Bontrager Circuit WaveCel ($160)
This versatile helmet is suited to road, gravel, and daily commutes. It employs Bontrager’s proprietary WaveCel technology, an internal structure that acts as a crumple zone during a crash, redirecting impact forces before they reach your head. Equally important, it boasts an easy-to-adjust fit system and better ventilation than previous WaveCel helmets we’ve tried. The icing on the cake is the magnetic mounts for snapping on front and rear lights.
POC Ventral Lite ($275)
Minimalists and those who live in hot climates will appreciate the Ventral Lite. It weighs a scant 240 grams in a size medium for the CPSC-approved version that’s sold in the United States. (Even lighter, non-CPSC-approved models are available elsewhere in the world.)On top of that, its large vents and deep internal channels make it the best-ventilated helmet we tested this season. If you’re counting grams and don’t mind the absence of the MIPS system, it’s an outstanding road helmet.
Specialized Centro LED ($90)
Our testers found that many helmets designed for commuting and recreational riding don’t place enough emphasis on ventilation—and hot and sweaty is no way to end your daily ride to work. Specialized’s Centro bucks this trend with 15 airy vents. Still, city-riding essentials like reflectivity on the straps, an integrated rear LED light, MIPS technology, and a mount for a crash-detecting ANGi sensor (sold separately) had us feeling confident on dark, busy roads.
Giro Helios Spherical MIPS ($250)
With the Helios, Giro brings safety tech from its top-end Aether road helmet into a slightly more affordable price range. The Helios costs $50 less, but is just as functional. It uses the MIPS Spherical system, which has inner and outer EPS foam layers that function like a ball-and-socket joint to dissipate impact forces. We’ve tested every iteration of MIPS, and this is the most comfortable version: no plastic liner to snag your hair. Plus, 15 vents kept us cool on hot summer rides.