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Best Commuter Bike Helmets

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If there is one area where commuters should copy the pro-cyclists it is, without doubt, the use of a good quality helmet.

Just because you have ridden the same roads day-in and day-out on your way to the office doesn’t mean you can do without a helmet.

Although any helmet can be used for commuting, and any helmet is better than no helmet, some features make some helmets better than others for the daily grind to the office.

Here we take a look at the best helmets for commuting and what to look out for to get the right lid for your ride.

Top Picks:

Top 15 Best Commuter Bike Helmets Reviewed

1. Giro Camden (Best Overall)

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  • MIPS: Yes
  • Ventilation: 10
  • Weight: 12.5oz
  • Colors: 4

The Giro Camden might be understated and sleek but behind this austere design lies exceptional safety features. 

The design of the helmet gives excellent protection at the back of the skull with much more coverage than you would normally see on a road bike helmet.

Combined with the excellent MIPS technology, Camden aces the Speed e-bike safety standard which should give any rider confidence on their commute.

Features:

  • Safety – meets the highest standard of safety for cycling helmets.
  • Integrated rear light – another great safety feature for the darker mornings and evenings on your commute.
  • Ventilation – ten vents provide plenty of airflow to keep cool.

2. OakleyARO5 (Best For Road)

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  • MIPS: Yes
  • Ventilation: 4
  • Weight: 10.7oz
  • Colors: 7

If you like to squeeze in some training miles on your commute to the office, the aero Oakley ARO5 helmet could make all the difference if you are running late for a meeting at the office.

The rounded profile looks great and the four large vents at the front do a good job of allowing air in. Ventilation in this case has not been totally compromised for aerodynamics.

The BOA system is great – easy to adjust on the go and distributes the pressure evenly around the head for a secure but comfortable fit.

Features:

  • Speed – this is an aero helmet that will help shave time off your rides.
  • Comfort – the padding is well-placed at the brow and crown and uses X-Static technology to wick sweat.
  • Ventilation – not all aero helmets off ventilation this good.

3. Giro Chronicle (Best For Mountain Bike)

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  • MIPS: Yes
  • Ventilation: 14
  • Weight: 38oz
  • Colors: 6

The fuller head protection of the Giro Chronical might be designed for mountain bikers but the comfort features also make it an ideal helmet for commuting, especially if you are lucky enough to add in some trail sections.

The Giro’s Roc Loc 5 fastening system does a great job of keeping the helmet secure and snug with no uncomfortable pressure points. For hotter days, the Coolmax padding is great for wicking sweat.

Features:

  • Full head coverage – as you would expect from a mountain bike helmet, this has all angles covered.
  • Comfort – the Roc Loc system allows more airflow by allowing the helmet to float above the top of the skull.

4. Thousand Chapter (Best For Urban City)

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  • MIPS: Yes
  • Ventilation: 8
  • Weight: 17.3oz
  • Colors: 3

Under the cool, urban styling of the Thousand Chapter helmet lies some great safety features that make it awesome for riding in an unpredictable city.

The integrated MIPS system offers better protection from rotational impacts than standard helmets. The safety features don’t end there; there are an integrated 50 lumens magnetic tail light. It is fully rechargeable and switches on automatically when it is snapped to the helmet.

The secret Poplock feature is a great security feature if you like to lock your helmet to your bike when you are at your desk.

Features:

  • Style – this helmet goes well with casual clothes.
  • Integrated MIPS  – you can, and should, opt for the MIPS version of the helmet for an extra layer of safety.
  • Magnetic rear light – rechargeable rear light that powers on automatically when attached to the helmet.

5. Thousand Heritage (Best Cool Commuter Helmet)

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  • MIPS: No
  • Ventilation: 7
  • Weight: 14.5oz
  • Colors: 12

Some riders find helmets uncomfortable and, to put it bluntly, silly looking. The Thousand Heritage was developed in direct response to these riders.

The minimalist looks and retro styling should encourage more riders to use a helmet without sacrificing functionality and safety. With lots of colors and styles to chose from, getting the perfect match for your commuting bike is easy.

This isn’t a helmet to wear on your road bike, but it goes great with casual clothes for cruising around town. The PopLock feature allows a bike lock to be fed through to keep the helmet secure on the bike when you are at your desk.

Features:

  • Style – this helmet has been designed so that riders want to wear it. What it lacks in technical safety features it makes up for by the fact that more people are on bikes with a helmet.
  • Security – the PopLock feature allows you to loop your bike through the helmet and lock it to your bike/
  • Magnetic buckle – works surprisingly well and is better looking than a more traditional buckle.

6. Lumos Kickstart Smart Helmet (Best For Adding Lights)

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  • MIPS: Yes
  • Ventilation: 22
  • Weight: 13.4oz
  • Colors: 5

One of the best ways to avoid having to test your helmet in real life is to make sure that you are always seen out on the roads. The LUMOS Kickstart Smart Helmet takes visibility to the next level.

It features integrated LEDs that not only help you stay visible but can also be used to indicate to other road users what you are about to do. Riding predictably on the roads is the safest way to ride.

A wireless remote control on the handlebars can be used to flash appropriate lights on the back of the helmet to indicate which way you are about to turn and warn drivers that might be tempered to pass you.

None of this fancy, smart technology would be much use if the helmet itself wasn’t safe but thankfully that is not the case here.

Features:

  • Smart technology used well – helmets with integrated lights are not a new idea but this one takes it to another level. It offers enhanced visibility, turn lights, and even an automatic stoplight to warn other road users.
  • Comfort – the 22 vents on the Kickstart version allow plenty of airflow over the head to keep sweating at bay.
  • Safety – integrated MIPS system means this helmet is not all show.

7. Giro Vasona (Best For Women)

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  • MIPS: Yes
  • Ventilation: 12
  • Weight: 9.9oz
  • Colors: 5

You don’t need a women’s specific helmet but it is always great to see companies recognize the growing popularity of the sport amongst female riders.

The compact style of the Giro Vasona makes it ideal for females and reduces the risk of looking like a mushroom. The design is simple yet stylish, it is lightweight whilst also being safe, and it is easy on the wallet.

Features:

  • Cool head – the 12 vents are well placed to maximize airflow and protect against helmet-hair after a commute to the office.
  • Roc Loc Sport – easy to adjust on the bike and keeps the helmet securely in place.
  • Removable visor – great for those early morning commutes when the sun is still low in the sky. 

8. POC Omne Air (Best For Summer)

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  • MIPS: No
  • Ventilation: 10
  • Weight: 12oz
  • Colors: 14

The POC Omne Air is a great-looking helmet that offers superior ventilation for those hot, summer commutes.

A massive amount of air can flow into the five forward-facing vents and the indentations just above the brow help direct the air across the head. Even at low speeds, the airflow is noticeable and should be enough to stave off the worst of any sweating on a typical commute.

Instead of using the MIPS system, here the helmet relies on SPIN (Shearing Pad Inside) pads to prevent rotational injuries.

All in all a cool-looking and cool-feeling cycling helmet.

Features:

  • Impressive ventilation – large channels direct air exactly where you need it.
  • SPIN pads – designed to keep the brain safe from rotational injuries in much the same way as the MIPS system.
  • Great fit – sits low on the head and offers lots of adjustability.

9. Giro Timberwolf (Best For Winter)

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  • MIPS: No
  • Ventilation: Yes
  • Weight: 13.4oz
  • Colors: 2

There are a few ways you can winterproof your head on the bike but the most comfortable and effective solution is to invest in a proper winter cycling helmet such as the Giro Timberwolf.

The Timberwolf is designed to cover more of the head and has detachable ear flaps to keep the wind out. The flaps themselves are made from mesh and allow plenty of noise through, which is ideal for commuting on busy roads.

To overcome any issues with sweat as you work hard, there is a well-positioned and adjustable vent at the top of the helmet that helps to keep you cool.

Features:

  • Warmth – if you plan to commute through the deepest winter, this helmet will keep your head warm better than any skull cap or helmet cover.
  • Ventilation – it might seem off to mention ventilation on a winter helmet but the adjustable ventilation here lets you find the sweet spot between too cold and too hot as you pedal hard.

10. Lazer Helmet Compact (Best Budget Commuter Helmet)

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  • MIPS: No
  • Ventilation: 20
  • Weight: 11.5oz
  • Colors: 4

We want everyone to be safe on the bike, even if you only have a little money left in your budget for a helmet. If you want to protect your head and your wallet, the Lazer Compact is a great option.

The In-Mold construction makes for a lightweight and practical helmet. The 20 vents provide an impressive amount of airflow and should keep your head cool on even the hottest days.

Features:

  • Comfortable – massive ventilation and the TS+ Fit system reduces pressure points.
  • Rear Light attachment – custom made for a rear LED attachment so you don’t need to bodge a mount out of old bike parts.
  • Value – simple yet effective helmet that will protect your head in a crash.

11. Bontrager Starvos WaveCel

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  • MIPS: No
  • Ventilation: 17
  • Weight: 13.1oz
  • Colors: 3

Instead of the widely-used MIPS system, the Bontrager Stravos protects the head using its own WaveCel technology. The company themselves claim that this technology offers 48-times more protection than EPS foam helmets from a concussion.

That is a lot of protection for what is still a very reasonably priced lid.

The FlatLock system gives lots of different options for getting just the right fit on the skull and it is easily adjusted whilst cycling to dial in the comfort.

Features:

  • Ventilation – the vents, and there are lots of them, traverse the helmet from front to back and enhance airflow across the skull.
  • Safety – consistently rated one of the safest helmets on the market for reducing the risk of concussion in a collision.

12. BernFL-1 Pave

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  • MIPS: Yes
  • Ventilation: 18
  • Weight: 9.5oz
  • Colors: 3

The design of the Bern FL-1 Pave is inspired by the retro leather helmets worn by the pioneers of the Tour de France. The main difference is that this helmet will protect your head in a crash.

Although Bern is more known amongst skateboarders and urban cyclists, this helmet is a step into the world of road cycling.

With excellent protection afforded by the integrated MIPS system and semi-urban looks, this helmet is a great option for commuters who like to mix in a bit of fast training on the way to the office.

Features:

  • Boa retaining system – easy to adjust on the move to get a comfortable and secure fit on the skull.
  • Ventilation – more than enough airflow to make this a great helmet in the summer months.

13. Bern Hudson

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  • MIPS: Yes
  • Ventilation: 13
  • Weight: 12.3oz
  • Colors: 7

The Bern Hudson is another great-looking urban style helmet from the brand that also offers functionality and excellent safety.

The renowned MIPS liner is there to protect your brain from rotational forces in a crash and there is even an integrated rear light for added safety in low visibility.

Features:

  • Safety and style – underneath the urban looks lie the excellent MIPS safety system.
  • Integrated rear light – 10 hours of light with every charge for extra visibility.
  • Secure – the rear vents can fit a u-lock if you prefer to leave your helmet with your bike.

14. Kali Protectives Saha Helmet

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  • MIPS: No
  • Ventilation: 11
  • Weight: 16.8oz
  • Colors: 1

If you commute on your bike to do your bit to protect the planet then you might also like the sound of the Kali Saha helmet.

It is stylishly made completely with recycled materials and doesn’t use any solvents in manufacturing. We wouldn’t recommend this eco-friendly option if it didn’t also back it up with great safety features.

There is no MIPS system here, so the EPS foam is left to take the brunt of any impact on its own.

Features:

  • Sustainable – made entirely from recycled materials.
  • Style – minimalist looks that blend seamlessly with casual commuting clothes.
  • Comfort – eleven vents let in plenty of air to keep you cool in summer.

15. Abus Hyban 2.0

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  • MIPS: No
  • Ventilation: 13
  • Weight: 14.1oz
  • Colors: 4

For the money, the Abus Hyban 2.0 packs a lot of great features. It might not be the most stylish helmet on this list but it scores high on pure value.

Ventilation is impressive and the 13 well-positioned vents should be more than enough to stay cool even on hot days. The compact visor is great for blocking out the rays from the early morning sun.

You can spot a Hyban helmet wearer a mile away thanks to the bold color options available and the neat integrated rear light.

Features:

  • Great value – what it lacks in style it more than makes up for in outstanding value for money.
  • Comfortable – great airflow through the vents.
  • Visibility – bold colors and an integrated rear light help it to stand out on the road.

Commuter Bike Helmet Features You Need To Know About

Safety

Top of the list comes safety. There is no point sticking a helmet on if it is not going to protect your most important organ in a collision.

There is a lot of jargon surrounding safety helmets these days as manufacturers aim to differentiate with new and improved safety systems. For the consumer, this competition is great but it does mean you need to wrap your head (no pun intended) around the different claims.

Thankfully you do not need a degree in physics to find a safe helmet as, no matter what the proprietary system is used, you can rely on certain international standards.

If you stick with a well-known and respected helmet brand then the chances are you are going to get a safe lid.

MIPS

In many ways, MIPS is the current gold standard when it comes to helmet safety. It stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection System and is designed to reduce the rotational forces that act on your head in a fall.

This is important as studies have found that our brains are extremely sensitive to rotational forces and if you fall at an angle these forces are transferred directly to your brain. MIPS is there to stop the rotational forces from being transferred to your brain.

We would encourage every rider to invest in a helmet that carries the yellow dot to signify that it has a built-in MIPS system.

Video: MIPS | How It Works

Size

Getting the right size of helmet for your head is vital. Not only will it look better but it maximizes the in-built safety features.

Too small and the helmet will high on your head and leave too much skull exposed. Too large and it will not be secure and will likely move back and expose your forehead in a crash.

To get the right fit all you need is a tape measure and a couple of spare minutes. You want to measure the circumference at the widest part of your head which is approximately 2.5cm above your eyebrows. This is the measurement used for helmet sizing.

Repeat a few times to get an average.

Adjustment/ Retention

Since heads come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, helmets need to offer a convenient way to adjust to fit so that the helmet is both secure and comfortable.

Modern cycling helmets usually incorporate a rotational dial at the back that adjusts the cradle inside the helmet. Different manufacturers use slightly different mechanisms for adjusting and fine-tuning but they are all easy to adjust on the fly and offer a high degree of adjustability to dial-in the perfect fit.

It is the cradle that ultimately keeps the helmet on your head, so you should adjust this before fastening any of the other straps. Tilt your head forward and the helmet should stay right where it is.

Style

Bike helmets come in lots of different styles, reflecting the array of different riding styles and disciplines.

In this article, we focussed on great helmets for commuting but even here there are a variety of styles from road bike helmets to full winter helmets.

Ventilation

No one wants to pull off their helmet at the office only to reveal the worst case of helmet hair to their boss. To help prevent turning up a hot mess, helmet ventilation is key.

On hot days or when you are working hard, your head will heat up. With enough ventilation, there should be enough airflow to remove that excess heat and let your head breathe.

Road cycling helmets usually have excellent ventilation features as staying cool is a major performance bonus. It is also a great bonus for committing.

In winter, your head will thank you for investing in a proper winter cycling helmet. They are much more effective at keeping your head comfortable in winter than wearing a cap under your normal helmet.

Even here ventilation is important as the effort of cycling will make you sweat and despite the low outside temperatures, inside the helmet can get uncomfortable. Proper winter cycling helmets offer adjustable ventilation tabs that can be used to find the balance between too warm and too cold.

Weight

Your neck will not thank you for buying a heavy helmet. They are uncomfortable even for short distances.

Modern helmets can be lightweight without compromising overall safety. Some are so lightweight that it is easy to forget they are even on your head.

Visor

Some commuter helmets come with a detachable visor at the front. Whilst most self-respecting roadies bin this immediately, they are really useful for those early morning commutes when the sun is low in the sky.

It means that you don’t need to wear a cap under your helmet to keep out the glare which can be uncomfortable and hot.

Types Of Bike Helmet That Commuters Use

Really, any style of helmet can be used for the commute to and from the office. Well, you probably wouldn’t want to use a time-trial aero helmet but apart from that, you will see every style out on the road.

Perhaps the most common are standard road cycling helmets. They are lightweight, safe, and are a great option if you like to combine commuting and training. They usually offer excellent ventilation and make a great choice for the hot summer months.

They are less practical in the winter and that is where a winter-specific helmet comes into its own.

For the more style-conscious, there are more and more great-looking urban-style helmets that borrow heavily from the stylings of the skateboarding world. They are much more casual than typical road cycling helmets and go well with regular street clothes.

Helmet style is important because if you don’t like the way it looks on your head then you might be more tempted to leave it at home. Get something you love the look of so that you always want to wear it on the bike.

Frequently Asked Questions: Commuter Helmets

How Often Should Bike Helmets Be Replaced?

There is no hard and fast rule but the general consensus is roughly every three years. This is to account for all the general wear and tear from regular use that can degrade the EPS liner.

What is certain is that you should always replace a helmet after a crash even if you think it was minor. Damage is not always visible and the helmet may not work as effectively in a later crash.

Should I Always Go For Helmets That Have Integrated MIPS?

The MIPS system has been proven to reduce the impact of rotational forces on the brain in a crash. It is not the only system that can do this however and most well-known helmet brands have similar in-house methods to stop the transfer of rotational forces.

If in doubt, opt for MIPS but there are other, perhaps less well-known safety features that are also worth considering.

My Helmet Doesn’t Have A Front Visor. Can I Wear A Cap With It To Block Out The Sun?

You can wear a cap under your helmet to keep out the sun but your head will get pretty sweaty in summer. A better alternative is to use sunglasses as they keep the sun out and protect your eyes from debris.

How Should A Bike Helmet Fit?

It should feel secure without being uncomfortable. The front of the helmet should sit around an inch above your brow and it should be level.

Do You Legally Have To Wear A Helmet When Cycling?

If you ride in the USA, there is no federal law that requires you to wear a helmet but each state and even municipality have their own laws, although most helmets are aimed towards children and younger riders.

Do your research but even where it is not a legal requirement, ask yourself if it is worth the risk.

Our Final Words

Being able to commute to work by bike is one of life’s greatest pleasures. There are few things better than cruising past cars that have ground to a halt in yet another traffic jam.

But it is not without its dangers and every time we get in the saddle we have a responsibility to be safe and treat other road users with respect. Part of that means protecting our heads. We only have one brain and we need it for everything.

There are so many great, stylish commute-ready cycling helmets available that every rider should be able to find the perfect one for them.

The Giro Camden is a great all-rounder that combines understated looks with exceptional safety features. It comes out top on most industry safety tests and we love the integrated rear light for added visibility on those darker commutes.

If you want to use your time wisely and your commutes also double as training rides, the Oakley ARO5 is a great road cycling helmet in its own right with lots of added comfort for everyday use.

We want everyone to wear a helmet. You might be on a budget but that doesn’t mean you should settle for something that won’t protect you in a crash. The Lazer Compact is excellent value that doesn’t compromise on safety or comfort.

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Bike Push - Mark W
Mark W
I’m a cycling enthusiast, and the founder and chief editor of Bike Push. If I’m not working on this website, then I’m out on the bike clocking up the miles. I want to help others get the most out of cycling.

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