Whether you’re an active commuter or seeking parallel training volume, the best electric bikes come with the potential for riding at an aggregate higher speed than their un-assisted counterparts.
E-bikes are so alluring to ride that many cyclists are spending more time on the road, which increases the risk of a traffic incident. The question is: should you consider investing in a helmet that is better suited to e-bike riding?
The helmet market is rich with some of the best commuter helmets and best road bike helmets around, but there are also some compelling new offerings, which combine an array of safety features to make your e-bike ride less risky. Visibility is a crucial part of cycling safety. The simplest decision is to select any helmet with a vivid colourway, to enhance recognition when you are travelling as part of the urban traffic flow.
Clever illumination is another way that many contemporary helmets make it a lot safer to ride at dawn or dusk, or even in the dark. The days of having to charge and configure annoying helmet lights are no longer required. You can simply buy a helmet with slickly integrated lights.
Beyond making yourself more recognisable, the helmet’s core function is crash safety protection. Across the spectrum of potential traffic or built environment crashes you might be unfortunate to encounter, the presence of a slip plane helmet liner makes a difference to potential concussion consequences.
To help you navigate the choice of potential e-bike helmets, we have selected some options that might be best for your e-bike commuting, cargo riding or training needs.
The best e-bike helmets
If you want a helmet that looks futuristic and aero, with all the comfort and safety specifications, the Bexley is it.
It features a MIPS slip liner to deflect rotational energy if you do crash and generous anti-microbial padding keeps it comfortable and hygienic, even after hundreds of rides.
Fixed ventilation ports are always an issue. In summer you never seem to have an adequate number of them and in winter they cool your cranium too much. The Bexley has ten primary vents, of which four can be closed.
If you are a dedicated winter commuter, the ability to close those vents makes it less necessary to wear a skull cap or buff.
Making you visible to other road users is the Bexley’s integrated rear light, whilst a retractable Zeiss shield is part of the helmet’s front structure. Why do you need a shield? For those e-bike rides in the rain, or into a bitter headwind, when debris can make nasty contact with your eyes.
The Bexley also has convenient fit ergonomics. Giro’s product team uses the Fidlock magnetic buckle to secure this helmet in place, a mechanism that can easily be operated even with gloved fingers.
E-biker riders who get annoyed by wearing a helmet that is over 500g, will be heartened by this option.
The brand name might sound Italian, but Cratoni is German. And with its Commuter, the appeal is that light 400g weight classification and the presence of an active top vent.
Although this helmet does not have a slip-plane liner or integrated rear light, there are reflective bands as part of its rear structure.
The retractable visor will keep your eyes shielded on those testing winter rides in inclement weather, or from random road debris.
Cratoni has also chosen to make the securing straps thickly padded, which should increase comfort for those riders who like to wear their helmet with a very tight under-chin fit.
Although the lack of a rotational impact inner-liner might bother some e-bike riders, there is little arguing with the Cratoni Commuter’s affordable price point.
Another German e-bike helmet option, from the people who make some of the best bicycle locks you can buy.
You will struggle to find an e-bike helmet for cheaper and despite its reasonable price, the Pedelec 2.0 has reasonable comfort and visibility features.
Abus offers this helmet in a range of colours that include a vivid tennis ball yellow, whilst visibility is further enhanced with reflectors and an integrated LED rear light.
To keep you feeling fresh when arriving at that urban meeting venue for business or leisure, the Pedelec 2.0 has four inlet ports, with airflow leaving the helmet through nine outlet channels. Although none of these vents is adjustable, it is a fairly balanced fixed airflow design.
Industrial designers at Abus have been mindful of hairstyle and ensured that the Pedelec 2.0 remains comfortable, even for riders who style their hair into a ponytail. Abus also uses the Fidlock magnetic buckle to secure chinstraps, which is considered one of the better systems of its type.
The Abus might lack a MIPS liner, but it is light and very reasonably priced.
If you want to ride a truly futuristic and digitally enhanced helmet, Lumos could be your brand of choice. Its Matrix takes the integration of smart lighting to another level.
This helmet uses the latest LED matrix lighting technology to make to produce impressive illumination.
Not only can the Matrix project up to 1000 lumens of forward-facing light, but its rear LED panel, with 77 diodes, has the advantage of smart pulse technology. Riders can have the Matrix configured to signal turning intentions or even emergency deceleration warnings (much like a car would).
With a premium price, you would expect comprehensive safety features on the Lumos Matrix and it comes equipped with a MIPS liner.
The ventilation profile might lack an abundance of vent ports, and there is only one size, but if you want an e-bike helmet with the best smart lighting technology, the Matrix is an obvious choice.
The Coros OMNI is a true smart cycling helmet for those active commuters and e-bike riders who prioritize connectivity over all else.
With a traditional high-flow road bike helmet design, the OMNI has no less than 18 vents ports. It will unquestionably keep you cool on the summer commute, but you’ll have to wear a buff or skullcap in winter.
The OMNI’s most distinguishing feature is its audio ability. This helmet has bone conductive technology built into its securing straps, enabling two-way audio for music, calls and voice navigation – all paired to your smartphone.
Beyond the potential for an e-bike commuter to safely receive calls or navigate without having to take their eyes off the road, the OMNI also manages to be highly visible. The helmet has integrated LED day and night illumination.
Without a MIPS liner and less overall structure than some rivals, it is not the last word in crash safety protection.
Few commuter helmets can best the Hudson when you consider price, safety and style.
Available in a range of four stylishly subtle colours (with traditional black and white adding fifth and sixth options), the Bern looks great. It has an integrated peak cap, to keep protect against blinding sun flare at dawn or dusk, and the overall structure gives great coverage.
Enhancing the Hudson’s safety is the presence of a MIPS liner inside, whilst Bern’s industrial designers have managed to package the helmet with 13 vent ports, delivering adequate airflow.
To make any e-bike rider wearing a Bern Hudson more noticeable to other cyclists and drivers, is a 6.6 lumen lighting system. It is conveniently rechargeable with a micro USB port and has sufficient endurance for 10 hours of use.
Hudson wearers can also select three modes for the functioning of their helmet light: steady, flash and pulse. With the combination of considered design, MIPS safety and visibility illumination, the Hudson is a very convincing e-bike commuting helmet.
The Bell Daily is an affordable commuter helmet with some handy safety features.
Bell’s vast experience in helmet design is clear with the Daily’s mix of ergonomic refinement, safety and attractive styling.
The helmet’s overall proportions and appearance is slick, without compromising on structural safety. It has a MIPS liner, to reduce rotational acceleration of the brain in the unfortunate event of a crash. The Daily’s MIPS inner does not reduce its ergonomic comfort, with Bell combining it with an Ergo Fit retention system.
With a 20 lumen aft LED, the Daily MIPS ensures that any wearer is visible to traffic approaching from the rear.
Integrated lighting is a key aspect of accident avoidance. For any e-bike commuter, being most visible to other road users in an urban environment is an important part of preventative safety.
With more helmets offering integrating lighting than ever before, riders are discovering that nothing is free. Forget to charge your light’s battery source and you’ll suffer an annoying loss of functionality.
POC has partnered with a fellow Swedish technology innovator, to introduce the Omne Eternal. This is a revolutionary helmet, with energy harvesting Powerfoyle material.
Its integrated rear light never requires a recharge, with the Eternal’s surface harvesting energy from any ambient light source – even something indoors, like a lightbulb.
An evolution of the proven ergonomics and design of POC’s Omne Air SPIN, the Eternal has an integrated shearing pad and unrivalled lighting technology.
The POC Omne Eternal will be available to buy in June 2021.
How to choose the best e-bike helmets
With the additional energy at your disposal with an e-bike, the reality is that you will be riding more. And possibly, at a higher average speed.
The freedom and confidence to ride longer routes, or bigger commuting loops, increases your exposure to other road users and a possible accident. Although impact safety is the most important feature of any helmet, there is an argument to be made for mitigation.
1. Better lighting
Advances in LED technology and battery life has made the integrated helmet light a reality. Gone is the frustration with ungainly cables.
Other road users will be more aware of an LED light function on the back of your helmet and being visible, greatly reduces your risk of a collision from the rear.
For riders who are using their e-bike to commute at sunrise or sunset, this is especially useful.
2. Are more vents required?
Ventilation is a huge theme with road bike helmets, however e-bike helmet’s don’t have the same demands.
On a warm day, you want to experience the highest volume of airflow, especially if you are commuting to meeting with clients or friends – and wish to be presentable on arrival, instead of looking fatigued.
With an e-bike, that logic is slightly suspended as you can use the e-bike’s pedal assistance to reduce workload and avoid heat build-up without sacrificing speed. You will still want some airflow through to keep your head fresh under the helmet though.
Most e-bike helmets choose to ventilate heat by radiation rather than airflow. This allows heat to escape out of the helmet without having large vents which let rain or too much cold air in.