Remember to always to protect the noggin!:step by step to choosing the right helmet

#1: What Type of Mountain Biking Do You Do?

How aggressively you mountain bike determines the amount of protection you need from your helmet.

Open Face Mountain Bike Helmets

For mountain biking that’s cross country, single track, and recreational, an open face mountain bike helmet is a great option. There are two main styles of open-face mountain bike helmets: Cross-Country and Skate-Style.

Features of Cross-Country MTB Helmets may Include:

  • A streamlined, technical and classic bike helmet look
  • Constructed with an impact absorbing EPS liner and polycarbonate or ABS plastic exterior shell
  • Lightweight, well-ventilated and aerodynamic (great for hot-weather and riding for long periods of time)
  • Comfortable for long periods of time
  • Provides protection for the forehead, top and back of the head
  • A removable or rotating visor for eye protection against wayward branches and the sun
  • Cross-country style MTB helmets are sold in different shell sizes and sometimes come with ratcheting or adjustable dials for a snug and comfortable fit
  • These helmets come in a wide range of prices, starting at about $35

Features of Skate-Style MTB Helmets may Include:

  • A classic, but cool bucket-shaped look
  • Constructed with an impact absorbing EPS liner and a tough ABS plastic, fiber glass composite or carbon fiber composite exterior shell
  • A bit heavier and less ventilated than cross-country bike helmets, but provide great head coverage and can resist minor bumps more easily
  • Not as well suited for endurance riding because of their weight and lack of ventilation
  • Skate-style helmets are sold in different shell sizes and sometimes with additional padding to adjust the fit and snugness
  • Tend to be more budget-friendly, but can range in price, starting at $30

Full Face Mountain Bike Helmets

The risk of mountain biking injuries is higher with downhill, dirt jumping, or other high speed riding, so for higher risk mountain biking, consider the additional protection of a full face helmet mountain biking helmet.

Features of Full Face MTB Helmets may include:

  • Full Face MTB helmets provide protection for your head, chin, jaw, cheeks and parts of you face
  • Constructed with an impact absorbing EPS liner and thin polycarbonate, fiberglass composite or carbon fiber exterior shell
  • Full Face helmets are naturally a bit heavier that open face MTB helmets, however the use of high-tech materials (like carbon fiber) greatly reduce their weight
  • Have passive, “as-you-ride” venting systems to promote circulation inside your helmet
  • A rugged, built in visor for eye protection from wayward branches and the sun
  • Thick and dense interior cheek and head pads for a snug and comfortable fit
  • Full Face helmets tend to be more expensive than open face helmets, but come in a wide range of prices starting at about $80

#2: Should My Mountain Bike Helmet Meet Any Certifications?

All helmets sold as “bike helmets,” including helmets for mountain biking, must meet the requirements of the Consumer Products Safety Commission(CPSC) bike helmet certification standard. Look for the CPSC sticker on the inside of the helmet, and do not buy a bike helmet that does not meet the CPSC safety standards!

All of the Mountain Bike Helmets we carry at XSportsProtective meet the safety standards for CPSC for bicycle use.Full Face helmets for mountain biking sometimes will go further and meet additional standards, including the:

  • ASTM F 1952 Downhill Mountain Bike Helmet Standard
  • ASTM F 2032 BMX Helmet Standard
  • DOT standard for motorized, wheeled sports
  • or the much more aggressive and tough Snell Helmet Standards. (Although the Snell Certification requires very aggressive testing, many believe it is too extreme to produce a cost-effective and comfortable helmet that bikers will enjoy wearing.)
  • See our Helmet Certification Guide for more info on the different types of helmet standards.

How Do I Fit My Mountain Bike Helmet?

How to measure your head for a helmetFor helmets to protect you from a serious head injury, they have to fit properly and remain in place during a crash. These features help ensure a proper fit of this vital piece of mountain bike protective gear. Measure your head and select a helmet that fits this size. Be careful not to assume sizing; age, height, and weight have little to do with how big your head is! Measure, measure, measure, and then pick the right size for you.

How big is your head?

The first step in determining what size mountain bike helmet you should by is the measure your head with our Helmet Sizing Guide.

How should the mountain bike helmet fit on your head?

The way a helmet rests on your head is critical to how it will perform for its intended use. How many times have you seen the neighborhood kid riding his bike down the street with his helmet kicked way back on his forehead, so that he looks more like a comic strip character with an orb growing off the back of his head? Often, right? Right. This is NOT the proper way to wear a helmet.

Proper helmet fit means proper head coverage. When you try on a helmet, the front of the helmet should sit down onto your forehead until just above your eyebrows. There should be room enough to slip on a pair of goggles or sunglasses, but not much more. A half-inch in most cases.

Mountain bike helmets are usually sold with a different exterior shell size to accommodate the size of the wearer’s head, along with sometimes interchangeable fit pads or a rotating dial to further customize the fit and snugness. Every mountain bike helmet has a sizing table in its description that shows the head size (usually in centimeters for more accuracy) and corresponding helmet size (Small, Medium, Large, etc.)

The wrong way to wear a helmet

Lastly, does the mountain bike helmet feel comfortable when you wear it?

Different manufacturers make their helmet molds differently. For you, the wearer, what’s important is that the helmet fits comfortably all the way around your head. If you think you’ve got the proper size, but the helmet is still a little roomy in a spot or two, that is not a big deal. You can add included fit pads where necessary to achieve a more secure fit. However, if you’ve selected what you believe is the proper size, but feel an uncomfortable pressure anywhere around the circumference of your head, then this helmet is probably too small for you. Try a different size or style of helmet from the same line or try a different manufacturer altogether.

“By way of example, the writer of this article is a road cyclist with a large head circumference, a prominent forehead, and a tall crown (the measurement from the top of the ears to the top of the cranium). Giro Bike Helmet styles used to appeal to me most, but I’ve since discovered that Bell Bike Helmets fit me best. Before I started wearing Bell helmets, I used to buy Giro helmets, then carve out small bits of the EPS foam liner in front until they fit without pressure on my forehead. This is exactly the wrong way to fit a helmet.”

To find a mountain bike helmet that fits you comfortably, start with XSportsProtective’s Helmet Sizing Guide, then use your head measurements to compare all of the different helmet offerings from the different manufacturers that appeal to you. You will find a great selection to choose from.

#4: Prices for Mountain Bike Helmets Vary and Depend on Extra Features

Mountain bike helmets can range from $30 to over $350. All of them meet the CPSC standards at least, so price is driven by the extra features. Comparing Open Face Helmets to Full Face Helmets is like comparing apples to oranges, so we’ll split up these to categories and address them separately for the discussion on price range!

Open Face Mountain Bike Helmets.

Prices for open face helmets can range from as little as $35 to $250.

Low Price Range
(such as the Giro Flak, $45 – Giro Rift, $55 – Giro Venti Helmet, $40 – Bell Slant Helmet, $55 – Bell Faction, $40 – ProTec B2 Bike/Skate Helmet, $40)

  • Hard shell construction is most commonly found in the Skate-Style MTB helmets, making them a bit more durable. Cross-country style helmets at the lower price point are created with the In-mold construction process, much like higher end cross-country helmets.
  • Less venting options and smaller overall vents
  • Basic, adjustable fit systems and fit pads to help create a comfortable fit
  • Heavier overall weight because of use of less technical materials and construction
  • Higher-profile look
  • A great choice for kids, spare helmets and those who just need a helmet for more recreational purposes

Mid Price Range
(such as the Giro Stylus, $85 – Giro Hex, $90 – Bell Sequence Helmet, $90 – Bell Variant Helmet, $80 – Kali Amara XC Helmet, $80)

  • In-mold construction
  • Huge vents and many venting options
  • Internal reenforcement that help strengthen the helmet without adding bulk, making it low profile
  • A great option for the beginner-to-intermediate biker who would like to upgrade to more professional features and comfort, but without completely breaking the bank

High Price Range
(such as the Giro Ionos Helmet, $235 – Giro Xen Helmet, $130 – Bell Volt Helmet, $175 – Kali Avita Carbon XC Helmet, $190)

  • Im-mold construction
  • Helmet structure can be internally reinforced with super light materials, like carbon fiber for added durability without adding extra weight
  • More comfortable adjustable fit systems to tune your helmet perfectly to your head shape
  • Much lighter weight
  • The most aerodynamic shapes for less wind resistance and a super low-profile look
  • Massive vents and tons of venting capabilities
  • A great choice for the biker who has made the commitment to get better/faster/stronger in their respective sport

Full Face Mountain Bike Helmets.

Prices for open face helmets can range from as little as $90 to $350. We’ve done a Full Face Mountain Bike Helmet comparison of current models so you see the differences among the various brands and price points.

all info found at

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s