Best road bike helmets 2014
Six of this year's road bike helmets tested, rated and reviewed
We recommend the best road bike helmets we’ve reviewed in the past 12 months…
The bike helmet is still a contentious issue. Some people think you shouldn’t ride without them, while others claim they’re a waste of time. Some think the right helmet can look cool, but some believe wearing one will always make you look ridiculous.
All we know is, we’ve smashed a few helmets in our time, and the last time we came off, judging by the state of the helmet after, we’d hate to see what our head would have looked like if we’d not been wearing one.
Whatever your feelings on helmets, you’re not allowed to race triathlon without one, so if you’re planning on satiating your competitive urges, you’d better get a lid. Comfort is definitely key: no matter what distance you’re aiming for, you’ll be on the bike longer than you’ll be swimming or running. The last thing you want is to overheat or get a headache when you’re trying to work hard.
Price-wise you can pay anything from £30 up to £200 for a road helmet, and even more if you want a top-end TT helmet. But with so many shapes and sizes on the market you’d be forgiven for finding it tricky to know where to start. We round up the top contenders…
Our rating (review here): 83%
Maybe a little less refined in the looks department than other helmets here, but scores very highly for comfort with plenty of padding and excellent ventilation – and you can’t argue with the price.
Our rating (review here): 95%
Our new first-choice road helmet, this is one of the helmet choices of Team Sky and nearly achieves that ‘no helmet’ feel thanks to its low weight (220g for a medium), superb retention system and very comfortable fit.
Our rating (review here): 87%
Now fourth-tier in Lazer’s line-up but still packs the superb Rollsys retention system that symmetrically tightens the helmet around the head, and excellent ventilation. A great buy.
Our rating (review here): 84%
Packed with more features than we can list here, this has impressive ventilation and a solid retention system plus replaceable X-Static padding, so you can keep that new helmet feel even after months of use.
Our rating (review here): 85%
Our rating: £169.99
A unique design that polarises opinion, with 39 vents that offer unmatched ventilation. Excellent comfort with hours of riding time leaving no discomfort at all, but very pricey.
Met Sine Thesis
Our rating (review here): 82%
Featuring innovative gel pads on the various contact points instead of fabric padding, this helmet is costly but also features an easy to operate ratchet and stand-out ventilation that keeps you cool no matter how hot the ride.
Some final thoughts
All the helmets here conform to the European safety standard, and will have been impact tested and passed so you can be sure that you’re wearing something that has been put through its paces.
As anyone who has ridden a bike for more than a few hours will tell you, comfort is the most important part of choosing a helmet. We’ve used lids in the past that have given us headaches and just been downright uncomfortable. If you have the chance to try a couple before you buy, you’ll be able to make a far more informed decision.
Of course, come race day you may want to switch to a proper TT helmet, especially if you’re riding a time-trial bike. You can get a surprising gain from a good TT helmet, but for training, commuting and most other riding a road lid is far more practical, far more comfortable and won’t generate strange looks on the way to work!
Out of those listed here, the Endura Airshell deserves a mention for proving that you don’t have to spend triple figures if you want a truly top-end helmet. It might not have the glamour factor of some of the others we looked at, but you get a lot of performance for a significantly reduced spend.
At the other end of the price range, the Catlike Mixino is terrific. It’s incredibly comfortable, ventilation is great and you can get an aeroshell if you want to turn it into an aero road helmet. But the price is just too high for it to take the overall crown.
The real gems in this test are found in the mid-price range with Lazer’s Genesis and Kask’s Mojito. Lazer have the best ratchet on test with the Rollsys and, although the Genesis is at the heavier end, it shows that weight isn’t always everything, making up for it with excellent comfort.
But the Mojito takes the win. It offers the perfect combination of price, comfort, adjustability and weight. We’ve rarely used a helmet that finds such a superb balance; we’ll be riding this one for a long time to come.