12 of the Safest Road Bike Helmets for 2020


While any helmet is better than no helmet, you’re undoubtedly better off looking for the safest bicycle helmet that you can get your hands on. This raises the question, “what is the safest road bike helmet”?

Cyclist raising arms winning race
Image by pasja1000 from Pixabay

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In the United States, all bicycle helmets sold or imported must comply with U.S. CPSC Safety Standard for Bicycle Helmets. That sure is a good thing, but is it enough? Surely some helmets must be safer and sturdier than others. How can you tell which is safer and which isn’t?

Since 2011, there has been independent testing of helmets conducted by Virginia Tech (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University). In 2018, they started making the test results public, which has increased awareness and competitiveness amongst helmet manufacturers. This is a good thing as now the focus is on safety and which helmets can best protect against head injuries rather than simply complying with CPSC Standards.

Virginia Tech’s test results give each helmet a score (the lower the score, the better the protection) which in turn equates to a Star Rating, with 5 Star being the best. To see what I mean about awareness and competitiveness amongst helmet manufacturers, in the Virginia Tech bicycle helmet tests of May 2018 only 4 helmets out of 30 achieved a 5 Star rating. Now compare that with the most recent round of tests in March 2020, where 99 bicycle helmets were tested and 37 achieved a 5 Star rating. That is not good. That is GREAT!

Listed below is a selection of 12 road bike helmets that scored a 5 Star rating in Virginia Tech’s March 2020 bicycle helmets ratings. Surprisingly, many of the safest helmets listed below are quite reasonably priced.
As prices can change from one day to the next, I won’t show the actual price, but I will give an indication of the price with the following:
Less than $99 = $
$100 to $199 = $$
More than $200 = $$$

If safety is what will determine your next helmet purchase, no need to go any further than the helmets listed below.

JUMP TO :
1. Lazer G1 MIPS Bike Helmet
2. Bell Z20 MIPS Bike Helmet
3. Bell Formula MIPS Bike Helmet
4. Lazer Z1 MIPS Bike Helmet
5. Rudy Project Racemaster MIPS Bike Helmet
6. Lazer BLADE+ MIPS Bike Helmet
7. Bell Z20 Aero MIPS Bike Helmet
8. Giro Aether MIPS SP Bike Helmet
9. Bell Stratus MIPS Bike Helmet
10. Giro Synthe MIPS Bike Helmet
11. Giro Syntax MIPS Bike Helmet
12. Smith Route MIPS Bike Helmet


1. Lazer G1 MIPS Bike Helmet


Lazer G1 MIPS Bike Helmet is available on Amazon

The Lazer G1, aka Lazer Genesis, is Lazer’s lightest helmet weighing in at only 230g for the Small size, and around 260g for the Medium. The G1 also boasts improved ventilation with 22 vents and interior channeling. The Lazer G1 also comes with two sets of pads – race pads and comfort pads. The comfort pads are for regular day to day use, while the race pads are thinner and lighter for race days.

The Advanced Rollsys fit system at the top rear of the helmet makes it ponytail friendly and provides a more even fit all over rather than just pulled around to the back. With built-in MIPS brain protection system and its new sleek look and you have a helmet that looks great anywhere.

Don’t forget that Lazer also has a Crash Replacement Program, however, conditions apply.

Main features summary:

  • Virginia Tech maximum 5-star safety rating
  • Polycarbonate shell
  • 22 vents w/internal channeling
  • MIPS protection
  • Advanced Rollsys fit system
  • 2 types of padding (race and comfort)
  • CPSC, EN-1078, AS/NZS:2063 certified
  • Weight 260 grams (Medium size)
  • Price $$$

Link to our LAZER bike helmet size chart.
Link to our article How to Know Your Helmet Size.

Courtesy of Lazer Sport on Youtube.

2. Bell Z20 MIPS Bike Helmet


Bell Z20 MIPS Bike Helmet is available on Amazon.

Bell describes the Z20 MIPS helmet as their flagship road helmet with optimized aerodynamics garnered from more than 60 years of manufacturing and testing experience. Built with an in-mold polycarbonate shell and an EPS inner layer using a progressive layering technology for better durability, it has the MIPS brain protection system built-in for added safety. Bell’s Z20 MIPS weighs in at 305g for the Medium size.

The Z20’s interior is lined with Bell’s sweat-wicking X-Static padding to reduce sweat and provide a layer of comfort. The comfort level is enhanced by the 18 vents and front to rear channeling. The Float Fit retention system works well to provide a personalized fit using the adjustable dial at the rear of the helmet.

Main features summary:

  • Virginia Tech maximum 5-star safety rating
  • Polycarbonate shell
  • 18 vents with channeling
  • MIPS protection
  • Float Fit retention system
  • X-Static padding
  • CPSC, EN-1078 certified
  • Weight 305 grams (Medium size)
  • Price $$ – $$$

Link to our BELL bike helmet size chart.
Link to our article How to Know Your Helmet Size.


3. Bell Formula MIPS Bike Helmet

Bell Formula MIPS Bike Helmet is available on Amazon.

The Bell Formula MIPS helmet is proof positive that quality and MIPS safety don’t have to cost the earth. At a MSRP of less than $100, the Bell Formula MIPS helmet truly represents value for money.

The outer shell is made with the in-mold polycarbonate and EPS internal liner fused together for added strength, and MIPS brain protection system to create an even safer helmet. It uses the Float Fit retention system for better fit, and the sweat guide pad design inside to draw sweat away from the eyes. Nineteen vents keeps the wearer’s head cool on the hottest of days.

Main features summary:

  • Virginia Tech maximum 5-star safety rating
  • Polycarbonate shell
  • 19 air vents
  • MIPS protection
  • Float Fit retention system
  • Sweat Guide padding
  • CPSC, EN-1078 certified
  • Weight 346 grams
  • Price $

Link to our BELL bike helmet size chart.
Link to our article How to Know Your Helmet Size.


4. Lazer Z1 MIPS Bike Helmet

Lazer Z1 MIPS Bike Helmet is available on Amazon.

Weighing in at 230g for the Small size, the Lazer Z1 MIPS must be one of the lightest helmets on the market. So light you would forget you were wearing a helmet. An in-mold construction of the outer shell and inner layer, whilst still leaving room for a whopping 31 vents. No wonder it’s so light.

An Advanced Rollsys fitting system to keep it snug and secure on your head. The top, rear adjuster makes it ponytail friendly as well. The MIPS brain protection system is also included to absorb energy in the event of an accident.

Don’t forget that Lazer also has a Crash Replacement Program, however, conditions apply.

Main features summary:

  • Virginia Tech maximum 5-star safety rating
  • Polycarbonate shell
  • 31 vents
  • MIPS protection
  • Advanced Rollsys fitting system
  • 2 types of padding (race and comfort)
  • CPSC, EN-1078, AS/NZS:2063 certified
  • Weight 230 grams (Small size)
  • Price $$

Link to our LAZER bike helmet size chart.
Link to our article How to Know Your Helmet Size.


5. Rudy Project Racemaster MIPS Bike Helmet

Rudy Project Racemaster MIPS Bike Helmet is available on Amazon.

This Italian helmet introduces us to Hexocrush technology. The polycarbonate shell and the EPS liner are molded with two different densities of foam creating a hex-shaped structure which provides improved shock absorption in the case of an accident. This in turn is enhanced by the built-in MIPS brain protection system.

The Racemaster features an adjustable RSR9 Retention System, interchangeable custom padding, and an integrated and removable visor. And, being Italian, as previously mentioned, it goes without saying that it is extremely stylish.

Main features summary:

  • Virginia Tech maximum 5-star safety rating
  • Polycarbonate shell with Hexocrush Technology
  • 17 Flow Through vents
  • MIPS protection
  • RSR9 Retention System
  • Removable custom padding
  • Removable Visor
  • CPSC, EN-1078, AS/NZS:2063 certified
  • Weight 270 grams
  • Price $$$

Link to our RUDY PROJECT bike helmet size chart.
Link to our article How to Know Your Helmet Size.

Courtesy of Rudy Project PH on Youtube.

6. Lazer BLADE+ MIPS Bike Helmet

Lazer Blade+ MIPS Bike Helmet is available on Amazon.

In the same style and class of the Z1 helmet, the Blade+ combines great looks with high performance. An in-mold polycarbonate shell with an inner EPS layer with an under-shell finish to give a complete all-round finished look. MIPS brain protection is built-in, along with Advanced Rollsys fit system for safety and comfort.

The fitting system is mounted to the top, rear making it ponytail friendly. Twenty two air vents provide maximum cooling whilst commuting or weekend leisure riding. The Small size weighs in at 290g.

Don’t forget that Lazer also has a Crash Replacement Program, however, conditions apply.

Main features summary:

  • Virginia Tech maximum 5-star safety rating
  • In-mold Polycarbonate shell
  • 22 air vents
  • MIPS protection
  • Advanced Rollsys fit system
  • X-Static padding
  • CPSC, EN-1078, AS/NZS:2063 certified
  • Weight 290 grams (Small size)
  • Price $

Link to our LAZER bike helmet size chart.
Link to our article How to Know Your Helmet Size.


7. Bell Z20 Aero MIPS Bike Helmet

Bell Z20 Aero MIPS Bike Helmet is available on Amazon.

The Bell Z20 Aero is built to reduce wind resistance for fast riders or windy days. Built with an in-mold polycarbonate shell and an EPS inner layer using the progressive layering technology for a stronger finish, it also has the MIPS brain protection system built-in for added safety.

The Float Fit retention system provides a personalized fit using the adjustable dial at the rear of the helmet. The Sweat Guide pad design draws moisture away from the rider’s face to avoid eye sting. Over-brow ventilation features ports on the brow to draw air flow in and through channels for better cooling and ventilation.

Main features summary:

  • Virginia Tech maximum 5-star safety rating
  • Polycarbonate shell
  • Overbrow Ventilation System with 10 vents
  • MIPS protection
  • Float Fit retention system
  • Sweat Guide pad design
  • CPSC, EN-1078 certified
  • Weight 346 grams
  • Price $$$

Link to our BELL bike helmet size chart.
Link to our article How to Know Your Helmet Size.

Courtesy of BellBikeHelmets on Youtube.

8. Giro Aether MIPS SP Bike Helmet

Giro Aether MIPS SP Bike Helmet is available on Amazon.

An in-mold polycarbonate hardbody shell with a dual-density EPS liner and progressive layering technology combines with the MIPS brain protection system which is integrated between the EPS foam layers to provide maximum protection for your head.

The Roc Loc 5+ Air fit system features 3-way fit tuning. Internal channelling combines with 21 wind tunnel vents to provide maximum ventilation, along with the Coolfit Anti-Microbial padding.

There are two developments that make this helmet stand out above other helmets. First, is the SP. You may have noticed this helmet says ‘MIPS SP’. The SP stands for Spherical, which is what Giro has called this new system whereby the MIPS system is integrated between the EPS foam layers. Giro partnered with MIPS to develop this new approach.

Second, is what Giro is calling ARA, Aura Reinforcing Arch. This development provides enhanced strength to the helmet structure. It is a shatter-resistant and translucent AURA reinforcing arch that runs throughout the helmet.

Main features summary:

  • Virginia Tech maximum 5-star safety rating
  • Polycarbonate shell
  • 21 wind-tunnel vents
  • Aura Reinforcing Arch
  • MIPS SP protection
  • Roc Loc 5+ Air fit system
  • CoolFit anti-microbial padding
  • CPSC, EN-1078, AS/NZS:2063 certified
  • Weight 267 grams (Medium size)
  • Price $$$

Link to our GIRO bike helmet size chart.
Link to our article How to Know Your Helmet Size.


9. Bell Stratus MIPS Bike Helmet

Bell Stratus MIPS Bike Helmet is available on Amazon.

Lightweight and comfortable are the words being used to describe the Bell Stratus MIPS helmet. The fusion in-mold polycarbonate shell bonds the outer shell to the EPS foam liner to make a more durable helmet. The Sweat Guide pad design draws sweat away from the brow keeping the rider’s eye clear. Over-brow ventilation features ports on the brow to draw air flow in and through channels for better cooling and ventilation.

The Float Fit retention system provides a personalized fit using the adjustable dial at the rear of the helmet. And, of course, the MIPS brain protection system is built in for your protection.

Main features summary:

  • Virginia Tech maximum 5-star safety rating
  • Polycarbonate shell
  • Overbrow Ventilation with 18 Air vents
  • MIPS protection
  • Float Fit retention system
  • Sweat Guide pad design
  • CPSC, EN-1078 certified
  • Weight 296 grams
  • Price $$

Link to our BELL bike helmet size chart.
Link to our article How to Know Your Helmet Size.


10. Giro Synthe MIPS Bike Helmet

Giro Synthe MIPS Bike Helmet is available on Amazon.

A good-looking helmet with a slim design suitable for the professional or just the weekend rider. A two-piece shell combines an in-mold hard-body outer shell with the standard polycarbonate shell fused to an EPS liner, with an integrated MIPS brain protection system. Also molded inside the EPS liner is a reinforced roll cage to give added strength in the case of an impact.

The Roc Loc Air fit system has 2-way fit tuning to allow a custom fit for every rider. Twenty six wind tunnel vents with internal channelling provides good air flow whilst riding. The Giro Synthe is also reasonably lightweight at just 268g for the Small size, and about 312g for the Large.

Main features summary:

  • Virginia Tech maximum 5-star safety rating
  • Polycarbonate shell with EPS Liner
  • Thermoformed Reinforced roll cage
  • 26 wind-tunnel vents
  • MIPS protection
  • Roc Loc Air fit system
  • CPSC, EN-1078, AS/NZS:2063 certified
  • Weight 268 grams (Small size)
  • Price $$$

Link to our GIRO bike helmet size chart.
Link to our article How to Know Your Helmet Size.

Courtesy of GiroSportDesign on Youtube.

11. Giro Syntax MIPS Bike Helmet

Giro Syntax MIPS Bike Helmet is available on Amazon.

A tough polycarbonate outer shell fused to an inner EPS foam liner using the in-mold process all the while incorporating a staggering 25 wind tunnel air-vents creates an awesome head hugging designed helmet.

Of course it has the Roc Loc® 5 Air fit system for added comfort, as well as the MIPS Brain Protection System for added safety, not to mention the CoolFit anti-microbial padding. The only thing it’s missing is you!

Main features summary:

  • Virginia Tech maximum 5-star safety rating
  • Polycarbonate shell
  • 25 wind-tunnel vents
  • MIPS protection
  • Roc Loc® 5 Air fit system
  • CoolFit anti-microbial padding
  • CPSC, EN-1078, AS/NZS:2063 certified
  • Weight 346 grams
  • Price $$

Link to our GIRO bike helmet size chart.
Link to our article How to Know Your Helmet Size.


12. Smith Route MIPS Bike Helmet

Smith Route MIPS Bike Helmet is available on Amazon.

And now for something completely different. A bike helmet with an alternative type of inner padding called Koroyd. Koroyd is used as an alternative to EPS, however, the Smith Route uses koroyd only on the upper front sides of the helmet, with EPS cushioning the rest of the inner shell. This provides additional protection to the MIPS brain protection system which is also included.

The helmet fits securely with Smith’s VaporFit adjustable fit system which has a dial at the rear of the helmet. Although the helmet boasts 18 vents, it is said that the koroyd system seems to block the air-flow making it a little uncomfortable in warmer climates.

It’s a little on the heavy side at 343g for the Medium, and 378 for the Large.

Main features summary:

  • Virginia Tech maximum 5-star safety rating
  • Polycarbonate shell
  • AirEvac ventilation with 18 vents
  • Zonal ventilated protection featuring Koroyd
  • MIPS protection
  • VaporFit system
  • CPSC, EN-1078, AS/NZS:2063 certified
  • Weight 343 grams (Medium size)
  • Price $$

Link to our SMITH bike helmet size chart.
Link to our article How to Know Your Helmet Size.

Courtesy of Smith – Pursue Your Thrill on Youtube.

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