The best bicycle helmet for commuters
the Chamonix from Specialized achieves every quality check mark we have, is certified by Snell, and has performed well in Virginia Tech tests. But it is only available in one size; The Echelon II comes in three sizes, so it’s more likely to provide a better fit and only costs $ 10 more
the Specialized Propero III replaced the Propero II and is a more expensive sibling than the Echelon. It has the same great adjustments as the Echelon and a slightly higher price tag due to its lighter overall weight and thinner chin bars. However, his stock is now very low and may not be long for this world.
the Giro Sutton was part of the first batch of commuter helmets and our 2015 test group appreciated its style and surprisingly efficient ventilation. However, its elastic retention system was not as effective as the plastic ones found on newer picks. It was recently updated with a MIPS liner and dial adjuster; we will come back to that soon.
We watched the Scott Groove More but set it aside because of the way the foam protrudes in the front to create a visor – this was not deemed necessary for slip reasons.
The adjustment wheel on the Nutcase Metroride adjusts in very large increments, much larger than other helmets we’ve reviewed. If your best fit is somewhere in between one of the two clicks (like mine was), the helmet will either feel too loose or too tight. If you like the look of this helmet, give it a try before you buy it.
We have heard a lot about Thousand headphones, mostly by word of mouth, as runners love the look. However, we did not test it because it did not meet our criteria for adequate ventilation.
the Giro Revel got brilliant ratings from most users on Amazon, REI and Singletracks. Its downside is its universal adult size – several testers complained that they couldn’t get a comfortable fit no matter how much time was spent with the adjustments. (The Revel has since been replaced by newer models, including the Register and Isode; since they still use universal adult sizing, we won’t be testing them.)
The Kali Chakra Plus is interesting – the makers of Kali helmets are creating a lot of proprietary systems when it comes to impact resistance and rotational force technologies. They also have the best crash protection policy in the industry – full helmet replacement in the event of a crash, with no restrictions on how long it has been since you bought it. Unfortunately, the fit was odd. It rode high on the testers’ heads and the tuning dial looked shaky compared to our budget pick. Since we tested it, the Chakra Plus model has been discontinued, but we’ll be looking at Kali’s new options.
A company called Lumos is making an increasingly popular helmet, the Kickstart, which incorporates LED lights: white facing forward, red facing back and amber on the front and rear “corners” of the helmets that serve as turn signals. (You trigger the turn signals via a remote control that you attach to your bike’s handlebars.) The lights work well, although you have to remember to turn the turn signal off after you’re done with your turn, as there is no of “flashing” sound to remind you, but we see a fundamental problem with incorporating such technology into a headset. Bicycle helmets are, by design, “one and done”: that is, a helmet is meant to be replaced if you hit your head, even if it appears to be in good condition. (What you can’t see is if the foam liner has been fatally compromised – that kind of damage will be hidden by the outer shell.) However, after you sunk $ 180 into a helmet with turn signal electronics that can’t transfer it to a new helmet (so far they can’t), you might understandably be reluctant to throw it away just because it might have invisible damage. And Lumos offers no collision coverage or discounts to mitigate this financial blow. (The helmet is also available in one size, which is another big deal for us.) Lumos makes three other styles of helmet, including an even more expensive helmet called Matrix, which has a programmable LED panel on the back – but again, they’re all only available in one size, and the electronics can’t be transferred to a new headset if you need to replace the old one.