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The Best Bike Helmets Under $100 Of 2021 Helpful Guide

Riding a bicycle is a lot of fun. Sooner or later if you ride a bike long enough you’ll take a fall. When that happens you will want a good helmet on your head to keep you safe. I have had a couple of big falls so far including one notable header into a tree. If there is one area in your bike equipment you don’t want to skimp it is the helmet. There are many great bike helmet choices available that are very affordable. Keep reading for our top picks and guide to the best bike helmets under $100.

If you are in a hurry, our top choices for bike helmets under $100 are below. If you are interested in more detailed reviews of our top 5 bike helmets under $100, a guide to bike helmets, and a FAQ please keep reading below.

Top Pick

Editor’s Choice

Best Value

Best MIPS Value

Giro Register MIPS

Giro Chronicle MIPS

OutdoorMaster Cycling Helmet 

Giro Fixture MIPS

Zacro Adult Bike Helmet

  • MIPS head protection
  • Lots of venting
  • Easy to use fit system

  • Strong construction
  • Comfortable fit
  • MIPS protection
  • Comfortable and good fitting
  • Good back of head protection
  • Rugged construction
  • Low cost for a MIPS helmet
  • Good head protection
  • Good ventilation
  • Low cost and lightweight
  • Good ventilation
  • Available in many colors

The Top 5 Best Bike Helmets Under $100

Below are our top 5 picks for the best bike helmets under $100 on the market today. We considered features, performance, price, durability, customer service, and customer reviews in our recommendations.

1 – Giro Register MIPS Bike Helmet

Top Pick

Summary

The Giro Register MIPS is one of the best all purpose bike helmets available today at any cost. It features MIPS head protection, 22 vents and a removable visor. It is available in a variety of colors and 2 universal fit sizes.

The Register uses in-mold construction. It has a polycarbonate shell and impact absorbing foam lining. Inside it has the MIPS system combined with their Roc Loc fit system. The fit adjuster has a large knob that it easy to adjust whether it’s on or off your head.

This helmet comes in 2 “Universal fit” sizes. They work for most people but not all head sizes and shapes. The Roc Loc adjuster is really easy to use. It can only do so much. If the molded helmet shape is too far off from your head shape, it won’t feel really secure even with the Roc Loc adjuster tightened.

The helmet has really good ventilation to help keep your head cool. It has quick drying foam padding so you won’t feel like you are wearing a sponge on your head after riding for a while.

The Register is more of a road shape helmet than a mountain bike shaped helmet. It doesn’t cover the back of your head as much as the Fixture and Chronicle designs. It has a bit more venting and is a little lighter weight. The visor is smaller and not as securely attached. For someone who mostly rides on streets or dirt roads this is a perfect choice.

The Giro Register MIPS is a great bike helmet choice for almost anyone. It is our top pick among the best bike helmets under $100.

What we liked

  • MIPS head protection
  • Lots of venting
  • Easy to use fit system

What we didn’t like

  • Universal fit sizes don’t fit all heads
  • Visor size and attachment

2 – Giro Chronicle MIPS Adult Mountain Cycling Helmet

Editors Choice

Summary

The Giro Chronicle MIPS is one of the best mountain bike helmets available. I have been using one for several years now for my trail riding. I have had several falls while wearing it.

On one occasion I went over my handlebars head first into a tree hard. I’m sure without this helmet I would have been knocked unconscious. There is a good chance I would have had a head injury from that one. I got up and kept riding. My head felt fine but the rest of me felt like I hit a tree and landed on my bike laying on the ground.

The Chronicle has more coverage over the back of the head and fewer vents than the Register. The vent holes that it has are larger and the frame structure between the vents is larger. This gives the helmet more strength. It uses a double layer shell with a hard exterior layer and polycarbonate inner layer. Is uses in-mold construction with an impact absorbing foam inner layer.

Inside the helmet, there is the MIPS liner with a Roc Loc 5 adjuster and quick drying foam padding. The Roc Loc 5 adjustment system works okay. The knob is small and difficult to adjust. On other helmets the adjustment knob is double the size it is on this helmet.

After a few years or using this helmet, the foam padding is starting to come apart. This is one area where Giro helmets could use some improvement.

The helmet comes in 4 sizes to fit most adult head shapes. It is comfortable to wear for several hours out on the trail The visor is removeable. It is large enough to give enough shade from the sun. The attachment for the visor has held up to years of riding and several falls.

The Giro Chronicle MIPS has been my personal helmet for several years. I would not hesitate at all to replace it with another one. It is my top pick among the best bike helmets under $100.

What we liked

  • Comfortable fit
  • MIPS protection
  • Strong construction with adequate venting

What we didn’t like

  • The Roc Loc 5 adjuster is small and difficult to adjust
  • Foam padding is not that durable

3 – OutdoorMaster Skateboard Cycling Helmet 

Best Value

Use the Coupon Code ERO15 for 15% off at OutdoorMaster.com

Summary

The OutdoorMaster Cycling and Skateboard Helmet is an excellent low cost option. OutdoorMaster has long been known for making good performing products at low cost. This helmet continues that tradition.

The helmet is made with an ABS hard outer shell with impact absorbing EPS foam inner shell. It is built to standup to skateboarding use so it has a larger shell with fewer vents. It will stand up to a fall without breaking apart like a lot of lightweight bike helmets do.

It has a standard dial knob size adjuster for fitting different sized heads. In addition it comes with 2 padded linings with different thickness foam. You can choose the lining based on your head size and what fits best.

The helmet is available in 3 adult sizes to give a good fit for almost any head size. The large goes up to a 21.3-22.8inch head size. It won’t fit heads that need the XL size helmet that other brands have.

The helmet has adjustable straps, quick drying foam pads inside. It has 12 vents which give okay ventilation. This helmet is designed for use for both skateboarding or scooter riding and cycling. The vents are an area of compromise so it has smaller vents than a typical cycling helmet.

The helmet offers good back of head protection thanks to it’s skateboarding design. It would provide good protection for mountain biking or other activities where you aren’t always falling forward or on the side of your head.

OutdoorMaster has been making a lot of good products that focus on performance and good value. This helmet is my best value pick for under $100 bike helmets.

What we liked

  • Comfortable and good fitting
  • Good back of head protection
  • Rugged construction

What we didn’t like

  • It could use more venting
  • An XL size would be nice

4 – Giro Fixture MIPS Adult Dirt Bike Helmet

Best value with MIPS

Summary

The Giro Fixture MIPS helmet is another great option from Giro. It has most of the features of the Chronicle MIPS helmet at a lower price.

My wife rides with a Giro Fixture MIPS. If you set it next to a Giro Chronicle the changes are very subtle. Let’s go through them.

The Fixture has 2 more vent holes. The sizes and shapes are roughly similar to the more expensive helmet. There is one extra hole in the back of the helmet and one on top.

The Fixture MIPS has a polycarbonate shell. It doesn’t have the extra shell layer that the Chronicle has. It’s not noticeable when you are looking at the 2 helmets side by side.

The Fixture has a much bigger knob on it’s Roc Loc system. It’s much easier to adjust and I prefer it over the tiny knob on the Chronicle helmet.

There is slightly less foam padding inside the Fixture helmet. At the rear of the helmet, there is less padding.

The straps on the Fixture are not as adjustable as the Chronicle. The ear straps are fixed where they come together with the chin strap. On the Chronicle, you can adjust the ear strap segments.

The Giro Fixture only comes in 2 universal fit sizes instead of 4 adult sizes. My wife’s head is very wide. She fits the small end of the XL universal size helmet. When I put it on, it’s too big for me with the adjuster turned all the way down.

This helmet has MIPS, similar back of head coverage and a similar removeable visor as the Chronicle.

What we liked

  • Low cost for a MIPS helmet
  • Good ventilation
  • Good head protection

What we didn’t like

  • Ear straps are not adjustable
  • Universal fit sizes may feel big for heads at the lower end of their size range.

5 – Zacro Adult Bike Helmet

Summary

The Zacro Adult Bike Helmet is a good value bike helmet. It is the cheapest helmet in our review and the only one that doesn’t have MIPS technology.

The Zacro helmet has a PVC exterior shell with impact absorbing EPS foam lining. It has a fit adjuster to fit most head shapes.

This helmet is lower profile than a MIPS helmet and doesn’t give you a mushroom head look that many MIPS helmets do. It doesn’t offer MIPS protection against glancing blows either.

The helmet has 18 vents for good ventilation. The shell offers good front and side of your head protection. The helmet has more of a road shape with less protection for the back of your head. This allows the size adjustment to work a bit better since there isn’t a helmet shell in the back of your head.

The helmet has a removable visor. It is big enough to do a good job blocking the sun. It can be removed for road riding or riding at night.

This is a great value for a bike helmet. I would not recommend it for serious mountain biking. I would use it anywhere else.

What we liked

  • Low cost and lightweight
  • Available in many colors
  • Good ventilation

What we didn’t like

  • No MIPS
  • Not much protection for the back of your head

Bike Helmet Guide

There are many bike helmets out there to choose from. There are hundreds of available bike helmets under $100. How do you pick the right one for you? There are several important factors such as cost, how it fits, MIPS, and venting. It is very important to find a bike helmet that fits, feels comfortable, and is suitable for the type of riding you do. It is important to wear the helmet, so this is not an area to skimp and get something you don’t really like to save a buck. You won’t like it and won’t use it.

Let’s discuss what is important for a bike helmet below.

Price

Price matters in almost every buying decision we make. Protective equipment is one area where I don’t think price should be the primary factor. Find a helmet that feels good and you like the appearance of so you’ll be comfortable wearing it. Saving a buck isn’t worth it if you don’t use it and you’re not wearing it when you fall. It is possible to get a high performing bike helmet with MIPS, good fit and good construction for under $100.

CPSC certification

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) releases standards in the US for consumer products. You should not consider using a helmet that isn’t at least CPSC complaint. If your Canadian, the helmet should have CSA compliance. To learn more about bike helmet certifications see the center for cycling education.

Comfort and Fit

Different helmet companies make their helmet shapes different. Some brands fit some people better than others. My wife has a wider shaped head and Giro fits her but Smith helmets never do. I can fit either one comfortably. Having a good snug comfortable fit is important. A floppy feeling helmet may not stay in place if you fall. If your helmet falls off it’s not going to protect your head. Don’t be afraid to try on a bunch of helmets to find one you like the feel of.

Style

Different helmets have different shapes and styles. Mountain biking helmets tend to have more back of the head coverage. Road helmets tend to be more minimalistic. Commuter helmets can have less vents so you don’t get lots of bugs stuck in your hair. A helmet does no good if your not wearing it when you fall. Find a helmet you like how it looks on you so that you’ll wear it.

MIPS

MIPS stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection System. It is a system that allows your head to rotate inside the bike helmet upon impact. If you hit something like a tree at a glancing blow, your helmet will rotate separately from your head. This reduces the loads on your head and brain. Without MIPS the your head will get torqued as it rotates with the helmet. It adds another layer of protection against different impact directions. I personally would not wear a helmet without MIPS.

Straps

Some helmets have more adjustability for their straps than others. The Giro Chronicle has adjustability on both ear straps. The less expensive Giro Fixture has fixed ear straps. You can only adjust the length of the chin strap. Adjustable ear straps make it easier to adjust the angle the helmet sits at on your head. If you want it more up or down angled, you can do it. More adjustability means you can get a better fit and your helmet is more likely to stay in place if you fall.

Padding

Helmets can have more or less padding. Helmets made for road bike racing may have very minimal padding. Weight is the most important thing. A more comfortable recreational helmet will have more. Look for padding that is specified as quick drying. You don’t want your helmet to feel like a wet sponge at the end of your ride.

Ventilation

More and bigger vents will keep your head cooler. Helmets constructed of stronger and more energy absorbing materials can have larger vents. If you plan on riding when it’s hot in the summer, lots of vents are good. If you plan on riding in the winter you may want something with fewer vents in it.

Weight

Some bike helmets weigh much more than others. A full face mountain bike helmet made for downhill riding will weigh much more than a road racing helmet. Features such as MIPS add weight to a helmet as well.

Bike Helmet FAQ

Q: Which cycle helmet is best?

My personal favorite that I wear and have tested against a tree is the Giro Chronicle MIPS. The best helmet for you is one that fits you well, has the features you want, and you like the appearance of.

Q: What is the safest bike helmet?

You should look for a helmet that is CPSC certified in the US or CSA certified in Canada. Some helmets are also certified to other standards such as ASTM. Helmet makers such as Giro and Smith do impact testing of their helmets. This insures they are making self helmets that provide protection to whoever is wearing them.

Q: Is MIPS worth the extra money?

You can get a good MIPS helmet for less than $70 from a well known brand such as Giro. It is only a little extra cost for a little more safety. If it saves you from a head injury it will have been worth it. See the video below for more information on MIPS.

Q: How much should I spend on a bike helmet?

This is your brain we are talking about protecting. Is this really the place you want to skimp on? You can buy good, full featured, bike helmet for under $100. I would look for a helmet with MIPS or one of the other similar systems, and other features you want such as a visor.

Q: Are cheap bike helmets safe?

You want to buy a bike helmet that is at least CPSC certified. This means it has past some minimum of impact safety testing. Cheap helmets like the OutdoorMaster Cycling and Skateboard Helmet are CPSC certified. They low cost because they are basic without other features such as MIPS or more advanced construction to make them weigh less.

Q: Why are bike helmets so expensive?

It depends on what you consider expensive. A really basic CPSC certified helmet can be bought for $25. A MIPS helmet can go for $65. A MIPS helmet with adjustable straps and advanced construction is still under $100. An average road or mountain bike runs $2000 to $3000. A good bike helmet is a small expense compared to a lot of other things we pay for to enjoy cycling.

Q: Are expensive helmets safer?

More expensive bike helmets may have more advanced features such as MIPS. They may also cover more of your head. They may have adjustable straps that give you a better customized fit. These features all give you a little more protection than a helmet without them. To some degree, more expensive bike helmets can better protect your head.

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About the author

My name is Doug Ryan. I am an outdoors enthusiast always looking forward to my next adventure. I spend as much time skiing, biking, and paddleboarding as I can. I decided to start Endless Rush Outdoors as a way to share my knowledge and enthusiasm for all things outdoor adventures and to help other people have as much fun as me.

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