While high-end helmets keep getting better, trickle-down technology means you’ll get more bang for your buck on entry-level models, too. From MIPS impact technology to great fitting retention systems, these 10 helmets cost less than $100 and perform well above their price points and are worthy options for any road cyclist on a budget.
This women’s helmet from LIV uses a lightweight foam to provide maximum protection while maintaining comfort and breathability. While the 14 vents aren’t as many as some other options, if you prefer larger vents instead, this may be an option for you. The Cinch Pro fit system allows a nice secure fit without putting pressure on your occipital bones, and the Numen + Link TLMagnetic mount allows you to attach one of Giant’s compatible lights to help you be seen during those early morning and evening rides.
For cyclists concerned about style, the Echelon II might be our favorite looking helmet on this list. While it might be a tad on the heavy side, the large vents and 4th Dimension Cooling System are great for hot summer days. The multiple colorways make it easy to match your favorite kit, and the inclusion of MIPS provides an extra layer of protection should you need it.
While the overall shape isn’t our favorite, this helmet from LG is one of the lightest at just 252 grams. We also like the inner evacuation channels that do a good job of getting air in and out, ensuring you stay cool. More colorways would be welcomed, but one point we can’t argue with is the price, as you do get a lot of value.
For anyone who’s a fan of Smith eyewear, the company’s lineup of helmets is the same quality and made to work together seamlessly with its cycling shades. Even though the Signal is on the lower end of its lineup, it includes the AirEvac ventilation system that helps prevent fogging and offers convenient storage when you don’t need your shades. While we like that the VaporFit dial-adjustment system allows for fine-tune adjustments that should fit most head shapes, our favorite feature is the low-bulk single-layer webbing that improves the helmet’s comfort. It provides a lower profile that looks good and won’t feel out of place with casual commuter clothing.
At just 245 grams, and with a Superlight retention system that offers a highly adjustable fit, there’s a lot to like about the Askium Elite besides the price point. If we had to pick two features that make this helmet stand out from the others on this list, it would be the 37.5 technology padding that uses active particles to absorb heat and wick away sweat faster and the anti-mosquito mesh on the front vent that prevents bugs from entering during your ride.
GIRO AGILIS MIPS
One of the first things you’ll notice about the Agilis is that it fits like a hat. Close to the head, and with a bit more coverage on the sides and back, it’s a solid choice for anyone who wants great protection without all the bulk. Giro keeps the weight down with a two-piece shell that’s plenty durable, while integrated MIPS technology keeps safety a top priority.
With a reasonable weight of 285 grams and a shape that keeps aerodynamics in mind, the Bell Formula is a solid pick for serious road cyclists on a budget. While you might miss out on some of the high-end features of Bell’s road-cycling helmet lineup, there is plenty of technology from Bell’s other more expensive helmets that can be had here, too. The Float Retention System and the innovative Sweat Glide liner are two we can appreciate.
If keeping your head cool is a top priority, this is one of the best. Featuring a whopping 24 vents, there should be no issues during those hot summer days. We also really enjoy the shape and styling, as Kask is a helmet company known for making great-looking lids. One complaint we found with this particular model is the arms don’t work well with some sunglasses, so you may want to try this one on to make sure it works for you.
If there’s one helmet on this list that we would bet costs more than its price tag, it’s the Blade+. This helmet shares many of the features in the high-end Z1 helmet. The ARS Fit System is one of our favorites for maintaining a secure fit without feeling too tight (and it also accommodates ponytails), and the 260-gram weight and 22 air vents are perfect for warm weather riding. Two standout features are the optional light attachment at the rear of the helmet for increased visibility and the inclusion of MIPS technology that helps deal with rotational impacts when you crash.
While not the lightest or most-vented on this list, the new WaveCel technology used here is one of the main features that make it a top option in this price category. This collapsible cellular structure inside the helmet is said to absorb more impact before it reaches your head, making it one of the safest options available. Bontrager also offers this helmet in its Hi-Viz colorway and covers it under its crash-replacement guarantee, which replaces your helmet for free should you damage it during your first year of ownership.