Bicycle Helmets for the 2014 Season
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 this year
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 There are unpublished indications that the lightest and thinnest helmets do not perform well when impact levels exceed those required by the CPSC standard.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
- Impact liners are finally evolving this year. Smith Optics promises a helmet this spring that uses collapsible plastic modules in place of foam, but with some EPS still included in the liner. POC has a liner partially composed of a honeycomb material. There are more Conehead designs with dual density impact foam in helmet liners this year, introduced by Cannondale in their 2012 Teramo model and Kali in their 2013 Maraka. Conehead helmets have two layers of standard EPS foam. One is lower density, and should crush more easily at lower impact levels, possibly offering an advantage in avoiding concussions. Abus has shown a model with a cardboard liner section, backed by standard EPS, and there may someday be a full cardboard liner helmet. In football, hockey and lacrosse there have been helmets using collapsible plastic modules in place of foam for some time.
- A new type of helmet has appeared: the aero road helmet. Not as slick as a chrono time trial helmet, but made more aerodynamic than a normal road helmet, often by covering the vents. Some have adjustable vents, or use vent plugs. They are used by pros in some races, but abandoned for stages where ventilation becomes critical. They will not improve the average road rider's performance very much, but you might want one for the image, and some have the rounder, smoother profile that we recommend.
- A slip-plane helmet appeared in 2010 with a second shell or liner that can slide over the inner shell a few millimeters at the moment of impact. This is claimed to mitigate the rotational force on the head, and in some cases that has been measured. The hope is to reduce rotational brain injury. Search for "MIPS," the patent holder licensing the technology. Others are working on similar concepts. Most helmets slip anyway on impact.
- High visibility colors are back. After the bright neon color craze of the 90's died, dealers could not sell neon anything, including helmets. But last year neon came back, usually referred to as Hi Viz, and never called neon. POC is actively promoting hi viz for 2014, with screaming orange helmets and screaming orange clothing.
- Green helmets are growing, pioneered by Urge and this year by Kali. They use renewable materials, but still rely on EPS for energy management, and recycled EPS is just getting to the stage where it can be incorporated into helmets without too much performance penalty. When the time comes to dispose of the helmet, it is still difficult for the consumer to get EPS to a recycler.
- Rounder profile "city," "urban" or "commuter" models are in almost every manufacturer's lineup. The list below has more than 65 models.
- Higher priced helmets usually have big vents, but no verifiable advantage in impact performance. Our testing showed that the sample of very expensive helmets and very cheap helmets we tested had about the same impact protection.
- Ring fit systems, the "one size fits all" solution, have taken over for much of the market. They work well for some, but not at all for others, who find that they have to tighten the ring uncomfortably to get a stable fit. You have to try them on to be sure. There are still models using fitting pads instead, but you may have to look for them, and you may pay more.
- Several manufacturers now have fit systems with fixed side straps to compete with Bell's True Fit system. But they do not have the internal strap anchor cage that makes the True Fit system work, and we found that they do not work for us as well as the True Fit helmets do. That includes Bell's own bike shop line of helmets and the Giro version. True Fit is still sold only in big box retail stores, in helmets priced around $25.
- Strap adjustment fittings--buckles and side pieces--still badly need improvement. Most of them slip too easily, resulting in the "strap creep" that can loosen straps even on riders who have adjusted their straps carefully.
- Expensive materials: Carbon fiber is coming back in some high-end motorcycle-style helmets and a few bike models. It allows slightly lighter construction, but saves minimal weight except in the heaviest full face BMX or downhill racing helmets. Manufacturers are searching for ways to use titanium, another glamorous and expensive product that saves very little weight in a helmet. Kevlar, Graphene and Aramid are found in a few helmets, mostly in the internal reinforcing. There is no verifiable impact performance advantage in any of the helmets that have these materials, since they are mostly used to make the helmet thinner and lighter or open up bigger vents.
- Rubber finishes and a fabric finish are still found in some helmets. We do not recommend them for road use because rubber or fabric surfaces might increase the sliding resistance of a helmet when it hits the pavement. If you doubt that, scrub one hard on pavement and see the difference for yourself.
- LED flashers in the rear of helmets are more frequent, but most of them are too small and have low output compared to this year's best third-party flashers, so you need to add your own.
- Anti-microbial pad materials are increasingly used in high-end models. Most use silver or other chemicals, and might be useful if you are having unusual helmet odor problems. If you are seeking to reduce your exposure to industrial chemicals and metals they may not be something you want to have held against your sweating head on every ride.
- Electric bike helmets: designs for e-bikes began to appear in 2013, typified by the Casco E-Motion Cruiser. There is no separate ASTM or CPSC standard for ebikes.
- Price adjustments are more up than down for 2014, particularly at the high end of the price spectrum.
Some Interesting New Models
- Smith Optics began marketing their Forward model this year, with a new German liner material called Koroyd(tm). In June they began promoting the 2015 "road" model, the Overtake.
The liner looks like a bundle of short, small-diameter drinking straws, perpendicular to the head. In the Smith helmet they are surrounded by normal EPS foam. The straws collapse along their length when impacted, managing the impact energy by slowing the transmission of energy and reducing the peak impact, just as other helmet liners do. Smith says that the new material works better than foam, but we have not seen test results of their helmet, and it still uses foam in some areas. Riders who tried the helmet in Nevada heat said the ventilation through the straws was excellent.
- POC has had a honeycomb material called Supracor (tm) in their hard-shell Super Skull Comp ski helmet, but it still has an EPP foam liner as well. They have a project helmet, perhaps coming in 2014, with the first Koroyd liner made from a flat sheet of the material and formed into the liner. You can see this page with photos of the Skull Comp DH Koroyd where the liner resembles porcupine quills. We don't see it on the POC website yet.
- Bell has two new road models, the Stoker and the Indy, that are both round, smooth helmets, the shape we prefer, with reasonable vents, bright color options and an XL size for the Stoker that fits heads up to 65cm. Their Star Pro, promised in October, has a dual-density liner, rounder profile and closable vents to improve its aero performance. It also has a hi-vis yellow option.
They also have a skate model called the Intersect with a segmented liner similar to the TSG Kraken. Bell is using a somewhat flexible shell that may improve fit for some heads.
- Giro (a Bell brand) has a new Synthe model that has the rounder profile that we recommend. Although it looks like a standard road helmet with elongated vents, Giro is claiming that it provides better aero performance than previous models. Worth a look for the improved profile
- Rudy Project has a simple but innovative feature in their new time trial helmet. Wind tunnel tests have always shown that helmet drag is changed dramatically by a degree or two of helmet tilt, depending on rider position and anatomy. So the new Rudy Project chrono helmet has a removable tab at the rear that raises the rear edge about an inch above the rider's back if needed. If you know the angle of attack you need, the simple tab lets you tune for that.
- There were several new helmets using the MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System - tm) slip plane technology. There are now helmets from POC, Lazer, ONE, Scott, Smith (for 2015) and TSG with MIPS slip planes.
- Bell: has brought their calibrated breakaway camera mount to market, and are chairing an ASTM task group to develop a standard for when the mount should pop off if you snag it.
- Catlike is adding a nano technology fiber they call Graphene (tm) to strengthen the internal reinforcing of their top model, with Swiss cheese vents.
- Cratoni is bringing back the removable chinbar with a new downhill racing model called the Shakedown.
- Kali has a new full face helmet model with carbon shell called the Shiva, meeting the DOT motorcycle helmet standard with reduced weight and profile by using all of Kali's technological features in "the helmet Kali Protectives was born to design." They also have a new "green" model called the Saha, a skate model with a hard Polylactide shell made from a polymer derived from corn and a recycled EPS liner.
- Uvex has a chrono model for $1250, the most expensive helmet we have seen this year.
- Icedot has a new system that calls for help if you crash. Attach it to your helmet and if you crash it calls the Icedot site using the smartphone in your pocket, with the phone's GPS data, to send text messages to your emergency contact. Another option is a bracelet that lets the first responders call in for your medical data. The system is recording your helmet's experience, not your head's, but it could be useful if you ride solo in remote areas.
- Promised: manufacturers tell us to expect new folding helmets, new models fitting Asian heads and new helmet liner materials, all "coming soon" to the US market.
- Not promised: nobody is working on new models for heads larger than 65cm, although we keep pointing out the need.
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.
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:
- Almost all "skate-style" and BMX helmets
- Most toddler helmets
- Abus Urban-I, Lane-U, Urbanaut, Cyclonaut, Kranium Ecolution
- Acclaim Metro
- Bell Stoker, Indy, Muni, Sequence, Piston, Star Pro, Variant, Deuce/Impulse/Vogue/Cruiser discount model
- Bern All models
- Biologic Pango folder
- Bontrager/Trek Lithos
- Briko City Bike, Mustang
- Capix Hellion
- Casco Warp, ATC/Ciao, Attack, Cuda, E-Motion, Activ-TC
- Catlike Urban Concept
- Cratoni Evolution
- Ekoi City E+
- Eleven81 Crosstown
- Etto Champery MTB
- Giro Aspect, Air Attack, Hex, Phase, Reverb, Feature, Synthe
- Golex K-15
- GPR/Plim Urbanus, Vidi
- J&B Furius V-23
- Kali Amara, Chakra
- Kask Sky Replica, Urban (Euro models), Lifestyle
- KED Sky (Euro Model)
- Kong Scarab
- Lazer CityZen
- Limar Velov (with cover panels)
- MET 20 Miles
- Netti Transit
- Nutcase All models
- O2 Dexter
- Oktos (several)
- POC Trabec, Receptor
- Potenza Pavè
- Pro-Tec Cyphon
- Roar KS-04
- Schwinn Intercept
- SixSixOne Recon
- Specialized Street Smart
- Star (Zuhai Star) B3-11
- THE F20 (Extra coverage)
- THH T-35, T-36, T-38
- TSG Substance 2.0
- Uvex City 3, Urban
- Yakkay All models, but note cloth surfaces.
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.
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
. 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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Concussion Helmet: There is still no reasonably vented bicycle helmet on the market identified as an "anti-concussion" or softest-landing helmet. The concussion issue, so much in the news since 2010, is not simple. A softer landing will always help, but there are other factors in a crash, some that a helmet design can't even address. Many point to rotational force as a prime concussion mechanism, but that does not mean simply jerking the head to one side, since rotational forces in the brain can result from a simple straight-on impact. The manufacturers with slip-plane technology that they say addresses the concussion issue have only skate style models, with very small vents, or child models. We think that if you choose a helmet with a round, smooth shape it will shift on your head when you hit anyway, so we question the value of the MIPS slip-plane design. A skate-style or BMX helmet with more coverage may be coupled more closely with the head, though, and for those the slip-plane could make a difference.
We have a page up on anti-concussion helmets.
- The Senior's Helmet: There are no helmets promoted for the needs of seniors, who need softer landings in an impact. Current helmets are optimized for best protection from catastrophic injury, but since lesser blows are survivable and no helmet can do it all, the design priority remains protection against the hardest impacts.
- The More Severe Impact Helmet: No manufacturer advertises that their helmet protects against blows that exceed the CPSC standard by a wide margin, although Consumer Reports ratings based on their lab testing have indicated that some can. With the constant threat of lawsuits we may never see that kind of advertising.
- The Electronic Rearview Mirror Helmet: Electronics have still not been applied to make bicycle helmets safer. We have yet to see on our market a mainstream helmet with a rear-facing camera and a heads-up display to replace your old mirror. The introduction of the Video Head model with a built-in video camera in 2013 indicated that may be getting closer.
If no other information is in the writeup for each brand or model, these features are assumed:
- The typical bicycle helmet listed below is a road or mountain bike helmet with a thick Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) foam liner and a thin plastic shell. Except for the cheapest models, the foam liner is inmolded, meaning that the plastic shell is placed in the mold and the foam material of the liner is expanded into it, forming one solid piece. For lower-priced models the shell is generally molded separately and then taped or glued on the foam liner. The typical helmet has at least some vents, webbing straps made of nylon, polypro or a similar material, a plastic buckle, no reflective trim and either a ring fit ("one size fits all") or soft foam fitting pads inside. It may have a visor. We have a page up on visors explaining our lack of enthusiasm for them.
- BMX models are "full face" (with chinbar) and have thicker hard shells shaped like a motorcycle helmet. The chinbars typically do not have effective energy management padding inside. Vents are usually minimal, and there is normally a very large visor bolted firmly on, a possible snagging hazard. Most manufacturers are unable to tell us what force level causes their visors and other mounts to detach in testing. Some BMX models meet more demanding motorcycle helmet standards for impact management. Some aero road helmets are made for aerodynamic performance, usually with few vents.
- Downhill mountain bike racing models are similar to BMX but generally lighter and have vents. Usually they also have minimal or no impact padding inside the chinbar. Unless noted they are certified only to the CPSC bicycle helmet standard rather than the tougher ASTM F1952 standard for downhill helmets.
- Chrono helmets are teardrop-shaped for time trials and pursuit events. They often have extremely elongated aero shapes and minimal vents, so they are not suitable for street riding. We have a page up on chrono models.
- Skate style helmets are the classic round, smooth shape pioneered by Pro-Tec in the 1970's with ABS plastic hard shells and small vents. Most now have EPS liners and are certified to the CPSC one-hit bicycle helmet standard rather than the ASTM F1492 Skateboard standard that requires multiple impact protection. Some are dual certified to both standards, and we recommend looking for that.
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.
Brands and Models
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-Vizz: New for 2014 delivery, this road helmet has huge vents and an unfortunate upswept tab in the rear. It has an integrated polycarbonate eye shield that pulls down to protect the eyes or slides up into the helmet if not needed. Comes in a visible white option or in black with neon stripes. There is a neon yellow rain cover available. This one will probably not be sold in the US.
- Cyclonaut: Introduced in 2013, a cloth-covered skate-style helmet for urban use. We don't like cloth covers substituting for plastic that slides well in impacts. No vents. Abus is positioning this one as stylish urban wear.
- Performance: Introduced in 2013, this helmet has a unique liner that combines one layer of conventional EPS expanded polystyrene and one layer of cardboard honeycomb. We have a page up on the Kranium technology with more photos of this helmet. Retail in the UK is 80 pounds.
The cardboard layer of the liner can be made from recycled materials and would be considered sustainable, but the EPS layer is no better than other helmets in this review.
- Urbanaut: Introduced in 2012, a nicely rounded commuter-style helmet with many innovations. The foam liner is dual-density, and the shell uses both ABS and polycarbonate. The liner is inmolded. The two long narrow vents can be closed with a winter kit when used as a ski helmet or for cold or rainy weather. There is a tartan "Scots" version, but it appears to have external cloth and ridges. Straps are leather. Ring fit. An interesting helmet. Meets the European CEN bike and ski helmet standards. Retail is 85 Euros and up.
- Pedelec: sold as a helmet for electric bike riders, a nicely rounded profile with modest vents and inmolded. An interesting helmet, but Abus apparently certifies it only to the CEN bike helmet standard. LED rear light. Ring fit. Retail is about 85 euros.
- Metronaut: A hat-style urban helmet designed to look like an oversized cap, with a cloth cover and long visor. No vents. Comes in tweed and solid colors. Retails for 55 to 70 euros. 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.
- Aven-U: a skate-style helmet but has a thin shell and is inmolded. Has narrow rectangular vents. Retails for 45 to 60 euros. The hard shell version of the same design is the Scraper, retailing for 20 to 45 euros, and in small sizes as the Scraper Kid.
- Urban-I: a road helmet with reasonable vents and a well-rounded external profile. There is a bright "Signal Yellow" option with LED flasher and reflective shell, and a Signal Red. Retail is 45 to 60 euros online.
- Lane-U: a road model with reasonable vents and a well-rounded external profile, similar to the Urban-I. There is also a Signal model with extra reflectors. Retail is 35 to 60 euros. Appears to be another good compromise between vent area and foam.
- Arica: Road model with large vents. With visor it is the Aduro. The child size is the Chaox. The retail price varies a lot for either model, centering around 50 euros.
- Raxtor: Road model with large vents and a single high point in the rear. Mostly dark colors.
- Win-R: Road model with large vents and a high shelf with small points in the rear. Billed as a "crossover" model for urban and touring.
- Hill Bill: pitched as a mountain bike helmet, with one unfortunate pronounced snag point on the top rear. There is a very visible Signal Orange option. Retail is about 90 to 120 euros.
- S-Force Road: a lightweight road helmet with a compact profile with rear points and big vents. Retail is 75 to 120 euros. Also available with visor as the S-Force Peak. We don't know how this one ties into the Abus philosophy statement in the intro above about keeping the vents reasonable to maintain plenty of foam.
- S-Force Pro: a lightweight road helmet with a single high rear point and big vents.
- Tec Tical Pro: a racy road helmet with lots of rear points and big, long vents. Retail is 75 to 120 euros.
- New Gambit: a road helmet with reasonable vents and a very nicely rounded external profile. The value helmet in Abus' line, at 35 to 40 euros.
- Chaox: a road model for kids and youth with points in the rear, based on the Arica.
- Mountx: a road model for kids and youth with a single point in the rear.
- Chilly: a child model with good-sized vents retailing for about
26 to 45 euros. Also comes as the Super Chilly with nicer fittings.
- Hubble: a toddler model with front vents and an innovative system that prevents direct sunlight from striking the head. Has a flattened rear profile to prevent the helmet from pushing the child's head forward while riding in a bike carrier or trailer. Ring fit, and the XS size starts at 45cm. Retail is about 25 euros online.
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 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 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.
See Lucky Bell
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
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 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.
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 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.
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 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.
- CAS/3018IN: a 2009 road model with rear points, inmolded, with larger vents.
- CAS/235IN: Another road model with rear points, introduced in 2009 with glued-on shell.
- Helmet: Barbieri's original model, with a distinctive bumpout in the back. No longer in their web catalog but still on the web page.
- Kid Adjustable: A vented toddler helmet with ring fit and taped on shell. Also comes as the Kid Small, apparently in a smaller size, but also with a ring fit.
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.
- Varallo may be the most interesting helmet in the BBB line, an inmolded "mountain bike" helmet with chunky lines and possibly more coverage in the rear. Recessed strap anchors, visor.
- Falcon is the top of the line road model, inmolded with carbon fiber and aluminum reinforcements. The vents are very large. It has the usual high end points at the rear, nicely recessed strap anchors and flip-open strap adjustors. There is a visible white option. Retail is about 200 euros. With visor it's the Everest at about 10 euros more. Also comes as the Fenix without the carbon and aluminum for about 100 euros, and in that version as the Moco with a visor for a little more.
- Griffon has a more rounded rear profile than the Falcon, and is inmolded for about 65 euros. Also comes for a little more as the Taurus with visor.
- Kite: road model, available with visor as the Elbrus.
- Hawk: an inmolded road model with large vents and a pronounced rear overhang, also available with visor as the Jaya.
- Traffic: a nice take on the commuter style, with lots of vents and a very rounded profile unfortunately spoiled for no good reason by a pronounced lip sticking up at the top.
- Rapido: No side vents, and the camo model has a definitely military look. Also available as the Police model in white with Police markings. Available only in size medium.
- Tabletop: a classic skate-shape.
- Child and toddler: BBB has at least six child and toddler helmets.
- Tribase: time trial model with a medium long tail in back and four narrow adjustable vents. Can be found for less than 100 euros.
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 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
- Stoker: a round, smooth road helmet, the shape we prefer, with reasonable vents, a visible white option and an XL size that fits heads up to 65cm.
Has the appearance of extended rear coverage, but check it when level on your head to be sure. We hope this represents a trend for Bell. Retail price is $70.
- Indy: another smooth and very well rounded new model in Bell's line, with more vents than the Stoker. With graphics it is the Dixie. Nicely recessed strap anchors. Retail is $55 for either model.
- Star Pro: a new entry in the aero road segment, with the rounder profile we recommend and a dual density foam liner that uses less dense foam on the interior, possibly improving performance in lower energy impacts. It has vents you can close with shutters if you believe that will improve your performance, and at least one hi-viz yellow option. A large section of the front has no vents, and other vents neck down as they pass through the liner, raising questions about the cooling airflow. Retail will be $240 when it appears in October.
- Gage: the top of Bell's road helmet line for 2014, with very large vents and big points on the back. Has anti-microbial padding, if you want that next to your skin. Retail is $190.
- Muni: replaced the Citi as Bell's commuter helmet in 2011. Nicely rounded "urban commuter" profile, of course, with a full-cover shell. It has Bell's TAG fit system, more fiddly than the True Fit models in discount stores. The buckle is the ratcheting tab one until now found only on Abus and Uvex helmets. It has the advantage of readjusting the chin strap every time it is fastened, and could be snugged up while riding if sweat causes the strap to slacken.
The Muni has a visor with a rain gutter, and a flimsy but very adjustable mirror at extra cost that unfortunately requires you to use the visor. It comes standard with a pair of blinking LED lights built into the rear stabilizer, and it accommodates the optional Bell/Blackburn Flea series of very small head and tail lights, including one that comes with a solar charger and a "fuel gauge." Unfortunately the front Flea light also mounts on the visor. Has bright white options, and teal green for women. Retail for the Muni is $65. Bell has a YouTube video up on the Muni. Other well-rounded Bells include the Piston, Sequence and Variant below. For a less expensive but equally well-rounded alternative, see the Impulse below. At $15 to $35 it is still inmolded, and seems like a real bargain if you can still find it at Wal-Mart's $25 price.
- Piston: replaced the Venture for 2013 as Bell's value helmet in the bike store line, retailing for $40. It has reasonable vents and a well-rounded compact shape. In women's graphics it is the Strut, the youth version is the Octane and the child version is the Buzz. For extra large heads it is the XLP fitting heads up to 65cm. All have a one-size-fits-all ring fit. Retail is $40 for any of them. They are among the least expensive Bell models for adults and youth sold in bike stores, and probably among the better values in the Bell lineup, along with the Deuce/Impulse reviewed below under Bell's discount line.
- Solar: an older design road helmet with a single overhanging shelf in the rear that retails for $35, and in the extra large size it is the XLV, fitting heads up to 65 cm (25.5 inches) in circumference, retailing for $40. (See our page on helmets for large heads for more info.) The XLV was "out of stock" when we checked in December of 2013, and may be replaced with the XLP above.
- Volt: formerly the top model in the Bell lineup. It has pronounced rear points, with some exposed fiberglass cloth used for reinforcing and "composite fiber intake" accents to open up larger vents. Has a lower shell for full cover, and the antimicrobial padding. Comes with matching visor and plugs for the visor holes when you don't use it. Sells for $175.
- Array: somewhat similar to the Volt but lacking the fiber vent edges. On the plus side, the rear points are considerably less sharp than the Volt, so you pay less for a better external configuration. Visor and visor hole plugs. The retail price is lower this year at $80.
- Lumen: resembles some older Giro models, with rear points and many long vents. The shape is at least compact. It retails for $65.
- Sequence: the round, smooth model you should check out if the Muni or Citi are too round for your taste. It has enough edges and ridges to retain design interest. Bell is pitching it to mountain bike and city riders. Most colors seem drab, but there is a visible white option. Vents in the Sequence are larger than the very similar Variant below, and considerably larger than the Muni. So is the price, at $90.
- Variant: pitched for mountain biking. Like the Sequence, it has the new "compact" shape without an elongated rear, and qualifies as a "rounder, smoother" helmet, although it has one tiny shelf sticking out in the rear. It has top and bottom outer shells for full cover. Retail price is $80.
- Slant: full-cover shell and three modest points in the rear. The Slant was one of only four helmets rated by Consumer Reports in their June, 2006 article as providing superior impact performance and awarded the Best Buy tag. Worth a look for that reason, despite the points. Retail is $55.
- Sweep: Bell's top of the line back in 2007, with 11 choppy points on the rear giving it a porcupine effect and beginning to look "old school" compared to the compact models. Inmolded with a lower shell. Visor. Retail is lower this year at $125.
- Tater: a helmet for toddlers and for kids over 5. It has Bell's One Step fit system for easier strap adjustment. Bell has used softer internal fit pads and upscale strap webbing to distinguish it from the less expensive True Fit models at Wal-Mart, and it still requires some adjustment. Inmolded with bug net in the front vents. Retails for $35.
- Full 9: introduced in 2013, a high-end downhill mountain bike racing helmet with full carbon fiber shell, chinbar. Motorcycle-style design certified to CPSC, ASTM F1952 downhill and ASTM F2032 BMX standards, verifying the performance of the additional coverage. A carbon shell bridge keeps hair out of vents. There is a breakaway mount for cameras tested during development of the ASTM visor and accessory breakaway standard now in development. Interior vent channels, with an add-on Ipod Shuffle accessory for riding up those lift lines. Compatible with the Eject removal system that alerts EMT's to features that facilitate helmet removal. Retail is $400.
- Transfer 9: new for 2014, a downhill mountain bike racing helmet with fiberglass shell and chinbar. Like the Full 9, it is certified to CPSC, ASTM F1952 downhill and ASTM F2032 BMX standards, verifying the performance of the additional coverage. It has most of the Full 9 features, including a breakaway mount for cameras. Compatible with the Eject removal system. The fiberglass shell adds considerable weight, but the price is half that of the Full 9 at $200, so replacing it after a crash would be a lot less painful.
- Super: introduced in 2013, a downhill helmet with the appearance of skate-style coverage, but in fact when adjusted level on the head it does not come down much further in back than the usual bike helmet. It has oval vents and a unique design at the sides with angular lines. Meets only the CPSC or CEN bike helmet standards, not the ASTM F1952 downhill mountain bike racing standard, so the impact performance of the additional rear protection is not tested and therefore not known. Whatever the marketing, this is a helmet designed for regular bicycling, where the additional rear coverage is as welcome as it is for racing. Bolted on visor, with brow vents underneath. Goggle arms. Breakaway camera mount. Retail is $125.
- Sanction: a BMX/downhill full face model that replaced the venerable Bellistic. Does not meet the ASTM F1952 downhill mountain bike standard, so its impact protection is not as good as the Drop. It still has a fiberglass shell, however, a nice feature at this price point. The largest size is 60 cm/23.6". The retail price is lower this year at $75.
- Segment: skate-style helmet combining an ABS hard shell and a segmented EPS liner. The liner segments are joined by embedded mesh and can move a little, perhaps helping the helmet to conform to a hard-to-fit head.
The shell is flexible as well. Meets CPSC, EN1078 and the more demanding ASTM BMX helmet standard, but is not certified to the ASTM skate helmet standard that requires multiple hits. Retail is $55 for plain colors and $60 for graphics versions. TSG has had a similar design out since 2010 called the Kraken.
- Intersect: new for 2014, another skate-style helmet combining an ABS hard shell and a segmented EPS liner. The liner segments are joined by embedded mesh and can move a little, perhaps helping the helmet to conform to a hard-to-fit head. The Intersect has very small rectangular vents rather than the round vent holes that make the Segment look old-school, and is not advertised as meeting the ASTM BMX standard although it is slightly heavier than the Segment. Retail is $60.
- Faction: Bell's classic skate model is a hard shell design with a dual-density foam liner. The Faction has the round, smooth exterior of the classic skate helmet, with small rectangular vents on top, front and rear. There is a nice selection of colors and graphics including visible white and magenta, and flowers for the girls. The Faction retails for $40 to $45. Bell also produces the Fraction, a scaled-down version for small heads. Bell's catalog and packaging say that these two models have dual certification to both the CPSC bicycle helmet standard and the ASTM F1492 multi impact skateboard standard. See our Dual Certified page for more on that. Those we have found on the market do not say F1492 on the sticker in the helmet. We are disappointed to see that from any manufacturer, although a loophole in the ASTM standard used to require only that the helmet sticker say "for skateboarding or trick roller skating" and did not specifically require the number of the standard. That loophole was eliminated in 2011, but we have not checked any more recent stock.
- Javelin: a long-tailed chrono model for time trials. It has flexible side pieces to make it easier to get on and off, and a channeled liner with two front vents. Ring fit. Has a removable face shield. The tri-glides--side buckles--are fixed and cannot be adjusted, but this is not a True Fit helmet, so be sure to try it on before you buy and try to yank it off to see if it will work on your head. Retail is $200.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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'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 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 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:
Then the sides slide up into the top.
And the back folds down.
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 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.
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:
- Bontrager Oracle: Trek's top of the line road model, inmolded with a lower shell covering the whole surface. Has a compact shape, pronounced rear point and large vents. Carbon internal reinforcement, and internal strap anchors to avoid bumps. Retails for $180.
- Bontrager Lithos: road model with a lower shell covering the whole surface. Has a very well-rounded compact shape and many vents. Internal strap anchors to avoid bumps. Comes with a visor. Retails for $130.
- Bontrager Specter: road model with a compact shape and rear points. Has two sections with composite reinforcement showing. Internal strap anchors to avoid bumps. Retails for $140, or for $150 as the Specter XR with visor.
- Bontrager Circuit: an elongated road model with sharp rear points, inmolded and retailing for $100. The identical Trek Circuit closed out in 2013 as the last Trek-branded model.
- Bontrager Quantum: road model with long vents coming to a rear point. Ring fit. Retail is $65.
- Bontrager Solstice: road model with long vents coming to a blunt rear point. Ring fit. Also comes in a youth size. Retail is $45.
- Bontrager Big Dipper: very nicely rounded child helmet fitting heads 48 to 52 cm. with large oval vents on the top only, graphics and an anti-pinch chin pad. Formerly came as the Little Dipper, an infant-toddler model fitting down to size 46 cm., but that one has been discontinued. Retail is $35.
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 (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 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 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:
- City Bike>: Round, smooth road helmet with many vents. May be on its way out, but still available on Briko's site.
- 5.0: introduced in 2013, a compact style helmet with a rear shelf spoiling the profile. The chinstrap is covered with leather. Ring fit with a roller adjustment. Retail is $170.
- Liberty: worth a look for its very round and smooth profile and available hi-visibility neon yellow. Has a small built-in lip in the front forming a partial visor. Extended coverage on the sides. Retail is $80, or $85 for the high vis. Also comes as the Junior in small and medium, including a clunky-looking visor.
- Mustang: An updated compact design, nicely rounded with a minimal rear point. Has an internal carbon fiber cage and a lower shell covers almost all of the foam in the rear. The carbon model has exposed composite. Nicely recessed strap anchors and excellent strap fittings that should hold adjustment very well. This one meets the CPSC standard for the US market. Retail is $130. The Mustang Carbon has been dropped.
- Falco: a compact-profile road model with a modest rear point. Retail is $170.
- Raptor: an older elongated road model with a pronounced rear point. European model. Retail is $160.
- Shire: an elongated design with many rear points. Shares the same excellent strap fittings with the Mustang. Retail is $80, and it comes in neon yellow. This is Briko's best seller in the US.
- Paint: a youth (small) helmet that is reasonably well-rounded but has a strange profile that rises in a flat plane to a ridge before dropping off in the rear. Comes in bright colors. European model.
- Pony: toddler model with vents and a very nicely rounded profile. Inmolded. Has bug net in the front vents, and some bright color options. European model.
- Street: Briko's skate style model with hard ABS shell and small vents.
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.
- Cypher: top of Cannondale's 2014 line, a road helmet with long rear snag points. The dual density foam is used to lower weight and open up larger vents. With some trim and feature upgrades from the Teramo, it retails for $200.
- Teramo: a road helmet with long rear snag points. Retail for the Teramo is $120, or $130 for matte black with green visor.
- Ryker: a more compact road model with better-rounded rear profile, but a single-density liner. Retail is $85.
- Radius: road model with rear points. Retail is $60.
- Quick: the value helmet in the Cannondale line is a road helmet with projecting rear shelf. Still inmolded at $40 retail.
- Kid's Quick: a toddler helmet that bears no resemblance to the adult Quick above. Inmolded with vents and Cannondale's only nicely rounded profile. Single density liner. Retail is $35.
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 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, 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 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.
- Accordion: a 2013 folding helmet initially dubbed the "Accordion" model. It is made of strips joined by an elastic frame that opens to provide vents between the strips and folds into a solid piece to reduce the width for storage. Said to be inspired by the old racers' "hairnets." This YouTube clip from the 2012 Eurobike show shows it in action, and there is more on it here. Carrera says it fits well because of the folding construction. We don't like the gaps between the strips on the front edge, leaving corners that might do more damage to your face in a crash than a continuous edge would. It is on the Carrera web page. Designed only to the European EN 1078 standard, so not available in the US. Retail on the web is about $80 for the standard model, and there is a Premium model as well.
- Radius: an elongated shape with unique aluminum cross braces between the vents, and Carrera's top of the line. The same shape with different trim and features comes as the Razor, C-Storm, Artiglio and Aria.
- Cyclone: inmolded with a lower shell coming all the way down, with a rounded top profile and a compact shape but ending in a moderate but high point giving it a blocky appearance in the rear.
- Blitz: lines sweep around to points in the rear. The same shape with different trim and features comes as the Gravity and Breeze.
- Velodrome: lines sweep around to the rear, but this is the compact shape with minimal rear points. The same shape with different trim and features comes as the Rocket, Shake, Joy, Hook and the Hurricane.
- Edge: larger and fewer vents, with the compact shape and a modest rear shelf.
- Boogiee: a child's helmet with large vents and a smooth, rounded profile.
- Pepe: a toddler helmet with vents along the centerline and bug net in the front vents.
- X-01: Carrera's skate model, in the classic skate configuration.
- TT Viper: a long-tail time trial helmet, with soft contours in the shell, no vents and a section designed to lie flat on the shoulder.
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:
- Warp-Sprint: an almost perfectly round and smooth track sprinter/pursuit helmet with an above-the-nose shield completing the rounding. It has 12 tiny vents that look like hollow rivets, costs 260 euros and only meets the CE standard, but the shape is flawless for crashing. It has a section of six raised rubber dimples in the rear to lower air adhesion there. Casco claims it is equally flawless for aerodynamics and that since the aero tails on other chrono helmets are seldom in the optimal place during track racing, they actually add wind resistance. This seems like a reaction to the aero tails that have set the fashion in bicycle helmets for the last decade, and apparently it is selling well in Europe for the riders who actually do benefit from the round aero advantage.
We were surprised by the quality of the detailing on the earlier Warp II sample we bought. The same shape has been used in other Casco helmets, without the face shield and with different construction. It retails for 248 Euros (300 with visor) and according to the CASCO site it is certified to the CPSC standard.
- E-Motion Cruiser: designed for users of electric bikes, the E-Motion looks a lot like the Warp II, with a very round, smooth profile and tiny round vents. Also comes as the E-Motion Air Control, eliminating even the tiny round vents and using small rear vents that can be closed by a slider. It is also sold as a ski helmet. Meets only the CEN bike helmet standard. Retail is 140 euros for the Cruiser and 110 euros for the Air Control.
- Ares Mountain: a conventional road helmet with points everywhere, and a roll bar visible in the center vent, retailing for 170 euros. Inmolded. The bright red model has a color-matched red visor. One mm larger than most Casco models, fitting 55 to 63 cm heads. Retail is 180 euros. Becomes the Ares Road when sold without visor, for 170 euros.
- Activ-TC: an urban helmet with a very round profile despite some angular lines that give it some style. Has reflective material, and a unique Casco buckle. Retail is 70 euros.
- Cuda: a very nicely rounded profile, almost as well-rounded as the Warp, but with vents. Inmolded, with apparent extra coverage in the rear. If it met the CPSC standard it would be a strong competitor in the US with less-ventilated urban helmets. Retail is 130 euros.
- Daimor Mountain: inmolded with rear points, retailing for 90 euros, or 80 euros without visor as the Daimor Road. Also comes as the Rebell in youth size fitting 55 to 59 cm (21.7 to 23.2 inches) or the Rebell Lady for women, each selling for 70 euros.
- Viper MX: a downhill racing model in the older elongated form with a removable chinbar. Inmolded, with the aluminum roll bar. It retails for 100 euros plus another 60 euros for the chinbar.
- G2 Generation: a skate-shaped helmet with bicycle-style vents, with a nicely rounded shape and apparently very good coverage but a strange screwed-on perforated plate in the front. Inmolded. Comes as the Mini-Generation in a "junior" version fitting heads as small as 50 cm (19.7 inches). There is a Fun Generation in bright colors and small sizes, and an
FM-Generation with more graphics. Retails for 40 to 50 euros.
- Skiller: a classic skate model with small vents retailing for 50 euros. Among the colors are camouflage grey and black models, presumably designed to make you less visible to other road users.
- Sportiv-TC: a very well-rounded road helmet similar to the Activ-TC but with more vents and a different visor. Has a raised center ridge that seems out of keeping with Casco's normally smooth designs. Retail is 90 euros.
- Urban-TC: a skate-style helmet with the Warp lines and a few small vents. Retail is 80 euros. The Urban-TC Plus looks very similar, but has more vents in the crown and retails for 120 euros.
The Casco Scarab is sold by Kong as a four sport helmet. See Kong below.
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 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
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.
- Whisper Plus: updated with a new suspension system in 2013, the Whisper has a unique nubby outer shape and 39 small oval vents giving an almost Swiss cheese appearance. If you want something different you will not see many of these on the road. Inmolded. The pads have been updated to accommodate four head shapes, including Asian heads. Pads come in 2, 4, and 6 mm thicknesses. This one is often seen on European racers, and Mountain Bike World Champion Julian Absalon wears it. Some very visible colors including orange. Strap anchors are mostly recessed. There is a high-viz rain cover available that covers all vents for a more aero shape. Retail is $225 in the US for the CPSC-certified version, although it can be found online for much less.
- Mixino: Catlike's top of the line, an upgrade of the Whisper design with the same external honeycomb shape, but with Catlike's "Graphene nanotech" internal reinforcing permitting lower density foam and slightly lower weight. Made in Spain. Retails for $300, including a carrying bag. Also comes as the Mixino VD 2.0, with a fixed outer shell covering the front and side vents to permit it to qualify as a chrono helmet under UCI rules. Rear vents are still open because Catlike believes some venting improves performance on hot days. Retails for 200 euros.
- Vacuum: a road model with long curved vents and tiny rear points. It has a one-piece full cover shell and retails for $140.
- Kompact'O: inmolded with a full shell wrapping around the bottom and large oval vents. Has pronounced rear points as well as external strap anchors sticking up. Has a nylon visor with push-point attachments. There are many graphic combinations including solid and multi colors, some highly visible, some matching team colors. There are also women's colors. Lots of reflective trim. Retails for $115.
- Leaf: introduced in 2013, with a rounded compact shell and large vents. Two position visor. Retail is $110.
- Tako: Road-MTB-Commuter model with a compact shape and big vents. This is Catlike's largest model, fitting heads up to 64cm. Retail is $70.
- Kitten: a toddler model with vents reminiscent of the Whisper and a much more stylish shell than most. Inmolded. Retail is $42.
- Chrono Aero Plus: a long-tailed time trial helmet that meets the European standard. It is inmolded, and has two small vents in front and rear. It fits 55 to 60 cm heads. It retails for $170, with visor optional.
- Aero Chrono WT: a long-tailed time trial helmet that is certified by Catlike to meet the CPSC and European standards. It is inmolded, and has one large vent in front and rear, with covers if you prefer them. The vents are in the shape of the Catlike logo, probably not chosen for its aerodynamic qualities. Ring fit, for 54 to 60 cm heads. Made in Spain. It retails for $300 with visor and bag.
- 360 degree: a skate style helmet with larger vents than most, probably reflecting Spain's warm climate. Fits 54 to 58 cm heads. 70 Euros.
Catlike's crash replacement policy
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.
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.
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.
- Velon/Rearlight: New for 2014, a nicely rounded road helmet with reasonable vents and a small removable visor under the front lip. The XXL fits up to 65cm heads. Visors can be plastic or fabric. Retails for 80 euros, or 90 euros with the textile visor.
- Miuro: new for 2014, a road model with many vents and a compact shape spoiled by a single point sticking up in the rear. Retails for 80 euros.
- Evolution Light: a very round, smooth urban helmet with a visor and an optional face shield. Small vents. Retails for 120 euros, or for 150 euros as the Evolution Rearlight with face shield and rear light included.
- C-Loom: a very round, smooth urban helmet with a small visor and small slit vents on the sides where vents usually don't work very well. Has an integrated LED flasher in the rear. Retails for 100 euros.
- C-Stream: a blocky-looking road model with the compact shape that a gives a rounded profile despite the style lines and ridges. The XXL size fits up to 65 cm heads. Retails for 70 euros with rear LED light included.
- C-Bolt: another road model with large front vents. With visor it's the C-Tracer. Retail is 100 euros.
- Siron: a road model with reasonable vents and a mostly rounded compact shape. Ring fit. Retails for 50 euros.
- C-Breeze: another road model with large front vents, with CPSC certification for the US market. Retail is $200, or With visor it's the C-Hawk at the same price. The European C-Shot retails for 140 euros, and the C-Limit with visor is 160 euros.
- C-Blaze: road model with a compact shape and minimal rear points. Large front vents. Certified to CPSC for the US market. Ring fit. Retails for $80. In Europe the C-Blaze RD sells for 60 euros.
- C-Flash: road model with a compact shape and large, blocky vents. Retails for 90 euros.
- Bullet: Cratoni's entry in the lowest weight competition, said to weigh just 180 g and to be the "Road helmet for weight fetishists." It has the older elongated shape, with rear points and the partial shell strips pioneered by Louis Garneau a decade ago. With visor it is the Rocket. Both are CPSC certified for the US market, and both retail for $180. The European versions retail for 120 euros.
- Terron: the top of Cratoni's line is a road design with huge vents and an unfortunate flair upward in the rear leaving a pronounced point. Carbon reinforcing. With visor it is the Terrox. Retail is 200 euros for either model.
- C-Smart: a compact design with angular planes and minimal points in the rear. Bug net in the front vents, metallic colors.
- Rapper: a kid's helmet with a visor effect in front and a pronounced point that accommodates an LED flasher in the rear. Ring fit system and bug net in the front vents. There are some bright colors available. Retail is 50 euros.
- Akino: a vented toddler helmet with a well-rounded shape and no rear point. Inmolded. Retail is 40 euros.
- Shakedown: a full-face downhill racing model, with a hard ABS shell, removable chinbar and bolted on visor. Small top vents. Comes in visible white. Retails for 100 euros.
- C-Maniac: a youth model in small and medium with a detachable face guard. It has a compact profile and minimal rear points. The chinbar is EVA padded. Retail is 80 euros.
- C-Pace: Cratoni's first chrono model, with a classic chrono shape with "shoulders" in the back that taper to a very long downturned tail. It has large front vents and smaller rear ones, six in all. It is inmolded and fits sizes 53 to 59 cm. Retails for 250 euros.
- C-Reel: a classic skate-style helmet but a thinshell design inmolded. Small top vents. There is a visible white option. Retail is 60 euros.
- Lexo: a skate-style helmet labeled as an urban design with an ABS hard shell and a few thin, elongated vents. Ring fit. There is a visible white option. Retail is 80 euros.
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 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.
See Shaun White Supply Company
Dahon is a manufacturer of folding bicycles. They have two helmets that accompany their line:
- Vapor: a well-rounded road helmet with jillion of very small vents that could easily be mistaken for the Catlike Whisper. The extra large fits heads up to 64cm. Ring fit. White option available.
- Aero 33: a rounded road helmet design with elongated vents. Ring fit. Bright red, white and blue option.
For Dahon's former folding helmet, see Biologic
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.
- Free Ride 2.0: a familiar design with the rounded shell we recommend and reasonable vents. Retail is $54.
- Free Ride 1.0: Nicely rounded exterior, very similar to the Free Ride 2.0, but retail is $45.
- Pro Racer 2.0: Compact design with minimal rear points, inmolded with a two-piece shell for full coverage. Retail is $60.
- Pro Racer 1.0: road model with big points in the back. Retail is $50.
- Pro Racer Jr.: youth model with a reasonably rounded shell, retailing for $40.
- Grom Free Ride: Skate style, but a well-ventilated thin shell model. Comes only in size M. Retail is $35.
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 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 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 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 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.
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.
- Corsa Lite 180: a road model with a nicely rounded compact shape and no rear points, inmolded. Retail is $129. Also available in smaller sizes as the Corsa Lite 170 at the same price point.
- Fast: road model, inmolded with a full interior cover as well. The requisite rear points are rounded. Said to be designed to match a 3D study of the head shape of an adult European male. The website says it meets CE, ANSI and "SELL" standards. ANSI could be the ASTM F1447 standard, identical to CPSC, but CPSC is not listed. Ekoi does not appear on Snell's list, so "SELL" may be another standard, or the helmet may be among those listed by Snell from several Chinese manufacturers but not under the Ekoi brand name. Comes in bleu, blanc or rouge. Retail is $75.
- Air X2: road model with a high point in the back. Inmolded. Retail is 50 euros. Also comes as the X2MTB: with visor, and "real white carbon" bridges. That's a new term for us, since we have never seen white carbon fiber. Retail is $60. The Air X2 MTB with visor is marked down to $39.
- R12: a road model with large vents and rear points. A two-piece shell covers the whole exterior. Retail is 129 euros.
- Squadra: a road model with large vents and rear points. A two-piece shell covers the whole exterior. Retail is 129 euros.
- Ekcel: a road model with elongated profile, rear points and carbon bridges. Retail is $219.
- Ekcel Aero: Ekoi's Ekcel model with a full, ventless skin that improve aerodynamics by covering the vents. Magnetic buckle. Retail is $239.
- Chrono CRX11: a classic long tail time trial helmet with some vents in front and rear. Retail is marked down to $115.
- Chrono CXR13: a very round and smooth "aerodynamic" helmet for time trialing, with sides that come much further down than a skate helmet. No vents. Retails for $198.
- DH Silver: a vented downhill helmet with a fiberglass shell, full face chinbar and bolted on visor. On sale for $99.
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.
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:
- Cross Town: a "commuter style" helmet with a very round and smooth exterior, reflective plug in the rear and a ring fit system. Inmolded with two shells. Visor. Pastel colors and a visible white option. This is the most remarkable model in the Eleven81 line. It is the same design as the SixSixOne AllRide that we praised in prior years. It has been Eleven81's best seller in the past and retails for $45.
- Open Road Pro: a road helmet with a compact rounded rear treatment with only modest points. Inmolded with a double shell. Ring fit, and the side strap pieces slip too easily to hold good adjustment. Visor. Retail is about $45 to $50.
- Open Road: a road model different from the Open Road Pro, with one elongated point in the rear. Inmolded with single shell and the ring fit system. Retail is about $36.
- Open Road Child's has a glued on shell and is not really the same model as the adult version, but has the rear overhang. Vents. $25 retail.
- Half Pint Toddler: a toddler helmet with vents and glued-on shell. It has a rounded shape but an elongated front to form a visor. Retails for $30.
- Pot Hole: a skate style helmet with a wrap-around ridge added for style. CPSC certified only, not certified to the ASTM F1492 skateboard standard. Comes in visible red and white. Retail is about $35.
- Err Head: a classic round, smooth skate-style helmet with small round vents in front and small tear-shaped vents on top. CPSC certified only. Comes in visible white and red. $30 retail.
Hawley offers a consumer-direct lifetime crash replacement guarantee
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 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 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.
- City Safe: a road or urban helmet, inmolded with large vents. There is a very similar Bernina model for kids.
- Champery MTB: a unique model with huge vents and the appearance of extended rear coverage. Comes with visor.
- Venti: a road model with compact shape and a nicely rounded profile.
- Spluga Carbon: inmolded with large vents, the compact shape with less pronounced rear points and visible carbon fiber reinforcing. Strap anchors below the shell.
- X-Light: inmolded with one large rear point. Etto's entry in the lightest helmet contest.
- Stelvio: introduced in 2013, a road model with full cover shell wrapping under the liner and rear points.
- Hurricane: inmolded with large vents, pronounced rear points and visible carbon fiber reinforcing. Strap anchors are below the shell, where they should be.
- Chassis XXL: a road helmet with large vents and a single pronounced snag point in the rear. Comes in XXL size to fit up to 64cm heads. Comes in matt white or black.
- Sempione: inmolded with many small rear points. Has some points in the front, too.
- Motirolo: inmolded with long vents and one rear point. The smallest size is the Motirolo Jr, and there is a Motirolo Lady as well.
- Tornado: inmolded with a wedge shape and modest rear points.
- Jasmine: a model created uniquely for women, inmolded with a more rounded compact shape. The Warm Glam Brown is a striking design.
- Breeze: compact shape, inmolded with three modest rear points.
- Zero: road model with a taped on shell and two points in the rear. In the smallest size it is the child Shark.
- Vortex: inmolded with interior reinforcing and a nicely rounded shape for those with very large heads, fitting up to 64 cm. Ring fit. Bug net in the front vents. Black.
- Esperito: inmolded, with rounded lines that are chopped off flat in the back "for cyclists that don't want to look like they plan to ride at 100km/h." Ring fit.
- E-Kid: youth helmet with taped on shell with rounded lines and a visor effect in front.
- Mosquito: inmolded youth helmet with nicely rounded lines. Ring fit. Also comes in a Mosquito Girl female color scheme. Padded buckle to prevent pinching.
- Ettino: vented toddler helmet with rounded lines and taped on shell. Fits heads as small as 48 cm. Shaped like an adult helmet, so it is not likely to meet the coverage requirements of the CPSC standard for US sale. Padded buckle to prevent pinching. Ring fit. Has a visor. May require that a child in a trailer or high-backed child seat have a thick pad behind the child's back to prevent the rear section of the helmet from pushing the child's head forward and down.
- Downhill: Etto's downhill model has a chinbar and ABS shell. It has an unfortunate "shark fin" at the top rear to spoil the otherwise smooth lines.
- Psycho: classic skate style helmet with a hard ABS shell and the usual small vents. Round vents in the front. Comes in chrome, colors and a "psycho" graphic with a skull and bones. Pad fit. Reflective material on the back. Etto also produces it for water sports with a neoprene liner replacing the EPS. They don't recommend that one for bicycling. Also comes in small as the Psycho Kid.
- E-Series: classic skate style helmet with a hard ABS shell and the usual small top vents, plus a unique small vent at the brow on each side. Etto says they use a "special production process in order to look and feel as small and tight as possible in use." Also comes in a ski version.
- Chrono: a long-tailed time trial helmet, inmolded with a two piece shell. Small front vents. Fits sizes 53 to 60 cm.
Etto dealers will replace crashed and damaged helmets "at only a small part of the cost."
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.
- Freestone MTB: new for 2014, Fly's only inmolded thinshell bike helmet. Made with Conehead dual-density foam that may offer some additional protection from brain injury in lower level impacts. It is a road/mountain bike model with minimal rear points, Large vents with bug mesh, bright colors including hi-viz and good rear coverage. Retail is $110. Worth a look.
- 3.4: introduced in 2013, a full face motorcycle style helmet that meets the Snell M2010 motorcycle helmet standard. Has a dual-density foam liner and EVA foam in the chinbar for the chinbar energy management required by Snell. Retail is $160.
- Default: Fly's entry into the downhill mountain bike racing helmet category has only CPSC certification. It is not certified to the ASTM F1952 downhill standard. That makes it lighter than many full-face helmets, but gives a lot less protection than the others in the Fly Racing lineup. Has vents, and the standard large bolted-on visor. With CPSC certification, that visor is required to "readily break away" when impacted. Retail is $110.
- F2 Carbon: designed for BMX, MTB and motocross, has a carbon fiber-Kevlar shell. It uses the same shell as the Formula below, with a different liner and less expensive aluminum hardware. This one meets both the DOT motorcycle helmet standard and the tougher Snell Foundation M2010 standard. Retail is $250.
- Formula: Fly's top of the line, a BMX/Motocross crossover helmet with a carbon fiber and Kevlar shell, small vents, stainless steel vents and titanium visor screws. Meets both the DOT motorcycle helmet standard and the tougher Snell Foundation M2010 standard. Retail is $400.
- Gmax GMX-46X: Polycarbonate shell, comes in four shell sizes from Youth Small to Adult extra large. Meets the DOT motorcycle helmet standard. Gmax is a separate brand from Fly. Available in XXL size. Retails for $90.
- Gmax GMX-46Y: smaller and lighter youth version of the GMX-46X. Gmax is a separate brand from Fly. Available in XXL size. Retails for $90. The Special Edition models come in pink, yellow and orange.
- Gmax GM-76: full face model with a polycarbonate shell. Meets the DOT motorcycle helmet standard. Retails for $120.
- Kinetic: another full face model, with vents protected by exterior and interior stainless steel mesh. Roost deflector. Retails for $100.
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 Racing has BMX and skate style helmets to complement their line of racing accessories.
- Striker: new for 2014, a road helmet with compact lines and small snag points in the rear. Has inserts to strengthen vents. Retail is $120.
- Rampage: a downhill racing model with more coverage in the rear than most bicycle helmets. It has a full face chinbar. Retail is $130, or $426 for the Rampage Carbon with carbon fiber shell.
- Flux: a rounded profile helmet marketed as a skate model but looking more like a road model because of the large vents. It is inmolded with a two-piece shell and a "spoiler" in the rear that hopefully would detach if snagged. If you removed the spoiler, it would qualify as one of our "rounder, smoother" designs. Meets the CPSC standard but not the ASTM skateboard standard. There is a women's version. Retail is $100.
- Transition: a skate style helmet with a hard ABS shell, small rectangular vents and a round smooth shape. Comes in visible white. Retails for $40.
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 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 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:
- NB 939: road model with an elongated shape with a rear point. Inmolded. Ring fit. Retails for $40 with visor.
- Team: another inmolded model, this time with two shell pieces for full coverage. One rear point. Ring fit. Retail is $50.
- Crosstown: a road helmet with an elongated shape but generally rounded in the rear. There was a similar youth model called the Blaster. Retail was $50.
- L'il Fuji: toddler model. Taped or glued shell. Retail was $30.
- SE: a skate helmet with hard ABS shell. Retail was $30.
For crashed helmets, Fuji will replace at "a discounted price."
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 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.
- Course: new for 2014, Louis Garneau's top of the line road model is a nicely rounded compact design except for one little rear point left sticking up in the air. Very large lengthwise vents. Includes an LED light that attaches to the rear stabilizer. Retails for a steep $240. The website writeup is a triumph of marketing attempting to convince you that this apparently conventional road helmet is somehow more aero.
- Le Tour Road: introduced in 2013, this one is also a road model but has a very pointy rear treatment that already looks dated. Retail is $55.
- Sharp: a road model with compact design and rear points. Retail is $95.
- X-Lite: Louis Garneau's entry in the superlight helmet competition sparked by Specialized and attempting to produce a CPSC-certified helmet that is as light as a CEN-only European helmet. The Garneau version looks like a normal road helmet with somewhat angular lines, but they have shaved every gram they could in foam, shell, stabilizer and fittings. CPSC and ASTM certified. For 2014 there is a women's model. Retail is $170.
- Edge: elongated design with high rear point and large vents. Retail is $100.
- Carve: mostly compact design with high rear points. Retail is $80.
- Quartz II: nicely rounded profile except for a single pronounced point at the rear. The very large vents run lengthwise, with internal supports of course and visible composite reinforcements. Garneau's wind tunnel tests showed this model and the Diamond to be cooler than a bare head. Recessed strap anchors. Had the best strap adjustors in the LG lineup. There is a bright orange option. Four sizes, including an XXL that fits heads up to 65 cm (25.6"). The extra effort to add the fourth size indicates that Garneau expects this to be a popular helmet. Can use the LED light that attaches to the rear stabilizer. Retail in the US is $140.
- Diamond II: a road helmet with many large vents and a sharp rear point. Garneau's wind tunnel tests showed this model and the Quartz to be cooler than a bare head. Has partially exposed composite reinforcements. The shell pieces wrap under all the way around the rim for extra strength. There is a visible yellow option, and the white option includes team color decals. There is a matching Garneau jersey. Compatible with their rear LED blinker. There is a case for this model. Retails for $190, with another $40 for the case.
- Versa: a road helmet with elongated shape, small raised ridges and pronounced rear points. Inmolded with a wrap-under shell. Retail is $95.
- Olympus: the value model of Louis Garneau's line is this inmolded compact design with a rear shelf point. Plainer graphics, ring fit. Retail is $40. The women's version is the Saphir at the same price, and there is an Atlantis version with no visor for $35. The youth version, with somewhat better graphics, is the Drift, with visor, for $40.
- Arcterus: the LG value model for those with larger heads, with a compact shell based on the Olympus with some vent changes to handle the larger size. Still inmolded. Strap junctions do not hold well. Fits longer and wider heads better than most Louis Garneau models. One rider with a rounder Asian head reports that it fits him better than others. Fits 62 to 64 cm heads (24.4 to 25.2") Retail is $45.
- Flow: Toddler helmet with a molded in visor extension and glued-on shell. Bug net in the front vents. Designed for kids 5 to 10. This one has a dial-fit rear stabilizer. The Charlie Brown version has Peanuts graphics. The retail price is $30.
- Baby Boomer: Toddler helmet for the 5 and under crowd, round and smooth, with a few vents and cute graphics. The shell is glued on. Strap junctions do not hold well. The smallest model is size 6, for a 48 cm (18 7/8 inch) head. Retail is $28.
- Street: A hard ABS shell classic skateboard-style helmet with small vents. Has CPSC bicycle helmet certification and ASTM F2040 snowboard certification but is not dual certified to the ASTM skateboard standard. Retails for $35.
- P09: a 2013 chrono model representing another generation of Louis Garneau chrono models. It has the traditional curved surfaces in front, but with Garneau's dimpled surface, sweeping back to a short tail. There is one front vent, but it can be plugged. Garneau's marketing says they thinned the liner for a smaller front profile. There is flip-up visor to avoid fogging in triathlon transition areas. Retail is $350.
- Vorttice: a chrono time trial helmet with a shorter rear treatment than other Garneau models and one rectangular front vent that is large for a chrono model. The dimpled surface in front is followed by a line of hash marks that Garneau says improve air flow. Comes with a ventilated face shield. It is pitched for triathlon riders, and said to have good cooling even when off-axis. Retail is $250 to $260.
- Superleggera: a chrono time trial helmet design from Louis Garneau, the first manufacturer to make a chrono helmet that passed the CPSC standard. This one continued that tradition, and represents the fourth generation of Louis Garneau chrono models. The Superleggera is dimpled like a golf ball in front for aerodynamics. Unlike most chrono helmets it has large vents--two in front and three in the rear. It has a medium long tail. The shell is glued to the liner, not molded. Garneau says the center of gravity has been adjusted to reduce neck fatigue and make it easier to maintain an aero position. It fits 52 to 62 cm heads. Retail is $180, with an additional $45 for the Rocket Case and $35 for the windscreen.
- Windscreen: Not a helmet, but an accessory, this is a polycarbonate lens that wraps around a helmet--almost any helmet--and is held on by hook and loop. It fits all of the LG chrono models. Comes in clear, smoked or contrast-enhancing yellow. The edges are unprotected except at the nose, and you could probably slice meat with them, even if it did not shatter in a crash. We would favor something with protected edges, like a pair of glasses or goggles. Retail is $35.
- H-Cover: Garneau's helmet cover is made of waterproof but breathable fabric. It comes in black or a very visible bright yellow for $20.
Louis Garneau still has a free replacement guarantee for the first year.
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.
- Ares: pronounced rear point, carbon fiber bridge showing and internal reinforcement, full wrap microshell. Three sizes fitted with pads. Retails for $120.
- Realm: a very nicely rounded, well-vented road model that appears to have extended rear coverage, but may not when level on your head. Retail is $85.
- Orion: pronounced point, recessed strap anchors in the full wrap shell. Ring fit, lavender for women. Retail is $65.
- Talos: moderate point, ring fit with a dial adjuster. Inmolded, with a full shell and nice internal strap anchors. Retail is $45.
- Vault: skate model with a thinshell, inmolded. Has two front vents and comes in black, white, pink and blue. Retail is $40. The smallest size is the Vault Jr, retailing for $25.
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.
- Synthe is a mid-year model available before the end of 2014 that has the rounder profile that we recommend. Although it looks like a standard road helmet with elongated vents, Giro is claiming that it provides better aero performance than previous models. Worth a look for the improved profile, but retail will be a steep $250.
- Aspect: another new model for 2014, a high-end, smooth and very well rounded road model, the shape we recommend. It has unique fore and aft slots for vents, a small visor tucked in under the front lip, and side panels below the protection zone that are made of aluminum and rubber. The effect is striking. Retail is $175.
- Air Attack Shield: This was Giro's biggest news for 2013. Giro had taken a page from Casco's book and produced an aero helmet that is almost as round and smooth as the Casco Warp. It even has an eye shield to extend the roundness down on the face. The Giro has more vents than the Casco, and lacks the golf ball dimpled surface. The Giro is a thin-shell rather than a hard shell. Casco claims the round shape is ideal for those who do not keep the aero "tail" tucked down on the shoulders. Also comes as the Air Attack without the shield. Both are listed among Giro's aero helmets, but for most climates they should be rideable on the street in three seasons even with the modest vents and internal channels. The suspension leaves 3mm in front for air to enter between head and helmet, and Giro claims it has 90 per cent of the airflow of their Aeon model. The shape is exactly what we have advocated for years--round and smooth. We would ditch the face shield for street use, since it is made of polycarbonate and could probably slice meat. It has a magnetic release mechanism that would facilitate detachment in a crash. Retail is $220.
- Reverb: an urban model with well-rounded lines and a smooth exterior. It has long vents and a soft "cap-style" visor. The strap adjustments are sewn like Bell's True Fit system, but the resulting fit did not feel as secure to us, so be sure this one fits you well before buying, since there is no adjustment possible. There are three shell sizes (S/M/L) with fitting pads, and extra pads are included. Since this is a commuter model, Giro has a high viz yellow available in addition to white. Retails for $60.
- Feature: a unique design, round and smooth like an urban helmet, but promoted by Giro as an offroad model. Giro says it has a little more coverage than others, but it is certified only to the CPSC standard, so there is no proof of that. It has Giro's fixed strap adjustments on the sides that mimic the successful Bell True Fit system, but we found the fit did not feel secure at all for us, so be sure it fits you well before buying. The shape is what we recommend, and the vents are adequate for most riding in most climates. The visor is styled like a mini BMX visor, with pins at the sides. We hope it will break off readily on impact, but you can always just take it off if you don't need it. There is a neon color available as well as white. Riders who find the Reverb too plain may want to look at this one, but be careful to test the fit before buying. Available as a women's model as the Feather. Retail is $75.
- Aeon: the former top of Giro's road lineup, retailing at $250. Similar to Giro's other high-end helmets, with huge vents and points in the back. Following Specialized's lead, Giro optimized every part of this model to reduce weight, including the straps, buckle and even the basic shape. We regard that as wasted effort, since nobody complains about the slightly higher weight of other thin-shell helmets. But if an ounce makes a ton of difference to you, you may disagree.
- Savant: has a compact shape while retaining some points in the back for those who favor that style. We think the strap anchors protrude more than they should on a $90 helmet. Available as the women's Sonnet. Also comes in XL, fitting heads up to 65cm.
- Xar: a compact shape, well-vented road helmet with a tiny little lip in the rear to suggest the old elongated styling. More angular lines and not quite as well-rounded as the Hex or Phase (below). High vis yellow as well as white options. The women's model is the Xara. Retail is $130.
- Atmos: This was Lance Armstrong's helmet back in 2004. The Atmos has interior reinforcing, exterior carbon fiber reinforcing and an extensive three-piece shell molded on. In addition to several moderate points in the rear, this model has forward facing points in the middle. We would avoid this one for that feature if no other, since it contributes nothing at all to the function of the helmet. Uses fit pads rather than ring fit. Available in a women's model as the Amare. Retail is still $180 but discounts are available on the web.
- Pneumo: for 2013 Giro revived the Pneumo model, a traditional road model with big vents and big rear points. If you just can't let go of the old design, this is designed for you. Also available in pastels as the women's Sapphire. Retail is $155.
- Saros: a compact shape road model with large vents and points on the rear. It has partially recessed strap anchors. This one has a three piece shell covering all the foam. Uses fit pads. Retail is $125, or it comes as the Athlon with visor.
- Hex: a reasonably rounded "trail riding" helmet with a shape similar to the former Xen and many vents. It is not really smooth, but has a compact profile with minimal rear lip. Available in XL, fitting heads up to 65cm. Retails for $85.
- Phase: a compact shape design with the nicely rounded profile that we favor, similar to the Hex but with many smaller vents. Worth a look if you want a reasonably priced high-end Giro. Retails for $75.
- Rift: the mid range inmolded Giro model with a more rounded shape than other Giro road/mountain models and just one modest point. Plenty of vents. Ring fit. The same Giro strap fittings that slip on other models seem to hold securely on this one. There is a visible white option but no neon. Retails for $55.
- Revel: the least expensive Giro model at $40 has a pronounced rear point, but at least the strap anchors are recessed under the shell. Has a ring fit system. Also comes in a women's model called the Verona. Without a visor, it's the Trinity at $35, the lowest adult price point for a Giro, and still inmolded. In youth size it is the Raze, and in child size it is the Tempest, fitting down to 19.75 inches (50 cm) and sells for $40. Giro has also scaled the design up for very large heads 58 to 65 cm (25.6"), and calls that one the Bishop. There are neon yellow options available.
- Surface: A skate-style model with ABS hard shell, "internal channeling" for vents and good coverage. The front pooks out into a visor. Different colors and surfaces, including one leather model. Meets only CPSC, not the skateboard standard, and Giro is marketing it as an urban bike helmet, but other efforts at "internal channeling" vents have produced miserably hot helmets. Retail is $50 and up depending on the surface.
- Section: A skate-style model without the usual ABS hard shell. This one has a thin shell, but the usual small vents. It is inmolded, and Giro says it has a reduced profile. That was accomplished by putting a section of higher-density foam in the front part of the liner, hence the name Section. It is also cut a little higher in the front than a skate helmet to clear glasses. Plain colors or a very visible neon yellow or white. Meets only CPSC, not the skateboard standard, so this is a bike helmet for those who like the skate style and very small vents. Retail is $45. We are not fans of higher-density foam, so would avoid this one, even though we chose it for other reasons for our experiment with substances that damage helmets.
- Flak: A skate-style model with ABS hard shell, small vents and good coverage. Plain colors plus white and a fluorescent orange. Meets only CPSC, not the skateboard standard. Retail is $40.
- Rascal: an inmolded youth helmet. Reasonably rounded profile. This one has the new fit system called One Step for bike store helmets, similar to the one that Bell calls True Fit for its discount helmet line. Has two LED blinkers incorporated in the rear stabilizer. Retails for $40.
- Rodeo: A youth helmet with a taped-on shell, not molded. Nicely rounded. Has a ring fit system. Bug net in the front vents. Color choices include the yellow and black Livestrong combination. Retails for $30. In the smallest size it becomes the Me2, a toddler helmet with a different fit system. Said to have a low profile in the rear to permit a more natural seating position in trailers, where thicker helmets can push a kid's head forward unless they have a pad behind their back. Fits down to 48 cm (18.75"). Retail is $30. Both models are available in neon yellow.
- Cipher: A 2014 downhill racing helmet with a fiberglass shell and a motorcycle-style chinbar. Not advertised as meeting the ASTM F1952 Downhill Mountain Bike Racing standard. It has a reasonably rounded exterior, marred only by the industry-standard bolted on visor, and small vents. There is at least some vinyl nitrile foam (football helmet foam) padding in the chinbar. Has a breakaway camera mount. It retails for $200.
- Air Attack Shield: a chrono model reviewed above.
- Advantage 2: A chrono time trial helmet meeting the US CPSC standard. Inmolded with five small front vents and a long tail. Like all chrono helmets, it only makes sense for time trialers or track use, when your coach tells you it's needed. Retail is $165.
- Selector: Giro's newer chrono model with no front vents, small rear vents and a shorter tail. Giro says it accommodates new time trial positions and off center yaw better than the long tail models. There is a removable piece that attaches to the bottom of the tail to extend it downward if that configuration closes a gap in the rider's hunch over position. It retails for a steep $275 with face shield.
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.
See Fly Racing
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.
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 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 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 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 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
Hamax is a Norwegian company that develops and produces bicycle and ski helmets under the brand name ETTO. See Etto
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 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.
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.
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:
- Trail RS: new for 2014, a road model with rounded profile, big blocky vents and the appearance of additional coverage in the rear. Has a large bolted on visor, but the website says it detaches in a crash. Colorful options. Retail is $120.
- Metis: a full-face US model with vents, big visor, ABS shell, D-ring buckle and shaped to be compatible with neck braces. Retail is $190.
- Kronos-3: road model with a two-piece shell covering all of the outside. Despite the name, it is not a time trial helmet. Large vents. Ring fit. Compact shape with minimal points. Has bug net in the front vents. Has a visible black and white option. Also comes as the Kronos Team Edition with team graphics and no bug net. Retail is 80 euros.
- Avoir-2: compact road style youth helmet fitting medium-sized heads 52 to 59 cm. Has optional bug net in the front vents. There is a visible blue and white option. Retail is 60 Euros.
- Galaxy 3: road model with a rounded profile.
- Juno II: child model with road styling and ventilation, fitting 52 to 60 cm heads.
- Calisto Boy and Calisto Girl: toddler models with taped-on shells and small vents, differing only in colors and graphics. Bug net in the vents.
- Helios II: another child helmet but with the road helmet shape except for the suggestion of a molded-in visor in front.
- Phobos: full-face downhill model with the standard big visor and an ABS hard shell with small vents. Six sizes fit heads from 51 to 62 cm (20 to 24.4 inches), making it one of the smallest full face helmets available. US model. Retail is 100 euros
- Hammer: Skate-style model with small rectangular vents and ABS hard shell, retailing for $40.
- Hammer LT: Skate-style model inmolded with a thin shell like the Giro Section, with more and thinner vents than the Hammer, and about 6 oz. (160 gr) lighter. Retail is $50.
The largest helmets in the IXS line fit 62cm/24.4 inches.
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.
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 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.
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:
- Maraka: Introduced in 2013, Kali's first bike helmet with the conehead dual-density liner. It is a compact model with blocky lines and some unfortunate rear points. Carbon and polycarbonate shell, pad fit, "breakaway" visor. Retail is $190.
- Avita: a 2014 road model with what appears to be extended rear coverage, with a reasonably rounded compact shape exterior marred only by very small rear points. The appearance is dominated by big blocky vents. The shell is polycarbonate. Retail is $70, about half what it had been in the past with other shell materials.
- Loka: a new 2014 road model with big vents and big points in the rear. Has a dual-density Conehead foam liner. Retail is $100.
- Avana: Introduced in 2013. Based on the Avita, a compact road model with small points on the rear. Kali says it has more rear coverage than the Avita. Retail is $140.
- Amara: compact, nicely rounded road helmet profile despite some blocky lines. Polycarbonate shell. Has a unique platform on top to attach mounts for camera or light. Kali says it has extended rear coverage, but we have not seen test results. Visible white option. Retail is $90 with camera and light mounts.
- Chakra: Kali's value model, with many vents and a well-rounded compact profile despite suggestions of rear points. Sells for $40 in the standard version, or $50 with full wraparound shell, bug mesh and upscale graphics as the Chakra Plus. There is a youth model for $30 and a child model for $25. This model is Kali's best seller.
- Saha: New for 2014, Kali's green helmet. It has a classic skate shape with a hard Polylactide shell made from a polymer derived from corn. The liner is 100 per cent recycled EPS, and all fabrics are unbleached cotton or flax. Marketed as an urban helmet meeting only the CPSC bicycle helmet standard. Retail is $44.
- Viva: New for 2014, a classic skate shape helmet with a hard ABS shell. Kali manages to mold the liner in the hard shell, using all the space for foam, and place triangular blocks within the liner with different density. That makes it a very high-end skate helmet. But it is not certified to the ASTM F1492 skateboard standard, just to the CPSC bike helmet standard. There is a visible white option. Retail is $50.
A classic skate shape helmet with the dual-density liner, small vents and composite shell, making it a very high-end skate helmet. But it is certified only to the CPSC bike helmet standard. Retail is $50.
- Maha: classic skate shape helmet with ABS hard shell and single-density EPS foam. Traditional small, round or oval vents. Certified only to the CPSC bicycle helmet standard. There are some bright color combinations available. Retail is $40.
- Shiva: new for 2014, a full face helmet model with carbon shell, meeting the DOT motorcycle helmet standard with reduced weight and profile by using all of Kali's technological features in "the helmet Kali Protectives was born to design." Retails for $500.
- Avatar II: a high-end full face helmet, with carbon shell and dual-density foam liner inmolded, producing a light helmet certified to the ASTM 2042 BMX standard. Big BMX visor, very small vents. Retails for $350. Also comes as the Avatar with Kevlar and fiberglass shell for $280.
A vented full-face downhill mountain bike helmet, although it is certified only to CPSC, not the ASTM F1952 downhill mountain bike racing helmet standard. Has the requisite stiff visor bolted on. The shell is ABS. The retail price is $150.
- Savara: A full face motorcycle or motocross helmet that meets the CPSC bicycle helmet standard. ABS shell. Kali's "entry level" full face helmet, retailing for $100.
We expect Kali to continue to produce innovative new products.
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:
- Infinity: new for 2014, a unique aero road helmet with a very round profile except for a shelf in the rear. Has three huge vents in front with a panel that slides forward to cover them for lowest drag or slides back, adjustable while riding. There are small vents with the panel closed. US model, retails for $360.
- Rapido: new for 2014, a compact style road helmet with long vents and minimal snag points in the rear. US model.
- Lifestyle: the Lifestyle is a very round and smooth helmet, with small vent slits in the top. It is a thin shell, and inmolded. It comes in Vintage trim looking more like a skate helmet or in more stylish Lifestyle trim. Flip up face shield available, giving it an even rounder look. Euro model only. Retail is $200 for the Vintage and $250 for the Lifestyle.
- Mojito: a road helmet with an unfortunate point the flips up in the back. There is a version with women's graphics. Retails for $200. US model.
- Vertigo: Kask's top of the line, a road helmet with compact profile but rear points. US and Australian model. Has all of Kask's high-end details, and is available in women's and Sky team colors. Retail is $300.
- Dieci: a compact road model with points both front and rear. Ring fit. Reflective material on the rear and on strap clips. Strap anchors are not recessed. Available in Sky team colors. Retail is $250. The MTB version has a visor. US model.
- 50NTA: Road model with large rear point. Strap anchors are not recessed. US and Australian model.
- Kask K31 Chrono: Kask's first chrono is a long tailed model with a polycarbonate shell that has a smooth rubber edge. It is not inmolded, but is based on a Kask road helmet. The ring fit system fits sizes 53 to 61cm. It has an optional face shield. Kask says that the shape and internal pivots are designed "for riders who simply cannot get the back of their head down low whether due to inflexibility, shape of the back or just general movement." It has reflective trim as if it were going to be ridden on the street. Retail is $350.
- TT-Bambino: introduced in 2013, a chrono helmet in the Casco style that is almost as round and smooth as any helmet in the world, with just a hint of oval in the shape. Inmolded with a thin shell. There is a face shield that completes the round profile. Thin "micro vents" with channels underneath provide some air flow. Has a magnetic visor mount. Meets the CPSC standard for sale in the US. Retail is $500.
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 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 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.
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:
- Wayron: a compact design that has angles but a rounded profile with modest rear points. Has bug net in the front vents. There is a visible white option, and four blinking LEDs in the rear stabilizer. It retails for 60 euros. With visor it is the Wayron Visor or Wayron Visor Pro with upscale fittings. With a ventless aero road helmet shell it is the Wayron Race.
- Zenith: a compact design that has angles but a well-rounded profile without pronounced rear points. Replaced the Xantos. LED flasher.
- Neo Visor: a lumpy exterior design with rounded off rear lines. With rear LED flasher it is the Neo Visor Quicksafe Tronic. Available in XXL fitting up to 64 cm heads.
- Virus: a compact road helmet with minimal rear point.
- Champion: pronounced rear point, very large vents, LED flasher. Retail is $100. With visor it becomes the Champion Visor.
- Certus: nicely rounded compact shape model with big vents. There is a Certus Pro with upgraded fittings and graphics.
- Tronus: a very well-rounded compact model with many vents. It avoids the blank look of some urban helmets.
- Opus: compact shape, many vents, modest rear points.
- Spiri Two: road model with another lumpy outer shell with large front vents and rear points. LED flasher. CPSC and CEN certified.
- VS: elongated but nicely rounded design with a minimal point. LED flasher. CPSC and CEN certified.
- City: elongated road model but better rounded than some with an upswept rear point. Certainly not a classic city or commuter shape. This is KED's model for large heads, coming only in XXL fitting sizes 60 cm to 64 cm (23.6 to 25.2 inches).
- Sky: the Sky has the round, smooth urban shape, with modest sized vents covered with a plastic grill with small holes. Comes in some notably visible colors, including orange. It is pitched as a "hybrid" helmet, and has overtones of an equestrian helmet. Fits sizes 52 cm to 64 cm (20.5 to 25.2 inches). No longer on the KED site, but the toddler version is, and it is said to be certified for bike and equestrian.
- Joker: nicely rounded road helmet with double shell protecting lower edges and an LED flasher in the rear. Available in flower or star graphics.
- Flitzi: another rounded road style, pitched for youth. Has the LED flashers. CPSC and CEN certified.
- TK2: a child's helmet shaped with flat planes to look "futuristic." Fits 53 to 59cm heads.
- Meggy: toddler helmet with good-sized vents and both CEN and CPSC certification "only for American market." LED flasher. There is a Meggy Originals version with licensed cartoon character graphics, and the Meggy Reflex has a visor. Meggy Rescue comes in EMS red, and Meggy Reptile has a snake theme. The XXS size fits heads as small as 44 cm.
- Fazer Junior and Street Junior Two: extra small versions of adult models that have been dropped from KED's line. Like the Status Junior they are road-style helmets with many vents in child or youth sizes.
- Risco: new for 2014, a thin-shell skate-style helmet with small rectangular vents. Similar to the 5Forty and the child's Control.
- Frox: a skate-style helmet with small rectangular vents. Sizes go up to 64 cm.
- Razorblade: a downhill racing model with a chinbar. It has vents and a visor. CEN certified only.
- Zeitfahren/Time Trial: Chrono model for time trial and pursuit that looks like a regular bike helmet but is smooth-skinned with no vents in front, and two large vents in the rear. There is a long version with a long rear fairing added that covers the rear vents. Both versions are CPSC and CEN certified.
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 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.
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 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 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 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 (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.
- Victory Supreme: road design with a compact shape, but it still has pronounced rear points. Has exposed composite reinforcing. LAS uses "Carbon Aluminum Technology Absorb" in this model, claiming a 23.7% reduction in force to the head. There is a visible white option. For 2014 there is also a special 40th Anniversary edition, retailing for $500.
- Victory: compact shape and multiple rear points. Same weight as the Victory Supreme, but the design is a little different and there is no exposed composite. There is a visible white option. Retail is $250, or $300 for matte finish.
- Galaxy: introduced in 2013, a road design with a compact shape and small rear points. Bamboo fabric padding covers. Retail is $215, or $260 for matte finish.
- Istrion: the LAS compact model, with reduced rear points and ring fit. There is bug net in the front vents. Made in Italy. Retail is $175, with matte version at $209.
- Squalo 1.1: inmolded with sharp sculpted lines and grooves suggesting a helmet for Frodo, with peaks sticking up at the top. Rear points, two shell sizes fitting 52 to 63 cm (20.9 to 24.8 inches) heads. Retails for $165, matte version $200.
- Squalo 2.2: a road model inmolded and very similar to the original Squalo 1.1, with peaks sticking up at the top and rear points, but the shell is different, and internal reinforcing allows the vents to be a little larger. Retails for $235, matte version $280.
- Chronometro: time-trial aero helmet with a polycarbonate shell, no front vents and an integrated clear partial front face shield. Very long tail to reach the rider's back, with a slight shoulder hump. Certified to both the CPSC and CEN standards. Ring fit for 54 to 61 cm (21.3 to 24.0 inches) heads. Retail is $260 this year.
- CXT: a very round, smooth helmet with tiny rear vents and a face shield. For pursuit and time trial riding, this is the response to Casco's Warp with a shape that drops the long tail that most riders don't keep tucked against their back, visible in all of the Trialtir site photos of the Chronometro.
- Infinito: the LAS "entry level" helmet in the European market. Inmolded with a shape very similar to the Squalo, but with smaller vents, and there is bug net in the front vents. Retail is an entry level $110.
- Kripton: older style elongated road model with many vents and pronounced rear points. Bug net in the vents.
- Esprit 2: road model with one upswept point in the rear, with large vents.
- Fantastico: toddler helmet with taped on shell and small vents, fitting heads from 52 to 56 cm.
- Freestyle: skate style, with ABS shell and small vents.
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 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.
- Z1: new for mid-2014, a high-end road helmet with multiple vents formed by what appears to be two layers of shell/foam strips crossing in different directions. Has one large rear point. There is an optional aeroshell covering all vents to make it an aero road helmet. Available in June of 2014, it should replace the Helium design as the top of Lazer's line.
- Cyclone: new for 2014, a road helmet with very small points in the rear. It has partially recessed strap anchors and three reflective panels. The side strap junctions lock moderately well. Retail is $40.
- Beam: introduced in 2013, a road or mountain bike helmet with large vents, blocky lines and a generally compact shape with only the suggestion of a rear point. It has Lazer's spring-loaded fit system rather than the Rollsys, so we would recommend trying it carefully for fit before you buy, and making sure it will stay in place in a crash by trying to pull it off. Retail is $50.
- Helium: a high end helmet inmolded with an elongated shape, rear points and three front points as well. It has multiple shell pieces wrapping around the lower foam sections. Fiberglass reinforcing shows on top of the bridges between the vents. The Helium has a dual-density foam liner that reduces the weight by a claimed 40 grams. it has a non-absorbent gel pad on the front that attempts to spread sweat away from the eyes rather than absorb it. Retail is $220. The Genesis version continues as before, with a single density liner and internal reinforcing in a separate shell, still retailing for $175. Even though the Helium and Genesis are CPSC certified, we would avoid them because of the points and the hard wheel that sticks up on the Lazer adjustment system. We would not want to crash on that spot. The Genesis is the prototype for the "coming soon" LightBeam Smart with heart rate monitor, using ANT or Bluetooth to connect to your smartphone. There is a full plastic Aeroshell available for either model. We have received emails from riders with round heads and others with elongated heads saying the Genesis fits them well.
- Neon: a road model with a compact, generally rounder shape and one rear shelf projection. At $60 it is the lowest-priced Lazer that is marketed as fitting rounder Asian heads. Also comes as the Clash with visor, Skoot for kids, Kiss for women and Vandal with visor for youth and going all the way up to 65cm, Lazer's largest.
- O2 RD: road helmet with the elongated shape and pronounced rear points, big vents and the external wheel adjustment that we think should not be on the surface of a helmet. But it has the Lazer ring fit system that narrows the ring as it is tightened to accommodate narrow heads. There is an XXL that will fit up to 64 cm heads. Retail is $110. There is a full plastic Aeroshell available.
- O2XE: an elongated road model. Large vents and pronounced rear points.
- Sphere: an elongated road model large vents and pronounced rear points. There is a full plastic Aeroshell available. Retails for $135.
- Nirvana: a 2009 model with more points sticking out in all directions than any other Lazer helmet. It has the external roller to adjust, and a three piece molded shell. We would pass this one by due to all those external points. Retail is $140.
- X3M: ("extreme") A unique series of vents gives this one a radical appearance. Inmolded, with a rear point, and a lower shell. The visor-less X3M is the X3M RD. Retail for either is $50. There is also the older X3M model, without the lower shell, but with visor and listed as a "value" model. It has Lazer's older fit system and is good for narrower heads. Retails for $42.
- Tempo: a "value" model. It is only certified to the CEN standard and will not be seen in the US. Inmolded with a one piece shell that has modest rear points. Big vents, ring fit. Retails for $40.
- Compact: another value model, this time with a glued on shell rather than molded. Rounded shape. Meets the CPSC standard. Retail is $30.
- CityZen: a hat-style helmet with a round, smooth skate-style helmet with vents underneath, covered with a cloth cover in houndstooth, tartan or solid grey or black. It is reminiscent of the Danish Yakkay, but more Belgian in style. We would avoid this one for the flaps, visors and cloth cover. The front visor was reduced somewhat in 2013. The hat 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. Comes as a hard shell called the Next.
- Sweet: Skate-style shape except for a suggestion of visor in the front, marketed as an urban helmet. Small vents and internal air channels. Pad fit, fitting different shaped heads with different thicknesses of internal pads. Available in neon orange and yellow for $100 retail.
- Oasiz: a road model with large vents, compact shape but pronounced high rear points.
- Junior: a vented, inmolded youth model for ages 5 to 10, round and smooth except for an extension in the front to form a visor. Has an LED blinker in the rear stabilizer. Retail is $43.
- Armor a classic skate shaped helmet with small rectangular vents, but it is inmolded, with a rubberized polycarbonate thin shell and EPS liner. Meets the CPSC standard. We don't like the rubberized coating on the shell because it may increase sliding resistance in an impact. Lazer says it fits different shaped heads, including rounder ones, with different fit pads. There are some nice bright colors. Marketed to urban bike riders in Belgian cities as well as skaters. Retail is $70, high for this type of helmet. Lazer also has the Armor Deluxe with upgraded pads and straps, as well as a clear lower shell for $80.
- Street: Skate style helmet with the same look as the Armor above, but with an ABS hard shell. There is a Sweet model for women and a Street JR for kids. Retail is $50, high for this type of helmet. In plain colors or white it is the Next at $40.
- Nut'Z with MIPS is a compact-shaped road helmet for kids, with rounded points in the rear, and the similar P'Nut with MIPS is the smallest size for toddlers, fitting down to 45cm heads. These two have a MIPS slip-plane system. An effort to reduce rotational forces in an impact, it allows the helmet to slip a little to the side by including two layers with a slippery surface between them. In this case the inner layer is just an inner fit basket, not a full helmet layer like the POC models or Lazer's own motorcycle helmets. We think that a rounder outer surface on these child helmets might have accomplished a similar reduction in rotational force, and the helmets are not tightly coupled with the child's head, so they will slip anyway. But the MIPS system is at least an attempt to address the rotational forces that probably are the biggest contributor to concussions, and we are encouraged that Lazer was courageous enough to introduce this construction in a child helmet. Ring fit with a spring-loaded occipital stabilizer. Retail is $80 for either MIPS model, or $20 less for the plain non-MIPS models. There is a full-cover outer shell available as an option. For 2014, Lazer has scaled this one up to adult size, and it is selling as the Beam. It comes with rear LED for $100 or reflector for $90.
- Bob: toddler "Baby-On-Board" model with a round smooth profile and small vents. Visible white among other graphic schemes, and comes as a Bob Radical with a "Mohawk" fringe. Certified to CPSC. Lazer's smallest helmet, fitting 45 to 52 cm heads. Retail is $25, or $35 for the Bob Radical with fringe.
- Max: toddler model with molded in visor in front and a glued-on shell. Some versions have unfortunate fins on them. Cute graphics including a little "Police" model. Retail is $30.
- Phoenix: BMX full face model with a Fiberglass shell and bolted on visor. Retails for $100.
- Wasp: introduced in 2013, a chrono-shaped helmet with a long tail and four narrow vents. Inmolded. The bulbous front and tapering, descending rear sections are emphasized in the Fluo Black neon and black model with rings that imitate a wasp. The name is less obvious in the plain black or plain white models, and Lazer says it stands for Watt Saving Performance. Detachable sections, since it fits so closely that the rider puts it on in sections with helmet first, then snapping on sides and adding the tail. Ring fit. Retail is $400.
- Tardiz: originally named for Dr. Who's time machine, but the s at the end has become a z. A chrono model with a water intake used to replenish an evaporative cooling system, just in case you don't sweat enough in your almost unvented time trial helmet. Dual shell enables a dimpled rear section that burbles air like a dimpled golf ball for better aerodynamics. The only chrono model we have seen with a women's graphic version, called the Ldy Tardiz. There is a full plastic Aeroshell available to eliminate the vents. Retail is $180.
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 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 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 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.
- Velov: Limar's big news for 2013 was this unique road helmet with big vents and a compact shape has ridges on the top. When four large panels are placed between those ridges, it is transformed into a round, smooth aero road model.
The blocky graphics of the panels make it clear to observers that this is not a skate helmet. It is being marketed as an urban helmet. Retail price is 80 Euros for the European model.
- Ultralight: billed by Limar as "the world's lightest helmet." The size small is advertised as 160 grams in the CEN version and 200 grams in the one that is certified to CPSC. There is an Ultralight + with a more complex shell. Inmolded with large vents, round and smooth profile except for a rear projection ring that forms a shelf in the rear and spoils the profile for us. Has excellent side strap adjustors that hold very well. There is bug net in the front vents. Retail is 150 euros with or without visor, or 200 euros for the carbon version. The CPSC version sells in the US for $210. The MTB version has a visor and retails for $225.
- 777: back in 2010 this one was billed as "the new trend for roadies" with the compact profile, but marred by angular points on the surface and in the rear. Retail is 79 euros. With visor it is the 757 MTB.
- 650: a road model with compact shell profile spoiled by a shelf overhang in the rear. Retails for 59 euros. With visor it is the 675 MTB.
- 575 MTB: fewer but very large front vents, inmolded with wrap under shell piece. Almost no rear point. Ring fit. This one retails for $60.
- 635: a somewhat elongated road model with a rearward-facing point on the top and points in the rear. Retail should be under $60.
- X-Ride: for "demanding offroad and freeriding" with a compact profile marred by one high and pronounced rear point. Limar cut huge blocky vent holes in the shell, but they neck down to much smaller holes going through to the interior. With black liner foam the dramatic visible effect is a helmet with immense vents. Has bug net. Retail is 79 euros.
- 525: a youth model, inmolded with angular lines and modest rear point. Ring fit. $45 retail.
- 515 All Around: a youth model, inmolded with a rear point and a lumpy exterior. Modest vents. Ring fit. Retail is $45.
- 149: inmolded, a round and smooth vented child's helmet with a ring fit system. Front shell pooks out into a visor. Retail is $40.
- 124: inmolded, a round and smooth vented child's helmet with a ring fit system. Front shell pooks out into a visor.
- X-Action: classic skate helmet with ABS hard shell, small rectangular vents that are larger than most skate helmets and a ring fit system. There is bug net in the front vents, seldom seen on skate style helmets. Retail is 59 euros. Also comes in plain colors with three extra vents in the rear as the X-Urban, with a retail price of $45. They are advertised as multi sport helmets, but we don't know which standards they meet.
- Cruiser BMX: a classic BMX full face helmet with small vents, large visor bolted on and ABS shell. Very plain graphics, no bug net. Retail is 89 euros.
- Nutcase: another classic BMX full face helmet, with snappier graphics, small vents and a fiberglass shell. Has bug net. This one is certified to Snell's B-95 bicycle helmet standard. Retail is 129 euros.
- Limar Speed Demon: a CPSC certified chrono helmet inmolded with 6 long thin vents in the front and 9 elsewhere for a total of 15. Limar says they offer good ventilation "without affecting the aerodynamics." It has a flexible ear flap to avoid the chafing problem. Ring fit for heads 54 to 61 cm. There is a carbon version, but that refers to the black color, not the shell material. Retail is $190.
- Chrono: an aerodynamic pursuit and time trial helmet with CPSC certification. Inmolded with 5 small vents in the rear recessed into channels. Face shield optional. Limar says the short shape permits more efficient bike position and works better when the rider is out of aero position or standing. Ring fit for heads 53 to 59 cm. Again the carbon version refers only to the black color, not the shell material. Retails for $170.
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.
See Louis Garneau
above under "G"
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 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.
- Plasma SLR: the top of the line has carbon fiber reinforcing and large vents, and got a "technical update" for 2014. Two-piece shell for full coverage. The rear has three rows of three vents, almost like an automotive grill, with a small snag point just above and a very small fin on top. Strap anchors are under the shell, where they belong on an upscale helmet. Anti-microbial padding. Retail is $220.
- Plasma: almost identical to the Plasma SLR, with carbon-look Allutex reinforcing rather than carbon and non-recessed strap anchors jutting out on top of the shell. Retail is $180.
- Synchro: somewhat simpler in design, but has a hump in the crown and still has the Mavic fin in the rear. Has a visor. Retail is $125.
- Espoir: fewer vents in the rear and a would have a better-rounded rear profile than the Plasmas, but that is partially spoiled by the fin. Retail is $100.
- Espoir: another road model, billed as a mountain bike helmet. Rounded profile except for the tiny fin on the top rear. Blocky appearance with reasonable vents and the appearance of additional rear coverage. Retail is $110.
Mavic has replacement fit pads on their site for each helmet model for $10.
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.
- 20 Miles: introduced in 2013, a well-rounded urban helmet with just a hint of rear lines, large vents, MET's good strap junctions and an LED flasher in the rear. Visible neon yellow available. Retail is 55 euros. The CPSC version for the US should be ready in the spring.
- Crossover XL: introduced in 2013, a compact road design with some rear points. Has a rear LED flasher.
- Forte: an elongated, angular design with moderate vents and a high rear point. Retail is 75 euros.
- Inferno UL: inmolded using "Ultimalite," MET's proprietary fiber reinforcing. Large rear point. Retail is $100.
- Stradivarius HES: redesigned for 2013, an inmolded road helmet with large longitudinal vents and a single pronounced rear point. It retails for $250.
- Sine-Thesis: an elongated, angular design with large vents. Retail is 225 euros.
- Pilgrim: compact "all-rounder" road model with large vents and very modest points on the rear. Also comes as the Gavilar without visor.
- Crackerjack: a youth model with a compact shape but angular lines. It has fewer but larger vents than other MET models. Comes with visor. Retail is 50 euros.
- Crackerjack: a youth model with fewer vents and a rounded profile, but still with the vestiges of a rear point. Has an integrated LED light for the rear stabilizer.
- Terra: a compact design with two high points at the rear and very large vents. US model retailing for $90.
- Parabellum: pitched as a mountain biking helmet, with rounded profile, blocky vents and the appearance of additional rear coverage. Has a camera mount.
- Parachute: promised for April of 2014, bringing back a MET model name from the past, this time with inmolded construction. It is a full-face downhill helmet with a chinguard that is more vent than structure. The shell is well rounded, and there are big vents. Has a camera mount.
- Kaos UL: a Freeride design, the Kaos is molded in a shell made with "Ultimalite," MET's proprietary name for fiber reinforcing. It has big vents and big rear points. There is a visible white option. Retail is 130 euros.
- Veleno: inmolded, with many large rear points. There are visible white and red options. It also comes in the largest size as the Predatore fitting up to 64 cm. Without visor it is the Estro.
- Genio/Elfo: a vented toddler model inmolded with a lower shell to cover all the outside foam. Bright graphics. Has a bump out in front to form a visor and a very useful flattened rear to avoid cocking a child's head forward when sitting in a child carrier. Retail is 35 to 38 euros. Fits heads down to 46 cm.
- Buddy/Super Buddy: a toddler helmet with smaller vents than the Genio/Elfo and a taped on shell. Fits heads down to 46 cm. Retail is 25 euros.
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.
- MX: sweeps back and up with a pointy rear profile. Very large vents including a heart-shaped one in the front. The strap anchors are recessed into the grooves in the shell. The front vents are designed to work with the visor.
- MS: inmolded with an elongated shape, reasonable vents and a minimal rear point.
- SX1: elongated shell but chopped off in the rear. In youth size and graphics it is the TX1.
- RX1: elongated shell with more rounded rear treatment except for a little tab left sticking out at the top. With visor it is the MX1.
- RX3: elongated shell with points at the rear.
- RX4: elongated shell with rounded rear lines.
- MX2: may be the top of the line, with an elongated shell, points at the rear and many smaller vents. Comes with a visor.
- MK: toddler helmet with vents, inmolded as few toddler helmets are, nice bright colors and graphics. The extra small size fits 45 to 52 cm (17.7 to 20.5 inches) heads. Retail is $25.
Mien Yow Industry
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 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 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:
- Phoenix: a 2014 model road helmet with elongated shape and many vents, in celeste blue to compliment Bianchi jerseys as well as other colors. Has alloy bridging and a carbon fiber inlay patch at the front. Full two piece shell covers all foam. Priced at $130 Australian.
- Curve: inmolded with an elongated shape and long vents, and minimal points in the rear. Retail is AUS$80.
- Soniq Pro: inmolded with an elongated shape, long vents and exaggerated points in the rear. Two piece shell covers all foam and wraps under. "Real carbon" bridging between vents in the shell. Retail is AUS$100, possibly the least expensive helmet you will see with real carbon fiber.
- Apache: elongated shape with a high rear point. Retails for AUS$60.
- Trail: elongated shape, rear points. AUS$40 retail.
- Pegasus: elongated shape with high rear point. Retail is AUS$50.
- Fuse: elongated shape but with minimal rear shelf. Inmolded, bright colors available. Retail is AUS$50.
- Lightning: elongated shape with a shelf across the rear. Glued-on shell. Retail is AUS$40.
- Coolus: classic skate helmet with small vents (four in the rear) and ABS hard shell. Comes in visible white. Retail is $59.
- Minimax 3: Toddler model with heart-shaped vents and full shell cover. Comes in extra small. Retails for $40.
- Pilot: Child/youth model with ring fit, bright graphics and AS2063 Certification. Retail is $40.
In addition to their bicycles, Nishiki has a complementary line of clothing and accessories. They have expanded their helmet selection for 2014.
- Hermosa: compact shape with a very nicely rounded profile, inmolded. Retail is $30, putting it in the value helmet category.
- Pagosa: compact shape with rear points, inmolded. Has a Conehead (tm) dual-density liner, possibly offering better performance in low-velocity impacts. Retail is $60, in the value range for a Conehead design.
- Socorro: compact shape with two high rear points, inmolded. Retail is $30.
- Breckenridge Skate or Bike Helmet: a skate-style helmet with small vents and a very rounded shape. Advertised as "approved for bike and skate use" but without mention of skateboarding standards, so that means inline skating and biking rather than skateboarding. Retail is $35.
- Youth Versa Bike and Skate Helmet: a skate-style helmet for children with small vents and a very rounded shape.
Bike and skate" would refer to biking and inline skating, but not skateboarding.
Retail is $35.
- Mondido: Youth model with lines that sweep back and up to a point in the rear. There is a girl's model. Retails for $30.
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 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 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.
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 helmets were marketed in the US for the first time in 2013. The brand includes a full line:
- Dexter: a commuter model, round and smooth. Retail is $55.
- Storm: a road model with elongated shape and rear points. Retail is $90.
- Breeze: the value model in the line, less elongated than the Storm and with nicely recessed strap anchors as well as strap adjustors that hold reasonably well. Retail is $30.
- Rush: a road model with elongated shape and rear points. Retail is $50.
- Roo: toddler model retailing for $28
- Carter: skate style model retailing for $30.
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 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.
- Altos: inmolded with a full cover shell, an elongated profile and moderate rear point.
- Destructor: inmolded with a full cover shell, an elongated profile and pronounced rear points.
- Protector: nicely rounded profile, inmolded.
- Pro Team: inmolded with a full cover shell, an elongated profile and moderate rear point.
- V17: nicely rounded profile, inmolded. There is a brightly colored flame option.
- V10: rounded profile, glued-on tapeless shell and bug net.
- V13 Trainer: a road design with nicely rounded profile, glued-on tapeless shell and bug net.
- Quick Fly: a vented child's helmet with molded in visor and glued, tapeless shell, that comes in yellow with a Dalmatian motif like Louis Garneau's old Felix.
- Kid: vented toddler helmet with bug net, meeting the CEN European standard.
- W10: inmolded with nicely rounded profile, lower shell and bug net.
- Agressor: BMX model with chinbar and a vented shell.
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:
- Gamma: a Snell-approved full face model with a fiberglass shell and dual density EPS liner. The chinbar has expanded polyurethane energy management padding. Retail is $275 to $300. The Gamma MIPS, new for 2014, has the MIPS slip plane layer and sells for $400.
- Atom: One's "value" helmet, with fiberglass shell and eps foam in the chinbar. Still has the dual-density EPS liner to keep weight down. Retails for $170. Also comes as the Atom Youth at $100.
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.
- Fury: A full face model with ABS shell, round and smooth with a big visor. Available in XXL size. DOT certified, so legal for motorcycle riding. Retail is $110.
- O'Neal motorcycle models: in its motorcycle persona, Azonic/O'Neal has a number of very protective full face motorcycle helmets. They are made by KBC in Korea or THH in Taiwan, and are certified to DOT, European and Australian motorcycle helmet standards, tested to impact levels that exceed by a wide margin any bicycle helmet standard in the world. Some of their models are designed to fit with neck braces. They include the 8 Series, Azonic DOT, 3 Series, 5 Series, 7 Series, Tirade and Monster.
O'Neal helmets fit sizes from 54 cm/20.5" to 64 cm/25". See also Azonic
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.
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.
below, or Mongoose
above. Pacific Cycle owns the Schwinn brand. In 2009 they bought PTI, the former manufacturer of Schwinn brand helmets.
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:
- Octal: a new 2014 road model with much larger vents than other POC models in a distinctive squared-off shape, the first POC made this way. It has a nicely rounded profile. This one has an EPS liner, thickened at the temples for more impact protection. It comes in orange, white and hi-visibility colors only. Has provision for the Icedot crash sensor. Retail is $270. There is an aero road version with a shell covering all vents called the Aero Octal at $300 retail.
- Trabec: a conventional inmolded model with very good skate-style coverage in the rear and large rectangular vents. It has a very large front visor, and is described as a mountain bike helmet. It has Aramid fiber reinforcing the EPS liner. Comes in some bright colors, with the contrasting color on the rear section.
This one does not have the MIPS system. Retail is $150. Also comes as the Trabec Race with extra Aramid fiber reinforcing for $180. For 2012 POC added a version with the MIPS system, the Trabec Race MIPS for $220.
- Receptor Backcountry MIPS: a skate style helmet with hard ABS outer shell, and a thin offset second shell of polycarbonate, covering the Expanded PolyPropylene (EPP) multi-impact foam liner. The rectangular vents are offset between shells to provide penetration protection, but ventilation is minimal. Under the outer vents the thin inner shell is reinforced by Aramid patches. This one has the MIPS slip-plane system, and is a true multi-impact and multi-sport helmet, although POC has no standards info up on it yet. Retail is $250.
- Receptor +: Similar construction to the Backcountry, but without the MIPS system. Has the EPP multi-impact liner. Can be equipped with ear covers for water use or an EVA cover to close the vent system for skiing. Now said to be dual certified to ASTM F1492 as well as the CPSC standard, although we have not yet seen one with an ASTM sticker inside. Retail is $220. There is an excellent in-depth review of the Receptor on YouTube.
- Crane: introduced in 2013, a skate-style model that is inmolded with what POC says is a thicker thinshell (1 mm) to avoid dents. Dual density liner. Larger vents than most other POC models. Retail is $120. For 2014 there is a child version called the Pocito in bright orange, and an adult Crane Pure that is lighter and uses a thinner shell material.
- Receptor Flow: uses the outer shell of the Receptor + with an EPS (the industry standard) liner, so this one would not be multi-impact. It has normal flow-through vents, but much smaller than the Trabec. POC says it works well for longer head shapes by changing the fit pads. Retail is $80.
- Receptor Commuter: uses the outer shell of the Receptor + with an EPS (the industry standard) liner, so this one would not be multi-impact. It has normal flow-through vents, with an inner thin polycarbonate shell protecting the foam. Comes in visible white or black. This one does not have the MIPS system. Retail is $120.
- Tempor: a unique chrono model that flares out on the lower sides and has a long tail that fits snugly to the neck and rises to curve over the shoulders. The object is to treat the cyclist as one body mass rather than a separate head and body. Has two big vents in the front, and two very small rectangular vents in the rear, but there are hints that "the vents might not be what you think they are." Comes in neon orange, black and white. Retail is $380.
- Cortex DH MIPS: a BMX full face helmet constructed with the double shell. The outer shell is carbon fiber, with the thin polycarbonate inner shell with a liner reinforced by Aramid patches behind the outer vents. EPP multi-impact inner liner, an unusual feature in a full face helmet. But there is no energy management foam in the chinbar. This model has the MIPS slip-plane design. Retails for a very high $500.
- Cortex Flow: Shaped like the Cortex DH but has open vents for more ventilation and a fiberglass shell rather than carbon. It does not have the MIPS system. The liner is EPP for multi-impact. Retail is $250.
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 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.
- Pantheon Pro: inmolded with an elongated but reasonably smooth shape with only one rear point. Comes in XXS to XL, in red, silver and blue.
- Pavè (Pavè with a backward accent on the e, not the French Pavé): a well-rounded, smooth design with reasonable vents and a taped on shell. Selling on Amazon for $15.
- Piccolo: a toddler model with the usual round, smooth taped on shell. It has minimal vents. Comes in blue, pink and green with graphics.
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 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 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:
City Lite a new 2014 model, shaped like the classic Pro-Tec skate style helmet, but inmolded with a thin shell and EPS liner. It has the usual small vents, but is marketed as a commuter helmet, and has an LED flasher in the round center rear vent. It has reflective material on both the strap and rear of the helmet. This model is dual certified to both the ASTM F1492 skateboard standard and the CPSC bicycle helmet standard, so we consider it superior protection for skateboard and bike use. Comes with a cap. Available in high viz yellow. Retail is $90. Without the LED flasher it is the Street Lite, retailing for $80, and again dual-certified. If you are looking for a Pro-Tec and want the lighter thin shell version, this is the model to start with.
- Cyphon SL: a hard shell bike helmet with round, smooth lines and what appears to be extended rear coverage. Inmolded with ABS/PE hard shell and normal vents. Has a visor. Retail is $110. This one is worth a look for the extended rear coverage with bicycle helmet vents.
- Classic EPS: round and smooth, with small round vents and good coverage, the classic Pro-tec design. Comes in visible white and bright red as well as the standard dark colors. Certified only to the CPSC bike helmet standard, not skateboard. Retails for $45. There is an outwardly similar Classic Skate and Classic Full Cut Skate that are not certified to either the CPSC bicycle standard or the ASTM F1492 skateboard standard and therefore to be avoided. For 2014 there is a Pro-tec X Haro commemorative version and a Pro-tec X Shadow version with red blood spatter graphic inside the strap webbing.
- B-2: another round and smooth design, but this time with oval vents, a rad departure for the skate crowd. Dual certified to bicycle and skateboard standards, and you should find a sticker inside confirming that. Comes in visible white as well as the standard dark colors. There is an XS size down to 51 cm/20.1 inches. Retails for $65. It is also available as the B2 2-Stage with a different liner, not certified to bike or skateboard standards and therefore to be avoided. Retail is $50.
- Ace: An updated skateboard style helmet with larger oval vents and minor reshaping of the shell lines. It still has a round and smooth shape, and an XS size down to 51 cm/20.1 inches. Dual certified to bicycle and skateboard standards, and you should find a sticker inside confirming that. Retail is $65.(Note that the outwardly similar Ace 2-Stage, sold for skating in skate shops rather than bicycling is not certified to the CPSC or ASTM skateboard standards.) If you want a hard shell Pro-tec, check out this model first.
- Shovelhead 2: a BMX design with a full face chinbar, fiberglass shell and vents. It has a snap-in liner that you can wash separately. Certified to the ASTM F1952 downhill standard, indicating better protection than a CPSC helmet. Retails for $130.
- Riot Street: we recommend staying away from this one, because it is not certified to either the ASTM skateboard standard or the CPSC bike helmet standard, and can not be legally sold in the US as a bike helmet. The Pro-tec catalog is clear on that, but the narrative recommends it for "riders" and it appears in the bike helmet section. The only standard listed for it is the European water sports standard. The helmet has an ABS hard shell with an EPS liner and a visor molded in that keeps it from being the old school design. It appears to be an attempt to lower the weight of a hard shell helmet, but unfortunately that compromised the impact protection. Retail is $80.
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 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 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.
- Pryme Evil: a full face downhill model meeting the ASTM F1952 downhill mountain bike racing standard, so it is certified to be the most protective helmet in the Pryme line, much more protective than the Prime Evil Pro below. Retail is $116.
- Pryme US Pro: a full face model for BMX and downhill racing. Hard shell, vents, bolted on visor. Meets only the CPSC bicycle helmet standard.
- Pryme Evil Pro: a full face model for BMX and downhill racing, but meeting only the CPSC standard for regular bicycling. Hard shell, minimal vents, bolted on visor. Retails for $105.
- Pryme US: a full face model for BMX and downhill racing. Hard shell, vents, bolted on visor and a cool skull medallion on the chinbar. Retails for $90.
- Pryme V2: a classic skateboard style helmet. Has small vents and an EPS liner. Meets the CPSC standard. Some bright colors are available. Retails for $40.
- Pryme V2 Lite: a classic skateboard style helmet, but a thin shell that is inmolded. Has small vents and an EPS liner. Meets the CPSC standard. Comes in some very bright colors. Retails for $60.
- Pryme Mortal: skate style helmet similar in shape to the Pryme 8 but with a skull logo insert replacing the vents in the front and only four small ones in the top. Retail is $30. This one was discontinued at the end of 2012 and is selling out.
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 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.
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.
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:
- Airstorm: new for 2014, a compact road model with very pronounced rear points. It has deep internal air channels, so Rudy rates it as their best-ventilated model. There is a visible white option.
- Zumax: new for 2014, a compact road model with a single rear point. There is a fluorescent yellow option available.
- Windmax: introduced in 2013, an elongated road model with a high rear shelf point, big vents and a lower shell covering all foam. Has lots of visible "ultralight polymer fiber" reinforcement showing between the ribs. There is a very visible neon yellow option. Comes with a microfiber pouch. Retail is $295.
- Sterling: an elongated road model with points front and rear, big vents and a lower shell covering all foam. It has a unique "impact protection grid" reinforcing cage that is visible through the vents. There are no visible strap anchors, a nice feature in a helmet that is inmolded. Also comes as the Sterling MTB with visor.
- Slinger: a very light compact style helmet certified to the CPSC standard.
- Actyum: an elongated road model with pronounced rear points and many vents.
- Zuma: road model with a two piece shell for full cover and the good cam lock strap fittings that hold well. US model.
- Fyol: a youth model road helmet with somewhat smaller vents and a single rear point. It seems to be the successor to the Snuggy youth model that had more rounded contours in front, or perhaps the Skud that has a wedge shape coming to a single rear point.
- Jockey: a nicely rounded, well vented child helmet.
- Skyanto: hard shell classic skate style helmet certified to CPSC.
- Koyna: a full face BMX/downhill racing model with vented chinbar with mesh in the vents and a bolted on visor.
- Wing57: Rudy Project's big news for 2014, a chrono model designed by John Cobb with short tail, vents and an optional face shield. Comes with a magnetic piece to add length to the tail and a tab resting on the shoulder of those with flat backs that lets the rider raise and lower the rear of the helmet to achieve that critical angle that yields best aero performance for different rider back profiles. The side vents have a role in reducing airflow disruptions. Has inserts for the vents to close them or reduce their intake and improve aero performance for specific events and air temperatures. The dorsal ridge along the top is to help in cross winds while maintaining a low front profile. Retail is $500.
- Wingspan: a chrono model with more complex lines and larger vents than most. Rudy Project provides mesh and solid vent plugs. This is Erik Zabel's time trial helmet. One shell size. Neon orange. Retail is $325. The black special edition Diamond model with Swarovski crystal highlights is $500.
Rudy Project always has some interesting design innovations.
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.
- Lifer: classic hard shell skate model dual certified to the CPSC bicycle helmet standard and the ASTM F-1492 Skateboard standard. It would be the clear choice among the S-One models for impact protection. Fits up to 23.5" heads (59.7 cm). The similar Kid model, also dual-certified, fits heads as small as 18.5" (47 cm). Retail is $50 to $60.
- Big Head: classic hard shell skate model certified only to the CPSC bicycle helmet standard, not to the ASTM skateboard standard. Fits heads up to 24.25" (61.6 cm), qualifying as a big head but falling short of those listed on our Big Heads page. A dual-certified helmet would have to have a larger shell for this size head. Retail is $50 if it is available.
S-One is to be applauded for their frankness about their non-certified 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 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
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 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.
- Mythic: new for 2014, a road model with large blocky vents and the appearance of extended rear coverage. With a MIPS slip-plane layer it becomes the Stego, pictured below with the yellow interior layer.
- Taal: a compact road model with the most reasonably rounded rear treatment of any of Scott's models. It is inmolded, and has a MIPS slip-plane built in that may help with rotational energy management.
- Watu: road model with lines very similar to the Taal, but this is Scott's "value" helmet at 40 British pounds.
- Groove II: elongated road model with rear points and many vents. Retail is 60 British pounds. For 2014 there is a MIPS version with the MIPS slip-plane layer. Called the Lin. Both are European models.
- Wit: introduced in 2013, a road/mountain helmet with rear points and many vents. Retail is about $135. The Wit-R is the road model without visor.
- Karma: a "mountain" design with a very reasonably rounded contour except for a strange lump in the back and very large vents. Inmolded, with a ring fit system. Retail is 75 British pounds. Retail is 75 British pounds, about $115.
- Fuga: a road model, inmolded with a ring fit system and a reasonably rounded contour. Retail is 100 British pounds.
- Vanish Evo: Scott's entry in the ultra-light road helmet competition. Has two unfortunate and very sharp rear-facing points. Inmolded and ring fit. Has dual-density foam using the cone-head design, accounting for some of the lighter weight and possibly producing a softer landing helmet for lesser impacts. We don't have test results to confirm it. Unfortunately, the Scott website speaks of "two different foams with their own characteristics of recovering from impact" implying that the EPS recovers protection after an impact and could be used again, which is not the case. We think they really mean two different foams with their own characteristics of managing impact energy. Has internal strap anchors, eliminating any surface bumps, but so many points and angles all over the shell that strap anchors would not make much difference. Also comes as the Vanish with visor.
- Spunto a youth model road helmet rising to a high shelf point in the rear. US model, retailing for about $55. There is a Contessa women's graphic version.
- Scott Jibe: a classic skate helmet with a hard ABS shell and small vents. Meets the European CEN standard. The strap junctions do not lock at all, probably not a big problem for a skate-style helmet.
- Spartan: downhill helmet in classic BMX shape with the classic BMX visor bolted on. Has an ABS shell. There is no energy management foam in the chinbar. Meets the CPSC bike standard but is not certified to the tougher ASTM F1952 downhill racing helmet standard. Has the standard BMX large bolted-on visor, always a potential snag hazard. Four sizes fit 54 to 62 cm heads (21.3 to 24.4 inches). Retail for the DH is 225 British pounds.
- Split-TT: a compact chrono model with integrated face shield and flexible side pieces around the face to facilitate putting it on. No front vents except slits at the top of the shield linking to internal channels. There are very small rear vents. The strap adjustors hold reasonably well.
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 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 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 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:
- MP3: introduced in 2013, a compact model rising in the back to a minimal rear point. Made in Italy. Retail is $260.
- XP: elongated road model with modest rear points and long vents in a shell configuration that in some graphics versions suggests the old leather hairnets. Made in Italy.
- Astral: a nicely rounded road model with minimal rear point and reasonable vents. Youth model available only in size medium.
- Avatar Light: a road model with many vents and points in the rear, certified only to the CEN standard. Made in Italy.
- Matrix: inmolded with a large rear point, four piece full shell, wavy lines with ridges, brow vent reminiscent of the Specialized Cobra models, lots of vents and a click-slide tab rear stabilizer. Comes in regular colors including visible white or team colors that can be customized for different combinations. Some versions of this model have bug net in the vents. All have reflective spots on the rear stabilizer, a good location for those who ride in the bent-over position. Retail is $245. Made in Italy.
- Mito: elongated shape, points in rear, visor. Made in Italy.
- Blitz: a more compact design but still has many small points on the rear and one on top in the front. There are white and bright color options. Made in Italy.
- Nitro: another compact design with only one rear point. Some bright color choices. Made in Italy.
- Alien: inmolded with a really pronounced rear overhang and points, lots of longitudinal vents and partially recessed strap anchors.
- Tempo: Selev's chrono model with a full lower cover that comes all the way down to the neck. Meets the EN 1078 standard. Has an internal radio wire channel. Fits sizes 54 to 59 cm. (21.6 to 23.2 inches). Made in Italy.
- TT Evo: a compact aero road helmet made for track racing. It has two small front vents. Sidepieces come down the cheek in chrono style.
Selev has a crash replacement policy in the US market that provides a helmet at half the retail price.
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:
- BK 100 : the top of Shain's road line, an inmolded model, with plenty of vents and plenty of points both in the rear and projecting up and forward from the front surface. Updated in 2005 with their new foam. The shell wraps under and there is an inner shell for full coverage. The strap anchors stick up entirely above the shell, adding another potential point. There is a mountain model with visor, one in Olympic colors, and the BK100 Bianco/Carbon with "carbon look" inserts.
- BK 90 Ora: another high-end inmolded design with a pointy rear point and external strap anchors. It has the inner shell. It has metal bug screen in the vents. CPSC certified. There is also a mountain model with visor.
- BK 40: rounded exterior except for a modest rear point and a molded in visor lip. Inmolded. This one also comes in visor and the woman's Lady version.
- BK 500: Shain's chrono time trial model is actually an EPS foam helmet liner with an additional fairing added on the exterior and a clear face shield. There are three small front vents, five in all. Certified only to the CEN standard. Not in the current catalog.
- BK 11: Toddler helmet with vents. Taped on shell. CPSC certification.
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 + 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:
- Shabli: a road helmet with many vents and large rear points. Colors include some bright graphics as well as white. Made in Italy. Retail is $140.
- Shot: a road helmet with many vents and large rear points. Colors include some bright graphics as well as white. Made in Italy. Retail is $115.
- Zeuss Pro: road helmet with long vents rising to points in the rear. There are carbon inserts in the shell bridges. Retail is $150.
- Alias Pro: road helmet with long vents rising to pronounced points in the rear that make the design look dated. Retail is $120.
- Speedy: newer compact model, but still has prominent rear points. Retail is $85.
- Sniper: newer compact model, with rear points. Retail is $70.
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 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:
- Short Stack: a road model with large, chunky vents and the appearance of extended coverage in the rear. It is inmolded, with a two piece shell covering all the foam. Has a large, bolted on visor and a pad on the chin strap.
- Half Stack: a classic skate-style helmet, but certified to the CPSC bike helmet standard, not the ASTM F1492 skateboard standard. ABS shell, EPS liner. The small vents are diamond shaped.
- Full Stack: a vented full face downhill mountain bike helmet with an ABS shell. Has a large, bolted on visor. Certified only to CPSC standard and not to the ASTM F1952 downhill standard.
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.
- Recon: an interesting model that added some styling interest to the round and smooth commuter look, with extended coverage in the rear and reasonable vents. The visor can be easily removed and is designed to pop off in a crash. Choice of black or white. Retail is $110. Worth a look for the additional coverage with what appears to be decent ventilation.
- Comp: a full face vented downhill model with a smooth, round polycarbonate shell and bolted on visor. Meets only the CPSC standard, not the ASTM downhill mountain bike helmet standard. Retails for $90
- Rage: new for 2014, a full face vented downhill model with a "carbon blend" shell and bolted on visor, retailing for $200.
- Dirt Lid: a skate helmet in the classic round, smooth design with round vents and ABS hard shell, retailing for $28. It meets only the CPSC and ASTM bicycle helmet standards, not skateboard.
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 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's models include:
- Forefront: promised for Spring of 2014 and the first helmet in the Smith line, a road helmet with the EPS/Koroyd liner. This will be the top of the line. It is inmolded, with the liner molded first then the shell. It has a distinctive look with what appears to be extended rear coverage. Riders who tried it in the desert at Interbike reported very good ventilation through the Koroyd tubes. We are hoping to see lab test results confirming performance. There is a small breakaway visor and a breakaway camera mount. Retail will be $220.
- Maze Bike: a skate-style helmet with a conventional thin shell and liner, with one small vent in the front.
- Holt Bike: a skate style helmet with small top vents.
We look forward to more innovative models from Smith in the coming year.
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 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:
- Chamonix: new for 2014, a road helmet with large vents, a compact design and rear points. There is a visible white option, and reflective material on straps and decals. The Duet women's version has additional space for a pony tail, carved out of the rear stabilizer and the rear part of the helmet liner. Retail is $50.
- S-Works: the S-Works series has been a major Specialized project pushing technology to produce a lighter helmet. We regard weight reduction as misplaced effort, but it may sell helmets and may appeal to you. The Prevail has a full coverage shell and a large rear point despite the overall compact shape. Designed with a dual-density foam liner to cut weight, it has huge vents and Kevlar inner reinforcement. It has extra-light polyester strap material that the manufacturer says is hydrophobic and will not stretch when you sweat on it, a worthwhile advance. And it has a drilled-out buckle to save a gram or two of plastic, not a worthwhile advance. This model will be available in Europe, where it can be lighter and still meet the CEN standard, and in Asian markets where the molds are changed to fit Asian heads.
Can be had in visible white and bright red. Retail is $250.
There are now several S-Works models available on the Specialized website. For 2014 there is an interesting new aero road version called the S-Works Evade. It has fewer vents, low sides and a higher rear profile to improve venting. It sells for $250. The S3MT is an older design with multiple rear points, a larger visor and no carbon, retailing for $160. There is also the S-3, without visor.
- Street Smart: this urban design looks like a round, smooth skate-style helmet with added design details for style and reasonable vents for a city helmet.
The Street Smart is inmolded like the other Specialized models. There are small reflective tape surfaces on the rear, and a removable visor. There is an adaptor in the rear for attaching a light. All colors are matte, but the white is visible, and for 2014 there is a high visibility yellow. Retail is $60. Worth a look.
- Propero II: profile looks almost exactly like the S-Works Prevail above, but has a one piece shell, and there is more foam in the form of smaller vents and thicker bridges breaking up the largest ones. Has almost all of the other light weight features, including the hydrophobic no-stretch straps. Retail is $110. Visible white and some bright colors are available as well as a reflective black, and there is some reflective surface on both black and white models.
- Vice: full coverage shell and very large vents. It appears to have increased coverage in the rear. It has a compact shape without rear points. As a style gimmick, Specialized has bolted the visor on in Troy Lee BMX style. We would avoid that. It retails for $85.
- Tactic II: full coverage shell and compact shape, but retains a small high shelf point in the rear. Vents are a little smaller than the Vice, so it has more foam. It retails for $75. The women's Adorra model has a larger pony tail port at the same price.
- Echelon II: has a one piece shell, with many areas of exposed foam with no shell at all. We would avoid it for that reason. It has the newer compact shape, but retains some rear points. It retails for $65. For 2014 there is a high-visibility yellow option. The women's Aspire model has a larger pony tail port.
- Align: Specialized's value model, retailing for $40. At that price it still is inmolded and has the trademark brow port. It has a compact profile with a minimal rear point, and comes in three shell sizes, with a ring fit system. Has reflective strips on the sides of the straps, and black reflective tape in the rear. Also available as the Sierra for women and the Flash for children. Comes as the Max fitting XXL heads up to 64 cm (25.2") Specialized has an Asia-fit version of this helmet called the Contour to fit rounder Asian heads. It probably does not meet the CPSC standard, since helmets sold in Japan are normally certified to the Japan Cycling Federation JCF standard and the European CE standard.
- Small Fry: a classic round, smooth toddler and child size helmet, but inmolded and has some vents. Ring fit, bug net in front vents. Has some reflective patches. The smallest size is the toddler model advertised to fit 44-52 cm (17.25-20.5"). Retail is $40.
- Covert: a classic skate-style helmet with ABS hard shell and CPSC bike helmet certification, not ASTM F1492 skateboard. Has the new Tri-Fix fit system, so try it on before buying to make sure it will work for your head. There is a visible white option. Retail is $40.
- Dissident: a full-face downhill racing helmet with few vents and a carbon fiber/Kevlar/fiberglass shell. Certified to the ASTM F1952 Downhill Mountain Bike Racing standard and the ASTM F2032 BMX bike helmet standard, tougher than the CPSC standard. It also meets Snell's B-95 bicycle helmet standard. That makes this one worth a look. There is some energy management padding in the chinbar. Has provision for using a neck brace, and is compatible with the EJECT system used by EMT personnel at events to help get helmets off without straining the neck. (The side pads can be removed by pulling a tab marked with the EMT logo.) The large BMX-style visor is bolted on with plastic bolts designed to break away when you snag it on something. Retail is $350. For 2014 there is now the Dissident Comp, without the carbon fiber but still meeting the ASTM downhill standard and Snell's B-95 standard at $150.
- S-Works TT2: a long tail chrono model. Has one large brow vent in the front in Specialized style, and four large rear vents on the tail. The tail is open underneath. Has non-stretching straps. Two sizes fit 52 to 61 cm (20.5 to 24") heads. Retail is $275. Specialized has other chrono models not available through retail, and sometimes only CEN certified for European racing. They include the TT1, TT3 and TT4. The TT4 is new for 2014, with aerodynamics technology contributed by McLaren. It is a very expensive limited edition model with multiple very narrow "gill" vents on the top and sides that Specialized says improve the aerodynamics.
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 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:
- Dharma: new for 2014, with an elongated shape with pronounced rear points. Inmolded with full coverage of all foam. Has a Cone-head (TM) liner with dual density foam. Comes with a case. There are visible white and bright color options available.
- Synergis: a compact design with one pronounced rear point. Inmolded with a full coverage shell and some carbon fiber reinforcements. Visor. Meets the CPSC standard.
- Tamera: inmolded with a full coverage shell. Compact shape but still has rear points. Meets the CPSC standard.
- Nexion: inmolded with large front vents, a full shell on the lower portion, and pointy rear points. Worn in competition by teams supplied by Spiuk, comes in team colors or world champion stripes. Meets the CPSC standard.
- Zirion: inmolded with a very large point on the rear. Has so many small vents that it is reminiscent of the Catlike Whisper. Ring fit, visor. Meets the CPSC standard.
- Casco Kids/Casco de nino: a toddler helmet with vents and nice graphics. Meets only the CEN European standard, so will not be sold in the US.
- Aizea: a chrono and tri helmet. It is inmolded, and comes with two interchangeable tail pieces of different lengths. There are long thin front vents that can be closed with a screen, and a face shield held on with magnets. Meets the CPSC standard for sale in the US.
- Kronos: a time trial teardrop shape with two small front vents and a center rear vent through the long tail. Inmolded. Ring fit. Meets the US CPSC bicycle helmet standard. The photo on the website shows the tail flying in the breeze, not a very aerodynamic position.
In some cases Spiuk will replace crashed helmets at a discount.
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 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.
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 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 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.
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, 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 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 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:
- Brainsaver: For years this classic skate style shell was Triple Eight's basic model, coming in an array of different liner materials and graphics. Some are not certified to any standard, but one of the series is now the Triple Eight Brainsaver Dual Certified with EPS Liner model, certified to both the CPSC bicycle helmet standard and the ASTM F1492 skateboard helmet standard. Those are the skate models we recommend, and we are glad to see Triple Eight produce them. There is a visible white option, and the retail price is $40. We would pass up the others in the Brainsaver series, some with rubberized finishes, special edition graphics and even their extra large with "Sweatsaver" Liner for the demonstrated protection of the Dual Certified model.
- Gotham: the big news for 2014 is this new skate style model, again dual certified, with a Conehead (TM) dual-density foam liner. It is the classic skate shape with and ABS hard shell and small vents, unfortunately with the rubber surface that could increase sliding resistance compared to slick plastic. Although we have not seen test results comparing it with the Brainsaver Dual Certified, it is likely that this model will perform better for lesser impacts. It has a rear stabilizer and reflective logo. It will retail for $60, and is worth a look if you want a skate style helmet.
- Compass: another 2014 model, not skate style but a road helmet with reasonable oval vents, combined with grooved EPS liner for air flow. A thin-shell helmet that is inmolded, with the appearance of extra rear coverage. Large bolted-on visor. Retail is $75.
- Wipeout: a skate style helmet with a shell that is made to be decorated with dry erase marking pens.
- Invader: a full-face BMX/downhill model with full chinbar and small vents. Has a fiberglass shell and a large, bolted-on visor. Certified to both the CPSC bicycle helmet standard and the ASTM F1952 downhill racing helmet standard, denoting better protection. This is the standard we think all downhill helmets should meet. The Triple Eight logo vents in the squared-off chinpiece evoke a pig snout. Comes in visible white or black matte. Retail is $130. Worth a look.
- Racer: a full-face downhill longboard/luge skate model in the BMX/motorcycle style with integrated aero flip-up face shield with the sleek profile that longboarders favor.
Certified to both the CPSC bicycle helmet standard and the ASTM F1952 downhill racing helmet standard, denoting better protection. This is the standard we think all downhill helmets should meet. Notches in the clear or tinted visor permit it to be partially open. Worth a look if you are a longboarder. Retail is $300, but at least that gets you certified downhill protection.
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 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.
- A-1: new for 2014, Troy Lee returns to the road/mountain bike helmet market with a nicely rounded helmet that is inmolded with large but reasonable vents. It of course has a large bolted on visor. There is a visible yellow option. Retail is $165 for graphics versions and $139 for the matte gray "Drone" version.
- D2 Carbon: a classic BMX/motorcycle full-face model. It has as a shell made of 60% carbon fiber, 20% Aramid and 20% fiberglass. It has titanium visor screws to hold on that big visor. The carbon has exposed carbon fiber mesh in a sunken rear section they term "cosmetic," a style quirk but probably not a serious hazard. Four small vents. Meets the ASTM F1952 downhill racing helmet standard and the ASTM BMX cycling standard, easily exceeding the CPSC standard. Those are the standards we think downhill and BMX helmets should meet. Strong and durable D-ring buckle. Retail is $450.
- D2 Composite: another classic BMX/motorcycle full-face model, this time with a shell made of 50% fiberglass, 20% Aramid and 30% carbon replacing the Kevlar in previous models. Four small vents. Meets the ASTM F1952 downhill racing helmet standard and the ASTM BMX cycling standard, easily exceeding the CPSC standard. Comes in somewhat more visible gold. Strong and durable D-ring buckle. The D2 fits heads from 53 to 62 cm (21 to 24.5 inches). Retail is $200 for the plain black version, or $228 for graphics versions.
- D3: a classic BMX/motorcycle full-face model with composite shell and energy management padding in the chinbar. Meets the ASTM F1952 downhill racing helmet standard and the ASTM F2040 BMX cycling standard, easily exceeding the CPSC standard. Those are the standards we think downhill and BMX helmets should meet. Titanium D-ring buckle and visor bolts. Comes in XXL fitting heads up to 65cm (25.6"). There is a visible white graphics version.
Retail is $375 to $450.
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.
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:
- Artic Dawn: new for 2014, a unique skate style helmet with a polypropylene flexible shell that extends down to cover the ears. EPS liner, very small front vents. Retail is 70 euros.
- Substance 3.0: introduced in 2013, TSG's only road model, with a very nicely rounded exterior and many vents. Inmolded. There is bug mesh in the front vents. Available in visible white for urban use as well as black. Comes with a visor. Worth a look for the profile.
- Kraken: a classic skate model with ABS hard shell and EPS liner. But the liner is in sections, linked by a mesh, and TSG says the segments flex and enable the helmet to conform to unusual head shapes better. That is similar to the old Sportscope design.
Note the gaps around the edge of the liner. TSG says the improved fit permits a thinner helmet and better ventilation, even though the helmet has only 14 very small vents. They also say this model has protection extended lower on the head than others, but we can't verify that. Certified to the CPSC and EN1078 bicycle standards, but not the ASTM F1492 skateboard standard. Available only in flat black. Following in TSG's footsteps, Bell has a segmented liner skate helmet out for 2014 called the Segment. The retail price of the Kraken is $38.
- Kraken+: introduced in 2013, the Kraken+ is the helmet described above but with the addition of MIPS technology to add an internal plastic cage against the head with a slip-plane that will permit the helmet to slip sideways easily on impact for a few millimeters. MIPS believes this will lower the risk of concussion. If the helmet couples closely enough with your head so that it can not slip a few millimeters on impact, they could be right. When we tried it the slip-plane did not make the helmet move any more than it would normally move in a sideways hit. May not be a US model. Retail is 150 euros.
- Superlight: classic skate shape and few vents, but with a thin shell instead of a hard shell. Inmolded with an inward curve in the lower shell. Comes in visible white as well as dark colors. Meets the European CEN bicycle helmet standard and the US CPSC bike helmet standard, but not the ASTM F1492 skateboard standard. Retail is $70 to $80.
- Summit: classic skate shape and few vents, but with a thin shell instead of a hard shell.
- Nipper: classic skate shape, but a thin shell design certified to CPSC. Sized for kids with two sizes covering a range from 48 cm to 56 cm (18.9 to 22.0 inches). Retail is $38.
- Evolution: almost the same skate model as the Superlight, with small rectangular vents and an ABS plastic hard shell. Meets the CPSC bicycle standard. Available in many solid colors and graphic schemes, including neon orange, lime yellow and women's graphics. There is a "rubber finish" model that we would avoid as a novelty that may not slide as well on pavement as the regular ABS shells do. A new graphic effect called "colored clear" uses transparent or semi-transparent shells, and some bright colors are available. Retail is $45 or $55 for graphic models. Also comes with different graphics in XXL size but fits only up to 60.5 cm (23.8 inches) at $50, and a youth model. A plainer version is the All Terrain in solid colors. There is even a wakeboarding model with ear flaps. There is also a "Stay Strong" version commemorating and supporting paralyzed BMXer Stephen Murray. This model fits some Asian heads well.
- Skate/BMX: a classic ABS plastic hard shell skate design with one less vent than the Evolution. Colors include visible white. Retail is $30. This one is available in a matched set in cobalt blue that includes a helmet and protective pads for skate park rental programs.
- Staten/Staten Carbon: classic BMX/motorcycle style helmets with chinbar and a big visor. Fiberglass or carbon hard shell with vents. Certified to the Snell B-95 bicycle helmet standard, exceeding the CPSC standard. Retail price is 150 euros for fiberglass and 280 euros for the carbon. For 2014 there is a high visibility orange available.
- Pass: a new 2014 downhill full-face model with either carbon or fiberglass shell. There is no energy management padding in the chinbar.
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 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.
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:
- AllM: (named for all mountain sports) new for 2014, a road model inmolded with only eight very large vents, and double bridging showing through the vents across the front and a very large round vent dominating the sides at the rear. Pad fit. European model that does not meet the CPSC standard.
- Supacross: new for 2014, a road model inmolded with large vents, and a high back bump. The liner is recycled EPS. It has the signature round vents prominently in the sides. Ring fit. Retails for $130.
- Endur-O-Matic: skate-style profile, but molded in the thin shell with 8 larger round vents. Still has the extended skate coverage in the rear, and a visor that is made with soft material to prevent it from snagging, but is strongly attached. The visor also directs air to the vents. Some bright colors available. Retail is $115.
- Down-O-Matic: a full face downhill racing model with an unusual shape that has shoulders below the crown. Round vents. Still only CPSC and CEN-certified. Retail in fiberglass is $200.
- Dirt-O-Matic : classic hard shell skate style helmet with small round vents and a unique visor that clips in. Retail is $40.
- Archi Enduro: Pitched as the first enduro event helmet, a full face model with round vents, visor and a very narrow chin piece. Retail is $190.
- Archi Enduro Veggie: new for 2014, a full-face downhill Archie Enduro with the hard shell reinforced with linen plant fiber. Bolted on visor. Retail is $225.
- Activist: new for 2013, a classic hard shell skate style helmet with small round vents. It is made with recycled EPS and an unpainted, dyed ABS shell. Urge calls this their "entry level" helmet, but the one that goes furthest in environmentally appropriate materials. For 2014 there are high visibility green and yellow options. Retail is $40.
- RealJet: new for 2014, an open-face BMX helmet with fiberglass hard shell and the general shape of a shorty motorcycle helmet. There are six of the signature Urge vents in the top, but none on other surfaces, and the round theme is repeated on the visor and visor anchors. This is a European model only, and a limited edition that will be confined to 400 helmets.
Urge helmets fit sizes from 54 to 61 cm (21.3 to 24.0 inches)
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:
- Quattro Pro: new for 2014, a road model with a nicely rounded smooth shell and reasonable vents. If you don't like rounded helmets, it comes with a "spoiler" that you insert and it provides a point to stick up in the rear. Has Uvex's breakaway camera mount built in. Retail is $190, or if you think the spoiler is ridiculous and don't need the camera mount the same helmet as the Quattro is $160. There is a women's version at the same price.
- Oversize: new for 2014, a road model with many vents and a very modest rear point, made in XXL to fit heads up to 65cm (25.6"). US model, retail is $140.
- City 3: an urban model with a very round and smooth profile, nicely recessed strap anchors and reasonable vents. The strap adjustment pieces hold well. There is an LED blinker in the rear. Also comes in a youth version. Not a US model. Retail is 70 euros.
- Urban: has the round and smooth profile we think is optimal. Unfortunately it also has the rubberized finish that we don't think is optimal. Available now in just gray or black. Retail is $70.
- Ultrasonic: a compact profile road model with just the suggestion of points in the rear. Inmolded with nicely recessed strap anchors. Can replaced front and rear strap anchors with LED lights. Retail is $140. Also comes as the Ultrasonic Race at $160 and the Ultrasonic CC in matte finish for $150. CPSC certified.
- Xenova Race: a compact shape but elongated at the rear. Inmolded, bug screen in the front vents. Retail is $100 with visor. There is also a Xenova Race without visor for the same price, or the Xenova CC with visor for $100.
- Race 5: introduced in 2013, an elongated model with rear points, inmolded with an inner shell also co-molded. Many vents. Fits heads 50 to 59 cm. Retails for $260.
- Race 3: a compact model with modest rear points, inmolded with an inner shell also co-molded. Many vents. Fits heads 50 to 59 cm. Retails for $190.
- Boss Race: an inmolded model with a dual shell covering all the foam, rear points and some shell ridges. Retails for $130.
- Supersonic: a road model with a more rounded design that has only small bumps in the rear. Large vents. Retails for $129. Bicycling magazine picked it as the best value of the three helmets they reported on in their January/February 2005 issue. Inmolded, has bug net in the front vents.
- i-vo: compact shape with one small rear point. Retail is $80. Also comes as the i-vo CC with visor for $100.
- XP City: large vents and squared-off rear treatment with a blunt point, but skate-style coverage. Has a rear LED light and reflective trim. Medium size only. Visor. Without the light it is the XP CC with visor for $120.
- Viva2: inmolded in a generally compact shape, but has a ridge all the way around that gives an upswept surface from the front brow. Has a reflective sticker. Retails for $45, the lowest price point in the Uvex line. Not our favorite Uvex model.
- Onyx: a youth helmet for smaller heads with a rounded profile, almost no point, visor and one bright color choice. This is the former Superhelix. Inmolded. Small ponytail port. Fits sizes 52 to 57 cm (20.5 to 22.4 inches). Retail is $90. This one is a US model.
- Quattro Junior: a vented helmet for youth with a hint of resemblance to the adult Quattro above, but fewer vents. Retail is $60
- Hero: a toddler helmet, inmolded. Large vents. Reflective sticker, optional rear LED light. Fits 49 to 55 cm. heads and retails for $40. Selling out now.
- Hlmt 5: a skate style helmet with a small brim and rectangular vents. Uvex markets it as an urban model. Retail is $70.
- Race 6: new for 2014, a full carbon shell long tail time trial/chrono model with small front vents and a face shield with magnetic mount. Retail is $1250, the highest we know of.
- Aero: a long-tailed time trial helmet with many ribs on the surface and four adjustable long skinny vents in the front. Inmolded, with vent adjustors added later. Meets the CPSC standard. Comes only in white/silver. Fits heads 58 to 62 cm. Retails for $190.
- Factory Pilot 2 - fp2 Time Trial: a time trail chrono model that meets only European standards. It hums when it is off-center to alert the rider to less-than-ideal aero performance. Retails for $450. Look for it on the T-Mobile team. Kristen Anderson won gold for the US in this helmet at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and Uvex did not pay her a promotional fee to wear their helmet. Meets the CEN standard, but not CPSC.
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 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 is a house label of the bicycle distributor Cycle Force Group. The helmets mostly retail in the $15 to $35 range.
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 (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.
- THE F-20: a well vented inmolded bicycle-style helmet with an "air deflector" adding points to the rear.
Has extended rear coverage. Strap junctions hold well. Retail is $80.
- Draco: new for 2014, an otherwise well rounded road helmet with points in the rear. Inmolded, with the appearance of lower rear protection. Retail is $100.
- Ten-Eighty (1080): A skate helmet design with the classic smooth, round exterior, round vents, polyethylene shell and an EPS liner. It is listed as a bike, snow or skate helmet, but certified only to the CPSC bicycle helmet standard. Has a visible white option. The strap adjustors are simple buckles that do not lock, and they move readily, so they will not hold adjustment well. There is an XL that fits up to 64 cm heads. Retails for $25 to $32 depending on the graphics.
- Stamp: a classic skate model, but with a thin shell and inmolded. Small rectangular vents. The Postal Stamp version has a rear stabilizer. Retail is $55, or $75 for the Postal.
- 33: introduced in 2013, a full face model with carbon shell, small vents and minimal padding in the chinbar. Meets the CPSC standard and the ASTM F1952 downhill standard. There is also a composite shell model, about four ounces heavier and less expensive. Retail is $350 for the carbon model that weighs 110 grams less, and $250 for the one with a composite shell.
- Point 5 (.5): a full-face BMX helmet for non-motorized sports with an ABS shell with small vents and the classic large bolted-on BMX visor. CPSC certified only. The XXL fits up to 63 cm/24.8 inch heads. Retail is $100.
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 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.
- VTY: a road/urban helmet with a very nicely rounded profile and reasonable vents. It has reflective stitching on the straps. Retails for $50.
- V100: a rounded, compact road helmet with minimal rear points and many vents. Retails for $60. With "Soft Touch" external finish it is the V200, retailing for $70.
- V300: and elongated road model with rear points and larger vents than the V100. Retail is $80. With "Soft Touch" external finish it is the V400, retailing for $100.
- V500: new for 2014, a compact road model with many vents and points in the rear. Retail is $90.
- V900: new for 2014, a compact road model with one modest rear point and many large vents. Retail is $120.
Vittoria has a customizing kit with stickers in your choice of colors.
See Kent International
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:
- Conlis: inmolded with a two-piece shell covering the lower foam, three rear points and internal reinforcing. Has a visor. Retail is $60.
- Mercer: inmolded with a two-piece shell covering the lower foam, three rear points. Retail is $55.
- Ballard: Urban-style model, inmolded with a round smooth outer profile and nicely recessed strap anchors. Retail is $30.
- Ranger: Youth model (ages 5 to 11 suggested) with taped shell, rear point. $16 retail.
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.
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
for similar designs.
Zefal helmets appear in the US under the Michelin brand
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.
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
Zhuhai Star Safety
See Star Helmets
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