Cycling Helmet Brands: Top 12 Dome Defenders

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Bike helmets. From the day we set out on stabilisers, a helmet forms part of our cycling style. Yet, all too often, the offerings can be a little, well, boring – leaving us nostalgic for the bold, bright designs we wore as kids.

Luckily, today’s helmet industry is full of market disruptors – and there are dozens of companies who recognise that your helmet needs to keep you safe and look good. The brands we’re spotlighting today blend key safety features with style.

They produce models that’ll link to your iPhone and minimalist designs worn by a Tour de France-winning team. Fend’s Super even folds to half its normal size. Looking for a new helmet and unsure which brand to choose? The twelve below have got you and your head covered.

Best Cycling Helmet Brands

  1. Stylish Safety Conscious

    Thousand Helmets

    Stylish safety gear that has won the attention of both urban commuters and fashion magazines like GQ and Vogue, aiming to save lives with helmets people want to wear.

  2. ABUS Hyban 2.0 LED Helmet

    Family-Friendly Helmets


    Originally a padlock-making company, Germany’s ABUS extends their adult helmet models to children, featuring appealing designs and built-in LED lights for winter cycling.

  3. Super Smart Safety

    UNIT 1

    This tech-heavy brand offers sophisticated helmets that can link directly to your smartphone, alert emergency services in case of an accident, and has advanced safety features like MIPS moulding.

  4. Show more

How to Choose a Bike Helmet

Safety, terrain and style are the three main things you should look for in a bike helmet. Most helmets come in two or more sizes and are adjustable. You need to make sure your helmet sits level on your head – resting just above your eyebrows – is snug, but not too tight, and doesn’t rotate at all if pushed.

Consider the terrain you’re riding on too. A full-face helmet for downhill trails is styled very differently from the space-age helmets used by road racers!

Finally, make sure your helmet has a design you’ll actually want to wear and is certified according to the regulations of your country. If in doubt, speak to the team at your local bike store, who’ll know which options might work best for your riding.

Best Bike Helmet Brands

thousand helmets

1. Thousand Helmets

A personal tragedy was the catalyst for slick Los Angeles-based brand: Thousand Helmets. For years, its founder Gloria Hwang had shunned traditional helmets, finding them too plain for her daily life. When she lost a close friend to a bike accident, though, she overhauled her mindset – and the industry along with it.

In 2015, Huang began designing a product that would combine style with crucial safety features and turned to Kickstart for support. Thousand Helmets has since been spotlighted by editors in GQ and Vogue – making it a great choice for urban commuters.

If you’re wondering what that striking name means, Hwang says it reminds her of the company’s beginnings, “We named our company ‘Thousand’ as a goal” she said, “of helping to save 1000 lives by making helmets people actually want to wear.”

Why We Like Thousand Helmets

A style-concious choice, featured in Vogue and GQ

If you’re involved in an accident wearing a Thousand Helmet, they’ll replace it for you, at no extra charge

Thousand fund community projects across the US to get kids active

Shipping Notes

  • Based in Los Angeles, USA
  • Ships to USA, Canada, UK, Europe, and more
  • Free returns within 30 days
View Thousand Helmets
abus helmets


It’s all very well finding a high-quality helmet for yourself, but what about for the kids? Here’s where the German security experts ABUS come in.

Originally padlock-makers, the brand now produces a variety of adult helmets and they extend these models – including full-face MTB helmets – to their children’s range too. Of course, their youth models are a touch more eye-catching. Expect helmets peppered with orange strawberries and punchy blue stars.

For cycling in the winter months, the designs even include a set of built-in LED lights. With this scope of products, we’d say their adult helmets are a good bet for the occasional weekend cyclist, commuter or someone looking to start downhill or MTB riding.

Why We Like ABUS Helmets

An exciting offering of MTB, urban and road models for  kids, as well as their parents and carers 

Eye-catching designs for every age bracket

A long-standing German security brand with outlets across Europe

Shipping Notes

  • Based in Germany
  • Ships to USA, Canada, UK, Europe, Australia and more
  • Free returns within 30 days
View Abus Helmets
unit 1 faro helmet

3. UNIT 1

Technology has been integrated into almost every moment of our lives – so if your fridge can communicate with you, why can’t your bike kit?

UNIT 1’s helmets are some of the most technologically sophisticated (and pricey!) models we’ve seen here at Discerning Cyclist. This crowd-funded young brand was started by an international team of engineers, who are eager to rip up the rulebook.

Their Faro helmet links directly to your smartphone. If its inbuilt accelerometer and sensors detect a hard crash and get no response from you through their app, emergency services will be alerted immediately. They also boast bright turning signals and MIPS moulding which the team claim reduces your risk of concussion.

Not one for the tech-phobic, but an exciting choice for regular road racers and commuters with deeper pockets.

Why We Like UNIT 1 Helmets

A pure passion project

A testament to the power of crowdfunding and the enthusiasm of the global cycling community

Their Smart Helmets boast a range of hi-tech features, including turning and brake signals

Shipping Notes

  • Based in the US
  • Ships to USA, Canada, UK and Europe
  • Free returns within 30 days for US and EU
View UNIT 1 Helmets
livall helmets


Chinese brand Livall led the charge when it comes to smart helmets in 2015. Eight years on, they’re still impressing us with their affordable prices and glitzy new features.

Today’s helmets feature accelerometer-linked brake lights and a fall detection system which will send your GPS location to a chosen contact in the event of an emergency. If you’re part of that sizeable community who log their rides on Strava, Livall’s own app is seamlessly compatible.

The brand has their eye on user experience in other spheres too: that app links directly with its Nano cadence monitor and replacement padding can be easily bought when your helmet starts to feel a little too well-loved.

Another suitable choice for the commuter or the weekend rider.

Why We Like LIVALL Helmets

A front-runner in the smart helmet market

Seamless integration with your smartphone. including your contacts in the event of an emergency

The added  benefit of a direct Strava link

Shipping Notes

  • Based in Shenzhen, China
  • Ships to UK and Europe
  • Free returns within 30 days
View LIVALL Helmets
poc helmets

5. POC

POC’s helmets have all the hallmarks of Swedish design and precision. They’ve even played their part in Olympic glories, gracing the heads of the sporting elite.

If you can’t see yourself whizzing about a velodrome anytime soon, however, POC’s range is still worth considering. The helmets were developed in conjunction with two scientific forums: POC Lab and Watts Lab. Rigorous research has formed the core of the brand’s ethos since its start in 2005.

POC also produce cycling goggles and apparel – and unsurprisingly given the Swedish climate, helmets and accessories for multiple snow sports.

Their products are tailored to a wide range of cyclists, including road, MTB and gravel riders.

Why We Like POC Helmets

Models for everyone, from Olympic athletes to first-time cyclists

Funds and works alongside two scientific forums

Winner of over 60 international safety, design and innovation awards

Shipping Notes

  • Based in Sweden
  • Ships to USA, Canada, UK, Europe, Australia and more
  • Free returns within 60 days
View POC Helmets
fend helmets


Picture a forty-degree commute along New York City’s Fourth Avenue, and you can see why FEND’s founders – Sujene and Christian – wanted to make their commute as light and easy as possible.

Tired of arriving at their destination hot and sweaty, they created a revolutionary new helmet that folds down to fifty percent of its original size. Early conversations with fellow New Yorkers showed the appetite for such a product was wild, and the pair began Fend with the sort of blue-sky thinking that defines NYC.

It’s minimalist, cool and a brilliant option for riders whose commute sees them hop between bike and public transport. With US and EU certification, Sujene and Christian’s helmets can also be used if your chosen set of wheels extends to e-scooters too.

Why We Like Fend Helmets

Folds to 50% of original size and can be tucked neatly into nearly all bags

Ideal for multi-modal commuting

Developed using feedback from cyclists of all skill levels in NYC

Shipping Notes

  • Based in New York City, USA
  • Ships to USA and internationally upon request
  • Free returns
View FEND Helmets
nutcase helmets

7. Nutcase

Nutcase came into being at a football match in Portland, Oregon back in 2000. Sat in the bleachers, former Nike Creative Director Mike Morrow finished off his match-day look with a helmet topped with his team’s mascot. The fans went crazy, and requests came tumbling in.

That quirky spirit – and high demand – has remained in the decades that have followed. Nutcase collaborates with three international artists per year, creating designs that make your helmet the first thing you reach for as you dash out the house.

With a website full of testimonials, it’s clear Morrow’s brand prize customer safety too. We’d say Nutcase is a primarily urban brand, and so ideal for the casual street cyclist, or occasional commuter.

Why We Like Nutcase Helmets

Established supporter of global, game-changing artists

Founded by a former Nike Creative Director

A brand with an exciting urban and street focus

Shipping Notes

  • Based in California,US
  • Ships to USA, UK and Europe
  • Free returns within 30 days
View Nutcase Helmets
kask helmets

8. Kask

Watched Geraint Thomas cycling the Giro d’Italia? Chances are you’ve seen a Kask helmet.

The prestige Italian brand provides helmets for the Tour winner (in hot pink, no less), as well as for the other members of the INEOS team. Kask has offices in the US, Europe and Australia, so shoppers all over the world can feel as if they’re part of the peloton.

The brand’s helmets also include understated designs suited to gravel and MTB rider – and it operates a switch policy, allowing you to bring your old Kask helmet to a dealership and replace it with a newer model.

They are pricier helmets than others on this list but with schemes like this and multiple design accolades, it’s an investment worth considering.

Why We Like Kask Helmets

Renowned provider of helmets to Giro and Tour teams

Kask offer a switch policy, allowing you to upgrade your old model

Truly international customer service team for any ongoing issues

Shipping Notes

  • Based in Italy
  • Ships to USA, Canada, UK, Europe, Australia and more.
  • Free returns within 30 days
View Kask Helmets
giro helmets

9. Giro

Take a look at the first Giro helmets – created by 1985 by Californian Jim Gentes – and you’ll understand that their offering has always stood out from the crowd. In their almost forty-year history, Giro introduced many features we see as standard today.

Their first teardrop model, designed to be as aerodynamic as possible for the relatively new sport of triathlon, looks futuristic but set a precedent for the industry.

Their Roc Loc, that adjustable attachment that secures the helmet to the back of your head, can be seen on nearly all brands’ models. It’s likely you’ve taken a sip of water from a bottle based on their Bottle Rocket design.

When Gentes first took his prototypes to the Long Beach bike show, he came back with $100,000 worth of orders and Giro’s scope today is equally ambitious.

Why We Like Giro Helmets

A brand with a stake in the cycle safety game for over forty years

A blend of laidback Californian style and precision engineering

Created one of the first protypes for today’s teardrop helmets

Shipping Notes

  • Based in California, USA
  • Ships to USA, Canada, UK, Australia and selected EU countries
  • Free returns within 30 days
View Giro Helmets
lazer helmets

10. Lazer

One of the oldest helmet brands, Lazer started in 1919 in Belgium. Back then, the headgear of choice was leather flat caps worn by men riding steel bikes over cobbles. Hardly the safest option.

Lazer’s founder Henri Van Lerberghe had won the Tour de Flanders solo earlier the same year. In fact, standing on the podium, he urged the spectators to go home: he was half a day ahead of the rest of the pack.

He put his talent to good use founding his brand, and Lazer’s engineers still draw on his innovative spirit and peloton-leading mentality. All of the brand’s fifty plus designs are dreamt up in Belgium. Their offering is suited to road and off-road cycling and is generally affordable for a range of shoppers.

Why We Like Lazer Helmets

The oldest brand on this list, founded by a Belgian cycling champion

A range of products that have come a long way from flat caps and steel bikes

Lazer have dealerships on nearly every continent (excluding the Antarctic!)

Shipping Notes

  • Based in Belgium
  • Ships to USA, Canada, UK, Europe and more.
  • Free returns within 30 days
View Lazer Helmets
bell helmets

11. Bell

Bell. The name is ubiquitous in the UK – a byword for affordable and dependable helmets. Whether you’re a motorcyclist, road racer or prefer to get your kicks on downhill tracks, the brand has a product for you.

In 1950, Californian native Roy Richter realised that the needs of the state’s speed-hungry population were not being met, and when endorphin-chasing resulted in local tragedy, he built products to ensure their safety.

These days, the brand claim they’re still fuelled by the same grease and willpower as its founder, and we can believe it. Their products are available in unisex and women’s styles and are suitable for commuters and casual road cyclists.

Why We Like Bell Helmets

One of the most readily available on this list – in big name bike retailers, as well as independent shops

First brand to make helmets with “MIPS” (Multi-directional Impact Protection System),

All-round designs can be bought in a range of colour-ways

Shipping Notes

  • Based in Miami, Florida
  • Ships to USA and UK
  • Free returns within 30 days
View Bell Helmets
retrospec helmets

12. Retrospec

A tight budget shouldn’t mean compromising your safety. Retrospec recognises this, and has produced a range of helmets which all come in under a tidy fifty dollars. Their products include commuter, road and MTB helmets – and have the sort of glossy, poppy finish that we’d expect to find on a helmet three times their price.

We love that they’ve produced an affordable kid’s version, but are sad that it isn’t available far beyond their native California ( a seeming hub of cycle safety). Many first-time cyclists are unsure whether a helmet is worth it – but Retrospec’s designs and statistics will show you it most definitely is. You really can’t put a price on cycle safety.

Why We Like Retrospec Helmets

Retrospec have a firm commitment to making the outdoors accesible for all – regardless of household income

Affordable, but with key features like venting

Maintains a tight-knit network of local retailers to boost the community feel

Shipping Notes

  • Based in California
  • Ships to USA
  • Free returns within 50 days
View Retrospec Helmets

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