Trying to find the ideal helmet for your bike commute that ticks all the boxes? Here are some key points to think about.
When bike commuting, you will like be spending a fair amount of time cycling on roads at busy times. With that in mind, it’s worth spending a few extra dollars to get a helmet with added protection for falling at a variety of angles. This is called ‘MIPS’ (Multi-Directional Impact Protection System) and it simply means that the helmet you are wearing protects from a wider range of impacts than the standard. In terms of affordable MIPS options, the US brand Specialized have the best offer in terms of providing a quality helmet at a budget price point.
Although the sky is the limit with the price of helmets, you’ll want to keep a bike commuting helmet from getting too pricey as you will be using it a lot and the chances of you damaging or leaving it somewhere could be heightened. If you go too expensive, you might either struggle to replace it or just feel burdened by carrying yet another costly item with you every day, as might be the case for some of you with the Lumos and Bell helmets listed below, although they do offer some fantastic advanced safety features.
Top 3 Bike Helmets for Commuters
- Specialized Align with MIPS: a quality helmet with reflective detail at a budget price, made by a trusted brand.
- Lumos Smart Helmet with MIPS: extra visibility from integrated lights and indicators in the first ‘smart helmet’, made by a quality new brand.
- Bell Z20 Reflective with MIPS: a premium helmet with reflective detail on the helmet by a well-respected brand.
What is the best commuter bicycle helmet for everyday use?
Specialized Align with MIPS
The key reasons why I recommend the Specialized Align (MIPS) helmet for bike commuters are:
- Price: it’s a great budget option for an MIPS helmet from a trustworthy brand and it is extremely comfortable. You also won’t be too worried about losing or damaging it at that price, unlike the other two premium helmets mentioned above.
- Reliable: the Specialized Align is the helmet that I currently use (although I wish I’d got the MIPS version as it’s only a little more for a lot more protection (and peace of mind!) I can therefore recommend it as a durable helmet for everyday use.
- Comfort: it is extremely comfortable. I simply don’t notice it which is a sign that it does its job and is comfortable without getting on my nerves (which plenty of helmets have done in the past!)
- Safety: MIPS is a safety standard that you can get in more and more helmets today, but the Specialized Align is one of the cheapest, quality helmets to have this, being about a third of the price of the Lumos Smart helmet and the Bell Z20. Although the Bell Z20 has a little more reflectivity, the added price (almost 3x more) makes it less appealing for this alone.
Features to look for in a quality bike commuter helmet
Comparing bike helmets for your commute can be daunting as there so many out there. However, following
Price: A nice practical feature for opting for a budget helmet for cycling to work means that you will not have any major worries or concerns about losing or damaging it.
Comfort: a good helmet is a comfy helmet – if it’s not comfortable, the chance of you wearing it regularly will drop dramatically, defeating the object of owning a helmet for bike commuting! Most well-known brands offer comfy helmets with suitable padding.
Reflective detail: ideally the helmet should have some reflective detail on it, although this is surprisingly hard to find. Another place for reflective detail is on the chin strap: remember, reflective detail is preferable to high visibility colors.
Proper protection: Look for a helmet with MIPS certification for added safety and peace of mind.
Safety certification: this should be a given but always check that any helmet you buy has the appropriate safety certification for your country/region. If buying online, this will be detailed in the product description.
Lights: although I think this is a great feature on helmets, not many have lights built in so think of this as an added extra. Most common is to find helmets with lights in the back
Quality brand: to be sure of the build quality, look for a quality brand of helmet. The helmets mentioned above are all well-known brands in the cycling world. If you are unsure about a brand, have a look online for helmets by the same brand and see how many good quality bike stores have them in stock and what kind of range of helmets they have – a wide range should mean a quality brand.