The Bell Metropolis is a smart, simple helmet designed for dedicated commuters, with an optional accessories kit created to add lighting, weather protection and greater visibility.
The US$70 Metropolis looks a bit drab at first glance, but upon closer inspection one begins to understand how the parts make the whole, beginning with the rubber coated lower. Everyone's helmet gets the most abuse in the weakest area -- the exposed foam undercarriage -- and Bell addressed this adroitly with its SoftShell Bottom Wrap. Yes, it adds a few grams, but anything that strengthens must be good, right?
The smart optional accessories are what make the Metropolis a serious noggin contender for any serious riding in traffic: Flip Mirror (US$15), Rain Shield (US$15), and Blackburn Flasher (US$17). Helmet mirrors take a bit getting used to, and Amy our helmet tester found it easier to go without, but noticed several mirror devotees on the streets.
After two-plus months of use, the Rain Shield is starting to see some action; rain has been noticeably absent in Mountain View, California this year. (Bath and Bristol must be hoarding it!) While it took a bit of elbow grease to stretch the Rain Shield enough to snap it into place, Amy benefitted greatly from a dry head (and neck) during last week's deluge.
Weighing just 11.3oz/320g, the Metropolis offers 16 vents, making it not such a frumpy helmet even for "serious" riders.
The simple and clean Blackburn Flasher strap is extra reinforced and reliable, and one of Amy's favourite doo-dads on the Metropolis. The standard visor and clean ponytail vent received extra points as well.
The price may seem somewhat steep, but considering its versatility, the Bell Metropolis may be the helmet for you, dear commuter. To paraphrase the Bell advertising campaign slogan from the early 1990s, if you have a $10 head, buy a $10 helmet!
© BikeRadar 2007