Best Overall Road Bike Helmet
Giro Synthe MIPS
The Giro Synthe MIPS
earned high scores in nearly every evaluation metric and has the highest overall score of the helmets tested. It was our testers' favorite helmet and earned our Editors' Choice Award. The Giro Aeon
was the former Editors' Choice Award winner, and Giro has stepped it up again with the Synthe
model. Class-leading comfort, low weight, and a semi-aerodynamic shell puts it at the top. It is heavier than the Aeon
but has improved aerodynamics and includes a MIPS liner for better protection. The only flaw in the Synthe
is exposed EPS foam on the lower portion of the helmet brim, which is prone to damage if dropped or scraped. This does not increase the likelihood of damage in a crash, but requires extra care during storage and transport. The Synthe
is a high-performance training and racing helmet that won't let you down.
Best Buy Award
Specialized Airnet MIPS
The Specialized Airnet MIPS
is not the cheapest helmet tested, but it offers the most bang for the buck. Its performance-to-value ratio is best-in-test, with all the features you would find in a $300+ helmet for nearly half the price. Generally, as price goes down, looks and design features decrease. This is not the case with the Airnet
. Your riding buddies will think you picked up the latest super helmet when you show up to the group ride in it. It looks the part of a pure racing lid, and you would be hard pressed to guess that it is half the price of competitors. MIPS protection, awesome aesthetics, and two sets of padding (one with an integrated soft visor) set the Airnet
apart. On top of that, it is the best-ventilated helmet tested. Our only complaint is its weight, which scored markedly lower than the competition. Despite the weight penalty, it is one of the most comfortable helmets tested.
Top Pick Aero Road Bike Helmet
No MIPS or sunglass storage
The Bontrager Ballista
has an aerodynamic profile, designed to reduce drag for efficiency and speed. Aero helmets have become popular in the world of professional cycling, and amateur cyclists also enjoy the reduced wind drag they offer. The downside to a fast helmet is poor ventilation. The Ballista
was by far the best ventilated and most comfortable aero helmet we tested, and for this, it wins our Top Pick award. With plush AgIon Fit padding, well-placed vents, and extensive internal channeling, we often forgot we were wearing it. The looks of aero helmets can polarize, but the Ballista
stands out for the right reasons. No one will mistake it for a traditional helmet. It looks sleek and fast, with an elongated shape rather than the round bowling ball look of other aero helmets. The Ballista
is the aero helmet for the skeptic— it changed our opinion of what an aero helmet offers.