Before you head out and start cranking the pedals on your mountain biking adventure, you’ll need to suit up in the right armor. Protective gear is essential for all mountain biking activities because it will shield your body from impacts, falls, accidents, and collisions. The best mountain bike helmet is the first piece of your armor that you’ll need to stay safe. 

While your head may seem hard, you won’t feel so good if you finish your day with a concussion. A top rated mtb helmet can help prevent injuries and keep you safe while you’re racing through the trees or down the trail. But when it comes to finding a mtb trail helmet, you shouldn’t try to cut any corners. Quality is very important, and you should take the time to find the best products. 

Our list of quality products is exactly what you need to guarantee your safety on the mountain. With our buying guide, you’ll know exactly what the best mtb helmet products are on the market so that you can choose from the best and hit the trail prepared.

How To Choose A Mountain Bike Helmet – Buying Guide


Fit and Comfort

The best mountain bike helmet will always have the right fit and comfort. But that is easier said than done and probably the reason why you will spend a lot of time combing through different products on the market. There are major differences between women’s and men’s mountain bike helmets, and this will affect the fit and comfort of each design, as well as how it translates to your personal measurements. 

However, finding the right fit is important because it will affect your comfort and can even affect the level of protection that the helmet provides. Ideally, a helmet should be snug but not so tight that it gives you a headache or causes discomfort. But on the other hand, you don’t want the helmet to be so loose that it can slip over your eyes or off your head. 

A top rated mtb helmet should be available in a variety of sizes and have a few different adjustable features to support a proper fit and comfort. Every brand should include a size chart, which can help you determine which helmet size to purchase. But the best mtb helmet will also be adjustable and have either a dial, chin strap, or both. 

Finally, you can also read mountain bike helmet reviews to help you determine a design’s fit and comfort. Reviewers will often comment on how adjustable the design is or whether it is comfortable to wear all day on the mountain. 


Another really important consideration when looking at mountain bike helmets is the amount of coverage that the helmet provides. A standard helmet will just cover the dome of your head, but some designs extend lower on the back of the head and the temples to cover those sensitive areas and keep them protected. 

Other designs have a full face, which means that the helmet encloses around your head and only leaves your face exposed. A sturdy chin piece would wrap around your jaw and cover your mouth to keep it safe while you bike. 

The amount of coverage will actually depend on the mountain biking activity and level of rigor. Normally, mountain bikers only need a strong helmet covering their head. But if you plan on doing BMX biking with flips and tricks or on skate park pieces, you need more protection. 

Full face helmets are better for extreme biking where you may be going down steep hills at high speeds, flipping, or spinning with your bike. Full face helmets provide more coverage, so that if you were to fall, your face is also protected from the majority of damage caused by the fall. 


You lose a lot of heat through your head, but if you cover your head that means that you can also trap heat inside your body. Ventilation is an important feature for all mountain biking helmets because it keeps you comfortable and ensures that you won’t be dripping in sweat. The ventilation should be built into the design of the helmet and help bring cool air in, while pushing hot air out. 

However, ventilation also requires lots of support. A top rated mtb helmet should have strong bridges in its construction to ensure that the helmet doesn’t collapse upon impact. You should look for designs that not only have a durable shell, but also have integrated padding so that the ventilation system is balanced and supported. 


What is a helmet without protection? Nothing. After all, helmets are pieces of gear that are meant to protect you. So, if they can’t fulfill those needs, they are useless. The best mtb helmet needs to have a solid performance and unfaltering protection. 

The helmet should have features like a durable shell and padding to guarantee that it can protect your head from shock, impacts, collisions, and accidents. However, one new feature that is becoming a standard in the latest mtb trail helmet designs is the MIPS protection.

MIPS is a newer system, which is placed between the shell and the padding. MIPS stands for Multi-Directional Impact Protection System and it functions by redistributing the force from an impact throughout the helmet. This means that the helmet is less likely to break upon impact and you are less likely to sustain serious or lasting damage to your skull or brain. MIPS helmets are more expensive, but if you are a rigorous rider, it is worth the investment. 


Not all helmets for mountain biking have been made equally and for the same purpose. There are different types of helmets that are best used in different biking situations. The three most popular helmet types are XC, all mountain, and downhill. The main difference between the types of helmets is the amount of coverage that the helmet provides to your head. 

XC helmets are also known as cross-country helmet and they can be the most minimalistic and lightweight design. The lightest mountain biking helmet will likely be an XC design. In fact, riders often prefer when an XC helmet has an ultralight design for optimal airflow and a feather-like fee. The helmets do provide decent protection, but they are best used for casual mountain biking. 

An all mountain helmet is a bit more robust than an XC helmet and it has more weight. All mountain helmets are designed to provide more protection, so they are thicker and have large visors on the front side. But all mountain helmets still need plenty of ventilation to keep you cool. With a little more protection, these helmets can be used for more adventurous mountain biking. 

Finally, downhill helmets will be the most robust and durable out of all the mountain biking helmets. These helmets are also full face, which means that are provide the maximum amount of coverage for quality protection. But the downside is that once you start pedaling, even with ventilation, these helmets can get toasty. This is why they are best used for downhill cycling so that you don’t have to use too much energy. 

No matter which type you choose, you should be certain that it will suit your needs because if you don’t choose the right level of protection, you could be left with grave injuries. So, take the time to determine the type of helmet and amount of protection you need. 


While helmets are not something to compromise on using, the weight of a helmet can be an important consideration. But you need to remember that sometimes you can’t always choose the lightest mountain bike helmet just because you want to carry less weight. 

The weight of the helmet will go hand in hand with the level of protection and type of helmet you need. Bulkier helmets will be heavier, but they will provide more protection. Therefore, downhill mountain bikers don’t have a lot of choice to find a lightweight helmet. But if you are casually biking, you may want to take the time to find an ultralightweight design, so that you experience less fatigue and are more comfortable on the trail. 

The weight of a helmet should always be given in the product specifications so that you can estimate whether it will suit your needs or for how long you’ll be able to wear the helmet without too much fatigue. Mountain bike helmet reviews can also help you determine the feel of the helmet in relation to the design’s weight. 


While a helmet is meant to keep you safe, you should also consider the safety of the helmet. The best mts helmet will be long lasting, but that doesn’t mean that it will last forever – even with the best care and maintenance. 

There will come a time when your helmet needs to be replaced and that may be the very reason you are reading this guide – to find the best updated helmet designs. But it can be difficult to decide when you replace your helmet. 

Women’s and men’s mountain bike helmets do have a shelf life and it will be determined by the condition of the helmet. You should always review your helmet for any disintegration, scratches, dents, dings, cracks, or splits. If you helmet shows any signs of damage, it should be replaced. 

If you fail to replace your helmet when needed, you are risking a performance failure and sacrificing your safety. However, you can extend the safety and life of your helmet by always keeping it clean and storing it properly in the off season. 

Related Post: Bike Helmet Safety



Q: Should I Get A Full Face Helmet For Mountain Biking?


Are you downhill mountain biking? Then, yes. It will depend on your mountain biking activity to determine whether you need full face protection. But if you are going downhill races, jumping, or flipping, you will benefit from a full face helmet. If you are XC or Cross-Country mountain biking, a full face helmet is not necessary and will actually be more of a burden and annoyance. Instead, you can use a lightweight helmet that only covers your head.

Q: Can You Wear A Road Helmet For Mountain Biking?


Its possible, but again you will have to decide how much protection you need. XC mountain biking helmets are similar to road helmets because they are lightweight with plenty of ventilation and in this case, you can safely use a road helmet in the mountains. 

But if you need an all mountain or downhill helmet, it is best to purchase that helmet design specifically. This is because the helmet designs are more robust and durable for rugged trail elements. Road helmets will not provide the protection you need for all mountain or downhill biking because they don’t have the extra durability or full face coverage options.

Q: Can You Use A Dirt Bike Helmet For Mountain Biking?


It is actually hotly debated, but the overall consensus is no. Dirt bike helmets are designed to be extra stiff so that they can protect and stop damage from very high level of impact. While it may seem better to have that extra layer of protection, alongside the increased thickness of the helmet, it can actually cause more damage. 

This is due to the high level of stiffness. With smaller impacts, a stiffer design will actual fail to provide the right kind of damage and you could still walk away with injuries from the fall or impact. Instead, you should find the right type of mountain biking helmet that you need to suit your desired activity and sort through the best mtb helmet designs.

Q: Should I Get A Full Face Helmet For Mountain Biking?


Yes, if you are a downhill racer or trick rider. Full face helmets for mountain biking are designed for overly aggressive riders who are at risk or greater injury due to the high speeds at which they travel or the tricks they perform. While every mountain bike rider needs a helmet, not every rider needs a full face design. Casual mountain bike riders will have sufficient protection with a regular helmet that does not cover the face.

Q: Is There A Difference Between Road and Mountain Bike Helmets?


Yes, there are actually a few differences between the design and features of road and mountain bike helmets. One of the first major differences is the amount of coverage that a mountain bike helmet provides. Unlike road bike helmets, mountain bike helmets will cover a larger area of your head and include sensitive areas like the base of your head and temples. 

Mountain bike helmets also tend to be more closed and with smaller sized vents to provide you with better protection against rocks or debris on the trail, should you fall. Road bike helmets tend to be more open and have larger sized vents. 

One feature that mountain bike helmets have that road bike helmets do not is a visor. For road bikers, many riders will choose to use a separate pair of sunglasses or wear a cycling cap to protect their eyes. This also helps optimize the aerodynamics of the helmet for road racing.

Q: Why Do Mountain Bike Helmets Have Visors?


Visors are used for protection while you are out riding on the trails. A visor will shield your eyes not only from the sun, but from tree branches hanging over the trail, falling rain, rushing wind, and mud splatter. The best mountain bike helmet will actually have an adjustable visor, which can be repositioned or completely removed from the helmet to suit the individual preferences of the rider.

Q: How Do You Measure Your Head For A Helmet?


You can use a flexible measuring tape to find the circumference of your head and match it to a helmet size chart. When you use the measuring tape, you should wrap it around the fullest part of your head. To find the fullest part of your head, you should position the measuring tape just above your ears and half an inch above your eyebrows. This will give you the most accurate reading so you can find the correct helmet size.

Related Post: Bike Helmet Size

Globo Surf Overview

Safety should never be a compromise and when you’re spending time cycling through the mountains, you need quality material to protect you from injuries. A top rated mtb helmet will have everything you need to stay safe and have fun. With more durability and strength, mountain biking helmets are designed to withstand and absorb high impacts. 

For many mountain bikers, there will be a time when their helmet saves their life. By taking the time to sort through the best mountain bike helmets, you can find your perfect match and feel confident that you’re getting the protection you need. As you can see from our list and guide, there are plenty of different choices on the market, so you can find exactly what you need. 

More Bike Reviews:

More Helmets Reviews:

Do you own one of the mountain biking helmets that make it onto our list? Has your helmet saved your life or prevented a head injury? Let us know which mtb trail helmet your favorite is in the comments section below.  

Globo Surf
My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!