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Bike Helmets for Mountain Biking – What are the options?

By Annette 2 years agoNo Comments

Buying a new helmet can be a bit overwhelming. There are so many choices on the market so it’s hard to know if you’re making a good one.  Let us help you.  This simple story, ‘Bike Helmets for Mountain Biking – What are the options?’, compares different helmets so you can make the right choice.  It will also give you the information you need to know what to look for as your riding develops.  Have a read of the four options below and consider what is the right solution for you.

  • Beginner/Intermediate Mountain Biking Helmet
  • Intermediate/Advanced Mountain Bike Helmet
  • Advanced/Downhill Mountain Bike Helmet
  • Downhill/Racing Mountain Bike Helmet

For a comparison of womens & men helmets go to Bike Helmets for Women & Men – What are the options?


Keep the following information about head growth in mind and never buy a helmet that you or your child can grow into.

Most 6 yr olds have a fully grown head (this is an average your child may be different), from here on their face structure will grow and change but you will notice very little difference in their head circumference.

What this means for helmet buying is that children as young as 6yrs old can fit into adult size helmets.  Please be aware of the weight of an adult helmet on a kids head – go as lightweight as possible if you choose to do this.  “Youth” helmets tend to be an adults size small with kids graphics on them, cheaper components to keep the price down & lighter in weight.  For kids helmet buying go to Bike Helmets for Kids – What are the options?

When investing in a helmet try to match the design features of the helmet to the type of riding you are doing.  There is never an issue with having a helmet that offers you greater protection than you can ride to.  The problems occur when you or your kids are riding in places with a helmet that doesn’t offer adequate protection.


MUST have features: Full head coverage (a shape that resembles a human head and goes low at the back of the head) including MIPS (multi directional impact) protection.  Strength and durability, ability to absorb impacts created by in mold construction & liners, density/quality of foam.  Easy to use fit systems that provide the ability to have a secure & stable helmet every time it is put on a head.

GREAT to have features: Good ventilation & quick dry padding for sweat and temperature management, easily removed for washing.  Visor removability, google compatibility, bright colour options to increase visibility in traffic.

We Recommend…Giro Cartelle (Girls) or Giro Chronicle (Boys) $179.00

When you or your teenager chooses to ride a bike all over town during the week and spends time off road in the weekends you want a helmet that is up to the task of being well used.  The Giro Cartelle & Chronicle deliver on all the features we ask you to find in a performance helmet.  They have a Roc Loc 5 dial system that includes vertical adjustment this means you can get as good a fit as possible no matter the shape of your head & hair!   Three sizes also helps with getting a helmet to fit correctly.  MIPS is another element of protection from impacts at angles.  This will help when exploring intermediate and advanced off road tracks.

Size Range – Small 51-55cm, Medium 55-59cm, Large 59-63cm


MUST have features:  Full head coverage (a shape that resembles a human head and goes low at the back of the head)  Full wrap in mold construction will give additional durability & strength to a helmet. At this level of performance MIPS should be included. Lightweight and easy to use adjustable fit system so the helmet is secure and stable on your head.

GREAT to have features: Good ventilation & sweat absorption, full google integration and camera mounting capabilities

We Recommend…Giro Montara (womens) Giro Montaro (mens) $269.00

As you begin to ride more often and gain better skills, the tracks you expose yourself to tend to get more technical.  Your helmet needs to match your growing skill level giving you peace of mind as you try new stuff or simply go at greater speed.  The Montara/Montaro helmets are built for repetitive use across all types of mountain biking.  Greater durability from better wrapping, layered in mold construction.  Lightweight fit system as well as MIPS.

Size Range – Small 51-55cm, Medium 55-59cm, Large 59-63cm, X-large 61-65cm


MUST have features:   Strength and durability created through wrapping/fused in mold construction and layering of liners. Ability to absorb impacts along with MIPS that has added features. Chin bar for full 360 protection.  Top of the line, durable fit system.

GREAT to have features: Brow airflow & technical fabric used on padding. Removable, tool free chin bar giving you 2 helmets in 1.  Google compatibility and breakaway camera mounting.

We Recommend…Bell 3R Womens & Bell 3R Mens $349.00

The Bell 3R adapts to every mountain bike riding situation you will find yourself in.  Easy to remove, no tools required, chin guard allows you to ride without this added protection – basically you get 2 helmets in 1.  The best Bell has to offer in a Float Fit system to get a secure, safe, comfortable fit.  Add in MIPS and you have a top performing yet lightweight helmet.  Excellent airflow and technical fabric helps with temperature management.  Complete google integration and break away camera mounting.

Size Range – Small 52-56cm, Medium 56-59cm, Large 59-62cm


MUST have features:  Certification for downhill racing – ASTM 1952 testing.  Wrap around chin bar.  A MIPS system with additional features for top of the line energy management. Strength and durability created by full wrap, layered in mold construction & liners.  Easy to use fit systems that provide the ability to have a secure & stable helmet every time it is put on a head.

GREAT to have features: Removable chin bar, breakaway camera mount, top of the line padding system that ensures comfort with a well fitted full face helmet.

We Recommend… Bell DH $499.00

The Bell DH has ASTM F1952-00 & ASTM F2032-06 certification which passes testing required for downhill racing.  This means it is one of the toughest helmets in the market place and a great option for top of the line protection.  Ideal if you’re racing and pushing the limits but also for those riders who can afford the best protection.  Good investment for anyone who has neck/head issues and requires the peace of mind the best will give you.  Remember this helmet can be worn without the chin guard.

Size Range – Small 52 to 56cm, Medium, 55 to 59cm, Large 58 to 62cm


As you may have gathered from reading the information above it is not enough just to get the right size helmet for you or your teenager you must also take the time to fit the helmet to their head shape.  This involves getting it low, level, secure & stable…

PLEASE READ How to Size & Fit a Bike Helmet


  • after any type of crash or impact.  If the helmet has done its job it will have absorbed the force of the incident so if they say they hardly knocked their head or didn’t feel it bump, it doesn’t mean the helmet is safe to use again
  • the more it’s used the more it will deteriorate. Every time it is dropped or bumped or absorbs vibrations it is reducing it’s ability to protect you! A rough guide line for well used helmets is 4-5 years
  • regularly inspect for damage, wear & tear, cracks, splitting, dents, the shell separating from the liner, breakage in the MIPS, fraying straps, broken buckles
  • never remove a MIPS from the helmet
  • replace the pads to ensure good fit over time
  • store in a safe/protected place out of direct sunlight
  • gently with warm soapy water.  Pads can be removed and placed in a washing machine but do not put in a tumble drier
  • do not put helmet in the dish washer (can’t believe I just wrote that bit of advice but there you go)

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