The ventilation, fit and looks of inexpensive helmets have never been better

You don't have to spend a fortune to get a helmet that's light, comfortable and well-ventilated. Our selection of budget lids includes big names such as Giro and Lazer, so you don't even have to forgo brand credibility.

For this selection we've stuck to helmets we've reviewed in the last few years that can be had for £40 or less. Since all helmets sold in the UK have to conform to European standards, we take it as a given that they provide that minimum level of impact absorption and look for comfort, ventilation and ease of adjustment.

If you want to know about co-moulded shells and ventilation, have a read of Cycling helmets — everything you need to know.

Got a bit more to spend? Take a look at all our helmet reviews.

If you've found an inexpensive helmet that you love, let us know in the comments.

Catlike Tako — from £34.99

Catlike Tako White-Black Helmet 2.jpg

The comfortable and secure Catlike Tako feels more expensive than it is, and it looks it too – so long as you don't get too close.

The Tako is solidly constructed, if rather shakily finished. The vents are scruffily moulded both inside and outside; beyond arm's length you don't notice, but once you get up close it looks a little cheap.

In use, however, it feels trustworthy and comfortable. The straps are chunky and their length generous – I cut off around 8cm once the fit was dialled in, and still had around the same left for adjustment. There's a wide, moulded band to securely tidy the ends, which I appreciate. It works far better than the cheap o-ring or rubber band that some lids use.

Read our review of the Catlike Tako
Find a Catlike dealer

Specialized Sierra — £24.99

Specialized Sierra Gloss Acid Pink Arc Womens Helmet - side 2.jpg

The Specialized Women's Sierra helmet meets all safety standards, fits really well, and doesn't make you look like a mushroom. While doing all of this, its price tag significantly undercuts the vast majority of the leading specialist manufacturers for entry-level helmets.

The Sierra is the most basic women's helmet that Specialized offers, but that doesn't show in its looks or quality. Specialized offers the Sierra in three different colour options too: White/Silver Arc, Gloss Acid Pink Arc and Matt Mint Arc. It's a real plus to have choices.

Specialized has also added three wide reflective strips on the rear of the helmet that are ideally placed for visibility.

Read our review of the Specialized Sierra
Find a Specialized dealer

Rockrider 500 mountain bike — £17.99

BTwin 500 Bike Helmet.jpg

The Decathlon's B'Twin 500 helmet has been rebadged as a mountain bike helmet, but we see no reason why you can't use it on the road too. There are some minor compromises, but at £20 it's an absolute bargain.

Like most lids these days, it complies with EN1078 and follows the in-mould construction (where shell and EPS liner are formed together simultaneously). Build quality is extremely high, superior to many we've tested commanding nearer £100.

Read our review of the B'Twin 500

Abus MountX Children's Helmet — £32.98

Abus Mount X Childrens Helmet

There are cheaper kids' helmets but with the MountX you get Abus' reputation for quality and thoughtfully-designed features like a rear LED light built into the dial adjuster and a ratchet buckle with a pad to stop it snagging tender young skin.

Read our review of the Abus MountX
Find an Abus dealer

Lazer Cyclone — £29.99

Lazer Cyclone helmet - front

A comfortable basic helmet that looks and feels good, the Cyclone has 19 large vents for cooling, plenty of reflective patches for visibility and a peak for rain and sun protection.

Read our review of the Lazer Cyclone
Find a Lazer dealer

Giro Skyline II — £34.99


One size fits all with this straightforward but stylish helmet. It has ten good-sized vents and Giro's Acu Dial fit adjustment plus a removable visor to keep the sun out of your eyes (or rain off your face if you're a glass-half-empty type).

Find a Giro dealer

Specialized Align — £30

specialized align helmet yellow.jpg

Very well-liked, the Align follows the styling, and has many of the features, of Specialized's top-of-the-line S-Works Prevail helmet, but costs a fraction of that spendy lid's price.

Find a Specialized dealer

Oxford Raven — £39.99

Oxford Raven helmet - detail.jpg

If you asked us how much we'd be prepared to pay for a comfortable, well-ventilated helmet, with a good dial retention system and modern construction techniques, that weighs about 250g, we'd probably say that was about sixty quid's worth of hat, or more. So the fact that the Oxford Raven is just £39.99 makes it a bargain, if the performance lives up to the spec on paper. It does.

Read our review of the Oxford Raven

About road.cc Buyer's Guides

The aim of road.cc buyer's guides is to give you the most, authoritative, objective and up-to-date buying advice. We continuously update and republish our guides, checking prices, availability and looking for the best deals.

Our guides include links to websites where you can buy the featured products. Like most sites we make a small amount of money if you buy something after clicking on one of those links. We want you to be happy with what you buy, so we only include a product in a if we think it's one of the best of its kind.

As far as possible that means recommending equipment that we have actually reviewed, but we also include products that are popular, highly-regarded benchmarks in their categories.

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You can also find further guides on our sister sites off.road.cc and ebiketips.

Road.cc buyer's guides are maintained and updated by John Stevenson. Email John with comments, corrections or queries.


kil0ran [1770 posts] 3 years ago

The BTwin 500 is the most comfortable, adjustable helmet I've owned. Contrary to the review it now comes in a variety of colours (orange, red & I think blue in addition to the yellow) & also sizes. And fear not, the peak is removable (although the profile then looks a little odd to my eyes).

drosco [428 posts] 2 years ago

I use the bwtin for commuting. It's great. I really like the visor on rainy days and as the review says, the build quality is brilliant. Really not sure why anyone would need more than this.

OR_biker [58 posts] 2 years ago
1 like

Picked up the Giro Trinity about a year and a half ago for $40.  Is pretty comfortable and adjustable, plus I liked the bright yellow for commuting.  Has now turned into my winter commuter helmet after I was able to find a steal of a deal on a Kask Protone for $100.  

The straps on the Giro are a bit weird, can't get them to lay flat at all on the side of my face, took a bit to get used to (the department store Bell helmets I used before even had strap systems that laid mostly flat).  Plus, Giro helmets sit slightly wide on my head, so give me a bit of a mushroom look.  However, I don't mind this during the winter since it gives me room to fit thicker head coverings under it to keep warm, whereas the Protone can only fit the thinnest of caps under it.

BarryBianchi [418 posts] 2 years ago

Got the B'Twin for my kids.  Then I got one for the wife.  The major fault with them is that they totally expose the massive urine extraction exercise that's going on with the "premium" lids and their comedy pricing.

flaviosan [5 posts] 1 year ago

i used the white b-twin road 500 for 5 years, more than 50000km, good value for money (45€at that time), comfortable, ventilation was pretty good.

When i purchased it i found included a spare set of cushions that i used after the first 3 years, unfortunately i had to retire it three weeks ago because the rear plastic fastener broke where it is bent.

I just purchased a Bell and i'm not satisfied as i was with the b-twin.


Simboid [142 posts] 1 year ago

B-Twin 700 (500) bought 3 years ago, very happy.

Of course I'd love an ultra expensive super light lid, who wouldn't? But I think the price would make me almost as unhappy as the RoadCC model in these pics. Is someone forcing him to stand still while a dog pees against his bike?

Reedo [46 posts] 1 year ago

After yet another school shooting in the US it is a bit hard to see road.cc featuring Giro or other brands (Bell, Blackburn, CamelBak, Bolle) owned by assault weapons firm Vista Outdoor. Many retailers dropped them after Florida, and publications have at least flagged the issue so consumers can decide for themselves. 

Welsh boy [727 posts] 1 year ago
Reedo wrote:

After yet another school shooting in the US it is a bit hard to see road.cc featuring Giro or other brands (Bell, Blackburn, CamelBak, Bolle) owned by assault weapons firm Vista Outdoor. Many retailers dropped them after Florida, and publications have at least flagged the issue so consumers can decide for themselves. 

Can you explain to me exactly what you think the link is between an article on a cycling website and a person who commits a horrendous crime in a country where their laws allow them to carry guns is please?  It's also strange that you only mention the USA, what about the shooting in Belgium, doesnt that bother you too?

hawkinspeter [4406 posts] 1 year ago
Reedo wrote:

After yet another school shooting in the US it is a bit hard to see road.cc featuring Giro or other brands (Bell, Blackburn, CamelBak, Bolle) owned by assault weapons firm Vista Outdoor. Many retailers dropped them after Florida, and publications have at least flagged the issue so consumers can decide for themselves. 

It's fair enough to decide to boycott brands due to their owners donating huge sums of money to the NRA, but it's unreasonable to ask Road.cc to boycott advertising revenue for the same reason. Buyers can easily just switch to another manufacturer and will end up spending roughly the same amount of money, but a website might not easily get another advertiser to fill the space and thus end up poorer.

Also, Vista Outdoor has stated that they are selling off their non-gun brands due to the boycott (which is a good thing) although I don't think they have actually done so yet. http://road.cc/content/news/241114-us-guns-and-ammunition-firm-sell-its-cycling-accessories-businesses

aegisdesign [142 posts] 1 year ago

Every year or so Lidl do a commuter helmet. This year (March I think) it was £12.99.

I bought one about three years ago in matt grey for I think £10.99. This year I got a gloss white one. They also came in fluro yellow this year. The 3 year old helmet was still good but at the price it's nice to freshen up.

It has an LED light in the back and comes with a rain cover. The pads don't disintegrate like some more expensive helmets I've got. The peak is removable but you're left with 4 small holes where it plugs in.

For commuting where I don't want to wear my more expensive, lighter road or mountain bike helmets they're great, basic, durable lids. The large is large enough for my head and a buff/cap/hat under it. It's been great for winter.

Being Lidl, it has a 3 year warranty. I've not had to use that.

Weight: 270g

Made by Speq in Germany

DavidC [164 posts] 1 year ago

This summer I used a BTwin 500 Road (700) for a couple of rides — the fit was good, it looks ok, and I was comfortable all the time. I didn't think about it while it was on my head.

I bought a BTwin 900 (€50), used it a few times, and so far I am happy with it. The head grabber at the back has more adjustment than my old Bell Volt. The straps on the 900 are very thin, lightweight. and lay flat, but the plastic bit under the ears that holds the straps is not adjustable, which may or may not be a problem. On one of the two 900s I tried in the shop, the ear bits were not even, the straps were crooked and could not be corrected. The second was perfect. The under-chin clasp/strap adjustment lets the strap slide a bit and has needed adjustment every time it has been used so far.

bechdan [264 posts] 1 year ago

Planet X has the Carnac Croix road helmet on offer for £9.99, Im quite impressed with the quality and fit.

vonhelmet [1568 posts] 1 year ago

I just bought a Giro MIPS helmet for like £50. Sorry, I guess.

pjclinch [107 posts] 1 year ago

I use an Aldi one, cost a tenner, it's fine for those occasions I use a lid.

I use it for Go-Ride coaching, and I'm not the only coach there using one...

bechdan [264 posts] 6 months ago
1 like

why no planet x / on-one helmets?

BigYin [32 posts] 6 months ago
bechdan wrote:

why no planet x / on-one helmets?

because nobody at PX sent a envelope of used tenners the helmets for review?