You’re riding your bike through a singletrack trail, with the wind brushing past your face and arms as you gain speed down a brief hill. Your monitor reads 7, 8, 9 miles per hour, and your heart rate is also increasing. Life is good when there’s nothing but you, the secluded trail, and your bike.
There are two facts that people often don’t know about bikes. Number one is that they’re actually more dangerous than they seem, and number two, they can be pretty expensive if you’re building your own with high-quality components.
For this reason, not everyone wants to spend so much money on an expensive bike helmet. But, you do need a helmet if you’re going to be riding on roads, trails, or anywhere really. While you’re on a bike, you have no protective casing like people do in cars.
We’re not saying that you have to wear elbow and knee pads every time you want to take a ride, but a helmet is a must-have piece of gear to keep you safe throughout your bike ride. Helmets have saved countless lives, so wearing one is a no brainer, really.
Below we’ll be looking at the best bike helmets under $100 so that both you and your bank account can remain happy and unscathed.
In A Hurry?
Safety is of the utmost importance when riding a bike, so perhaps you’re too antsy to read our whole article to determine the best bike helmet under 100 for you. Well, look no further, as we’re here to fast track you to our favorite find on the market.
The Schwinn Thrasher Bike Helmet is a great inexpensive helmet for a number of reasons. For starters, you can purchase it for children, youth, and adults, so get prepared to buy the whole family one!
Here are a few other features that we especially liked:
- Full protection right around the head.
- 20 vents for great airflow.
- Comes with a visor to protect your eyes.
- The thick padding is also very comfortable.
Top 5 Bike Helmets Under $100
OUR TOP PICK
First on our list has to be the Schwinn Beam Bike Helmet, coming in 3 different colors and patterns. There are 17 vents across the whole model, giving you excellent ventilation to ensure a continuous flow of air throughout the helmet. This is particularly helpful while riding in the summer.
You can adjust the fit of your helmet with a dial for a perfect fit to your head. Pair this with the Schwinn 360-degree comfortable padding and you’ve got yourself an amazingly comfortable helmet. This helmet can be purchased in child, youth, or adult sizes.
The hard outer shell focuses on the top of your head, however, there is no hard casing on the back, only foam. There is also a visor so that you don’t need to wear sunglasses and potentially lessen your vision while riding.
- Excellent ventilation with 17 vents.
- Thick padding for impressive comfort.
- 360-degree protection.
- An additional visor to shade your eyes.
- Some customers were confused between the youth and child sizes.
- The rear light is not the most reliable.
Next up is a helmet ideal for a number of different sports, including cycling, skating, and skiing. The helmet offers more coverage than a traditional leisure bike helmet, as it wraps around the base of the skull, across the forehead, and before the ears.
Something interesting about this helmet that you often don’t find on models like this is that there are plenty of vents to keep you comfortable. In fact, there are eight vents across the head. You can fit the helmet with interchangeable pads to ensure you get the perfect fit every time you wear it.
The EPS foam protects your head should you get into a collision, and it also keeps you dry and comfortable while you sweat. Choose between 10 interesting colors to ensure that you’re always well seen whenever you’re riding.
- Multipurpose helmet.
- More coverage for your head for additional safety.
- Ventilated helmet to keep you cool.
- Some customers didn’t like how large the helmet was.
- Quite heavy for a bike helmet.
The Bell bike helmet is a great helmet when you’re looking for a model to specialize in impact resistance. The outer layer is made from PVC and PC for excellent durability and reliability, and the inner cushioning is EPS foam to absorb shock from impact.
The ventilation is designed to be aerodynamic to minimize the amount of drag that you experience while riding at a faster speed. This is a nice touch so that you can still reach those higher speeds without compromising your comfort.
There is only one size available to purchase this helmet in, however, you can adjust it with a simple dial as well as the modifiable chin strap. There are eight different colors and designs for you to pick from, so you’ll always be able to look your best while riding.
- Good impact resistance.
- Aerodynamic vents to keep your speed up.
- Easily adjustable to any sized head.
- The chinstrap is a little thin for some users.
- Some customers think that the helmet is rather small.
The Giro Cycling Helmet is one of the more expensive models on our list, with market-leading protection that has been tested in Giro’s own lab. The multi-directional impact protection system helps to deter the impact from a collision to keep you as safe as possible.
There are 22 vents to keep your head cool and comfortable without the itchy sweat build up. The adjustable dial is so simple to use that you can find the perfect fit to your head within seconds.
You can see that the shape of the helmet is aiming to be as aerodynamic as possible while maintaining a large number of vents. This gives you a better comfort level without affecting your speed too much by extenuating the drag.
- Adopts high-quality technology to keep you safe.
- Lots of ventilation for less sweat.
- Aerodynamic design.
- The straps are not easily adjustable thanks to their design.
- Some people found the sizing inconsistent.
Last but not least, we have a CPSC and CE certified helmet from KINGBIKE. This helmet wraps around the whole top of your head and even cups the base of your skull for additional safety.
There is plenty of ventilation through the EPS foam to keep you comfortable throughout the journey. You can adjust the fit of the helmet with a dial, and there are three different sizes to choose from.
The helmet weighs less than half a pound, making it very lightweight and easy to wear. You’ll also receive a visor and a rain cover to keep both you and your helmet in the best condition possible.
At the back of the helmet, there is a light that can be used through three modes for an additional level of safety. This saves you the hassle from buying a separate headlamp. There are 10 color variations for you to choose from.
- Great safety features such as a longer back and light.
- Plenty of ventilation.
- Very lightweight helmet.
- Low-quality chin strap.
- The foam isn’t the most moisture-wicking.
Best Bike Helmet Under $100 Buying Guide
Now let’s look at the most important things to look for when you’re determining which helmet is the best one for you. Knowing what you should look for when comparing helmets will allow you to make more of an informed decision.
Bearing in mind all of the below factors will ensure that you choose the best bike helmet under 100 for your individual needs.
Type of Helmet
The way that you prefer to use your bike will determine the type of helmet you should look for and purchase. There’s no use wearing an aerodynamic helmet if you only use your bike for slow rides down the park with your children!
Let’s look at the different types of helmets that you can opt for depending on what they’re most beneficial for.
Time trial helmets
A time trial is a competition in which you’re scored on how quickly you can complete a course. Time trial helmets cannot be used in road races and are only allowed in time trials such as triathlons and track laps.
You can characterize a time trial helmet by the teardrop shape with minimal ridges. This accentuates the aerodynamics of the rider to reduce the possibility of drag slowing their overall time down.
They often don’t involve vents and therefore are not as comfortable as other helmets. They often also come equipped with visors for trail riding. These helmets are only used for time trials, otherwise you’ll look ridiculous.
Leisure helmets are most commonly used by daily riders or commuters, and they’re most commonly available on the market for lower prices. They’re relatively comfortable and lightweight, although they are typically heavier than other types of helmets.
If you’re looking for a helmet to wear on your bike rides around the city, a leisure helmet is a great choice for the whole family. They come in all shapes and sizes and you can even get some with snazzy patterns, too.
Performance helmets are the most lightweight options on the market as they’re worn by road racers and mountain riders. The whole helmet is covered with ventilation to both keep a great amount of air flowing through the helmet and the weight down.
Many riders like to use the ventilation system to hold their riding glasses when they’re not in use. These helmets are incredibly comfortable and many people feel like they’re not even wearing a helmet at all. However, they may not offer the greatest amount of protection.
An aero helmet has been described as a hybrid between a time trial helmet and a leisure helmet. It offers better aerodynamics than a commuting helmet, and this is done by cutting back on ventilation.
These helmets are slightly heavier than time trial helmets and aren’t as comfortable as a leisure helmet. You should decide whether you can cope with theses changes before purchasing an aero helmet. They’re commonly worn by sprinters and breakaway riders.
Depending on when and where you’ll be riding, ventilation is very important for your comfort. Choosing a helmet with no ventilation will leave you with a sweaty head within minutes if you’re riding in the summer or bright sunshine.
Ventilation is simply holes in the helmet that reach from the outer shell of the model to your head. This obviously lets air flow much more freely than a helmet without any ventilation, which will keep you cool and prevent you from overheating.
Vents also reduce the weight of your helmet, however, they may also increase the amount of drag you face. An excessive amount of vents may also reduce the safety of your helmet, so make sure that it is still in keeping with the safety standards.
Speaking of safety, you need to ensure that your helmet is going to protect you in an accident. Otherwise, what’s the point of even wearing one? You should ensure that the helmet you choose is resistant to impact, is made of durable and reliable materials, and will remain on your head in a collision.
Crash sensors are another helpful tool. These send an alert to your emergency contact in case of a crash to tell them where you are. Other helmets offer scannable stickers that emergency services can use to gain your information and details. Of course, these safety features might bump up the price a little, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Fit and Adjustment Capabilities
You need your helmet to fit properly to ensure that it keeps you safe throughout the entirety of your journey. As a helmet is a safety precaution, it needs to fit perfectly to your head. Not too big, not too small, just right.
As everyone’s heads are different, there are some helmets that can be adjusted to get the right size for you. So, don’t worry too much if there isn’t a helmet for your exact head size and shape, just make sure that it can be adjusted to a snug fit.
You don’t want your bike ride to be ruined by an uncomfortable helmet, right? The best helmets will come with padding to ensure that your head isn’t hitting against hard plastic and metal throughout the entire journey.
This padding will also prevent sweat from sitting on your skin for too long as well, as this can be rather uncomfortable. You may think of this as a safety measure as well, as you won’t have to compromise your visibility while wiping away that forehead sweat.
Different helmets are made of varying materials, so it’s important to determine which you want to choose for yourself. Most bike helmets come equipped with EPS foam for the inner cushioning, and the exterior is made of a strong polycarbonate casing.
Carbon fiber can be used to make the outer shell even more durable, however, this might hike up the price. You need your bike helmet to keep your head safe throughout any incidents, so it’s imperative to check the durability of your helmet.
To do this, we’d suggest looking to the customer reviews to see whether any prior customers have had any issues with the durability. The reviews are often filled with stories about people who have got into collisions and their helmets have either faltered or saved the day.
Inexpensive helmets tend to weigh a little more, which reduces the comfort of the helmet as there is more weight needed to be supported by your neck. This may also affect your performance in competitions and races, which is why weight is so important to some cyclists.
Decide whether you can spare some comfort for a heavier helmet, otherwise you’re going to have to increase the price of your search.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are cheap cycle helmets safe?
Yes! Every bike helmet is required to conform to a level of safety standards, so they are as safe as expensive alternatives. The differences are mostly seen between aerodynamics, comfort, and weight.
Just make sure that you check the advertisement to see if the manufacturer has stated that the helmet has been impact tested and made with these standards in mind. It is the law to follow the standards, so the majority of helmets on the market will all offer the same level of safety.
Do bike helmets expire?
The Snell Memorial Foundation states that you should replace your helmet every five years, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission says it should be ten years. That being said, you sometimes need to replace your helmet more often than this.
While helmets don’t technically expire, excessive use for so many years can reduce how protective it is, so it’s always advised to check your helmet before every use for cracks and weaknesses. If your helmet looks compromised, get another one as soon as possible.