We recently looked at some updated stats on bike helmet usage and accidents tied to cycling and so it’s also time to look at some great affordable helmets for 2021!
One of the barriers to bicycle helmets for many people is the price and the perception that to get the best, you have to pay a lot of money.
Well, we’re hoping to throw that perception out of the window with a few bike helmets that caught our eye and are under $100.00. According to the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute, there’s no difference in safety between an expensive helmet and a cheaper one, as long as it has the CPSC label on it.
The main thing you are paying for is the name/brand, comfort, and extra features, but the important things are that it is safe, comfortable and ideally brightly colored.
With all that in mind, we present the following (updated) list of bicycle helmets that won’t break the bank, but will be comfortable to wear and that means you’ll be more likely to wear it and that really is the most important thing.
The below helmets are in no particular order, so peruse and decide for yourself what you think you’re going to want and need for your next adventure.
Giro Atmos II Helmet
The Giro Atmos II looks rather futuristic which is pretty cool. It comes in a large variety of colors (I’d go with brighter because it’s easier for drivers to see), but you can choose from one of seven colors.
It has 23 vents (nice!) which means that you will hopefully never get very hot and sweaty and that means increased comfort while on the road. Although many vents can mean that it is less safe (because according to the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute, more vents can mean concentrating impact on one area instead of safely dispersing it), the Giro Atmos II compensates for this by using extra reinforcement and a proper cradle to support the head.
Giro has always been about helping people get the most out of their recreational fun.
The company specializes in outdoor sports in particular: cycling, snowboarding, and skiing in particular and the safety gear that goes with it. Giro firmly believes that its role is to help strengthen the connection between the rider and the experience by enhancing freedom, winning, and living life.
The company prides itself on its cutting-edge technology to help marry safety with comfort and sheer wow factor with things like Roc Loc that keeps your helmet in place, MIPS design, which is a design that reduces energy transfer during impact, and an attitude of always moving forward rather than settling on mere satisfaction. Giro have been around for over 30 years, so they know what they’re doing.
So much for the company: what do the people say? Well, the Giro Atmos II is popular and has the high reviews to back it up.
People praise its comfort, airflow and ability to be adjustable. Most importantly though, it protects people from nasty crashes such as angled hard landings and is bright enough to be visible.
Finally, the ‘basic’ helmet is normally around or under $100.00 and that makes it well worth a try.
What Kind of Rider are You? The Giro Atmos II is mostly geared for road and mountain biking. Roadies especially like it because it has plenty of ventilation to disperse the heat.
In all honesty though, just about anyone would be happy with this helmet and you normally can’t go wrong with Giro.
I’ve personally used Giro helmets for years and my Atmos saved me a few years back from serious injury when I had a low-speed crash. I ended up with a light concussion but shudder to think how bad it could have been if not for my Giro helmet.
TeamObsidan Airflow Helmet
TeamObsidian’s latest helmet doesn’t look as sci-fi as the Giro Atmos II, but for those who prefer something more traditional in appearance, this could be the one. Plus, it has some extra perks that make it a little different than the usual half sphere helmet, including a small visor and a bit of a neck guard.
It comes in two colors: black and white, and it is enforced with a skeletal structure to absorb shock and transfer energy more safely cases of a crash.
This helmet boasts an overall lightweight design, ventilation, shock absorption and 22 frontal vents for airflow. And as a neat extra perk, all the pads are machine washable, so you know, that’s a good thing.
TeamObsidian is a much newer company, established in 2014, and it strives to build useful safety devices for cycling. Like Giro, it’s all about creating that connection between the human and the experience, with ambition and positivity as a byword.
The company is based in Denmark where there are plenty of cyclists to test their products. It’s a small company, but it is popular on Amazon, boasting a #1 rated bike helmet.
All of this is currently going for well under $100.00. It may not be futuristic, but it’s solid and has happy customers to back it up. Customers mostly brag on how comfortable it is and how stylish it looks, but there is also a healthy number of accident survivors who swear that the helmet protected them from a head injury and/or prevented a second injury!
The big thing though seems to be comfort, which is important as discomfort is one of the big reasons why people don’t wear a helmet in the first place. With over 300 positive reviews, this is one popular bike helmet!
What Kind of Rider are You? The TeamObsidian helmets are all around good bike helmets. This particular one seems popular with mountain bikers.
Nutcase: Patterned Street Bike Helmet for Adults
We are fans of Nutcase around here and this is the latest one to rise in our estimation. We are so nutty about Nutcase (see what we did there?! Groan away…) that I’m not even sure where to begin!
First of all, the sheer number of designs; way more than most helmet manufacturers and that means you will absolutely find one that suits your own personal style. But that’s far from the most important thing about it.
This particular helmet from Nutcase features EPS foam to protect your head on impact. It’s actually certified safe not only for cycling but for skating as well, making it a great dual piece of equipment.
It also has a dial fit system so that you can easily adjust the helmet to fit your head and it uses magnetic closures to lock yourself safely in. (This is up there on my favorites for features because the traditional clips always give me the feeling that I’m about to cut my own throat…).
Finally, it’s light and while it doesn’t have nearly as many vents as other helmets (11 versus the 22 or 25 that others have), it gets the job done.
Nutcase was primarily founded because many helmets are considered quite dull; they tend to be solid colors or with silly cartoons on them and nothing in between.
The founder of Nutcase wanted to put out helmets that were more expressive and lets people show off their particular personalities rather than just trying to find a color they could put up with.
Of course, safety is also important with durability and comfort in mind. But what really makes them stand out is the sheer number of designs you can choose which means that you’ll never have to tolerate your bike helmet again.
And for the consumers? Well, Nutcase delivers on its promise to create helmets for anyone; people rave about the style and the fact that it’s comfortable and safe without being high tech.
It has a visor too which many people appreciate and the chin straps and pads are comfortable.
What Kind of Rider are You? This helmet is almost entirely geared for the urban rider. You could maybe wear it for when cruising down the greenway with the kids or use it for your commute or grocery run, but be aware it doesn’t have the same level of ventilation as some of the other helmets listed here and as mentioned is mostly geared for the urban rider.
You can read our more detailed article on Nutcase here. They actually shared our article on their Facebook page!
Bern Unlimited Watts EPS Summer Helmet
This is an interesting helmet: it’s one that is both for summer and can work with the winter kit so that you can have a warm head while you are cycling. (This shouldn’t matter, but when you stop and think about it, cycling in the winter is hard enough without having to fit a hood over your helmeted head to stay warm).
It also features over half a dozen colors which means you have some options to choose from. (Black looks cool, but go for the neon green one if you want maximum visibility!)
The big selling point though is definitely safety. The horror stories riders go through: getting hit by cars, thrown by potholes, smashing into other bikes… I read some truly horrific stories from other riders, but those who had them credited the Bern with saving their lives as they walked away with no real head injury other than maybe a bit of bruising (everything else may have been damaged, but at least they kept their brains safe!).
It uses ThinShell technology which is a balance between the ABS shell and EPS foam on the inside, making it safe, comfortable, and strong enough to survive crashes.
The other big selling point is the company itself. Bern prides themselves on being solid, blue-collar and affordable, driven by safety, passion and a love of the outdoors.
These helmets aren’t fancy or covered in bells and whistles, but they are solid, and they are affordable (The price moves around, so keep an eye out). They are also customizable in that you can add the winter kit, but you don’t have to go completely ballistic with them; they just get the job done.
What do the customers say: In a few cases, the Bern Unlimited saved people’s lives, so it’s hard to get much better praise than that! Other comments include its style and that the chin belts are relatively comfortable.
One thing to watch for though is the sizing (as usual); some people said that they had a hard time finding one that fit, even on the largest sizing. That can be a problem when buying something like this so make sure you measure carefully.
What Kind of Rider are you? This helmet is primarily geared for urban and commuter riders, not for mountain bike riders or hardcore roadies. It just doesn’t have the ventilation for that.
This is another helmet with fantastic reviews over at Amazon and is normally under $70!
Bell Adrenaline Bike Helmet
Last, but certainly not least, is the all-around solid Bell Adrenaline Bike Helmet that gets our ‘Best Value’ award. I like things that are just good in general because you can always find uses for it.
The Bell Adrenaline is the most affordable on our list and it looks the most like the traditional helmet with the half sphere shape, vents and choice of two colors: black and grey or white and black. It has reflective pieces on the back to make it safer to ride as it gets dark and it is very light and comfortable to wear.
This is not a fancy helmet; it’s not meant to be.
The company behind it (Bell Helmets) is all about performance, substance, and utility, rather than going all out on the thrills. It is meant to be used, not fawned over and with that in mind, you’re not going to see a lot of fancy features, but everything about it is meant to protect, be comfortable, and ready to use. This also means that it’s not nearly as expensive as other bike helmets!
What do others say? Overall, they tend to reflect what we spoke about here: it’s a solid value and it looks nice. There are again, the typical sizing issues in that it doesn’t always fit well on larger heads, so make sure you measure carefully!
Amazon reviewers focus on it being light, comfortable and affordable, all of which makes it a great helmet to purchase. This helmet is normally under $30 which is great value. Click here for Amazon’s latest up-to-date price
What kind of rider are you? This is a good, all-around helmet. I would think it would be best used for casual riders, new riders, and people who are riding on a budget.
So there you have it! Five bike helmets that caught our eye – all under $100 – all with impressive user reviews. No matter what type of cyclist you are you can basically throw away two of the biggest barriers to buying a bike helmet – price and comfort, and all you’re really left with is just not wanting to, which really is a terrible reason to take your life into your hands.
Have you tried out any of these helmets? What did you like about them? Which one are you curious about now? Let us know about your bike helmet love and also let us know if there are any helmets you would like us to review and add to our list.