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What is the safest bike helmet?

Video courtesy of The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety & The Virginia Tech Helmet Lab

To determine the safety of some of the top selling helmets on the market, the Virginia Tech Helmet Lab created the first ever helmet safety rating system. This system would help to discover the best bike helmets of 2020 for their safety and impact ratings.

This study was performed in conjunction with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a non profit that is financed by the insurance industry.

During the testing a rating system was developed consisting of a 5 star rating. A helmet given the 5 star rating was determined to be the safest while a 2 star rating would show a lower level of safety.

This testing and rating system was done to help cyclists determine what helmets are going to best protect them and keep them safe in the event of a crash.

When should you replace your bike helmet?

Bike helmets should be replaced every 3-5 years due to their loss of ability to absorb impact. Materials break down with time due to sweat, UV rays and heat. To see when your helmet was made, look inside the shell for a manufacture date. More on helmet safety can be found on the ASTM website.

the four safest bike helmets in 2018

The four top rated helmets for safety by the VT Helmet Lab.

85 popular helmets in adult sizes were tested to determine their overall safety and given a rating using the new helmet safety rating system.

Of the 85 helmets tested, only 29 helmets were given the 5 star rating.  53 helmets were given ratings in the 3-4 star range and only 4 received a 2 star rating.

The numbers of stars given determine the overall safety of the helmet and it's ability to protect the rider in the event of an impact.

Price did not guarantee a safer helmet, several more affordable models rated higher than some more expensive options.

We've added a list of the safest helmets below, ranked from most safe to least by the VT Helmet Lab. 

Video courtesy of Trek Bikes

It is important to point out that the majority of helmets that received the 5 star safety rating were equipped with the Multi-Directional Impact Protection System or MIPS system. WaveCel helmets also ranked very highly in testing.

In an impact the MIPS system allows for the outer shell of the helmet to move independently of the inner shell. This action causes the twisting forces on the neck and skull to be minimized, lessening the impact to the brain.

This results in the lessening of the forces that cause concussion and whiplash symptoms. In the end you are given a safer bike helmet.

The short video we've added shows how MIPS works and it's safety effects in the event of a crash or impact.

The Overall List Of The Best Bike Helmets Of 2020 + 2021 By Safety Ratings

"the bontrager rally mips is the safest bike helmet"

And The 2020 Winner Is?

The Bontrager Rally MIPS scored the highest for safety among all the helmets tested in 2020.

This makes the Rally not only the best mountain bike helmet in test but the over winner for the best helmet you can put on your head.

With great looks, multiple colors and top notch safety ratings you simply cannot go wrong.

For 2021 the Rally has been upgraded to the new WaveCel technology!

Shop Bontrager Rally WaveCel

Shop All Bontrager Helmets

bontrager wavecel helemt

Other 5-star helmets

MIPS is not the only technology that was given a 5-star rating by the Virginia Tech Helmet Lab test. 

The Wavecel helmets recently developed by Bontrager also received the highest level of safety honors and have been proven to provide extraordinary levels of protection against angled impacts and rotational force.

All Wavecel helmets have received a 5 star safety rating from the Virginia Tech Helmet Lab.

Watch the Wavecel Helmet Video

Best Available : 5 Stars

Very Good : 4 Stars

  • Scott ARX Plus MIPS
  • Bontrager Quantum MIPS
  • Specialized Prevail II
  • Bontrager Circuit MIPS
  • Smith Optics Overtake
  • Cannondale Ryker AM MIPS
  • Giro Savant
  • Kali Therapy
  • Bell Draft MIPS
  • POC Octal
  • Giro Foray MIPS
  • Giro Synthe
  • Giro Sutton MIPS
  • Specialized Evade II MIPS
  • Garneau Le Tour II
  • Bell Annex MIPS
  • Lazer Coyote MIPS
  • Specialzized Centro MIPS
  • Scott Vivo Plus MIPS
  • Catlike Whisper
  • Bell Sixer MIPS
  • Cannondale Ryker AM MIPS
  • Specialized Ambush
  • POC Tectal
  • Garneau Course
  • Schwinn Intercept
  • Giro Register
  • Scott Cadence Plus MIPS
  • 6D ATB -1T EVO
  • Leatt DBX 3.0 All-MountainV19.2
  • Specialzed S-Works Evade II
  • Smith Optics Forefront
  • Bell Adrenaline

Good : 3 Stars

  • Triple 8 Dual Certified MIPS
  • Kali Interceptor 
  • Bell Reflex
  • Bontrager Solstice
  • Bern Brentwood
  • Bell Division 
  • Schwinn Thrasher
  • Nutcase Street
  • Schwinn Flash
  • Kali City
  • Giro Revel
  • Specialized Centro
  • Electra Helmet
  • Garneau Eagle
  • Lazer Blade
  • Troy Lee Designs A1 Drone
  • Schwinn Excursion
  • Bern Allston
  • Kask Valegro
  • Kali Tava
  • Schwinn Chic

Adequate : 2 Stars

  • Lazer Genesis
  • Bern Watts
  • Cannondale Quick
  • Specialized Echelon II (non MIPS)