I need to buy a new helmet as my current helmet is at least 7 years old now and its pretty broken. I wanted something safe, and I've been using Bell helmets for forever, so just sticking with the brand.

https://www.bellhelmets.com/stratus-mips-equipped-1 https://www.bellhelmets.com/catalyst-mips-equipped

Both of these are MIPS helmets. I wanted the Stratus because it has a 5 star safety rating from IIHS:


The only two questions I have are:

  1. Are they both the same helmet except one has a visor? In the pictures both look to be pretty much the exact same. However the weight difference is 45 grams, which seems a bit high for just one visor added on.
  2. I do both trail biking and road biking (although the trails I bike on aren't too extreme. So would a road helmet or a XC helmet be more useful?
  • 1
    The difference in protection offered by similar helmets, in real world conditions, is negligible. There is even debate if MIPS is anything more than a marketing thing backup up by non-real world lab test results (e.g. dummies have no hair, hair and scalp offer a slighting plane similar to MIPS). ergo - Buy the one you like the colour or price of best. – mattnz Aug 7 '18 at 23:39
  • 1
    Helmets with MTB style visors may be a hindrance on a road bike with dropbars. They might force you to tilt your head backwards as the visor gets into the line of sight. – Carel Aug 8 '18 at 7:49
  • Ventillation is probably more of a difference - road would travel faster and have a higher airspeed and possibly smaller vents. A XC rider wouldn't go as fast and ventillation would be designed around slower airspeed. – Criggie Aug 8 '18 at 20:20
  • Both helmets have to perform in crash-tests to a fixed level and the tests are the same. Buy the Goldilocks one that fits comfortably is most important, not too loose and not too tight. – Criggie Aug 8 '18 at 20:21

My current helmet is the Stratus, and I use it for both road and xc mountain riding. To answer your question about those two helmets specifically, I do believe they are the same shell with the only difference being the presence or absence of the visor.

More generally, (traditional) road helmets typically provide slightly better ventilation while dedicated mtb helmets offer slightly more coverage for the back of your head. As Carel's comment points out, mtb visors can also obstruct your vision when riding in a more aggressive road position. Note that all of these difference are minor and that comfort and fit trump getting the correct "type" of helmet*.

*to an extent - more extreme forms disciplines of MTB require a full face helmet and should not be done with a basic road helmet

| improve this answer | |
  • You should avoid the word 'trump'. LOL – Carel Aug 8 '18 at 19:56

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.