We can all agree that wearing a bike helmet is the safer, more responsible choice. I used to find all sorts of ways of talking myself out of putting on mine–it’s just a short ride; I’ve done this trip a thousand times; there’s not that much traffic out today. But once I found a helmet that not only fit me well, but also looked good on, I never had to hesitate to grab my helmet again. Our bikes are representations of us. Our helmets can be, too.
Gone are the days of choosing between aesthetic and bike safety. A low profile bike helmet is one that won’t give you the giant bulbous, mushroom look when you wear it. It fits much closer to the head without the needless bulk on the sides or on top. It looks sleeker and more often than not, they’re a little lighter too. No matter if this if your first helmet, or an upgrade to an existing one, there is a low profile bike helmet to complement whatever your head shape and whatever kind of cycling you do.
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The POC Omne Air Spin bicycle helmet is our number one pick for best low-profile helmet. This multipurpose helmet can be equally at home on the daily commute, a longer bike trip, or out on a road bike. If you’ve got a longer or more oval-shaped face, this helmet fits just right without giving you that undesirable mushroom head top and without sacrificing safety or performance. Check out our full review below for full details.
Low Profile Bike Helmet Reviews
1. POC Omne Air Spin – Best Overall Low-Profile Helmet
The POC Omne Air Spin is the best overall pick for a low-profile helmet that we found. Excellent for almost all kinds of rides, this streamlined helmet fits great and looks great on those with thinner or smaller heads. It is lightweight and has tons of air vents that allow a cool and comfortable ride, every time. The vents on the far left and far right sides are even designed to hold your performance sunglasses.
POC has their own patent-pending silicone pad technology system, SPIN (Shearing Pad INside) they have developed into this helmet. The silicone pads contain a gel-like membrane for a comfortable and entirely new experience with helmet liners.
Put on the included reflective stickers for even more visibility, especially with the darker versions of this helmet.
- Superior levels of comfort, fit, and performance for the daily commute or a longer, more challenging ride.
- Awesome fit for heads that don’t generally fill out most traditional helmets with 360° degree size adjustment system inside.
- No visor included or can be attached.
- Thin fabric straps can’t be adjusted around the ears.
2. GIRO Synthe – Lightest Weight
Weighing in at the lightest on the list of performance low profile helmets, The Giro Synthe has an in mold polycarbonate shell that reinforces the area around its vents and ribs to create a one piece exoskeleton. This allows the helmet to be lighter, more durable, and better ventilated than many of its peers. It has an impact absorbing EPS liner and 19 wind tunnel vents with internal channels designed to send cold, fresh air over and around your head. Additional integrated aero mesh side panels provide an additional cooling factor.
Inside the helmet, there is the built in multi directional impact protection system (MIPS) to reduce rotational impact force in the event of a crash. The featherweight webbing straps come with a slimline buckle that makes the straps very comfortable to wear, unlike a bulkier closure system.
Notably, the Roc Loc system helps make this helmet very adjustable. It is even Ponytail Compatible for those who have longer hair and need to wear it pulled back while ridging. While you can wear this helmet on a mountain bike, its lack of a visor makes it less than ideal for those conditions and the air vents work best at higher speeds. Still, should clouds set in on your cycling adventure, use the eyewear docking ports to stash your sunglasses when you’re not using them on the road.
- Excellent for more oval-shaped heads and very aerodynamic, sleek style.
- MIPS safety technology, the EPS liner, and in mold polycarbonate shell make this helmet top rated for safety.
- Improper sizing often leads to pressure points against the head
- Ventilation works best at higher speeds making it not a great choice for a mountain bike helmet.
3. Kask Mojito X – Best for Road Cyclists
The Kask Mojito X is a little rounder and sits with a lower profile on the head to ensure you never get the mushroomy look. It’s easy to adjust while being comfortable to wear and very lightweight. Take your pick from one of the many highly visible color schemes designed for this road cycling helmet. It is highly breathable with 26 vents in the molded polycarbonate shell to let air circulate and keep your head cool.
The washable faux-leather chinstrap and pad prevent skin irritation for longterm wear and the gel liners inside of this helmet are also designed with comfort in mind. If you have a slightly rounder head, this helmet is the perfect choice to get you all of the protection you need without looking oversized on your dome.
If you’re on a budget, the Mojito X comes in at a lower price point than the Kask Protone helmet but still an excellent choice for a low profile bike helmet designed for road cycling.
- The unique Up & Down fit system cradles the back of the head for a form-fitting look
- Offers excellent protection in a sleek, breathable package
- Correct sizing is essential to prevent the front of the helmet from rubbing on the forehead.
4. Sena R1 Smart Communications Helmet – Most Connected
If you’re the person who likes to listen to music or podcasts while you ride or the person who loves riding with other people, this is the helmet best suited for you. With a polycarbonate shell and EPS liner, this helmet looks a lot like what you expect from cycling helmets. But the Sena R1 Smart Communications Helmet changes how we expect a helmet to function by adding in a built-in microphone and speakers that allow you to listen to your music and your surroundings without worrying about headphones or wires. Listen to the radio, too, as this helmet can store up to 10 FM preset stations.
Not just for music, the Sena R1 is great for riding with a few friends. The group intercom system allows you and up to three other people to link up and hear each other clearly up to 0.5 miles away in open terrain. Advanced Noise Control technology ensures your voice is transmitted clearly and without wind or white noise in the background. And pair your phone through Bluetooth so you can access features such as GPS navigation or take phone calls on the go.
You don’t have to worry about loss of functionality with this low profile bike helmet. It boasts a comfortable and secure design that is CPSC certified. It has removable and washable interior padding, and an easy to wear nylon chinstrap to keep it in place. Add the optional Sena R1 Visor (sold separately) for added sun protection on long, hot days.
- Your friends and your media at the touch of a button; this helmet keeps you connected to the music and your surroundings at the same time.
- CPSC certified with strong safety features means this helmet is more than just added technological functionality.
- Take calls and hear directions when connected to the phone app.
- The intercom feature and the media feature do not work simultaneously.
- Audiophiles may find the audio quality less than appealing.
5. Thousand Heritage – Most Stylish
The Thousand Heritage helmet will have you turning heads wherever you ride thanks to its unmatched style and vintage motorcycle inspired shape. You can look great while wearing a helmet and Thousand has the color or design for you. They are often changing up their aesthetic offerings so you can be assured your helmet will represent your personal style while still being functional and CPSC certified.
One of the coolest features of this helmet is the secret pop lock behind the logo. Paired with their anti-theft guarantee, feel free to leave your helmet locked up with your bike and never have to awkwardly bring it inside again. It’s an excellent commuter bike helmet designed with style and safety standards in mind. Check out the magnetic buckle that clicks into place one handed (no need to worry about pinching) and also the more subtle ventilation system that keeps you cool on your commute without looking like a professional cyclist.
Thousand also cares about the environment. The vegan leather straps look great while keeping your helmet snug and secure. They are mindful of their supply chain and have cut down the amount of cardboard used in shipping and displaying their helmets in retail as well. The Thousand Heritage is a cycling helmet, and a company, you can feel good using.
- Unique shape and design makes this a helmet you’ll want to reach for again and again.
- Safe for your brain and safer for the environment.
- Anti-theft guarantee and Accident Replacement Guarantee will replace your helmet for free if it is stolen while locked up or if you get into an accident.
- The seven air vents may not offer enough ventilation depending on your riding style and climate.
6. LUMOS Kickstart Smart Helmet – Best Urban Commuter Helmet
The Lumos Kickstart Smart Bike Helmet is a revolution in commuter bike helmets. Perfect for the urban commuter, this CPSC certified helmet is designed to have you be seen on the road and predictable to traffic around you. There are several LED lights included on this helmet. The front LED light shines in white to let other road users know you are coming. The LED rear light also broadcasts your location in addition to acting as automatic brake lights and also turn signals like you’d find in a car.
Traditional helmets are only helpful in the event of a crash, but with the Lumos Kickstart Smart Bike Helmet, see the front and rear light from 360 degrees to help prevent crashes before they happen. Don’t worry, in addition to all of the LED safety light, the Kickstart Smart Bike helmet is made of impact resistant EPS liner and a polycarbonate shell to keep you safe just in case. And 22 air vents work to keep you cool, too.
The turn signals and lights are controlled by a handlebar mounted remote control that charges at the same time that you charge the helmet. Most people find that they are strong enough to hold a charge all day, however that will vary based on how much you’re riding.
- Always be seen on the road with 500 lumens of front and rear light. Never get caught in the dark again.
- Pairing it with your phone is easy to monitor battery level and also optionally track your rides.
- The onboard battery makes this a little heavier than average. Some find it not suitable for more than 15+ miles at a time.
- The front light doesn’t light up the road ahead as much as help you to be visible.
7. GIRO Fixture MIPS Adult Dirt Cycling Helmet – Best Mountain Biking Low-Profile Helmet
The Giro Fixture MIPS Helmet is designed with mountain biking in mind. It still manages to keep the mountain style—there’s no mistaking this against other mountain bike helmets— while also offering compact design and breezy ventilation. The in mold polycarbonate shell and EPS foam lining construction makes this a strong yet lightweight option for the mountain biker looking for a sleeker helmet. The included MIPS helps to redirect energy in a crash with this slim, rugged helmet.
There are several style and color options to appeal to you and leave you feeling good. With the Giro Women’s series, there are many available sizes to fit almost everyone, right out of the box. For the smaller details, use the Giro Roc Loc sport fit adjustment system to fine-tune the fit, even on the go.
- MIPS and in-mold polycarbonate construction make this a rugged but lightweight helmet ready to take on all of your off-road adventures.
- Can get a great fit out of the box with the included Roc Loc sport fit system.
- The included visor can come off during vigorous activity. It is designed to be removable by small plastic screws.
What to Consider in Picking the Right Helmet
Getting the Right Fit
The first step in insuring that your helmet will be the right one for you is making sure that the fit is just right. To get all of the benefits from the technology that goes into helmet design, you’ll need to make sure your helmet fits snug yet comfortably, without moving side to side or front to back. A lot of helmets have a retention system in the back that let you dial in to an individualized fit. This adjustment system is an excellent feature for tweaking the fit of your helmet between sizes or to help adjust your helmet if you’re riding with a hat underneath for extra warmth.
In choosing the right size helmet, you’ll also need a tape measure to get the circumference of your head in centimeters. Measure from the top of your forehead, above the ears, and around back to the center of your head. If you’re in between sizes as listed on the size charts for each of the helmet brands, it’s generally best to go with the size down for snugness instead to assure the larger size won’t be loose on your head. You may also like our guide on bike helmets for big heads.
If you’re not regularly racing bikes, shaving a few grams off of the weight of your helmet isn’t likely to matter much. A lightweight helmet that doesn’t weigh you down will contribute to the smaller overall look of the helmet and further reduce the chances that it will look bulbous on your head. Sometimes heavier helmets can also cause strain on the neck and shoulders when riding for long periods of time. If you plan to be riding for hours, a lighter helmet will be much more comfortable in the long run.
All those holes you find in helmets aren’t just there for looks or to bring down the weight of the helmet. They’re there to provide ventilation to your head while you ride—bringing cooler air in and letting out the warm, stale air from underneath. These vents can be crucial in providing comfort to riders. Speaking of helmets you may also like our recent guide on the best skiing helmets with speakers.
The safety of a helmet can be determined in a number of ways. Helmets that are CPSC certified mean that they have been approved to reduce head injury upon impact a small number of times by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. There is a similar organization in the EU that certifies helmets in this way, too.
A new technology in the field of helmets within the last few years is the Multi Directional Impact Protection System or MIPS that comes built in to some helmets. This feature works to reduce the risk of concussion and increase your chances of walking away from a crash without a head injury by cutting down on the amount of rotational forces your head may experience upon impact.
Another method of determining safety standards for helmets come from the Virginia Tech Helmet Ratings. They use bicycle helmet impact tests to evaluate helmets’ ability to reduce the risk of concussion and found the top 13 helmets in the rankings were all equipped with MIPS technology. But you’ll still be better off wearing any helmet than skipping buying the otherwise perfect one just because it does not include this feature inside the helmet. Some brands such as our number one, POC, are developing alternatives to MIPS.
The materials that make up your helmet will also contribute to their safety factor as well as comfort for extended wear. Let’s take a look at some of the most common materials you’ll find in a modern bicycle helmet.
Inside your helmet, expanded polystyrene (EPS) is a crushable foam that is widely used in helmet linings because it is extremely lightweight and excellent at reducing the amount of energy transferred to your head during an impact. This foam collapses during impact which means you should look to replace your helmet after a crash, even if it looks fine, because it will be less effective for the next time.
High-end bike helmet shells are often made of polycarbonate because it is thin and lightweight while still being resilient to impact and weathering. In the same way that your vehicle is designed to crumple upon impact to spread the force throughout the vehicle and not to you, polycarbonate shells are designed to crack and also take in most of the energy forces. There are a few other common materials that make up the shell of a bike helmet such as regular plastic or ABS—each of which will sacrifice some of what makes polycarbonate such an excellent outer shell. If you liked this post see our recent guide on the best mtb helmet removable chin guard.
It’s not unusual to find bicycle helmets with all types of additional features that are added to make the helmet stand out. There are helmets with reflective detailing or rear LED lights built right in. Some helmets have attached or removable visors that help keep the sun or inclement weather out of your eyes while you ride.
Additionally, color and design definitely matter. After all, if you feel good wearing your helmet and you like the way it looks, you’re much more likely to wear it.
More often now, companies are making cycling helmets that look like better fitting extensions of our head. Long gone are the days where a bulky bike helmet was the only option for everyone but professional cyclists. Ultimately any head protection is better than none, but safety standards are raising higher and higher while cycling helmets themselves are slimming down, adding in a better fit system, and maintaining a low profile so we don’t have to look like toadstools while out on our bikes.
Low profile bike helmets come in a wide variety of shapes as we’ve seen to guarantee there is something made to fit your specific head at your specific price point. The POC Omne Air Spin Bike Helmet is our recommendation for best low profile helmet because of its innovative SPIN silicone gel lining for reducing brain injury and it’s multifunctional uses. This bicycle helmet is lightweight and easy to wear day in and day out–no matter how you’re choosing to ride.
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