I like to alternate my tests of accessories or typically urban and tourist components with others more sporty. Because it’s my way of interpreting the bike; it’s my “life on pedals”, made out of sport or vagabond going out, of stints to the utmost or of slow city transfers.
That is why we will see a sport helmet: the Met Strale; even if I can anticipate that, after having used it for several weeks and during some very long going out (the last one of six hours, not all push thrusts – let’s be frank – but always wearing the helmet even when I stopped to rest), thanks to its comfort and its lightness, it goes very well even in a solely sport field.
I was trying to test a helmet of an average price range, because not all cyclists are willing to spend several hundred euros. I was looking for a helmet provided with all the necessary qualities of safety, lightness, ventilation and comfort. I was looking for a helmet that had something more, like, for example, the possibility of easily mounting a back light. I found all these features in the Met Strale, I only had to ask to receive one for testing and find out if I was right. No sooner said that done: after a few days, the marketing division and the Met Helmets’ PR delivered the helmet, complete with the pretty led backlight.
And let’s acquainted with the Met Strale, proposed in seven color variants and two sizes: M (52/58) and L (59/62). The weight I found for the smaller size is 260 grams. Detailed information can be found in the official webpage, it’s useless to copy it again here. Let’s concentrate on how it is done.
The helmet has 14 air vents, and yet when you look at it they seem a lot less, the first impact is that of a “full” helmet, of the aerodynamic type, just to be clear. Then you turn it around in your hands and you discover that, yes, there are all the declared air vents, and the helmet sends back a nice feeling of lightness, more than the balances states.
To dominate the scene in the front view, there is the large frontal intake, very wide in length, side by side with two other slits; I must signal that they perfectly accommodate our glasses when we remove them, for those who have this habit. I cannot, I wear glasses with clips, if I remove them I don’t know where I am going anymore… Next to the sides there are other two very large ventilation sockets, one on each side, which resemble the shape of the front ones, but with the inverted design. In the images here below, you can barely notice, for framing reasons, the top intake with Venturi’s effect, but later we will see it in a better way.
The view from behind is aggressive, I like the two big vents framed in the upper area by four other small slits. In the three-quarter view, you can appreciate much more the design. Here the helmet is all white, but in other chromatic variants the rear area is in contrast and you can enyoy even more its gritty shape.
The wear adjustement uses the technology developed by Met Helmet and called Safe-T Duo, which also guarantees 4 cm. of vertical range. Let’s see how it works.
In the classic position we have the knob.
The range is remarkable, as you can see in the pictures below.
Such a large translation does not involve the band only. In fact, there is a further integrated adjustment: by screwing the knob, a long stretched strap on the top of the helmet also moves inside it. This allows an optimal size adjustment.
But this not the only system to handle the fit in a micrometrical way. In fact the long inner belt moved by the knob is also adjustable in four different positions. It’s a practical system, it takes just a few seconds to find the right length for us and from that point onwards we will have to act only on the rear wheel. In the following picture, the arrow indicates the movement that can be done for this second adjustment. And we can better observe the Safe-T Duo in its entirety.
I propose an official video – it’s superfluous for me to shoot one – where the helmet is shown and in detail the Safe-T Duo system.
The search for the best fit, essential for safety because a helmet that “is loose” is a useless helmet, passes also through the two precise clips on the chin-strap. Just open them, find the right length, that is with the “V” starting from the helmet embracing the hear, and close the pressure flap that will lock the strap in place. It is preferable, and very much, to the simple sliding buckle present on more expensive helmets.
The clip to lock the chin-strap is classical, sized in a way that doesn’t bother, but big enough to be handled with heavy winter gloves.
The internal padding is minimal, removable and washable; it is in any case properly positioned, with the frontal band more comfortable than the slim thickness would presage.
The idea to offer as an optional a gel frontal band, in a universal size and therefore suitable to any helmet of the brand, that keeps us cool and makes the helmet more comfortable, is very interesting. Whether is effective or not, I cannot say, I didn’t think to ask for it. Maybe in the future, so we will integrate this test.
In any case, to keep us cool, we have the air vent with the Venturi’s effect, which we just glimpsed before.
What is the Venturi’s effect? It is a paradox and explaining it is not easy for me, not one of the best physics’ student.
In the most suffocating days, all of us go around the house, trying out different combinations of open and closed windows. Outside there is a little bit more than a light puff of wind, yet once we find the right combination we will be able to get a gentle refreshing breeze. This is because our timid puff of wind, once forced to pass through a narrow passage, that is the window, will increase its speed to keep its mass unchanged. However, if we move to a larger room, all of our beautiful breeze will disappear, even if the window’s curtains dashingly wave. In fact, by reaching it, we will recapture our providential cool and this because the breeze slowed down in the larger room; but near the second narrow passage, in our domestic example represented by the other open window, the mass build-up will result in a new increase in the outflowing speed. In practice, with the Venturi’s effect, we have a flux that, in normal conditions, we don’t even notice, but if we submit it to this paradox, we increase its effectiveness. The wind outside is exactly that, it does not increase if we open the windows. We do force it, opening, precisely, the windows.
All right, but how do we relate all this to our helmet? Having an air vent with the Venturi’effect means that, in the theory, even at low speed, and therefore with a limited flux, thanks to it we have an increase of its effectiveness: cool head even if we go slowly.
With the help of an artificial light, I highlighted the Venturi’s vent and the internal obstacle that is meant to slow down and divide the flux.
But what we really want to know is whether the theory follows the practice; and especially if it works uphill, when the speed is low and we do feel the heat and the effort. I announce in advance that it works, I must say in an excellent way. We capture even the smallest flux, while climbing with a speed to the limit of our balance, and our air vent with the Venturi’s effect transforms it in a pleasant cool, quickly expelling the hot air.
But let’s continue with the static presentation, almost finished, and then we’ll go through the road’s reviews.
As mentioned earlier, among the requirements, I was also looking for the possibility of easily installing a back light. The Met Strale allows it, with its small light weighing only 6 grams and three LEDS, very bright, which perfectly and firmly lodges into the fit adjustment knob. It has both fixed and intermittent light. And it is compatible with all the helmets manufactured by Met, equipped with the Safe-T Duo system.
Other models, such as the Rival, use a different light.
In addition to the removable light, there is another safety gauge: a thin reflective strip in the back area, much more effective than the small size and my poor abilities as a photographer lead to believe.
In this white version, the color is pleasantly pearly.
Besides the white one, six other color versions.
And now let’s wear it.
The calotte is small, no “mushroom head” effect, just to make myself understood; the fit, as mentioned earlier, is really great, thanks to the effective regulation system, whose back band wraps the neck without constriction. With a more photogenic model, I can assure you that the final aesthetic effect is definitely better. Ah, because in the technical data sheet the “Ponytail compatibility” is mentioned among its characteristics, I thought I had to tie my hair and test this as well. Scrupulous, huh?
The ears flare is wide, to the advantage of ease in putting and removing your glasses, without encountering obstacles, and the weight.
Yeah, the weight. It is not one of the lightest helmets on the market, but is certainly one of the lightest in this price range. And thanks to the excellent balance, once worn, its grams become less heavy.
Once into the saddle, you can appreciate the many qualities of this little helmet, first of all the effectiveness of the ventilation. I was surprised: when you unthinkingly look at it, it almost looks like a full helmet to which they cut some slits just to make a scene. On the opposite, the frontal system has proved to be excellent, ensuring a fresh supply of cool air; and the internal circulation allows to keep your head always cool. But what turned out to be really efficient was the top air vent with the Venturi’s effect. I was not entirely convinced, you know I have always a skeptical attitude, especially when manufacturers extol to the extreme some product’s characteristics. Strangely, Met mentions the Venturi’s effect, but it does not flaunt it, and for my experience, this is something that is done only by those who are very confident of their own.
I did an empirical test, not quite orthodox but effective, to have a clear sense of the ventilation: I wet the bandana I wear under the helmet and started pedaling in the early fresh morning. I assure you that this will immediately alerts you if the air enters, from where and at what speed. The headache in the afternoon is the price to pay, but what is not done for the sake of truth ….
Pedaling fast on level ground and downhill, it’s superfluous to say that the ventilation has always been excellent. But the real test field was the uphill, at my barely dignified pace: test passed, I felt continuously and constantly this wind whistle, far superior to what my speed would have allowed. The change of air is there and is continuous, with a speed higher than we do on the road.
The wight relatively low, further mitigated by the excellent balance, and the aerodynamic shape make you soon forget you’re wearing this little helmet.
The comfort is very good in relation to the price range of the helmet; the Safe-T Duo system decisively contributes to facilitate a perfect fit, and therefore the presence of two sizes only doesn’t seem a limitation. The padding, though thin, ensures comfort. I cannot judge its holding in time, after few months, just to be clear. I will continue to use the helmet, if I will detect some leaks, I will integrate the text.
To look for a defect, the only thing that is not so beautiful to see, is the EPS inner material that peeps out at the bottom: especially in the ears’ area, the visible area is too wide.
But you know that when I write my columns of strengths and defects, I always decide what to put in one column or the other one in relation to the price too. Here I am in front of a helmet that costs less than 80 euros, so definitively a low price; what I would have branded as defects in very expensive helmet, I cannot do it here, and just because I have to take into account what it offers in return of that little it asks to be brought home. And indeed, I found solutions and devices worthy of top-end helmets, such as the micrometric adjustment and the very efficient ventilation system. Just as a plus is the possibility to easily access the entire range of spare parts and accessories, always guaranteeing the full efficiency of the helmet. However, it lacks of an insect protection net, not intended as an after-market accessory. At least I could not find it in the official website, and given the width of the front grip, it could be useful to have it.
The weight does not represent a limit, just because I continue to evaluate it in connection cost/quality and I know that to get 50 grams less, we would have to pay more than double. And, as mentioned, the weight indicated by the scale seems to be much less once the helmet is worn, thanks to the excellent balance. The aerodynamic shape does the rest in contributing to the feeling of having no obstacle on the head.
In conclusion, with a modest expense we can bring home a helmet of may qualities, light, comfortable and fresh. For your convenience, I show you the page where you can find the dealers.
Suitable for the sport cyclist and the tourist, it has a pleasantly aggressive design, but without excess, and a wide choice of colors to please everyone. The relation quality/cost is remarkable, with some devices (ventilation and fit adjustment system) worthy of top helmets, and that balance the only limit (the overlapping padding in the area above the ears) and honestly I cannot demand more.
Have a good pedaling.