There is no shortage of great cycling helmets to choose from. As bikes have become more specialized – gravel, endurance, aero, grand tour, climbing – helmets have too. Need a light weight, well ventilated helmet for summer climbing? Check. An aero lid for criterium or one with MIPS? Check. One that adapts to changing climate or an all-rounder that does it all well? Check. Here are five of our current favorites from MET, BELL, KASK, LAZER and SUOMY.
MET TRENTA 3K CARBON.
With the Trenta, Italian helmet manufacturer MET, is ready to take on the heavy hitters of the U.S. market. Designed for both MET’s WorldTour riders and to celebrate 30 years of helmet manufacturing, the Trenta is an aesthetic and engineering homerun. Using an elastic 3K-carbon modulus allowed MET to reduce the density of the EPS foam, yet increase protection while including 19 vents. The top vent, based on a NACA airfoil, moves air across the top of your head to carry heat away, but gives the air a clean path to the back of the helmet, significantly reducing drag. Similar performance can be had for a few dollars less, and a few grams more, with the non-carbon Trenta. $315; 215g; met-helmets.com
Sure, the MIPS-equipped Zephyr has been stealing all the Bell limelight—yes, we are partly responsible; we love that helmet—but what about those of us that don’t have $230 to drop on a new lid and want the highest level of race-ready insurance possible? Check out the Bell Stratus based on the Zephyr for $150 with the all-important MIPS protection layer. The helmets have such a similar look many riders won’t be able to tell the difference, but it’s not just a handsome profile they share. The Stratus is chockfull of features, from the Float Fit system to Overbrow ventilation and No-Twist Tri-glides so the straps stay out of the wind. It’s aero, has 18 vents and weighs just 275 grams. $150; bellhelmets.com
When Team Sky’s technicians wanted a new ultra-light, incredibly ventilated and aerodynamic new helmet, they turned to Kask—the only helmet supplier the team has ever worked with. Kask used its aerodynamic experience and turned it inside out, using it to channel airflow to the rider even at slower climbing speeds, with 36 vents. Kask also tackled evaporative cooling by reducing the amount of head-to-pad contact. The 2018 Valegro comes in at just 180 grams (size S), including a full-featured fit system. $250; kask.com
Cyclocross, especially in the U.S., asks much of a helmet. This ’cross season started during the summer in Vegas and ends in the heart of a Reno winter. Lazer’s new Bullet was not just sculpted in the wind tunnel for maximum speed, it features Airslide adjustable ventilation. Open, it provides eight vents for huge ventilation; closed, it’s both wicked fast and well insulated for the coldest races. Lazer even moved its rolling-fit adjuster to the rear of the helmet to keep it out of the wind. To simplify race day, it is compatible with Lazer’s LifeBeam integrated heart-rate meter. $260 ($290 w/MIPS); 309g; lazersport.com
The Suomy Timeless weighs just 190 grams and costs just $95. Despite the amazing price the Timeless is a full-featured helmet with incredible fit and finish. It has 35 vents and a fit system called SMC (Suomy Minimum Contact) that is full featured, using a microadjustable rear cradle to minimize contact between the helmet and head to help with cooling. The Timeless is the perfect way to up your helmet game before your next fondo; no one has to know it was a bargain. $95; ciclista-america.com