At the end of last year, BikeRadar got a close look at a third generation MET Stradivarius helmet, one of their top-end road models. That particular example was a pre-production sample but we've since received a full production version plus a selection of other lids from the MET road range.
MET claim that the Sine Thesis is the most ventilated helmet ever designed, its construction inspired by the carapaces – or exoskeletons – of crustaceans and turtles. The unique structure is made up of three main components, and is also in-mould for a lighter and cooler lid.
The Sine Thesis gets MET's anti-allergenic gel interior pads. Mounted in the centre and front of the helmet, these are designed to repel sweat to the side of the rider's face, aiding both cooling and comfort. The pads are also removable and hand washable.
The straps are MET's Kevlar design. Not only do they look good but they're lighter and offer better ventilation over conventional models. A height adjustable turn-wheel retention mechanism is included, using a large contact area to disperse pressure evenly across the head as it tightens.
Small reflective detailing is included at the rear of the helmet shell, and it's subtle enough not to be noticeable in daylight. The Sine Thesis hit the BikeRadar scales at 272g, 22g over the claimed weight.
All this tech comes at a price – the Sine Thesis will currently set you back £189.99. It's currently available in medium and large sizes, in a range of colours.
We've already taken a close look at the 2013 Stradivarius, but now we've got our hands on a full production model things are slightly different. The lid uses a bonded two-shell construction that, along with saving weight, helps spread the force of an impact over a larger area of the helmet. Ultimately, this means less material can be used for the same amount of protection.
Even the straps get some of the lightweight treatment – different from those on the Sine Thesis, they're made of a light yet tough polyester fibre. All this weight weenie effort boils down to an actual weight of 238g; that's 23g over the claimed weight but still a decent saving over the 286g previous model that we tested.
The HES shares the same gel pads as the Sine Thesis, and is available in the same sizing. However, it's significantly cheaper with a retail price of £129.99.
The Inferno UL shares its in-mould construction with more expensive lids yet does without the gel pads of the more expensive models. Instead, it uses Coolmax fabric pads, which, combined with 23 vents, should prove efficient ventilation and sweat wicking.
The UL gets the same retention system as the more expensive lids, including the height-adjustable rear cradle. This time, the claimed weight was closer to the one shown on our scales – we measured it at 281g instead of 285g, and at £99.99 this looks like good value protection to us.
The Estro looks like another good value lid. It has an in-mould construction with plenty of ventilation, yet only uses one gel pad at the front – as seen on the Stradivarius and Sine Thesis – while Coolmax pads are placed at the top of the head.
It gets the same Kevlar straps and height-adjustable retention system as the Sine Thesis. We measured it at 284g for our medium sample – that's 14g over the claimed weight but for £89.99 this seems to be solid value. Reflective stickers at the rear make this helmet a great choice for commuters too.
If you've got a little less to spend then the Forte could be for you. It's got similar styling to the more expensive lids but more basic padding, no Coolmax or gel, just good old anti-allergenic fabric.
The retention system is still a turn-wheel but does without the height adjustment on the other helmets, which is more of a luxury than a necessity. It's light, though –ours weighed in at 246g, just 6g over the claimed weight and only 8g away from the £129.99 Stradivarius HES. For £64.99, who's going to be complaining?
For more information see www.met-helmets.com.