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The best budget bike helmets under £100 in 2023

15 affordable lids for road, mountain biking and leisure riding, as tested by our experts

Smith Engage helmet

While it’s possible to spend north of £300 / $300 on a cycling helmet, our pick of the best budget bike helmets prove you don’t have to pay a fortune to get quality protection.


Whether you’re looking for a mountain bike helmet, road bike helmet or a helmet for commuting, all our picks – rated and reviewed by the BikeRadar team – are comfortable, offer a good fit and cost less than £100.

MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection) used to be confined to premium helmets, but it’s now found in many cheap cycling helmets too. It’s designed to add extra protection in the event of a rotational impact to the head in an accident.

Helmets with MIPS form the majority of the best-rated lids in the independent assessments published annually by Virginia Tech.

We’ve included the best helmets under £100 here for road cyclists, mountain bikers and commuters who only cycle to work.

If you want to consider more expensive helmets though, check out our separate guides to the best road bike helmets and the best mountain bike helmets. These lists cover all of our top-rated helmets, from budget to top-end lids worn by the pros, and our full buyer’s guide.

We’ve also got a guide to the best enduro helmets, which can be worn with or without a chin protector for mountain biking, if that’s what you’re looking for.

For now, however, let’s get onto our pick of the best bike helmets out there for less than £100 (or around $150). As ever, all of these helmets have been fully reviewed by the BikeRadar team.

Best budget bike helmets under £100 in 2023

Bell Avenue MIPS

5.0 out of 5 star rating
The Bell Avenue MIPS helmet offers truly outstanding value.
Dave Caudery / Immediate Media
  • £65/$120 as tested
  • MIPS included
  • Easy adjustment and good retention

The Avenue MIPS, as its name says, includes MIPS for additional protection. There are 18 vents, so there’s good airflow, while we liked the ease of use and effectiveness of the fit adjustment system.

Although at 310g, the Bell Avenue MIPS is a little heavier than some of the best cheap bike helmets, it’s not out of line considering the excellent value on offer.

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

With an internal skeleton, the Specialized Propero 3 weighs 305g in medium size, which is reasonable. We liked the quality straps that stay dry and comfortable when working hard and the shape, which mimics the high-end Prevail helmet.

Specialized has packed plenty of additional safety features into its budget road helmet, with MIPS as well as its ANGi crash protector that identifies abnormal accelerative loads and works with your phone to alert your designated contacts to possible accidents.

Bell 4Forty MIPS

4.5 out of 5 star rating
The Bell 4Forty MIPS is a feature-packed mountain bike helmet.
BikeRadar / Immediate Media
  • £90/$110 /AU$180 as tested
  • Comfortable to wear and the fit system is easy to adjust
  • Great airflow and top value

There’s great airflow from the Bell 4Forty’s 15 vents, and it’s comfortable on long climbs. The shape works well if you have a more rounded head and the fit system is easy to adjust.

You can push the visor up high enough to park your goggles, although we’d have liked to see indexed adjustment.

Cannondale Junction

4.5 out of 5 star rating
High quality and performance come at a modest price.
Our Media
  • £65 / $95 / €98 as tested
  • Brilliant value
  • Overly long straps

The Cannondale Junction is an affordable MIPS-equipped all-road helmet that performs nearly flawlessly. The straps are excessively long, but you could trim them.

The Junction feels safe enough to wear off-road on gravel rides. It even has a small, removable peak.

Yet the Junction’s fairly low weight and ample ventilation stop it from becoming too cumbersome or hot on long, warm days out.

Lazer Chiru MIPS

4.5 out of 5 star rating
At £60, the Lazer Chiru is a bargain way to get MIPS protection.
Alex Evans / Immediate Media
  • £60/$60/$120 as tested
  • Comfortable, neutral fit
  • Some glasses won’t fit on the helmet

The Lazer Chiru MIPS helmet fits well and very comfortably, with good adjustability and without bouncing as you ride.

The airflow isn’t as good as some of the best mountain bike helmets, so it runs hot, although not excessively so. There’s a non-adjustable pop-on visor.

Check your sunglasses will fit on the helmet though, because some larger-framed models may run out of space. The fit with goggles wasn’t an issue though. The included MIPS is a bonus for a budget helmet.

Scott Argo Plus

4.5 out of 5 star rating
There’s some drop behind the head, but this lid isn’t aimed at enduro riders.
Russell Burton / Our Media
  • £75/$100/€80 as tested
  • Includes a MIPS liner
  • Comfortable, with an effective visor

Although there’s no MIPS in its name, the Scott Argo Plus helmet does include a MIPS liner.

At 366g, the weight is reasonable for the price, although the rear coverage isn’t as deep as some trail lids. The visor is non-adjustable, but it’s effective and non-intrusive.

We found the cradle fitted well and the ratchet dial is easy to use wearing a pair of the best mountain bike gloves. Sweat wasn’t handled as well as the best mountain bike helmets.

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

Decathlon has some great-value cycling kit, the Van Rysel RoadR 500 helmet being a case in point. It looks racy and more expensive than its price tag suggests, and its 14 vents give you good airflow.

Adjustment works well, although the dial adjuster isn’t a match for those on many higher-priced helmets. You don’t get extra sliding plane protection, but the RoadR is still a great-value option.

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   

There’s a quality finish to the Xtract II road helmet that belies its position as Endura’s entry-level helmet. The shell wraps around the EPS foam core, for example, so the latter is less likely to become gouged and look tired with use.

The dial adjuster has a rubber coating, so it’s easy to grip and fine-tune your fit.

There’s good airflow to help keep you cool and at 270g it’s light, partly due to the absence of MIPS, which typically adds around 20 to 40g to a helmet’s weight.

Giant Relay MIPS

4.0 out of 5 star rating
The Giant 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

Another low-priced road helmet that manages to slot MIPS into its spec, the Giant Relay MIPS has good airflow from its 17 vents and anti-odour padding. It’s been given a five-star rating by the independent Virginia Tech annual helmet safety testing.

Adjustment is effective, even if it’s a little clunky. Weight is just under 350g, but we didn’t find this noticeably heavier than other helmets when riding.

Limar Air Stratos

4.0 out of 5 star rating
Limar’s 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

Technically a gravel helmet (you can tell by the muted matt colours), nothing else marks out the Limar Air Stratos as different from a road helmet. The shape is similar to the best road bike helmets, there’s plenty of padding inside the shell and easy adjustability, even if the dial adjuster is on the small side.

Limar helmets are among the lightest out there and the Air Stratos clocks just 240g on the scales, beating many much more expensive lids. That’s partly due to the absence of MIPS though.

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

Mixing a road-going shape with MTB features such as a removable peak, the MET Allroad is another helmet aimed at gravel riders. If you do stray onto a road, there’s an integrated rear blinkie in the adjuster dial to up your visibility.

We rated the comfortable fit and easy adjustment from the ponytail-friendly cradle design.

MET Veleno

4.0 out of 5 star rating
With no fewer than 26 vents, it was plenty breathable for hot, dry summer gravel excursions.
Our Media
  • £85 as tested
  • Comfortable with deeper coverage suitable for gravel
  • Peak isn’t adjustable

MET’s Veleno design sits between a lightweight vented road helmet and a deeper-coverage mountain bike trail helmet.

The rear of the Veleno is deeper than your average road lid, extending right up to behind your ears with its extra coverage helping to protect you from spills on rougher terrain. The tough polycarbonate shell covers the edges and underside, which helps protect the foam core from wear and tear.

The mid-sized peak is big enough to do its job. The peak is removable, but it doesn’t have any adjustment.

The rear micro-adjust is a little fiddly, but our tester never felt the need to adjust the helmet from its standard height setting.

In a size large, the Veleno weighs 305.8g. There is a version with MIPS for £120.

Smith Convoy

Smith’s new budget lid punches well above its weight when it comes to performance on the trail.
Immediate Media
  • £65/$85/€75 as tested
  • Great fit and good ventilation
  • Non-wrapped core edges means the rim is prone to gouges and dents

Smith integrates MIPS into its low-priced Convoy helmet and offers pretty good rear coverage, although not as much as on some of its pricier helmets. Other economies include a shell that doesn’t fully wrap around the Convoy’s foam core, which may lead to quicker wear.

Fit is great despite the low-profile padding, which copes well with sweat build-up. The visor is non-adjustable, but we found it easy to keep it out of our line of sight by adjusting where the helmet fitted on our heads. The 325g weight is reasonable too.

Smith Engage MIPS

4.0 out of 5 star rating
The Smith Engage is a fully featured budget mountain bike helmet.
Andy Lloyd / Immediate Media
  • £95/ $110/€100 as tested
  • Well padded and good ventilation
  • Core is fully wrapped by the shell to help prevent damage

Unlike the Smith Convoy, the Smith Engage MIPS does feature a shell that wraps fully around the core, potentially upping durability.

While you get MIPS, unlike Smith’s more expensive lids, there’s no Koroyd crushable layer, although Koroyd can restrict airflow somewhat.

The VaporFit retention system wraps all the way around the head for good adjustability and there’s a positive click to the adjuster dial.

The fit of the helmet is comfortable too, with plenty of padding, 21 vents and good internal channelling.

Specialized Align II

4.0 out of 5 star rating
The Specialized 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

Yet another quality budget helmet that proves MIPS has been democratised, the Specialized Align II also gives you a secure fit, with a quality dial adjuster, and plenty of padding to keep your head comfortable.

The 16 vents ensure good airflow, although we noticed the Align II’s 374g heavier weight when out riding.