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Best Bike Helmets

For enduro, trail, and cross-country MTB riding.

Using helmets on the trail is a no-brainer, and we’ve picked out the best ones for every session you ride. Check out our list of MTB helmets for enduro, trail, and cross-country, as well as a few that will work double duty as road, gravel, and commuter helmets. Each has been chosen by Gearhead® Experts and offers the best performance, safety, and style in its category.

Best Helmets For Enduro Riding

The enduro helmets in this list offer maximum protection for your downhill and big-feature trail rides. Their full-face helmet designs make them ready for on-trail mishaps, and their comfort features like deep ventilation channels and lightweight construction keep you primed for performance.

Fox Racing Proframe RS Enduro Helmet

The Proframe RS is a great option for taking on the bigger features at a bike park or staying locked in as you barrel down an enduro racecourse. Over 20 vents channel air to keep it comfy on the uphills while the DH-certified design and Mips protection beef up impact safety. And should you want to capture all the action, the Proframe RS has an under-visor GoPro mount to clip your cam.

Key Specs

  • BOA® Fit System
  • Mips® Integra Split layer
  • FIDLOCK chin strap
  • Weight: 820g [size M/L]

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Troy Lee Designs Stage Mips Enduro Helmet

If you want to ride light, there’s no better choice than the Stage enduro helmet. At a scant 690g [size M/L], it makes the ride up a breeze and the ride down less of a pain in the neck. It’s also loaded with the right safety features, like Mips and dual-density foam, to give it DH certification.

Key Specs

  • Adjustable visor
  • Mips safety system
  • FIDLOCK chin strap
  • Weight: 690g [size M/L]

POC Otocon Race Mips Enduro Helmet

POC is one of the most trusted names in helmets, and the Octon Race is their finest enduro helmet. We love the aesthetic and, of course, the numerous safety features. A built-in NFC chip and RECCO® Reflector go the extra mile to cover you after a fall.

Key Specs

  • Race Lock fit system
  • Mips, NFC Med ID, RECCO Reflector
  • Breakaway peak
  • Weight: 754g [size Medium]

Best Helmets For Trail Riding

These trail helmets help you get the most out of the ride in a few ways. They’re lightweight for long days, more breathable than full-face helmets, and offer bigger protection than more minimal cross-country helmets. Let’s get to a few we like to use on our rides.

Fox Racing Speedframe Mips Pro Trail Helmet

The Speedframe Mips Pro is a trail helmet with a 5-star safety rating from the Virginia Tech® Helmet Lab. It’s not only as loaded with protection as they come, but it’s also one of the most ventilated trail lids we’ve tried. Toss this one on for your longest and warmest days on the mountain.

Key Specs

  • Mips safety system
  • Goggle compatible
  • 3-position visor
  • Weight: ~380g [size Medium]

Smith Forefront 2 Mips Trail Helmet

The Forefront 2’s distinctive honeycomb inner shell is Smith’s KOROYD® impact protection. The award-winning design not only flows air to your head, but also acts as a crumple zone in a fall. Combine that with the lightweight and effective ventilation of 20 vents, and the Forefront 2 makes you feel that you can push the pace anytime you’re on the trail.

Key Specs

  • Mips safety system
  • KOROYD design
  • 3-position visor
  • Weight: 380g [size Medium]

POC Axion Race Mips Trail Helmet

POC designs helmets with extensive safety features, and the Axion Race is dressed in extra protective designs that make it a top choice. The unibody shell has extended zones at the temple and back of the head for deeper coverage and is paired with Mips Integra for an additional layer of protection. All that, and the helmet is still light and cool to wear on the ride.

Key Specs

  • Mips Integra safety system
  • Breakaway peak
  • Unibody shell design
  • Weight: 425g [size Medium]

Best XC Helmets For Cross-Country Riding

We need a lightweight, aero-shaped, cool helmet to keep pace when we’re looking to get on the pedals for a fast-paced ride on the singletrack. These are our choices for XC helmets, which deliver high performance when we’re going our hardest. Pro tip: because they’re so lightweight, they also make great commuting helmets.

Fox Racing Crossframe Pro Mips XC Helmet

Fox Racing’s cross-country helmet is about as mountain-leaning as these helmets get. Unlike road helmets (which many XC riders use on trails), the Crossframe Pro features deep temple and occipital zones to cover more of the head in a fall. It also docks sunglasses very well and has an easy-to-use FIDLOCK buckle closure.

Key Specs

  • Mips safety system
  • BOA® Fit System
  • Dual-density EPS
  • Weight: 330g [size small]

POC Ventral Air Mips XC Helmet

Air flow is optimized in the highly ventilated and aerodynamic Ventral Air helmet. So, whether you’re pushing the pace up a grueling climb in summer or blasting a fast bit of flat singletrack, you’ll stay as cool—and fast—as possible at any speed.

Key Specs

  • Mips Integra safety system
  • 360° fit system
  • Low & high-speed ventilation
  • Weight: 289g [size small]

POC Omne Ultra Mips XC Helmet

Ready for a big day on the trail? So is the Omne Ultra. The only helmet with external straps and lashes, it’s capable of pulling more than its weight. What you do with the extra carrying potential is up to you, but we might recommend a small light or something small that expresses your personality on the ride.

Key Specs

  • Mips Integra safety system
  • 360° fit system
  • Slim design for speed
  • RECCO® Reflector

Helmet Tech Terms To Know

Unpacking the industry's helmet lingo helps us decide which helmets are best for our needs and the rides we do. Here's some terminology to recognize when narrowing in on your pick.

  • Mips: A low-friction layer that acts as a secondary safety system to the helmet's overall design. It redirects rotational motion away from the head in a fall to reduce the risk of brain injury.
  • Mips Integra: A one-piece padded insert features gel inside, allowing Mips protection without the original plastic insert over the EPS foam.
  • RECCO Reflector: A lightweight, passive reflector that echoes back a rescuer's RECCO detector’s radar to alert them of your location.
  • FIDLOCK: A magnetic buckle design that makes closing and opening the helmet's buckle a one-handed operation.
  • Full-Face Helmet: A helmet that covers the entire head and includes a chin bar.
  • Half-Shell Helmet: Refers to a helmet that does not feature a chin bar.


Q: Do I need a full-face helmet for mountain biking?

A: It’s recommended to use full-face helmets on downhill and aggressive enduro rides and half-shell helmets on trail and cross-country rides. Because of its more extensive coverage and chin bar, a full-face helmet offers the best overall protection in a fall. However, that extra protection comes with additional weight and potentially less ventilation. So, for rides with more pedaling, like trail and XC, a half-shell helmet is much more comfortable while offering critical protection.

Q: Do I need a helmet with Mips?

A: Extra safety is always good to have in your helmet.

Q: Why do MTB helmets have a visor or peak?

A: The visor, also known as a peak, keeps debris from slapping you in the face and helps control direct sunlight so you can see the trails more clearly.

Q: Can I use an MTB helmet to commute?

A: Of course. However, it may take some experimentation to determine which MTB helmet is the best for your commute. Full-face helmets are overkill, but a lightweight trail or XC helmet gives a good balance of comfort and ventilation for your journey to the office.