While we can’t help you try fit your head into a swimming cap or through a tight sweater, rest assured that we can help you find one of the best mountain bike helmets for big heads.
Finding a helmet that sits well on your head, doesn’t get too sweaty and isn’t too tight can be a struggle. This is why we have direct links to the larger helmets on the market these days.
We all know that mountain bike crashes happen, but injuries and deaths from cycling related head injuries are probably more common than you think. By wearing a MTB helmet you reduce the chance of injury by 85%. Technologies are improving every year to help reduce the chance of damage by rotation or impact crashes.
However, the helmet will not work even as close to effectively as you would expect if the helmet does not fit correctly. For those with a larger head than standard, may struggle in finding a mountain bike helmet with the perfect fit. Below we have compiled the best eight helmets for large heads.
What is a Large or Extra-Large Helmet?
Sizes of helmets can change significantly, not only between brands but even between certain makes of a helmet. For example, the Extra Large Fox Dropframe Helmet is sized at 58-60cm while the Extra Large Fox Proframe Helmet is measured to be 61-64cm. This makes it very difficult in selecting the right sized helmet for you. Typically, however, an XL helmet is 61cm+.
The recommended method is simply to measure the circumference of your head- about half an inch to an inch above your eyebrows- and record this measurement. Repeat multiple times to ensure a correct reading. If you are between sizes, go up to the larger size.
Top 4 Brands that offer MTB Helmets for Big Heads
Here are the top 4 brands and 8 different helmets that offer extra large sizes that will fit large heads. Its important to choose not only a helmet that fits, but also a MTB helmet that will offer the best protection for your type of riding. Be sure to check out how to decide between them at the end of the article.
These helmets in the XL range by Giro include the Montaro, Artex, Chronicle, Radix, and the Hex. All of these are high-quality products that vary on the style, protective systems in place, and price. The Giro Helmet range are some of the most popular helmets on the market, and it is easy to see why.
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 MIPS helmet is the more pricey lid of the lot. It has better ventilation (featuring the Roc Loc Air framework), and is slightly lighter weight. The Montaro also has few more features, such as an inbuilt camera mount and goggle integration. It also has an adjustable visor which can be easily adjusted with one hand while riding.
The inner lining features anti-microbial odor protection, which supposedly absorbs ten times what a standard mountain bike helmet would, and prevents the helmet from smelling from sweat. However, these pads have been said to wear out reasonably fast.
The Montaro features MIPS to protect your brain from damage from angled or rotational crashes. The design of the helmet is made to be durable, and having the bottom edge of the shell wrap underneath to reduce wear helps this considerably. This also gives it a very nice, professional look.
Giro Chronicle MIPS
The Chronicle provides the more simplistic design of the two but does not sacrifice protection in any way. It sits a little lower on your head, which some may prefer, and provides the same Roc Loc customized fit system as the Montaro.
It still provides MIPS, and the durability, comfort, and coverage are the same but simply has less of the features that the Montaro presents. So if you don’t need the integrated camera mount or the goggle holders, then this helmet is up there as one of the best value for money!
Bell similar to Giro also make great helmets including a few that come in extra large sizes. In particular those helmets are the Bell Sixer and the Bell 4Forty. See below for a more in-depth review for each of the helmets and their key features.
Bell Sixer MIPS
A great choice for any style of rider, whether you’re a safety-conscious commuter or an enduro rider, the sixer has enough protection and ventilation to keep everyone happy.
The idea with this helmet is that you barely notice it is on your head until you need it, of course! It has a very minimalistic design, lots of vents, a lightweight adjustable fitting system, and comfortable padding. None of this takes away from the protection, which is an in-mold polycarbonate shell (studier than a typical hard shell), and EPS liner and features MIPS to prevent angled or rotational crashes from damaging the brain.
It is unfortunately slightly heavier than many half-shell helmets, but in saying this, it is unlikely to be noticeable unless you have already been riding with a super lightweight helmet such as the POC Tectal Race SPIN (reviewed below). It has a sleek looking design, an incredibly sturdy visor, goggle and camera compatibility, good sweat management, and an all-round great helmet.
Bell 4Forty MIPS
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 the step down in the Bell range from the Sixer, but this does come with a decent price decrease too. It is a more affordable, but still very viable option in terms of comfort and protection. The Bell 4Forty is similar to the Sixer in that it also features the in-mold polycarbonate shell, EPS liner, and MIPS. It has slightly more coverage at the rear than the Sixer.
The 4Forty features 15 vents, so significantly less than the Sixer, but this is adequate for the majority of riding situations. And in being honest, with the help of the Sweat Guide system, you are unlikely to notice the difference in ventilation between the Sixer and 4Forty. The sweat guide system is in the form of well placed padding at the front of the helmet. The padding directs the sweat away from your eyes or eyewear.
In terms of weight, it is very similar to the Giro Montaro and lighter than the Sixer, at 406 g for a large. For its price, this is more than acceptable and, in fact, challenges helmets in price ranges of twice that of the 4Forty.
In saying this, the Bell 4Forty is insanely good value for money for any mountain bike rider!
POC are another large helmet manufacturer and make a large range of high end helmets. We like POC for their unique designs and high levels of protection. Their company mission statement is “To protect lives and reduce the consequences of accidents for athletes and anyone inspired to be one.”
POC Tectal Race SPIN
One of the best-looking mountain bike helmets on the market and is impressive in every other way. This includes comfort, protection, weight, and ventilation. Unfortunately, though, it does come with a bit heftier price tag. So it depends on how much you are planning on using it and obviously your budget.
The POC Tectal Race SPIN is one of the highest-rated helmets in the market, featuring the POC SPIN anti-rotational protective system. It has has extensive rear coverage, protection of the temples, and fits close to your head. POC even went a step further than most other brands to increase the structural integrity of the helmet by adding Aramid (a very lightweight, unbreakable, medical-grade organic fiber), which is molded to the EPS foam layer.
The helmet features a large easy to use the adjustable fit system, exceptionally sturdy adjustable straps, and an adjustable visor which is goggle/glasses compatible. The helmet meets every trail rider’s needs. And if there is one thing worth spending your money on, it would be protecting your head. You just can’t put a price on safety and comfort!
POC Axion SPIN
However, if you aren’t looking to spend so much, POC has come up with the Axion SPIN. It performs just as well as the Tectal Race SPIN, but without the little extras. It still has all the safety features, including SPIN technology, and an EPS liner and polycarbonate outer shell, still very comfortable and lightweight.
Differences come into play with the ventilation, which is only slightly less than that of the Tectal Race SPIN. And the other difference is the removable visor. The visor on the Axion is a breakaway visor, and is actually a safety advantage over the Tectal Race.
Other than that, the helmets are effectively the same! It still features the large adjustable fit system, the same exceptionally robust chin straps, and an adjustable visor (less range on the Axion than the Tectal Race SPIN). It is again very comfortable and still has a rather sleek look- if style is what you’re going for here!
Troy Lee Designs
Troy Lee Designs started out as a custom helmet painting service but are now one of the leading brands in mountain bike apparel and helmets. The have a great range of MTB helmets including both the A1 and A2 helmets that come in X-Large/2X-Large sizes for those larger heads!
Troy Lee Designs A1 MIPS
An incredibly comfortable lid, which looks good and manages to be safe all at the same time. Runs a little hot around the rear of the head, but that’s not an issue while you’re shredding the downhills!
The Troy Lee Designs A1 is rated as one of the best helmets for winter riding. Why winter riding, you ask? It is a very comfortable and protective helmet, but has quite poor ventilation. This leaves you a little too hot during the summer climbs. But other than this, the phenomenal protection, comfort, additional features, and price really make this a helmet to consider.
The A1 features a maximum coverage design, a MIPS liner, and an in-mold polycarbonate shell with an EPS liner to provide you with fantastic protection. It has an adjustable sizing system, although this has been reported to be slightly difficult to use while on a large head, so it may require the helmet to be taken off to adjust. The A1 also features anti-microbial padding. This padding absorbs the sweat, and reduces the odor build up.
In all, the helmet is going to be one that sits like a cloud on your head, and will protect you well in the event of a crash. For the rider with an XL head, buying the A1 is a decision you will never look back on!
Troy Lee Designs A2 MIPS
This is Troy Lee Designs step up from the A1. It is lighter, features more ventilation (thankfully!), and has a few more safety features. It doesn’t quite have the incredible comfort the A1 had, but that’s not to say its uncomfortable, just that the A1 fits like a glove!
The A2 features dual-density foam, EPS as well as EPP, which effectively means the helmet can take a few small crashes before you have to replace it, as opposed to just one crash with standard EPS foam.
The limited range of movement in the visor is really the only limiting factor with this helmet, and that’s only an issue if you want to store goggles on your helmet for parts of the ride. Otherwise, this is a helmet that should be recommended for all trail and enduro riders!
For a review on the newer model – TLD A3, see here.
Deciding Which Helmet
So, how to decide on a bicycle helmet for your big head? The top tier helmet in this pick is the POC Tectal Race SPIN, with unreal levels of comfort, lightweight, and ventilation, as well as above-standard protection levels. It is the more costly of the bunch, but you do get more than what you pay for with the Tectal Race SPIN. A special mention has to go to the Troy Lee Designs A2 MIPS helmet, which comes in a close second behind the POC Tectal Race for the top tier helmet!
Best value for money comes down to a three-way tie between the Giro Chronicle, Bell 4Forty, and the POC Axion SPIN. Needless to say, both the Chronicle and the 4Forty have more than fair price tags and still offer much the same protection as the other helmets twice their price. So if you are after a good helmet that still offers top-quality protection and durability, these will be your go-to. The Axion is also in this category, as it offers above and beyond comfort, style, protection, and many extra features for a very good price.
Whichever cycling helmet you do decide to go for, ensure that you prioritize the features you need for your style of riding. Lots of climbing? You will likely want greater ventilation, and maybe the anti-microbial sweat pads. Long rides? You may want to prioritize comfort and lightweight design. For more information on choosing the right helmet check out our mountain bike helmet buyers guide.
Having a larger head means all the more to protect! Make sure it fits well, don’t settle for one that doesn’t quite fit, as the repercussions are just not worth it. No matter your head size, there will be a helmet out there for any size and any head shape. (For narrow shaped heads, see here). The helmets we have listed all come in XL sizing, all are incredibly comfortable. And most importantly, all exceed safety standards.
For the top MTB helmet brands, see here.