LAST UPDATED: November 13, 2019
Best Full Face Mountain Bike Helmets: Extra Protection for your Head
Try these top full-face mountain bike helmets for maximum protection when cycling off-road
The Review Team
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PUBLISHED ON November 13, 2019
If you like to ride off-road, there’s nothing better than hurtling full speed down a rocky hillside. A quality helmet is a sensible idea wherever you’re cycling, and bouncing rocks and uneven terrain might have you looking for something a little more rugged. Full-face helmets surround your entire head and provide additional protection to your neck and other areas that a standard helmet won’t cover. They often include visors and wider chin straps to guard against contact with flying debris and interior padding for maximum cushioning in the event of a collision. These are our top picks for the best mountain bike helmets.
A CPCS-certified helmet is available in a range of different designs, colors, and sizes. Includes a removable, washable liner for easy cleaning and an EPS foam interior that molds to the shape of your head for a comfortable, secure fit.
At just over two pounds, the polycarbonate shell provides solid but lightweight protection. Features 13 strategically placed vents for maximum comfort and ventilation.
Good temperature control for comfort in varying levels of humidity thanks to vents and efficient padding. Visor is fully adjustable for use with glasses or goggles.
A 2.9-pound CPCS-compliant helmet in matte black designed for BMX and MTB riders aged 14 and up. Fits head sizes 22 to 23 inches. Features integrated ventilation system and full coverage padding for maximum comfort and warmth in colder climates.
Cheek pads are removable and hand washable. Includes full neck roll for additional comfort and superior protection.
Only available in one color and style. Full-interior padding around the face makes sizing difficult to judge by just head circumference.
This helmet has a tough ABS shell construction and a smaller profile than most full face helmets to make it more lightweight for performing dirt jumps and other mountain biking maneuvers.
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Benefits of Full Face Mountain Bike Helmets
- Protection from injury. If you like to ride at high speeds, a full face bike helmet can offer you the protection you need - especially when you’re riding on new trails. It is impact-resistant and perfect for riders who want to avoid injury. The helmet protects your head from large rocks, tree trunks, and hard tree roots, preventing scratches, bruises, and severe injury.
- Ideal for difficult trails. What makes mountain biking so exciting is the ability to explore challenging trails. However, the numerous bumps, twists, and turns can result in multiple, and sometimes severe crashes. The best full face mountain bike helmet allows you to ride on difficult terrain with peace of mind.
- Perfect for bike tricks. Mountain bikers who love riding downhill, dirt jumping, and doing bike tricks are highly susceptible to head and face injuries. Full-face bike helmets have extra padding around the head and face to make mountain biking safer. You won’t have to worry about loose dirt or gravel, causing you to lose your balance.
Types of Full Face Mountain Bike Helmets
Enduro Mountain Bike Helmets
These protect your jaw, face, and entire head. They are perfect for downhill riding or airborne tricks. They shield you against severe injury by limiting the rotations your neck and head undergo during a crash. Enduro full-face mountain bike helmets are designed to minimize the bumps that occur after a fall. Their cushioning lessens the likelihood of serious injury or brain trauma.
Convertible Mountain Bike Helmets
Convertible helmets are adaptable and can transform from full face to half face and vice versa. They come with a removable chin bar that can be attached or detached. When you wear the half-shell helmet, you can ride comfortably on trails with moderate complexity. You can also ride aggressively downhill.
Troy Lee Designs
With a headquarters in Corona, Calif., this American brand manufactures sports clothing and custom paint. It was established in 1981 by Troy Lee. The company’s very first products were custom painted helmets. Its mission is to produce revolutionary equipment for racers and racing enthusiasts. One of its best full-face mountain bike helmets is the Troy Lee Designs D3 Fiberlite US Helmet.
Founded in 1974 by Peter Fox, this American lifestyle brand is known for its clothing and gear for extreme sports. It’s run by the founder and his two sons and is headquartered in Irvine, Calif. Fox Racing believes in enhancing athletic performance by progressively pioneering motocross gear and apparel. The Fox Proframe Full Face MTB Bike Helmet is one of its bestselling products.
Bell Helmets was founded in 1956 by Roy Richter as a division of the Bell Auto Parts store. It’s located in Bell, Calif. In 1968, the first Bell full-face motorcycle helmet, a Star model, was released. Everything the company designs fulfills a unique set of needs. While Bell Helmets has many products, the Bell Servo Adult BMX Helmet is one of its best.
This company was established in 1982 by Drew Lien in Los Angeles. Its headquarters are currently in San Diego, Calif. It is a lifestyle and sportswear brand that creates MTB helmets, protective gear, performance goggles, gloves, and sportswear. The company’s name is based on the question, "How much effort do you give?” The 100% Aircraft MIPS Helmet attests to the fact that the company does indeed put in 100 percent effort.
Full Face Mountain Bike Helmet Pricing
- Under $100: These are budget-friendly, low-profile helmets with a limited size range. They have little ventilation and are less breathable than more expensive helmets. They may also be heavier and have fixed visors.
- $100-$200: These helmets are comfortable with removable, washable liners. Their visors are detachable and the adjustable buckles make for a better fit. They are designed for protection against high-impact falls.
- $200 and up: These helmets are light, strong, and durable. They remain cool in hot weather and come in a wide range of sizes. They have numerous safety features and may have removable chin bars and adjustable visors.
Fit is a very important feature when choosing full-face helmets because it dictates safety. Head shape usually varies from one rider to another, so the best way to find out which helmet fits perfectly is to try out several. A good full-face mountain bike helmet should fit comfortably and not rattle as you ride on harsh terrain.
Mountain bike helmets now feature air channels, vents, and liners to avoid trapping heat and air. The best ones have padding made from open-cell foam and are covered in a soft, absorbent fabric. These features keep the helmet in one place and enhance comfort by boosting air circulation. It's very important to have airflow when wearing a helmet.
To find a helmet that fits snugly, look for this crucial feature: adjustability. Adjustable helmets are the best because they can fit numerous head shapes and sizes. Dials located at the backs of the helmets ensure easy and swift adjustment. This feature goes a long way toward helping you to stay comfortable on long rides and across diverse terrains.
- Visor: The best full-face mountain bike helmet has a built-in visor that shields you from the elements as you ride. The visor keeps the sun’s rays off your eyes, helping you to have clear vision. Before buying a helmet, check how adjustable its visor is and also its attachment style. A visor that can be easily adjusted by hand is best.
- Chin Bar: There are two major chin bar (chin guard) designs on full-face bike helmets: regular and convertible. Regular chin bars are usually built into the helmets, while convertible chin bars are detachable. Convertible chin bars are ideal for riders with mixed riding styles who change terrains often. For enhanced comfort, the chin guard should be positioned a good distance away from your mouth.
- Accessory Mount: Whether you want to mount a camera, a light, or any other accessory, a helmet mount can make the job easier. A camera mount can allow you to create awesome videos so you can increase your social media popularity. A bike helmet light improves visibility, enabling you to ride later at night.
Best Full Face Mountain Bike Helmet Reviews & Recommendations 2020
The first thing that tells you this helmet is high quality is the CPCS certification. CPCS stands for Consumer Product Safety Commission. The organization’s certification shows that a bike helmet has met its requirements for assembly, protrusions, and structural integrity. This helmet has a polycarbonate shell and is tough yet lightweight. You can wear your own protective goggles because it’s open at the front.
The comfy interior made of EPS foam adjusts to your head’s shape for a secure fit. You’ll barely feel the helmet as you ride. And with numerous colors available, you can get a helmet that matches your mountain bike. The removable, washable liner makes the helmet easy to clean and maintain.
This full-face mountain bike helmet has 13 strategically-located vents that increase breathability for superior comfort. However, it is quite small and may not fit larger heads. The liner is also fiddly and a bit awkward to remove.
Specifically created for MTB riders aged 14 years and older, this mountain bike helmet can comfortably fit heads measuring 22 to 23 inches. It has a Kevlar/Fiberglass composite shell and only weighs 2.9 pounds. Its removable, washable, anti-microbial, X-Static XT2 silver liner absorbs impact energy, ensuring less of it gets transmitted to your head.
For maximum comfort and temperature control, the helmet features full-coverage padding and a ventilation system. It is CPSC certified and includes a complete neck roll for superior protection. To guarantee its quality, the manufacturer offers a five-year warranty.
The helmet is fitted with contour-cut cheek pads that are removable and easily washable by hand. But it has a few downsides. It only comes in one style and color, limiting your options. Additionally, it’s hard to accurately tell its size using the head circumference chart because of the full inner padding surrounding the face.
For mountain and BMX riders who want full face protection from a lightweight helmet, we recommend the Bell Sanction, which is a full face helmet weighing less than two pounds. This helmet is CPSC-compliant, and designed with a tough ABS plastic shell that can absorb the shock from aggressive mountain biking.
It has a youthful, moto-inspired design with graphics running from the top to the back of the helmet. This modern sporty design is meant to complement the look of most contemporary bicycles. In addition, a short visor is attached with metal screws at either side of the helmet.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with sufficient vents around the back of the helmet, so your head can get really sweaty on a hot day. Consider going a size up when getting this helmet—the sizes run small. Otherwise, it may feel tight around the jaws or you may have to forego wearing riding goggles.
- There’s no point wearing a helmet if it’s loose or fits poorly. Make sure it’s square on your head, not tipped back or forward, and make sure the chin strap is adjusted so it sits firmly against your throat.
- Excessive heat can affect the integrity of your helmet, so be careful about exposing it to direct sunlight for long periods.
- Certification from the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) or the Snell Foundation indicates a very high-quality helmet, but all helmets should at the very minimum be approved by the U.S. Consumer Product’s Safety Commission (CPSC).
Q: How do I make sure I get the right fit for my mountain bike helmet?
A: Make sure that it’s comfortable yet secure. Use a measuring tape to find the circumference of the widest part of your head (usually just above the eyebrows) and compare that against the size chart provided by the manufacturer.
Q: Am I legally required to wear a helmet when cycling?
A: While it’s a legal requirement across most states for children, adults are not mandated to wear a helmet while using a bicycle. However, accidents can happen no matter the perceived risk or the distance involved, and a good helmet can make a big difference. We recommend that adults and children alike wear a suitable helmet on every ride.
Q: What’s the difference between a road bike helmet and an MTB helmet?
A: Both offer decent protection against impact and collision, and in a lot of cases they will look identical. A road bike helmet might be lighter and more aerodynamic for improved speed, whereas an MTB helmet is likely to include extra protective features, such as a visor and wider chin strap to deal with bouncy off-road terrain.
Coming in a range of designs and weighing in at just over 2 pounds, the lightweight Demon United Podium Helmet is our best full-face MTB helmet overall.
Our best value pick is the slightly heavier, super-padded Bell Servo Adult Helmet.