The Best Helmets of 2014

The safest, lightest, and smartest on- and off-road protection.

—Aaron Gulley

(Inga Hendrickson)

The safest, lightest, and smartest on- and off-road protection.

—Aaron Gulley

POC Octal

BEST FOR: Speed

POC backs up the Octal’s ($270) radical looks with outrageous ventilation and a best-in-class sub-200-gram weight. A pair of rubberized pads let you securely stow your sunglasses when you’re not wearing them, and it’s compatible with the ICEdot emergency sensor (sold separately). 6.6 oz

Buyer's Guide Summer Outside Magazine Outside Online Hike Travel Float Run Bike Women Tech
(Inga Hendrickson)


Giro Aspect

BEST FOR: Stealth Performance

Don’t be fooled by the Aspect’s ($175) street smarts: it’s a full-featured race helmet. In spite of their diminutive appearance, the 19 vents were plenty airy in sweltering desert heat. Nice touch: the low-profile fabric visor is removable and washable. 9.4 oz

Buyer's Guide Summer Outside Magazine Outside Online Hike Travel Float Run Bike Women Tech
(Inga Hendrickson)


Specialized Propero II

BEST FOR: Getting a Good Deal

The Propero II ($110) has most of the features of Specialized’s top-of-the-line S-Works helmet at less than half the cost. The gaping front intake vent channels plenty of air, and the reflective paint, which looks silver by day but bounces approaching headlights after dark, is just plain smart. 8.3 oz

Buyer's Guide Summer Outside Magazine Outside Online Hike Travel Float Run Bike Women Tech
(Inga Hendrickson)


Uvex Quatro

BEST FOR: All-Terrain Riding

Like many new mountain helmets, the Quatro ($160) increases coverage around the ears and the back of the head for added protection in side and rear impacts. The push-button chin strap takes some getting used to; otherwise, it’s luxury-auto precision at econobox pricing. 11.2 oz

Buyer's Guide Summer Outside Magazine Outside Online Hike Travel Float Run Bike Women Tech
(Inga Hendrickson)


Bell Stoker

BEST FOR: Affordable Stoke

The pared-down Stoker ($70) is a bit lighter and just as ventilated as Bell’s more expensive lids. The speed dial is sturdy and easy to use, and the adjustable visor accommodates sunglasses (or goggles), on or off. 11.2 oz

Buyer's Guide Summer Outside Magazine Outside Online Hike Travel Float Run Bike Women Tech
(Inga Hendrickson)


Smith Forefront

BEST FOR: Lightweight Protection

This cross-country helmet ($220) is lined with a honey-comb polymer called Koroyd, which Smith claims absorbs 30 percent more impact than EPS foam. The lightweight material also adds airflow, and we felt the difference on scorching days, when sweat literally evaporated out the top. 11.2 oz

Buyer's Guide Summer Outside Magazine Outside Online Hike Travel Float Run Bike Women Tech
(Inga Hendrickson)

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