Sometimes, while you are out riding, you just wish you could go back and show your friends and family just how sick the trails are and encourage them to head out with you! 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 due to advantages such as stability, higher point of view and reducing the vibrations while riding down a jarring track. It is better than attaching to your chest or to your bike as you head acts as a gimbal, so 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
- Is it Safe to Wear a Camera or GoPro while Biking?
- Where to Attach the Camera on the Mountain Bike Helmet?
- What is the Best GoPro Mount for Mountain Biking?
- What is the Difference between a Built-in and Separate Camera Mount?
- What is the Best GoPro for Mountain Biking?
- How to attach a GoPro to your Helmet
Best Helmets with Built-in Camera Mount
Open Face Helmets
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 a built-in GoPro mount and an adjustable visor which allows for goggle storage for when they aren’t so necessary.
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 meet the needs of both the downhill rider while still being comfortable for the enduro rider. Not only is there an integrated camera mount, but there are also built-in speaker pockets allowing you to listen to music while riding. It is very reasonably priced, considering it compares with the more expensive Bell Super Air R MIPS and the Troy Lee Designs Stage MIPS. However, the downfall of the Disciple is that it is not as light or breathable as the designers had 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 off the motocross-style helmet, all the lessons learnt 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’, which allows first responders to remove the helmet without moving head too much, and a GoPro mount. It is very comfortable, wicks moisture well, and has over brow ventilation to add to the existing 10 vents on the helmet 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, despite all the ventilation! The Full-9 also 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 fibreglass shell, an integrated camera mount and an adjustable visor. The ventilation is similar to the Full-9, 10 vents and 3 over brow ports. These certainly need a bit more work before we start riding uphill with them on, but they are 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 the best convertible downhill helmets on the market. It is downhill certified and has MIPS Spherical (which is effectively two layers of foam which work like a ball and socket joint to reduce angular energy transferred to the riders head) which is available only to Giro and Bell helmets. It is simple to detach and reattach the chin bar for when you need to switch from full face to open face and vice versa. It 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, but this one is downhill certified as both a full-face and open-face! It features MIPS, a significant amount of coverage when in an open face, and is one of the only helmets that cover the ears while in open face mode. 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 not downhill certified but is more aimed at the trail rider who feels a lot more comfortable wearing a chin bar. It is incredibly lightweight, breathable and well ventilated in both open-face and full-face mode. It looks very nice and is a very good price considering you get two helmets for the price of one! The Bell Super 3R is a helmet with a built-in GoPro mount.
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, ensuring 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 typically break or detach from the helmet in a crash.
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 no worse than rocks or eyewear, as risks of injury while mountain biking is always present. And on the flip side, Troy Lee Designs does not integrate camera mounts to the helmets as they are not convinced that integrated camera mounts are safe, based on their prototype testing.
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!