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The 8 Best Full Face Mountain Bike Helmets of 2021

Mountain bikers looking for a little extra protection have long reached for full face helmets. Originally, we just used repurposed dirt bike helmets, with the chinbar and extra padding helping keep your head safe at higher speeds, and in gnarlier terrain. But since those early days, full face mountain bike helmets have evolved a lot. They’ve gotten lighter, new safety technologies have been developed, and companies have worked to create helmets that serve our specific needs, as opposed to rebranding motorcycle helmets.

But, with those developments, we’ve gotten more options as well. The market is awash with helmets, but every model is designed with different design parameters to help it excel in specific areas. So we’ve put together this guide to a range of the best full face mountain bike helmets we’ve used, and broken down why we’ve chosen each one, as well as what sort of riders will like about each helmet. So, whether you’re an enduro rider looking for something that offers a little more protection on the down, but is still light and vented enough to pedal long days in, or you’re a dedicated downhiller looking for maximum protection as you bash bike park laps, we’ve got a helmet that will keep you safe and happy on every ride.


TLD Stage MIPS

Best full face mountain bike helmets of 2021
 
 

The Stage is part of this crop of new helmets that aims to bring DH-level safety and protection to enduro racing in a package that’s light and breathable enough to wear over long, human-powered days. The Stage MIPS is one of the lightest helmets on this list, and it also is one of the least obtrusive-feeling on your head. The 11 intake vents, and 14 outflow vents allow more air to move over your head than a typical DH helmet. This helps keep you cool, and also helps keep the helmet from getting stuffy, and your goggles from fogging.

However, the Stage doesn’t sacrifice much protection to achieve that barely-there feel. It’s still ASTM certified for DH use, and has a dual-density foam layer, as well as MIPS to help mute the harsh impacts of any crashes. Riders who never climb while wearing a full face helmet can save some money by going with something heavier and less vented, but for anyone who wants to earn their turns, but still have the safety net of a full DH helmet on the down, the Stage is one of the best full face enduro helmets available.

Intended UseWeightNumber of Vents Original Price
 Enduro, DH690 g25 $299
evo Customer Review:

"Lightweight, well-ventilated but solid and protective this is a high-performing piece of gear. I have used this for numerous days at the DH parks and could not say anything negative. Couple this with legendary TLD styling and you'll be the raddest-looking cat in your group!"

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Smith Mainline MIPS

Best full face mountain bike helmets of 2021
 

The Mainline is Smith’s first-ever full-face helmet, and they took everything they’ve learned from years of making top-end half-shells, and applied it to designing the Mainline. Smith knew that if you’re only going to offer one full face helmet, it had better be great, and the Mainline truly is. The Mainline uses Smith’s Aerocore construction that allows the helmet’s shell to shed weight and facilitate airflow without compromising protection. That means that although the Mainline is still competitive with most enduro-style full face helmets in weight and comfort, it still offers full downhill protection.

The Mainline also has a MIPS layer to help with rotational impacts. While the Mainline is a little heavier than the TLD Stage, it’s still comfortable on long pedaly rides, and also feels at home cranking out lap after lap in the bike park. If you need one full face helmet to do it all, from Tuesday night DH races to weekend Enduros, the Mainline has you covered.

Intended UseWeightNumber of Vents Original Price
 Enduro & DH765 g21 $300
evo Customer Review:

"Love this helmet, the fit for the full face is consistent with Smiths other helmets (ski and half shell mtb helmets). It's super light for the amount of protection it provides and the visibility/ breathability is second to none I've tried.

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Fox Proframe

Best full face mountain bike helmets of 2020
 
 

When the Proframe was introduced, its styling was polarizing. People weren’t ready for the massive vents that make the Proframe look more like an exoskeleton than a traditional helmet. But take one ride in the Proframe and it all makes a lot more sense. Fox’s Proframe falls under the same umbrella as the TLD Stage, they’re both dedicated full face mtb helmets aimed at enduro riders. The Proframe weighs a little more, but for some head shapes, it allows more airflow and keeps you cooler. Like the Stage, it stays comfortable on long climbs, and doesn’t feel like an uncomfortable traditional full face at all. It’s a great option for anyone who wants protection of a full face without the “my head is stuck in a bowl” feeling most deliver. This is the most breathable full face on the market right now, and the closest thing to riding in a half shell out there. If you’re not convinced that you can pedal uphill wearing a full face helmet, the Proframe might just convert you, it’s that comfortable.

The Proframe doesn’t skimp on protection either, with a dual-layer EPS/ABS construction designed to absorb impacts. If you only ride park, you might as well go with a bulkier, heavier helmet than the Proframe, you don’t really need this kind of barely-there comfort. But for anyone who wants to pedal their bike to the top of the sort of trails that demand full face protection, the Proframe sets the bar for comfort and breathability. If you’re trying to choose between the Stage and Proframe, your biggest focus should be fit. Both helmets will perform very similarly, so go with the one that is most comfortable on your head. However, it is worth noting that the Proframe doesn’t have an adjustable visor, so if you like to stash your goggles under your visor while climbing, you’re out of luck.

Intended UseWeightNumber of Vents Original Price
 Enduro750 g24 $259
evo Customer Review:

"This helmet is dope! I was a little nervous buying a helmet online, but I followed the sizing chart faithfully and even had a second person measure my head. I was surprised to find out that I was a medium (as I am usually a large) but when the helmet arrived, it was a perfect fit. They sent extra pads to slightly adjust the sizing but I didn't even need them! I read some reviews claiming the helmet was on the warmer side, but I found this helmet to be very breezy and I kept very cool on my 3 rides so far with it, despite 2k ft of elevation gain on one of the rides. It's also very lightweight and it gets a lot of compliments! 10/10 recommend!"

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Giro Disciple MIPS

Best full face mountain bike helmets of 2021
 
 

Sure, “enduro” might be the hot new thing, but what about folks that are just concerned about the down, that don’t want to sacrifice protection for lighter weight? Don’t worry, brands are still making full face helmets for the DH racers and freeride purists, and Giro’s Disciple MIPS is a great option for a wide range of riders.

With helmets, it’s nearly impossible to remove weight without reducing the efficacy of the helmet’s protection. Less material on your head making you sweat, is also less material between your head and the ground when you crash. If you’re shuttling or riding chairlifts, and just want to protect your head, the Disciple is a great option. It’s got enough venting to keep your goggles from fogging, and your head from getting too hot, but its main focus is on protection. So yes, it weighs a little more, but if safety is your main requirement from a full face helmet, the Disciple MIPS is a great choice, plus its one of the best full face mtb helmets for the money, coming in at a price much lower than many competitors.

Intended UseNumber of Vents Original Price
 DH14 $249.95
evo Customer Review:

"Saved my life on my first ride. I'm not a dh rider, I don't have any bike parks in my area but that wasn't a problem for this helmet. Light, breathable, protective, comfortable. Giro did it right!"

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Troy Lee Designs D4 Carbon Limited Edition

Best full face mountain bike helmets of 2021
 
 

The D4 Carbon is TLD’s most advanced full face ever, and that's why we're inclined to call it one of the best full face mountain bike helmets of the year. They’ve been molding DH racing helmets for decades, and the D4 is the culmination of all that refinement. It’s designed to be comfortable and protect your head while going downhill, fast. There aren’t any compromises for breathability here, instead, the D4 is focused on the down, and happy to let a chairlift take care of the climb. That said, the D4 isn’t some bulky moto helmet. The carbon construction shaves a bunch of weight, bringing it down to just under 1000 grams, and the limited edition model comes with a special TLD Fairclough and Zink colorways.

Of course, the D4 has the requisite swappable pads and MIPS liner built-in, so it’s adaptable to different head shapes, and the cheek pads are easily removable to slip the helmet off gently in case of a crash. This isn’t the helmet for someone who wants to wear a full face on trail rides and enduro races, it’s overkill for pedaling. But if you like to spend your spare time lapping the bike park and chasing tenths of a second between the tape, the D4 is optimized for your DH season. The price definitely puts this helmet at the premium level, but it's still impossible to put a price on your head.

Intended UseWeightNumber of Vents Original Price
 DH970 g15 $595

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Giro Switchblade MIPS

Best full face mountain bike helmets of 2020
 
 

Giro’s Switchblade was the original adaptable helmet, but it’s come a long way from its original iteration. This new version is optimized for enduro racers and aggressive jibbers. The Switchblade takes a different approach than the Bell Super though. Instead of trying to merge a traditional half shell and a full face, the Switchblade emulates motocross helmets of old, with full back of the head, and ear coverage with its chinbar removed.

That means that the Switchblade offers more protection, even without the chinbar than the Super, but also is heavier, and hotter. However, the chin guard is smaller, and fits in packs easily, and can be put back on the helmet without taking the helmet off. Ultimately the Super and Switchblade serve two different riders. Looking for something that offers more protection than your trail helmet, even without the chin guard? Go with the Switchblade. Want as much breathability as possible on the way up, the Super may be a better choice for you. With it’s improvements over the years, the Switchblade remains one of the best enduro mountain bike helmets.

Intended UseWeightNumber of Vents Original Price
 Enduro692 g20 $270
evo Customer Review:

"Had a bad crash and wanted to wear a more protective helmet, especially when riding alone. Tried the Bell Super and it didn't fit right, so gave this one a go. My other helmet is a Giro and this one fits just as comfortably, if not more so. Very secure and even wit the chin bar off it offers way more protection than a standard half shell. A little bit hot, but for added safety I think it is great and way lighter and ore comfortable than my old full face."

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7iDP Project 23 ABS

Best full face mountain bike helmets of 2021
 
 

7iDP might not be the first name that comes to mind when you think of bike protection, but their Project 23 ABS helmet might just be the best value full face mountain bike helmet on the market. At only $149, it’s hard to get more bang for your buck. And the Project 23 doesn’t really skimp on features or comfort. 23 well-placed vents keep air moving over your head, and a low 850 gram weight means you won’t have a sore neck at the end of the day. The Project 23 also has strategic vents to help keep your goggles clear of fog, a big plus on misty days.

At the end of the day, the Project 23 does it all pretty well, at a really affordable price. And that makes a big difference considering that the average lifespan of a helmet isn’t really that long - before a crash or deterioration means you really ought to replace it. So if you’re looking to spend your cash on lift tickets, not just your helmet, the Project 23 will protect your neck and leave you with a riding budget left over. For the value alone, its one of the best full face mtb helmets.

WeightNumber of Vents Original Price
850 g23 $149.99
 

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POC Coron Air Spin Fabio Edition

Best full face mountain bike helmets of 2021
 
 

POC has always done things their own way, and the Coron Air Spin Fabio Edition is no exception. Its smooth styling looks like something from a science fiction film, and the features list only confirms that impression. The Coron Air Spin is designed to be a do-it-all full face mountain bike helmet for gravity riders. POC’s SPIN technology is similar to MIPS, it allows the helmet to float and better reduce rotational impacts. Combined with a breakaway visor and padded chin bar, the Coron puts safety at the forefront.

While the Coron isn’t quite as light and breathable as something like the Mainline or Stage, it still stays comfortable during long days, thanks to molded venting channels. And the signature Fabio Edition paint job is sure to be eye-catching in the lift line. The POC Coron Air Spin Fabio edition is a jack of all trades, and it’s pretty darn good at all of them.

WeightNumber of Vents Original Price
1170 g15 $274.95
 

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