Best bike helmets for road cyclists 2024: lightweight, aero and all-rounder lids for every rider

We've put dozens of helmets to the test - and have rounded up the best of the bunch right here

A rider wearing one of the best bike helmets.
(Image credit: Future)

The primary purpose of a cycling helmet is to protect your head in the event of an accident. To this end, all helmets sold in the UK, USA and Europe have to pass stringent safety tests before they can be put on the market.

However, recent technological advancements mean that many helmets offer extra systems that provide even greater protection. MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System), for example, is designed to prevent damage caused by oblique or glancing blows that rotate the skull around the brain. 

Safety isn’t the only consideration though. We always take into account weight, aerodynamics and ventilation when we're reviewing helmets but with an understanding that not everyone's priorities are the same.In short, we'd advise you to think carefully about how, where and when you are going to use the helmet. 

Likewise, having tested hundreds of helmets over the years, we'd always recommend trying a few options on to see which suits your head shape and size. There is more information about these below in the 'How to choose a helmet' section.

There are wide price differences between helmets, so if you are operating on a budget, then visit our best budget bike helmets page, or if you commute regularly by bike then have a look at our best commuter bike helmets article. 

The Quick List

Best overall road bike helmet

Giro Eclipse Spherical which is one of the best bike helmets

Giro Eclipse Spherical 

(Image credit: Future)
Best overall bike helmet

Specifications

Safety features: MIPS Spherical
Sizes: S/M/L
Colors: 6
Weight: 270g (small)

Reasons to buy

+
Very fast
+
Comfortable fit
+
Impressive ventilation for an aero helmet
+
Flap-free straps

Reasons to avoid

-
Mushroom head look

The Giro Eclipse Spherical helmet uses Giro's MIPS Spherical tech, where MIPS forms the filling in a sandwich between two EPS foam layers. 

We found the helmet to be really comfortable, with an unrestrictive feel and fit. Airflow was impressive and kept us comfortable even in 35C-plus heat. We also appreciated the little details, which are sometimes missing in other helmets - here the straps fit well without flapping and there's space to insert your sunglasses in the front vents.

Giro claims that the Eclipse is the fastest-ever aero helmet (non TT) - which we aren't able to verify, although our tester did achieve his fastest-ever downhill speed and upped his average overall while wearing it.

Read more: Giro Eclipse Spherical cycling helmet full review

Best lightweight helmet

Rapha + POC Ventral Lite which is one of the best bike helmets

Rapha + POC Ventral Lite bike helmet

(Image credit: Rachel Sokal)
Best lightweight helmet

Specifications

Safety features: No additional
Sizes: S, M, L. Standard and wide fits
Colors: Two
Weight: 170g (small as tested), 200g (medium as claimed)

Reasons to buy

+
Incredibly lightweight - under 200g (small)
+
Well ventilated
+
Understated Rapha design for extra fashion points
+
Standard and wide fit versions

Reasons to avoid

-
Lack of strap adjustability
-
No rotational safety features

The Ventral Lite is both super-lightweight and super-airy. Our test model in a small weighed in at just 170g (the claimed weight for the medium is 200g). We certainly found that this translated to a featherweight feel on the head, with the ventilation adding to the general comfort.

Fit adjustment is via a 360° nylon string retention, operated by a rear dial which is easy to adjust and very effective. To keep the weight to a minimum,  there's only a little adjustment on the straps, with a single slide adjuster on the chin buckle. We did find this a bit restrictive but appreciated that the helmet is offered in two widths, which helped us dial in the fit a little more.

To keep the weight as low as possible, the helmet doesn't feature any additional safety features such as MIPS, although other versions of the Ventral do.

Read more: Rapha + POC Ventral Lite bike helmet full review

Best aero helmet

Female cyclist wearing the Trek Ballista MIPS road bike helmet

Trek Ballista MIPS bike helmet

(Image credit: Charlotte Broughton)
Best aero road bike helmet

Specifications

Safety features: MIPS Air Node
Sizes: S/M/L
Colors: 3
Weight: 255g (claimed, size M)

Reasons to buy

+
Good airflow, particularly for an aero helmet
+
Easy fit adjustment from BOA system
+
Great looks

Reasons to avoid

-
BOA height adjustment is a little fiddly
-
Premium priced

Trek has revamped its racing helmet lines, with the aero Ballista MIPS now including MIPS Air sliding plane tech which doesn't need a separate internal liner. It's an interesting-looking design, with its dropped tail. 

It's tightened with a wire and BOA dial system at the rear, which gives a secure, stable fit. There's low profile padding and the straps are soft and easy to adjust. 

On the bike, we were impressed by the airflow as well, which works better than some more obviously vented helmets, despite there only being two front-facing vents. We also rated the ponytail-friendliness, although adjusting the cradle height at the rear is a little fiddly.

Read more: Trek Ballista MIPS bike helmet full review

Best budget helmet

Kask Sintesi which is one of the best cycling helmets

Kask Sintesi is a lightweight offering, weighing just 230g in a size medium

(Image credit: Joe Bakerq)
Best budget helmet

Specifications

Safety features: WG11
Sizes: M, L
Colors: 11
Weight: 230g (medium, claimed)

Reasons to buy

+
Good adjustability for head size
+
Synthetic leather chin strap
+
Good value

Reasons to avoid

-
No glasses port

Kask designed the Sintesi to be a single, mid-priced helmet that worked as well for recreational road cyclists, commuters and gravel riders. It comes in a wide range of colors and is affordably priced.

Kask uses its Ergo Fit retention system, which allows wide vertical and circumference adjustment of the rear of the cradle, allowing two sizes to suit most head sizes, and there is a comfortable synthetic leather chin strap. Rather than an additional layer like MIPS, Kask uses the WG11 protocol to test its helmets for rotational impact protection. 

On test, we found that the Sintesi provided good airflow and kept our head cool, although the 13 vents don't offer anywhere to perch a pair of glasses.

Read more: Kask Sintesi helmet full review

Best all-rounder

Red Giro Aether MIPS helmet which is one of the best bike helmets

Giro Aether MIPS helmet

(Image credit: Dan Gould)
Best overall road bike helmet

Specifications

Safety features: MIPS
Sizes: S/M/L
Colors: 13
Weight: 269g (small)

Reasons to buy

+
Light weight - under 270g (size small)
+
Super breathable
+
Lots of air channels give it a cooling effect

Reasons to avoid

-
Slightly bulbous appearance

An absolute favourite road bike helmet for us is the Giro Aether MIPS. On test we called it a game-changer of a road bike helmet due to its unrivalled all-around performance. 

During the review period, we found this helmet to be exceptional in its ventilation ability and at the cutting edge for safety features. While there are slightly lighter helmets, such as the Kask Protone helmet, it was still an impressively low weight at just 269g (for a size small).

Packaged in a sleek-looking design, with lots of colors to choose from, it's really easy to wear for any style of riding making it all-round the best road bike helmet out there. In fact, we loved the Giro Aether MIPS so much, that we gave it a five out of five stars and a Cycling Weekly Editor's Choice Award. The only reason why you wouldn't want to buy it is if your head fundamentally didn't fit any of the size options. 

Read more: Giro Aether MIPS helmet full review

Best TT helmet

Met Codatronca helmet is pictured with it's visor on a white background

MET's Codatronca features a short tail making it a versatile offering

Best time trial helmet for versatility on longer and rolling courses

Specifications

Safety features: CE; AS/NZS
Sizes: S/M/L
Colors: 2
Weight: 265g (small)

Reasons to buy

+
Comfortable fit for a TT helmet
+
Great adjustability
+
Versatile for sporting courses

Reasons to avoid

-
Visor doesn't provide the best vision. 

With its short tail, the MET Codatronca has an advantage which makes it a more versatile time trial helmet for most riders. Riders will still get significant aero gains but without having to worry that they are always in a perfect optimum "turtle" position - this is particularly relevant when faced with sporting courses.

We found it was a very comfortable lid, which provided a close fit with Met's 'Safe-T Orbital' fit system with retention dial. It also had sufficient ventilation thanks to its three small vents on the front and further two 'exhaust' holes at the rear - included to channel air out the back. It has a clever magnetic visor system, but bear in mind the visor is quite long and therefore may take some time to get used to.

It's got a rather large price tag, but it's well in keeping with the likes of the Giro Aerohead MIPS helmet, so seems about right. 

The only downside is that Met helmets aren't currently available in or allowed to ship to the US.

Read more: MET Codatronca full review

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Kask Protone which is one of the best bike helmets

Kask Protone Helmet

(Image credit: Richard Windsor)
Best lightweight helmet for comfort

Specifications

Safety features: WG11 Passed
Sizes: S/M/L
Colors: 11
Weight: 220g (medium)

Reasons to buy

+
Super lightweight helmet - 220g
+
Breathable to help reduce head heat build up
+
Good aerodynamic properties considering it's design 

Reasons to avoid

-
Not the best ventilation on the hottest of rides

Weighing just an incredibly 220g/ 7.7oz for a size medium, the Kask Protone helmet offers, according to the brand, one of the lowest drag and fastest heat dissipation options on the market.  

We found the Protone to be one of the most comfortable helmets we'd ever tested, and indeed one of the lightest, beating the Giro Synthe by 20g (0.7oz).  

The semi-aero lid did suffer a little with breathability however, and while the ventilation was very good, on the hottest of riding days it could have done with the ability to suck even more cool air in. or exhaust more heat out. That said, on the sweatiest of days in the saddle, we found that the Protone's water irrigation design is top-notch, managing to avoid channelling sweat down onto sunglasses or into eyes. 

The Protone features a reinforced internal plastic sub-structure, which has been certified in passing the Kask Rotational Impact WG11 Test, the brand’s protocol on rotational impact.

Read more: Kask Protone Helmet full review 

Lazer G1 Genesis which is one of the best bike helmets

Lazer G1 Genesis

(Image credit: Dan Gould)
Lightweight helmet with aero cover

Specifications

Safety features: MIPS (higher spec version)
Sizes: S/M/L
Colors: 6
Weight: 205g (Medium) 247g (+aeroshell)

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight option - just over 200g 
+
Comfortable fit
+
Secure feel when on

Reasons to avoid

-
Requires aftermarket aeroshell to gain aero advantages. 

The featherlight and comfortable Lazer G1 Genesis helmet feels secure when on and boasts a simple, stylish look. To fit your individual head shape the rear barrel retention cradle has a large amount of vertical adjustment, but as with the Lazer Blade+ MIPS Helmet, this doesn't provide much in the way of horizontal adjustment, so not as fine-tuneable as any of the Giro helmet offerings. 

That said, it's still a comfortable road bike helmet and one that is very lightweight, in fact at 205g for a sized medium on our test scales, one of the lightest helmets we've seen, and around 55g lighter than the Giro Helios Spherical MIPS Helmet. 

You do need to "shell" out for the additional aftermarket aero layer, it's not a big outlay, and if you want to harness the helmet's go-faster properties, it's a minimal weight penalty, and would make it a very lightweight, aero-specific road bike helmet too.

Read more: Lazer G1 Genesis cycling helmet full review

Lazer Vento KinetiCore which is one of the best bike helmets

Lazer Vento KinetiCore road bike helmet

(Image credit: Andy Turner)
Low profile aero bike helmet

Specifications

Safety: KinetiCore (Lazer's in-house tech)
Sizes: S/M/L
Colors: 4
Weight: 291g (medium on test)

Reasons to buy

+
Feels fast
+
Ventilation is decent
+
Independently verified 5-star safety
+
Secure feel on head

Reasons to avoid

-
Glasses storage difficult to use
-
Not the lightest - 291g for a medium

The Lazer Vento is designed as an aero helmet, so ventilation is somewhat sacrificed for speed. That said, this helmet still compares very favourably to other aero helmets with regards to keeping your head cool. Although we couldn’t test the aerodynamic qualities of this against other helmets, it did feel fast when putting our head down and throughout the test loops we did.

The helmet looks rather good too, having quite a low profile and not being too bulbous. It was also very comfortable and the new retention system is a massive improvement on Lazer’s previous design – although still not as easy to use as a regular dial. However, this new system does promise to be ponytail-friendly. The glasses port, sadly, is not particularly good as it is too wide to accommodate most sunglasses.

The helmet is definitely towards the more expensive end of the market and is also not the lightest at 291g for size medium. However, the weight is not something that we noticed when wearing it.

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