Aerodynamic road helmets have evolved and broadly separated into two camps: on the one side you have low-volume designs like Louis Garneau’s Course; on the other sit, more wind tunnel-evolved designs like Specialized’s S-Works Evade.
MET’s Rivale sits firmly in the former camp with its low-profile and low-volume shape tipping the scales at just 257g (for a Large). MET claims the Rivale will save 3W at 50kph, equating to a second’s advantage over comparable vented helmets at the same pace – not a huge amount, but free time is free time.
The Rivale debuted with MTN-Qhubeka in the 2015 Tour de France and was on the head of Steve Cummings last year as he powered to victory in one of the most exciting Tour stage finishes in years on stage 14.
Now aero claims are one thing, but for everyday riders the primary concern with any helmet is comfort and fit (aside from the obvious safety regulations being met, and on that front the Rivale complies with CE, plus the tougher Australian AS and American USPC standards).
The Rivale’s shape is more rounded than most aero helmets, which met with approval from most of our testers. The internal padding is minimal yet well placed, and the retention system is impressive, combining lightweight soft-touch straps and a new version of MET’s Safe-T retention system. The micro-adjust dial offers plenty of circumference tensioning, and we loved the 4cm vertical adjustment on offer, which enables you to sit the cradle in just the right spot. The straps can occasionally tangle and twist due to their thin material, but that’s the slightest of niggles.
Despite the Rivale’s fairly closed design, the venting and airflow are impressive, with large internal channels keeping it feeling airy and MET’s clever design work creating a Venturi effect, which draws warm air from around your head out of the back of the helmet. Plus, the large port on the crown allows you to effect even more cooling by dipping your head towards the air for a quick blast of air.
We’re truly impressed by the Rivale. Aero claims are one thing, but leaving aside its wind-cheating credentials, the Rivale is a premium lightweight road lid that’s well constructed, comfortable, and comes in at a price approaching half that of its rivals.