Finding a helmet is a struggle sometimes, especially if you have a head shape that sits outside the normal range of sizes. We have collected the top mountain bike helmets for narrow or oval shaped heads so you don’t need to look any further!
The fit of a helmet is crucial. If the helmet can move around on your head in a crash, it will mean you are not fully protected. But on the other hand, comfort is also key. If you have an ill-fitting helmet, it can cause headaches, neck pain, or just make you not want to wear it at all.
Fortunately, there are a few features you can look for in a helmet that increase the chances of the helmet fitting. For example, a retention system that tightens equally around the helmet, not just the back. A good fitting system will also keep your head away from the shell of the helmet, giving a little more lee-way for narrower head shapes. Another to consider is padding. Having a plush liner can make all the difference, transforming an ill-fitting helmet into a secure and comfortable lid.
One thing we consider essential in all helmets these days, is slip-plane technology (such as MIPS or SPIN and many others). It provides a slip plane between the rider’s head and the shell of the helmet, allowing the shell of the helmet to move relative to the rider’s head in an angular crash. In doing so, it reduces the rotational energy transferred to the head, reducing the chances of brain damage. These days, we would never ride without it!
5 of the Best MTB Helmets for Narrow or Oval Shaped Heads
We have compiled a list of mountain bike helmets for people with narrow or oval-shaped heads.
- MIPS Technology
- Fantastic Ventilation
- Looks nice
- Fixed Visor
Giro is often reported as the best fitting brand for narrow or oval-shaped heads, and one of the better fitting helmets is the Giro Artex. It also makes use of the ever-important MIPS technology, which protects your head from brain damage following an angled impact.
The Giro Artex is a road helmet inspired design, but with all the necessary mountain biking technology. It has a fixed visor (although you can remove this if you want to go road riding) and slightly more coverage around the back of the head than a standard road helmet.
The Artex uses Giro’s Roc Loc 5 Air retention system. This system secures the helmet slightly off your head using symmetrical fitting. Effectively, this means that you won’t find any pressure points on the head as it tightens around the head, and your head is away from the more rigid shell.
It has a generous 25 vents to ensure you don’t get too warm while riding and the typical comfortable anti-microbial padding you find in the Giro lids. The anti-microbial padding prevents odor build-up, and you can remove the pads to give them a wash if need be!
An exceptionally well ventilated helmet, that is not only great for keep you cool even on slow climbs, but is also safe for the steeper descents. And it won't cost you an arm and a leg!
- MIPS Technology
- Great Ventilation
- Adjustable visor
- Visor too short to do much
The Radix is quite similar to the Artex. The main difference is the style. The Artex is more of a road bike style, while the Radix is a little more rounded. The Radix has a massive 24 vents, so the helmet is more vents than there is shell! What is left is a robust shell with MIPS, so you get a high performing and safe lid for your rides!
The Radix uses the updated Roc Loc Air 5.5 with MIPS integrated into the system. Again, this system helps keep the head away from the shell, giving it a little more flexibility when it comes to oval-shaped heads. It is also very adjustable. The Roc Loc system tightens in tiny increments, and you can tilt the helmet up and down the forehead to find that perfect fit.
The adjustable visor has an impressive 15 positions, which are easy to adjust using one hand while riding. The only issue is that the visor is really small, so it doesn’t actually do too much in terms of preventing the sun or branches from getting in your eyes. The padding is minimal but places strategically to ensure a comfortable fit.
It is simply a really good value helmet that performs well without breaking the bank. The Giro Radix certainly earned its spot in the best mountain bike helmets for narrow or oval shaped heads.
Troy Lee Designs A1
This helmet is rated one of the most comfortable helmets on the market. However, ventilation is poor and so is best suited for riding in cooler climates or if you don't mind a hothead.
- MIPS technology
- Very comfortable
- Good coverage of the head
- Adjustable visor
- Goggle storage
- Runs a bit warm
Troy Lee Designs is well known for its comfort. The very soft and thick padding forms around the head to iron out any irregularities in the head so that the helmet won’t squash your head at the front and back!
The Troy Lee Designs A1 is a top-end helmet aimed at trail riders wanting a little more protection around the rear of the head. The visor is adjustable, and goggles can be stored beneath the visor when climbing or when you just don’t need them on.
The only downside to the A1 is the limited ventilation. It isn’t the breeziest of helmets out there. If you ride in a cooler climate or want a winter lid, the A1 would be ideal! The padding is removable, and hence you can give them a quick wash if you do get a bit sweaty.
- MIPS Technology
- Well ventilated
- No visor
If you are looking for a cross country style helmet, consider the Oakley ARO3. It is different from the traditional trail helmet as it lacks a visor, and in doing so, becomes more aerodynamic. It has a little more rear coverage than a road helmet (so it protects the back of the head better in a crash) and is still very durable and strong to tackle tough crashes.
Oakley is the only brand at the moment using the BOA retention system to tighten the helmet around the head (typically used tightening biking shoes or snowboard boots etc.). The system tightens effectively around the head evenly without causing pressure points on any part of the head. The fitting system sits just off the helmet’s shell, so there is a bit of flexibility in sizing.
The Oakley ARO3 is lightweight, looks flash, is well ventilated. It is designed to go fast, so if you are a cross country rider, I would certainly consider the ARO3.
IXS Trail EVO
- Generous fit
- Good ventilation
- No-Slip Plane Technology
The IXS Trail EVO has a generous fit and thick comfortable padding. This makes it excellent for those with heads that struggle to fit any helmet.
The Trail EVO has managed a great balance between ventilation and protection (which often counter one another). The back of the helmet extends down the rear of the head to keep it protected, and the shell sits low on the head, so you don’t get the ‘bobblehead’ look. 22 vents assist the ventilation, so you won’t be getting too warm under this lid!
However, we have listed this helmet last as it does not have the essential safety or slip-plane technology such as MIPS. At MTB GearBox, we think that having slip-plane technology- which significantly reduces the chances of brain damage in an angular crash- is essential in helmets these days.
We have included this helmet as we figured a more extensive list is useful for riders who have struggled to find a fitting helmet. As a helmet without slip-plane technology is still better than no helmet!
Here we have rounded up the best mountain bike helmets for narrow or oval shaped heads on the market currently.
While nothing beats trying helmets on before purchasing, we understand that it can be tricky when there is less variety locally. We have narrowed down the search for you to the top 5 helmets for narrow or oval heads.
It is just about finding the right shape for you and for the type of riding you do!
If you want to look at more helmets, see: