Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute

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Bicycle Helmets for the 2001 Season

This is history! Current year here

Summary: Our review of helmets being sold in 2001. Trends first, then individual models. Index to manufacturers last. See this page for more recent years.

Trends for 2001

Helmet lines for 2001 showed few real improvements over the 2000 season. Prices are trending slightly upward, particularly in the mass merchant channel. Demand for bicycles improved during 2000, and helmet sales increased as well, by perhaps 20 per cent. From the consumer's point of view there are very protective helmets out there for reasonable prices, and very stylish ones for a few dollars more.

All helmets manufactured for the US market after March 10, 1999 must meet the national CPSC standard. Very few of the older ones are still on sale. We recommend looking for a helmet that:

1. Meets the CPSC standard. (Look for the sticker inside)

2. Fits you well.

3. Has a rounded, smooth exterior with no snag points.

4. Has no more vents than you need.

Some of the better ones were identified in the most recent Consumer Reports helmet article but most models on the market were not tested for the article and few are still being sold.

Beware of skateboard helmets with no CPSC sticker inside. Some of them look exactly like a bike/skate multipurpose helmet from the outside, but the foam inside is not designed for the impacts a bicycle rider should expect. Be sure to look for a CPSC sticker before using a skate-style helmet for bicycling!

Vents are still big!

A major theme for the last three years has been more and larger air vents. Manufacturers tout the number of vents in their helmets, a meaningless parameter that we will not even mention in the descriptions below. If all else were equal, more vents would be a Good Thing, but as usual all else is not equal. Opening up larger vents usually requires harder, more dense foam and squaring off the edges of the remaining foam ribs to squeeze out the most impact protection possible from the narrower pieces still there. Since we believe that rounder shells and less dense foam are virtues in a crash, we don't recommend hyper-vented helmets unless you really need the added ventilation. See our rant on this subject titled Vents and Square Lines: Problems with some designs.

Fewer designs are squared-off

The fashion among helmet designers in recent years has favored squared-off edges of the foam remaining around the vents, and the addition of sharp lines in the exterior plastic just for style. The elongated "aero" shape has dominated in the upscale models as well. The aero shape is a less than optimal design for crashing. Fortunately we saw some moderation of this trend in the helmets for 2000, and that has continued this year. Rounder shells reduce any tendency for a helmet to snag on the surface when you hit. They also eliminate the aero tail that can shove the helmet aside as you hit, exposing your bare head. Here is the symbol of the campaign we have been conducting for rounder, smoother helmets: Rounder, Smoother, Safer Button We are not so naive as to believe that is has worked, Our reasons for avoiding helmets with squared-off lines are also on our page titled Vents and Square Lines: Problems with some designs.

More Trends

Other trends this year include a continued but disappointingly slow movement toward brighter colors, mirroring what is happening in bike colors, bike clothing and automotive colors. Visors continue to lose ground, as manufacturers have not found them particularly profitable. They had been used in prior years to promote a meaningless difference between visorless "road" helmets and visored "mountain bike" helmets. The distinction is largely artificial, since both types of helmets are designed to the same standard and in most cases both will be used at times for the other type of riding.

Another continuing trend is packaging helmets with other accessories, particularly in the skate market, where a number of manufacturers have knee pads and wrist protectors with their "multi-sport" helmets. Most of those multisport helmets are certified to the same CPSC bicycle helmet standard as a normal bicycle helmet. The list of those certified to Snell's N-94 multi-purpose standard is still very short.

A trend that would normally not be apparent to the consumer is that during 2000 many manufacturers moved their production to Asia. Many helmets for the US market are now coming from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea and soon from India. The disadvantages of high transportation costs have been overwhelmed by the rising cost of factory labor in the US. Asian manufacturers and tool producers have improved their ability to produce helmets. Some quality control concerns remain, however. Under CPSC rules the US manufacturer or importer is responsible for ensuring that a bicycle helmet imported here meets the CPSC standard. But other types of helmets, labeled for skating, snow sports or some other activity other than bicycling, can potentially be imported by someone who is not too careful about certification and quality control standards. Some manufacturers dealing with the move to Asia have limited the number of new models for 2001 until the new arrangements are functioning smoothly.

New Technology

To date we have not seen any exciting new materials or major advances in technology in this year's helmet lines. Even the perennial rumors of "miracle" impact foams have been quiet this year, although major manufacturers continue to research them actively. No manufacturer has yet achieved the self-fitting helmet that is today's most critical need. (We have more on that on our page on the ideal helmet.) The most novel new feature introduced this year was a spoiler found on Limar's F-105 Triathlon model. Your Porsche has a spoiler, so why not your helmet?

Bell Still Covers the Largest Heads

The Bell Kinghead is still the only choice if you are one of the small minority of riders needing a helmet to fit up to size 8 1/4 with a maximum circumference of 29.5 inches. (Most people can turn it sideways.) See our page on very large helmets for details.


In March of 1999 the US Consumer Product Safety Commission bicycle helmet standard became law. Bicycle helmets manufactured for the US market after March 10, 1999 are required to meet that standard by law. That took most of the steam out of the standards issue. But there are two reasons to continue to look for the standards sticker. First, there may still be a few older models out there manufactured before 1999 that do not meet the CPSC standard, and can still be legally sold. You find them on the dusty bargain tables. We have seen the $85 list price 1998 Bell Evo Pro at $30, for example. Some of those older helmets may be good buys. If they meet the ASTM F-1447 standard they would be very close to meeting CPSC.

In addition, since the CPSC standard applies only to bicycle helmets, there are other helmets on the market that don't meet it, but just are careful not to say they are for bicycling. They can be for skating, skateboarding, surfing or tiddlywinks, as long as they are not labeled for bicycling. They can even be identical on the outside to a bike helmet made by the same manufacturer, sold in bike shops or in discount stores on the same shelf as the bicycle helmets, with the same packaging and only the wording on the sticker inside and on the box different. So a measure of "buyer beware" is still required. We recommend that you look for a sticker inside the helmet saying it meets the CPSC standard. If it is not there, pass it up.

Even when you do find the CPSC sticker, there is a very small risk that the helmet does not actually meet the standard. Several manufacturers have had recalls in the past year, mostly of skateboard-style helmets that also had a CPSC sticker attached. See this page for info on that. Unfortunately, CPSC refuses to release their lab test data, even when we pressed under a FOIA request. (By contrast, the Department of Transportation publishes at least the bare bones of their test data for their motorcycle helmets on the web.) Without any lab test data at all, we are really stuck with just the manufacturer's label saying they meet the CPSC standard, unless the helmet is certified by Snell or SEI, or if it happens to be included in the limited selection tested by Consumer Reports every other year.

In addition to the legally-required CPSC sticker, the independent Snell Memorial Foundation's Snell B-95 sticker is an even better indicator of quality, since Snell tests helmets in their own labs. Snell also has an ongoing test program where they buy helmets in the market for follow up testing. But most of the "Snell" helmets on the market meet only Snell's B-90 standard, comparable to CPSC. Snell's N-94 multipurpose standard is even better, but only a few manufacturers have models certified to it. We can't explain all those B-numbers to most consumers, so we no longer make a big point of telling people to look for a Snell sticker. You can find more info on the Snell website if you need it.

The Safety Equipment Institute is another independent organization certifying bicycle helmets, this time to the CPSC standard. So you don't have to take just the manufacturer's word for it if there is an SEI sticker in the helmet. Unfortunately, not many manufacturers are using their program now that the CPSC standard is legally required. Their list has only a couple of helmets on it, none from major bike helmet manufacturers.

Consumer Reports Picks

The most recent article on helmets in Consumer Reports was in June, 1999. They awarded their highest impact protection rating to the Globe model from Louis Garneau (see below). They had previously rated the Globe as a Best Buy. But the top rating went to a discontinued Bell model, the EVO-2 Pro. We would favor the helmet with the best impact protection, if it fits you well and the ventilation is adequate. We were more impressed with some of Louis Garneau's other models, but apparently CU did not test others. We did like the very bright yellow that is one of the Globe's available colors. Globe helmet You can find the helmet article on the Consumer Reports website, but it will cost you a fee or a paid subscription. Otherwise, read it in your local library, or check out our brief summary. Since it was based on helmets for the 1999 season, most of the models rated are no longer available.

The Helmets


Abus is a German company better known as a manufacturer of high-security padlocks. But they also have a line of bicycle helmets including seven for kids or toddlers, and nine for adults. The website says they meet German and European standards, so you may not see them in the US unless they can meet the more stringent CPSC standard too. We have not seen their 2001 line in person, so we can't comment on their ratcheting chin fastener, which may be unique.

Action Bicycle

The Hard Head line of helmets is produced for Action Bicycle by Strategic Sports in Hong Kong. Their models include the Acclaim, an otherwise standard adult helmet with visor and rear stabilizer that has an internal headband for size adjustment and retails for $35. Other models include a full face BMX helmet for $80, a child helmet at $20, and a skateboard helmet that retails for $36, or $40 in full chrome.


We have not actually seen the Advent line since 1998. At that time they had a line with four ASTM/SEI certified helmets, including the z-Jet, Z-Fire with rear stabilizer, zbop and the child's Peekaboo. We do not yet have any info on their 2001 models.


See Fox below.

Alpha Helmets

Alpha helmets are made by Mien Yow Industries Ltd. in Taiwan. They have a line of well-rounded models led by the complex-looking Vortex and including one model with a flashing led taillight built in. For 2001 they also have the C-Tec, with squared-off ribs but a rounded shape overall. Alpha helmets are made of EPS foam, rather than the EPU generally favored in Taiwan. Shells are glued on rather than molded in. The manufacturer says their retail prices run in the $35 range. Alpha also makes skating, hockey and batting helmets. Their skate helmet is certified to the CPSC bicycle helmet standard and retails for $30.

Answer Products

Answer Racing has the same two BMX racing helmets for 2001, with updated graphics. Answer's helmets are made in Korea by KBC for Performance Bicycle Components.


Atlas is a Swedish manufacturer. They have an XS child helmet that fits heads as small as 17.8 inches in diameter that they say will fit children as young as six months (not recommended!--see this page). We have not seen them in the US and their website does not indicate they meet the CPSC standard, so they may not be available here, although some of their descriptions say the helmet meets the old ANSI standard and the ASTM standard. Their Hot Shot adult helmet appears to be a very nicely rounded design, with a glued on shell, that they say meets the ASTM standard, but again without mention of CPSC. Their Sport model appears to have a rigid visor, which could be a potential snagging hazard. They managed to add a rear ridge on their otherwise well-rounded A.X.S skate helmet that is certified only to the European standard, but described as " Quite simply a helmet that can withstand almost anything."


Azonic/Santa Cruz/O'Neal USA has two hard shell, no-vent full face helmets with removable inner liners for cleaning. Both have large, sturdy, bolted-on visors, a potential snagging hazard. The 541 model was redesigned for 2000. It has a polycarbonate shell and meets the Snell motorcycle helmet standard (M-95), therefore exceeding by a wide margin the DOT motorcycle helmet standard and by an even wider margin any bicycle helmet standard in the world. It weighs 3 pounds and costs $120. (We could not find it on the Snell list, however, and would have to assume that it is made by another company who had it certified by Snell under their own name.) The Azonic price list shows a "kid" size 541 retailing for $100. Azonic's other model, with O'Neal graphics, is lighter, with construction described as "fiberglass and a space age blend of Carbon-Kevlar." It retails for about $150. The AZX has its heavy ABS visor bolted on with two bolts, a potential snagging hazard.


Bell is the dominant company in the bicycle helmet market, with perhaps as much as 70 per cent of the world market, almost certainly over half. (Annual sales including non-helmet products are running at the level of $244 million.) They have introduced three new models for 2001. Bell has a new rear stabilizer on some models using a small wheel for adjustment similar to the system Cratoni and Louis Garneau have been using for several years. Some models have Bell's no-pinch buckle, a nice design with a tab behind it that keeps the skin from getting in while you push the two pieces together.

At the top of Bell's line are their molded-in-the-shell models, called the Fusion Series. For the 2001 year all are hyper-ventilated and all have rear stabilizers. Unfortunately they dropped the Rubicon/Envy Pro model that had been the best rounded of their high-end helmets. Among them:

Bell's lower-cost helmets are produced with the shell glued on and taped at the edge rather than fused in the mold. Since that design gains less strength from the shell, the vents have to be a little smaller, but should be entirely adequate for almost all riders. Prices for older models are lower this year.

BMX and Downhill Racing

Bell has BMX and downhill racing models in their line for 2001, all with fiberglass shells imported from China, all vented and all with the well-rounded shapes that are traditional in BMX helmets. Unfortunately they also have bolted on visors, always a potential snag point. They all resemble motorcycle helmets with vents, and weigh about two pounds. The downhill model is the Bellistic, a fiberglass model with a full chinguard. Some Bellistics were recalled in 1999 for strap problems, but there have been no further recalls. The price this year is $115, or $125 in chrome finish. The BMX models are the $125 Rhythm Pro with chinguard (the Bellistic in flashier graphics) or the $90 Qualifier Pro with an open face design.

Bell's skateboard-style helmet this year is the Trail Rider Pro, replacing the old Vert XT Pro. The Trail Rider is listed as a BMX helmet, but it has the admirably round, smooth exterior similar to the classic Pro-Tec skate helmet, with round vents on top and oval ones in the rear. It comes in chrome or four dark colors, and retails for $30.

Cheaper Bells

Bell has another entire line of low-priced helmets sold at discount stores and mass-merchant outlets. (More than one fourth of the company's sales are through Wal-Mart alone.) They are sometimes discontinued models from the bike store line, and generally have low-end graphics, chintzy fit pads and cheaper packaging. Most do not have rear stabilizers. But they are designed to the same CPSC standard, so they provide fine impact protection. The rounded profiles we consider optimum will persist in this line for years to come, since they are cheaper to produce, and the thicker foam may actually provide better impact protection than some of the sexier, thinner, more expensive Pro models. This line sells for low prices: $10 to $30. They are available to non-profits through the National Safe Kids Campaign for even less. Because of Bell's name recognition, they are among the best sellers in the low end market. (Check our page on inexpensive helmets for further info on sources of low-cost helmets from various manufacturers.) The adult models include: Bell also produces toddler, skate and child bike helmets for the Fisher-Price brand.

Consumer Reports did not test bike helmets for the 2000 season. Among Bell's 1999 models they liked the Evo Pro 2, now discontinued.

Bell has announced a new helmet called the Ghisallo Pro for 2002, and you can see it in use in the July 2001 Tour de France. They say on their website that it will be available in the spring of 2002. It appears to have huge vents, but you can't tell much from a photo.

On January 25, 2000, Bell announced that riders can trade in their old helmets and get $20 off the price of a new one. The details are available on Bell's website.

Bell is the only helmet manufacturer who has joined the Consumer Product Safety Commission's Product Safety Circle. We are not sure how much that means in practical terms, but they have pledged to follow ten safety principles, designate a corporate safety officer and publicize their successes in implementing the principles.

In sum, Bell is still the largest bicycle helmet manufacturer. With their brand recognition they are still the one to beat.


Briko is an Italian company who began breaking into the U.S. market in 1998. They have an innovative "twin cap" construction technique bonding two separate liners to leave air channels. Their rear stabilizer design has stickers inside showing an adjustment scale on each side to make it easier to balance the two sides, and a sliding pad on each side in the back. Both of their US market models are inmolded, including:

Briko has a number of other helmets for the European market that will not be available in the US in 2001. We do not have retail pricing for them. They include:


Cyclelink comes from Cycle Acoustics. Their line in 2000 had a wireless intercom for bicyclists that can be mounted on the helmet, and a helmet with the two-way radio built in. The microphone boom arm had a breakaway mount, the helmet had an exceptionally smooth outer profile, and one of the models had a range up to two miles. We have not seen their line for 2001. It can be tough to pass impact standards with built-in lights or radios.


This German company with an Italian name has an extensive line but is concentrating on fewer models for the U.S. market. They advertise that the "soft shock" liner on some models "can absorb 25% more impact than the material used in 1996," whatever that means. They use it on the Maniac, Twister, Mountain Champ and Interceptor. Some models have a suspension system called the Head Ring with an adjustable head band similar to the old Bailen of the 1980's. Other have a "Soft Shock" liner , described in Cratoni's catalog as "25% more shock absorption - a new Cratoni exclusive helmet material. Super protection and feather light. This innovative Soft Shock material offers about 25% more impact resistance than the material used from 1996 on." (Please don't ask us what that means!) Cratoni's child models fit heads as small as 18.5 inches/47 cm and their largest adult models fit up to 24.5 inches/62 cm. Cratoni's retail prices seem considerably higher than most.

Cratoni will replace a helmet crashed within three years of purchase for 50 per cent of the recommended retail price.

Cycle Express

Cycle Express has a girl's pink Hearts and Flowers model that was the subject of a recall during 2000. There is more detail on our recalls page.


Diamondback has a full line for bike dealers, including a BMX helmet with vents and a full chin bar, in sizes extra small through large, retailing for about $70. They also have a very well-rounded freestyle skating helmet with CPSC certification retailing for about $30. Their helmets are made in China.

Dreamer Design

Dreamer is a producer of the three-wheel strollers that runners use to take the kids along. They have a helmet that comes in toddler or youth sizes. The toddler model has a foam tube that covers the chin strap. Retail is $25. The catalog does not mention CPSC, but says these helmets are Snell B-90 approved. We could not find the Dreamer name on Snell's October 2000 list. These helmets are not required to meet the CPSC standard, since they are not advertised as bicycle helmets. The helmets pictured in the Dreamer Design catalog are all badly adjusted.


Ecko has been around since the early 1980's, first in California, then Idaho, now Arizona. When we last saw their line for 1998, Ecko had BMX racing and skateboard helmets with ANSI stickers but no ASTM certification. The shells were fiberglass, with prices at $129 and $139 for the full-face model. (In December of 2000 we found them discounted to $65 and $75 for full-face.) Visors are snap on, and designed to pop off in an impact to avoid a snagging hazard. Sizing is U.S. 6 to 7 3/4. Ecko also distributes the RAD, billed as a multisport helmet. It has very small vents and a very well-rounded exterior surface, but we don't know what standards it might meet. We have not seen their 2001 line yet.


We have not seen the Edge line for 2001. In fact, their website appears to be shut down in December of 2000, and we found them only on the web page of an Australian distributor. They had the Odyssey for 1999, a hyper-vented helmet inmolded with a nice round profile produced at that time by US Foam Co and certified by Snell to its B-90 standard. It retailed for $85. The others in their line are BMX helmets by Troy Lee Designs, with hot graphics and the usual bolted-on visors that we do not recommend. The TL COMP-RF has a removable chin bar and can be found with a chrome finish, while the similar non-chrome model is much less expensive. The TLCOMP, a BMX helmet without face protection, retailed for $120.

Epsira Oy (Knock)

Epsira Oy is the Finnish manufacturer of Knock helmets, advertised as CE approved and in one case as meeting the Swedish standard. They are supplied to such organizations as the Finnish postal service (in very visible yellow). Their 2001 designs appear to have nicely rounded contours. One previous model had reflective straps, a feature we have not seen before or since. Epsira Oy has other EPS products and some info up on EPS. We are not aware of a U.S. distributor for their products, and of course you won't see them here unless they can meet the CPSC standard.

First Team Sports

First Team sells mostly ice skates, inline skates and street hockey equipment through mass merchant channels such as Wal-Mart. They had to recall their Guardian Junior helmet during 2000. See our recalls page for more information.


Flash is a Taiwan manufacturer handled by BikePro, Inc. Their child helmets retail at $8, and adult models are $10 to $12. They are said to be certified to the CPSC standard, although the samples we saw at Interbike had only ASTM/CE stickers in them.


Fly Racing has a line of motorcycle BMX racing equipment, including two full face helmets. Both have bolted on visors, but at least the screws are plastic rather than metal. The FL606 retails for $89, and meets the DOT motorcycle helmet standard. The Lite model is made with carbon fiber/kevlar, weighing in at 2.75 pounds for the large size, and is advertised as meeting the Snell Motorcycle standard M-95. It retails for $200. (We did not find it on Snell's current list, but it could be there under another manufacturer's name.)


The Fox brand is from AGV, an Italian company that has made motorcycle helmets since 1949. They market one BMX model in the US under the Fox Racing banner: the Flite. It appears on Snell's tough M-2000 motorcycle helmet certification list and AGV certifies it to the US DOT motorcycle helmet standard as well. The Flite is a standard BMX helmet with a chin bar for face protection and a bolted on visor. It has small vents under the visor. It retails for roughly $200 depending on finish and graphics. We did not find it on the AGV website, but that's mostly devoted to their motorcycle helmets. As far as we know, AGV has no crash replacement policy.

Free Agent

Free Agent has one model, a very well-rounded skateboard helmet that comes in one shell size with three different sizes of liner. It was said to meet the CPSC standard for bike helmets. It retails for $30 in standard colors or $35 in chrome, and can be found on the Internet for as little as $22 plus shipping.


Gear Helmets currently has one helmet on the Snell B-95 list. We have not seen it. They also have the Sphinx - 007 on the very short list of helmets that SEI has certified to the CPSC standard.


In its fourth year as a subsidiary of Bell, Giro's production facilities and testing have been integrated with Bell's, but for new designs Giro still seems to have retained its independence, and their helmets still have a unique fit. Giro is a trend leader, and usually has a radical new model at the top of their line. Their Helios started the hyper-vent trend in 1997, but has since been discontinued. Most of their current models have squared off lines and the "shelf" effect in the rear, a potential snagging point in a fall. In 1999 Giro dropped its hook-and-loop visor mounts, which we considered ideal, in favor of short plastic pieces that plug into the shell and are supposed to pop off when the visor snags on something. In 2000 Giro introduced reflective surfaces on the rear stabilizers of some of its models, an ideal place for those who ride in the bent-over position because the surface is more likely to be pointed directly back at the cars behind than the surface on the helmet itself.

Giro's crash replacement policy offers 20 per cent off the retail price of any helmet in their line, and is handled either through the dealer or through Giro.

In all, Giro continues to offer an innovative line of high end helmets, and continues to promote them with racing connections.

Golex (Zhuhai Golex)

Golex is a Chinese producer of bicycle, skateboard, BMX, motorcycle and other types of helmets. There are at least 24 models in their catalog. Two appear on the Snell B-95 certification list, the N6 and the V10. They should be available in mass merchant channels, and some may find their way into bike stores.

GT (GT/Schwinn)

GT merged with Schwinn in 1999, but their helmet lines are still separate. GT incorporates some helmets made by Troxel into its full line of bikes and bike shop accessories, offering dealers additional discounts on bikes if they also carry the helmets. The line is extensive. GT's mid-priced helmets have nicely rounded profiles. GT's visors are attached with hook-and-loop material so they flip off easily in a crash, which we consider ideal for those who really need a visor. All GT models have at least some reflective material in the back and front.

GT replaces crashed helmets for $20.

With the exception of the Pegasus it seems to us that the GT line is still more rounded than some others, and offers some interesting helmets at reasonable price points.

Hallbay Pty Ltd (Headgear)

Hallbay is an Australian company that has taken over the Headgear line. Press releases indicate that several of their models are certified to the European standard, but give the impression that further work is being undertaken to make them meet US and Canadian standards. In past years Hallbay's name had appeared on Snell's certification list. This brand is seldom if ever seen in the U.S. market as either Hallbay or Headgear, and we have no further information about them.


Hamax is a Norwegian company whose line we first saw in 1997, but they were not at Interbike this year and we don't know if their line will be marketed in the US this year. Their web page says only that the helmets are certified to European standards.

Happy Way Enterprises

This Taiwanese manufacturer has a slick looking line of Expanded PolyUrethane (EPU) helmets. Some are fully inmolded models, while some have glued-on shells, but prices are the same at about $40 retail. Adding a rear stabilizer or 3M reflective tape adds about a dollar and a half each. The EPU makes the helmet a little heavier than an EPS helmet, but some consumers like the solid feel of the inmolded models. Happy Way sells mostly in Europe, but here they sell to importers and OEM's with their own brands, and are usually looking for distributors in the US. Their helmets used to be certified by Snell, but no longer appear on the Snell list.

Headstart PTY (Australia)

One of at least three helmet companies called Headstart. This one seems to specialize in the "licensed character" type of helmet, with Looney Tunes, Cartoon Network, Wiggles, Little Miss and Mr Men, No Rules and a Barbie.

Headstart (Malaysia)

This Headstart is located in Malaysia, and should not be confused with the Canadian manufacturer called Headstart Technologies. Malaysia's Headstart is represented by Damar in New York. They have nine models on Snell's B90/B-95 list. Many are graphic variations, including cartoon characters.

Headstart Technologies (Canada)

This Canadian manufacturer of EPP helmets markets mostly to Canadian schools and other public programs. Price points for the line are low, and the EPP makes them multiple-impact helmets.

Helmets R Us (formerly Century Cycles)

This unique West Coast distributor of bicycle products has taken on the Zhuhai Safety lines labeled T-Star and Celuk to sell to dealers or non-profits at very low prices. They will take small orders. The glued-on models go for $5 each, with skateboard helmets at $6.50 and downhill mountain bike helmets that look identical to major brands for just $30. See the writeup below on Zhuhai Safety for descriptions. They are certified to Snell's tough B-95 standard. We have a page up on inexpensive helmets with information for contacting Century.

Her Sheen Enterprise

This Taiwanese firm makes a line of five helmets in Expanded PolyUrethane (EPU). They had been making EPU car parts for years before expanding into helmets. Colors are mostly drab, but there is a white or stars-and-stripes model available for most models. The profiles are nicely rounded, and prices are down in the under-$10 range FOB Taiwan. Her Sheen was looking for a US distributor when we last talked to them in 1999.

Hong Kong Sports

HKS has five helmets on Snell's B-90 list, including the M3, M5 V-01 and two models made for Schwinn. They manufacture for a number of other US brands as well, some of them well known, but we do not have any info on their own HKK line, if they have one.

J&B Importers - JBI.Bike

J&B's Alpha line for 2001 has models beginning at about $7 retail to $40 tops. One has a full lower shell at $15, unusual at that price point. An inmolded model runs about $40. They have an N6 model in expanded polyurethane (EPU). Most of the profiles are the well-rounded ones we favor. Their skate model has the unfortunate old-time name of Skidlid. Colors are solid, with some metallic finishes, including a skateboard helmet in full chrome for $40. Their toddler helmet goes for $15. Their BMX model has a bolted-on visor and face protection. J&B has an active program for schools and non-profits either through a local shop or direct. Their helmets are made in China, and the EPU model is probably made in Taiwan.

KBC Corp.

KBC has two models on the Snell B-95 list, the AZX and the Fox Flite. We do not know if the Fox Flite is the same model listed above under AGV or not, but we have found references on the web to AGV KBC helmets. We have never seen either model, but the KBC helmets available from dealers on the web are full-face motorcycle-style helmets for BMX selling for about $200. The Flite comes in XXL, but we don't know how large a head it can accommodate.

Kent International

A supplier of low-cost helmets to toy and discount stores, Kent has 17 models on Snell's B-95 list, certified to the toughest bike helmet standard in the world. Unfortunately, that's all we know about them.


Knucklebone sells accessories and clothing for BMX. Their fiberglass-shell Holeshot BMX model has a full chinbar, no vents and a price tag of $110. It has the requisite bolted-on visor, and the catalog says it meets the ASTM and CPSC bicycle helmet standards. We have seen it discounted as low as $70 on the Internet. Their Jumper model is the familiar skateboarders profile, very smooth and round, with an EPS foam liner. It has a painted and clear-coated shell that includes a chrome model and another in "black chrome." It retails for $40.

Knucklebone will replaced crashed Holeshot helmets for $20. The Jumper is replaced free.


Krusher has a line of BMX and trick cycling gear, including a helmet in the basic smooth, round skateboard style, certified to the CPSC standard. It retails for $18 and comes in red, blue or black.


Lazer is produced by a Belgian company, Cross S.A., with a full line of bike helmets seldom seen here in the US. Their helmets are interesting, and their advertising is a little different: "..Quick Grip System" allows everyone to adapt the helmet to his morphology, even when riding your bike. Loosening a bit during hill climbing and come back to a firmer grip during down hill can be done in a snap." We don't know for whom that advice is intended, but we would not try that at home! We don't have retail prices for Lazer for 2001, so these are the 2000 price points and may have changed. The web page lists only ASTM and ANSI among the US standards, so if there are any models in their line not certified to the CPSC standard you won't see them in the US market.

Lazer's replacement program has some drawbacks. It provides for replacement at 30% of initial cost only during the first two years of use, and does not cover the BMX helmets "because of the risk inherent to their discipline."

Lazer has been around a long time in Belgium and has an extensive line of interesting helmets.


Limar is a European brand marketed in the US by Trialtir. Their models usually have some bright color choices and nice graphics. Some of them may not be available in the US market, and some of the models below from Trialtir's 2001 lineup do not appear on Limar's European website.

Models below are not in Trialtir's catalog and may not be seen on the US market, but should be available in Europe:

Limar's sizing runs from the smallest for 46cm circumference heads to the largest for 62cm heads.

Trialtir will replace a crashed Limar for the first two years for $35.

Louis Garneau

Louis Garneau is a Canadian designer and manufacturer whose helmet line has grown over the years to a very impressive collection, with the exception of some of the newer models. Some of their helmets are inmolded. On others they use polypropylene lower sections, and some have a lower shell to protect the foam from nicks (reducing sliding resistance as well). Visors are mounted with hook-and-loop fasteners to facilitate flipping off easily in impacts.

For 2000, and again for 2001, Louis Garneau has added some new models with only partial shells, leaving EPS foam exposed. This is a partial throwback to the days when EPS helmets had no shells. Bell pioneered the design some years back with its Evo Pro and have since dropped it. Why any responsible helmet designer would do this is beyond us, given the evidence that plastic slides much better on pavement in an impact than foam. (Check this link to Dr Voigt Hodgson's lab testing for more on that) We would recommend steering away from those models: Bikini, Le Mask and Wings.

Louis Garneau still has a free replacement guarantee, but only for the first year.

Lucky Bell Plastics

This Hong Kong manufacturer produces helmets under the Lucky Bell and Alpha brand names. For info on the Alpha line, see J&B importers above. Lucky Bell once had three models on Snell's B-90 list, the Aerogo 338, Aerogo 339 and Aerogo 388. The Aerogo 368 was Snell B-95 certified. For 2001 they have dropped off the Snell list completely.


Mongoose did not have their 2001 line at Interbike, but their catalog has five typical BMX models and one "all purpose freestyle helmet" certified to the CPSC standard. We have seen one of their full face youth models selling locally for $49.


In 1997 Motorika introduced its folding helmet called the Snapit. This is a true hard shell helmet made with GECET foam and a nylon glass-reinforced shell. The shell is made in two pieces and designed to fold one half into the other in a crescent-shaped form much like a piece of cantaloupe. We did not like the ridge where the two pieces meet when the helmet is unfolded in the wearing position, which we feel could present a potential snag point. For that reason alone we would recommend avoiding this one. It comes with a hip-hugger belt so you can wear it after folding. It has ASTM certification, and we don't know if it is certified to meet the CPSC standard or not. It weighs 16 oz, not bad for a hard shell, but about 6 oz more than most of the helmets on the market today, and it feels heavy. The introductory retail price was $79, which seemed high to us for a niche product. We have seen it in gadget catalogs, but not in stores. We have not heard from Motorika what their 2001 plans are. In March, 2001, we saw their helmet being sold new on Ebay for $16.49 including shipping.


When his Bike Warehouse name was contested in the 1970's, Arnie Nashbar renamed his company Bike Nashbar, and built it into a substantial mail order business. Along the way they developed their own brands to complement the products from other companies. Nashbar now carries Bell, Giro, GT and Specialized, but their lowest price points are often their own Nashbar brand. For 2001 their catalog has the Nashbar Hi-Flow model. It has what appears to be a very nicely rounded exterior, with pony tail port, retailing for $32 plus shipping. The web page also has the Aero/adj model for $30 plus shipping.


NHS sells through mass merchant channels. They had to recall one of their helmets during 2000. See our recalls page for more information.


Odyssey is a BMX products company. Their BMX helmet for 2001 is the Apache 2, with a fiberglass shell, full chin bar, some vents, and (unfortunately) a bolted-on visor. The helmet is made in Hong Kong by Strategic Sports, and suggested retail this year is $110 in normal finish or $130 in full chrome.


See Qranc below.


When we saw them at Interbike in late 1999, this Portuguese company had one basic helmet shape sold in four different levels of graphics, visors and trim for $15 to $36 retail. They all had well-rounded contours but a rear bump in the shell for a fitting that holds the strap. The models we saw had CE (European) certification but had not yet been tested against the more stringent CPSC standard. Polisport was not at Interbike this year, so we don't know their plans for 2001.


ProRider is a supplier of BMX and bicycle helmets from China and is also the home of the CNS (Children - N - Safety) National Helmet Program, selling directly to schools and non-profit organizations. They have a multi-purpose helmet on Snell's N-94 multi-purpose list and their eight bicycling-only models are certified to Snell B-95, all with nicely rounded profiles. Their BMX helmets have a full chin bar, the usual fiberglass shell and unfortunately the usual bolted-on visors.


Pro-Tec has three bicycle models for 2001, all certified to both the CPSC bicycle helmet standard and the ASTM F-1492 skateboard standard as well. These three models are for bicycling despite the skateboard style. But Pro-Tec's website makes it clear that they have other models identical in outward appearance but have a different liner that is designed for multi-impact non-bicycle use and are certified only to a European standard because of the liners. Just be sure to look for the CPSC sticker if you are buying for bicycle use.

Prowell Helmets

Prowell is a Taiwanese company producing a line of helmets in EPU foam, two of them appearing on Snell's B-95 certification list. Several of their models are inmolded, some with lower shells as well. They generally have a high quality appearance, seeming solid (if a bit heavy) in the hand, including the F-22 introduced in 2000. It has moderate vents, but a substantial lip projecting out in the rear. Their Raptor has a spring-loaded rear stabilizer. For 2001 there is a new child helmet. Most of Prowell's models should retail for about $20. The company manufactures helmets for other brands, and usually is seeking distributors in the US for their products.

Pryme Protective Gear

Pryme has a line of helmets for BMX, downhill racing and skate use, most of them with catchy names. When this company has a hyper-vented model it will no doubt be the Pryme Airy.


Originally known as Protective Technologies International, PTI Sports is one of the largest helmet producers in the US. Their products are marketed through discount stores such as Target, Sam's Club and Toys `R Us, usually at prices in the $10 to $30 range. For 2001 they have announced a new line of helmets and other accessories promoted with cyclist Greg Lemond's name. Since PTI is one of the few publicly-held manufacturers, you can see their annual report on the web. The filing for 1999 shows that PTI sold $51.6 million worth of helmets and bicycle accessories in that year. That probably puts them in second or third place among the US helmet producers.

Qranc/OGK Helmets

Qranc seems to have disappeared, at least from the US market. Their US phones have been disconnected, and the web link above was dead in December of 2000.

Rand International

Rand sells through mass merchant channels like Kmart and Rose's. They had to recall their L.A. Crusin' helmet during 2000. See our recalls page for more information.

Rudy Project

This European manufacturer was new to the US helmet market for the 2000 season, although they have been doing sunglasses and sporting attire under founder Rudy Barbazza since 1985. We are not sure which models you may find in the US market, since some of their racing helmets do not meet the CPSC standard and would not be legal here. In general their models have flowing, graceful lines in the rounded contours we favor. Most have no extreme shelf effects in the rear, although some do. As you move toward the lower end of the line the shapes improve to rounder, smoother, safer designs. Some are inmolded. Visors are attached with hook-and-loop. Rudy Project has some interesting innovations, and we hope they will find wider US distribution this year.

SCS (London) Ltd

Although this company has six models on Snell's B-90 list, they apparently do not market in the U.S., and we don't know their line.


The Schwinn helmet brand returned in 1999, represented by new models made for Schwinn in China. Visors are hook-and-loop mounted. There were very few changes in their line this year.

Schwinn's sizing runs from the smallest 18 1/8 inches for the Mini model to 24 7/8 inches for the adult Typhoons.

Shenzhen Hezhen Bicycle Inc.

A Chinese manufacturer located in mainland Shenzhen. We have not seen their line, but they have informed us that they produce 15 models, including some BMX style with fiberglass shells and some rated as bicycle/skate helmets. They say they already export to 20 countries, including the US. Their web page did not load completely for us in September of 2001, but selecting the "helmet" link on the left brought up the helmet page.

Shenzhen Qukang Industry Development

Although we have seen their 2001 line, this Taiwanese manufacturer makes both EPS and EPU helmets. Their EPU helmets are inmolded, and are offered with or without a plastic shell (EPU will form a "skin" in the mold similar to a shell in any event). The styles are well-rounded, and venting is not extreme. They have a fiberglass BMX model. Dealer prices for the standard bicycle helmets in quantity were under $5 for the 1998 year, but we don't have current pricing. You may see their helmets with other brands on them.

Shih Kwang International

Shih Kwang makes a helmet with a reading light molded into the front foam, fitting flush with the front lip of the helmet, and a rear led flasher embedded the same way. It retails for $40.


SixSixOne is a BMX and skate equipment company. They have two models, one for BMX/Downhill and one for skate. The Bravo downhill model is vented, with a grooved exterior, face bar and bolted on visor, retailing for $120. The Dirt Lid skate helmet is the classic round, smooth design with round vents, retailing for $30. When we saw their samples they had no info on standards in them, so verify that the Dirt Lid passes CPSC before buying one for cycling. (Since the Bravo is a bike helmet it is required to pass or can't be sold in the US market.)

Smith Safety Gear - Scabs

Smith is a supplier of skateboard protectors and other gear. Their skateboard helmet is a classic Pro-Tec style with the small round front vents, EVA foam, not certified to the CPSC standard, and not recommended for bicycling. Carries the Scabs brand, a name that may resonate with 'boarders! It retails for $30.


Specialized is one of the major U.S. helmet manufacturers and a supplier of a wide range of bicycles and components. Their 2001 helmets are all still certified to Snell's B-90 standard (none to B-95). There were at least some changes in all of their helmets for the 2000 season, in part based on wind tunnel research on vent shapes, but fewer changes for the 2001 model year. All models have reflective logos front and rear, but we were not impressed with the degree of reflectivity.

Last year Specialized had a $20 kit of promotion materials for teachers. Call Shara at 800-432-4144 to find out if it is still available. You will also have to call them at 408-779-6229 to find out what their current replacement policy is. One cyclist who emailed them in mid-2000 got a response that they are currently giving a 20% discount on a replacement helmet.


Sportscope still has just one model for 2001, introduced in mid-year 1999, but it is radically different from any other helmet in this review. Constructed of segments of foam closely connected by an inner mesh, the Sportscope helmet can conform to your head, perhaps solving some tricky fit problems. We had some initial doubts about a flexible helmet, but we have seen the test results from reputable independent labs proving that it meets the ASTM, CPSC, Canadian, Australian and European standards with no difficulty, and showing that the toddler size also meets the impact requirements for the Canadian child helmet standard, which has a lower permissible g level than U.S. standards do, requiring a "softer landing." The helmet also meets the Australian standard's requirements for point loading, so the edges of the foam segments apparently do not dig into your head in an impact. We don't particularly like the ridges on the surface of the helmet between foam pieces, preferring a smoother shape for better sliding on pavement. (See Rounder, Smoother, Safer above.) And one of our testers found that the Sportscope helmet he tried seemed comfy for about 20 minutes, then began giving him a headache, evidently from pressure where the edge of one of the segments was contacting his egg-shaped head. So this one may not be for everybody, but if you have a particularly difficult-to-fit head it may be worth a try. In particular, those with a round head who find most helmets seem to have corners inside may find that the flex of the Sportscope's segments will accommodate better to their head shape. Sportscope is one manufacturer who sews all buckles in, preventing them from coming off and leaving you looking for our page on how to rethread a buckle. Available at Sports Authority and other mass merchant stores listed on the website for about $35.


Star is a brand produced by Zuhai Star Safety. See under Z below.


Stickem Up is a long-time wholesaler of bike models, jewelry and other gift items. For 2001 they have added a skate helmet retailing for about $20 and a line of helmet covers for BMX models with wild graphics and a suggested retail of $30.

Strategic Sports

Strategic Sports produces helmets for a number of U.S. companies with the U.S. company's brand, and have informed us that they shipped 1.5 million helmets worldwide in 1998. For 2001 six of their helmets appear on Snell's B-95 list and one more on the B-90 list. We have comments on some models under the Action Bicycle and Odyssey brands above.


Time exhibited their helmets in the US in 1999, but we have not seen them since, and they do not appear on their website.

Tong Ho Hsing (THH)

THH sends its line to the U.S. through Sunbeam Trading Company of Vernon, California. We have not seen their 2001 line and do not have current pricing. For 2000 they had 11 bicycle helmet models in all shapes and styles, including some very nicely rounded adult helmets, a toddler helmet, two BMX models and a number of others that appear to be equestrian, skate or hockey helmets. One of their BMX helmets is actually certified to Snell's extremely rigorous M-95 motorcycle helmet standard. Four of their helmets are certified to Snell's B-95 bicycle helmet standard. One of their models comes in XXXS size, but we don't know the minimum head size it accommodates.

Trek USA

Trek supplies a wide line of bikes and accessories to dealers, and their helmet graphics are designed to complement your Trek bike. Their Gary Fisher subsidiary has the same helmet line with different model designations and graphics. Some models have reflective panels. Their line for 2001 has five models.

Trek has a one year free replacement policy for crashed helmets.


Troxel markets its helmets under the Performance Headgear brand through GT. Check the GT writeup above. They are probably one of the least known of the major US manufacturers.

Troy Lee Designs

Troy Lee has a BMX line known for rad graphics. Their carbon/kevlar fiber shell D2 BMX helmet has an "aerodynamic fin" at the rear, an entirely unnecessary interruption in the ideal smooth outer surface of a helmet. With four small screened vents and chin bar it weighs 31 oz. and sells for $425, down $65 from last year, not including the optional larger Stingray visor at $22. Troy Lee also sells an add-on rear bump called a stabilizer to provide "visual enhancement." This year they have introduced one with a light called the High Tail Helmet Light for $32. For their fans, Troy Lee graphics are second to none, and are used on other brands as well. But they continue to use bolted-on BMX visors, claiming that the plastic mounts pull out when the visor is snagged, so if you wear one be sure not to catch your visor on anything. The D2 fits heads from 53 to 62 cm (21 to 24.5 inches). Troy Lee Designs will also paint you a custom design for something between $650 and $1425 (not including the cost of the helmet), and they limit production to 12 per week.


This European company sells a TSG skate helmet in the US similar in shape to the classic Pro-Tec. It also has another, the Odin, with a more "bucket" shape. Both are round and smooth. Both are advertised as certified to CPSC, but they had to recall one of their models during 2000. See our recalls page for details. Note that the company has a snowboard helmet that is very similar in appearance, but is not for bicycling at all and is not certified to CPSC, so for bicycle use be sure your TSG has a label inside that says it complies with the CPSC standard. Even if it does, if you bought it during 2000 you want to check on that recall.

TSG has a matched set that includes a helmet and protective pads for skate park rental programs. To deter theft, the helmet and pads are the same unusual blue. The helmet has "Rental" woven into the strap and on a prominent decal. The pads have "rental" on them as well. We do not understand why this idea has not been developed by a bicycle helmet manufacturer, preferably with an easy to clean interior to prevent passing lice to the next wearer.

TSG has a free crash replacement policy.

Tung I Hsing

This company has two models on the Snell list.

U.S. Foam Company

We do not know this company, whose name indicates they are probably a molder of EPS. They have one model, the Odyssey, on Snell's B-95 list.


Variflex is an importer of helmets selling mostly skate equipment, scooters and accessories through mass merchant channels such as Sears, Target, and Toys R Us. They had to recall their X-Games Aggressive and some of their TSG models during 2000. See our recalls page for more information, and see TSG above.

Vigor Sports

Vigor Sports (Hong Jin Cycle Corp.) is a Korean company with a large and varied line of helmets. In the past, many of them were on the Snell B-95 and B-90 lists, but Hong Jin has dropped off of the current list. They are still one of only two manufacturers with helmets on the Snell N-94 multipurpose list. Their models that are not inmolded have 3M reflective tape around the shell edge, a nice feature seldom seen in this price range. The black tape is not 3M's most reflective product, but it represents a substantial additional cost and a real effort to make the helmets safer that we wish more manufacturers would adopt. See our cautionary note below about their skate helmets.

Note: Vigor has skate-only helmets that are not sold for bicycling that are not certified to the CPSC standard. Some of them look exactly like their CPSC-certified line. If you buy a Vigor for cycling, be sure that it has the CPSC sticker inside.

Some of Vigor's models from last year may still be around at discounted prices, including the nicely rounded and vented Lexus that has a pony tail cutout and a pinch-proof buckle.

Vigor has an extensive line, and most of their helmets are still Snell certified. Their crash replacement policy provides a replacement at about half the retail cost for the lifetime of the helmet.

World Industries

World Industries has a line of skateboard helmets that are also certified to the CPSC bicycle helmet standard. Unfortunately the helmets they sold from October, 2000 to May 2001 have been recalled. We have a page up with the details. World has a new line, and they are mostly sold in skate shops. Prices are $40 for regular colors, or $50 for chrome or camo.

Zuhai Golex

See Golex above.

Zuhai Safety

This Chinese manufacturer (Zuhai Hindun Safety Helmets, also Zuhai USA Safety) has an extensive line of bicycle and BMX helmets. Most are sold by others as house brands, including some of the best-known in the US, with others labeled with the Caluk or T-Star brand. Their numerous (21 in the 2001 catalog) adult, youth and toddler models feature both nicely-rounded and sharply-edged shells. Some are inmolded, and some have lower shells. For 2001 there were three new models, the Series 10 road helmet, the Series 15 toddler model, the Series 17 skate helmet and two vented BMX/Downhill models, one of them a youth helmet. Two are on Snell's B-95 list, the Series 08 and Series 08 9. One of their helmets made for Bell was recalled for a strap anchor problem in 1995, but there have been no further recalls of their products. Sizing runs from 49cm/19.3 inches for the smallest to 64cm/25.2 inches for the large. Zuhai Safety helmets are provided at very reasonable prices for helmet promotion programs through Helmets R Us (above).

Zuhai Star Safety/Star Helmets

Zhuhai Star Safety (changed in 2001 to Star Helmets), another manufacturer located in Zhuhai, China, produces a number of models certified to Snell B-95 or other Snell standards under the Star brand. (Check the Snell list for details.) They also produce helmets for other sports. Check their website for details.

This article is frequently updated during the model year.

Index to Manufacturers