great airflow. There’s easy adjustment and Scott has now added MIPS’ anti-rotation system, integrated into the padding as seen in Specialized’s high-end helmets.

There’s better air circulation over the crown of the head, with additional vents relative to the previous-generation Centric. It’s well finished and weighs an impressively light 272g for a size L.

Abus StormChaser

4.0 out of 5 star rating
The StormChaser is the latest addition to the Abus helmet roster.
Immediate Media
  • £130 as tested
  • Very light, comfortable and well ventilated
  • Not available with MIPS

The size large StormChaser helmet, the third in Abus’s road line-up after the GameChanger and AirBreaker, is impressively light at 238g. 

There’s deep channelling for good ventilation and soft straps, making for plenty of comfort when riding, although the fixed strap anchor points limit adjustability.

Large reflectives at the rear increase visibility and the internal skeleton is designed to help maintain the integrity of the helmet in an accident. There’s not a MIPS option.

Bell Stratus MIPS

4.0 out of 5 star rating
Bell’s Stratus looks great and fits superbly.
David Caudery / Immediate Media
  • £135/$170 as tested
  • Excellent fit and performance
  • MIPS liner

At 317g for a size large, the Bell Stratus is not the lightest helmet on the market, but that’s not noticeable when wearing it. Ventilation is fantastic too.

It’s great to see a MIPS liner at this price point and it doesn’t hurt that it looks very smart as well. Plus, if lime green isn’t your favourite colour, there are eight alternative choices.

HJC Valeco

4.0 out of 5 star rating
The HJC Valeco helmet is a light and slender-shaped helmet with a top-grade finish.
Immediate Media
  • £125/€149 as tested
  • Well made, good looking and lightweight
  • Unvented section at the rear can get a bit warm 

HJC Velceo is an aerodynamic and fairly light road bike helmet. 

The Valeco uses multiple densities of EPS foam, positioned for extra protection in high-stress areas and lower weight in less critical zones.

The solid rear end means the helmet can become a bit sweaty around the nape of the neck. 

Lazer Genesis

4.0 out of 5 star rating
With 22 vents, the Lazer Genesis is highly ventilated.
David Caudery / Immediate Media
  • £180 as tested
  • Very light and good ventilation
  • Limited hardshell coverage

The Genesis is Lazer’s pro-level helmet and at 210g it is one of the lightest available too.

There are 22 vents that provide ample ventilation and five levels of vertical adjustment to help find the right fit.

Overall, the build quality is great, but a lack of hardshell coverage at the back means you’ll have to be careful not to dent the exposed foam.


4.0 out of 5 star rating
The MET Rivale uses MIPS protection technology.
David Caudery / Immediate Media
  • £140/€150 as tested
  • Light, airy and comfortable
  • Non-removable straps

The MET Rivale MIPS hits a sweet spot between aero efficiency and head-cooling properties.

The Rivale is also comfortable to wear with soft internal pads and soft-touch straps.

Overall, the helmet has a high-quality feel with an exemplary finish and a hard exterior shell that protects the EPS foam.

The presence of MIPS provides a good level of protection.

Oakley ARO3 MIPS

4.0 out of 5 star rating
Apart from a tight fit, the ARO3 MIPS is well designed.
Our Media
  • £153/$185/AU$240 as tested
  • Safety and ventilation
  • May squeeze larger, rounder heads

The Oakley ARO3 MIPS comes with MIPS for safety and front vents that can hold sunglasses. The rest of the ventilation works well, even at lower speeds in high temperatures.

The Boa 360-degree fit system is easy to adjust and ensures the ARO3 MIPS sits securely.

But the largest 56-60cm size may prove too small for some, so try before buying if your head measures towards the top of the range.


4.0 out of 5 star rating
The Omne Air SPIN is a great-looking lid.
Immediate Media
  • £140/$150/€160 as tested
  • Great fit and safety tech
  • Secure and easily adjustable

The POC Omne Air SPIN helmet has a great fit, innovative safety features and effective ventilation.

The rotary dial retention system acts on a band encircling the head for great security and adjusts between four vertical positions. It’s a stylish-looking lid too.

Rudy Project Nytron

4.0 out of 5 star rating
The Rudy Project Nytron is a pro-level aero lid that has been honed in the wind tunnel.
Dave Caudery / Our Media
  • £153/€200/$325 as tested
  • Impressive aero performance
  • Lightweight and well finished

Rudy Project Nytron aero helmet meets the WG11 rotational impact protection standard, although it doesn’t incorporate MIPS.

It’s light at 307g for a size L too, and well finished, although the venting only works well and catches the airflow if you ride in a head-down position.

Best road bike helmets under £300

Specialized S-Works Evade 3

4.5 out of 5 star rating
The Specialized S-Works Evade 3 is more than a liddle bit pricey.
Simon von Bromley / BikeRadar

The S-Works Evade 3 is Specialized’s updated aero helmet and an excellent one at that.

Better ventilation than the outgoing Specialized S-Works Evade, including two front vents to hold sunglasses, augment the Evade 3’s versatility.

What’s more, the S-Works Evade 3 scores highly for safety and looks reasonably conventional despite its aerodynamic credentials.

There’s no getting over the cost though – £275 is a lot of money to fork out for a replacement in the event of a crash.

Giro Eclipse Spherical

4.5 out of 5 star rating
The Giro Eclipse marries MIPS Spherical to a compact shape and aero performance.
Our Media
  • £240/$250/€260/AU$430 as tested
  • Unobtrusive MIPS Spherical integration
  • Lightweight and well vented for an aero helmet

The Giro Eclipse Spherical uses Giro’s own MIPS Spherical, which integrates a sliding plane between two layers in the shell, making for a neater implementation than the more common liner.

It’s an aero helmet that Giro claims is the slipperiest out there, with a low-profile shape, while 17 vents help keep you cooler than many such lids. It’s not too heavy either at 277g for a medium and the padding incorporates silver to help keep it smelling nicer.

Giro Helios Spherical

4.5 out of 5 star rating
The Helios Spherical is geared to gravel riders, but still looks great on the road.
David Caudery / Immediate Media
  • £230/€250/$250 as tested
  • MIPS Spherical helmet geared to gravel riders
  • Comfortable and light, with good venting performance

Like the Giro Eclipse Spherical helmet, the Helios Spherical uses Giro’s neat MIPS implementation. Geared to gravel riding, the Helios Spherical takes less account of aerodynamics than Giro’s more road-oriented lids.

It’s a compact helmet with a fairly round interior shape, minimal padding and 28 vents to keep you cool. We found it really comfortable, with the padding well placed and good ventilation. The 303g weight of the size L helmet is reasonable too.

MET Trenta 3K Carbon MIPS

4.5 out of 5 star rating
The Trenta 3K Carbon’s light weight is a selling point.
Our Media
  • £280/$336/€330/AU$463 as tested
  • Great airflow and ventilation
  • Very light for a helmet with MIPS

MET’s top-of-the-range Trenta 3K Carbon has MIPS Air built in to protect you, while minimising weight. In a size L (58 to 61cm), it’s 265g.

It has a striking wave-shaped rear profile, made up of the two exhaust vents, and a wind-tunnel backed Kammtail for an aero benefit. The ventilation is a key element of the helmet.

The hardshell doesn’t wrap fully around the underside, which won’t affect how it rides but may impact its longevity.

Giro Aries Spherical

4.0 out of 5 star rating
The Aries uses Giro’s Spherical system, which incorporates MIPS technology.
Our Media
  • £290/$300/€320/AU$500 as tested
  • Wonderfully ventilated
  • Vastly expensive

The Giro Aries Spherical scored full marks in Virginia Tech Lab’s safety testing and at the time of its release was the highest-scoring helmet.

Its excellent protection features, including MIPS, don’t add much weight though. Our large test sample weighed a mere 310g.

The Giro Aries Spherical will keep your head cool on the most sultry summer rides while remaining comfortable. But you’ll have to pay a lot for it.

Kask Protone Icon

4.0 out of 5 star rating
The Kask Protone Icon helmet delivers formidable comfort, performance and looks – but at a price.
Immediate Media
  • £245/$276/€275/AU$362 as tested
  • Superb ventilation and aero performance, delivered by CFD design and wind-tunnel testing
  • Octofit+ retention system offers huge adjustment range

The Kask Protone is a stylish road bike helmet. A soft leather chin strap and a reflective strip on the rear are welcome additions to comfort and safety.

Weighing just 230g, the Protone is one of the lightest helmets on this list.

Helmet cage height can be adjusted readily and gives a wide grip, with tension controlled using a well-designed grippy dial. It’s ponytail-friendly for long-haired cyclists too.

There’s no specific technology for rotational impact protection. Kask says it has been tested (using Kask’s WG11 internal protocol) to ensure it would provide protection in such a crash, but this may still be a drawback to some.

Lazer Vento Kineticore

4.0 out of 5 star rating
Lazer’s top-tier aero road helmet features impressive ventilation.
Our Media
  • £250/$300/€269/AU$439 as tested
  • Comfortable, with good ventilation for an aero helmet
  • Kineticore impact protection adds a crumple zone inside the helmet

Lazer’s top-of-the-range Vento Kineticore aero road helmet is well ventilated and good looking.

According to Lazer, it is also 2.3 per cent more aerodynamic than its predecessor, with a 12 per cent improvement in cooling efficiency. While it’s hard to verify the aero bonus, we could easily believe the cooling benefit – feeling a stream of air coming through the helmet top when riding.

The Vento gets five stars from Virginia Tech, achieved by the use of ‘Kineticore’. This is an EPS block-based protection against both direct and rotational impact – providing a shear layer with specific crumple zones.

It weighs 290g, but doesn’t feel heavy or bulky to wear. A comfortable fit and easy adjustment mean its weight doesn’t impact on experience. Rubber docking points for glasses are also featured and work well.


4.0 out of 5 star rating
MET’s Manta MIPS is said to save you four watts.
David Caudery / Immediate Media
  • £220/AU$388/€250 as tested
  • Lightweight and great fit
  • Not as well ventilated as non-aero helmets

With the Manta, MET looked to turn the aero helmet on its head, keeping the weight low and ventilation high.

At 272.6g for a size large, it is indeed a light helmet considering its watt-saving design. It’s relatively aerated too, but it still won’t keep your head as cool as many non-aero lids.

When it comes to safety, the helmet is fitted with MIPS.

The fit of the helmet is excellent and there’s a host of great details, such as a magnetic Fidlock clasp.

The only downside to this helmet is the high price tag.

Specialized S-Works Prevail 3

4.0 out of 5 star rating
The S-Works Prevail 3 is a lightweight and airy option.
  • £275/$300/€330/AU$475 as tested
  • Great ventilation with 25 vents
  • Padding stays dry however much you sweat

The third iteration of the Specialized S-Works Prevail helmet retains the original’s great ventilation and low weight (258g for a size M). Rather than the usual EPS foam bridges between the ribs, there’s an aramid cage, which leads to huge vents for great airflow on hot and hilly rides.

MIPS doesn’t impede airflow because Specialized uses the Air Node version that’s integrated into the internal padding, which stays impressively dry, even over the brow, on hot days. Fit is great and highly adjustable. You can fit Specialized’s ANGi crash alert system, although it’s an extra.

We’ve also recently tested the slightly cheaper S-Works Prevail II Vent helmet, which has much of the Prevail 3’s lightweight airy design in common.

What to look for when buying a road bike helmet

Fit and retention systems

Consider straps and dials when choosing a helmet.
Felix Smith / Immediate Media

First and foremost, in the event of a crash, a helmet has to stay on your head to be effective. Just like shoes, helmets from different brands are made to fit slightly differently, so it’s important to try before you buy.

Most helmets use a dial-based retention system (e.g. Giro’s Roc Loc 5 or Kask’s Octo Fit) to adjust the fit, but the vertical adjustment range (i.e. how high or low the rear adjustment supports sit on your head) will vary between helmets, so this is something to look out for.

Adjustable and comfortable straps are also incredibly important – you need to be able to wear them with a fairly snug fit against your chin for maximum effectiveness.


Now some models do away with EPS foam.
Ashley Quinlan / Our Media

Most cycle helmets are made primarily from expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam. This skeleton is then covered, to varying degrees, in a hard polycarbonate shell (and sometimes a dash of carbon fibre) to add strength and protect the EPS foam from accidental bumps and scratches.

This basic design has been in place for decades now, but other manufacturing techniques and materials are beginning to filter through, such as 3D-printed Polyamide 11 or other proprietary polymer materials.

Naturally, manufacturers claim these designs offer benefits over traditional cycle helmets, but whether those benefits are realised in use remains to be seen.

Safety features

MIPS isn’t essential for a safe helmet.
Russell Burton / Our Media

While we won’t comment on the overall efficacy of helmets in general, it’s worth noting that all helmets sold in the EU must conform to the EN 1078 European Standard (and therefore have a CE mark). In the US, they must be CPSC-certified.

Every helmet on this list does just that, if not more, and should at least offer your head some protection against bumps and scratches if you fall off your bike while out riding.

Recently, we’ve seen a substantial increase in additional safety technologies such as rotational liners (e.g. MIPS) and Bontrager’s proprietary WaveCel material. These innovations are claimed to offer increased protection from head and brain injuries by reducing rotational forces or simply by using materials that are better able to absorb certain shocks.

There is some independent safety testing of cycle helmets, but these things are obviously harder to test outside of the lab, where there are so many variables at play. On balance, these extra safety features are almost certainly worth looking for and have now trickled down to quite inexpensive lids.


Vented helmets tend to be lighter and cooler.
Ashley Quinlan / Our Media

For fast road riding, especially in hot weather, ventilation is key. A well-designed system of vents and channels in the internal structure of a helmet can help to draw air over your head and dissipate heat.

As might be obvious, putting holes in a helmet to increase ventilation is likely to lead to reduced weight and, potentially, robustness. So, to make up for that, airy helmets often need more reinforcement or are constructed with pricier materials, to ensure they still meet safety and durability standards.


Aero helmets are often tadpole-shaped.
Simon von Bromley / Our Media

The aero brush touches everything these days, increasing costs and making all your current kit feel outdated, but with helmets it probably does make sense. The potential watt savings to be made with aero helmets shouldn’t be overlooked if you’re concerned with riding fast.

There are compromises of course: increasing aerodynamic efficiency usually means closing off ventilation holes or putting up with funky-shaped lids that, frankly, have looks that sometimes border on the ridiculous. But then again, if your main concern is simply to ride faster, perhaps looks aren’t that important.

Other features

Having somewhere to stow your sunnies is handy.
Simon Bromley / Immediate Media

Only a few brands actively promote their helmets’ ability to hold your sunglasses in the front vents, but this feature can be a real bonus.

Helmet brands that also make sunglasses tend to do better in this regard, but make sure to take your sunglasses with you when you’re shopping for a new helmet so you can check the hold.

Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but it is worth considering what kind of riding the helmets you like the look of are designed for.

Let’s say you like classic-looking helmets with lots of vent holes; if you live somewhere cold, maybe you’d be better off with a more aero-focused helmet with less ventilation and holes for water to seep through.


Likewise, the opposite could be true if you live somewhere hot; there’s no use having a helmet that’s incredibly fast in the wind tunnel if you don’t want to wear it because it makes your head boil.