Great helmet that is really suited to hot weather, incredibly light and well made.
The Stradivarius HES takes up one of Met’s helmet top spots in terms of features, weight and price – so you’re going to expect good things. Features first and to be honest, these are mostly excellent. My favourite thing about this helmet is the pads. I used this helmet in all weather conditions but, hot weather is where it excels as the pads are made of a rubber gel material rather than the typical foam pads. These do not soak up sweat and it make things just a little more comfortable. Met claimed the gel pads ‘channel’ sweat away from yours eyes (as sweat is not absorbed) and I can confirm they indeed do. The only downside to the gel pads is the strange indentations they leave on your head! Not a big deal, you just look like a weird cyborg for a few minutes after taking the helmet off, maybe that is a plus? But seriously those gel pads are inspired.
Next up is the straps which are made from a unique fabric. They’re made of a light polyester fibre, which in use is very comfortable, the buckles are easy to use, not so easy to adjust on the bike but most helmets are not either. The fabric is very tough and showed no signs of wear after six months of use. The main buckle is quality and is detailed nicely with a red and black finish. Overall the weight of the helmet is low and compared to the other brands at price point is very comparable. Roughly around the 220g mark, you really don’t notice any baulk on your head. The profile of the helmet is nice and sleek so you don’t look like a mushroom on a bike.
The venting on the Stradivarius HES is very good. I rode in hot humid heat and never did I feel stuffy and on descents I could feel the air cooling through the vents, the best I have felt from any helmet, but the position of the vents was a little awkward for the much needed scalp itch! Really only a minor thing and never got annoying. The retention device is dial controlled at the back and is easy to use, even with gloves.
So that’s the subjective bit over… helmets are funny things, or maybe it’s heads that are funny things. I’m talking about shape… The Met Stradivarius HES is no doubt a superb helmet and I’m rating it as such. But like all helmet shapes they vary and for me personally the Met didn’t suit my head shape, that is just unfortunate. I would recommend trying it on first. My problem was [or is] that I have a bulldog head/neck and this meant when I wore the helmet and looked ahead – like you do to not crash! – the retention straps would dig into my fat bulldog neck! Now to be fair a lot of cyclists don’t have a neck like a security guard in a hi-viz jacket, but if you do this helmet is unlikely to fit you so well. Again, I think if I was fortunate enough to have hair (you lot getting a good picture of me yet?) the retention straps, would not of caused such an issue. Back to being subjective… I really can’t mark a superb helmet – that actually looked really nice on my fat head – down, it’s not the helmets fault. But we come back to my advice try it on and check it’s comfy before putting down some hard cash for the crash helmet (true of all brands).
Great helmet that is really suited to hot weather, incredibly light and well made. My personal issues should remind us all to test helmet shapes and make sure we find one to suit. I think it's hard to find a helmet to suit all head shapes and if you have a fat head like me, you might want to try elsewhere. If you don't have a head like a bulldog stuck in a fence, take a real good look at this helmet. It would really suit summer months and the way the gel pads work it's a superb helmet to climb in. I tested the helmet on long 30°C+ climbs of 3kms+ and never once did the sweat run into my eyes and that is a really pleasing thing.
Review date: 11 June 2013