Staff Picks - 2019 Mountain Bike Helmets

Staff Picks - 2019 Mountain Bike Helmets

Jan 24th 2019

Mountain Bike Helmets 2019

It’s a new year, and that means new gear. In particular, we’ll be taking a look at what’s new for mountain bike helmets in 2019. The latest and greatest brain buckets to keep you protected when that whip over the double or that Strava PR attempt don’t go as planned.

This list is no particular order. Helmets have come a long way, and we feel it’s important to highlight the safety and fit benefits to give you a better understanding of today’s bike helmets.

Sweet Protection Arbitrator MIPS Helmet - $300


Based out of Norway, the people at Sweet Protection know a thing or two about the thrill of mountain sports, especially mountain biking. Well known for their paddle and ski helmets, this fall they announced their first bike specific full-face helmet, the Arbitrator.

The Arbitrator is a full-face helmet with a removable chinbar such as the Giro Switchblade MIPS or the Bell Super3R. Nothing revolutionary in this day but the Arbitrator looks good, really good. With the chinbar on or off, the helmet meets ASTM, CPSC and EN 1077 standards and the chinbar is easily removed with a single lever. The biggest feature that makes the Arbitrator stand out is the two separate retention systems for “trail” and “downhill” mode, giving you the fit needed for each discipline. 

MIPS (Multi-Directional Impact Protection System) equipped, the Sweet Protection Arbitrator MIPS is a solid choice for your one do-it-all helmet.

Smith Forefront 2 Helmet - $230


Smith made a big impression on the mountain bike industry with their award winning Forefront helmet. It featured a new protection system named "Koroyd," hollow polymer tubes that flex and absorb energy in the event of an impact. Lightweight and well ventilated, the Forefront was praised and this year, it returns in a big way.

The Forefront 2 retains the low weight of it's previous iteration and yet, offers even more protection with Koroyd extended further in the back of the helmet and now fully encompasses the helmet. People loved the Forefront for it's exceptional eyewear compatibility. The new version features specific channels on the front and rear of the helmet that keep your sunglasses secured through those chunky descents. Don't fret about your eyewear fogging, AirEvac channels enhance and distribute airflow through the helmet to keep air moving and keep you cool. 

Giro Montaro MIPS Helmet - $150

The Giro Montaro MIPS has now cemented itself as a staple for many in the mountain bike community. The helmet your most likely to see out on trails and for good reason. The Montaro MIPS hasn't changed much since it's inception but there's no need, the fit and performance has proven itself over the last few years. 

As always, the Montaro MIPS remains as a MIPS only model and retains it's impressive cost of $150. The sleak, and low-profile look of this helmet give it a fast appearance without compromising safety with deep coverage to the back of the head. The 16 total air vents with internal channeling create a cooling wind tunnel through and over the top of your head. This makes a big difference during those mid-summer ascents at your local mountain or trails. 

The Montaro MIPS also features camera and light integration with a break-away mount that simply clicks into place on the top of the helmet. Keep an eye out for all new colors this season.

POC Tectal Helmet - $190


The POC Tectal has been a staple in the line up for some time now and it's easy to see why. The low profile design of the Tectal fits around the head more rather than on top, providing superior protection and coverage all around the head. We found the Tectal to be one of the most comfortable helmets we've tested, the unibody shell construction and deep coverage at the back provides a snug fit that feels more secure than most.

This helmet looks darn good, and the safety features outweigh the looks here. POC optimized the shell by eliminating seams in crucial impact areas around the helmet. The shell itself is designed like a skeleton with Aramid filaments reinforcing the harder EPS shell to make a tough and durable protective layer. The inner Aramid filament reinforced EPS core is tough and resilient while the outer polycarbonate shell is constructed with the seams located in the areas of least exposure.

At only 340 grams, the Tectal's weight is nearly non-existent on your head and often times we found ourselves forgetting we were even wearing it, and that's very good.

2019 is shaping up to be an amazing year in mountain bike innovation. We love the new technology in bikes, suspension, or even trail building, but what good is all of this without the love and protection that a helmet gives us? Don't ever stop riding faster or going bigger, but we advise you do it in a safe manner. A helmet is, and always will be the first piece of safety gear that we think about but often take for granted. Stay rad, wear a helmet!

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