Best Mountain Bike Helmet Under $100

While mountain biking is exciting and adventurous, it comes with a fair share of danger for obvious reasons. When you are tackling rugged terrain on your bike, a lot can go wrong, no matter how seasoned mountain biker you are.

One of the absolute musts for biking, especially mountain biking, is a good-quality helmet. Fortunately, you can now easily find the best mountain bike helmet under $100. But before we get into my top recommendations, let us have a quick look at what goes into choosing the right mountain bike helmet.

Mountain Bike Helmets Versus Road Bike Helmets

While any good quality helmet will provide excellent protection, if you are an avid mountain biker like me, it is wise to invest in one that is exclusively designed for challenging terrains.

One of the most significant differences between a mountain bike helmet and a road bike helmet is that the former features a visor in the majority of the cases. From blocking sunlight to protecting your eyes from rogue specks and low-hanging branches, the visor plays a critical role in significantly boosting your safety while mountain biking.

Also, most of the latest mountain bike helmets, be it a full face shield or a half shell, now have a lower back cut for added safety. As the chances of accidents are considerably higher during ascents and descents, these helmets are equipped with additional safety features to keep you protected.

Types of Mountain Bike Helmets 

Here are a few different types of mountain bike helmets-

Half Shell/Open Mountain Bike Helmets

The half-shell or open lid helmets are ideal for less aggressive trail riding. While these helmets look similar to road bike helmets, there are some significant differences between the two.

  • The open lid or half-shell mountain bike helmets are bulkier in the rear portion to offer added protection to your head in case of a backward fall
  • Many of them feature visors for safety, as discussed above
  • Even the shell texture is generally flatter and rougher compared to road bike helmets which commonly have a glossy texture

Open Face Mountain Bike Helmets

These are more protective and heavier versions of open lid helmets recommended for more aggressive trail riding. Compared to a half-face shell, the open-face helmets are even bulkier at the back for added safety.

Most of the models also feature a retention system to ensure that the helmet stays in place. The venting system is generally less open, offering more protection against sharp objects or rocks getting through.

Full Face Mountain Bike Helmets

Full-face mountain bike helmets are also known as downhill bike helmets as they are built to assist descents when the bike speed is high and chances of accidents are higher. Unlike half-face or open face helmets, a full-face helmet offers utmost protection to your head, face, and chin.

As these helmets are designed to offer more protection, they are not the best when it comes to ventilation. Riding uphill wearing a full-face helmet will leave you more uncomfortable and hotter than other helmet types. However, in the last few years, the designs have evolved considerably, and many latest models come with excellent ventilation features.

Safety Standards for Bike Helmets

If you are new to biking, especially mountain biking, you should also know about their safety standards. Bike helmets available in the USA should comply with the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) standards. While there are other standards and certifications, like ASTM, CE, and Snell, CPSC is the most important if you are purchasing a USA-made bike helmet.

If the helmet has been manufactured in another country, it is possible for it not to have CPSC certification. In such cases, you can ensure that the helmet meets similar safety regulations of that country. 

Choosing the Right Mountain Bike Helmet

Thanks to technological advancements, you can now easily find feature-packed quality mountain bike helmets under $100. But the selection should be based on a few critical factors, such as-

Helmet Fit

The safest and highest quality helmet might not be the best choice for you if it doesn’t fit you well. As there are no related fitting standards, helmet manufacturers are free to choose any mold of their choice. This is the reason why some helmets will fit you better than they will fit others.

Here are a few tips to get the right fit-

  • Your entire head should be in contact with the inside of a helmet and it should sit at the right level above the brow without interfering with your vision in any way
  • Helmet strap should ensure that the helmet does not move more than 1-inch from the level after fastening
  • Once fastened, give a slight tug to the buckle to check its strength
  • In case if the helmet is sliding over your head or moving more than an inch after the above steps, you should look for a different helmet

Helmet Construction

While many different types of materials and construction technologies are now used for manufacturing bike helmets, the most vital consideration is the foam liner that sits between your head and the helmet’s outer shell.

EPS or Expanded Polystyrene beads are used for creating these liners for spreading the impact energy through deformation so that your head stops slowly in case of a mishap. The density of EPS can also be tuned for fitting the application of a bike helmet.

Helmet Ventilation

Mountain bike helmets, especially full-face helmets, feature ventilation ports for drawing in air and channeling to the exit points to complete the convection circuit and keep you cool. A simple way to determine the ventilation of a helmet is the size of the front vents—larger vents on the front offer better cooling.

However, while more vents will keep you cool, in some of the models, they might negatively impact the safety of the helmet. So, when searching for the best mountain bike helmet under $100, aim for a balance between safety and ventilation.

Top 5 Mountain Bike Helmets Under $100

As an avid mountain biker, I’ve used a wide range of helmets over the years. While my current helmet still has at least a year to go, I regularly check out the latest models online to keep myself updated. Based on my experience and knowledge, here are some of the best mountain bike helmets that you can consider if your budget is $100 or less

OUWOR MTB Helmet

The OUWOR MTB Helmet is my top recommendation if you don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on a mountain bike helmet. Made from durable PC shell and quality EPS foam through integrated molding technology, the 56-61cm OUWOR helmet ticks all the right boxes, making it an excellent choice for mountain biking.

With its rear dial and chin straps, you can easily adjust the helmet for a custom fit. It also features 16 air vents for keeping you cool over longer distances. There is also a removable visor to easily convert the helmet into a road bike helmet when riding on city streets.

Top Features

  • Integrated molding technology for added protection
  • Adjustable rear dial for a custom fit
  • 16 air vents and removable visor
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GIRO Fixtures MIPS Adult Dirt Cycling Helmet

An increasing number of mountain bike helmets now feature a thin MIPS (Multi-Directional Impact Protection System) layer on the inside of the helmet. In case of an accident, this MIPS layer allows the helmet to slide off your head to reduce the oblique impact on your brain. This GIRO Fixtures MIPS Adult Dirt Cycling Helmet is one of the few that offers this feature in the sub-$100 range.

GIRO also has its testing lab where each of its products is thoroughly tested for safety and quality. The universal size helmet is created with in-mold construction and features 18 wind tunnels for a cooler and more comfortable ride.

Top Features

  • MIPS layer for extra protection
  • In-mold construction for improved quality
  • 18 wind tunnels for ventilation
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Exclusky MTB Helmet

Another excellent mountain bike helmet under $100 is this Exclusky MTB Helmet. Made from thicker multi-density EPS foam, the helmet is more capable of absorbing impact energy for minimizing head damage in case of an accident. It also features a dial retention system for easy adjustments and a custom fit.

There are 18 holes throughout the helmet to keep you cool on the trails. The universal size helmet from Exclusky also has a reinforced adjustable sun visor to protect you against sun and dirt specks when cruising through muddy terrain.

Top Features

  • ·       Thicker multi-density foam for improved impact absorption
  • ·       Dial retention system for a custom fit
  • ·       18 ventilation holes and adjustable sun visor
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Demon Podium Full Face Bike Helmet

Finding a good quality full-face mountain bike helmet under $100 is difficult but not impossible. If you are looking for a full-face helmet, check out this Demon Podium Bike Helmet. The shell of the helmet is made from injection-molded thermal alloy resin PC for enhanced protection. High-density EPS foam between the helmet and your head ensures a comfortable fit and added safety.

The helmet liner is also removable and washable. The sun visor is fully adjustable, and there are 13 vents for easy airflow.

Top Features

  • Injection-molded thermal alloy resin PC shell for improved protection
  • High-density EPS foam offers excellent comfort and safety
  • 13 vents for effective ventilation
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PTSOC Adult Mountain Bike Helmet

#5 on this list of best mountain bike helmets under $100 is this PTSOC Adult Mountain Bike Helmet. It features a hard shell made from polycarbonate and EPS hard foam for reliable protection when you are out in the mountains. The helmet also meets the CPSC standards for guaranteed quality and safety. The helmet has a crank fit dial for easy fitting.

Moreover, the helmet also features an adjustable tail light at the back for added safety when riding during the night. The lightweight, universal size helmet also has 11 vents with internal channeling for improved cooling.

Top Features

  • Helmet meets CPSC safety and quality standards
  • Crank fit dial for a custom fit
  • Adjustable rear LED light for improved safety at night

A helmet is the most critical safety gear for any cycling enthusiast, especially if you love mountain biking. Now that you know how mountain bike helmets different, their types, and how to choose one, you can start browsing through the options available online to purchase one at the earliest.

If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on the purchase, you can check out the best mountain bike helmet under $100 that I have listed above. Feel free to share your inputs and recommendations through the comments section below. 

Click below to compare prices and check availability

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