Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute

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Bicycle Helmets for the 2006 Season

This is history!

Current year here

Summary: Our review of helmets being sold in 2006.
Trends first, then individual models.
Index to manufacturers last.

Trends this year

There are new helmets in 2006 that are worth a look if you are inclined to replace yours. There are some new models appearing with the rounder, smoother profile that we think is best for crashing. (We have a page on snag points.) At least one of them has been rated superior by Consumer Reports lab testing. Other than that there is no major technological advance that compels you to replace your current helmet.

We recommend looking for a helmet that:

1. Meets the CPSC bicycle helmet standard.

2. Meets the ASTM F1492 Skateboard standard if you will use it for skateboarding. (Look for the sticker inside)

3. Fits you well.

4. Has a rounded, smooth exterior with no snag points.

5. Has no more vents than you need. More vents = less foam.

We always recommend checking Consumer Reports for brand and model recommendations. They had a helmet article in their June, 2006 issue, but tested only a fraction of the models described below.

We wish we had more lab test data available to make brand and model recommendations. We always recommend steering away from models with obvious disadvantages like snag points on the outer surface. And it will not surprise you that for the softest landing it helps to have lots of thicker, less dense foam in a helmet, leading to our recommendation that you find one with no more vents than you need. It is frustrating for us not to have specific model recommendations based on impact performance, but apart from the periodic Consumer Reports articles, the data just does not exist in the public domain.

Some Interesting New Models

What We Did Not Find Again This Year

There is still no helmet on the market identified as an "anti-concussion" or softest-landing helmet. Current helmets provide good protection from catastrophic injury, but lesser blows are assumed to be survivable. And nobody advertises that their helmet can take blows that exceed the CPSC standard by a wide margin or provide softer landings, although Consumer Reports ratings based on their lab testing have indicated in the past that some can. With our legal climate we may never see that happen, since advertising a helmet like that would expose the manufacturer to lawsuits whenever someone was injured in it, whether or not the helmet performed well.

There has been very little effort to apply standard electronic and wireless technologies to bicycle helmets. You should be able in 2006 to find a helmet with a mainstream helmet with a rear-facing camera and a heads-up display to replace your old mirror, but you can not. The Bluetooth headsets for use with an intercom system or cell phone are not in bike helmets, although the German company Vemar is selling a motorcycle helmet equipped that way. There are a few helmets with LED flashers built into the rear and you can always add a flasher with a hook-and-loop mount. There is one company making built-in batteries to power helmet accessories, but we have not seen one in the market yet. It looks like we will have to wait another year for those things to develop.

Here is an index to our reports for other years.

The Helmets

The typical helmet listed below is made of EPS foam with a thin plastic shell taped or glued onto the foam. It has at least some vents, nylon or polypro straps, a plastic buckle, no reflective trim and either a ring fit ("one size fits all) or squishy foam fitting pads inside. The BMX models are "full face" (with chinbar) and have hard shells shaped like a motorcycle helmet. Downhill racing models are similar but lighter, and unless noted are certified only to the CPSC bicycle helmet standard rather than the ASTM F1952 standard for downhill racing helmets. Chrono helmets are teardrop-shaped time trial helmets. "Skate style" helmets are the classic Pro Tec round, smooth shape with ABS hard shells. If no contrary information is in the writeup for each brand or model, those features are assumed. Here is a page of helmet definitions that describes each of the helmet types. Many have a rear stabilizer wrapping around the back of the head, which we note only if it has some unusual feature. They add some stability comfort but do not substitute for careful strap adjustment. We also note the largest and smallest sizes available where relevant, and any bright colors. Prices are the Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price, the price you might pay at your local bike shop with fitting services included or at a discount store. Internet pricing is lower (no fitting help included!), particularly on closeouts of prior years' models. If you are searching for a particular model and don't find it here, use our search function to check our writeups for previous years to see if it has been discontinued.


Abus is a German company also known as a manufacturer of high-security padlocks. They have a unique ratcheting strap fastener with a toothed tab sliding into a slot that we have only seen on Abus and Uvex helmets. It would have to be adjusted carefully to be sure it does not bear against the line of the jaw. Their rear stabilizers are also adjusted by a ratchet device. Visors mount with pins. Some models may have bug-proof mesh for the front vents. Abus' bicycle helmets include helmets for toddlers, youth and adults. All of the models on their website are certified only to European standards and will not be sold in the US. Sizes run from 46 to 62 cm. Some of their models appear to be reasonably well rounded, but we have not seen them in person for more than four years, so it is difficult to comment based on the photos on the web. Pricing is not on the web.

Action Bicycle

The Acclaim line of helmets produced for Action Bicycle includes the Metro, a nicely rounded design with a ring fit system, and the Evo II, a standard adult helmet with visor, rear stabilizer and ring fit system that retails for $35. Other models include a full face BMX helmet for $80, a vented child helmet called the Solo at $20, and a skateboard helmet that retails for $36, or $40 in full chrome.


See Lucky Bell below.


See Fox below.

All Pro and All Top

See THH below.

Alpha Helmets

Alpha helmets have previously been found in the US under two brands, but not as Alpha. Some are made by Mien Yow Industries Ltd. in Taiwan. They have a line of well-rounded models led by the complex-looking Vortex and including one model with a flashing LED taillight built in. For 2002 they added the C-Tec, with squared-off ribs but a rounded shape overall. In 2003 they introduced some models that are inmolded, notably their G4 model, although most still have taped on shells. Their Pro-Alpha skate model was added in 2006, along with their MF2 Skater Classic. They are also introducing a "four season" model for bike and ski. The manufacturer says their retail prices run in the $35 range. Alpha also makes hockey, ski and batting helmets.

Answer Products

See Knucklebone below.


Armor is the brand distributed by San Diego Speed in the US. They have a skate model with the usual hard ABS shell that comes as the Old School Series, Pro Series, Graphic Series and Camouflage Series It is the classic skate shape with small vents and CPSC certification. They also list a CSA Canadian standard and the ASTM F1447 bicycle helmet standard, but not the ASTM F1492 skateboard standard. Retail runs from $20 to $35. Their snowboard helmet has adjustable vents and is called the Nightstalker. It retails for $20 to $25.

We have also seen the Armor brand used by Taiwan Johnson Industries Co, Ltd as the Armor Manufacturing Corporation, but do not know if the two companies are related.


Atlas is a Swedish manufacturer. We have not seen them in the US. Their website is dated 2003. It says their helmets meet the European CEN standard. They have an extensive line, including:


The Avenir brand is distributed by Raleigh. They have a variety of inmolded and taped-on models, mostly with moderate rear snag points, rear stabilizers, pinned-on visors, and prices ranging from about $40 to $60. Models include:


Azonic/O'Neal USA has mostly hard shell, no-vent full face helmets for BMX. They have removable inner liners for cleaning and the standard large bolted-on BMX visors, a potential snagging hazard. Their BMX helmets are made by KBC in Korea or THH in Taiwan, and are said to all be certified to the Snell M-2000 or M-2005 motorcycle helmet standards, exceeding by a wide margin any bicycle helmet standard in the world. (We are not able to identify the models on the Snell lists, where they probably appear under KBC or THH. Look for the Snell sticker inside the helmet to be sure.)


Barbieri Accessories began in 1985 with a revolving brush chain cleaner, adding other accessories like carbon fiber and titanium mini pumps. Perhaps to round out their accessory line, they have a single helmet model for 2006, called simply "Helmet." It is a distinctive design with visor and rear dial stabilizer. It is certified to the CEN standard for the European market.


Bell is still the largest company in the bicycle helmet market. They also own Giro, although the two have separate helmet models. They have been making bicycle helmets since 1975. We spend more space on their line than most others because people want the info. Bell has 20 models in this year's lineup, but some are the same model without a visor, or in a larger size for big heads or a smaller size and pastel color for women. Some models have Bell's no-pinch buckle, a nice design with a tab behind it that keeps the skin from getting in while you push the two pieces together, now included on the adult "sport" models. Their 2005 Citi model is a less expensive variation of the 2004 Metro, a rounder design pitched to urban commuters. Bell reintroduced a reflective logo in 2005, and is no longer using hook-and-loop to hold padding in. (The adhesive on hook-and-loop pads tends to deteriorate over time, particularly in a hot car or trunk.)

At the top of Bell's line are their molded-in-the-shell models, called the Fusion Series:

Bell's European Market Helmets

Bell has helmets made to the CEN European standard that according to Bicycle Retailer and Industry News will not pass the US CPSC standard and cannot be sold in the US market. Foremost among them is the Bell Meteor II chrono helmet for time trials. This is one you may have seen in Tour de France time trials.

Bell's Discount Line

Bell has another entire line of low-priced helmets sold at discount stores and mass-merchant outlets. (More than one fourth of the company's sales are through Wal-Mart alone.) They are occasionally discontinued models from the bike store line, but seldom include the inmolded models. The cheaper ones generally have low-end graphics, chintzy fit pads, slippy straps and cheaper packaging. Most do not have rear stabilizers. But they are designed to the same CPSC standard as any other helmet on today's US market, so they provide fine impact protection. Many of them are still produced in the US--millions of helmets each year. The rounded profiles we consider optimum still persist in this line, since they are cheaper to produce, and Consumer Reports testing of other brands indicated that the thicker foam may actually provide better impact protection than some of the thinner, more ventilated, more expensive pro models. Models include the adult Reflex, Radar, Adrenaline, Protos and Impulse. Youth sizes include the Edge, Aero, Blade and Deuce. Child helmet models are the Star, Racer and Rex. Toddler helmets include the Shadow, Zoomer and Bellino.

Two models in the low-priced line deserve special attention: the Deuce and the Impulse are the same helmet in youth and adult sizes. Both have the same radically round, smooth shape of the Bell Metro and Citi. Both are inmolded, the only models in the discount store series that are made with that higher-quality construction. They have reasonable vents. The price will likely be right when you find them in a big box store. We found a sample at Wal-Mart for $24.88 in May, 2006. The Impulse is made in USA.

Bell's skate models in this low-priced series include the Rage, Mirra and Wicked. Some are dual certified to the CPSC bicycle and ASTM F-1492 skateboard standards, at least in the medium and large sizes. They may not be dual certified in the small size. You must look at the sticker inside the helmet to be sure. We bought a size S/M Wicked in October of 2006 that did not have the ASTM sticker inside, so that one is not dual certified.

This line sells for low prices: $15 to $40. They are available to non-profits for much less than that, through Safe Kids USA. Because of Bell's name recognition, they are among the best sellers in the low end market. (Check our page on inexpensive helmets for further info on sources of low-cost helmets from various manufacturers for helmet programs.) Bell also produces toddler, skate and child bike helmets for the Fisher-Price brand, and you may see them as X-Games, Barbie, or Hot Wheels brands. Some models come bundled with bike or skate accessories. Reports from the field indicate that you should steer clear of the Bell models with plastic "self-fitting" straps, an uncomfortable feature that led kids to avoid fastening the straps at all. For current production Bell has returned to fabric straps.

Bell's Replacement Policy

For Bell's crash replacement policy it is best to call 1-800-BELL or search their website. We found it in the helmet manuals, in .pdf format. As of January, 2005 you send back the damaged helmet with a letter describing your crash "in as much detail as possible," a dated cash register receipt (you did save your receipt, and you can find it, right?) with a check:

In 2001 Bell became the only helmet manufacturer who joined the Consumer Product Safety Commission's Product Safety Circle. We are not sure how much that actually means to the consumer, but they have pledged to follow ten safety principles, designate a corporate safety officer and publicize their successes in implementing the principles.

In 2004 Bell Sports was purchased by Fenway Partners, a private-equity holding company that also owns Riddell, a manufacturer of football helmets. Through them Bell Sports in early 2005 repurchased the Bell motorcycle helmet manufacturing company that it had spun off in 1991. Fenway-Bell also owns Sports Instruments, a maker of heart rate monitors, bike computers and watches. Most consumers were probably unaware of those changes.

Bern Unlimited

Bern's motto is "Head Protection for Any Action Sport." Their helmets are skate/ski shaped, so they are very well rounded except for the rigid visor on one. Two of them use Brock Foam, a formulation that provides multi-impact protection. Some are inmolded. The manufacturer believes that at least one model can be shown to meet the CPSC standard as well as CEN 1078 bicycle, ASTM 2040 snow sports and the CE 1385 standard. Others have interchangeable liners for water sports, ski and winter sport use, including underneath layers and a knit winter cap. There is a pony tail port on ladies models. There is a channel in the foam liner for glasses and a removable goggle strap clip on the rear. An optional earbud music system works on magnetic technology rather than radio frequency waves. Sizes range from 49 cm to 62.5 cm. They have paired male/female models, with pastels for the ladies. We are waiting for more info on certification to the CPSC standard before describing individual models. Retail prices for Bern's models are in the $40 to $110 range.


Bianchi markets team helmets to match their bikes. They have several models: the Team Bianchi 909 at $180 and the Team Bianchi 530 at $120 are available in the US. There is also the Celeste Puro F105 at $120, and Motorex Racing F-107 at $120 (available in trademark Bianchi celeste blue), The helmets are made by Limar of Italy, and correspond to Limar models of the same number. See Limar below.


Bravo is the house brand of Asctechs.com/El Sol Trading. They have a skate-style helmet said to be certified for bicycling, skateboarding and snowboarding. The helmet has the classic skate shape. It may be dual certified to bicycle and skateboard standards, but we have not seen it and cannot comment on what standards it actually meets, since the website is vague on that. Pricing is in the $20 range, and there are some bright colors along with the usual black and moss green.


Briko is an Italian company who began breaking into the U.S. market in 1998 but has been slow to push its line here. All of their helmets are made in Italy. They have an innovative "twin cap" construction technique bonding two separate liners to leave air channels. They use reflective trim on their US models, and all of their models for the US market are inmolded. Prices are approximate and are not current.

Briko has a number of other helmets for the European market that are not available in the US. These include:


Carrera is an Italian company better known for winter sport helmets that is bringing their line to the US market slowly. Their helmets have Italian stylishness, moderate to large rear snag points, large vents, and some reflective trim. External strap anchors stick up, and one of their models even has a spoiler.


Casco is a German company whose helmets we have not seen. In addition to bike helmets they make helmets for equestrian, snow and firefighting use. Their upscale helmets include the Warp II used by Jens Fiedler, an almost perfectly round and smooth track sprinter's helmet with an above-the-nose shield completing the rounding. It has no vents, costs 250 Euros and only meets the CEN standard, but the shape is flawless for crashing. Casco claims it is equally flawless for aerodynamics "according to the latest findings of the automobile industry." Could this possibly signal the end of the aero tails that have set the fashion in bicycle helmets for the last decade? We certainly hope so.

Casco's other upscale lines, called the Upsolute models, are inmolded. Some are unique designs, but since we have not seen them we refer you to the website for a look. They include a Skate and Bike model that according to the web page received an award for easy fitting from a German consumer magazine. There is also a Generation II helmet for all ages, with a nice shape and apparently good coverage but a strange screwed-on perforated plate in the front. Some of their less expensive Classix models are also inmolded, but the cheapest ones are not. Classix include a full-face BMX model, a classic skate helmet and a toddler model.


Catlike is a Spanish company named for its founder, whose bicycle racing nickname was "the cat." Their line includes eight models. All are inmolded except the toddler helmet. We don't know about standards or market availability, so check the website if you are interested. In the fall of 2005 they were looking for a US distributor. Catlike had a recall in 2003 of its Kompact model, so check our recalls page if you need info on that.


This German company has an extensive lineup of 20 models, although not all are available in the U.S. market. All but their child models are inmolded. Some models have a "soft shock" liner, but the catalog and website fail to explain what that is all about. Cratoni's child models fit heads as small as 18.5 inches / 47 cm and their largest adult model fits up to 25.6 inches / 65 cm. Their ring fit models cover from 20.5" to 23.5" / 52 cm to 60 cm. Cratoni's suggested retail prices seem higher than most, but dealers may adjust that.

Cratoni will replace a crashed helmet for 50 per cent of the recommended retail price.


Embon is made by Co-Union Industries in Taiwan. Their helmets are inmolded with modest-to-pronounced rear snag points. They use a ring fit system, and their strap adjustment pieces slip too easily. Visors are attached with pins to flip off in a crash. Prices should be in the $25 and up range.


Ecko has been around since the early 1980's, first in California, then Idaho, now Arizona. Although they don't have a website and we have not seen their current catalog, Ecko has usually produced BMX racing and skateboard helmets. The BMX shells are fiberglass, with both open face and chinbar models. Visors are snap on, and are designed to pop off in an impact to avoid a snagging hazard, a very desirable safety feature. Sizing is U.S. 6 to 7 3/4. Ecko also distributes the RAD, billed as a multisport helmet. It has very small vents and a very well-rounded exterior surface, but we don't know what standards it might meet. We have not seen their 2006 line, and do not know if they are actually still manufacturing, but their helmets are available from some suppliers.


Esco Sport Product Corp. is a Chinese company producing electric and gas scooters, bicycles and carts. Their bike helmets are certified to CEN standards, not CPSC, so they are not available in the US market.

El Sol

See Bravo above.

Epsira Oy (Knock)

Epsira Oy is the Finnish manufacturer of Knock helmets, advertised as CEN approved (European standard) and in one case as meeting a Swedish standard. They are supplied to such organizations as the Finnish postal service (in very visible yellow). Most of their designs appear to have nicely rounded contours and would be called commuter helmets in the US. They have several models, including the H3, Knock, Inmotion 2 and Champion. Their Yad model is easily the strangest shape of any helmet we have seen on the web, with a huge bumpout in back that we would not recommend. Knock Yad helmet Some of their Knock child helmets have large team logos and cartoon characters called Moomins. One previous model had reflective straps, a feature we have not seen before or since. Epsira Oy has other EPS products and some info up on EPS. We are not aware of a U.S. distributor for their products, or if they meet our CPSC standard. Sizes run 48 to 62 cm.


Etto is a Scandinavian manufacturer with 18 helmet models on their website. Some are interesting designs, but unfortunately they are never seen in the US. The website does not discuss standards or pricing. All Etto models have at least some reflective material on the back. Their most innovative feature--a slow release buckle for youth helmets to prevent "hanging" on playground equipment--was still under development when we checked with them at the end of December, 2005.

Etto dealers will replace crashed and damaged helmets "at only a small part of the cost."

Fly Racing

Fly Racing has a line of motorcycle BMX racing equipment, including full face helmets. All have bolted on visors, but at least the screws are plastic rather than metal, and would be more likely to break off when you need them to, rather than jerking your neck. If you want another snag point, Fly will sell you a rear fin to add to your helmet. It mounts without screws or glue, so hopefully would pop off in a crash. Fly's catalog has replacement parts for their helmets, including mouthpieces, visors, screws, pads and buckles. Sizing runs from 52 cm/6 1/2 inch up to 66 cm/8 1/4 inch, a very wide range indeed. Along with their own brand, they distribute helmets made by Gmax and by THH. All of their models meet the DOT motorcycle helmet standard. Their Lite and 606 models, as well as the THH TX-10 model that they sell, are on the Snell M-2005 motorcycle helmet standard list as well, offering a level of protection considerably above that of any normal bicycle helmet.


Fox Racing has two BMX models in sizes from 18 3/8" to 25 3/4". Both appear on Snell's M-2005 motorcycle helmet certification list and of course are certified to the less demanding US DOT motorcycle helmet standard as well.

Fox Racing helmets are made by AGV, an Italian company that has made motorcycle helmets since 1949.

Free Agent

Free Agent has a very well-rounded classic skateboard-style helmet that comes in one shell size with three pad sets of different thickness. It has an EPP liner, good for multiple impacts. It is dual certified to meet the CPSC standard for bike helmets. It retails for $25 to $35 in standard colors or $5 more with a chrome finish, and can be found on the Internet for as little as $20 plus shipping. It may fit larger heads better than most skate-style helmets. They supply a full face BMX helmet to their team riders, but we have not seen that one.


See Louis Garneau below under "L"


See Headstart below.


Geartec is handled by KHS Bicycles in the US as Geartec or DBX. In 2004 they recalled their DBX Engage (Geartec VT-3), DBX Ravage (Geartec FX-2), and Geartec ESPY. See our recall page for details. We don't seem to see their helmets marketed to bicyclists any more.


Giant supplies a full line of bikes and accessories to bike shops. Their helmets have good quality locking strap fittings.


In its eighth year as a subsidiary of Bell, Giro's production facilities and testing are fully integrated with Bell's, but Giro designs still have a unique fit. Giro has been a trend leader for both style and construction techniques, and sometimes has a radical new model at the top of their line. In 2006 they will be selling Lance Armstrong's Atmos again, but are adding several models and dropping two. In 2004 they extended inmolded construction to even the less expensive helmets in their line. The line had been gradually evolving toward a more rounded profile over the past several years, but still has high-end models with more pronounced snagging points and the lower end of the line got more pointy in 2005. All high-end Giros use fitting pads, but the least expensive ones are ring fit. Most are available in white or another visible color. Some of Giro's helmets have reflective surfaces on the rear stabilizers, an ideal place for those who ride in the bent-over position. Visors are mounted with pins that snap into the helmet shell and have an adjustable angle. Our unscientific hand test showed them to pop out easily on impact. Consumer Reports found Giro's cheaper models more protective than the top of the line in their 2002 article, probably because the cheaper ones have smaller vents and more foam. Giro and other manufacturers have hyper-ventilated models produced for the European market that meet the CEN standard but are not certified to meet the tougher US CPSC standard. Pricing below on older models is from 2005.

Unobtainable Giros

Giro has a time trial/pursuit helmet that according to Bicycle Retailer and Industry News will not be sold to consumers. Lance Armstrong and the Posties used the Giro Advantage and Rev VI time trial helmets in the 2004 Tour de France time trials. The Advantage may some day be available to consumers, but the Rev VI was designed only for Lance. We don't know what impact standards they may meet, but probably they are designed for the European CEN standard.

This year Giro helmets fit heads from 18.75" (48 cm) to 25" (64 cm).

Giro will sell you a uniquely-shaped case called a "pod" or another called the Tour Bag that is to keep that expensive helmet pristine, but let your helmet dry out after a summer ride before putting it in there!

Giro recommends replacing their helmets after 3 years. Their crash warranty is a discount from retail prices for the first three years. They also offer a credit toward the purchase of a larger Giro helmet for parents whose children outgrow a child model.


See Fly Racing above.

Go On Sport - GOS

Go On Sport is the first new Australian company entering the US market in years. They hoped to introduce 5 models here beginning in 2005, in the $20 to $50 range. Their helmets are inmolded, and some have two-piece full wrap shells. They are manufactured in China.

Golex (Zhuhai Golex)

Golex is a Chinese producer of bicycle, skateboard, BMX, motorcycle and other types of helmets. There are at least 24 models in their catalog. Three appear on the Snell B-95 certification list, the N6, the V10 and the V-12. They should be available in mass merchant channels, and some may find their way into bike stores.


GPR makes helmets in China to be sold under other brands. They are a large manufacturer for the European market, and have been looking to bring their lines to the US for some time. We do not have pricing for them. Their models include:


We have not seen the GT helmet line this year.

Happy Way Enterprises

This Taiwanese manufacturer has a slick looking line of Expanded PolyUrethane (EPU) helmets. All are fully inmolded models, including the D2 and the Vivid for adults and a G6 model for toddlers. They are near the $40 retail level. Adding a rear stabilizer or 3M reflective tape adds about a dollar and a half each. The EPU makes the helmet a little heavier than an EPS helmet, but some consumers like the solid feel of them. Happy Way sells mostly in Europe, but in the US they sell to importers and OEM's with their own brands. Their sizing fits 47 to 62 cm. heads.

Headstart PTY (Australia)

Once one of at least three helmet companies called Headstart. This one had nine adult models under the Gear brand name. Their web page is "under construction" with a 2004 copyright notice.

Headstart (Malaysia)

This Headstart is located in Malaysia, and should not be confused with the Canadian manufacturer called Headstart Technologies or the Australian company above. When we last heard, Malaysia's Headstart was represented by Damar in New York. We are not familiar with their helmets.

Headstart Technologies

This formerly Canadian manufacturer and user of EPP foam has moved to the US and changed its line, supplying helmets imported from China with the usual EPS liners. We have not seen their new line.

Helmets R Us (formerly Century Cycles)

This unique West Coast distributor of bicycle products has taken on the Zhuhai Safety lines labeled T-Star and Celuk to sell to dealers or non-profits at very low prices. They will fill small orders. Their models start at about $5 each, with skateboard helmets at $6.50 and downhill mountain bike helmets that look identical to major brands for just $30. See the writeup below on Zhuhai Safety for descriptions. They are mostly certified to Snell's tough B-95 standard. They have rear stabilizers and full cover shells, features almost never seen in this price range. Sizes range from 19.3 inches to 24.5 inches (49 to 62 cm).

Hong Kong Sports

HKS has five helmets on Snell's B-90 list, including the M3, M5 V-01 and two Schwinn models. They manufacture for a number of other US brands as well, some of them well known.


Hopus is a Taiwanese company with an extensive line of helmets featuring the only hard shell bicycle-style helmets we are aware of for 2006. They say their hard shells are all made with industrial grade ABS for best impact performance. Some of them have a layer of resilient foam for multi-impact performance, a feature they call SIS. Hopus also has thin-shell models, some inmolded. Their US models are all CPSC, but others may meet only CEN and be intended for the European market. Most of their models are sold with other brands on them. They have an extensive line, including:

Hopus has sizes in most models to fit 50 to 62 cm heads, but some models only go to 60 cm. This company is your best bet if you are looking for a bike-style helmet with a hard shell. You can contact them through their website to ask who sells their helmets in your market.

Integrated Helmet Technology - IHT

IHT has one model, with sharp-ridged lines and a modest rear snag point. It has a unique rechargeable Lithium ion battery system powering rear LED flashers. The lithium cell is protected from charging problems, as it should be. For some reason the company says on their web page that the LED's "give off no heat" unlike every other LED ever made. (Really powerful LED's require heat-sinking.) The battery is said to be good for 15 hours. IHT is currently selling only to public service organizations such as police, fire and EMS departments. The price is $70.


Ironman helmets are produced by Kuji Sports. For 2006 there are three models, all with rear snag points, large vents and ring fit systems. All are inmolded, making the low-end model probably a good value.

J&B Importers - JBI.Bike

J&B is an old established bicycle wholesaler with warehouses all over the US. Their products are sold in bike stores. J&B's lower cost Airius line for 2006 has models beginning at about $15 retail to about $30. The profiles tend to be the well-rounded ones we favor. Colors are solid, with some metallic finishes. Their add-on visors should run about $4 in a bike store, and are mounted with hook-and-loop. They have Airius helmet pad replacements retailing at about $3. J&B has an active program for schools and non-profits either through a local shop or direct. Their Airius helmets are made in China.


Abbreviation for Knucklebone below.

KBC Corp.

KBC has manufacturing facilities in Korea and China. They have one model on the Snell B-95A bicycle helmet standard list, the AZX. They have 14 additional motorcycle helmet models on the tough Snell M-2005 motorcycle helmet list. We have never seen the AZX model, but the KBC helmets available from dealers on the web are full-face motorcycle-style helmets for BMX selling for about $200. If you have the KBC Midnight Flame, Classic Cruiser or TK-9 model, do a search for the DOT report of failure to meet the DOT motorcycle helmet standard, dated October of 2003. That standard is much more severe than bicycle helmet standards, but if a manufacturer labels a helmet as DOT-compliant and it is not, we consider it serious. Note that unlike CPSC, DOT makes its reports public.


KED is a German company that has manufactured helmets for other brands for more than ten years, but now has its own line. Many of their models have LED flashers built into the rear, with a replaceable $3 battery/chip unit to power them for 120 hours. (We were not particularly impressed with the light output.) Their helmets with glued on shells are made with a cold-gluing process that leaves no space underneath the shell and makes the helmet look inmolded. Gluing the shells on allows them to put the strap anchors under the shell, a good feature. KED's strap adjusters tend to slip. They put a thoughtful pad under the buckle to prevent skin pinches. All models have bug mesh in the front vents. Models include:

KED's catalog has a listing of useful spare parts for their helmets, an unusual feature. It includes visors, fit pads, ring fit parts, the led battery/chip replacement, buckles and more.

Kent Bicycles

Kent is a supplier of low-cost helmets to toy and discount stores as well as bike shops, some labeled XFactor. They have adult, youth and toddler models at retail price points of $11 to $22. Their child helmet called the V9 for $11 also comes as the V9 Pro with a lower shell and nicer graphics for $17. Some of their youth and adult models are nicely rounded while others have longer overhangs in the rear. Their adult V-10 model is very smooth and round. They have a youth BMX helmet at $30 with an ABS shell and an unfortunate bolted-on visor. Kent has an "Aggressive Series" skate style helmet with a hard shell in the classic skate shape and a multi-impact EPP liner for $20 to $22 depending on finish. If it is dual certified it would be a good bike/skateboard helmet, but we have not seen one and the catalog mentions only the CPSC standard.


Knucklebone brand accessories and clothing for BMX are from Answer Products. Their "KB" branded Jumper Pro model is the familiar skateboarders profile, very smooth and round, with an EPS foam liner. The website says "Many have followed since we first introduced the Jumper, but no one has been able to match the level of protection and quality the KB Jumper helmet offers." This despite the fact that the helmet is not certified to the ASTM F1492 skateboard standard, as a number of competitors are. It has a painted and clear-coated shell that includes a chrome model and a very visible white or orange, and retails for $40. The web page (dated 2002) lists a BMX Holeshot model with a full chinbar and sliding forehead vents, and a cheaper version called the HS-1.


Kong is an Italian climbing company. (Probably named for the King Kong gorilla movie character who climbs all over the New York skyscrapers.) They have one helmet called the Scarab that goes beyond dual certified to be certified to European standards for rock climbing, skateboarding, bicycling, equestrian use and whitewater. All of those standards are easier to meet than the US equivalent, and the Scarab can't be sold in the US as a bicycle helmet unless it meets the CPSC standard, but it is an interesting concept. The Scarab has a ring fit system with dial adjustment. It appears to have external strap anchors. It is also used for spelunking. The retail price appears to be about $150.


Kryptonics is a skateboard equipment manufacturer originally founded to make skateboard wheels in 1965. Their helmets are made by Mien Yow in China. We see them in discount sporting goods stores. They are one of the companies marketing helmets that are dual certified to both the ASTM F1492 Skateboard standard and the CPSC bicycle helmet standard. Some of their helmets come with kits that include other padding for skaters.

Kuji Sports

Kuji Sports is a Chinese company whose website says they ship over 3 million helmets to the US every year, but you have not seen their brand here because the helmets are made for other companies. They have many models in bicycle styles, including toddler and full-face models. Their Reflectek line has reflective shells and should be available at big box stores like Wal-Mart, Kmart, Academy Sports, Dunham Sports, and others, some selling for under $20. Retail prices are $7.14 to $35. Kuji also produces Ironman brand helmets.


LAS (or L.A.S.) is an Italian company with a line of high-end helmets that have been made in Italy since 1974. They are available for 2006 in US bike stores with distribution handled this year by Trialtir, who have a catalog of US models. Some models available in 2005 in the US market are not being brought over here this year. LAS has some radical designs, with the emphasis on style. There are some nice bright colors available. Models include:

LAS has one additional non-bicycling helmet worthy of mention. Its Mistral model is designed for short track speed ice skating. Although the web page does not say so, some vendors here are saying that it meets the ASTM 1849 Short Track Speed Ice Skating helmet standard. Check for a sticker inside the helmet to be sure. Retail in the US is $89.

The regular LAS line can fit heads from 20 7/8" to 24"/51 cm to 64 cm. Only the Baby is sized at 45 cm.


Lazer is produced by a Belgian company, Cross HM S.A., established in 1919. Their helmets have not been well known in the US in the past, but Lazer is now marketing through Quality Bicycle Products, a major distributor to US bike shops. Their high end models have recessed external strap anchors. Lazer says their helmets meet the relevant standards of each market: Europe, the US and Australia, so some models will not be available in some markets.


Limar is an Italian brand marketed in the US by Bikeline. Their models usually have some bright color choices and nice graphics. Some of them are not available in the US market. Many of the inmolded models have unfortunate external strap anchors sticking up above the surface of the shell. Kid's models have pinch protectors on the buckle. Pricing is in a range of $5 to $10, so we cite the high end of the range, and you may find it for less. Limar has rounded out its line with helmets from other manufacturers, a common practice.

Some Limar models are available in Bianchi colors.

Limar has a 3 year crash replacement guarantee, offering a replacement helmet to the original purchaser "at a nominal fee should the Polystyrene shell of the helmet be broken in an accident while being worn." Bikemine's catalog has replacement pads, visors and chrono lenses.

Louis Garneau

Louis Garneau is a Canadian designer and manufacturer with an extensive helmet line along with many other bicycle products. Some of their helmets are inmolded. On others they use polypropylene lower sections, and some models have a molded in lower shell to protect the foam from nicks (reducing sliding resistance as well). Visors are mounted with pins.

A few of Louis Garneau models still have only partial shells, leaving EPS foam exposed. Bell pioneered that design quirk years back with its Evo Pro and eventually dropped it. We have always believed it is an inferior design technique, given the evidence that plastic slides much better on pavement in an impact than foam. (Check this link to lab test results for more on that) We would recommend steering away from those models. In fairness, Mr. Garneau points out that he has kept the foam sections slightly lower than the plastic shell-covered parts and that wrapping the shell over the squared off ribs on some models reinforces them against impact. If that reassures you, you can ignore our advice, but we think the foam will still hit the road if you hit hard enough, and there is no reason to risk that when there are lots of full plastic shells out there, including some nice ones from Louis Garneau.

For the European market, Garneau has insect mesh in the vents of some models. Some models are available without visor for $5 less. Custom team graphics or stickers are available for 2006. Some Louis Garneau models are designed for the Canadian market and may not be available in the US, but all of the ones listed below are sold here.

Louis Garneau still has a free replacement guarantee for the first year.

Lucky Bell

Lucky Bell is a Hong Kong company producing EPU helmets mostly for other brands but with their own Aerogo brand. They have 11 bicycle models, most of them round and smooth, with small to reasonable vents, nicely recessed strap anchors and visors. They include the 390, 391, 392, 393, 395, 396, 397 (with upturned rear snag point) and 399 (with diagonal ribs) for adults. There are also two skate-style models, including the 801 with vents in blue or a bright yellow and the 901 classic skate style, as well as the 991 snow sports helmet.


MET is an Italian manufacturer whose helmet line we have not seen, but they have a fine website. The comments below are vague because we are limited to the info on the web. MET has models for road and offroad biking, a BMX model, youth and toddler models and a chrono shaped time trial racing helmet. Almost all of them have snag points in the rear and the elongated shapes that we do not consider optimal. MET says their road and off-road helmets differ in the placement of the vents to optimize them for the type of riding intended, in addition to adding a visor for off road use. Most of their helmets are inmolded, and some have lower wrap around shells as well. Strap anchors are under the shell in some models, a nice touch. Logos are reflective, although generally small. The top of the line models are radically different in appearance. Their Element model is described with the line "We have not just designed a helmet and then put holes in it, we have created a helmet around the air flow." That is great advertising copy. Among others on the website, the Bad Boy and Drop Off models seemed to have very nicely rounded contours. For 2006 there are "Commuting" models, Volo and the very nicely rounded Maxtrack. The unique Parachute "Free-Ride" model has a skeleton-like removable chin guard that splits into two pieces to fit in your pack. An interesting concept, although it is hard to say how rigid it would be in a crash, and it apparently has no impact padding. There are two models for large heads, the Testagrossa and the Predatore. Both fit up to 64 cm. The chrono model is the Pac III, a long-tailed design with two vents. The Loopy toddler model is said to have a flattened rear to avoid cocking a child's head forward when sitting in a child carrier, and to be "22% stronger" because it is inmolded. Met's helmets are all made in Italy. You can order replacement visors and replacement pads directly from them through their website. We wish more manufacturers would do that, since finding replacement pads is sometimes a real challenge. MET's helmets are not available in the US and Canada. You can read their fascinating explanation for that on the website. Regarding standards, all they say is "Each and every Met helmet passes the safety standards that apply in the countries in which they are sold, EN 1078 label in Europe or AS/NZS 2063 in Australia/New Zealand for instance." They candidly say they have not designed a helmet specifically for women, but all their helmets are designed for both men and women.


Michelin, best known in the US for tires, launched a new line of helmets in 2005 in conjunction with Zefal, best known in the US market for pumps. Michelin has a network to distribute tires, lubricants and other accessories to bicycle stores, so adding helmets will help to round out their product line. Since known brands sell more helmets, they may be hoping that the well-known brand name will help. The helmets all have at least some reflective trim. The comments below are on the 2005 line, since we have not seen their helmets this year.

Mien Yow Industry

See Alpha above.


Mongoose is a supplier of a full line of bicycles and accessories targeting the "extreme sports kid," a male between 7 and 17 years of age "driven by attitude." We have not seen their line for 2006, so the comments below are for the 2005 helmets, supplied to them by PTI.

Netti - Atom

Netti is an Australian company that has been around since 1948 as a distributor of cycling goods. They say they are Australia's biggest manufacturer and distributor of bicycle clothing and helmets. We have not seen their helmets in the US market for a long time, but their website is very good about identifying the standards met, and they do have models certified to meet the US CPSC standard as well as the Australian AS2063 standard, which is in some respects more advanced than our own. Netti models for 2006 include:


Oktos is a French company selling accessories and sunglasses as well as helmets. They sponsor European racing teams. Their helmets are made in China to the European CEN standard and marketed in Europe. All appear to have taped on shells except the Aereo. They fit sizes 54 to 62 cm. We have not seen their 2006 line, but for 2005 Oktos had six models:


See Schwinn below.


Polybid is an Israeli company. They produce a unique folding helmet we reviewed in prior years under the Motorika brand name. That helmet seems to have disappeared from the US market. The last time we saw them their other helmet designs were all round and smooth, and all featured glued-on shells.

Primal Wear

(Not to be confused with Pryme)

For 2005 Primal Wear had helmets with wild graphics to go with their similarly designed clothing line. We don't find them on the website in 2006, but last year's models included:


ProRider is a supplier of BMX and bicycle helmets from China and is also the home of the CNS (Children - N - Safety) National Helmet Program, selling directly to schools and non-profit organizations. Many of their helmets are Snell-certified in addition to meeting the CPSC standard, and have the rounder, smoother shapes that are best for crashing. Pro Rider is one of only two companies with a helmet on the Snell N-94 multisport list, their "7-Vent" model. Prices are very low, in the under $10 range and as low as $4 including shipping when purchasing in large quantities for a helmet program. They will also sell to individuals at slightly higher prices but still below $10.

Pro Supergo

Pro Supergo is apparently not affiliated with the Supergo bike shops in California or with the former Supergo helmets we remember from the 1970's. The helmets are produced in Taiwan by Prowell. (See below)


Pro-Tec was one of the original skate helmet companies in the 1970's, and popularized the classic skateboard-style helmet with a round, smooth hard shell and small round vents. The company has changed hands a couple of times since then, and in 2004 they brought out an almost completely revamped line, much improved from earlier years. Pro-Tec now uses a new foam they call SXP that replaced the lower grade protection of prior years with full performance liners that are dual certified to meet both the CPSC bicycle helmet standard and ASTM F1492 Skateboard requirements. The SXP foam is a different formulation of Expanded PolyPropylene, allowing Pro-Tec to upgrade their protection while still meeting multiple impact tests without making the helmets thicker. It is a multi-impact foam, although it does lose some performance with multiple hits in the same location. We have more comments on our foam page. The helmets look exactly the same as older Pro Tec models, and Pro Tec continues to sell the older designs through skate shops, so you will have to examine them in the store for the standards sticker inside or be very careful about the model you buy. We were encouraged by the changes Pro Tec made in 2004. They supply so many helmets to the skateboard community that the long overdue improvements in their line represented significant progress. If you have an older Pro-Tec and want to stay with the brand, it would make sense to replace it with a new one now. For an alternate manufacturer using the same new foam, see Shain below.

Prowell Helmets

Prowell is a Taiwanese company producing a line of helmets in EPU foam. Several of their models are inmolded, some with lower shells as well. They generally have a high quality appearance, seeming solid (if a bit heavy) in the hand, including the F-22 introduced in 2000. It has moderate vents, but a substantial lip projecting out in the rear. Most of Prowell's models should retail for about $20. The company manufactures helmets for other brands, notably Vigor, and supplies the Pro Supergo line for Supergo.

Pryme Protective Gear

Pryme is owned by Seattle Bicycle Supply. The line has helmets for BMX, downhill racing, whitewater, snowboarding and skate use, most of them with catchy names.

Pryme has a useful sizing chart on their website. Their helmets are made in China.


Originally known as Protective Technologies International, PTI Sports is one of the largest and perhaps least known helmet producers in the US. They claimed in 2003 that their $62 million in sales in that year made them the second largest US helmet and accessory company after Bell. Their products are marketed as Schwinn, Mongoose or PTI brands through discount stores such as Target, Wal-Mart, Sam's Club and Toys `R Us, usually at prices in the $10 to $30 range. In mid-2002 PTI licensed the Schwinn brand from its current owner, Pacific Cycle USA, and have been marketing Schwinn-branded helmets since then. You will find PTI products under Mongoose above and Schwinn below. PTI had a helmet recall in 2004 involving three toddler helmet models and a total of 9,000 helmets outstanding. We have details on our recalls page.

Rage with Solo Sound System

Rage has one model, a round smooth skate-style helmet. It is certified to CPSC, with no indication that it meets the ASTM skateboard standard even though it has a skateboard on the box. This one's unusual feature is twin speakers molded into the helmet liner, with a jack at the rear to plug in your mp3, CD player or skateman. We found the music sound quality abysmal, worse than the little stuffed bears with voices inside. Fit pads cover the speakers if you are not careful. Might work ok for voice intercoms or news, and it's better than riding with your ears plugged up with earbuds. Retails for $39. Rage is produced by Gen-X Sports of Canada, bought by Huffy in 2002. In 2004 they sold the Gen-X name to produce products under the Huffy brand. Huffy filed for bankruptcy later in 2004, and we don't have further news.

Rand International

Rand sells through mass merchant channels like Kmart and Rose's. Their helmets feature Barbie and Sesame Street characters among others. They had to recall their L.A. Crusin' helmet during 2000. See our recalls page for more information.

Reevu Helmets

Reevu has had two models of a unique helmet with a built in rear view mirror in a housing that begins at the front lip of the helmet and curves back over the center to provide a wide angle mirror. The housing is made of nylon, and can be popped off to clean the polycarbonate mirrors inside. We tried one and posted a review, finding it an interesting concept but not a great helmet or a great mirror. We have not seen it for sale in the US yet, so we would steer clear of this one until there is a model that is certified to meet the CPSC standard. The company has evidently ceased to manufacture the two models, and is said to be working on a new one. In January of 2006 we found only obsolete references to the bike helmets on their website, and they are now marketing a new motorcycle helmet.


Reflectek is produced by Kuji Sports. They have one model with a fully reflective shell and another with a partially reflective shell that sell in discount stores like Wal-Mart, Kmart, Academy Sports, Dunham Sports, and others, sometimes selling for under $20. They are reasonably rounded helmets with a glued on shell, small snag point in the rear, adequate but not large vents and a ring fit system. There is also an inmolded "Pro" model too with a partially reflective shell at $40 retail, probably more often seen in bike shops. It has larger vents and a sharper rear snag point. The same reflective technology has been used on parts of two Ironman models as well. This photo probably overstates the reflectivity, but the contrast with the "normal" helmets is made evident by the camera's flash. Reflectek helmets shine in floodlight We have comments and photos of one of the Reflectek helmets on our page on reflective helmets. The Swedish company Headlight has a more extensive line of reflective helmets, but they are certified only to European standards.


REM is an Italian brand with a line of inmolded helmets. We don't see them in the US market. Models include the X-5, X-2, Spry, Delfino, Frizz, Blackride full face, Free Ride full face, R-105 toddler and two skate style helmets: the R-206 and Sport. Some of their models have vent "pipes" and some have double layer liners, with an upper cap inmolded and a softer liner below. There are air channels between the layers. Their website mentions only European standards, but says their helmets meet the standard of any country where they are sold.


Roar Helmets come from Shang Yang Industrial Co. of Taiwan and Vietnam. They have a line of nicely made CPSC-certified helmets, and their adult models are inmolded. Some have multiple shell pieces covering lower areas of the helmet. Most have modest rear snag points and recessed strap anchors. There are bright color options for each model. They have a unique strap fitting that tightens with a screw. They should all sell in the under-$50 range, but we don't have US pricing.

Rudy Project

This European manufacturer markets sunglasses and sporting attire from founder Rudy Barbazza. We are not sure which models you may find in which markets, but their US web page says the ones noted below are certified to the CPSC standard. Most have partially recessed strap anchors and some have small reflective patches in the rear. They are nice looking helmets, most with bright color options including USA red, white and blue, and some Canadian graphics with maple leaves. Models include:

Rudy Project has some interesting innovations, and perhaps they will get wider US distribution at some point. You may have seen their helmets on Tour de France riders. We have one complaint from a rider who experiences strap creep with his Rudy Project helmet and suggests you look carefully at the strap locking mechanism before buying. That would actually apply to any helmet in this review. We found that all of the samples we saw had cam locks that locked the strap very well except for the older T-Rex Ferox.

San Diego Speed

See Armor above.


The Schwinn brand is now the property of Pacific Cycle USA. In mid-2002 they licensed the Schwinn brand to PTI. We usually see them in big box stores or on the Internet at retailers like Amazon. They have some very inexpensive models, and some better ones that can be fitted well starting at about $16. Most of their adult models also have a "youth" size. The line changes periodically during any given year, and we may not be up to date on them.


Selev is an Italian company with models mostly for the upscale road rider market. They obviously make an effort to produce unique-looking designs. Most of their helmets are inmolded, and the more expensive they are, the more snag points you get on the rear. The Italian website says they meet EN1078, the European standard. Two of them are said by the manufacturer to fit rounder Asian heads better than others. Selev has a truly unique page explaining with painstaking honesty their failure to deliver a chromed model. Their models include:


Despite the Euro-sounding name, Serfas is a US-based company, known for grips and for saddles, where Serfas must have learned that there should be actual differences between men's and women's models. All Serfas helmets have a ring fit system that accommodates sizes from 52 to 63 cm. Their helmets are made in China. This year's lineup includes: Serfas has a one year crash replacement policy, through the dealer.

Seven 20

Seven 20 is a skate brand. They have one skate-style helmet made for Mosa Sports (Pro Tec) in China. The ones we have seen are certified only to a European standard, EN 1385. Retail is about $25, but we have seen them at Sports Authority and Modell's for $15. Not recommended for bicycle riding because it is not certified to the CPSC bicycle helmet standard. Not recommended for skateboarding because it is not certified to the ASTM F-1492 skateboard standard.


Shain (pronounced "shine") is an established Italian brand that was new to the US market in 2004. In 2005 they began using a new foam they call Re-Up, or "Tau Multi Impact Technology." Their unique catalog courageously includes results of lab tests that show their helmet handling four hard impacts in the same spot before registering over 300g. That is not true multi-impact performance, but a lot closer to it than any standard EPS helmet can manage and is similar to the testing for ASTM's F1492 skateboard standard. Under normal bicycle use you would not have to throw the helmet away after the first impact, so even if you ride a lot this helmet should be good for five to ten years of normal crashes. This is the same foam formulation that Pro Tec is using for some of its skate helmets. All of Shain's helmets meet the US CPSC standard.

Shain has another wrinkle as well, supported by data published in their catalog. They have added an inner shell to some of their standard EPS helmets, and claim that it permits EPS to withstand two hits in the same spot. Inner shells are not a new idea--Louis Garneau and others have had them for years--but Shain is the first to claim that they can meet standards with two hits at the same spot due to the inner shell. We have a page on helmet foams.

Shain helmets have some European features like bug mesh in the forward vents on some models. All are inmolded except the toddler helmet. They have the best strap fittings we have seen, the Duraflex 2, holding their setting despite any combination of pulling and tugging we could devise. They also have reflective logos, a feature we appreciate even though the logos are too small to add much to the cyclist's visibility at night. Shain has an extensive line, but not all are available in the US. The line includes:

Shenzhen Hezhen Bicycle Inc.

A Chinese manufacturer located in Shenzhen. We have not seen their line, but they have informed us that they produce 15 models, including some BMX style with fiberglass shells and some rated as bicycle/skate helmets. They say they export to 20 countries, including the US, but we don't know what brands they manufacture for.

Shenzhen Qukang Industry Development

Although we have not seen their 2006 line, this Taiwanese manufacturer makes both EPS and EPU helmets. Their EPU helmets are inmolded, and they attempt to assuage the environmental concerns about EPU on their site. The styles are well-rounded, but vents look small. They have a fiberglass BMX model. We don't have current pricing. You may see their helmets with other brands on them.


SixSixOne is primarily a BMX and skate equipment company. They have bicycle, BMX/Downhill and skate style models in their line. They seem to have many dealers in the UK. We were disappointed that they dropped their All Ride model this year, but you can buy it this year as the Limar 801, and a very similar helmet is being sold by Vcan as their S-22C.

Smith Safety Gear - Scabs

Smith is a supplier of skateboard protectors and other gear. Their skateboard helmet is a classic Pro-Tec style with the small round front vents, and squishy EVA foam. It is not certified to the CPSC standard, and not recommended for bicycling. Carries the Scabs brand, a name that may resonate with 'boarders. It retails for $33 or less. We don't know what standard it may meet. The Scabs brand also appears on the Ricks Thorne Signature Pro Model, which is certified to the CPSC standard for bicycling and promoted as a BMX helmet. Available in visible white in addition to the standard dark colors. The two are similar, so check for the CPSC label if you want a helmet for bicycling. If you need a skateboard helmet, look for one that meets the ASTM F1492 standard instead, or one of the dual certified models.

Solid (Headlight Helmet AB)

This Swedish manufacturer has adult and child helmets under their Solid brand with reflective outer shells in silver, yellow, red, blue and black. The silver and yellow would probably be a lot more reflective than the blue and black, but they say all of their helmets meet the Swedish standard for reflectivity, even after ageing. The site mentions only European standards. Shell designs are well-rounded, with minimal rear snag points.


Specialized is one of the major U.S. helmet manufacturers sold through bike shops and a supplier of a wide range of bicycles and components. All of their adult bicycle-style helmets are inmolded. They have the straps in one model attached directly to the interior nylon and carbon fiber reinforcing, eliminating the nasty external strap anchors found on some competitors' high-end helmets. They also have a "U Turn" strap junction piece with a flip tab lock that they claim will eliminate strap creep. We found it slipped too easily on at least one of their models. Most of the models below are available in a women's color scheme. In addition to the CPSC standard, many Specialized models are certified to Snell's older B-90 bicycle helmet standard, and the Deviant and Deviant carbon to the B-95 standard, slightly tougher than CPSC. Specialized is the last major US bike helmet maker to use Snell certification. They have also now certified the Deviant and Deviant Carbon to the ASTM downhill mountain biking standard, F1952.

Specialized is one of the few manufacturers who make available after market pads and visors. You can find them on their website under spare parts.

Specialized will provide a 20% discount voucher for any crashed helmet, but requires proof of purchase and may substitute another helmet if the one that was crashed is no longer available.


Spiuk is a Spanish supplier of a wide range of bicycles, components and clothing. They have some nice bright color combinations on all models including team graphics. Their models for this year include: We do not know anything about what standards the Spiuk products might meet.


Sportcraft (Sportscope) has one basic model, introduced in mid-year 1999, constructed of thick segments of foam closely connected by an inner mesh and able to flex slightly. It may help those with a rounder Asian head who find that most US-made helmets feel like they have corners inside. During 2003 the Sportscope brand was apparently sold to Sportcraft, a different company entirely despite the similarity in names. You can find the helmets on the Sportcraft website. There is at least one model with a "Lighted Jewelry Design," that runs on AAA batteries and is motion-activated, but we have not seen it. In fact, we are not seeing the Sportscope/Sportcraft helmets around any more in the US market, although their website is still up.


Star Helmets (formerly Zhuhai H.N.Z. Star Safety Helmets), located in Zhuhai, China, produces a number of models under the Star Sport brand. Some are certified to the tough Snell B-95 standard, but we are unable to match the model numbers, so check the Snell list for details. Most should sell in the $10 to $20 range in the US market, with the BMX models around $65 and ski models probably in the same range.

Strategic Sports

Strategic Sports produces helmets for a number of U.S. and European companies with the company's brand, and have informed us that they rank among the world's largest helmet producers, with annual sales in the millions of helmets. For 2006 ten of their helmets appear on Snell's list. We have comments on models under a number of other brands in this review, but you are not likely to see a Strategic Sports brand name, since they avoid publicity.

THE Industries

THE is one of Vigor's brands, best known for its mountain bike fenders. In 2006 the company added helmets to its product line, with two helmets from Vigor Sports:

Tung Kuang / Tong Ho Hsing (THH or TKLI)

TKLI sends its line to the U.S. through Trans National Trading Company of Vernon, California. In China they are known as Shanghai Tung Kuang, or in Taiwan as Tung Kuang I Light Industry Co. Ltd., appearing on the Snell certification list as Tung Kuang I. They market their own Alltop and Allpro brands, but also produce helmets for other companies under different brand names. Their EPS models are probably all made in China and have taped-on shells, while the EPP models would come from Taiwan and may be inmolded. Most of their designs feature the round, smooth shapes that we prefer, but some of the models have vents that we would find too small for summer use in the US. Their 2005 models include: STKI also produces helmets for other uses, including military, baseball, motorcycle, equestrian, football and snow sports.

Trek USA

Trek supplies a wide line of bikes and accessories to dealers, and their helmet graphics are designed to complement your Trek bike. Some models have reflective panels. Their line for 2006 includes inmolded models made here and taped-on shell designs made for them in China. Most have ring fit systems. Trek is one of the few suppliers who raised their prices during 2005, by $10 for all models.

Trek has a one year free replacement policy for crashed helmets.


Troxel is a long-time producer of bicycle components that still markets some bicycle helmets under other brands, formerly producing for GT, and now known as SafeTech. We have not seen their line for 2006, but they have four models on the website, including toddler, youth, skate and adult models. Troxel is better known for their equestrian helmets.

Troy Lee Designs

Troy Lee is a motorcycle helmet and gear manufacturer with a BMX line known for rad graphics. Their top of the line $375 D2 Carbon model has exposed carbon fiber mesh in a sunken rear section, a style quirk that we would avoid. The $295 D2 Composite has a fiberglass shell with kevlar and carbon fiber reinforcements. Troy Lee pioneered the bolted-on BMX visor, claiming that the plastic mounts in the helmet will pull out when the visor is snagged. Unfortunately there is no standard for testing that, and nobody will do it for you at the bike shop or bike show, either, so we regard the visors as potential snag points. The D2 fits heads from 53 to 62 cm (21 to 24.5 inches). Troy Lee will replace helmet liners after a crash if the shell is not damaged.


This Swiss company sells a TSG skate helmet in the US in the classic skate style. It is advertised as certified to EN1078 and CPSC, both bicycle helmet standards. Unfortunately this year TSG dropped the very visible fluorescent yellow and orange. For 2006 they added a new Evolution model at $64 with small rectangular vents. It comes in a "rubber finish" model that we would avoid as a novelty that may not slide as well on pavement as the regular ABS shells do. TSG had to recall one of their models during 2000. See our recalls page for details. Note that the company has a snowboard helmet that is very similar in appearance but has a rear goggle strap anchor. We don't know what standard it may be certified to, so for bicycle use be sure a TSG has a label inside that says it complies with the CPSC standard.

TSG has a matched set that includes a helmet and protective pads for skate park rental programs. To deter theft, the helmet and pads are the same unusual blue. The helmet has "Rental" woven into the strap and on a prominent decal. The pads have "rental" on them as well, and are supplied in a "super durable/washable" material. We do not understand why this idea has not been developed by a bicycle helmet manufacturer, preferably with an easy-to-clean interior to prevent passing lice to the next wearer. It is possible that renters don't want a helmet that says "Rental" on it, or possible that some would steal it for the same reason!

TSG has a free crash replacement policy. Their helmets are made in Taiwan by Kar Cen.

Tung I Hsing

See THH above.


Ultrawheels is a supplier of skateboard equipment. They have been marketing a skateboard helmet that appears more like a very smooth-profiled bike helmet, with few but very large vents. It is plain black and smooth like a skate helmet, but elongated like a bike helmet. It is now available at bargain prices around $7 plus shipping from Internet sources such as Amazon. The Ultrawheels brand was acquired in 2005 by Lifestyle Brands, Ltd of Toronto, a company that according to the website is seeking to license the brand elsewhere. That could explain the bargain price of the closeout helmets.


Uvex is best known for its optical products. They introduced their helmet line in the US market in late 2002. The helmets are designed and made in Germany, and all of them are inmolded using Bayer's polycarbonate material. The have reflective logos, nicely recessed strap anchors and front vent mesh for insect protection. They have a unique buckle that uses a ridged tab that inserts and zips in, that we have only seen on Abus and Uvex helmets. It is adjustable with one hand while riding, particularly useful to take out slack as you sweat and the strap loosens. All of their helmets have a ring fit system with a dial adjuster. For 2006 the line includes:

Variflex - VFX

Variflex is an importer of helmets selling mostly skate equipment, scooters and accessories through mass merchant channels such as Sears, Target, and Toys R Us. For 2006 they have a line of skate, bike and toddler helmets under the brands Maple, VFX Gear, World Industries, Shrek and Nickelodeon. We have not seen them and do not have their retail pricing. Variflex had to recall their X-Games Aggressive and some of their TSG models during 2000. See our recalls page for more information, and see TSG above. They bill a number of their models as "multisport" helmets, but the website mentions only the CPSC bicycle helmet standard. One of their skate models is a unique licensed Spongebob Squarepants model in bright yellow called the Spongehead. Unfortunately there is no adult size.


Vcan is produced by Shanghai Hehui Safety Products, and includes a line of helmets that vary from beautifully rounded and smooth to angular with very large rear snag points. Some are inmolded. Price points run from $9 to $30 or $40 retail, and there are some nice designs at that modest level, including strap anchors that are recessed or internal on all models. All are ring fit. Most are sold under other brands. Their most notable model is the S-22C. It is a round, smooth design that is well vented and looks as good as the elongated models. It is very similar to the Limar 801, but the sample we have has only a CEN sticker in it. Vcan also has skate and snow helmets, including a new ski helmet for 2006 in a striking woodgrain finish. Vcan wood-grain helmet

Vigor Sports - VSI

Vigor Sports (Hong Jin Cycle Corp.) is a Korean company with a large and varied line of helmets, some made for them by other companies. They have some EPU "double impact" foam helmets as well as more conventional EPS. Their models that are not inmolded have a band of 3M reflective tape around the shell edge, a nice feature seldom seen in this price range. The black tape is not 3M's most reflective product, but it represents a substantial additional cost and an effort to make the helmets safer that we wish more manufacturers would adopt. See our cautionary note below about their skate helmets. Some of their models have strap fittings that lock very well. Most are ring fit, and all but two of the adult models have visors. Vigor made many changes in their line for 2006.

Vigor's crash replacement policy provides a replacement of the same helmet or another current one at 30 per cent off of retail cost for the lifetime of the helmet.

W Helmets

W Helmets (alternately referred to as Team Wendy) has one unique BMX/skate helmet for 2006, the Ripper 2. It has the classic smooth skate shape and small round vents. The small and medium sizes are dual certified and recommended for bicycling, skateboarding, rollerblading, skiing, mountain biking and snowboarding. It has a hard polycarbonate shell, a round, smooth shape and minimal vents with mesh protectors. There is a model with optional vent covers for winter use. The helmet is made with a unique foam liner they call Zorbium, designed to flex slightly in lighter impacts to cushion more, but stiffen up in heavy impacts to avoid bottoming out. The technical term for that is "rate sensitive foam." The foam produces a true multi-impact helmet. It also absorbs sweat like no other foam we have ever used, and gets very heavy when wet. The W Helmets website says their helmets are certified to the CPSC adult and child standards as well as the ASTM F2040 standard for snow sports and the ASTM F1492 skateboard standard. Size large has been pulled from the website, but small and medium are still available, and if the heat and weight and sweat build-up do not bother you, this is a versatile helmet. There is a ring fit system with a dial adjustment. Weight is supposed to be 500 to 550 grams (heavy for a bicycle helmet) but our large sample actually weighed 670 grams when dry, or about a pound and a half. Retail price is $79 for the adult model and $69 for the youth model.

World Industries

World Industries is a skateboard company with a line of skateboard helmets that are certified to the CPSC bicycle helmet standard. Models include the Skullbo, Rockstar, Battle Helmet, Black Metal Helmet and Heavy Metal Helmet. The helmets they sold from October, 2000 to May 2001, imported by Variflex, were recalled. We have a page up with the details. World Industries also markets Banshee helmet earphones that you attach to a skate helmet or snow sports helmet. "No more having your headphones come off your head when you fall."


See Kent International.

YoLite Industrial Co.

YoLite supplies reflective helmets from China in quantities of 3,000 or more. They say that the entire surface of the helmet is reflective. We have not seen them and the website does not have them listed, so we do not know what standards they might meet. At the consumer level they would probably have a different brand name.


Zefal helmets appear in the US under the Michelin brand.

Zhuhai Golex

See Golex above.

Zhuhai Safety

This Chinese manufacturer (Zhuhai Hindun Safety Helmets, also Zhu Hai Safety Helmet Manufacture Co. Ltd and Zhuhai USA Safety) has an extensive line of bicycle and BMX helmets. Most are sold by others under their own brands, including some of the best-known in the US, with others labeled with the Caluk or T-Star brand. Their numerous adult, youth and toddler models feature both nicely-rounded and sharply-edged shells. Some are inmolded, and some have lower shells. Their Series 08 model is on Snell's B-95 bicycle helmet standard list. One of their helmets made for Bell was recalled for a strap anchor problem in 1995, but there have been no further recalls of their products. Sizing runs from 49 cm/19.3 inches for the smallest to 64 cm/25.2 inches for the large. Zhuhai Safety helmets are provided at low prices for helmet promotion programs through Helmets R Us (above).

Zhuhai Star Safety

See Star Helmets above.

This article is frequently updated during the model year.

Index to Manufacturers