You should always wear a helmet when cycling, but especially when riding on the road. That's why a road bike helmet is a must for all cyclists. Choosing the right one can be challenging, however, due to the numerous options available.
This guide will help you find the best road bike helmet out there, teaching you more about the important features to consider, such as safety certification and adjustability. Our top road bike helmet is the Kask Protone Helmet, a truly exceptional high-end option handcrafted in Italy.
Considerations when choosing road bike helmets
Road bike helmets tend to fit into one of three categories: fully vented, aerodynamic, or semi-aero.
Fully vented helmets have a large number of vents in them so your head stays as cool as possible. While this is more comfortable in hot weather, it can create drag and slow you down.
Aerodynamic road bike helmets are as smooth as possible with minimal or no ventilation to allow cyclists to go as fast as possible. Of course, this means your head will feel hot in warm weather.
Semi-aero helmets are a newer advent, somewhere in between the other two options. They have some ventilation but are designed in such a way to be as aerodynamic as possible, which makes them a great middle ground option.
It's vital that your road bike helmet fits well, as an ill-fitting helmet will be less effective. It should be tight enough to fit snugly on your head, but not so tight that it squeezes your head. Some road bike helmets are available in a few different sizes whereas others rely on adjustability alone.
Make sure your chosen bike helmet adheres to relevant safety standards. The most common safety certifications are the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) certification and the CEN certification (its European alternative).
Your chosen road bike helmet should be easy to adjust, so you can fit it to your head well enough that it won't fly off in an accident. It should have adjustable chin straps and an adjustable band or similar to get a proper fit around the circumference of your head.
The majority of bike helmets come in several color options, so you can easily find one that you like.
Some road bike helmets have LED lights integrated into the back to make you more visible on the road at night.
Road bike helmet prices
Basic road bike helmets cost around $20 to $50, with mid-range options generally in the $50 to $100 range. High-end helmets can cost as much as $300, but these are overkill for the average recreational cyclist.
Q. Can I use my road bike helmet for mountain biking?
A. While you can, in theory, use a road bike helmet for mountain biking, there are some differences between a mountain bike helmet and a road bike helmet. Mountain bike helmets have great protection on the backs and sides, because you're more likely to strike your head on a rock, tree, or other obstacle if you fall off. Mountain bike helmets also tend to feature visors to shield your eyes from the sun, since shades reduce visibility in wooded areas. As such, we'd recommend choosing a separate mountain bike helmet if you go mountain biking regularly.
Q. How often should I replace my road bike helmet?
A. All bike helmets degrade over time, so we'd recommend replacing them every five years to be sure they'll offer optimal protection in the event of a fall. However, if you do fall and hit your head, you should replace your helmet right away, even if there aren't any visible cracks, as it's likely to have lost some of its structural integrity.
Road bike helmets we recommend
Best of the best: Kask Protone Helmet
Our take: Yes, it's pricey, but this top-notch helmet is comfortable, stylish, and fits well, offering excellent levels of protection.
What we like: Lightweight and vented so you won't overheat. Creates very little drag. Huge range of color options available. Handcrafted from the best materials.
What we dislike: Would prefer printed lettering over decal.
Best bang for your buck: Gonex Bike Helmet
Our take: This inexpensive option is a great choice for the casual cyclist, but serious bike-enthusiasts might prefer something sturdier.
What we like: Integrated LED light improves your nighttime visibility. Well-ventilated. Comfortable and lightweight.
What we dislike: Available in one size only so it can be tough to get a good fit.
Choice 3: GoMax Aero Adult Safety Helmet
Our take: Thanks to its innovative design, this helmet is cool to wear but still aerodynamic to reduce drag.
What we like: Lightweight design with 22 vents so you won't overheat. Available in two sizes but also adjustable to fine tune the fit. Built-in LED light on the rear.
What we dislike: Visor can restrict vision on the road.
Lauren Corona is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.