Riding an ebike is a lot of fun and they are a great way to get around without a car. You want to be safe while riding your ebike which means wearing a helmet. Is any bike helmet good enough for riding an ebike? The answer is no. You want a helmet designed to protect you while riding at the higher speeds that ebikes can go. We are here to help you find the best electric bike helmet for you.
7. Best Overall – Smith Dispatch MIPS
- Certifications – NTA-8776, CPSC, CE EN 1078 and AS/NZS263
- MIPS – Yes
- Features – Koroyd honeycomb construction, rear light, fidlock buckle
- Weight – 16 oz
The Smith Dispatch helmet was designed for urban ebike riding. It meets the Dutch NTA-8776 certification for ebike helmets along with the normal CPSC and CE certs. It has Koroyd honeycomb construction which allows better energy absorption and also allows the helmet to vent through the honeycomb instead of large holes. It has a rear LED light that can be set to a blink or always stay on.
The helmet has a modern urban look to it without going too crazy with styling. It has a small brim to help with keeping the sun and rain out of your eyes. It uses Smith’s AirEvac defog vents to help keep your glasses or sunglasses from fogging up. It uses a magnetic fidlock buckle which makes it easier and faster to buckle and unbuckle the helmet.
What we liked:
- Has Koroyd construction and MIPS for better protection
- Fidlock buckle for quick on and off
- The rear light operates in several different modes from blinking to always on
- Has enough vents for staying cool while riding on ebike.
What we didn’t like:
- Micro USB connector instead of USB C for recharging the light
See Best Deals!
EBike Helmet Guide
What should you look for when buying an ebike helmet? Is any bike helmet good enough? What do all these helmet certifications mean? Should you buy a MIPS helmet? What is NTA-8776? Buying a bike helmet to ride on an ebike can be confusing. Let’s take a look at the most important things to consider when buying an ebike helmet.
1 – Price
Price matters in almost every buying decision we make. Protective equipment is one area where I don’t think price should be the primary factor. Find a helmet that feels good and you like the appearance of so you’ll be comfortable wearing it. This doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune. I wouldn’t ride with the cheapest helmet I could find on Amazon just because it had a lot of positive reviews. How many of those reviewers got in a serious accident wearing it?
There are very few cheap bike helmets that have NTA 8776 certification. I could not find one from a generic vendor on Amazon. There just isn’t a good under $50 helmet out there that I could feel good about recommending for riding an ebike.
2 – Safety Certifications
There are a lot of bike helmet certifications out there now. Sorting through them can be confusing. CPSC and EN are the 2 most common certs. They are the US and European certifications. Every bike helmet sold in the US or Europe must be certified to their respective standard. Beyond that there are additional standards for speciality helmets such as e-bike helmets or downhill mountain biking helmets.
CPSC 1203 certification
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) releases standards in the US for consumer products. You should not consider using a helmet that isn’t at least CPSC compliant. If you’re Canadian, the helmet should have CSA compliance. To learn more about bike helmet certifications see the center for cycling education.
NTA-8776 is a Dutch standard for e-bike helmets. It was developed to provide more head coverage and protection for higher speed (up to 28mph) impacts compared to a traditional bike helmet. They have more side and rear head coverage and similar frontal coverage. Helmets certified by CPSC and EN1078 are only tested for up to 14 mph impacts. NTA-8776 is about protection up to 45kph or 28mph.
EN1078 is the European equivalent to US CPSC 1203 certification for bike helmets. Every bike helmet sold in Europe has to be certified to it.
AS/NZS 263 is the Austrailian standard for bike helmets similar to CPSC and EN. You can learn more about it here.
ASTM F1952 downhill
ASTM F1952 was developed for certifying mountain bike helmets used for downhill riding. Typical downhill courses have higher speed, a lot of jumps, and a much higher crash rate than normal biking. The F1952 standard calls for more head coverage and higher impacted speeds. A helmet certified to this standard will be thicker and heavier as well as have more head coverage.
WG11 is a test procedure developed by KASK to test bike helmets for oblique impacts. It is not a helmet construction or feature. WG11 measures Bric (Brain Injury Criteria). KASK claims that all their helmets score below a Bric of 0.39. There is no mandatory technology a helmet must have to have a WG11 score. It’s just a test procedure and measurement.
2 – Safety Technologies
MIPS stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection System. The MIPS brain protection system allows your head to rotate inside the bike helmet upon impact. If you hit something like a tree at a glancing blow, your helmet will rotate separately from your head. This reduces the rotational force on your head and brain. Without MIPS, your head will get torqued as it rotates with the helmet. It adds another layer of protection against different impact directions.
I personally will not wear a non-MIPS helmet for biking or skiing. I have had too many unintended meetings with trees and other obstacles while riding.
WaveCel is an alternative technology to MIPS. It uses a wave shaped plastic energy absorber in place of EPS foam. The plastic wave can bend and crush to absorb impacts. It allows for softer or stiffer resistance depending on how the impact happens.
When you get hit by a glancing blow that causes the helmet to rotate, the plastic waves can rotate relative to each other and the helmet shell. This acts in a similar manner to MIPS. The WaveCel structure lets the helmet shell rotate without rotating your head.
Spherical is an enhanced version of MIPS. It uses 2 layers of foam in the energy absorbing liner. A high density layer outside and a low density softer layer inside. The 2 layers act as a ball and socket joint. When you impact something, the 2 layers can rotate relative to each other. This further reduces the rotational impact load on your head.
The second benefit comes from the 2 foam densities. If you hit something not that hard, the softer layer of foam will absorb the impact. This means less impact on your head. If you hit something really hard, you will crush the soft layer and then the stiff layer will absorb the impact. This improves the overall safety of the helmet. Your head sees lower forces for both low severity and high severity.
3 – Bike helmet construction
Bike helmets use 3 main types of construction these days. They each have advantages and disadvantages. The construction types are hard shell, in-mold, and hybrid.
ABS Hard Shell
Hardshell is the most simple and cheapest bike helmet construction. It consists of an ABS plastic outer shell and an EPS foam liner. The foam liner is molded separately from the ABS shell. They are glued together to make the finished helmet. This construction is cheap to make. Vents and other features cannot be as intricate with hard shell construction. Helmets with hardshell construction tend to look plain without too many features. ABS is heavier and more scratch resistant than polycarbonate.
In-Mold construction ski helmets use a single mold to make both the outer helmet shell and EPS foam liner. The outer shell is made from polycarbonate. Polycarbonate is lighter and stronger than ABS plastic. It is 3 times more expensive than ABS plastic. Polycarbonate also scratches easier than ABS. To make an in-mold helmet, a polycarbonate outer shell is created. The foam is molded and attached directly to the shell in the mold which is where the name in-mold comes from. In-mold construction is lighter weight, allows more venting channels and detail in the vents and other features. The downsides to this method are higher cost and easier to scratch.
Hybridbike helmet construction is a mix of In-Mold and Hard Shell. They use a hard ABS shell for the top of the helmet. They use in-mold for the sides of the helmet. The top of the helmet will have a harder surface for absorbing impacts and not getting scratched. It makes an overall lighter weight helmet as well. Hybrid construction can be cheaper than pure in-mold construction but it depends on how intricate the molds and parts are. It can also cost a lot more than in-mold construction.
5 – Comfort Fit and Sizing
Different helmet companies make their helmet shapes different. Some brands fit some people better than others. My wife has a wider shaped head and Giro fits her but Smith helmets never do. I can fit either one comfortably. Having a good snug comfortable fit is important. A sloppy feeling helmet may not stay in place if you fall. If your helmet falls off it’s not going to protect your head. Don’t be afraid to try on a bunch of helmets to find one you like the feel of.
Bike helmets tend to come in adult or unisex sizes. Most helmets come in small, medium, and large. Some have an extra large size as well. Most bike helmets are unisex. A few helmet makers produce separate men’s and women’s versions. The difference is more colors than anything else. The size ranges may be shifted slightly smaller as well.
Round Contour Fit or Asian Fit
For people with more round head shapes such as Asians, some helmets come in a “round contour fit” or “Asian Fit” version. This helmet has a wider profile than the standard adult helmet size. If you have a wider head, you may need to go up a size with a regular fit helmet. This will leave you with a helmet with lots of space in the fore/aft direction no matter how tight you make the size adjuster. The round fit version of the helmet solves this problem.
Some helmets have more adjustability for their straps than others. Adjustable ear straps make it easier to adjust the angle the helmet sits on your head. If you want it more up or down angled, you can do it. More adjustability means you can get a better fit and your helmet is more likely to stay in place if you fall.
Helmets can have more or less padding. Helmets made for road bike racing may have very minimal padding. Weight is the most important thing. A more comfortable recreational helmet will have more. Look for padding that is specified as quick drying. You don’t want your helmet to feel like a wet sponge at the end of your ride. Many bike helmets are flexible with padding and come with a few different sets of pads you can stick in to get a better fit.
6 – Style
Different helmets have different shapes and styles. Ebike helmets tend to have more back and side of the head coverage. Road helmets tend to be more minimalistic with lots of vents. Commuter helmets can have fewer vents and a more conservative look. A helmet does no good if you are not wearing it when you fall. Find a helmet you like how it looks on you so that you’ll wear it.
If you are riding at high speeds, you should consider a full face bike helmet.
7 – Helmet ventilation
Air vents in the helmet transport hot air and sweat out of the helmet. More vents are better on warm days so your head doesn’t overheat. If you are riding in the cold a lot, a helmet with fewer vents will be more comfortable.
Vents are almost always fixed on bike helmets. They are always open.
8 – Defog vents
Some bike helmets have vents on the front that help draw air through your sunglasses or goggles. This reduces fogging. It works quite well. If you get fog in your eyewear while standing around, start biking. The air flow pushed over the lens by the helmet will clear them up quickly.
9 – Weight
Some bike helmets weigh much more than others. A full face mountain bike helmet made for downhill riding will weigh much more than a road racing helmet. Features such as MIPS add weight to a helmet as well. The longer your riding time is, the more the weight of your helmet will become apparent.
EBike Helmet FAQ
You might also like
- The Best Folding Ebikes Helpful Guide
- Best Commuter EBikes Helpful Guide
- Best Cruiser EBikes Helpful Guide
Co-Founder & Chief Editor
I grew up back east in Pennsylvania and learned to ski on a family trip to Killington, Vermont when I was 6. I immediately fell in love with the mountains and outdoors and have been skiing across the US and Canada ever since. I went to school for Mechanical Engineering, and have a Master’s Degree in Material Science and Reliability.
I am a total gear nerd and love learning how things work and thinking about how they could be improved. Nothing excites me more than trying out new gear. I’d rather spend 3 hours taking my bike apart and learning how to change something than go to a bike shop. These days I reside in Michigan by the Great Lakes and go skiing, biking, and boating as much as possible.