Consumer Reports helmet recommendations
Summary: In 2021 Consumer Reports updated its bicycle helmet report on the website. They added 17 new models, six of
them Bells, and now have 61 models listed. They give excellent (5/5) impact protection ratings to 36 of those models,
with most of the remaining ones scoring Very Good. They now recommend 24 models. Of those they scored six at the top of
the ratings, including two MIPS models and four without MIPS.
See our Helmet Ratings page for the short list of helmets with the highest
Consumer Reports rating for impact protection and also scoring five stars on the Virginia Tech STAR
CR now rates 61 current helmets by Bell, Bern, Bontrager, Cannondale, Coros, Electra, Garneau, Giant, Giro, Kali, Lazer,
LEM, Livall, Mongoose, Nutcase, Overade, POC, Pro-Tec, Raskullz, Razor, Schwinn, Shred, Smith, Specialized, Triple Eight,
Uvex Wipeout and Zefal. Their site has a total of 169 ratings, some for recalled or obsolete models.
The list of recommended helmets is long: Giro Register MIPS, Kali Alchemy, Garneau Majestic, Bell Trace MIPS, Bontrager
Circuit MIPS, Bell Stratus MIPS, Giant Rev Comp MIPS, Smith Convoy MIPS, Garneau Equipe, Giro Cinder MIPS, Giro Agilis
MIPS, Livall Bling BH60, Coros LINX, Bell Super Air MIPS, Bontrager Specter WaveCel, Zefal Pro 24, Lazer Compact DLX
MIPS, LEM Boulevard, Bontrager Charge WaveCel, Garneau Vitesse, Bontrager Tyro, Garneau Nino, POC Pocito Omne SPIN, and
Uvex Quatro Junior.
Top scorers were the Bontrager Tyro, Scott Arx Plus, Cannondale CAAD MIPS, Giro Register MIPS, Louis Garneau Majestic and
Two of the recommended models, the Zefal and the Giro Cinder MIPS were recommended even though they did not achieve
excellent impact management ratings.
Impact protection ratings
The impact ratings have been CR's biggest contribution to consumer information, and one of our key criteria for helmet
choice. After testing in the lab, CR has rated 36 of them excellent: Bell Avenue MIPS LED, Bell Daily MIPS LED, Bell
Disney Frozen Tiara, Bell Sidetrack ll MIPS, Bell Span, Bell Stratus MIPS, Bell Super Air MIPS, Bell Trace MIPS,
Bontrager Charge WaveCel, Bontrager Circuit MIPS, Bontrager Specter WaveCel, Bontrager Tyro, Coros LINX, Electra Commute
MIPS, Garneau Equipe, Garneau Majestic, Garneau Nino, Garneau Raid MIPS, Garneau Vitesse, Giant Rev Comp MIPS, Giro
Agilis MIPS, Giro Register MIPS, Giro Scamp MIPS, Kali Alchemy, Lazer Compact DLX MIPS, LEM Boulevard, LEM Flow, Livall
Bling BH60, POC Pocito Omne SPIN, Raskullz Mohawk, Razor V17, Smith Convoy MIPS, Specialized Align, Specialized Chamonix
MIPS, Specialized Shuffle Youth SB and Uvex Quatro Junior.
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 (4/5), with a few only good and one "do not buy" for a buckle test failure.
We consider the impact ratings the most important consideration. You can now combine the CR impact ratings with the
Virginia Tech concussion-related protection ratings to compile a very short list of
rated for both high impact protection and lower-level/rotational impact protection.
Fit is our second key criterion, and here CR was more discriminating. They rated excellent (5/5) only the Kali Alchemy,
Bontrager Circuit MIPS, Smith Convy MIPS and Garneau Equippe. Most of the rest were very good 4/5), but the Bell Disney
Frozen Tiara, Pro-Tec Classic, Pro-Tec Classic youth sizes, Overade Plixi, Raskullz Mohawk Razer V17 and Wipeout Dry
Erase were rated poor. CR does not make a good distinction between a helmet with a good rear stabilizer for comfort and a
helmet with good strap fit that will actually keep the helmet on your head in a crash.
Only the Giro Register MIPS, Garneau Majestic, Bell Trace MIPS, Livall Bling BH60, Specialized Chamonix MIPS and
Bontrager Tyro youth rated excellent (5/5) for ventilation. Thirteen models are rated Poor.
CR has in the past discussed 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." For this 2021 page they have yet to cover the Bontrager WaveCel, Kali Low Density
Layer or POC SPIN technology, and did not test others that are available on the market. But we note that many of their
top-rated and recommended models do not have MIPS or a similar rotational force reduction technology.
What We Missed
CR has improved their helmet selection, and their ratings are certainly worth a look if you are researching a new helmet,
although the number of helmets included is still small compared to the thousands on the market
. Most of the models are available only in bike stores or online, but there are now a few of the ones sold
in discount stores. 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 very short list of helmets rated excellent for impact protection
by Consumer Reports
and scoring five stars in the Virginia Tech STAR concussion ratings.
Here is the article in Consumer Reports
ratings are behind the pay wall. You can find the magazine in a library, but it has only a teaser with three helmets
models, and you still need web access for the ratings. You can also use this link for another CR page with 109 listings that include older helmets
but has no ratings
unless you are a subscriber.
Here is a link to our reviews of previous Consumer Reports articles