Mountain biking is an exciting sport. So exciting that sometimes you wish you could show non-riders what it is all about! That’s why you need one of the best mountain bike helmets with GoPro mounts integrated into them. Mountain bike helmets with a camera or GoPro mount integrated into them do exist, and they are actually becoming more and more common.
Attaching the GoPro to the helmet is one of the best positions to mount a camera. This is because it has better stability, a higher point of view and it reduces the vibrations while riding down a jarring track. It is better than attaching it to your chest or to your bike as your head acts as a gimbal, making your videos are a lot more watchable.
Here we have explained everything you need to know about riding with a camera mount, including where to get a helmet with a built-in camera mount.
Best Helmets with Built-in Camera Mount
Open Face Helmets with a GoPro Mount
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 Montaro is a well-designed helmet, with integrated MIPS, is comfortable and is reasonably light. Ventilation is the only slight flaw in the Montaro, as it can sometimes run a little warm while climbing. However, it does have anti-microbial pads which absorb moisture, preventing sweat from getting into your eyes.
The Montaro has an adjustable visor which allows for goggle storage below the visor when they aren’t needed.
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 Bell Sixer runs directly in contention with the Giro Montaro. Both are top-of-the-line helmets which have all the features you need, are safe, and comfortable.
The Sixer has the advantage of slightly better ventilation over the Montaro, but the Sixer is slightly heavier. Not to mention, it also has a built-in GoPro mount.
Full-Face Helmets with a GoPro Mount
Giro Disciple MIPS
A full-face helmet with MIPS, very comfortable, and very safe. Made more the hard-core downhill rider wanting some solid protective features.
The Disciple is specifically designed to be safe and comfortable. One of the coolest aspects is the built-in speaker pockets. This allows you to comfortably listen to tunes while sending it down the mountain!
The Bell Disciple is actually very reasonably priced. Especially if you compare it with the similar Bell Super Air R MIPS and the Troy Lee Designs Stage MIPS. The downfall of the Disciple is that it is not as light or breathable as you might have hoped.
Despite this, it is still a top-quality helmet at a more than fair price.
Developed from a motorbike style helmet, the full 9 is certainly one of the most sturdy, solid full-face helmets you can come across on the market right now. Made for the downhill rider who wants to have absolute confidence that they are in good hands.
The Bell Full 9 is based on the motocross-style helmet. All the lessons learned from the Moto-9 went into creating a very safe downhill full-face helmet. It features a lightweight full carbon shell, ‘eject helmet removal system’. This allows first responders to remove the helmet without moving the head too much.
The Bell Full 9 is very comfortable, wicks moisture well, and has over brow ventilation for improved airflow. It is a helmet made for shuttles and chair lifts (as many downhill helmets are) given that it would be a little warm.
The helmet has built-in speakers to add to the experience, as well as magnetic cheek pads to make them simple to remove and wash!
Bell Full-9 Fusion MIPS
The baby of the full 9, lighter, thinner, but have dropped the built-in speakers and the magnetic cheek pads. A very substantial helmet which gives the rider a sense of security and safety while wearing it.
The Bell Full-9 Fusion is the lighter no-compromise version of the Full-9, made for riders who are ready to send! It features MIPS (an update from the Full-9), a fiberglass shell, an integrated camera mount and an adjustable visor.
The ventilation is similar to the Full-9 with 10 vents and 3 over brow ports. While I won’t be riding uphills in this helmet any time soon, it is very safe and comfortable for the chairlift or shuttle laps!
Convertible Helmets with a GoPro Mount
Bell Super DH Spherical
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 convertible downhill helmets on the market. It is downhill certified and has the fantastic new MIPS Spherical technology. MIPS Spherical is effectively two layers of foam that work like a ball and socket joint. It works to reduce angular energy transferred to the rider’s head.
The chin bar is simple and quick to take on and off. The Super DH is insanely comfortable, features the integrated GoPro mount, and looks good too!
Giro Switchblade MIPS
Hot and heavy, but is downhill certified as both a full face and open face helmet. In terms of safety, it is hard to beat, so ideal for the rider who wants to be sending those park laps with confidence.
The Giro Switchblade is another downhill certified helmet. It is actually one of the only helmets that is downhill certified as both a full-face and open-face, so it is a pretty safe helmet!
It features MIPS and a significant amount of coverage when in an open face. The Switchblade is one of the only helmets that cover the ears while in open face mode- up to personal preference on how you feel about this! The Switchblade is a helmet with a built-in GoPro mount, comfortable padding and an adjustable visor for goggle storage.
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 with a built-in GoPro mount. It is not a downhill-certified helmet. It is aimed more at the trail rider who feels a lot more comfortable wearing a chin bar.
The 3R is incredibly lightweight, breathable and well ventilated in both open-face and full-face mode. It looks very nice and is a phenomenal price considering you get two helmets for the price of one!
For a more in-depth review of the Bell Super 3R and Super DH, check out our comparison here.
Is it Safe to Wear a Camera or GoPro while Biking?
The camera mount is designed to break away in the event of a crash. This ensures the helmet performance is not impaired, and the helmet is not damaged by the camera mount. The camera mount is not designed to withstand any significant impact and is designed to detach from the helmet in a crash.
What do the manufacturers say?
Giro has mentioned that their mounts cause no additional loads for the neck or the brain as the mount will break away before causing any damage. Specialized states that having a camera attached to the head could still cause injury. But they add that it is no worse than rocks or eyewear, as risks of injury while mountain biking is always present.
However, Troy Lee Designs does not integrate camera mounts into the helmets. They say they are not convinced that integrated camera mounts are safe, based on their prototype testing.
To read this article in full, see here.
What do the experts say?
The vast majority of studies to date have concluded that having a camera mount attached to the helmet does not necessarily make the helmet unsafe. One study in 2015 (by the Transport Research Laboratory) found that having the camera increased the time it took for the helmet to come to a stop when dropped directly on the camera, reducing the impact felt by the head, similar to having a large crumple zone on a car. The same study did find that angular crashes were made a bit more difficult to determine, as it causes the head to jerk back before the camera breaks away.
The results of the study concluded that safety of the helmet is not impaired by having a camera mount, but also noted that the tests were conducted under specific impact configurations, and so many variables (such as rocks, angle, speed, terrain) would significantly affect those conclusions.
Where to Attach the Camera on the Mountain Bike Helmet?
There are three options when it comes to mounting the GoPro on your helmet:
- Top of the helmet
- Side of the helmet
- On the chin bar
By placing the camera on the top of the helmet, you get the closest point of view to what the rider is seeing. It is the most common position for a camera mount.
Side of the helmet can often look quite cool as it can give a view showing a bit of the rider’s face or helmet which gives the viewer more of a perspective. Placing a camera on the chin mount is less common, and serves no real advantage that we can think of. Generally, we would place the camera on the top of the helmet, which is the idea of the helmet manufacturers who have done the same.
What is the Best GoPro Mount for Mountain Biking?
Easily the best GoPro mount for mountain biking is on the helmet, as opposed to handlebar or chest mounts. You get clear and crisp footage due to your head acting as a gimble (which is a stabilizer, allowing the shots to be much more clear). It also shows the track from higher up, making things look steeper and more daunting than if the camera were attached to your chest or bike.
Now that we have determined that, there is also a number of specific GoPro mounts for the helmet if you are NOT looking for a helmet with a built-in mount (or you want more mounts!).
First, we have the GoPro Flat and Curved mounts. These can be easily mounted on any flat or curved surface, and they usually come in a pack so you can have multiple mounts to quickly change your GoPro between mounts.
GoPro Front Facing Mounts sit right above your forehead, giving a shot as close to your point of view as possible (as the camera is directly above your eyes). There is also the GoPro chin mount which gives a similar effect. The chin mount obviously only works if you have a full-face helmet or chin strap on a convertible helmet!
There is also the GoPro Vented Helmet Strap mount. This mount allows you to Velcro the mount through the vents rather than using adhesives to stick the mount to the helmet.
It allows you to quickly change the mount if you want to swap helmets or position on the helmet. However, it may provide a health and safety risk given that it will not break away at all in a crash, potentially bending your neck at awkward angles.
What is the Difference between a Built-in and Separate Camera Mount?
The built-in camera mounts don’t rotate, but they do provide different angles that the camera can be placed on. This can be an advantage, though, as there is always the assurance that you have the camera facing straight, not slightly crooked! The built-in mounts have a break-away feature, so the likelihood of having an awkward crash decreases significantly.
What is the Best GoPro for Mountain Biking?
- GoPro Hero 9 Black is the latest and greatest in the GoPro series, coming out September 2020. The upgrade from the Hero 8 comes with a new design, greater resolution, an improved battery life, larger size, a front display, scheduled capture and records 30 seconds before you push the start button so there’s no rush to begin recording.
- GoPro Hero 8 Black with HyperSmooth 2.0 stabilization function (the difference is negligible between the updated HyperSmooth systems) is a bit smaller, battery life isn’t as good as the 9, and doesn’t have a few of the fancy tricks that the 9 has.
- GoPro Max is a little different from the Hero range as it comes as two cameras in one. A regular action one and a 360 degree one. It a bit bigger, which isn’t optimal for biking, but in most other ways is a higher quality camera than the Hero 8.
How to attach a GoPro to your Helmet
Having a built-in camera mount makes it very simple. The GoPro will come instructions, but it generally just pops in, and then you tighten with the bolt directly beneath the camera.
Helmets with a built-in camera mount make for a very simple process of attaching a camera. The helmets that do have integrated GoPro mounts are all top-quality helmets, which have solid safety features and made for all-day riding. The major advantage of having an integrated camera mount is because they break-away on impact, which prevents your head from bending at awkward angles in a crash. And when thinking about it, you are wearing the helmet to keep your head safe, so not having the break-away mount seems counter-intuitive.
The addition of a camera to your riding is an awesome experience, and whether you are filming another rider or capturing your own lines, cameras have become a large part of the mountain biking community. And its working, showing others of the incredible experiences people have while riding is definitely an incentive for others to grab a bike and send it down the trails!