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The Best Collapsible Bike Helmets For Commuter-Friendly Riding

For city-dwellers, biking is often the fastest (and most fun and eco-friendly!) way to commute. But lugging around a heavy, bulky helmet doesn’t make sense for most commuters, leading many to bike sans helmet—more than half of all U.S. adults say they never wear a helmet while riding a bike, according to the National Safety Council. (And brain injuries make up the bulk of all bike injuries each year.)

It’s a risk that just isn’t worth it, especially considering how easy it is to find collapsible bike helmets: Most are lightweight and fold up into a compact, tote-bag friendly size (one even deflates!)—and all make your ride far safer.

What to look for in a collapsible bike helmet

While nearly all collapsible helmets will be lighter and smaller than a traditional helmet, they do vary in weight and volume. Depending on how you anticipate using a helmet—will it live in your purse for an everyday commute, or strap onto your backpack for an occasional ride?—this may be more or less important to you.

If you’re going to be biking to work—or anyplace else where you want to be sure to arrive looking presentable—ventilation may be a factor to consider, too. Some designs allow for airflow, which reduces your chances of ending up with sweaty hair. Others will be just as hot as a regular helmet.

While aesthetics may seem less relevant, you want a helmet you’ll actually wear—so seek out one that doesn’t make you feel dorky. Most importantly, make sure any helmet you buy has been tested for safety: Look for ones that have been certified by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Finding a helmet that fits you well and is comfortable is also key, so look for options that offer multiple sizes or have an easy return process should it not work for you.

4 collapsible bike helmets to shop now

FEND One Foldable Bike Helmet — $119.00

It makes sense that Fend is beloved by reviewers: Its sleek design folds up to half its original size, easily fitting in a backpack or tote bag, and its adjustable dial makes for a snug, comfortable fit, no matter your head size. Folding and unfolding the helmet is easy and intuitive, and the design allows for lots of ventilation, so I found my head getting less sweaty than with other helmets. The shape of the helmet looks pretty traditional when on (whereas some others on this list have a slightly clunkier look).

The helmet also comes with reflective stickers for better visibility. 

  • Lightweight and folds up small
  • Simple folding mechanism
  • Sleek design
  • Comfortable, customizable fit
  • Comes in multiple colors
  • Two size options
  • Meets US CPSC and European EN1078 safety standards
  • Doesn’t lock into place when folded
  • Padding gave me small forehead indentation

Airnoggin — $99.00

As someone who has always struggled to blow up balloons, I found inflating the Airnoggin to be a bit of a task (you have to inflate it by mouth), and wasn’t ever quite sure if I had inflated it enough. But for those able inflate it quickly, the helmet could have appeal for its comfortable fit and exceptional safety rating (it is the only collapsible helmet to be rated by the Virginia Tech Helmet Lab, which gave it five stars, and claims its soft pad design better protects for rotational impact than a traditional hard helmet). I felt a little silly wearing it, and could foresee it getting sweaty on a long, warm ride, but it’s certainly a conversation-starter.  

  • Lightweight and reduces in size by 60 percent
  • Exceeds CPSC and EN1078 safety standards, and received a 5-star rating from the Virginia Tech Helmet Lab, better than many hard-shell helmets
  • Soft, comfortable design
  • Can be time-consuming to blow up if you don’t have lots of hot air
  • Takes minute or two to deflate and fold
  • I would hesitate to throw in a backpack or purse for fear of it getting punctured
  • Looks a little silly on
  • No ventilation

Closca Loop Aurora — $79.90

Another helmet with a sleek design and a seamless folding/unfolding mechanism, the Closca Loop Aurora has major value for the relatively low price. Simply push on the top or bottom of the helmet to fold or unfold it, collapsing its height (its circumference won’t change, so it may not fit in smaller bags). The lightest helmet on the list, it’s comfortable and comes in some genuinely gorgeous colors inspired by the Aurora Borealis.

  • Extremely lightweight
  • Easy and quick to fold and unfold
  • Comes in four fun colors
  • Some ventilation
  • Comfortable fit
  • Two size options
  • Meets CPSC and EN1078 standards
  • Folds flat (circumference doesn’t change), so may not fit in smaller bags
  • Gave me a forehead line
  • Futuristic look may not be for everyone
  • Some reviewers report issues with the clasp and/or strap over time

Overade Plixi Fit — $131.00

For a helmet with an extra-small footprint in your bag, there’s Overade’s Plixi Fit, which folds up in several directions (albeit in a slightly complex way) into a compact shape a third of its size when unfolded. Aesthetically it’s nothing to look at, but it’s fairly comfortable and will get the job (safety! preventing brain injuries!) done. 

  • Lightweight and folds up very small
  • Some ventilation
  • Comfortable fit
  • Meets CPSC and EN1078 safety standards
  • Slightly complicated to fold and unfold
  • Doesn’t lock into place when folded
  • Basic traditional helmet look

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