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Bicycle Helmets for the 2014 Season


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Current year here



Summary: Our review finds no radical safety improvement this year that would compel you to replace your current helmet, although new and promising technology is finally coming to the marketplace. Almost all of the helmets described below meet standards and offer good if not excellent protection. We have tested a sample of cheap and expensive helmets and found no real performance differences by price. We recommend looking for a helmet that fits you well and has a rounded, smooth exterior with no major snag points.


Trends New Models Descriptions by Brand Index by Brand




There are new models in 2014 that are worth a look if you need a new helmet. The trend continues toward the compact, rounder, smoother profile that we think is best when you crash. But there is still no verifiable major advance in impact performance, ventilation or wearability this year that would compel you to replace your current helmet.

A slip-plane addition to some helmets exploded in the market in late 2014 when Bell bought a large chunk of the MIPS patent holder company. Other manufacturers have quickly followed. We still regard MIPS as unproven technology unless you have a helmet that couples so closely to your head that you can't move it. Your scalp is nature's MIPS. We have more on that on our MIPS page.

Almost all of the helmets listed below meet national or international standards and offer good protection, although some standards are tougher than others. For the US market the CPSC standard is required by law for any bicycle helmet. Without comparative test data we usually do not know if a particular model exceeds the requirements of the standard and offers superior protection. Most of them probably do not, except those that provide additional coverage. There are unpublished indications that the lightest and thinnest helmets do not perform well when impact levels exceed those required by the CPSC standard.

Highlights for 2014


Some Interesting New Models


Extended coverage models


Many companies are now producing chunky "mountain style" helmets with the appearance of enhanced rear coverage. The first we saw five years ago was a Toby Henderson design, the THE F-14. He followed that up with his 2011 THE F-20 (on the left below), marred only by a useless rear spoiler.

Many others now have similar models, including the Acclaim Recon XC, Azonic Exile, BBB Varallo, Bell Stoker, Bell Super, Etto Champery MTB, Fox Flux (with another useless spoiler), Giant Realm, IXS Trail RS, Mavic Espoir, MET Parabellum, POC Trabec, Pro-Tec Cyphon, Scott Mythic, Shred Short Stack, SixSixOne Recon, Triple Eight Compass and Vigor Sports Draco. All are worth a look if you want a helmet with more rear coverage like a skate helmet, but big vents for bicycling. In addition to the extended coverage there is a fit advantage, since helmets with lower rear coverage are less likely to ride up in front to expose your forehead, and are generally easier to fit well. They may be the answer if your helmet seems to perch way up on top of your head.

THE F-20 helmet Realm helmet Fox Flux helmet POC helmet Cyphon helmet Recon helmet Note, however that not every helmet in this style actually has additional rear coverage. Manufacturers know that many buyers are looking for that, so they are designed with the L shape from the side, but when you put on many of them and position them correctly on your head the "additional coverage" disappears as the front edge comes down to your brow line. We refer to all of them as "has the appearance of additional coverage" below, and you have to verify on your own head whether or not they actually work out that way when correctly positioned.


Rounder, Smoother Helmets


We recommend smooth helmets that do not have points to snag when you crash. The selection of well-rounded models is extensive for 2014, including:

Consumer Reports Picks


We recommend checking Consumer Reports for the only available brand and model recommendations based on actual test lab results. Their most recent helmet article for adults appeared in the July, 2012 edition of their print magazine, and rated 13 models. Only two rated above average in impact protection: the Bontrager Solstice Youth from Trek and the Specialized Echelon. In addition to those two, CU checkrated the Bontrager Circuit, Louis Garneau Baristo and Bell Array. Two of the tested helmets were rated Poor for impact: Nutcase Streetsport 8 Ball and Bern Brighton, indicating they probably did not meet the CPSC impact tests. (Nutcase has since revamped their line.) The full report including ventilation ratings and more is available to subscribers or through your local library.

Value Helmets


Many manufacturers have quality inmolded helmets priced in the $30 to $40 range. That includes the Bell Piston, Bell Impulse/Deuce ($25 at discounters), Casco Ventec, Cratoni Xenon, Eleven81 Open Road, Giant Talos, Giro Transfer, J&B Commuter, Kali Chakra, Lazer X3M and Tempo, Louis Garneau Olympus and Arcterus (XXL), Scott Watu, Specialized Align, Uvex Viva, and the Vigor NOX and Fast Traxx.

There are many, many more very decent inexpensive helmets on the market that are not inmolded. We can't list them all. In the US we are fortunate to have a mandatory national standard for bike helmets ensuring at least the minimum impact performance level, whatever the price. Our sampling with lab tests showed that cheap and expensive helmet performance was very similar.

Bell's True Fit models produce a good fit with minimal fiddling in some competitively priced helmets found in discount stores.

Extra Large Helmets


See our page on helmets for very large heads.

Extra Small Helmets - XXS size


The smallest helmets advertised are for 44 cm (17.3 inch) heads. We have a page with brands, explaining why it is difficult to find tiny helmets.

Helmets for Rounder Head Shapes


If your head is the rounder shape often associated with Asian parentage, a few manufacturers in the US market have models they have identified as providing a good fit for rounder heads. Most are using a different pad set in an otherwise standard helmet. We have more details on our page on fitting rounder heads. You can search the rest of this page for "Asian heads" to find some current models.

Helmets for Narrow Heads


At least two manufacturers have identified for us their models for longer, narrower heads: Cratoni and Lazer. In addition, riders have said that the Lazer Genesis/Helium fits their longer head better. (The Genesis was also praised by one user with a rounder Asian head.) TSG and Bell have helmets with a segmented liner that they say can adapt to narrow heads. With most other helmet manufacturers expect you to fit narrow heads with thick side pads.

Downhill Mountain Bike Racing Helmets


More manufacturers now have helmets certified to the ASTM F1952 Downhill Mountain Bike Racing Helmet standard, including Bell, Kali, Pro-Tec, Pryme, Scott, Specialized, Triple Eight, Troy Lee and Vigor Sports. Coverage and impact requirements are tougher than the CPSC bicycle helmet standard. Note that these still fall short of the impact protection offered by the motorcycle helmets used by some downhill racers.

Hard Shell Bike Helmets


Some riders still prefer a hard shell bike helmet for road or trail riding. The only real bicycle helmet design from a major US manufacturer is the Pro-Tec Cyphon. Alpha has at least one model as well, and the Spiuk Rasgo comes close. If you can make do with small vents there are many skate style helmets with hard ABS shells that are designed to meet the CPSC bike helmet standard and have CPSC stickers inside.

Folding Helmets


There are more folding designs available or coming to market in 2014, spurred in part by the need for them by users of shared bicycle programs. There is at least one new folder that meets the CPSC standard for sale in the US, the Closca. We have a page up on folding helmets.

Chrono or Time Trial Helmets


Chrono models are the long-tailed or super-round time trial helmets designed only for pursuit racing and time trials. Many are unvented, and the shape does not make sense for normal road riding. You will know you need one when your coach says so. See our page on chrono models for more detailed writeups on them.

"Women-Specific" Designs


Most women-specific designs differ only in colors and graphics from the "male" helmet model they are based on, but some of them are lovely helmets. Ponytail ports are usually limited to small spaces above the rear stabilizer. Many helmets will take a good three-to-four fingers of ponytail if you are willing to thread it through every time you put your helmet on and take it off. A few of the others who claim "ponytail compatibility" are noted below. Many riders find it better to wear their ponytails lower down on the head while riding or tuck the hair up under the helmet to keep it off their neck in summer. Manufacturers of hat-style helmets, including Bandbox, Yakkay and Casqu' en Ville, normally have female fashion designs among their covers. The hats could be a snagging hazard, but there is no test in the CPSC standard for snagging. See our page on hat-style helmets for more.

Giro's 2013 catalog had an unusually frank statement on the subject: "What about fit for women? - While it is obvious that anatomical differences between men and women can dictate different patterning and fit for many items worn on the body, the head and skull are somewhat unique. When measuring men and women's heads, there is no significant difference in the skull shape, location of skull features or the scale of the ears, eyes and nose between men and women." Written, of course, by a person with no pony tail. Some other manufacturers just say their helmets are made for men and women.

Bern is almost unique among the manufacturers in this writeup for making different helmets for women. Their women's models are not just pastel color and graphics changes, but different helmets made with different molds. Sizes are smaller, but there is more room for hair. Some Specialized models have more space for ponytails in women's models, created by reducing the EPS liner profile in the rear and narrowing the rear stabilizer.

Skateboard helmets


The "skateboard" helmets now on the market in big retail stores are almost all bicycle helmets in the classic old school skate style that Pro-Tec made popular decades ago. They have small vents, but their impact protection is designed for bike riding if the sticker inside only certifies that they meet the CPSC bike helmet standard. Most have better rear coverage than bike helmets do, and are more stable on the head because of that.

If you need a multi-impact helmet for aggressive, trick, extreme skating or skateboarding with frequent crashes, look for a true multi-impact skate model meeting the ASTM F1492 skateboard helmet standard. We have a page listing helmets certified to both standards, the ideal. Dual certification to bike and skateboard standards is the biggest advance in skateboard helmets in recent years, denoting verified superior protection.

Made in USA Helmets


Some consumers ask us where to find a helmet made in the US, or in another country. We have a page up on where helmets are made.

If you are outside the US


In most markets you will find helmets that meet your national standard, or the European EN1078 standard, and at least some that meet the US CPSC standard. The European bicycle helmet standard can be met with thinner impact liners and a less protective helmet than the helmet required to meet the US CPSC standard. (We have a comparison page up.) Some European helmets may exceed the CEN standard by a wide margin and pass CPSC, but unless identified with a CPSC sticker inside you will not know that. Major US brands often produce less protective models for the European market to make them a little bit thinner, lighter and better ventilated so they can be competitive there. For that reason you can not just judge by the brand or even the external appearance of the helmet, and must check the sticker inside. The Australian standard is comparable to CPSC, so US manufacturers usually market the same models there. Canada has its own standard, but it is similar to the CPSC standard and most models sold there are US models.

Cooling performance


We have no ventilation test results on any of the helmets listed below, and there is no generally recognized ventilation testing method or standard. So our comments on ventilation are just an indication. We try to report findings by others on cooling, even though we have no confidence in most of them. A study done years ago indicated that ventilation is basically determined by the size of the front vents. But in wind tunnel testing the angle of the head shows up as critical, with huge performance differences when the angle moves as little as two degrees. That means cooling can vary enormously for different riders. We don't recommend that you make any purchasing decisions based on our comments on ventilation. Our focus is on impact protection.

Prices


Although we don't calculate averages, manufacturers' suggested retail prices seem to be a little higher than last year. Some are adjusted up or down every year, but we have seen more upward adjustments in 2014. Whatever the MSRP is, competition forces many street prices lower, particularly on high end models. The lowest prices in discount stores in the US market have increased now to a range of $10 to $18, and are mostly in the $20 to $35 range. In bike stores where you can get help with selection and fitting you would expect to pay more, and the prices generally start about $35 and go up as high as you want. For many buyers we think the fitting service is well worth the extra you pay in a bike store. For an idea of what the lowest prices would be without any fitting help you can check Ebay or the Internet retailers, but be sure to include the shipping charges to compare. Prices in markets outside the US are generally higher at current exchange rates, particularly in Europe.

What We Did Not Find Again This Year


Here is an index to our reports for past years.


The Helmets


If no other information is in the writeup for each brand or model, these features are assumed: We have a page on helmet types with longer descriptions.

Many helmets have a rear stabilizer wrapping around the back of the head, but we note those only if they have some unusual feature. Stabilizers add some stability and comfort but are not part of the retention system and are not tested for strength in labs certifying helmets to standards. They can not substitute for careful strap adjustment, although you may think you have adjusted the helmet correctly because it seems more stable. With a hard blow the helmet can still be knocked out of position or even fly off if the straps are not adjusted correctly.

We note the largest and smallest sizes available where relevant, and any bright colors. Prices are the Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price, the price you might pay at your local bike shop with fitting services included. Discount store and Internet pricing is usually lower. There are often deals on closeouts of prior year models.

We have a page of definitions for most of the terms used below in addition to the page explaining helmet types.

You can find additional info on each of the helmets below at the manufacturer's site. Many of them are also demonstrated on YouTube videos.
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Brands and Models



Abus


Abus is a German company also known in the US as a manufacturer of locks. 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, but it provides strap adjustment every time you fasten it and would be easy to tighten with one hand when your strap loosens from sweat on a ride. (Few riders would think to do that.) Their rear stabilizers are also adjusted by a ratchet device. Visors mount with breakaway pins. Some models have bug net in the front vents. The company's philosophy on vents and safety is summed up: "The more air openings a helmet has, the harder the absorbing material must be to compensate the weight saved. However, the protection level suffers thereby. The challenge is to find the best solution for a fresh head and good shock absorption." We agree with that, but some models below raise questions. Abus has a "universal" rain cap in neon yellow that covers the whole helmet without vents. We don't have an Abus price sheet, so prices below are from websites. Abus gives a separate name to the visor version of its models, and we don't always figure that out. Abus is bringing their brand to the US market soon. bicycle helmets include: In the past, Abus models have been certified only to European standards and were not sold in the US. At least some models will be available in the US market soon. Sizes run from 45 to 63 cm (17.7 to 24.8 inches).


Action Bicycle - Acclaim helmets


The Acclaim line of helmets produced for Action Bicycle includes the Metro, a nicely rounded design with a ring fit system that still has some elongation in the rear. Action has models from other manufacturers as well.


Action/Senhai


Action and Senhai are both brands produced by Foshan Senhai Sporting Goods in China. They have a wide range of bicycle and skate helmets. Their models are mostly sized between 48 and 61cm, but one large one goes up to 64cm. Although the catalog says "Most products are issued with CE, GS and TUV certification," Senhai is marketing in the US, so must be planning to produce CPSC-certified product as well.


Aegis Helmets


Aegis is a Taiwanese company with an extensive line of helmets, who recently began using their brand Aegis rather than Hopus as the company identifier. They are known for innovative construction techniques. 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. Aegis also has thin-shell models, some inmolded, and a unique fiberglass model that is inmolded. Some have stainless steel bug net in the vents. Their US models are all CPSC certified, but others may meet only CEN and be intended for the European market. Most of their models are sold with other brands on them, but in 2010 Aegis launched their own Aegis brand. In 2009 Aegis had introduced a unique halo lighting system that uses LED's to light a 30 cm diameter ring around the helmet, on an inmolded model that retails for a very modest $20 to $40. We found the light output of the halo ring disappointing. Aegis now sells mainly in Europe. They use dual-density liners, making the helmet lighter and perhaps improving low impact performance. Aegis has sizes in most models to fit 50 to 62 cm heads, but some models only go to 60 cm.


Aerogo


See Lucky Bell below.


AGV


See Fox below.

AGV has one five star motorcycle helmet among those tested and ranked by the British government's SHARP project, the only ranking system of its kind.


All Pro and All Top


See Tung Kuang below.


Alpha Helmets


Alpha helmets have previously been found in the US under two other 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 very well-rounded Argo Nuts 2 with an ABS hard shell and a flashing LED taillight built in. They have skate and toddler models as well. The manufacturer says their retail prices run mostly in the $20 to $25 range. Alpha also makes hockey, ski and batting helmets.


Angeles


Angeles is primarily a tricycle and baby buggy manufacturer. We have not seen their trike helmets in person, but the Angeles Toddler Trike Helmet is available from Best Price Toys at $22 to $30 and is among the smallest toddler helmets on the market, designed for heads as small as 45.7 cm (18 inches). It is advertised as meeting both the CPSC standard and the Snell B95A standard, but we were unable to identify it among those on the current Snell certification list. As of December, 2013, the Best Price Toys site still includes an incredible statement: "Safety Tip: For maximum protection, CPSC recommends replacing after 1 year of use." Whoever wrote that should be ashamed--CPSC has never made that recommendation.


Armor


This Armor is the brand distributed by SDS Skateboards in the US. They have a skate model with the usual hard ABS shell that comes as the Youth Series, Old School Series and Graphic Series. It is the classic skate shape with small vents and CPSC certification, but is not certified to the ASTM F1492 skateboard standard. There are some bright, very visible colors along with drab camouflage. Retail runs from $20 to $35. You can ignore the statement that their helmets use "high density ABS foam." That's the shell material, not the foam. And the ace skateboarders in videos on the SDS page don't have a helmet on, either. See below for a second Armor. We don't know if they are related.


Armor Manufacturing Corporation


This Armor is a brand of kid's helmets. The web address is vikingxkids.com.


Ascent


Ascent helmets are made in Taiwan, and sold in the US market by Performance and Bike Nashbar. There are at least five models, none of which we have seen. Some are inmolded, others have less expensive glued-on shells. Retail prices start at $20 plus shipping. The Strada at $40 has more radical lines and rear point.


Azonic
See O'Neal below



Bandbox


Bandbox makes hat-style helmets. They use a compact basic helmet with small round vents, and sell separate covers that disguise it as a hat. They are more hat-like than most similar brands. According to the company's video, they are produced as a cottage industry with a lot of manual labor, using an elastomeric foam that they say meets the CPSC standard. It is designed to be thinner than most helmets. There are models shaped like ladies hats, leather caps, cowboy hats and many other styles, all hand-made and all with the same small vents in the crown. The hats could be a snagging hazard, and according to the website they are attached securely enough to withstand a 35mph downhill, but there is no test in the CPSC standard for snagging. See our page on hat-style helmets for more. Sized to fit heads from 18 to 24 inches (46 to 61cm). The basic helmet is $60, plus the cost of a hat add-on from $40 to $78. Bandbox helmets are made in USA.


Barbieri


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 two adult helmets and one toddler model. All are certified to European standards.


BBB


BBB (Bikeparts for Bikers by Bikers) is an aftermarket bike component manufacturing company founded in the Netherlands in 1999. They distribute a wide variety of bike parts and accessories, and have been expanding to new markets. In Europe they have 27 helmet models. Some part of their helmet line may reach the US as well. High end models have anti-bacterial pads and insect mesh in the front vents. Most have reflective rear stickers. BBB attempts to position itself as a value brand. Most BBB helmets fit heads from 52 to 62cm, with the toddler models going as small as 46cm.


Black Market Mercenary Labor


Whimsically named for its low wages, this company has one full face model for BMX that sells for $250.


Bell


Bell is still the largest company in the US bicycle helmet market. They also own the Giro brand. They have been making bicycle helmets since 1975. We spend more space on their line than most others because people want the info. In 2013 they began pushing a new action-sport, gritty, off-road and mountain bike racing image.

In 2009 Bell announced a new fit system called True Fit for some of their discount store models. It attempts to make fitting easier and more automatic, and in our testing it succeeded. You can check it out on our True Fit page. We consider it their most significant achievement in recent years. It is not available in bike stores, only discount stores like Target and Wal-Mart. For 2010 Bell brought a similar system to a few of their higher-end bike store models, including the Splash kid's model below and the adult Giro ProLight. In the bike store line it is known as One Step, and is not designed to work as well without adjustments. Help with fitting is part of what you are paying for in a bike store, after all.

All of Bell's adult and youth models are now inmolded. Their toddler helmets and their mass merchant line have taped or glued-on shells. All of the models below come in white or at least one bright color combination. We found that the straps on many Bell models would not stay in place when adjusted despite their "cam lock" side pieces, and would have to be sewn or locked with rubber bands snugged under the strap fittings to hold the adjustments, but that is a common problem.

Some Bell models have a no-pinch buckle with a tab behind it that keeps the skin from getting in while you push the two pieces together. It is now included on some adult models, presumably for seniors and others with loose neck skin.

This year's Bell models include three new ones that we think are worth a look for their smooth and well-rounded shells:

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. Models sold in Europe, even with the same name as a US model, may meet only the European CEN standard required there, not CPSC. Buyers have to check the sticker inside to be sure.

Bell's Discount Line


Bell has a separate 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 related to models from the bike store line. These cheaper versions 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 if adjusted carefully. You may need to either sew or use rubber bands under the edge of the buckles to hold the adjustments, but that is true of some of the most expensive models. The $10 models seem to have disappeared from Wal-Mart shelves. The medium-priced line starting around $20 fit better anyway. Many of these helmets are still produced in the US--millions of helmets each year--but labeled as containing US and Chinese components. Unfortunately, Consumer Reports does not even test the helmets in this line, since the model names change and go out of date by the time their article is published.

The rounded profiles we consider optimum have always persisted in this line, since they are cheaper to produce. Models include the adult Reflex, Radar, Adrenaline, Impulse (see below), Bellisima, Escape, Explorer and Shifter. The Radar/Adrenaline/Bellisima got Bell's True Fit system in 2009. Youth sizes include the Edge, Aero, Blade and Strata. The Aero and Blade also got Bell's True Fit fitting system in 2009. Child helmet models are the Star, Banter, Racer, Rex, Rival and Blaze/Bella. The Racer and Rex got the True Fit system in 2009. The Blaze has ten LED's that are run by a motion-activated circuit "for fun effects." It has the usual taped-on shell, poor strap fitting pieces that do not lock, and sells for $20. We don't know how the battery is replaced. Toddler helmets include the Sprite, Sprout, Mini, Shadow, Zoomer, Bellino and Beamer/Bling. The Beamer has the ten LED lights. The Zoomer, Bellino and Beamer/Bling got the True Fit fitting system in 2009. Many of the names are for the same model with different graphics or packaging.

Some models in the low-priced line deserve special attention. Bell recalled their Exodus full-face model in May of 2011. We have more on our recalls page. It had been sold at Wal-Mart and on Amazon. It was a youth sized helmet.

On a more positive note, the Impulse/Impulse Headphones/Vogue/Shifter-Cruiser are the same helmet in adult and youth sizes. This model has the same radically round, smooth shape of the Bell Citi. It is inmolded, a higher-quality construction technique that is unusual in the discount store series. It has reasonable vents, and the upscale camlock strap adjusters. The price will likely be right when you find it in a big box store. We found a sample at Wal-Mart in 2011 for $30 and Toys R Us also had them for $30. The Impulse is made in USA of US and Chinese components.

Bell has two more low-priced inmolded models in this line: the Escape and the Explorer in youth size. We don't know the designations in the adult size. The Escape is a compact shape model with a minimal rear point that mostly meets our rounder, smoother criterion. The Explorer has pronounced rear points. Both have the upgraded strap fittings. We don't have retail pricing for them, but it should be in the $30 range. Our local Wal-Marts usually have one of Bell's inmolded models, but the pricing is moving up somewhat.

Bell's skate-style models in this low-priced series include the Rage, Psycho, Maniac, Bike Candy, Coaster and Wicked. Again, the names designate graphics and color differences more often than model differences. Some are said by Bell to be dual certified to the CPSC bicycle and ASTM F1492 skateboard standards, at least in the medium and large sizes. They may not be dual certified in the small size.

This line sells for low prices: $20 to $40. Some models are available to non-profits in large quantities for much less than that, through an arrangement for Safe Kids International. 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.

Bell's Replacement Policy


"If your Bell cycling or Bell powersports helmet has been involved in an accident, you may be eligible for a discount on a new Bell replacement helmet." To learn if your helmet qualifies, please email us at consumersupport@bellsports.com with the below information: Picture(s) of the damaged Bell helmet, Bell helmet model and serial number, Bell helmet size and color, Bell helmet manufacture date, Your full name, Your phone number, Your shipping address."

In 2004 Bell Sports was purchased by Fenway Partners, a private-equity holding company. The Giro part of Bell was included. Through Fenway, Bell Sports in early 2005 repurchased the Bell motorcycle helmet manufacturing company that it had spun off in 1991. Then Bell merged with Riddell, known as a football helmet maker. In 2006 Riddell Bell merged with Easton Sports, and after 2007 the company has been known as Easton-Bell Sports, owned by Fenway Partners, Jim Easton, and The Ontario Teachers Pension Fund. Most consumers are probably unaware of any of those changes.


Bern Unlimited


Bern's helmets are skate or ski shaped, so they are very well-rounded except for the rigid visor on one. They usually have small vents, and only one now has enough ventilation for most riders for hard bicycle riding in warm weather. Some of them use Brock Foam, a formulation that provides multi-impact protection, but those are called hard hats rather than helmets and Bern says they "do not meet action sports head protection standards" but may work better in lesser multiple impacts to prevent concussion. Just don't hit too hard! Their catalog is very clear on the helmet liners that meet impact standards and the ones that do not. You can check the sticker inside to be sure. You have to be careful: some of Bern's models come with different liners that do or don't meet the CPSC bike helmet standard. That includes their Macon, Brentwood, Watts and Brighton models. Since they look exactly the same on the outside, you must find the standards sticker inside and be very careful about the model you buy for bicycling.

For their 2012 helmet article Consumer Reports tested the CPSC version of the Brighton, and found that it did not meet the impact performance requirements of the CPSC standard, rating it Poor.

Bern has a trademarked "Zip Mold" foam that they say uses liquid injected foam that is inmolded and is used in helmets that meet the CPSC bike helmet standard. It is expanded polyurethane (EPU) a foam in use for many years by a few Taiwanese manufacturers, and now produced by some in China as well. EPU feels so hard to the touch that it is difficult to imagine that it would manage much crash energy in lower end crashes, but it can meet the CPSC standard because there is no test at low impact velocities.

Some Bern helmets have interchangeable liners for water sports, ski and winter sport use, including underneath layers and a knit winter cap. There is a ponytail port on ladies models. There is a channel in the foam liner for glasses and a removable goggle strap clip on the rear. All models have the mount hole for the clip.

Bern is unique among the manufacturers in this writeup for making different helmets for women. Their women's models are not just pastel color and graphics changes, but different helmets made with different molds. Sizes are smaller, and there is more room for hair.

Bern's models all have hook and loop adjusted rear stabilizers, unusual in skate-style helmets. The Morrison, Allston and Diablo all have sewn side strap junctions for 2014 rather than a sliding adjustor, so make sure it fits without adjustment before buying one.

Bern's new model for 2014 is the Morrison, last year's Allston with a visor added. It is an unusual design, round and smooth with angular vents that are much larger than any other Bern model, and a unique visor that plugs into the shell with no vertical adjustment. It retails for $100, or $90 as the Allston without visor.

Other bicycle models include the Nino for kids, also meeting the CEN and CPSC bicycle helmet standards and the ASTM F2040 ski helmet standard. There is a visible white option. The girl's model is the Nina, in white and pastels. Retail is $45.

Bern's sizes range from 48 cm in the Nino model to 63.5 cm. in the Macon and Brentwood models. Those two models have three sizes of shell, with fit pads handling the intermediate sizes.

Some Bern models with EPS or Expanded PolyUrethane (EPU) "Zip Mold" liners are sold in the US market, labeled with stickers certifying that they meet the CPSC standard and the ASTM F2040 ski helmet standard. That would include the Allston, Brentwood, Berkeley, Brighton, Carbon Fiber, G2, Nino, Nina, Macon, Morrison and Watts. But the multi-impact Brock foam version of the same models would not meet CPSC. They could not be sold here as a bicycle helmet, but could legally be sold as a skateboard helmet since there is no US government standard for skate helmets. Others are certified to the CE 1385 Canoe/Kayak standard. No Bern model is listed as meeting the ASTM F1492 skateboard helmet standard, although most of them are skate style helmets made for use by skateboarders.

For rounder (Asian) heads, Bern has a special pad kit they call the "Japan Fit" kit with top pads and inserts for their "Hard Hat" models that convert them to fit rounder heads. The kit can be ordered directly from Bern. Longer heads are accommodated by adding fit pads on the sides.

The side strap adjustors on Bern helmets hold very well, among the best we have seen. They are Bern's own brand. For 2013 Bern added some bright neon colors in their line.

Retail prices for Bern's models are mostly in the $45 to $100 range, but can be much higher with options, and the carbon models are $200.

Bern will replace crashed helmets with EPS (one crash) liners for half the retail price.


Bianchi


Bianchi markets team helmets to match their bikes. They have several models, mostly available in trademark Bianchi celeste blue. The helmets are made by Lazer of Belgium, and correspond to Lazer models of the same number. We found six models on the Bianchi website, ranging from 49 to 250 euros. Two of them fit heads up to 64cm.


Biologic


Biologic has a unique folding helmet called the Pango. It was formerly marketed by Dahon in Europe. It is the most interesting design of the folding helmets we have seen over the years. It has a round, smooth profile, although the surface is a plastic mesh. Here it is unfolded: Dahon folding helmet 1 Then the sides slide up into the top. Dahon folding helmet 2 And the back folds down. Dahon folding helmet 3 Here is a YouTube clip with Biologic's Josh demonstrating the folding and unfolding, and the ratcheting fit using rear tabs, something the rider does each time. Josh's head appears to be of Asian parentage, so perhaps the Pango fits rounder heads. Fits 55 to 61 cm heads. Outer panels are replaceable. The Pango is not certified to the CPSC standard, so it is not be available in the US, Canada, Australia or New Zealand. The Pango has a visible white option, and still retails for $130 on the Biologic site. Biologic is an international company, shipping from Taiwan.


BiOS


BiOS is a French company founded by a neurosurgeon whose marketing says their helmet is based on head anatomy rather than testing to standards. Their pitch:

"The cranium comprises zones of maximum resistance called also the resistance pillars of cranium and fragile zones. Certain fragile zones are crossed by arteries located in furrows situated on the inner surface of the skull. The fractures of the fragile zones may wound the brain by intracranial haemorrhages.

BiOS is the first helmet in the world designed to distribute the impact in a way adapted to the resistance of the various zones of the head. Because of its patented anatomical design, BiOS better absorbs the energy by deviating the impact towards the resistance pillars of the cranium and thus better protecting its fragile zones."

There are few skull fractures in bike crashes if the rider is wearing a decent helmet. It is difficult to see how redirecting impact toward stronger areas of the skull could protect better against the total g forces to the brain that are causing the injury.

In addition, the helmets are claimed to be less bulky than traditional helmets. The liner is thin overall, but has a separate raised ridge of thicker, harder foam glued in, in a front to back arc that runs along the side of the head. It also has small patches of a squishy foam at the temples and in the rear, with a diamond of the same material right in the middle of the upper forehead. The only advantage we can see for that kind of liner complexity is a weight saving, at a possible disadvantage of raising the point loading on the skull in the spots where the foam is thicker and harder. The manufacturer may be betting that the skull can take more load in that area, but we would not, since impact angles vary so much, while heads move around in helmets and you can't say for sure where the harder foam will contact the skull in a real world impact. Thinner helmets have to stop the head in less distance than thicker helmets, so they stop the head faster. That's based on the laws of physics that cannot be repealed by tricky design.

Bios also maintains that the design is adapted to brain vulnerabilities and not just to skull strength.

BiOS says their helmets are for bicycling, roller skating, skateboarding, kite surfing, rafting, kayaking, jet skiing, paragliding "and other outdoor or indoor sports." The only statement we can find on their site says: "BiOS was tested in conformity with standards NF EN 1078, NF EN 1385. The results are spectacular: up to 6 times better than the requirements of the standards." There is a video clip of a BiOS helmet in an apparent CE test, with a 38g peak acceleration. That would indeed be a truly spectacular result, and about 1/6 of the permitted 250g in the test. A sample of the helmet that we bought in December of 2008 has a CEN sticker inside.

An analysis of one crashed helmet leads BiOS to say that in that particular crash, "All these numbers demonstrate that the protective capacity of the BIOS during this real impact was at least 3 x 2,5 x 5 = at least 37.5 times better than required by the standards." There is more info on their French page than the English version.

Prices on the website are reduced this year to 99 euros, plus shipping of another 10 to 21 euros. There are custom logos available for 19 euros more, reflective stickers for 10 euros, extra pad sets recommended for "intensive use" at 6 euros for a pair and a signature model for an additional 100 euros. We paid $148 US with shipping for the sample we ordered in December of 2008 before prices were lowered. It came reeking of cigarette smoke.

BiOS models fit heads from 53 to 61 cm. BiOS offers custom made-to-measure helmets designed for your head for an additional 50 euros. The site says they are custom molded, but there is no selection for a size greater than 61cm.

At the bottom of the BiOS web pages appears a small "Made in France." Bios informs us that all of the major components of their helmets are made in France.

BiOS will replace a helmet for the original owner if it is structurally damaged by a head impact for 10% to 50% of its original price depending on "the importance of the head impact." They don't explain that further on their website. The offer is valid for the Carbone and Bix for 2 years after the original purchase date, and for the Anatomic for one year.


Bontrager - Trek


Trek supplies a wide line of bikes and accessories to dealers, and their helmet graphics are designed to complement your Trek or Bontrager bike. They market the helmet line now under the Bontrager brand . All are inmolded. Some models have reflective panels. Most have ring fit systems. Many have a women's model with different colors and graphics. For 2013 Trek dropped their one urban model. Current models are: Trek/Bontrager has a one year free replacement policy for crashed helmets. They have helmet replacement parts on their website and available through their dealers, including buckles, pads and visors.


Bravo


Bravo (or "Bravo?" with a question mark added) is the house brand of Asctechs.com/El Sol Trading. They have Signature Series and Classic Series skate-style helmets in the classic skate shape. Said to be certified for bicycling, inline skating, skateboarding and snowboarding, although specific standards they may pass are not identified. If the website is to be taken at face value, it would have to be dual certified to bicycle and skateboard standards, but searching their site for "standard" did not return any hits. The helmets also have "a special moldable inside to mold the shape of your head after just a few days of wearing." We don't know what that may be. Sizing on some is given by measuring your head, but others are labeled "one size fits most." Pricing is in the $25 to $50 range, and there are some bright colors including chrome along with the usual black and moss green. For 2014, Asctechs has added an Atlas X-treme Sport model. It has unusual styling, with a round and smooth upper section seemingly grafted onto a lower slotted section in the rear. We suspect the coverage is not as good as the first impression would indicate once you level the helmet on the head. There is nothing on the website about certification for this one, but it is listed in XXL sizes to fit up to 68cm heads (US size 8 1/2, 26-3/8 inches). That would be the largest helmet available, but we can't find it anywhere on a retail dealers page, so it may not really be in the market. Asctechs has motorcycle helmets as well, labeled as meeting the DOT motorcycle helmet standard.


Bravo Sports


Bravo Sports is an importer of many types of equipment. They import helmets labeled with various brands for mass merchant channels such as Sears, Target, and Toys R Us. They have a line of skate helmets under the brands Kryptonics, Pulse, VFX Gear and World Industries. We have not seen the helmets and do not have their retail pricing.


Briko


Briko is an Italian company who began breaking into the U.S. market over ten years ago but has been slow to push its line here. All are inmolded. Most have bug net in the vents. All are listed as meeting the CEN 1078 bike helmet standard and some meet the US CPSC standard. Our retail prices are outdated. Their models include:


Cannondale


Cannondale returned to the helmet market in 2012 after a long absence. They had one standout model--the Teramo. It was the first bicycle helmet in the US market built with a cone-head dual-density foam liner. All of Cannondale's models are inmolded. We have not seen their line yet, so these comments are based on their website and emails with Cannondale staff. Cannondale helmets are made in two sizes to fit 52 to 62 cm heads.

Cannondale says their helmets meet the appropriate standard for the market where they are sold, so we would not buy one of their European models that was certified only to the CEN standard.

Cannondale will replace your crashed helmet for 50% of the retail price, but there are many requirements to meet.


Capix


Capix is a Canadian brand marketed in Canada through the Canadian Tire stores. Most of their helmets are skate-style models with ABS hard shells, but there is one inmolded bicycle model, the Hellion. It is a nicely rounded urban commuter style helmet with reasonably large vents. The side strap buckles do not hold well. Retail for the Hellion is $70 Canadian.


Carnac


Carnac, a noted French bike shoe maker, introduced its first helmet model, the Hades in 2010. The Hades is constructed with uniquely angular planes rather than flowing or aerodynamic lines. In black, it appears to be inspired by the F-17 Stealth fighter plane, itself a 25 year old design that is being phased out. The Hades is inmolded with slippery strap adjustors and a padded chin strap. Sizes fit 54 to 62 cm heads. We find little to recommend about it, unless you like the unusual style. Here is the Carnac catalog for occasions when their site is unreachable.


Carrera


Carrera is an Italian company better known for winter sport helmets. Their helmets have Italian stylishness, moderate to large rear points, large vents, and some reflective trim. All are inmolded. We don't know which models may be CPSC certified for sale in the US market. All of Carrera's models are available in bright visible colors, and have good locking side buckles on the straps.


Casco


Casco is a German company whose helmets we do not see in the US market. In addition to about a dozen bike helmet models they make helmets for equestrian, snow and firefighting use. Their Upsolute models are inmolded. They make some of the roundest, smoothest shell configurations available. Some are unique designs, but our descriptions come from the website and catalog since the only Casco model we have seen is the Warp II. Their website info on standards includes only CEN and the German DIN standard, not the US CPSC standard, probably explaining why we do not see them in the US market. Back in 2011, Casco informed us that they are looking into CPSC certification, and we hope to see them here soon.

The website says that inmolded CASCO helmets with their add-on Monocoque-Inmold are heat-resistant up to 100 degrees C (212 degrees F), a claim we have never seen before from any manufacturer. Baking EPS foam at that temperature for any period of time normally results in deterioration, with the foam eventually turning yellow and shrinking. And the only really heat-resistant shells we know of are fiberglass, not the plastic Casco is using. Casco also advertises an aluminum "roll bar" reinforcement in some models. All are apparently ring fit. Most come in two models, fitting 52 to 57 cm heads or 58-62 cm.

Casco has several models with nearly perfect round profiles and numerous vents. Those CEN-standard helmets would be worth a look if you are willing to settle for less than full CPSC protection. Our

Casco models include: Based on the Warp II sample that we have, we would like to see the rest of CASCO's line, and regret that they do not make CPSC-certified models.


Casqu' En Ville


Casqu' En Ville produces helmets in Vietnam with a plain round "liner" helmet and a cap that turns it into an urban fashion statement, a hat-style helmet. There are two basic liners and a number of caps and hats in different styles. CEN standard only, and you can order online for shipment in Europe. Prices run 65 euros for the liner helmet and 30 to 35 euros for the cap or hat to cover it, plus about 9 euros for shipping. The hats could be a snagging hazard, but there is no test in the CPSC standard for snagging. See our page on hat-style helmets for more.


Catlike


Catlike is a Spanish company named for its founder, a former bicycle racer who was known as "The Cat." All of their helmets are inmolded except the toddler model. Most of their line has been designed to the European CE standard and sold only in Europe, but in the last few years they have begun producing US models. The strap side pieces on their models slip easily, a common problem. Some of their helmets are made in Spain of Spanish and Asian components. Catlike's crash replacement policy


Closca


Closca is a new company offering folding helmets made of three concentric rings that press down on the top to make a compacted ring for carrying. The company believes that their product is more "trendy" than a sport helmet. In 2014 they notified us that their folder now has been certified to the CPSC standard, and is for sale in the US. Unfortunately it has a cloth cover rather than plastic. The covers come in various styles and have a built in visor. It retails on their website for 62 euros.


Coyle Wooden Helmets


Dan Coyle of Corvalis, Oregon, produces wooden helmets that are unique. The shell is made of wood, machined from a block of wood and treated with "HMVK Polyurea impact shielding." Some of the interiors are made of sustainable cork, but the ones that would perhaps pass a standards test are lined with conventional EPS liners. There are four models, including one shaped like a classic skate-style helmet. They are nicely rounded, with no snag points, and all have round vents. The maker says that some models will pass the CPSC standard, but he has not had a full test series done for certification. We don't know how they would test after soaking in water for 4 hours as required for the wet sample, and we don't know how you would test one-off creations when five identical samples are required for lab testing to the CPSC standard. For that reason we don't consider these as bicycle helmets. Weight could be considerable, and splintering on impact might be a hazard. The maker says the wood shell aids in impact management. They can even build to a custom size or shape. Available only from Coyle, and we have seen only photos on the web page and blog reports so far. Prices are in the $250-and-up range, depending on choice of wood and liner.


Cratoni


This German company has an extensive lineup. Some of their models are for Europe, while others are also available in the U.S. market and meet the CPSC standard. All of their helmets are inmolded. All have at least some reflective trim. The company has developed a bright red 6 LED flasher that can be added to the rear stabilizer of any Cratoni helmet for $15. Cratoni's strap fittings seem to hold better than many other manufacturers, including the side pieces that lock by twisting a cam. Cratoni has several models that they sell in Asia just by changing the interior padding to fit rounder heads. (We have a page up on fitting rounder heads.) Cratoni is now represented in the US market by SKS, so their helmets may be seen here again.

Cratoni's child models fit heads as small as 47 cm (18.5 inches) and their largest adult model fits up to 65 cm (25.6 inches). Their ring fit models normally cover from 52 to 60 cm (20.5 to 23.5 inches).

Cratoni will replace a crashed helmet for 50 per cent of the manufacturer's suggested retail price.


Crazy Stuff


Crazy Stuff is a Danish company with a line of European-standard helmets for kids 3 to 8 years old. The helmets are fanciful cartoon characters. Unfortunately, they have snag points all over the shell in the form of rigid ears, horns and fins. Many models have rigid teeth along the front edge, the same edge that often contacts the nose and face when a helmet is takes a hit on the back. You can see a brochure with the designs laid out here.

We appreciate the motivation to add play value to helmets so that kids will take to them readily. But this particular line strikes us as a very bad idea. The helmets could not be sold in the US because the horns, ears and fins would not meet the CPSC limits on projections from the shell, even if the impact protection were sufficient. But the teeth along the front edge are particularly troublesome. Parents do not realize the potential for facial injury that they represent. We can only think that if these helmets meet the EN1078 helmet standard, that standard needs to be amended.

D-6


See Shaun White Supply Company below.

Dahon


Dahon is a manufacturer of folding bicycles. They have two helmets that accompany their line: For Dahon's former folding helmet, see Biologic above.


Diadora


Diadora has a full line of bicycles, and gear to accompany them. In previous years they had added six helmet models. All are inmolded. Three have feminine graphics available. Almost all come in dull grey and black colors with low visibility on the road. For 2014 we don't find their helmets on the Diadora web page any more, but have seen the Pro Racer models on dealers' sites.


DK


DK Bicycle Company has one skate-style helmet, the Synth, made in China and certified to the CPSC standard. It is inmolded, fits heads from 55 to 61 cm and comes in green, white or black. It retails for $38.


Docmeter


Docmeter is a French company with a line of bicycle and other helmets. They have one current bicycle model with the company's rear air bladder fit system. The air bladder appears to be a rear stabilizer that blows up with a built-in pump to ensure a snug fit. Air bladder fit pads have been tried in the past and abandoned by other companies. We had concerns in the past about the long term durability of the bladders. Although the website mentions only the CEN European standard, the company has informed us that their helmets meet the CPSC standard as well. As always, check for the CPSC sticker inside any particular model. This one is priced at 80 euros. Docmeter has a second road helmet now, with a conventional liner and no airbag.


Dux Helm


Dux is a Canadian company with a single road model in various versions that has a retractable eye shield. It has big vents and a big upswept tab at the rear. The strap fittings did not hold well on the sample we saw. Inmolded with a full coverage shell. The eye shield is polycarbonate, and comes in amber, clear and tinted, with a UV coating. A magnet holds it in the retracted position. Meets the CPSC standard for sale in the US. Retail pricing runs from $130 to $200 US.


Ebon


Ebon is made by Co-Union Industry of Taiwan. Their bike helmets are inmolded, including the toddler models, with modest-to-pronounced rear points. They also have skate models. They use a ring fit system. Some models have well-recessed strap anchors. Their strap adjustment pieces slip too easily. Visors are attached with pins to flip off in a crash, as they should. There is a rainbow graphics option, the only rainbow bike helmet we have seen. Some models have rear LED flashers, and a few have front LED's as well. Ebon's child sizes go down to 47 cm and most adult models fit up to 63 cm. They are nice looking helmets, and prices should be in the $25 and up range, depending on whose brand is on the one you buy.


Egg


Egg is a Dutch company with yet another series of cutesy helmet designs to appeal to kids by adding snag points on the exterior. Their helmets are skate style. Beginning with the round, smooth "Naked" version, you add a fabric skin and then various add-ons mount by shoving them into holes in the shell, including crowns, mohawks, horns and more. According to Egg, "This does not compromise the helmet's safety and effectiveness as they are designed to pop-off in the event of an impact." There is a proprietary buckle located on the side where it should not pinch skin. Meets the EU standard for sale there, and when we last heard was being tested for CPSC compliance for sale in the US. We don't like adding projections to the outside of a round smooth helmet, but at least these seem to readily pop off. Helmet, skin and projections add up to about 100 euros.


Ekoi


This French company with a high-tech bicycle clothing and accessories image has a full line of helmet models. All are ring fit. Lowered prices on some models sometimes indicate they are selling out and will disappear soon. The prices below are from their Canadian site, and may be in Canadian dollars. Ekoi has a page up explaining their company philosophy and brand name. They favor bright colors in all their equipment. Ekoi has a Couvre Casque "universal helmet cover" available for $29. Ekoi offers a two year guarantee. Their helmets are sold on their own website, so shipping charges should be added to the retail pricing.


Eleven81


The Eleven81 helmet line is mostly distributed in the US market by Hawley Company, but the Hawley web page only has a portion of the line for 2014. All models are inmolded and have a ring fit system. Most are available in white or other bright and visible colors. The male buckle pieces are all red to highlight the release tabs. The strap sidepieces do not hold well on Eleve81 models. Models include: Hawley offers a consumer-direct lifetime crash replacement guarantee


El Sol


See Bravo above.


Elustar


Elustar helmets are distributed in the US market by Q Cycle. They also have European models certified only to the CEN standard. They have a range of models included inmolded designs and others with taped on shells. All are ring fit, and the samples we saw had side strap adjustors that did not hold well. All have rear points except the child models.


ESCO


Esco Sport Product Corp. is a Chinese company producing electric and gas scooters, bicycles and carts. It appears that some of their bike helmets are made with EPS foam and others with EPU, but that's about all we can tell from the website.


Etto


Etto is a Scandinavian manufacturer with 21 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, and most have bug net in the front vents. Some of Etto's models have strap anchors that are not recessed at all, sitting up on top of the shell. 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 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. All of Fly's 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 impact protection considerably above that of any normal bicycle helmet, including a chinbar with effective energy managing padding. Some Fly models have the rubber debris deflectors known as roost guards. All of their DOT models are made with dual-density foam liners. Fly models are all designed to connect with neck braces, available from them at $200 or $300.

Fly's catalog has replacement parts for their helmets, including mouthpieces, visors, screws, pads and buckles. Sizing runs from 52 cm (6.5 inch) up to 66 cm (8 1/4 inch), a very wide range. Along with their own brand, they distribute helmets made by Gmax and by THH.


Fox


Fox Racing has BMX and skate style helmets to complement their line of racing accessories. Fox has other models on their website that are promoted for motorcycle use. Their crash replacement policy is a consumer-direct 30 percent discount off the retail price.


Free Agent


Free Agent is a KHS Bicycles brand. They have a very well-rounded classic Street skateboard-style helmet that comes in one shell size with three pad sets of different thicknesses. It has an EPS liner and meets only the CPSC bicycle helmet standard. It retails for $25 to $35 in standard colors or $5 more with a chrome finish, and can be found on line for as little as $20 plus shipping. It may fit larger heads better than most skate-style helmets. Free Agent also has a full face BMX helmet at $100, used by their team riders. It has the standard BMX rigid visor that could be a snagging hazard. Retail is $100.


Fuji


Fuji has been a major bicycle supplier to the US market for many years. In 2007 they added a helmet line to complement their bikes, with model names matching bike models in most cases. Their helmets generally do not seem to be available in the US market, but here are some out-of-date descriptions from the Brainpails site: For crashed helmets, Fuji will replace at "a discounted price."


Funkier


Funkier is an Israeli company with a line of Chinese-made helmets that meet only the European CE standard. They have three models. The ones we saw had slippy side strap adjustors. The MV-035 is the most rounded profile of the three, with Ebay pricing on the high side at $80-$100.


Louis Garneau


Louis Garneau is an independent Canadian designer and manufacturer with an extensive helmet line along with many other bicycle products. All of their helmets are inmolded except as noted below. For the European market, Garneau has bug net in the vents of some models. Some models are available without visor for $5 less. Custom team graphics or stickers are available. 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 meet the CPSC standard and are sold here. Louis Garneau is one of the sponsors of Team Type 1, a racing team that includes riders with type one diabetes. Louis Garneau still has a free replacement guarantee for the first year.


Giant


Giant supplies a full line of bikes and accessories to bike shops. Their helmets have good quality locking side strap fittings that hold well. There are women's colors for some models.


Giro


Giro is a subsidiary of Bell, and since 2010 their design and production facilities are fully integrated with Bell's. Giro designs have been known for a unique fit and a trend leader. The line has been evolving and adding rounded compact profile models, but the most expensive high-end models still have the elongated shape and pronounced external points. All Giro helmets are inmolded, and high end models have lower shells molded in as well. High-end models use fitting pads, but the less expensive ones are ring fit. The Giro line has highly visible neon color options. Some Giro helmets have reflective surfaces on the rear stabilizers, a logical 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 readily on impact. Strap fittings are not among the best for holding securely after adjusting, although those on the Aeon and Rift models do hold well. Giro and other manufacturers have lighter hyper-ventilated models produced for the European market that meet the CEN standard but are not certified to meet the tougher US CPSC standard.

Giro has women's models, but their 2013 catalog was unusually frank about them: "What about fit for women? - While it is obvious that anatomical differences between men and women can dictate different patterning and fit for many items worn on the body, the head and skull are somewhat unique. When measuring men and women's heads, there is no significant difference in the skull shape, location of skull features or the scale of the ears, eyes and nose between men and women." Written, of course, by a person with no pony tail. Giro has other models sold in Europe for use where CEN helmets are required. Those may not meet the US CPSC standard, even the ones with the same model names described above.

Giro still has Livestrong Foundation colors for the Rift, Aeon, Saros, Indicator and Rascal models, in their 2013 catalog. They announced in October of 2012 that they were terminating their sponsorship of Lance Armstrong, but would continue to support the cancer community through support of the Livestrong Foundation. (Armstrong is no longer chairman of the foundation.) That option adds $5 to the cost of the helmet, donated to the foundation. It is predominantly black, with yellow accents.

This year Giro helmets fit heads from 48 cm (18.75") to 65 cm (25.6"). A graphic in their 2007 catalog showed that at that time they considered the 63 cm size as the tail of the bell curve distribution of head sizes, but they added a centimeter for the Atlas II in 2008, and another centimeter when the Venti replaced it in 2010.

Bell/Giro recommends replacing their helmets after 3 years. The Giro crash warranty is the same as Bell's, a 30% discount if you crash within 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.


Gmax


See Fly Racing above.


Golex (Zhuhai Golex)


Golex is a Chinese producer of bicycle, skateboard, BMX, motorcycle and other types of helmets. There are at least 29 models in their catalog. Golex helmets should be available in mass merchant channels, and some may be found in bike stores, probably under other brand names. Their K-15 is a familiar round, smooth design made by several manufacturers.


Gray


Synergy Sport has one helmet in their Gray line for triathletes, the Aerodome. It is a full chrono or time trial helmet, not suitable for street use. It is inmolded with the long teardrop shape of the classic chrono, with six small slit vents in the front and partially recessed strap anchors. It has soft "wings" on the sides. Strap junctions do not hold well. It is CPSC certified and comes in one size. It retails for $180. Synergy Sport has a "Life Time Crash Replacement Warranty" and the consumer can return a crashed helmet for a free replacement.


Greenline>


Greenline is a bicycle company with a toddler helmet that goes along with their bikes. It has a taped-on shell with vents and a reasonably rounded profile. We don't see an adult helmet model on their site any more. They have a unique warning: "Caution!: If foam changes shape, please replace your helmet."


GuangZhou LongSheng


Guangzhou Longsheng Sporting Goods Company is a Chinese manufacturer of a line of adult, toddler and skate style helmets. They market to both the US and Europe. Profiles are generally well-rounded, but there are points on the high-end road models. The inmolded models are priced about $30, while glued shells are $15 and those with taped-on shells go for $12. Visors on some models add about $0.50 to the price. The side strap adjustors are simple buckles, and do not hold their adjustment at all, a serious oversight.


GUB


GUB Bike International is a Chinese company with a full line of bicycles and accessories. They distribute a number of brands, including their own GUB helmets. Models range from a full-bore long-tail chrono helmet to pointy-backed road helmets including one that has a raised point on two arms floating above the rear shell and another with what looks like a metal spoiler raised above the rear. They mention only the European CE standard on their website. We don't know their retail pricing.


Haloglow


Haloglow is a Hong Kong company with helmets that have fiber optic lights incorporated in the shell. LED's in the rear "lightbox" generate the light, and the optical fibers carry it in a ring around the shell. The light output of the ones we have seen was not impressive. The light can be flashing or steady. The helmets come in various models, including one that is admirably round and smooth. They are certified to US and European standards. Note that the same halo effect using LED's and fiber optics is incorporated in some Aegis designs.


Hamax


Hamax is a Norwegian company that develops and produces bicycle and ski helmets under the brand name ETTO. See Etto above.


Happy Way Enterprises


This Taiwanese manufacturer has a nice 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.


Headlight AB


Headlight is a Swedish company with a line of reflective helmets. Headlight has several models, certified to either European standards for the Euro market or CPSC for the US market. They have two grades of reflective shells, so the whole helmet is reflective, using the silver gray color that normally produces the best reflective performance. They apply graphics on top of that. In Europe they were formerly known as Solid, but now produce their helmets with the distributor or retailer's brand on them.


Helmets R Us


This unique West Coast distributor of bicycle products provides helmets to dealers or non-profits at very low prices. They will fill small orders. In large quantities 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. (Prices are much higher for individual orders.) Some models have rear stabilizers and full cover shells, features almost never seen in this price range. Helmets R Us also has a genuine dual-certified skate-style helmet, the Model 17, that has the stickers inside attesting to the fact that it is certified to both the ASTM F1492 and CPSC bicycle helmet standards, at a very low price. Sizes range from 49 to 62 cm (19.3 to 24.5 inches).


Hong Kong Sports


The Hong Kong Sports name is not familiar to consumers and you will not find helmets under their company brand, but they manufacture millions of helmets for a number of US and other brands, some of them well known.


Hopus


See Aegis above.


IXS


IXS is a Swiss company with motorcycle history going back to 1906. Their entry into clothing and helmets is more recent. Most of their models are motorcycle-style full face helmets, but they also have road and skate-style models. All of their helmets are either compact shape with minimal rear points or very well-rounded. All of their adult bicycle helmets are inmolded, but child models are taped or glued on. Most are European models but there are some models certified to the CPSC standard for sale in the US. The current models include: The largest helmets in the IXS line fit 62cm/24.4 inches.


J&B Importers - JBI.Bike


J&B is a long-established bicycle wholesaler with warehouses all over the US. Their products are sold in bike stores. J&B's Airius line has models beginning at about $20 retail to about $30, with a few high end models ranging as high as $50. Their inmolded models start at $20 and qualify as value helmets. The profiles vary from the well-rounded ones we favor to elongated models with rear points. For 2014 they have added a new urban helmet in the Airius line, priced at $44. Colors are solid on the lower cost models, with higher end graphics as prices rise. Their largest helmets are 63 cm/24.8 inches. They have an unfortunately named "Skid Lid" (a name from the past) skate-style helmet, certified only to the CPSC bicycle helmet standard. With a built-in speaker it is $40. J&B has an active program for schools and non-profits either through a local shop or direct. They offer an unusual lifetime crash replacement for all of their models. J&B distributes the Limar line in the US as well.


Joykie


Hangzhou Joy Kie Industrial and Trading Co exports an extensive line of bicycle, motorcycle and other helmets. The range from nicely rounded road helmets to elongated designs with rear points. There are toddler models, skate style models and downhill mountain bike models with full chinbars. Pricing is low but we don't have exact retail in the US.


Kali Protectives


Kali entered the market in 2009. They have some unique manufacturing techniques that produce a full line of helmets that are all inmolded, some with dual-density foam liners molded together so there is no gap between them, and no gap between liner and shell, using all the shell space for foam. Liner density can be different in various areas of the helmet, or there can be "ConeHead" saw teeth of less dense foam extending into the dense section. Kali cone foam liner We have more on that on our page on helmet foams.

Kali can make full face helmets with chinbars this way, a unique capability among manufacturers. The resultant helmet is lighter and has a thicker liner than normal motorcycle helmets. Visors have Kali's Pop Out breakaway mount to avoid snagging hazards. Some motorcycle/BMX models mate with body protectors. The Kali models all have Sanskrit names: We expect Kali to continue to produce innovative new products.


Kask


Kask is an Italian manufacturer. All of their US helmets meet the US CPSC standard, European CE standard and the Australian standard as well. There are some nice bright color combinations in the line. Their strap adjustors are average in holding power. Straps have a unique Coolmax pad or vinyl section at the chin, and some are reflective. Pads are treated with Sanitized brand chemicals. Kask informs us that their helmets are produced in Italy with no Asian components. Their helmets are expensive in the US. The road models all have a "mountain" version with visor. Custom graphics are available. Models are sometimes renamed when graphics change. Kask bike helmet models include: Kask accessories include a winter cap and a storage bag. Their website has model-specific insect net replacement screens in plastic that are shaped to fit the vents, as well as pad replacement kits and visors.

Kask has some interesting helmets. They are one of the few helmet manufacturers who say they are not using any Asian components.


KBC Helmets


KBC has manufacturing facilities in Korea and China. They have more than 20 motorcycle helmet models on the Snell M-2005 motorcycle helmet list and one on the newer M2010 list. KBC has a range of helmets ranging from full-face motorcycle-style helmets for BMX selling for about $200 to "half helmets" for the Harley crowd.


KED


KED is a German company that had manufactured helmets in Germany for other brands for more than ten years before introducing its own line. Most of their models are inmolded, some with the internal reinforcing that many manufacturers use to strengthen the shell and permit larger vents. KED internal helmet cage Some 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, a common problem. They put a thoughtful pad under the buckle to prevent skin pinches. All models have bug net in the front vents except the Paganini Race. Their US distributor for CPSC models is Cycle Force. The website emphasizes that the helmets are made in Germany. Models include: KED's catalog has a listing of useful spare parts for their helmets. It includes visors, fit pads, ring fit parts, the LED battery/chip replacement, buckles and more.


Kent Bicycles


Kent has a line of inexpensive helmets marketed mostly to discount retail stores and a few bicycle stores. Their helmets are branded Razor, and at least one is branded as Genesis. The line includes skate and BMX style helmets. The skate models include the Aggressive Series and Iridium. The packaging says they are multi sport helmets, but certification is only to the CPSC bicycle helmet standard. One of the BMX models is the Full Face, a youth sized helmet with vents and a removable chinbar, a unique feature at the $45 price point.


Knucklehead


A Knucklehead Company entered the US market in 2008, and is now delivering a line of bike and skate helmets that they make in China for companies who want their own helmet brand. Some of their models are inmolded, while lower priced ones have glued or taped on shells. Their Palz series has unfortunate external projections in the form of animal ears, tails, etc. Sizes run from 44 to 62 cm (17.3 to 24.4 inches). The company provides free replacement of crashed helmets.


Kong


Kong is an Italian climbing equipment company. They have one helmet from Casco called the Scarab that goes beyond dual certified to be certified to European standards for rock climbing, bicycling/skateboarding, 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, so there is a clasp in front for a caving light.


Kuji Sports


Kuji Sports Ningbo is an Asian company based in Taiwan and China. They ship over 4 million helmets annually. You have not seen their brand here because the helmets are branded for other companies, some of them well known. They produce many models in bicycle styles, including inmolded road helmets, glued or taped on shell road helmets and toddler models. They also have hard shell skate models.


Kunshan Yiyuan Sporting Goods


Kunshan YiYuan manufacturers a line of helmets including road, toddler and skate styles. They supply a broad range of styles and price points. Some are inmolded, other have glued or taped on shells. Some have nicely recessed strap anchors. Shells are polycarbonate or PVC, or hard ABS for skate helmets. Their helmets are sold direct to dealers by Shanghai Cathay (Shanghai Cycle).


Kylin


Kylin Motorcycle Fittings is a Chinese manufacturer of bicycle, motorcycle, ski and other helmets. Many of their models are motorcycle/BMX helmets, but they have 12 bicycle helmets and one classic skate style model. Some are inmolded, some taped on. Some have Ethyl Vinyl Acetate (EVA) covers. Some of the less expensive models are nicely rounded, but the upper end of the line all have rear points. All meet the CEN standard, and many are designed to CPSC. Their helmets will appear in the US market under other brands. Sizes run up to 62 cm/24.4 inches. Prices should be around $15 to $40.


LAS


LAS (or L.A.S.) is an Italian company owned by Briko, with a line of high-end helmets that have been made in Italy since 1974. They are available in US bike stores with distribution handled by Trialtir, who have info on LAS's current US models but do not distinguish those made in Italy from the Chinese models. LAS continues its emphasis on style. There are some nice bright colors available and finish quality is good. Most models have silver-impregnated liner material to retard bacterial growth, a feature that some may appreciate and others want to avoid. The strap junctions do not hold well on most LAS helmets. The Euro models meeting only the CEN standard are different designs from the US models we list first. All are still made in Italy, and should be available there.

US Models European Models The regular LAS line fits heads from 51 cm to 63 cm (20.1" to 24.8"). LAS replaces crashed helmets for one year after purchase for half price.


Lazer


Lazer is the brand of a Belgian company, Cross HM S.A., established in 1919. Their helmets are showing up more in US shops now, marketed through Quality Bicycle Products. Their high end models have nicely recessed strap anchors. Kid's models have bug net in the front vents and chin protectors on the straps.

Some of Lazer's models have a ring fit system called Rollsys that narrows the band as it is tightened, rather than just pushing the head forward in the helmet. Lazer sells the Rollsys helmets in Asia, where heads are rounder, and says that their fit system adjusts well for that head shape.

Lazer has a four star and a five star motorcycle helmet among those tested and ranked by the British government's SHARP project, the only ranking system of its kind.

Lazer sells some models in both Europe and the US without having to make changes to meet the CPSC standard. High end models are different for the two markets, however, since the US version is too heavy to sell well in European markets. Some models come in a women's version with pastel colors and bright colored straps, said to be "ponytail friendly." Their built-in LED models run on button cells to reduce the bulk of the battery and permit the helmets to pass impact standards, although button cells don't last very long and are expensive to replace. Model names change, and we don't keep track of the old ones. There are neon options for most models, with the color molded into the plastic shell. There are also sunglasses available with short side pieces that end in a magnet, matching with a rubber-covered metal piece on the helmet strap. There are plastic shells that Lazer calls Aeroshells that fit on top of some models to close the vents for time trials or winter use. Some models have a magnetic buckle. Lazer has an LED cap that fits over their Rollsys adjustor on top of the helmet. It is included with the Neon, and can be added to other models for $12.

For 2014 Lazer has introduced a Cappuccino Lock, an insert that slips between the two sides of the helmet buckle and has a three-wheel combination. You can't open the lock without the combination, but you can still cut the strap. Could be used to lock the helmet to the bike, but the bike lock is easier for that. Could be used in place of a bike lock, but only if you have your eyes on the bike at all times.


LED Helmets


LED is a Canadian company based in Alberta. They have one "one size fits most" helmet, a nicely rounded road helmet with reasonable vents that has four flashing single LED's around the helmet attempting to cover 360 degrees. We have not seen them, but the company provided test lab results showing the helmets meet the ASTM F1447-02 standard, so they would probably meet the CPSC standard as well. All of the impact test results were good, with reasonable g levels. We don't know what power source they are using for the LED's or how bright they are. Retail should be "in the low to mid 30's."


Lifebeam


Lifebeam is a 2013 startup developing a "Smart Helmet." The prototype is Lazer's Genesis model with an optical physiological sensor in contact with the forehead, accelerometer (unexplained function), and wireless communication. It monitors heartbeat without a chest strap. Lifebeam calls it the Smart helmet. The Lifebeam video appeals for capital donations to bring the helmet to market. Retail to place a pre-order is $250.


Limar


Limar is an Italian brand. Their models usually have some bright color choices and nice graphics. Some of them are CEN certified only and 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 nice pinch protector tabs on the buckle. Their side strap adjustors have not held well in the past, but the ones on the Ultralight Pro 104 are excellent. Pricing varies by $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. Limar is distributed in the US by J&B Importers.



Some Limar models are available in Bianchi colors, and Limar makes the Michelin line.

Limar has a 3 year crash replacement guarantee, offering a replacement helmet through the dealer at half off.


Louis Garneau


See Louis Garneau above under "G"


Lucky Bell


Lucky Bell is a Hong Kong company producing Expanded PolyUrethane (EPU) helmets mostly for other brands, with some under their own Aerogo brand. They have bicycle models, most of them round and smooth, with small to reasonable vents, nicely recessed strap anchors and visors. There are also skate-style models. We can't find the Aerogo pages on the web any more.


Mavic


Mavic entered the helmet market in 2012 and says they developed their designs in-house, but the helmets are made for them by a third party. All are road models, and all have a small fin in the rear reminiscent of 1950's US cars, with an M on it. Mavic has replacement fit pads on their site for each helmet model for $10.


MET


MET is an Italian manufacturer with models for road and offroad biking, a BMX model, youth and toddler models and a chrono shaped time trial racing helmet. They came to the US market in 2013. Almost all of them have 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, 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. Some models have Kevlar straps and others have normal polyester straps that MET claims are specially woven. Some have antibacterial pads. Strap anchors are under the shell in some models, a nice touch. Logos are reflective. The top of the line models are radically different in appearance. The last time we checked, MET's helmets were not available in the US. 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. Their strap junctions hold well.


Michelin


Michelin, best known in the US for tires, launched a line of helmets in 2005 in conjunction with Zefal, best known in the US market for pumps and accessories. Since known brands sell more helmets, both companies may be hoping that the well-known brand name will help. The helmets are made by Limar. All but the toddler helmet are inmolded. We are having difficulty finding Michelin helmets on the web now.


Mien Yow Industry


See Alpha above.


Mobo


Mobo is the brand name of ASA Products helmet line with LED-powered fiber optic rings around them providing light. We had first seen those on Hopus/Aegis helmets in the past. The Mobo 360 degrees LED Light Helmet is a standard road model, inmolded with moderate vents and otherwise not exceptional, but the retail price is very high at $119. We have not been impressed with the light output, although the ring effect is cool. They also have a skate-style helmet for only $20, but without the LED ring. Mobo models fit heads 22.75 to 24.5 inches (57 to 62.5 cm)


Mongoose


Mongoose is a Pacific Cycle brand, so the helmets are not produced by the same people who make the bicycles. The company is positioned as 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 helmet line this year and do not have pricing for their models.


Netti - Atom


Netti is an Australian company named for founder Annette Guerry that has been around since 1948 and 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 the models below are currently on their website. Prices below are in Australian dollars. Netti models include:


Nishiki


In addition to their bicycles, Nishiki has a complementary line of clothing and accessories. They have expanded their helmet selection for 2014.


Norin


Norin Development Company is a Chinese manufacturer supplying a wide line of bike helmets for other brands. Their prices FOB China are typically from $2 to $12, translating to a US or European price in the $15 to $40 range. They have inmolded models, as well as taped on shells, ranging from elongated styles with points to more up-to-date compact models that are sometimes nicely rounded. They have child, skate and light motorcycle hard shells. We do not know what standards they normally design to. They can do custom designs.


Northwave


Northwave is an Italian brand primarily known for shoes and clothing, but has added a line of bicycle helmets. They project US distribution in 2015. They have four models. We have not seen their line.


Nutcase


Nutcase began its marketing with a single classic skate helmet with ABS hard shell in many colorful and whimsical graphics designed to convince stubborn kids that wearing a helmet is cool. Their Street helmet is certified only to the CPSC bicycle helmet standard, not the ASTM skateboard standard, despite the skateboarding label and the words "multi-sport" including skateboarding graphics on the box. Their product literature also misquotes the title of the CPSC bicycle helmet standard and adds the word skateboard to it. We would not recommend buying a helmet from any manufacturer who is that confused about standards. The retail price is $45 to $60 for the models sold in bike shops. There are ear pads for winter riding, and an optional visor.

Consumer Reports rated the Nutcase they tested Poor in their 2012 report on helmets. That generally designates a helmet that fails to pass impact testing at the CPSC level. That was a second generation Nutcase design.

For 2014 Nutcase informed us that they have moved on to a third generation design, upgrading their impact protection and adding cooling channels inside. It now comes with a removable visor.

A shop specializing in large bikes for large people informs us that the Nutcase in L/XL fits many customers who have large heads. The Nutcase site fitting chart says that size fits heads up to 64 cm (25"). Nutcase says their smaller models fit round Asian heads well, but larger ones may not.

Nutcase has agreed to produce the Macinac Island community helmet that was designed as part of a community project.

Nutcase produces the Flex for roller derby use, but sells it only to pro skaters and does not sell it in the US. They will replace a crashed helmet for the first year after purchase, but want a photo of it.


O2


O2 helmets were marketed in the US for the first time in 2013. The brand includes a full line:


OGK - Kabuto


OGK is a Japanese company that marketed helmets in the US back in the 1980's. They still produce bicycle helmets under the Kabuto brand for the Japanese market, and their English website describes their line. It includes road, urban, kids, downhill and chrono helmets. All are certified to the Japan Cycling Federation JCF standard. We don't know their pricing.


Oktos


Oktos is a European company selling accessories and sunglasses as well as helmets. They sponsor racing teams. Their helmets are made in China to the European CEN standard and marketed in Europe. Some are inmolded. They fit sizes 54 to 62 cm (21.3 to 24.4 inches). We have not seen their current. Prices on the US website are apparently all set at $135, but the helmets can be found for much less on European sites. In the US, Oktos helmets are distributed by Persons-Majestic Co. In December of 2014 all of the Oktos helmets are listed on their site as "Not in stock." We don't know what that means.


One


One Industries has a line of motocross and motorcycle helmets that they have begun marketing for BMX use. They own the SixSixOne brand as well. Their big news for 2014 is the inclusion of MIPS slip-planes in the Gamma MIPS model. The MIPS system permits the helmet to slip slightly on impact, possibly improving performance. It seems more appropriate here in a full face helmet that fully encases the head than in the typical bicycle helmet. One's models include:


O'Neal


O'Neal USA (formerly Azonic/O'Neal)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, always a potential snagging hazard. Most have the fidlock buckle, held closed with a magnet. O'Neal helmets fit sizes from 54 cm/20.5" to 64 cm/25". See also Azonic above.


Orbea


Orbea is an old and established Spanish bicycle manufacturer. In 2010 they developed a line of helmets with distinctive styling with four models: Odin, Thor, Rune and Ari. All are road helmets with large vents and rear points. For 2013 they added Sport City, an urban style helmet with a nicely rounded profile, available only in black and retailing in the UK for 55 pounds. Orbea's website has no standards information.


Overade


The Overade design is a folding helmet with a complex folding mechanism to compact it for easy carrying. When folded it will be 1/3 of the unfolded size. You can see the folding action in this video. The Overade folds into a chunk instead of flattening like most folders. The website had said it would reach the European market in the spring of 2013, and they are developing accessories to include a visor and rain cover. It would have to meet the CEN standard to be sold in Europe, and the CPSC standard to be sold in the US. The retail price for pre-orders was $102 plus shipping if outside of France. As of December 2013 commenters on their pre-sale site were asking when the helmet would ship.

There is renewed interest in folding helmets since the shared bike rental programs are doing well in many cities. We have a page up on folding helmets with more info.


Pacific Cycle


See Schwinn below, or Mongoose above. Pacific Cycle owns the Schwinn brand. In 2009 they bought PTI, the former manufacturer of Schwinn brand helmets.


Poc


Poc is a Swedish company who entered the US bicycle market for the first time in 2009. In mid-2012 they were bought by Black Diamond, known for its outdoor and ski equipment. Their other lines include body armor, gloves and protective eyewear as well as ski helmets. Some of their helmets meet standards other than the CPSC and CEN bicycle standards--check the sticker inside to be sure. Although bike standards all over the world have eliminated penetration tests because epidemiology shows few if any penetration injuries, POC uses a double overlapping shell construction on some of their models to ensure that there are no straight-through vents where a sharp object can penetrate. This would inevitably reduce air flow, but POC remains concerned about preventing penetration by sharp objects. We do not share that concern, but if you do and want at least some ventilation in a penetration-protective helmet, the POC approach on their Flow models is unique. The helmet is molded in the thin inner shell, with a thicker outer shell.

In 2011 Poc introduced two models that incorporate the MIPS anti-rotational injury design, with a slip-plane layer that mitigates rotational force by sliding the outer layer over a Teflon-coated inner layer at the moment of impact. We have more on that technology on our sliding resistance page, or you can check it out on the MIPS website. POC also began using a new magnetic Fidlock buckle.

Poc's models for this year include: POC's XL models fit up to 62 cm heads. The company is promoting a new line of very brightly colored bike clothing to go with their brightly colored helmet models.


Potenza


Potenza is a brand of Seattle Bike Supply, a large distributor of bicycles and related products. Their helmets have simple strap fittings, but they seem to hold well. These are not the same models sold by ProRider (below) even though the two companies are in the same ZIP code. Pricing should be reasonable. The website has disappeared in 2014, and we find the helmets only on Amazon or Ebay.


ProRider


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 B95-certified in addition to meeting the CPSC standard. Most of their models have the rounder, smoother shapes that we believe are best when you crash. Prices are very low for the models with taped-on shells over plain white foam, in the under $10 range and sometimes as low as $4 each including shipping when purchased in large quantities for a helmet program. For a dollar or two more you can get better looking models that are more likely to be accepted by the kids than the white foam helmets. ProRider will also sell to individuals at somewhat higher prices but still below $20 including shipping.


Pro Supergo


Pro Supergo is not affiliated with the Supergo bike shops in California or with the former Supergo helmets from the 1970's. They have a line of inexpensive Asian-made helmets to complement their other bike accessories. The website shows a number of models, including adult, child, BMX and skate style. Some are in EPU foam, some in EPS. Some of the adult models are inmolded. We do not know what their retail pricing would be.


Pro-tec


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 at least three times since it was founded, and in 2012 the Pro-tec brand was sold to Dye Precision, a paintball company in San Diego. They still sell some models that are nearly identical to their old-school models. In 2014 they introduced a "vent badge" with their brand on the rings that edge the vents on some models in a further effort to differentiate their brand from the hundreds of almost identical skate style helmet brands.

Pro-tec now uses a foam they call SXP for some models that replaced the lower grade protection of prior years. Some models are dual-certified to meet both the CPSC bicycle helmet standard and ASTM F1492 Skateboard requirements. If you want a Pro-tec, we suggest that you take a look at one of the dual-certified models. For 2014 most Pro-tec models have at least one bright color option, including white or neon yellow.

Pro-tec's SXP foam is a modified formulation of Expanded PolyPropylene (EPP), allowing them 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 hard hits in the same location. We have more comments on our foam page. Most Pro-tec helmets look exactly the same on the outside, so you must find the standards sticker inside and be very careful about the model you buy for bicycling.

Pro-tec's models include: Most Pro-tec models fit heads from 53 to 64 cm (20.9 to 25.2 inches).

We were encouraged by the changes Pro-tec made in their line over the past few years, and glad to see that a number of the models noted above are dual-certified to the CPSC bike standard and the ASTM F1492 skateboard standard. Check for the sticker inside the helmet to be sure.


Proviz


Proviz is a UK retailer of high-visibility bicycle gear, including helmets. They announced in May, 2012 that they are bringing at least one of their helmets to the US market. Their Saturn Hi Visibility model comes in neon yellow or pink and has five LEDs in the visor. Unfortunately that means that to use the lights you would have to use the visor at night when you probably don't need it. It is CPSC certified. They have other hi-viz models, including one that is all black. It at least has the rear red LED light built into the fit ring of all of the Proviz models. Although "Designed and built to CE EN 1078 safety standard" the Saturn is now certified to the CPSC standard for sale in the US market. Fits only 55 to 59cm (21.7 to 23.2") heads. The retail price is 55 pounds.


Prowell Helmets


Prowell is a Taiwanese company producing a line of helmets in EPU foam. They have a very interesting web page with an explanation of the foam and their technology. Most of their models are inmolded, some with lower shells as well. They generally have a high quality appearance, seeming solid (and a bit heavy) in the hand. There are 6 models in the line ranging from radical elongated styles with rear points to more rounded commuter helmets and child models. They have a "Shark Fin" LED light designed to mount on top of a helmet and flash in all directions. Most of Prowell's models should retail for about $25. The company manufactures helmets for other brands.


Pryme Protective Gear


Pryme is a brand of Seattle Bicycle Supply. The line includes helmets for BMX, downhill racing, whitewater, snowboarding and skate use, most of them with catchy names. All come with three sets of fitting pads. They fit heads from 52 to 62 cm.


Punisher


Punisher is a brand of skateboards and skate helmets. They have one model, a hard shell classic skate style helmet with small round vents in front and small oval vents on the top. It is certified to the CPSC bicycle helmet standard, not to any skateboard standard. Among the graphic versions is a visible white option as well as the usual black. Fits heads from 53 to 57 cm. The retail price is $30.


Raskullz


Raskullz is the brand for a line of child and toddler helmets with rubber animal ears and noses mounted on them. Some go beyond that. All of the projections are soft rubber, but some have a harder core, and do not readily detach. See this page on sliding resistance to see why we think helmets that would not slide easily on pavement present a hazard, and do not recommend them. The CPSC child bicycle helmet standard outlaws projections of more than 7mm that do not collapse or break away readily when tested. These collapse partly, but the remaining lump is higher than 7mm. We were dismayed to see that Target is selling Raskullz to unsuspecting parents.


Razor


See Kent above.


Roar


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 points and recessed strap anchors, and some are very well-rounded, notably the KS-04. There are bright color options for each model. They have a unique strap fitting that tightens with a screw. They should all retail in the $35 range. Roar has a child "designer's" helmet that they can customize with printing and graphics for events or other needs. Sizes run from 52.3 cm (20.5") to 62 cm.


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 check their US web page for the ones certified to the CPSC standard. All of the models listed below are inmolded. Most have partially recessed or even embedded strap anchors and some have small reflective patches in the rear. Their models have cam locking strap fittings that locked the strap very well. They are nice looking helmets, most with bright color options including USA red, white and blue, and some Canadian graphics with maple leaves. There is at least one model that has provision for the Icedot crash sensor this year. Models include: Rudy Project always has some interesting design innovations.


S-One


S-One Helmet Company has ABS hard shell classic skate helmet models. Some are dual-certified to CPSC and ASTM F1492 skateboard standards, and some are not certified to any standard at all. Their site uses the phrase "dual certified" to refer to meeting CPSC and the European standard, not a skateboard standard the way we use it. S-One is to be applauded for their frankness about their non-certified helmets.


Sahn Helmets


Sahn is located in Vancouver. They have one models, the Sahn Classic, an elegant skate-style helmet with a built-in hard shell visor and no vents. For 2014 it has new internal vent channels. Retail at Walrus, a "contemporary lifestyle boutique," is $129 Canadian for either model. Sahn now has dealers across Canada and in the US and London as well.


Sawako Furuno


Sawako Furuno is a London fashion designer with a line of cycle accessories and clothing who is promoting a skate helmet model with an ABS hard shell and fashion covers. They include the Leopard, one in alligator skin and a number of others. They have small round vents and a visor. They come only in size medium to fit heads 54 to 58cm. They are certified to the US CPSC standard. They are stocked now by some US women's design retailers, at prices around $120 to $150, showing what the fashion industry can do to add value to a skate helmet. There are also fleece ear cozies for cold days.


SDS / San Diego Speed


See Armor above.


Schwinn


The Schwinn brand is now the property of Pacific Cycle USA. 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 more easily starting under $20. Most of their adult models also have a "youth" size. We can't find information about the line on the web any more


Scott


Scott is a high tech sporting goods company that grew out of the invention of the first aluminum ski pole. They now produce many products, and have a line of bike helmets. Most of their models are only certified to the European CEN standard, but the Spunto and Spartan below are CPSC. At least two of Scott's models use dual-density "cone-head foam" liners, a very interesting technology. Most have bug net in the front vents. A number of the models have a Contessa version with ladies graphics.


SDL


SDL is a Thai company that makes colorful jerseys in Thai styles. They have one road helmet, the SDL wonga, an elongated design with long vents, a heart-shaped front vent and big rear points.


SE Ripper


SE has a classic skate style helmet with a hard ABS shell to complement their BMX and freestyle bikes. CPSC certified only. Retail is about $25.


Sector 9


Sector 9 has a line of classic skate-shaped helmets, with one version using an EPS liner certified to the CPSC bicycle helmet standard and the other version using EVA (squishy) multi-impact foam and not certified to any impact protection standard. None is certified to the ASTM F-1492 skateboard standard, and the EVA versions can't be sold in California. Retail prices are $40 to $56.

Sector 9's downhill helmet, the Downhill DH6/DraftDD, is a full-face helmet with fiberglass shell and EPS liner. It comes with clear and tinted face shields in black, yellow or silver. It meets only the CPSC and European bicycle helmet standards, not the ASTM F1492 skateboard standard or the ASTM F1952 downhill mountain bike racing standard, and is priced at $325. Sector 9 helmets come in many colors.


Selev


Selev is an Italian company with models made in Italy 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 points you get on the rear. The high end models are "100% made in Italy." Others are designed in Italy. The website says they meet EN 1078, the European standard, and are all made in Italy. Their models include: Selev has a crash replacement policy in the US market that provides a helmet at half the retail price.

Shain


Shain (pronounced "shine") is an established Italian brand that was introduced to the US market in 2004. Their website says their helmets are "100% made in Italy." It also says it presents their "new" 2009 bike helmet collection, so this info may be way out of date and we do not know anything about the company's status.

After introducing a new foam in 2005, Shain cut back on its use until by 2009 all of the Shain models were the standard EPS foam versions. Most are advertised as meeting the US CPSC standard, but we don't see them in the US market. The line is beginning to look dated, with elongated helmets with sharp rear points.

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--the Bailen Bike Bucket had one 25 years ago and 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. The data in the catalog shows the g's rising from 137 to 213 on the second drop, and then to 367 g on the third drop. Most people in the helmet industry consider 213 high, and likely to cause a concussion, and anything over 300 g will not pass the US standard. So we would not describe that as multi impact performance.

Shain helmets have some European features like bug net 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. The line includes: Shain will replace a damaged helmet "at a substantially reduced cost to the original owner."


Shaun White Supply Co


Shaun White Supply Co is a D-6 brand for skateboards and trick scooters and accessories. They have a classic skate-style helmet with a hard shell and small vents. It comes in black or white, and the corporate logo on the front just says Supply Co. Retail is $30.


SH+


SH + is an Italian company with a full line of bike helmets, some made in Italy and others imported from China. Most of their helmets are only certified to the European CE standard, but some meet CPSC for sale in the US, and they are entering the US market in 2014. Most road model have large vents and rear points. They have an anti-pinch buckle that is backed by a tab. There is a skate style model, as well as long tail and round chrono helmets, and downhill racing full face models. Retail prices ranges from 24 to 160 euros. All are inmolded. The largest fits 62cm heads. SH+ models for the US market include:


Shenzhen Baojiali Sport Equipment


Shenzhen Baojiali is a Hong Kong company with a full line of bicycle helmets. They have road, children's and skateboard helmets in many styles. Most are EN 1078 certified for the European market and some are CPSC certified for sale in the US. Some models are inmolded. Prices in the US should be in the range of $10 to $40 retail.


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 current line, this Taiwanese manufacturer makes both EPS and EPU helmets. Their EPU helmets are inmolded. The styles are well-rounded, but vents look small. They have a fiberglass BMX model. We don't have current pricing. You would be most likely to see their helmets with other brands on them.


Shred


Shred is a newcomer in the bicycle helmet field. They also have protective body gear, sunglasses and goggles. All of their helmets have provision for the Icedot crash sensor. Their models include:


Sixsixone


SixSixOne is primarily a BMX and skate equipment company with a racing slant, owned by One Industries. They have bicycle, BMX/Downhill and skate style models in their line. They have many dealers in the UK.


Smart


Smart helmets come from Shunde Smart Helmet Co in China. They supply helmets for other brands. Most of their helmet models have the elongated shape with many vents and points in the rear, but more recent designs are compact, and a few are nicely rounded. Some are inmolded, some taped on. There are kids and skate models as well. We don't have their retail pricing.


Smith


Smith Optics has been known for eye protection and helmets for snowboarding and skiing. They launched a new bicycle helmet line in 2014. Their liners use a honeycomb of collapsing plastic tubes about the diameter of drinking straws, thermowelded together and surrounded by conventional EPS to keep them perpendicular to the head. The straws collapse along their length when impacted, and so does the surrounding EPS, managing the impact energy by slowing the transmission of energy and reducing the peak impact, just as other helmet liners do. You can see the material on the Koroyd site. The material is made in Germany of polycarbonate and PET. The Koroyd part of the liner is similar to Cascade's Seven liner system for lacrosse helmets. Three models are planned, ranging from $50 to $220 retail. The Forefront became available in the spring of 2014, aimed at the mountain bike market segment. Here is an article in Bicycle Retailer and Industry News. We have not seen any test results on the new design, but are hoping that it will perform better than conventional EPS liners in lower impact situations. The liner is mostly EPS in some segments, so any impact is likely to involve both Koroyd and EPS segments. In June Smith began promoting a 2015 "road" model called the Overtake. It will have MIPS versions and will retail for $250 or $310 with MIPS. Smith Koroyd helmet liner Smith's models include: We look forward to more innovative models from Smith in the coming year.


SMS Speed Mobility System


SMS is a Chinese manufacture located in Hong Kong, with an extensive line of road, mountain, urban and downhill helmets. Most are inmolded. Some have Conehead dual-density foam liners. Some are certified only to the European CE standard, others to CE and CPSC, but the skate and downhill models are not certified to the more demanding ASTM standards for those sports.


Specialized


Specialized is one of the major U.S. helmet manufacturers sold through bike shops and is a supplier of a wide range of bicycles and components. All of their bicycle-style helmets are inmolded. They have the straps in some models attached directly to the interior reinforcing, eliminating the external strap anchor bumps found on most helmets. Other anchors are recessed.

For 2014 Specialized has its Tri-Fix fitting system on all models, with the strap junctions on the side sewn in place like Bell's True Fit. It lacks the special cage that makes True Fit work, and does not function well for this reviewer, but works better on some other heads. Since you can't adjust the junctions, we would not buy a helmet with Tri-Fix without trying it on first to see if it works for your head. That is normal when you buy the helmet in a bike store.

All of Specialized's models are ring fit. Several of the models below are available in a women's color scheme. In addition to the CPSC standard, Specialized models are certified to Snell's older B-90 bicycle helmet standard, very similar to CPSC. Specialized is the only major US bike helmet brand still using Snell certification. They have also certified the Dissident to the ASTM downhill mountain biking standard, F1952. That standard requires better impact performance and coverage than the CPSC standard, and we think all downhill helmets should meet it. Specialized has at least some reflective material on almost all models, at least in the rear. Their models include:

Most Specialized models fit 51 to 63 cm (20.0 to 24.8") heads. The Max fits up to 64 cm (25.5") heads.

Specialized sometimes has older models of their helmets on their website's sale page at reduced prices, but never any of the current year's models, available only through bike shops.

Specialized sells replacement pads and visors on their website for many of their models.

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


Spiuk is a Spanish supplier of a wide range of bicycles, components and clothing. (The name is pronounced spee-yuke.) They have some bright color combinations on most models including team graphics. Strap anchors are nicely recessed. Their models include: In some cases Spiuk will replace crashed helmets at a discount.


Star


Star Helmets (Zhuhai Star Sports Equipment), located in Zhuhai, China, produces an extensive line of helmets under the Star Sport brand. Most are inmolded, the rest have taped on or glued on shells. Their B3-11 model is well vented, round and smooth. Most of the rest have rear points. Some are only CEN certified, but others are certified to CPSC and fourteen appear on Snell's B-95 bicycle helmet certification list, indicating better than CPSC impact protection. Star seems to be moving more toward the high end of their line. Most should sell in the $20 to $50 range in the US market, with the BMX models around $65 and ski models probably in the same range.


Stash


Stash was a folding helmet designed to be stored in a smaller space than a standard helmet, useful for riders using shared use bicycle programs. It folded like the 1990's Motorika and the 2012 Biologic Pango, a hard shell model that folds the same way. The Stash had a hard outer partial shell of ABS. Aside from the bare foam sections, the shape was round and smooth. Both sides folded into the middle to store it compactly. Stash folding helmet The manufacturer of the Stash, Hatpac Ltd. of the UK, said it met the CEN EN 1078 European bike helmet standard. If it did, it would be roughly equivalent to any one-piece Euro helmet. At an advertised 300 to 330 grams (about 12 oz.) it would be about a third heavier than a standard thin-shell CEN helmet, but that should not make much difference to any rider, particularly for short trips in town. Since we have never seen any mention of testing to the US CPSC standard, this one probably could not have been sold in the US. The typical CEN standard helmet does not meet our more severe impact tests. The Stash had protruding lumps for the hinges that might not pass our limits on protrusions as well. Although their web description of lab test results had indicated the author had some serious confusion about helmet testing, this was a really innovative design that might well encourage people using bikes in town to wear a helmet, particularly those who regularly borrow or rent a bike for short rides. Came with a pouch, and the company had shoulder bags and backpacks with special Stash compartments. Came in visible white with chrome trim, as a commuter helmet should, as well as invisible black. The two sizes fitted heads from 55 to 58 (21.7 to 22.8") and 60 to 62 cm (23.6 to 24.4"). The Stash retailed in the UK market for 50 pounds ($75) or less if you can find it now. We found it once in the Netherlands for 73.5 euros ($102). The Stash web page disappeared in 2010, and Hatpac is similarly difficult to find. We don't think the helmet is still available.


Strategic Sports


Strategic Sports designs and produces helmets for a number of U.S. and European companies with the other company's brand, and they rank among the world's largest helmet producers, with annual sales in the millions of helmets. Ten of their helmets appear on Snell's list. They are the prime licensee of the Cone-head dual density foam design. We have comments on Strategic 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.


Sunshine Helmets - Foshan


Foshan Sunshine Sporting Goods Company Ltd. was established in 2013. Foshan is a Chinese supplier of helmets for other brands, with their own Sunshine brand. They have many bike helmet models on the web. Some are inmolded, some taped on. There are kids and skate models as well. We don't have their retail pricing.


Taizhou Vista Sports Goods


Taizhou Vista is a Chinese supplier of helmets for other brands. They have 65 bike helmet models on the web, most of them elongated models with many vents and points in the rear. Some are inmolded, some taped on. There are kids and skate models as well. We don't have their retail pricing.


Team Wendy


Once a producer of skate-style helmets using a rate-sensitive foam they called Zorbium, Team Wendy withdrew to specialize in military helmets and helmet liners for a decade. They were planning to return to the skate or bike helmet market again in 2013, beginning with a carbon shell skate helmet with thermoplastic urethane (TPU) deformable plastic forming the liner. They had expected to certify the helmet to multiple standards. But their plans have been delayed, and We do not know when it might actually arrive on the market.


THE Industries


THE, an Enterprise founded by Toby Henderson, has mountain bike fenders, saddles and other accessories. The company provides helmets to Vigor Sports, where Henderson was one of the founding partners. Their F-14 model was the first rounder, smoother model with style and really good rear coverage to catch our eye, finally reaching the market in mid-2007. It was replaced by the F-20, a similar helmet with bigger vents and unfortunate rear points in the form of an added-on "air deflector." THE also has two full face helmets and a very round and smooth skate helmet with an ABS hard shell. They produce a road model with the Draco brand with a rounded profile, many vents and what looks to be extended rear coverage.


Top Gear


Top Gear is the house brand for Helmets R Us, a bulk supplier of many models of inexpensive helmets to helmet promotion campaigns. Prices start at $3.65, including shipping for orders over 24. They also sell single helmets retail to individuals at about $18 to $25 per helmet including shipping in the continental US. Their Model 18 skate style helmet is dual certified to the CPSC bicycle standard and ASTM F1492 skateboard standard for $25 single quantity.


Triple Eight


Triple Eight has primarily been a skate and ski helmet company, but for 2014 they have expanded their line with interesting new bike helmets dual certified to more demanding standards, while retaining some that are sold for skateboard only and do not meet the CPSC standard:

Triple Eight sells a unique Helmet Hook, with a wall mount and an arched arm ending in a ring that holds the helmet.

In January of 2012 CPSC announced a recall of Triple8 "Little Tricky" models. The helmets failed to meet CPSC impact requirements. They were probably not made by the supplier of the new 2014 models.

We were encouraged by the new 2014 Triple Eight line, particularly by the dual-certified models that meet appropriate standards for the activities the helmets are sold for.


Troy Lee Designs


Troy Lee is a motorcycle helmet and gear manufacturer with a BMX line known for high quality rad graphics. They originated the large bolted-on visor style with rigid mount that adds a potential snag point and has become universal on BMX models. Troy Lee says that the plastic mounts in the helmet will pull out when the visor is snagged. Unfortunately there is no standard for testing that yet, and nobody will do it for you at the bike shop or bike show, either, so we still regard the visors as potential problems. The Troy Lee bicycle line is named D2 for Daytona 2 and has three models.

There are custom sizing kits available for D2 and D3 helmets. Troy Lee will replace helmet liners after a crash if the shell is not damaged.


TSG - Technical Safety Gear


This Swiss company sells mostly skate helmets in the US in the classic skate style, one road model and one BMX model. The models below are all certified to EN 1078 and US CPSC standards, but not to the ASTM F1492 skateboard standard. TSG's models include: TSG's skate helmets fit heads from 54 to 60 cm. Their full-face helmets fit heads from 56 to 61 cm.


Tung I Hsing


See Tung Kuang below.


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 mostly have taped-on shells, while the EPP models noted below would more likely come from Taiwan and are all 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. Most of the models below are on Snell's B-95 list, denoting somewhat better protection than CPSC-only models. We have not seen their line or pricing this year. TKLI also produces helmets for other uses, including military, baseball, motorcycle, equestrian, football and snow sports.


Urge


Urge entered the US market in 2011 with a line of bicycle helmets that are environmentally sensitive and in some cases linked to green causes in other countries. They contribute one percent of their profits to environmental causes. Some models use recycled EPS, and all have straps of recycled PET. There is a signature round vent with Urge logo surrounding it on most models. Urge Vent helmet Packaging has "the legal minimum of plastic bags and other useless gadgets" with boxes made of recyclable unvarnished cardboard. All models are certified to CPSC for the US and the CEN EN 1078 standard for Europe. The line includes: Urge helmets fit sizes from 54 to 61 cm (21.3 to 24.0 inches)


Uvex


Uvex is probably best known internationally for its optical products, but in the bicycle market there is interest in their helmets. Their helmets are designed and all made in Germany except for the Urban, Hero and Viva. All of them are inmolded. They have reflective logos, nicely recessed strap anchors and front vent net for insect protection. They have a unique buckle that uses a ridged tab that inserts and pushes in, that we have only seen on Abus and Uvex helmets. It is adjustable with one hand while riding, particularly useful to take out the slack as you sweat on warm rides and the strap loosens. It is one of the few designs that prompts the rider to automatically adjust the chinstrap each time they put it on. All of their helmets have a ring fit system with a dial adjuster. Some can be had in a sunglasses-plus-helmet combination and there are optional small LED flashers in red and white that replace the rear strap anchor for all inmolded models. The LEDs can either blink or shine continuously. Some models have bacteriostatic pads. Uvex helmets are distributed by Magura in the US. The line includes: Uvex helmets fit heads up to 63 cm/24.8 inches except for the X-ride/S-Fit above. They offer a crash replacement discount of 30% off the retail price.


Vcan


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 points. Some are inmolded. Strap anchors are recessed or internal on all models. All are ring fit. Most are sold under other brands. Vcan also has skate and snow helmets, but their website emphasizes motorcycle helmets.


Ventura


Ventura is a house label of the bicycle distributor Cycle Force Group. The helmets mostly retail in the $15 to $35 range.


Video Head


Video Head is from C-Preme, the company that markets Raskullz children's helmets. They have three versions of a skate-style helmet with an integrated video camera. It appeared in the Spring of 2013 at Wal-Mart. We have not seen one yet. If you use a camera a lot, an integrated camera does not have a snag point that all add-on cameras do, a distinct advantage. And the built-in control buttons may be less distracting than those on a camera. But the Video Head's camera is below the test line for impacts to meet the CPSC standard, so you do not know from lab test results how it will perform when hit on the camera itself. There is a USB port for data and charging the lithium battery. There will be three camera resolutions, with MSRP ranging from $55 to $200. At Wal-Mart the price is $50 for the VGA resolution model, and that included the camera. The best review we have seen is in New Atlas. The Video Head is an indication that a helmet with a rear-facing camera and a heads-up display to replace your old helmet mirror may be possible.


Vigor Sports - VSI


Vigor Sports (Hong Jin Cycle Corp.) is a Korean manufacturer with a large and varied line of helmets, some made for them by other companies. You will see them under various Vigor-owned brands and sometimes produced for other brands as well. They have some models with EPU "double impact" foam as well as more conventional EPS. EPU is a crushable foam that does not recover, so we don't know what "double impact" they are referring to. If you crash in an EPU foam helmet it needs to be replaced. Vigor's 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 some additional cost and an effort to make the helmets safer that we wish more manufacturers would adopt. 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 is connected with THE, (Toby Henderson Enterprises) so they market several THE models.

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.


Vittoria


Vittoria is known in the US for its well-established line of shoes. In 2013 the company expanded its line with helmets. All are inmolded. There are bright color combinations. Most have bug mesh in the front vents. Vittoria has a customizing kit with stickers in your choice of colors.


X-Factor


See Kent International.

XLC


The XLC brand is distributed by Seattle Bike Supply. They have a variety of inmolded and taped-on models, mostly with moderate rear points, rear stabilizers, pinned-on visors, and prices ranging from about $15 to $60. Models include:


Yakkay


This Danish company sells a hat-style helmet. It is a basic skate-style helmet with covers that convert it into a fashion accessory that does not look like a helmet. The hats could be a snagging hazard, but there is no test in the CPSC standard for snagging. See our page on hat-style helmets for more. It is well suited to places where wearing a helmet is considered over-the-top for normal riders. The looks include a tweed hat with a brim that can flip up or down, a military-style cap in tweed, orange or other colors and two others that conform to the helmet shape but have different detailing and textures. There is one with Swarovsky crystals. There are no vents in the covers. Yakkay helmet They are available now from a small list of dealers in the US, starting at $65. Heritage Bicycles is shipping them in the US, charging $136 for helmet and cover. The Yakkay site lists dealers in a number of European countries. List price in Denmark is 299 Danish Kroner ($60 US), or 90 pounds in the UK. Prices can be much higher for some high-fashion covers. Lazer now has a similar cap-covered helmet, and others are using cap-style visors to make their helmet look more like a cap. A great concept for those who would not be caught dead in a helmet.

Yakkay has a new accessory called Safe One that is basically a padlock for locking your helmet's straps to the bicycle. It has a case that stashes a bag to cover your helmet with, keeping it clean and dry. It is a good thought for a helmet that has a fashion cover. See also Casqu' en Ville and Abus for similar designs.


Zefal


Zefal helmets appear in the US under the Michelin brand.


Zero Gravity


Zero Gravity makes helmets that are usually used for downhill street luge or longboading. Their ZG Vector m-5 is certified to the ASTM F1492 skateboard standard, not to CPSC. It is a hard shell full face helmet, with a full face shield. The shell is made of layers of fiberglass and a layer of carbon fiber, with an EPS liner. It has the sleek backward slanted profile that downhill luge riders favor for tucking in their chins while on their backs. Retail is $200 and up.


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 brand, 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. 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.

Zike


Zike is a manufacturer of human powered vehicles and hybrid scooters. They have one helmet to complement their product line, the WingFlyer skate style model that is certified only to the European standard. We don't know their retail pricing.


This page is frequently updated during the model year.

If you see something that needs updating, please send us an email!




Index to Brands


Abus
Acclaim
Action
Action/Senhai
Aegis
Aerogo / Lucky Bell
AGV
Alpha
Angeles
Armor
Ascent
Avenir
Azonic/O'Neal
Barbie
Bandbox
Barbieri
BBB
Bell
Bern Unlimited
Bianchi
Biologic
BiOS
Black Market Mercenary Labor
Bontrager/Trek
Briko
Bravo
Bravo Sports
Cannondale
Capix
Carnac
Carrera
Casco
Casqu'enville
Catlike
Closca
CNS - ProRider
Coyle
Cratoni
Crazy Stuff
D-6
Dahon
Diadora
DK
Docmeter (Helmeter)
Draco
Dux
Ebon (Co-Union)
El Sol - Bravo
Ekoi
Eleven81
Etto
Fisher-Price
Genesis
Fly Helmets - Guangzhou Longsheng
Fly Racing
Fox Racing
Free Agent
Funkier
Louis Garneau
Giro
Gmax
Golex
Gray
Greenline
Guang Zhou Long Sheng
Haloglow
Happy Way
Headlight AB
Helmeter - Docmeter
Hamax
Helmets R Us
Hong Kong Sports
Hopus Technology/Aegis Helmets
Hot Wheels
ISX
J&B Importers
Joykie
Kabuto - OGK
Kali
Kask
KBC
KED
Kent
Kong
Kranium (Abus)
Kuji Sports
Kunshan Yiyuan Sporting Goods
L.A.S.
Lazer
LED
Lifebeam
Limar
Louis Garneau
Lucky Bell / Aerogo
Mavic
MET
Michelin (Zefal)
Mien Yow Industry
Mobo
Mongoose / Pacific Cycle
Netti
Nishiki
Norin
Northwave
Nutcase
O2
OGK
Oktos
One
O'Neal (Azonic/O'Neal)
Orbea
Overade
Pacific Cycle
Poc
ProRider - CNS
Pro-Tec
Pro Supergo
Proviz
Prowell
Pryme
Punisher
Raskullz
Razor
Roar
Rudy Project
San Diego Speed - SDS - Armor
Sahn
S-One
Sawako Furumo
Schwinn / Pacific Cycle
Scott
SDL
Sector 9
Selev
SH +
Shain
Shanghai Tung Kuang (Alltop, Allpro)
Shaun White Supply Company
Shenzhen Baojiali
Shenzhen Hezhen Bicycle
Shenzhen Qukang
Sixsixone
Smart
Smith
SMS Speed Mobility System
Specialized
Spiuk
Star
Stash
Strategic Sports
Sunshine - Fosan
Synergy Sports - Gray
Taizhou Vista
Team Wendy
THE
Tong Ho Hsing (THH)
Trek/Bontrager
Triple Eight
Troy Lee
TSG
Tung Kuang
Urge
Uvex
Variflex - VFX (Bravo Sports)
Vcan
Ventura
Video Head
Vigor Sports
Vista - Taizhou Vista
Vittoria
X-Games
XLC
Yakkay
Zefal (Michelin)
ZG Zero Gravity (skateboard only)
Zhuhai Golex (Golex)
Zhuhai Safety
Zhuhai Star Safety
Zike