Best of Both Worlds: Decent and Cheap Cycling Helmets

By Christopher Ashley

The Giro Aerohead costs the best part of £400, but it’s unlikely to make your commute noticeably faster.  A decent bicycle helmet needn’t break the bank – so once you’ve got yourself measured up, here are some pretty decent brain buckets that you should consider.

Specialized Max Helmet – £35

If you’re blessed with a large head look no further. The Max comfortably fits a 64cm diameter head and the micro-dial opens very wide.

It feels like it could accommodate a couple more centimetres – but I’ve no doubt Specialized’s safety experts would rather you didn’t.

Met Rivale – from £55

If I’m being totally truthful, the Rivale is £109 if you don’t want to compromise on colour – but if you need to stick to a budget, you can easily find a retailer that offers less popular colours for a hugely discounted price.

The lack of holes improves the aerodynamic qualities of the Rivale – even in strong cross winds you won’t feel your head tugged around. Not bad for a helmet weighing in at 230g – I’ll take mine in “Safety Yellow/Black”.

Bluegrass Intox – depending on size, £78.63

With full face protection and remarkably comfortable padding, this beast is aimed very much at fans of downhill and jump merchants. Bluegrass use the slogan “no excuse for not going fast” so you’d be disappointed if the design of the Intox was less than solidly resilient.

But when you consider that the Intox passes all standards set by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), the cost seems reasonable. Bluegrass have made safety attractive and, for this much protection, at very attractive price.

B’Twin 100 City – £9.99

Decathlon offer a lot of great value helmets in their own-brand range, but the 100 City seems most fit for its stated purpose. There isn’t much in the way of ventilation – the 100 City really is designed for short trips around town when you’re not in the mood to burn calories.


This gives it something of a chic, pared down vibe – spoiled slightly by the naked foam at the back. But for under a tenner it seems unfair to criticise, especially as it weighs in at a very respectable 240g – just 10g more than the Met Rivale for under a 5th of the price…

Bern Bandita – £39.99

Marketed at teens, the larger size fits heads up to 57cm meaning petite ladies can nab themselves something of a bargain. You’ll either love or hate the Bern aesthetic, and you can forget about breathability – but in terms of safety, the Bandita is a winner.

An industry standard for head-protection, the Bandita meets several European standards as well as the more stringent American ASTM 2040.  This raises the value-for-money bar significantly – you may well find your wife grabbing the Bandita for protection on the slopes of your snowboarding holiday.