4.9 out of 5 stars from over 1000 buyers! Can a $16 bike helmet really be that good?

Victgoal AliExpress Helmet Review

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Overview

Before reading this review, please check out my article Would you trust your life to a $20 helmet? to understand why I would do something so silly as to trust my life to a $20 helmet.

Purchased off AliExpress for US$16, rather than $20, this helmet has a rating of 4.9 stars out of 5 from over 1000 votes, which is a truly impressive result by anyone’s standard.

You could be thinking ‘surely these ratings are going to be from bots, shady tactics, or at least people who don’t actually cycle?’ Nope. These appear to be legit ratings and reviews (120+ include photos).

As expected from AliExpress, the product features description for this helmet is suitably badly written:

victgoal-helmet-aliexpress-features

Upon opening the package containing the helmet, my initial thoughts are very positive, but let’s take a closer look and figure out just what we’re dealing with here…

Style

When it comes to helmet style for bikepacking, regardless of whether you’re riding on road or off, I would generally always recommend a mountain bike helmet due to its versatility. However, the Victgoal helmet pleasantly blurs the line between being for mountain and road.

The helmet offers an attractive, modern design that appears to have been inspired by (read: blatantly copied off) one of Italian helmet manufacturer, Limar’s, ultralight helmets.

It is available in a range of around 10 colors, with the review unit being full matte black – chosen due to my preference for the option of entering “stealth mode” when needed. For safety’s sake, of course, you should get your helmet in bright colors, so do as I say and not as I do!     

The Victgoal branding is very subtle and as a whole, the helmet actually looks like a much higher priced, premium quality, helmet.

Lastly, the helmet is very well proportioned and not too bulbous, so you won’t feel too dorky when biking past the cool kids, bareheaded on their fixies!

Function

Here’s hoping I never have to fully test the functional aspects of this helmet, but my initial impression is that it would work just as well in a crash situation as its much pricier Italian brethren.

The lightness of the helmet is truly impressive. When removing it from its package I could feel my heart sink a little due to the lack of weight in my hand. It felt far too light to be any good.

But then when actually having a look at, and feeling the helmet, my heart raised again as I realized that the light weight is by design, and apparently by very good design at that.

Most riders will be familiar with the retention system used within the helmet, which features an occipital stabilizer with dial adjuster, anchored to the helmet body at three points.

This system works perfectly and allows easy adjustment for finessing the fit. Adjustment of the straps is also as per usual and it works very well.

Size, Fit and Comfort

Of course, size, fit and comfort are going to be subjective and down to the individual, but for my head, this helmet is a near perfect fit.

This is a size Large, so fits a head with a circumference of 58-62cm. My head is approximately 58cm, so I required a little tightening of the retention dial to get it perfectly snug.  

Once setup for correct fit, the helmet is very comfortable and its light weight makes it virtually disappear from thought.

victgoal-helmet-intergral-molded-skeleton

Material Quality

The helmet is constructed from high density expandable polystyrene (EPS) in a polycarbonate shell. Both of these materials look and feel very sturdy and of high quality.

Inside the helmet is a polyester lining which envelopes strips of foam padding that are about 6mm thick when uncompressed. The material feels very durable, but the precision of the actual cut out of the liner leaves a little to be desired. Sewn into this liner is also a polyester netting for keeping bugs at bay.

Perhaps the main issue I have with this helmet is the quality of the plastic used in the retention system and the buckles. Comparing it to that on a Limar helmet, it just looks and feels like a lower quality grade of plastic.  

The straps look to be well woven nylon pieces that should be able to stand up to a good deal of tension.

The helmet also includes a detachable plastic visor, which is suitably solid, with an angle that is actually adjustable (whether intended or not by the manufacturer).

victgoal-helmet-retention-system

Build Quality

Although it can’t be seen, this helmet is advertised as being reinforced with an integrally molded skeleton.

What is visible is that the integral molding is of excellent quality and the polycarbonate shell conforms to the EPS liner perfectly. Which means that, despite its light weight, the whole helmet feels very sturdy.

As mentioned earlier, the plastic used in the retention system is disappointing, but it otherwise appears to have been constructed very well, with strong anchoring points and well placed strap locations.

The way the visor connects to the body isn’t perfect, as it leaves the ends of the visor closest to the shell sticking out a little bit. I imagine this could possibly be a snagging hazard when going backwards or turning your head.

Overall, the build quality appears to be very impressive.

victgoal-helmet-main

Verdict

So 4.9 out of 5 stars? I have to say, considering the price, it’s a hard one to argue with.

Holding a $100+ helmet in my left hand and a $16 helmet in my right, I’m amazed that, not even taking price into account, I prefer the one in my right!

Of course it does have its faults; the cutting of the internal padding isn’t as precise as it could be. The plastic used on the retention system and buckle definitely, at least visually, appears to be of inferior quality to that on more expensive helmets. And lastly, the fit of the visor could be improved, as it currently sticks out slightly where it connects to the helmet, creating a potential snagging hazard.

One other con is that, while it does have European CE certification, it does not have CPSC certification. This means that, while it can be ordered off AliExpress, it isn’t actually allowed to be sold in the US.

On to the positives; it’s super lightweight (under 9 oz or 250g), molded-in-shell (and done well!), has lots of ventilation, and is aesthetically on point.

How well it fits is going to differ from person to person, but this helmet just happens to fit my head perfectly. The inner cradle/retention system also works well, allowing me to dial in the perfect level of tightness.

If you’re currently riding without a helmet, then at $16, this helmet is an absolute no brainer.

Even if you’re used to riding with a three figure helmet, and are now in the market for a new one, I would say this helmet isn’t one to be passed over for consideration.

4.8/5

To come to this rating I have factored in overall quality and functionality relative to the price point of the item.

If a $30 item and a $100 item have the same star rating, it does not mean that the $30 item is as good as the $100 one, but rather that, relative to its price, I deem them to be of equal value.

Obviously, this is largely subjective and based off my own research and testing, so if you are uncertain about the rating, you can view additional reviews at the product link below.

Being very familiar with both Amazon and AliExpress, I’ve come to prefer the latter online retail giant for two main reasons:

  • Price – Overall I find that their products tend to be cheaper and they, more often than not, also have a hefty discount applied (usually around 30% to 50% off). Sellers on Amazon will usually sell the same product without the discount, or a much less substantial one.
  • Shipping destinations and shipping price –  AliExpress ships practically everywhere on Earth, and most products can be found with a free shipping option in the majority of countries you’re likely to be ordering from. No more putting up with Amazon’s infuriating “Sorry, this item can’t be shipped to your selected address” message!

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