To the untrained eye, all mountain bike helmets pretty much look the same. They are round, have a few vents and a visor. But the more you look into it, the more you realize that the helmets are all very different, and some look better than others.
We have separated these sections into men and women based on which helmets are the most popular with each gender. This doesn’t mean you can’t choose a helmet from the other list, though!
Best Looking MTB Helmets for Women
The females I have been riding with tend to like the helmets that look a little more polished and simplistic. Here is a quick review of the top four helmets we think meet the requirements for the best looking helmets for women!
POC Tectal SPIN
There is no doubt about it that the POC Tectal SPIN looks incredible. The appeal comes from the two-color combo and the strategic positioning of the vents. It also helps that the outer plastic shell wraps around the base of the helmet, giving it a well-finished look.
The visor is adjustable, so you can store goggles beneath the visor and will break away under pressure to keep your neck protected. There is integrated sunglasses storage on the rear of the helmet in case you decide they are not needed part way through the ride.
There are a few fancy features to the helmet, too, such as the Recco reflector which helps the rider be found by search and rescue if necessary. And it has POC’s SPIN technology, which reduces the energy transferred to the rider’s head from both direct and angled impacts.
The POC Axion SPIN is the less expensive version but looks reasonably similar if that is what you are going for.
Giro Montaro MIPS
One of the top-of-the-line helmets from Giro, made for trail riders who want all the features and to look good while shredding up the trails.
The Giro Montaro is a favorite amongst a lot of my friends, and I can see why- it does look good on. The wrap of the outer polycarbonate shell around the edges of the helmet gives it a nice finished look, especially when it’s a separate color to the main part of the helmet. The somewhat longer visor also makes it look a bit sleeker and very proportionate.
The visor is adjustable, so you can store goggles beneath it when you don’t need them. And they are held in place with a rubberized section at the back of the helmet. My only small criticism is that the two sides of the visor can adjust at different rates, meaning you could have a crooked visor and not realize!
The Montaro has a MIPS liner, a decent amount of rear coverage, and the inner EPS foam is fully wrapped by the outer polycarbonate shell. This increases the durability of the helmet and can, therefore, protect your head for longer. Another important thing to mention is just how comfortable this helmet is. The plush liner means it sits so softly on your head, with no pressure points in the slightest!
For the full review on the Giro Montaro, see here.
Specialized Ambush with ANGi
The Specialized Ambush is a top-tier helmet, and it looks like it. The angular vents and sleek color combinations make it look very professional and clean.
The Ambush is designed for ultimate safety. Not only does it have a MIPS liner, decent rear coverage, and a breakaway visor, but it also has ANGi sensors. An ANGi sensor is a technology that notifies a contact if you crash and are unable to stop the alert. It gives riders that head out on solo rides the confidence that they will be looked after if they do come off.
The only niggle with this helmet is that it isn’t as comfortable as many of the other top-range helmets. It isn’t uncomfortable, but if you are transitioning from the Montaro or Troy Lee Designs A1, you will notice the lack of cushioning.
Smith Session MIPS
The Smith Session is an exceptional looking helmet. With all its edges and sharp angles, it looks well put together and incredibly professional. This is possibly my favorite Smith Helmet and even exceeds the looks of the much more expensive Smith Forefront 2, in my opinion.
As with all Smith helmets, the Session is designed to integrate with Smith Eyewear, so you can wear and store goggles and glasses comfortably. The visor is adjustable, with three set positions, and is camera and light mount compatible.
The Session makes use of the Koroyd technology, but only towards the sides of the helmet. This strategic placing of the Koroyd material results in better ventilation than that of the higher-spec Forefront 2. They also haven’t made the Koroyd ‘ straws’ fluorescent green, so they don’t stand out quite as much, which I prefer. The helmet has a lightweight, integrated roll cage to improve the structural integrity of the helmet.
The color combinations of this helmet are numerous and look professional. The only thing I could say against this helmet is that the visor is really small. While this doesn’t really hinder my riding, it is up to personal preference as to whether it looks a little odd or not!
Best Looking MTB Helmets for Men
Again, these helmets are NOT designed just for men. But we do think that males in particular do take fancy to these helmets more often!
Troy Lee Designs A1 & A2
Troy Lee Designs is a popular brand amongst the male riders, from bike pants, tops, protective wear and helmets. I have grouped these two helmets together for the purpose of this review, as there is little difference in the way they look. Performance wise, the A2 is lighter and better ventilated, but also costs a bit more.
The A1, in particular, is super comfortable. The padding is plush, and it sits comfortably on and around the head and sits quite close to the head. There are no pressure points, and I can easily say it’s the most comfortable helmet I’ve worn to date. The A2 lost a little padding in order to make it a little more ventilated, as ventilation was the primary downside to the A1.
Both Helmets have MIPS, 360-degree fitting systems, and coverage, which extends reasonably low down near the rear of the head and close to the ears. This coverage not only makes the helmet feel more snug, it actually prevents sharp objects from colliding with the lower area of your head in a crash.
Fox Speedframe Pro
A good quality helmet for riders who want a helmet they can ride with comfortably all day. Perfect for the trail rider and enduro rider alike, who aren’t phased by the additional weight from the extra protection it provides.
The Fox Speedframe is all about the angles. It looks slick and well sculptured, with a lot of ventilation and some good features in the mix.
Virginia Tech Helmet ratings (widely used rating system) gave the Fox Speedframe the maximum rating of 5 stars, which is certainly impressive. The Speedframe has a MIPS liner, which reduces the impact of angled impacts by allowing the helmet to move relative to the rider’s skull, instead of the head taking the full brunt of the force. It also has two layers of EPS foam. The outer layer is harder to prevent damage to the helmet, and the inner layer is softer to reduce the chance of concussion for the rider. This two-layer system effectively increases the crumple zone and helps keep the rider’s head from suffering any damage.
The ventilation in the helmet is incredible. It has 19 vents in total, including large over brow vents and internal channeling, which allows the air to flow straight over your head to keep you cool. The adjustable visor assists in this, encouraging air to enter the ports while climbing or when the visor is up. The visor rises high enough to store goggles on the helmet when they aren’t needed, which I find pretty handy.
The Speedframe has a couple of cool features, such as the FidLock magnetic buckle, which is simple and easy to use. The helmet is also reasonably lightweight, considering it has two layers of EPS and doesn’t skimp on any of the coverage!
Bell Super 3R
Well ventilated, very light, and very comfortable. This is the ideal helmet for the typical rider, not riding the extreme lines at extreme speeds, but wanting more protection than an open-face helmet can provide.
The Bell Super 3R is a helmet I cannot go a day in the park without seeing. The versatility of the convertible helmet is undeniable, as it can tackle both downhill and gentler trails. It is light, comfortable, very well ventilated, and has the option of extra protection when you want it.
The Super 3R looks well designed and quite professional. The rounded vents make it very easily distinguishable from the rest of the helmets. The length of the visor is very good, considering it needs to be long enough to look good on a full-face and short enough not to look funny on an open face.
In terms of safety features, the Super 3R is NOT downhill certified but does exceed the safety standards of a normal ‘non-downhill’ helmet. The lack of certification is essentially due to it not having enough ‘bulk’ to certify as a downhill helmet, but for the same reason it is light and well ventilated! It has MIPS, more coverage than your standard open face helmet, and the chin bar provides protection of the face.
For more information on convertible helmets and the Bell Super 3R, see our post on convertible helmets and the Super 3R vs. Bell Super DH.
Ideal for the rider wanting to head out on the trails for a good part of the day, looking for a helmet that is comfortable, has everything you need but for half the price of a top-of-the-line helmet.
The Bell 4Forty is a humble but high performing lid. It doesn’t really have any standout features, neither good nor bad, but has pretty much everything you need in a mid-range helmet. One thing it does have going for it, however, is its looks. There is no doubt that the 4Forty looks good, with its long angular vents, good rear coverage, and fully wrapped foam layer.
It comes in 14 different color combos’, is both glasses and goggles compatible, and has an adjustable visor. The Bell Float Fit system makes an appearance to ensure you get a perfect fit every time. And I can honestly say that this helmet is almost up there with the Troy Lee Designs A1 in terms of comfort too. The soft, moisture-wicking padding and the shape of the helmet contribute to making a luxury feeling helmet!
The only thing letting this helmet down (though only slightly) is the limited ventilation. When comparing the 4Forty to the Fox Speedframe or the Specialized Ambush, the lack of internal channeling and smaller vents leads to a sweatier climb on hot days. It does, however, come with a sweat guide pad to draw away any sweat from the front of the helmet, so it doesn’t drip into your eyewear, which is helpful!
If you want a similar-looking but a slightly breezier version of the 4Forty, take a look at the Bell Sixer, which is the higher-spec model with improved ventilation.
Best looking Downhill Helmets
Downhill helmets evolved from motocross helmets back in the ’80s and initially didn’t really change much. Since then, downhill helmets have become a lot lighter, better-ventilated and attractive. Here we have the top 3 downhill helmets in the good looking category!
Recommended for chair lift or shuttle laps as it does get hot! But it is kitted out with all the best safety technology to keep your noggin safe and sound.
The Fox Rampage is made purely for protection. It’s no light, dainty helmet that can’t make up its mind about whether it’s meant to be light for the climbs or sturdy for the descents- it simply is robust. It is made to keep you safe on the gnarly descents, and ventilation is more of an afterthought!
It is perfect for chairlift laps, as you generally wouldn’t enjoy a hot and sweaty climb in this helmet. It isn’t light, weighing in at 1230 g, it is 300 g heavier than the Bell Super DH and almost 500 g heavier than the super light Fox Proframe. Nevertheless, if it is protection you need, you can’t get much better than the Fox Rampage!
The safety features are outstanding, however. The Fluid Inside technology is a fluid that mimics the brain’s natural cerebral spinal fluid to reduce both linear and rotational impact energy. Additionally, it has dual-density foam, which reduces energy in both slow and fast crashes, and reduces the potential for concussions and sharp objects penetrating the helmet. It has a Magnetic Visor Release system, which means the visor will break away under impact to prevent the rider’s neck and head from damage in a crash.
Bell Super DH
Bringing together the best of both worlds, a detachable chin bar makes for an easy climb and a safe descent. For the price of one, you get a top-of-the-line open face helmet and a fully certified downhill helmet that is comfortable, durable, and easy to use.
The Bell Super DH is one of the best-value helmets on the market. You get an open face helmet for the more chill laps or longer rides, and then convert it into a full face for the gnarly descents.
It also looks really good. It looks fairly similar to the Bell Super 3R, but with fewer vents and looks sturdier. It is well ventilated in both full-face and open-face modes, has a Fidlock magnetic closure system, and a removable anti-microbial liner to prevent odor build-up. The Super DH is very comfortable, you won’t find any pressure points around the head, and it is reasonably light, so you barely know it’s there!
The Bell Super DH is kitted out with MIPS spherical, which is two foam layers that move relative to one another to prevent serious brain injuries. This is an efficient way of distributing the energy from a collision around the helmet rather than to the rider’s head. Additionally, the two separate pieces allow air to flow through the helmet to assist with ventilation.
Perfect for the rider who just wants a good, solid, traditional style downhill helmet, which is comfortable, well ventilated, and sure to keep your head protected following an impact.
The Fox Proframe is designed for the Enduro rider as it is light, breathable, and very well ventilated. It is downhill certified, making use of the MIPS technology as well as dual-density EPS, which both prevent brain injuries for the rider.
In terms of comfort and fit, the Proframe comes with various thicknesses of cheek pads so you can find the right fit for your face and head. This gives a snug fit, which feels comfortable and will also stop the helmet from moving around in a crash. It does not have a retention system, so you just have to play around with the padding provided to achieve the perfect fit. Some riders found that by wearing goggles the helmet is held still, but I found it didn’t move around on my head at all, so the fit just depends on the shape of your head.
The ventilation was certainly a priority for Fox when designing the Proframe. It has 24 very large vents making it one of the best ventilated full-face helmets on the market. The large over brow vents take in a fair bit of air passing over your head, which helps in cooling you down a fair bit when you start descending. Another handy feature is that the chin bar vents are large enough to drink through, so no awkward maneuvering of the helmet whenever you need a drink! It also has an anti-microbial liner to prevent odor build-up when you do get a bit sweaty.
So, there we have the best-looking mountain bike helmets on the market. You will find that helmets are also comfortable, well ventilated, and meet high standards of protection.
Obviously, style and looks are up to the reader’s eye, and you may not agree with us. If this is the case, feel free to leave a comment- we are always open to suggestions! Despite this, I think we will find that these are some of the most popular helmets on the market, as they all look and perform exceptionally well.
If you want possibly something a little cheaper, have a look at the best budget mountain bike helmets or the top helmets with MIPS. For some more good looking helmets check out our top low-profile mountain bike helmets or the best mountain bike helmet brands.
If you think your helmet might scrub up to be a better looking helmet, have a look at how to clean a bike helmet for a few tips!