One of the most iconic and also most important pieces of protective gear for downhill mountain biking is the full-face helmet. They can be stylish, but definitely must protect the most valuable part on-board: your head. And you got only one, so safety is the top priority. A well-made helmet can mean the difference between a minor mishap and a serious injury.
Picking a reputable brand is crucial here. With high safety standards, continuous R&D, and precise manufacturing processes, established brands can offer superior protection, fit, and comfort. Helmets from these brands usually come with technology like MIPS (Multi-Directional Impact Protection System) to reduce rotational forces on the brain during an impact.
On the other hand, going for a low-quality helmet may compromise your safety. Poorly designed helmets may not provide adequate protection in a crash, leaving you vulnerable to serious head injuries. They may also be uncomfortable, poorly ventilated, or heavy – all factors that can distract you from enjoying your ride or performing at your best.
So let me introduce you to the top reputable brands and their most popular models, to help you make an informed decision about the best full-face helmet for your downhill rides.
Deeply grounded in the two-wheeled scene “Ride 100%” has made a name for itself in the mountain bike world over the last years. They are famous for their striking designs and quality equipment, especially their goggles and helmets.
Their Aircraft V2 full-face helmet is known for its breathability and aggressive looks. The more affordable Status model has a similar look with fewer air vents. For those of you wondering: the brand’s name is based on the concept of giving 100% effort in everything they do.
6D Helmets is one of the lesser-known brands here. Undeservedly so! It has gained the reputation of being the helmet that riders turn to after they had a big knock to the head and start thinking more about their brain health. This is because 6D has taken safety to the maximum in both helmet design on the outside and its own suspension technology on the inside.
Their round design keeps rotational impact forces to a minimum while the inner Omni-Directional Suspension (ODS) liner alleviates the force that does come through. The D6 ATB-1 Downhill helmet comes with all bells and whistles of modern protective technology and also emergency release cheek pads and a sternum pad that provides added protection of the chin, jaw and sternum.
You can tell how data-driven they are as the name 6D is a reference to the engineering term 6 Degrees of Freedom, which refers to the ability to move 3-dimensionally including rotation around each axis.
6D helmets are available at:
Ever heard of Alpinestars? If you’re into motorcycles you will have. Well, they make some high-quality mountain bike gear too, including helmets. They take all that expertise from the motor world and channel it into making solid, high-performing lids for your off-road biking.
Their Missile MIPS helmet is light but sturdy and packs a punch with the MIPS system, which is like an extra security guard for your head. It’s got great ventilation, so you won’t overheat when you’re on fire, and an adjustable fit so it sits just right.
Alpinestars helmets are available at:
With roots dating back to 1954, Bell Helmets is a brand that has seen it all in the world of biking. And they’re still on the cutting edge of protective technology. Their helmets often combine cutting-edge technology with timeless design.
Their Full-10 MIPS model, for instance, is super sturdy but light, with MIPS tech for top-notch safety. Plus, it fits like a dream and looks sharp. Super DH MIPS is especially noteworthy: it’s a versatile helmet that converts from a full-face to a half-shell
In a nutshell, if you want a helmet that’s trusted by pros and casual riders alike, you can’t go wrong with Bell. They’re all about keeping your noggin safe and stylish on the trails.
A brand that’s represented mroe and more at the very top of elite Downhill World Cup racing. Bluegrass is going with a similar design philosophy as Kali and 6D, their helmets feature a round shape with as few sharp edges as possible, that could catch on the trail surface.
Bluegrass has been closely tied to established helmet manufacturer MET since the beginning and makes full use of their know-how and expertise, so you know you’re in good hands. In a nutshell, Bluegrass gives you top-tier protection, decked out with smart features and a design that’s functional above all else.
Now, take their Legit helmet (yes, that’s the name), for instance. This full-face helmet is pretty much a fortress for your head. It’s got a lightweight carbon shell, so you’re protected without feeling like you’re lugging around a ton of bricks.
Fox needs no introduction. From socks to goggles, their gear is a common sight on trails around the world. It’s just overall very high-quality and guaranteed to be designed well and offer maximum protection while being comfy to wear all day.
The Rampage Pro helmet is probably what you are used to seeing on pro riders’ in all kinds of gravity MTB disciplines. And then there’s the ventilated enduro full-face model Proframe for those long riding days.
A name synonymous with cycling, Giro consistently designs products that address the needs of professional and amateur bikers. Known for their attention to detail and rigorous testing standards, Giro helmets offer a blend of style, comfort, and safety.
The Disciple MIPS model, for instance, has become a popular choice among downhill riders. Enduro riders may want to have a look at the Giro Switchblade, a downhill-rated full-face that converts to a half-shell helmet.
Born from a desire to improve safety standards in the bike helmet industry, Kali Protectives uses innovative technology in its products. Their Shiva full-face model is known for its lightweight design and superior protection.
It may look bulkier than other brands and that’s fully intentional. The round design is part of the impact force mitigation as it allows the helmet to slide across the ground instead of catching on uneven rocks and roots.
Leatt, the brand that invented the revolutionary neck brace for mountain biking (here’s all about those), also makes top-tier helmets. They are known for pioneering technology for increased safety.
Leatt’s Gravity and Enduro full-face helmets (and half-shells for that matter) are received well for the 360° Turbine Technology, which reduces both rotational acceleration and impact energy during a crash.
When it comes to hardy, trusty biking gear, O’Neal is a name that pops up a lot. But what’s really cool about O’Neal? They’ve got top-notch gear without breaking your bank. Plus, their gear doesn’t just work well, it looks pretty cool too. That’s why you’ll probably see their stuff a lot out on the trails.
In terms of full-face lids they got a big lineup with the O’Neal Blade, Fury, Drop, Backflip, Sonus and the lighter, more ventilated Transition model. That’s the order from their top model (with its lightweight polycarbonate shell and removable liner) down the line. With a history spanning over five decades, O’Neal has earned the trust of riders seeking reliable and stylish helmets for their mountain biking adventures.
A premium Swedish company, POC is on a mission to combine function and design to a very high degree. Their helmets are highly regarded for both safety and style. It’s no accident either that their flagship Coron Air helmet boasts a very round and smooth design to be able to slide across the trail surface and not catch on anything.
The Otocon enduro full-face lid is basically an extremely well-ventilated version of the Coron for enduro riders.
As you can guess by the name, Smith Optics hasn’t been in the helmet game from the start. Initially known for high-quality goggles and glasses, Smith helmets have steadily climbed into the spotlight for head protection for winter sports and MTB.
Take their Mainline MIPS Helmet, for example. It’s packed with smart tech like the Aerocore construction featuring Koroyd, which absorbs more impact than traditional foams. Then there’s the MIPS system in place for extra protection from rotational forces during a crash.
Yes, you read that right. Specialized doesn’t just make high-performing bikes, they also design their own riding and safety gear.
The Specialized Dissident V2 full-face helmet is notable for its 4D Cooling System (translation: it’s well-ventilated) and its carbon matrix shell for excellent protection. Specialized’s commitment to safety extends to their ANGi crash sensor technology, available on many of their helmet models, which can notify emergency contacts in the event of a crash.
Troy Lee Designs
Troy Lee Designs (TLD) has a reputation for its stylish and meticulously designed helmets. Founded by the artist and racer Troy Lee, TLD embodies the fusion of style, quality, and functionality.
Their classic D4 and newer Stage series full-face helmets have become iconic in the mountain biking scene. Worn by the top pro riders and favored for their looks, lightweight, and high protection levels. Troy Lee Designs emphasizes that each of their helmets is “For The World’s Fastest Racers,” underlining their commitment to high-performance gear.