1. Giro Aries Spherical
Out of all the helmets sent to VT for testing, the Aries Spherical was rated number one, earning the best score for impact mitigation. It uses a ball-and-socket style connection between the outer liner and the inner liner, which works in tandem with the MIPS system to deflect rotational forces and prevent injury. This is doubly impressive when you consider its low-profile, lightweight design, and huge air vents. Plus, “the Aries Spherical fits my oval-shaped head very well,” former semi-pro bike racer Cody Lacosta tells SELF.
- Weight: 270 grams (size M)
- VT impact score: 8.40
2. Liv Relay MIPS
The Liv Relay is a no-frills model, but that doesn’t mean it sacrifices safety, style, or fit. With its clean lines, moisture-wicking and antimicrobial inner padding, and 360-degree retention system (aka how a helmet secures to your head), the Relay looks as good as it feels. Bonus: The rear has room to mount a tail light (so drivers can see you better), and space for your ponytail above the fit dial. Plus, it offers good value for the price,” Simon Fisher, the CEO of Headspace Design Lab, a leading engineering and design firm for many major helmet companies, tells SELF. “Overall, this is your basic bike helmet with straightforward style and features like MIPS,” he says. “With a five-star VT rating, this is a good all-round road helmet.” One note: Given that the EPS, or expanded polystyrene (a crushable foam typically used in helmet liners), is exposed on the bottom of the Relay, it should be stored with extra care, in a cool, dry place (heat and chemical exposure can mess with the material).
- Weight: 348 grams
- VT impact score: 12.48
3. Bell Formula MIPS
Another great all-arounder and solid value, this Formula helmet has a ventilation system designed to allow cooling airflow over your head, while keeping you streamlined in the wind. The dial-adjustable retention system lets you cinch the liner around your noggin for a snug, comfy fit. “This is a classic road helmet with MIPS integrated into the fit system, and no exposed EPS, which will help with durability,” notes Fisher.
- Weight: 285 (size M)
- VT impact score: 11.90
Mountain Biking Helmets
If you’re heading onto dirt, singletrack, or gravel roads, opt for a helmet that features a visor, trail-ready ventilation, and more surface coverage around your head.
4. Troy Lee Designs Flowline MIPS
An adjustable visor and retention system help the Flowline fit comfortably and stay put as you cruise down the trail. This helmet is also NTA-8776 certified, meaning it’s approved to withstand impact from crashes during speedy e-bike riding. “The three-position visor and an easy-to-adjust fit system make this a solid helmet for the price,” says Fisher, adding that it also has a five-start VT rating. One thing: Because the helmet uses an older MIPS system, some riders may find it runs hotter, he says.