The best cycling helmets - safe and stylish helmets tested and reviewed

Avoid both injury and aerodynamic drag with our pick of the finest helmets

It goes without saying that protecting your noggin is essential when riding a bike. The risk of head injuries in cycling is high and a good cycling helmet really can make the difference when it comes to the extent of an injury after crashing. In the modern day, all helmets on the market pass standard safety regulations, but there’s some that go the extra mile, with the inclusion of safety systems like MIPS or Kineticore.

But while we can all agree that safety is of paramount importance when it comes to choosing the best cycling helmet for you, we can probably all also agree that we don’t want to wear a helmet that looks rubbish, is uncomfortable, too hot, or significantly hinders our aerodynamic performance. It's for this reason that there are a plethora of helmet brands on the market trying to solve these conundrums. A helmet needs to be fast, but breathable, it needs to be comfortable, but also not look bulky, it needs to be safe, but without sacrificing performance.

There’s a whole world of options out there, and the choice can often be a little overwhelming. To save you scouring the internet to find the best helmet for you, we’ve narrowed down our picks of the best lids out there.

In some of our articles you will find links to buy products from various external retailers. These links contain an affiliate code, and it means that Rouleur may receive a small percentage of the money you spend if you choose to buy that product via the link. This does not affect the amount you pay. All products are independently reviewed and selected on our judgement of them, not on whether they offer us affiliate revenue.

HJC Ibex 2.0 Road Cycling Helmet

The HJC Ibex 2.0 helmet is one of the most comfortable out there, giving a ‘barely there’ feel when being used. It’s a bit fiddly to mount your glasses in the helmet when you aren’t wearing them, though.

HJC Ibex 2.0 helmet

Although HJC might not be a brand that is well-known as one of the giants of the helmet manufacturing industry, the Ibex 2.0 helmet is a prime example of how it more than holds its own in a competitive market. Designed to provide optimal ventilation without sacrificing aerodynamics, the Ibex 2.0 has a unique shape which made me a little sceptical at first, but, once I put the helmet on, I was pleasantly surprised by how flattering it was. It often takes me a while to get used to the look of a new helmet, but I settled into wearing the Ibex 2.0 quickly, a testament to how comfortable it is, despite the very small amount of padding. 

I think this comfort is achieved mostly by the brand’s innovative ‘Selfit’ feature. Rather than a dial-based cradle used by most other brands, the Ibex 2.0 features a sprung load variation that automatically adjusts itself to what HJC thinks is the optimum amount of pressure to keep your helmet from moving around your head. 

Now this might not be for everyone, as it means your helmet can’t be adjusted on the move, but I found it extremely comfortable and it ensured that I wasn’t over tightening the helmet when wearing it. The inner cage of the Ibex 2.0 can also be adjusted before putting the helmet on for a further level of customization. The sixteen air vents on the shell mean the helmet is breathable and air flows through it, even in the hottest of temperatures. Add in the light weight of the Ibex 2.0 (225grams for size medium) and this helmet almost ticks all the boxes. My only criticisms are that I found it a little fiddly to put my glasses in the helmet – although they were secure once inserted – and that the HJC Ibex 2.0 doesn’t have any safety features like MIPs or Kineticore. These would be a welcome addition for extra peace of mind, but HJC does say that the Ibex 2.0 has an internal frame integrated into the EPS for crash protection.

PROS:

  • Well ventilated
  • Innovative ‘Selfit’ feature
  • Comfortable

CONS:

  • Could be easier to insert glasses
  • No safety features such as MIPS

Buy now

Reviewed by Rachel Jary

Kask Protone Icon

Kask’s redesign of its flagship lid sees improved safety features and a reimagined shell for better ventilation which makes it an ideal choice for hot weather, but the dial-retention system could do with some improvements.

kask protone helmet

The Kask Protone has almost always been the choice of the riders from the Ineos Grenadiers – Kask’s WorldTour sponsored outfit – and amateur riders alike. The helmet strikes that perfect balance of being aesthetically pleasing while still being breathable and aerodynamic. The updated Protone Icon was released by Kask in 2022, and while it didn’t bring any hugely radical changes outwardly compared to the older iteration – probably a good move from Kask considering the amount of fans of the old design –  there are some updates internally that make it safer and more breathable. 

I’ve always been a fan of the Kask Protone, I like the small logos and classic style and also appreciate the huge number of colour options – there really is something for everyone. When the Protone Icon was released, I was relieved to not see a big overhaul of the original look – not only due to aesthetics, but also because the spacing of the vents on the shell of the helmets is great for ventilation. This helmet is one of the most lightweight and breathable on the market, ideal for hot weather (the quick-drying CoolMax padding helps with this too). Internally, Kask has improved the helmet’s safety on the Protone Icon, using its own WG11 protocol to create a new inner shell which Kask says stops the helmet from splitting into multiple pieces on impact (luckily, I haven’t had to put this to the test yet.)

When the Octofit+ system works, it works well. It’s easy to put long hair through the back of the helmet and adjust the helmet to get the perfect fit while on the move. However, the rear dial actually broke on the first test helmet I got. The replacement Protone Icon has been fine, but this is something that Kask could look at improving in the future, especially on a helmet which retails for £245 – a premium price point.

PROS:

  • Easy ponytail slot for long hair
  • Extremely breathable
  • Improved safety features

CONS:

  • Flimsy Octofit+ adjuster
  • Expensive

Buy now

Read full review

Reviewed by Rachel Jary

Giro Eclipse Spherical Helmet

If you’re looking for aero gains without compromising on safety, Giro’s Eclipse Spherical Helmet is a great option, but it might not be the right choice for everyday riding

Giro spherical helmet

For a long time, getting aero gains from a helmet had to mean sacrificing other benefits such as aesthetics, safety or breathability. Giro is a brand that’s long tried to solve this conundrum, first releasing its aero road helmet, the Vanquish in 2017, and most recently, the Eclipse Spherical Helmet. With a reduced frontal area and overall smaller profile, Giro says the Spherical helmet gives riders a full minute of savings when travelling at 40 km/h (25 mph) compared to the Vanquish. Giro has achieved the small, compact profile of the Eclipse helmet with a dual-layered construction, nesting the MIPS Spherical architecture with another low friction layer and by using different foam densities. This also means the traditional plastic MIPS layer is moved further away from the head, avoiding any friction or hair snag which can sometimes arise with MIPS.

Giro have managed to keep the Eclipse Spherical Helmet reasonably breathable considering its aerodynamic profile, but it definitely isn’t as cooling as other helmets such as the S-Works Prevail 3. If aero gains are what you’re after, then Giro’s Eclipse is undoubtedly a good option, but for everyday riding, especially in the warmer months and on long rides, it isn’t the helmet I find myself reaching for due to the lack of airflow. If you dabble in some racing or are heading out to do some shorter efforts, then the Eclipse performs well, and it’s nice to know that no watts are being wasted. The focus on safety is an important feature of the Eclipse too, and makes me feel confident that I’m as protected as possible when riding. I found that the vents on the front of the helmet are difficult to slot glasses in, especially when they have longer arms, another reason why I wouldn’t reach for the Eclipse for a long ride or all-day adventure. When I want to be as aerodynamic and go fast, though, the Eclipse certainly does the job.

PROS:

  • Extremely aerodynamic
  • Focus on safety
  • Compact inner

CONS:

  • Not as breathable as other helmets
  • Hard to slot glasses

Buy now

Read full review

Reviewed by Rachel Jary

Specialized S-Works Evade 3 

With the recently released Evade 3, Specialized aims to keep aerodynamic benefits while also improving ventilation. The narrower shape works for some, but it’s worth trying this helmet on before you buy.

S-works evade helmet

When Specialized launched the Evade 3 this year, it used the strapline “the fastest gets cooler.” With this, the brand was referring to the fact that it had reinvented the Evade 3 from the inside out, using an innovative diffusor system to draw, so they claim, 10% more air through the helmet at a given speed. Specialized also said that with the Evade 3, they were asked by their pro athletes to create a helmet which mirrored the performance of the S-Works Tarmac bike on the road – an all-rounder that was aerodynamic and lightweight. 

I’d say that Specialized achieved this goal with the Evade 3. The diffusor at the back of the helmet circulates air incredibly well considering the distinct lack of vents elsewhere on the lid – there are just three large vents at the front of the helmet.  You can almost feel the flow of air through the helmet as you are riding and I didn’t feel sweat build up in even the most intense efforts. The new Evade 3 has the same aerodynamic capacities as the previous version, as the focus with the new release was improving the helmet’s airflow to make it more wearable for a range of riding conditions. The pads inside the helmet are quick-drying and don’t hold odour and they stop sweat from dripping off the forehead onto sunglasses. The Evade’s Occipital base adjustment also allowed me to personalise the fit of the helmet for comfort and meant I could adjust the helmet angle to ensure my eyewear stayed in place. The ratchet system at the rear of the helmet feels sturdy and is easy to adjust on the move, while Specialized’s Tri-Fix web splitter meant I could adjust the helmet strap to fit around my ear perfectly. 

For me, the Evade 3 was especially comfortable but I am aware of other riders who have struggled with the narrow shape. This is a helmet that is worth trying on before you buy to see which size suits best, especially since you’ll be paying £275 for the S-Works Evade 3.

PROS:

  • Well-ventilated for an aero-focussed helmet
  • Looks fast
  • Easy to adjust to get the right fit

CONS:

  • Doesn’t fit all head shapes
  • Expensive

Buy now

Reviewed by Rachel Jary

Specialized S-Works Prevail 3

Created for the very hottest of days, Specialized’s Prevail 3 is the best it gets in terms of ventilation, though the helmet’s unique look isn’t to everyone’s taste

S-works prevail 3

The S-Works Prevail has been a popular helmet among riders for years as an all-rounder lid that can be used for pretty much any type of riding in any temperature. The Prevail 2 was comfortable, reasonably aerodynamic and looked good. When Specialized released the Prevail 3 this year, the striking, unique look of the helmet certainly turned heads as it was radically different to the previous iteration of the helmet. In the Prevail 3, the brand has removed all the EPS foam bridges normally seen in the body of a helmet which they say eliminates the “air-blocking bridges” from the centre of the helmet. Specialized say that the Prevail is for “riders who value the comfort and thermoregulation benefits that superior ventilation delivers.” 

I would say that the Prevail 3 is the coolest helmet I’ve tried. It’s perhaps unsurprising when looking at the helmet, those big gaps in the body inevitably give more space for air to come in and through the helmet. Specialized claims that the new design on the Prevail 3 increases the surface area of ventilation by 24.5% compared to the S-Works Prevail 2 Vent helmet. While the “AirCage” technology increases airflow, it also has safety benefits that are validated by its 5 star Virginia Tech rating. This gives complete peace of mind while riding that the helmet is offering the best protection possible, and kudos should be given to Specialized for managing to improve the safety benefits of the Prevail while also maintaining a sleek and lightweight look and feel to the lid. Like the Evade 3, the Prevail 3 also features MIPS air node technology and the Tri-Fix web splitter and Occipital Base Adjustment to improve fit and comfort.

The only criticism I can give the Prevail 3 is based purely on aesthetics – it does have a bigger, bulkier shape than helmets like the Kask Protone Icon which sit much closer to the head. In the full white colour, this look can be a little bit intense, but this all comes down to personal preference.

PROS:

  • Ventilation and airflow
  • Comfortable
  • Safety

CONS:

  • Unique shape and look
  • Almost too ventilated for winter riding

Buy now

Reviewed by Rachel Jary

Lazer G1 Genesis MIPS

As Lazer’s top-of-the-range racing helmet, Lazer’s Genesis MIPS helmet is one of the best options for a lid that can do it all. If you struggle with finding a helmet that allows the perfect fit, this is a good choice

Lazer G1 genesis helmet

Released in late 2019, the Lazer G1 Genesis MIPS was named as Lazer’s lightest and safest helmet to date. Lazer is a brand that has long placed a focus on safety in helmets, even recently releasing KinetiCore, their own internal safety system. The Lazer G1 Genesis helmet sticks with MIPS as its safety system, though, and has various innovations that help make it an extremely comfortable and breathable helmet. Add in the fact that it’s made in a simple style that is wearable and understated, and the Lazer G1 Genesis helmet is likely one of the best on our list for a helmet that’s suitable to wear all the time, be it for racing, commuting, bike-packing or anything else.

My favourite feature of this helmet is the wire-based Roll-Sys retention system. Rather than a ratchet at the rear of the helmet, the Genesis features the adjustment at the top, which means that the helmet is tightened around the head from all angles, relieving the risk of any pressure building up in one area which can happen with a traditional retention system. This makes Lazer’s Genesis especially comfortable when it comes to getting the perfect fit. The Genesis isn’t the most aerodynamic helmet on our list, but this is somewhat remedied by the fact it comes with an aero shell (also useful in inclement weather.) While it’s great to have the MIPS layer as peace of mind that you’re well protected, the plastic layer did occasionally get my hair caught in it when taking it on and off, so this is something to keep in mind if you’re a rider with longer hair. While the top retention system has benefits when it comes to comfort, it can get in the way of mounting some shorter armed sunglasses. Overall, though, the Lazer Genesis G1 is breathable, comfortable and is the helmet I often reach for when I know I’m going to have a long day out on the road.

PROS:

  • Super lightweight
  • Comes with an aeroshell
  • Top-mounted fit system for easy adjustment

CONS:

  • MIPS layer can be uncomfortable
  • Fit system can interfere with some sunglasses

Buy now

Reviewed by Rachel Jary