Consumer Reports helmet page recommendations
Summary: In 2018 Consumer Reports updated its 2016 bicycle helmet report on the website, with test results for two MIPS models compared to non-MIPS versions. In earlier testing they found that MIPS reduced rotational force up to 43 percent, but drew no conclusions about what that might mean for injury. They give Excellent impact protection ratings to 24 models, with most of the remaining ones scoring Very Good. They recommended 19 models. Of those they pick five Best Buys, including one MIPS model and four without MIPS. No helmets tested were rated Do Not Buy.
See our Helmet Ratings page for the short list of helmets recommended by Consumer Reports and also scoring best on the Virginia Tech STAR concussion ratings.
CU now rates helmets by Bell, Bern, Bontrager, Cannondale, Garneau, Giro, Kali, Lazer, Nutcase, Overade, Raskullz, Razor, Schwinn, Scott, Shred, Specialized, Uvex and
The highest overall scores are for the Scott Arx Plus, Bell Muni, Bell Draft, Bell Draft MIPS, Bell Stratus MIPS, Cannondale Teramo, Giro Revel MIPS, Girao Foray, Lazer Cyclone and Giro Revel. The Bell Draft scored higher than its MIPS twin due to better ventilation. Lowest scores from the bottom up: Wipeout Dry Erase, Raskullz Mohawk, Bell Disney Frozen Tiara, Razor V17, Bell Block and Giro Scamp MIPS.
Impact protection ratings
The impact ratings have been CU's biggest contribution to consumer information, and one of our key criteria for helmet choice. After testing more than 38 models in the lab, CU has rated 24 of them Excellent: Scott Arx Plus, Bell Muni, Bell Draft, Bell Draft MIPS, Bell Stratus MIPS, Cannondale Teramo, Giro Revel MIPS, Giro Foray, Lazer Cyclone, Giro Revel, Schwinn Intercept Adult, Cannondale Quick, Giro Bishop, Garneau Raid MIPS, Bontrager Starvos, Specialized Chamonix MIPS, Specialized Align, Garneau Sharp, Bontrager Solstice Youth, Garneau Nino, Bell Sidetrack MIPS, Uvex Quatro Junior, Specialized Shuffle Youth SB, Giro Scamp MIPS, Razor V17, Bell Disney Frozen Tiara and Raskullz Mohawk. Note that some that were rated Excellent for impact protection had low overall scores for other reasons. The remaining helmets were mostly rated Very Good, with a few only good.
We consider the impact ratings the most important consideration. You can now combine the impact ratings with the Virginia Tech concussion protection ratings to find a helmet rated for both major impact protection and lower-level impact protection.
Fit is our second key criterion, and here CU was more discriminating. They rated Excellent the Scott Arx Plus, Bell Muni, Kali City, Bell Draft, Bell Draft MIPS, Cannondale Teramo, Giro Revel MIPS, Giro Foray, Lazer Cyclone, Giro Revel, Schwinn Intercept Adult, Cannondale Quick, Giro Trinity and Giro Bishop.
Only the Bell Draft, Specialized Chamonix and Specialized Chamonix MIPS rated Excellent for ventilation. The Smith Forefront, with a liner partially made of hollow Koroyd[tm] straws, was rated only Good in the original 2016 article and has disappeared on the web page now. Ten models are rated Poor.
CU discussed recent concussion concerns. They had tested MIPS vs Non-MIPS models and found that MIPS reduced rotational force by 43 percent. We do not know what testing protocols they used. They concluded that "The MIPS helmets in our ratings are priced $20 to $25 more than the non-MIPS versions. Even if the extra benefit isn't definitive, a MIPS helmet might be worth the extra cost."
What We Missed
CU has improved their helmet coverage, and their ratings are certainly worth a look if you are researching a new helmet, although the number of helmets included is still small. Most of the models are available only in bike stores, leaving out the millions of helmets sold in discount stores. There were no Bell True Fit models tested, the only major advance in helmet fitting in the past decade. But testing is expensive, and no single lab, including the US Government, can afford to test every helmet on the market. Our own listing of helmets for this season is much more comprehensive, but has no lab test results, severely limiting its usefulness.
To find a helmet rated for both major impact protection and lower-level impact protection. See our Helmet Ratings page for the short list of helmets recommended by Consumer Reports and scoring best on the Virginia Tech STAR concussion ratings.
Here is the article in Consumer Reports. The ratings are behind the pay wall.
Here is a link to our reviews of previous Consumer Reports articles.