Kali Maraka XC
BEST FOR: The Weight Conscious
The Maraka XC is a svelte nine ounces, but it’s as comfy as heftier helmets thanks to a layer of soft foam next to your head. And it’s just as safe: Kali reinforced the vents with roll-bar-like plastic shells to help dissipate the energy of a crash.
BEST FOR: All-Mountain Riding
With a tricked-out Headset fit system (including four height adjustments and a tension microadjustment dial), a removable visor, and decent ventilation, the Tactic is a lot of helmet for the price. We liked the fuller coverage in back and the sewn-in reflective thread on the ear straps, but it’s a bummer they’re not adjustable.
Louis Garneau Course
BEST FOR: Hot Weather
Nine channels that run the length of the shell come closest to giving that wind-through-the-hair feeling of freedom you get from not wearing a helmet at all. Smart: includes an integrated taillight, which snaps onto the dial on the retention system.
Giro Air Attack
BEST FOR: Aero Geeks
It might look like a throwback to the eighties, but the Air Attack’s full-shell design combines the slipperiness in the wind of a time-trial lid (in a 25-mile time trial, Giro says the Air Attack was 17 seconds faster than its top-end road offering) with the comfort, ventilation, and lightness (just 8.8 ounces) of a traditional road helmet.