With the Manta MIPS, MET is hoping to turn the traditional aero road cycling helmet on its head.
Typically, when it comes to helmets, the ‘aero’ label means added weight and less venting in order to achieve aerodynamic goals. The Manta, however, takes the aero shape and reduces the mass, so this is quite a slender-profiled lid with a lot less overhang on the sides.
It certainly makes for a helmet that looks good. In fact, it shares a very similar profile and mass with the brand’s top-tier lid, the Trenta 3K, which you may have seen on the head of Tour de France supremo Tadej Pogačar, albeit with a much more aerodynamic bent.
MET recorded a claimed 4-watt saving over the original Manta when it was tested in Milan’s Newton lab wind tunnel. This process involves testing the helmet in various rider positions, both down in the drops and up on the hoods.
MET also claims improved airflow and cooling from its minimal seven forward-facing vents.
I’ve ridden the Manta on some of this year’s hottest summer days here in the UK (and if you remember July’s heatwave, they were pretty toasty), as well as plenty of cooler ones, and I’ve come away feeling mightily impressed.
Not surprisingly, the sheer comfort of wearing this helmet has a lot to do with the low 272.6g weight for a size large. However, it’s also down in part to the cutaway of the MIPS C2 insert not hindering the deeply channelled internal design of the helmet.
MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System) is a rather simple but incredibly clever piece of safety technology. It’s an insert anchored on elastic tethers inside the shell that allows the helmet shell to slide roughly 10-15mm relative to the rider’s head in the event of a crash. This is said to reduce the rotational forces on your brain and, therefore, the risk of serious injury.
The fit is excellent, with well-placed minimal pads, and the rear cradle offers 3.5cm of vertical adjustment. The design allows for ponytails, so it’s friendly for riders with long hair.
The lightweight straps are finished with Fidlock’s brilliant magnetic clasp, which is easy to operate one-handed and sleeker than traditional click-fixing straps.
The Manta offers aero benefits without the downsides of weight and reduced cooling – its only downside is the price, as £220 is a fair whack to pay for a helmet.