Best Road Bike Helmets Under $200 [Review] in 2021

Last Updated on May 21, 2021

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We can all agree that wearing a good quality bike helmet is of utmost importance when cycling, but it can be quite expensive. You may be searching through hundreds of road bike helmets and asking yourself, is it possible to get a good quality helmet under a budget?

Absolutely my friend. 

I have spent hours researching for a good balance between price and quality. After looking at hundreds of helmets, I have finally concluded to get a good helmet, you should be spending between the $100 and $200 mark. 

With so many helmets on the market, I don’t blame anyone for finding it challenging; cheap helmets are not recommended, most are made of low-quality materials, and will not be reliable in protecting your head during a serious crash but finding the right balance can be a challenge. 

This is what I’m here for! 

To make things easier for you, I have researched and reviewed the best road bike helmets under $200, so you don’t have to. I have considered all the key features like comfort, durability, ventilation, and even safety features like MIPS! 

Here’s a tip: when looking for bike helmets under $200, I would always recommend going for features like MIPS as this will prevent your head from twisting in the rare case of an accident (this will prevent a lot of trauma to your brain and permanent damage).

My top 3 picks are my favorite road bike helmets ever, so stay tuned! 

We’ve spent the time so you don’t have to:

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The top 5 Road Bike Helmets under $200

1.

Bontrager Specter WaveCel Helmet

Take your protection to the next level with my top pick by Bontrager. Specter Wavecel is one of the best for versatility and comfort for everyday rides on the roads, trails, gravel, and more– this helmet will provide you with the confidence you need on the road. 

Wavecel is the collapsible cellular structure that lines the insider of the helmet; the safety standards approve this technology of cycling for over 30 years with confidence.

The WaveCel technology will keep you cooler than cool; it minimizes heat capturing EPS foam and sits perpendicular to the helmet, which allows for more airflow to your forehead and temples– these points are the top regions for cooling. 

But what is WaveCel, and why do I need it?

Well, WaveCel is a collapsible cellular structure that lines the inside of your helmet; it almost works as a crumple zone and absorbs all the force and shocks of an impact before it reaches your head. The safety standards approve this technology of cycling for over 30 years! Pretty cool, right?

Bontrager has been trusted by renowned brands all over the globe, such as Peloton, Business Inside, and the 2020 Red Dot Award Winner! Bontrager is so confident in their product they offer a 1-year crash replacement guarantee. 

Some customers have even experienced crashes with this helmet and found that their head came out completely unscathed, with no neurological symptoms or damage (even hitting their head hard on the pavement).

I couldn’t recommend another helmet more! 

Pros
R
Excellent WaceCel technology
R
Super cooling and well ventilated
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5x more effective than regular foam
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Reflective elements on back for enhanced visibility
Cons
Q
None

Latest deal: Bontrager Specter WaveCel Helmet

2.

Giro Syntax MIPS Adult Road Bike Helmet

Second up on my list is another renowned brand in the world of helmets, Giro. This helmet offers deeper coverage and high-performance features; all tucked into a slim and attractive design. 

While Bontrager utilized WaveCel, the more common technique used in road bike helmets is MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System), which Giro Syntax uses. This prevents your head from turning in the case of an impact-angled accident. 

The goal of Giro helmets is to reduce rotational forces; helmets equipped with this technology can reduce the number of rotational forces that can be transferred to the brain in the case of an accident.

Using their patented design, it suspends the helmet slightly off the top of the skull. This technology improves airflow and allows for cool air to pass directly over your head; this also improves the vents’ performance and internal channeling. 

But that’s not all. 

This elaborate design combines active vents in the helmet’s shell with exhaust channels inside the helmet; this allows the cool air to ventilate around the inside of the helmet and pushes the hot air out. You will feel the difference in every ride. 

Here’s more; the in-mold construction fuses a tough polycarbonate outer shell with the helmet’s impact-absorbing foam liner. This fusion process gives you customized comfort and fit and allows for the airflow technology to work efficiently. 

Bontrager and Giro use very efficient technology, but they arguably work well for each helmet. The Specter is cooler than cool, and the Syntax is well ventilated to keep you cool during long rides. They’re both winners in my books. 

Pros
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Effective MIPS technology to protect against rotational forces
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Elaborate vents and exhaust channels for cooling
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Molding technology for comfort
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Easily adjustable
Cons
Q
None

Latest deal: Giro Syntax MIPS Road Bike Helmet

3.

Bell Z20 MIPS Aero Adult Road Bike Helmet

If you search for a heavy-duty and sturdy road bike helmet, Bell Z20 Aero Adult Road Bike Helmet will be an awesome choice. With superlative fit and adjustability, class-leading ventilation, aerodynamics, and MIPS, this helmet is one of the most advanced on the market.

The Z20 has been changed and improved over the years to fit by optimizing aerodynamics, reviewing test data, and gathering real-world customer feedback.

Their unique progressive layer energy management system utilizes two layers of hard EPS foam and integrated MIPS. This improves impact performance and protecting your head against any trauma caused by accidents. And protect your head against rotational impacts.

to improve their design constantly but wait here’s more:

This bike helmet also has X-static and XT2 padding, which are quick-drying materials woven with silver fibers to wick away sweat from intense rides and inhibit the growth of odor-causing bacteria and fungi.  It also pulls away moisture from the brow pad too.

I love this helmet because the MIPS are secure. With the retention dial at the back and flexibility, it sits on your head comfortably and snugly for ultimate protection without feeling restricted. It is well ventilated and will keep you cool on long rides. 

My only bone to pick with this helmet is the lack of visor because it is ideal for keeping your sun out of your eyes. But all in all, this is another gem for the price. 

Pros
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Outstanding design
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Sturdy helmet
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Sweat pad guides for absorbing moisture
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3 ways adjustability
Cons
Q
None

Latest deal: Bell Z20 MIPS Aero

4.

Smith Trace MIPS Helmet

Never have to compromise comfort for protection ever again with Smith Trace MIPS Helmet– getting to your destination will be a breeze with this helmet. 

Where should I start? For starters and the first thing you’ll notice is the MIPS technology used in the design. Rotational motion can cause brain injuries, but you will be protected from rotational motion to the brain during impact with low-friction MIPS. 

Another cool feature is the lightweight aero core in-mold construction; this improves airflow and ventilation while increasing impact resistance. Plus, the AirEvac system relieves hot air that builds up on your eyes to prevent fogging.

No more hot and sweaty heads and glazed vision. 

But there’s more: the Koroyd material not improves ventilation and increases impact resistance, but it also decreases the weight into options like Bell that use EPS foam. This bad boy also has a whopping 18 optimized vents for ultimate cooling. 

One thing I struggled with when finding helmets is finding ones to fit my massive head– some people will understand the struggle. But this helmet is designed with a VaporFit™ adjustable fit system that ensures unique fit and customized fit for comfort. 

Get sweaty easily? No problem, Trace MIPS Helmet is designed with XT2 antibacterial performance lining to prevent the growth of odor-causing microbes in the fabric. Plus, the ultralight single-layer webbing provides cool and comfortable coverage. 

You can cruise through your concrete jungle or country road rides with complete confidence of comfort and protection. 

Pros
R
MIPS technology
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Air Evac system, aero core in mold construction and 17 ventilation holes
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VaporFit adjustable fit system
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CPSC, CE EN 1078 Certified
Cons
Q
Still on the small side

Latest deal: Smith Trace MIPS Helmet

5.

POC Omne Air Spin Bike Helmet

The helmet inspires the will for more. Whether on the morning commute or a long weekend ride, the Omne Air 

POC’s helmet was built to inspire you to keep pushing; whether you’re on your morning commute or seeking adventure on a new trail ride, Omne Air SPIN pushes you to go further and push the limits. 

The optimal liner density and thicker protection areas on the core provide all-around great protection for daily use. The ventilation and low weight make this helmet award-winning for octal and ventral protection,  protecting from the most oblique impacts.

But let’s get down to the nitty-gritty details…

Instead of using MIPS, POC incorporates both SPIN and POC patent-pending silicone pad technology to protect your head from trauma while giving unmatched levels of performance while giving you the best fit and comfort possible. 

With a wide range of colors to choose from, POC is unbeatable, and the very best commuter bike helmets, it will be sure to keep you out of trouble when you need it! 

Pros
R
POC's patent pending silicone pad technology and SPIN
R
360º adjustment
R
Lightweight and breathable material
R
Super comfortable for long commutes
Cons
Q
Some said could have spare padding

Latest deal: POC Omne Air Spin Bike Helmet

Looking for the best aero helmets instead?

We’ve put an in-depth guide together for that.

We have looked at 21 aero helmets to make sure you’re getting the best for your money. We focused on fit, materials, aerodynamics, and safety to make sure we’ve found the greatest products available to buy.

You can see the full guide here which could be more relevant than the one you’re reading now.

Best Road Bike Helmets Under $200– A Buyer’s Guide:

Whether you’re looking for a helmet to keep you safe on the roads and leisurely rides or just looking for a high-quality aerodynamic MIPS helmet on a budget, we shouldn’t have to pay an arm and a leg to get a high-quality helmet.

Bike helmets have massively advanced in recent years; they have been developed with advanced technologies and protective material like MIPS and SPIN to prevent your head from trauma during an accident.  They work to prevent your head from rotating (which most commonly causes trauma).

But helmets are not just designed to protect your head in the case of a collision, but they’re also designed to keep you comfortable and cool during your ride. No one should have to suffer from hat hair and a sweaty, smelly helmet after their ride– this is the worst!

Most recent designs have included cooling technology features such as sweat-wicking materials, well ventilated with airflow technology to regulate airflow around the helmet, and improving comfort for the rider.

Different designs to follow, such as a commuter helmet, will be very different from an aerodynamic racing helmet. It is important to distinguish the difference between each to ensure you’re getting the very best product.

Let’s break down everything you need to know how to get a top-quality road bike helmet without breaking your bank!

Different types of road bike helmets: 

You may think there is just one type of road bike helmet but hundreds of designs, but you can get different types of helmets for riding on the road, commuter, triathlon, and regular road bike helmets. 

Road bike helmets: These are often used by road cyclists, designed to give comfort and ventilation to the rider to continue to excel in their performance without getting too hot. 

They also ensure that their helmets provide a good amount of protection while being super lightweight.

Triathlon/ time trial helmet: These helmets are also known as TT helmets. You will see them in triathlons and grand tours. They’re designed to give ultimate aerodynamics and performance rather than ventilation. 

This may be strange for an ordinary cyclist.

Commuter helmets: These are often referred to as urban/ city helmets; you’ll see them commonly on riders in busy, built-up areas. 

Commuting doesn’t require too much effort. Therefore, the helmets are quite basic and offer ventilation; they often come in colors that will go better with casual clothing instead of standing out. 

Aero road bike helmet: Aero bike helmets are designed for speed; they’re often used in races, they’re designed to speed you up by a considerable amount. They are less ventilated than other road helmets, so you’ll pay in the heat build-up.

I wouldn’t recommend aero road bike helmets for everyday use as the ventilation is inferior, and you’ll be bound to get hot and sweaty after your ride. Still, they’re brilliant for competing and favored amongst many road racers.

Do you need MIPS or SPIN features?

While on a budget, we are reluctant to spend more on added features like MIPS or SPIN technologies, but they’re actually more important than you may think. 

MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System): MIPS is designed to protect your head and prevent it from rotating in the case of an accident. It is revolutionary in new helmet technology; it provides more protection against angled impacts. 

MIPS has saved people’s lives during accidents; cyclists that wear helmets are much less likely to suffer from brain damage caused by collisions. It is a 10-15mmlow-friction layer in all directions inside the helmet; it prevents rotational motion to the brain. 

SPIN (Shearing Pad Inside): SPIN technologies are designed to provide similar or better protection to MIPS against oblique or rotational impacts. They similarly protect your brain from injury and absorb shocks from collisions (preventing it from hitting your brain) 

They’re definitely worth it!!

How To Pick The Best Road bike Helmets On A Budget

Safety: When buying yourself a bike helmet, you should always check you are buying a helmet that has passed CPSC regulations. This essentially means that that helmet has passed a number of tests that look at the helmet’s construction, field of vision, impact absorption, retention system, chin strap, and buckle. 

This will ensure safety in a collision; you should always make sure your helmet follows these basic safety requirements before looking into any extra features like MIPS. 

Fit: The fit of the helmet is actually arguably one of the most important features to consider; if it doesn’t fit properly, it won’t do the job it is designed for. A big helmet may not be very comfortable, while a smaller one might be too tight.

To ensure that you have picked the correct size, you need to know the exact size of your head. If you are buying from a bike shop, you can try the various options available and choose the one that fits you well. 

Even if you decide not to buy the one from the bike shop, it will at least give you an idea of what to look for online. 

If you’re going to be wearing this helmet for long periods, it must be comfortable; you should try on a range of different models and decide which one is comfortable for you. Some helmets are women’s specific and men’s specific for features like ponytails. 

Comfort/padding: Another feature to consider when it comes to comfort is the padding inside the helmet. The right amount of padding will make the helmet more comfortable, but too much can be uncomfortable. 

Some paddings are designed to wick away moisture from your head and have antibacterial features to prevent your helmet from smelling after weeks of use.

Ventilation: For any cycling, not just road biking, you’ll want a helmet that is well ventilated. I love Bontrager Specter as it incorporates Wavecel technology to ventilate airflow above your head and regulate airflow through ventilation holes. 

I would always recommend going for a road bike helmet that is well ventilated over an aero helmet as this will help keep you cool and allow you to ride for longer.

Material: You will find that road bikes are usually made using different materials. The best helmet should have a sturdy shell and it should also have a foam padding.

A chinstrap will also be important since it ensures that you are very comfortable.

Design: Road bike helmets are available in different colors and designs. Look for a helmet that has bright colors. It should also have additional features like LED lights and many air vents.

A well-ventilated helmet keeps you cool even when the weather is scorching.

Weight-:Heavy helmets are very uncomfortable and they also cause you to strain your shoulder muscles and neck. A good helmet should be lightweight and comfortable.

When should you buy a new road bike helmet?

Replacing your helmet from time to time is the best way to ensure that you are safe. If you have ever crashed, the truth is that the quality of your helmet is not the same.

Even if you can’t see any visible signs, it is good to buy a new one. Using the same helmet after a crash is very risky because your next crash might even be fatal.

Again, if you have been using a cheap helmet, especially those below $100, you need to upgrade the helmet with a better model, at least those from $100 to $200. Cheap helmets are usually made of low-quality materials, which means that they do not provide the best protection.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is the best road cycling helmet under $200

Bontrager Specter Bike Helmet is top quality for those searching for a cheap but excellent model. It has a very attractive design that features Wavecel technology to ensure ultimate safety in the case of an accident.

Are MIPS bike helmets worth it?

The good thing about MIPS helmets is that they provide better security for cyclists. They might be a bit expensive but they are worth it if you mind about your safety.

Are cheap road bike helmets reliable?

In most cases, the cheaper models are made of cheap materials which means that they do not provide the best protection as compared to the expensive ones.

Wrapping up

Every time you are riding a bike, you need to ensure that you are wearing a quality helmet. Since accidents are likely to occur when cycling, a helmet protects your head in case of a crash. However, finding a good helmet may be a challenging task especially if you cannot afford the expensive models.

However, the 5 products I have reviewed are the best for budgets. I have only picked those with advanced features that you can only find inexpensive models. Again, they are made of top-quality materials which means that they provide the best protection as compared to other helmets on the market.

Happy cycling!

Alex Bristol

Content Manager at Pedallers

ABOUT

Alex is a cycling expert at Pedallers and focuses on reviewing bikes, accessories, and general cycling. He searches for the most up to date products that match the needs of cyclists across the world. Whether it's recent news or the best bike set-ups, Alex is a trusted source for anything around cycling.