If you tend to get a bit sweatier than most while riding, or you ride in a super-hot area of the world, you are going to want a helmet that deals with sweat.
We have found the best helmets to keep you as cool as possible while riding and helmets that manage to direct sweat away from the face.
Best Mountain Bike Helmets for Sweaty Riders
There are a few things you will want to look for in a helmet to reduce the sweat
- Good ventilation
- Moisture Wicking Padding
- Removable (and hence washable) or anti-microbial padding to reduce the odor build-up
- Sweat guides (will be explained below)
A helmet’s primary purpose is to protect your head. Ventilation and sweat management is an additional feature which is considered good to have but not essential. Hence you tend to pay a bit more for the best ventilated lids as it requires a bit more design.
However, so we can suit all buyers, we have also found some ‘budget’ helmets that do almost as good of a job as the top lids!
Fox Speedframe Pro Helmet Review
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.
- Very High Safety Ratings
- Well ventilated
- Tricky fit for wider heads
- Visor only has three positions
- Visor not compatible with larger goggles
On the pricier end of our scale, we have the Fox Speedframe Pro. It is made to be lightweight, breathable, and highly protective, so if you don’t mind spending the little extra, it is highly worth it!
It has 19 vents, including 3 over brow ports and internal channeling. You can feel the breeze even at lower speeds, and if the heat does build-up, it is quickly dissipated when you move a little faster! The padding is moisture-wicking too, so it absorbs the sweat and prevents it from getting into your eyewear. The anti-microbial padding stops odor from building up, and it is removable and washable for those extra sweaty rides!
The Speedframe Pro was ranked as one of the top helmets in Virginia Techs safety ratings. This is down to its dual-density EPS foam layering, which results in the energy from both high speed and low speed crashed being absorbed much more efficiently than a single foam layer. It has a MIPS liner, which reduces energy transferred to the rider’s head following angular crashes too.
Specialized Ambush Comp Helmet Review
- Performance and Comfort
- Great Ventilation
- Padding isn’t as thick as you would expect
The Specialized Ambush is another top-of-the-line helmet that has been incredibly successful in developing a helmet that circulates the air through the helmet to keep you cool. I have been riding with this helmet for the past two years and being a sweaty rider myself, and I cannot recommend it enough in terms of ventilation!
With the so-called ‘4th dimensional’ cooling system, the Ambush vents well. With the 20 vents, internal channeling, and no rotational impact technology getting in the way, you can see through the helmet, which makes up the 4th-dimensional cooling technology!
The Ambush is impressive in every other aspect too. The features are endless, and the helmet is well equipped with safety technology, including the MIPS SL technology that rotates with the rider’s head to prevent any damage occurring to the rider’s brain. It has decent coverage around the back of the head and over the temples to keep your noggin safe.
The helmet can also come with ANGi technology (for an additional price), which helps you be located if you come off. This is perfect if you often ride on your own out in remote places.
Check out our comparison of the Specialized Ambush vs
100% Altec Helmet Review
- Great Ventilation
- Anti-microbial, washable padding
- Goggle storage beneath the visor
- Less coverage around the rear of the head
100% only designed one open face helmet (they generally focus on the full-face range), and they have nailed every point that matters! The ventilation is on the same levels as the Ambush and the Speedframe, but comes with a lighter price tag!
The Altec has 15 enormously sized vents, which allow sufficient amounts of air to flow right through. The padding on the inside of the helmet also helps keep the sweat from your eyes, and the anti-microbial material prevents odor build-up.
Unlike the other helmets in this discussion, the Altec doesn’t come with MIPS anti-rotational technology. It uses the SmartShock system instead, which works by giving an inner liner the ability to rotate and compress during a crash. This reduces the energy from both direct and angular impacts, helping prevent injury to the rider’s head.
Giro Fixture Helmet Review
For the rider who wants to look like they spent more, doesn’t mind a fixed visor, but still wants all the other features that come with a more expensive lid.
- Great Ventilation
- MIPS Technology
- Quick Dry padding
- Fixed Visor
- One size fits all
For those wanting a helmet that isn’t top-of-the-line but will still keep you reasonably cool, the Fixture is the way to go! It is rather in-expensive, and while it doesn’t have the specs of the Speedframe or the Altec, it does its job well!
The Fixture uses MIPS technology to prevent brain damage from angular crashes and a Roc Loc system to keep a great fit of the helmet on your head. The only negative on this well-designed helmet is the fixed visor. Not being able to move the visor is less desirable if you want to ride with goggles as you can’t store goggles on the helmet. Otherwise, it does direct the air into the intake vents to help improve the ventilation. So, you can’t complain about that too much!
With the help of the visor, the Fixture has great ventilation properties. With 18 generously sized vents and quick-dry padding, the rider is bound to keep cool and sweat-free during a ride!
For other in-expensive lids with good ventilation, check out the comparison between the Giro Fixture and the Smith Convoy.
Bell Sixer Helmet Review
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.
- Great ventilation
- Excellent safety features
- Adjustable visor- can store goggles
- X-Static Padding
- Heavier than its competition
Last but not least is the Bell Sixer. An exceptional helmet with great ventilation to keep even the sweatiest of riders comfortable.
It has an impressive 26 vents, including internal channeling to get the air through the helmet easily, keeping the rider sweat-free. The Sixer features Bell’s X-Static padding, which integrates real silver threads into the fabric to reduce the odor build-up. The design also incorporates a sweat guide system, which draws the sweat away from the eyewear.
In terms of safety, it has a MIPS liner, multi-density foam (reduces energy in high and low-speed crashes), and good coverage around the rear of the head. The helmet fits like a glove, feels like a cloud, and won’t shift in the case of a crash. The Bell Float Fit system means there are no pressure points against the head, and the padding is so soft, making an incredibly comfortable fit!
So how to choose?
Basically, just look at what you value most in a helmet- whether it is ventilation, comfort, or safety, and select one based on your budget. We would recommend the Fixture as the more budget option for a sweaty rider, but the Fox Speedframe is well worth the money if you don’t mind spending that bit extra on a higher-performing helmet with more safety features.
The Bell Sixer is incredibly comfortable, as well as being well ventilated and safe, so we always recommend this as a great value for money helmet too.