Cross country cycling or XC is a discipline within mountain biking. This discipline involves cycling through different terrains like rough forest tracks as well as inter-connecting smoother roads or pavements between two trails or forest tracks. Therefore, CX involves a mix of multiple cycling routines all in one journey from point A to point B.
There are three cross country racing disciplines:
XCE (Cross-Country Eliminator) – The last one or two persons to the finishing line is out of the race.
XCO (Cross-Country Olympic) – Lap racing around a short circuit.
XCM (Cross-Country Marathon) – Gaining popularity because anyone can participate.
Moreover, since a variety of roads will be encountered it is suggested that cyclists belonging to this category of biking must have a set of dedicated gears. Now you can choose the best cross country mountain bike helmet for a smoother and safer XC cycling.
Table of Contents
Top 10 Cross Country Helmets
The POC helmet is designed to keep you company for daily commute as well as for long weekend bike riding. This bike helmet comes with a single density EPS foam liner coupled with POC’s own “spin” technology which will provide for maximum protection to your head. Normally, we see a MIPS technology used in other bike helmets which uses plastic liner. In comparison, spin technology uses silicone pads instead of foam padding like in other bike helmets.
Although there are only four ventilation points, they are competent enough to take in enough airflow and channel it out through the back of the helmet. This ventilation technique used in Omne is largely designed keeping in mind the forest roads as well as the smooth pavements on which you will be treading on.
This lightweight (288 gms) helmet comes with a 360 degrees adjustable dial to fit onto your head perfectly. This adjustment dial can be rotated and the circumference will tighten or loosen which way you are rotating it. Both the front and the rear of the helmet can loosen up or tighten, unlike other helmets that use one single point of tension adjustment.
The Troy Lee XC A2 helmet is definitely one of the best cross country mountain bike helmets out there. The outer layer is made of strong polycarbonate and the inner layer comprises of a mix of EPS and EPP layers of foaming. The TLD uses a dual-density strategy when it comes to internal foaming support. The EPP layers are kept in places to tackle your minor impacts whereas the EPS liner foam is placed at more impact prone areas for additional support.
The visor used in this helmet is strongly bolted, yet they come off as soon as you experience a major impact so that you don’t experience rotational impacts of the helmet. The LTD A2 helmet uses washable X-Static liner which does not let odor get the better out of you. The thicker paddings at the front and above the ears will absorb more of your sweat making this a much more comfortable wear than others.
Additionally, you will get thin and flexible straps along with a reflective one. And you get a turn-wheel adjustment for circumference adjustment. Moreover, you get a fit kit to fine-tune your helmet even more to fit your head. The ventilation is pretty good with nice and large vents for a good amount of airflow.
The Giro Register helmet uses an integrated MIPS technology which is believed to provide better protection against the rotational force that may suffer due to heavy impact. The in-mold use of polycarbonate outer shell and the EPS foam liner on the inside makes it a very safe helmet.
The compact shape and reflective accents add to the pros of this helmet making this one a better choice in this list of the cross country mountain bike helmet.
The quick-dry padding helps in sweat absorption which in turn makes your ride a comfortable one. The Giro Register helmet uses a quick Link removable visor providing you with the much-needed flexibility in the use of visors for XC cycling.
This helmet packages the use of Roc Loc Sport MIPS ie., an adjustable knob for adjusting the tension on your head. This means you can fit this helmet on any head shape. There are 22 Ventilation points on this helmet providing you with ample breathability and helps you in smoother gliding through the trails and roads likewise.
The Kask Protone helmet is set as an example of how XC helmets should be made. This bike helmet packs a punch when it comes to innovation in terms of technology and design. The outer layer of polycarbonate resonates with the use of Kask Protone’s MIT technology aimed at providing you the best form of safety possible. This MIT technology provides coverage on the cap, rear, and on the sides to give you all-round protection.
The ventilation provided by the helmet is tested in Jaguar’s Wind Tunnel with CFD expertise. The internal heat regulation is splendidly optimized for longer triathlons and with minimum drag, you will be able to take full control over your ride with the help of aerodynamics. The 3D padding used in this helmet helps in quick drying. The inner linings are detachable and hence they are washable.
The ECO-leather chinstrap is anti-allergic and washable which makes it less irritable for the skin. A sanitation process is used on the inner fabric so that the interior remains antimicrobial and antibacterial. The Octo Fit adjustment system provides you an optimum fit on your head for comfortable wear. The adjustment dial can move the inner frame 180-degree internally so that the helmet fits on your head well enough not to come loose or be too tight.
The Smith comes with a 3-position optimized adjustable visor which includes the ultimate goggles integration. This helmet uses an in-mold construction with EPS foam lining for added safety (MIPS integrated - which means it provides you protection against rotational forces that may occur upon heavy impacts). The Smith Optics Forefront is made in association with Koroyd. The Koroyd employs a thermal welding process by which the exterior element of the helmet takes all the heat upon any impact.
There are 20 vents optimally placed on the helmet which allows the air to flow in with a provision for exhaust at the back. Plus, the AirEvac system does not allow the fog condensation on your goggles. The balance between safety, comfort, style, and looks is what makes this helmet a near best cross country mountain bike helmet out there. Additionally, you get 15 color variations and three sizes to choose from.
The POC Octal comes with a perfect blend of high-performance EPS liner with a hardbound unibody outer shell for ultimate protection. The inner lining is weaved with multi-density to provide you a comfortable wear. The Octal features a generous amount of ventilation ports, thus, allowing a lot of air to flow in. The airflow is so good that your scalp will remain dry most of the time. This helmet is breathable and the ventilation is good enough to regulate internal temperature.
The size adjustment system lets you adjust the tension around your head for optimized fitting so that you don’t feel that the helmet is too tight or too wobbly. The straps are molded into the liner allowing you to adjust the helmet properly on top of your head. There will be enough space left for you to fit in your favorite shades while cycling. There are 8 different color variants to choose from whereas the sizes and the weightage are variable in accordance with the safety standard certifications.
Sizes available for EN 1078 safety certificate are -
Small: 50-56 cm (185 g)
Medium: 54-60 cm (195 g)
Large: 56-62 cm (225 g)
Sizes available for CPSC 12.03 certified helmet variants -
Small: 50-56 cm (230 g)
Medium: 54-60 cm (250 g)
Large: 56-62 cm (285 g)
The Octal has also cleared AS/NZS2063-2008 safety standards which makes this a certified helmet from three different organizations.
This bike helmet is made with a polycarbonate shell on the outside and an EPS foam protective liner from the inside to protect you against all major impacts. This helmet also comes with the MIPS technology which ensures that your brain does not have to endure rotational hits that you might encounter while falling down at a high speed.
There are 22 large ventilation ports that allow the smooth airflow for temperature regulation with close to zero drag, helpful for faster speeds. There is a micro-adjustment button that allows you to adjust the helmet into three positions in terms of its height. Then there is of course a provision for a webbing strap with adjustable dividers. The microfibre pads are pretty well posited for you to wear it comfortably. This helmet hugs on to your head pretty well allowing you to concentrate on the ride instead of the helmet.
This one is a lightweight, well-ventilated helmet for its price range. It fits into the head properly and is ready to take on challenges just like you. The rear adjustment system is best suited for on-the-go adjustment of the helmet’s tension around your head for a comfortable fit. The in-mold construction EPS liner foaming technology from the inside gives you great protection against major impacts.
In addition to that, this helmet covers your entire head for all-round protection. The double in-mold 360 degrees shelling on the outside provides its rugged longevity.
There are 22 ventilation ports for ease of airflow in and out of this helmet. The padding is a one-piece fit that is easily detachable for you to wash it whenever you feel necessary. The visor provided in this helmet is adjustable so that you can easily place your goggles while riding bikes. The visor also quickly detaches itself after the impact so that your head does not have to bear the force of the impact.
The ErgoFit ultra adjustment system allows you to optimize the fit both horizontally (circumference tension) and vertically (height adjustment). The jaw straps are adjustable as well.
This helmet is certified by two safety standard organizations CPSC from the USA as well as European EN1078.
Sizes available are XS (49-54cm), SM (53-56cm), ML (58-62cm), XLW (Wide 58-62cm) and is available in the following colors - Turquoise, White, Fluo Blue, Lime, Black, Night Blue, Graphite.
The Oakley comes with an integrated eyewear dock to securely keep your shades on your nose enabling you to maneuver it with quick and easy access. This bike is on the heavier side, however, with BOA 360 Fit System, the TX1 Lace grabs your head well allowing for seamless eyewear compatibility as well as a comfortable wear. The Oakley comes with a MIPS technology that provides for its safe wear.
The X-Static padding is really helpful that inhibits the growth of bacteria and thus, eliminating odor from the helmet. This helmet also ships with an additional set of pads, which makes it clear that the padding can be easily removed for you to wash one and use the other alternatively. The silicone safe sweat strip does not allow your sweat to fall on your temple and instead channels it out of there thus making your helmet wearing easy.
The visor is adjustable up to a 60-degree radius allowing you to fit in your goggles easily.
The available sizes in which this helmet is available are - Small (52-56cm); Medium (54-58cm) and Large (56-60cm). This bike has passed safety standard certifications like the CPSC 1203, EN1078, and ANZ2063.
The LAZER Helmet Blade helmet has 22 large ventilation ports for a great amount of airflow. That makes this helmet extremely cool from the inside. The helmet is known for being lightweight and its fitting is so good that you won’t even feel that you are wearing any helmet whatsoever. The adjustment barrels sit on top of your head so that you can access helmet tension adjustability on the go. The back of the helmet is also adjustable but you might have to take off your helmet for that.
The ARS Fit System offers you with progressive adjustment and eliminates pressure points and hot spots. This helmet is also ponytail friendly, so if you happen to have one this should be your choice.
The Lazer blade also comes with a rechargeable rear fitted Z-LED light compatible with mudcap accessory for additional safety support for night-time strolls. This cheap 240g helmet has cleared the CPSC safety standard concerns and is a good fit for all types of cycling including XC cycling.
Buyer’s Guide & Important Points While Buying Helmet For Cross Country
The requirements of a cross country biker are slightly different from both city road bikers as well as mountain trail riders. The reason is, of course, the variance of road conditions that cross country bikers face. There will be rough trailers where speed is not of the essence but full coverage of the head is more important.
Then there are interconnecting smooth paved roads between two rough trailers where you need to go faster with the help of aerodynamic helmets for less drag. So far as other factors are concerned, let’s take a look at the following series of frequently asked questions so that you are able to choose the perfect one for yourself from this list of the best cross country mountain bike helmet.
Let us first see the major considerations you should watch out for before you purchase any one of the abovementioned bike helmets -
Ideally, the external of the XC bike helmet should have an in-mold construction of a polycarbonate shell. Additionally, better still if the manufacturer makes sure all-round protection for the entirety of your head.
The Expanded Polystyrene or the EPS foam material on the inside is the best way to begin when it comes to internals of a helmet. The inner paddings are way better if they are detachable and hence, washable. There are some manufacturers who provide for a sanitization process before they ship their liners with antibacterial and antimicrobial components. The X-static liners, therefore, prove to be the best. They keep your skin better and the helmet odorless.
this part is one of the trickiest in the case of an XC discipline and that is why the ideal situation would be just enough vents for temperature regulation but not too much of empty spaces. The rough terrain in the woods is not going to be easy and you would rather have your helmet cover your head more than 60%.
Adjustability - The adjustability of a good helmet is the key to its comfort levels and you need one for XC biking. There is nothing better than dials that can ease and tighten the circumference of your bike helmet. Adjustable chin straps are the best and it really helps in keeping the helmet hugged on to your head.
It is a very good option to have an adjustable/detachable visor so that you can choose to wear your goggles when you are paddling across highways but keep it on your forehead when you need to see more in the darker forest terrains.
Safety certifications are always important like the CPSC or the EN which is awarded in Europe.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the ideal form of a ventilation system on a cross country biking helmet?
The ideal form of ventilation for the XC discipline would be a combination of airflow and all-round coverage of the head. You would not want to risk your head with large vents thereby risking the chances of something getting through to your head if you happen to falter on a forest road. However, having good airflow is necessary for a drag-less experience.
What type of adjustment systems will I be needing?
Well, opting for an adjustment dial placed right on top of your head seems to be more logical as an approach. However, adjustment systems with both horizontal and vertical adjustability are necessary.
Adjustable straps are important to keep the helmet stuck on to your head. Then comes the adjustability of the visor. There are many experts who would tell you that there is no need for a visor because visors tend to block vision when you are in dark forest roads. Plus, you would want to see better with trees hovering around your eyes for better navigation. So the best way to go is to have a flexible or adjustable visor.
What should be the ideal combination of weight and safety?
The more heavily guarded the helmet comes with, the heavier it might become. This may as well be not so true for perfectly designed helmets to combine both. Therefore, what you need is an ideal combination of the two.
The inclusion of MIPS technology seems to make the most sense in this category of helmets. The in-mold construction with EPS foam placed at the strategic points of the helmet is useful in keeping the weight down. The detachability of visors may add actually reduce the weight distribution to a large extent.
Amidst all these choices you have from this list of the best cross country mountain bike helmet, you should strive to choose the one which is the most comfortable one. Apart from the standard safety requirements, you would need a close-fitting helmet that hugs on to your head without giving you a headache.
These cross country triathlons are normally longer and involve a lot of physical exertion and alertness of the mind. That’s because of the changing variety of riding styles within one race, from time to time, one road condition to the other. You would rather concentrate on the ride than being concerned whether your helmet is tipping over your head or is too tight.