The Stradivarius has been part of MET's line up for years but the latest tweaks mean new pads, a lighter ratchet system and Homothetic Embedded Skeleton or HES for short. It all adds up to a comfortable, lightweight race helmet for a decent price.
Helmet fit is just as personal as saddle comfort but I found the MET absolutely spot on in terms of shape and long term comfort. The majority of this is down to the gel pads. Made from polyurethane Morpho-gel they don't flatten against the head like the usual foam pads in the majority of helmets, even when tightened.
They feel cool against the skin and remain so even when you're really going for it plus they keep the helmet slightly away from the head to allow airflow. They also grip a sweaty forehead without absorbing any of it and they're anti-bacterial and hypo-allergenic so they don't need washing. Lots of benefits without any drawbacks.
Add those cooling effects to the massive number of vents on the MET and you've got one refreshing helmet when you're in the hills on a warm summer day, or in your hallway on the turbo giving it some with an inadequate fan replicating the wind.
The Safe-T Advanced retention system is easy to adjust and is said to "deliver pressure in a homogenous manner" thanks to a broad surface area. Whatever you make all of that I certainly didn't feel any pressure points or discomfort so I guess it's doing its job.
The webbing weave has been fettled to keep the strength while losing weight and helps bring the medium size test sample down to 257g which is a pretty good figure for a helmet of this price and it certainly feels light when you are wearing it.
So what is HES? The Stradivarius is constructed from two similar skeletal shells that are fused together in a way that transfers the shock around the helmet rather than it just focusing on the point of impact. Whether it works or not is difficult to see without the test data though and that is rarely available.
There is an Australian version available (not to us in the UK) which has passed the more stringent AS/NZ 2063's Load Distribution standard which tests exactly this but it weighs a claimed 25g more so obviously needing beefing up a bit more than the EN 1078 version we get in the UK. I'd be happy to sacrifice a little bit of weight for that peace of mind.
Overall the MET Stradivarius is a very good top flight race helmet that for me at least is one of the most comfortable I've ever worn, the gel pads making a huge difference to comfort especially when things are hot and sweaty.
The price is acceptable against its competitors and while it might not be any more safe or stronger than the cheapest helmets out there all wearability is much more important in the long run.
The only downside I can see is that it's a shame they don't just sell one model that passes all test criteria across the world.
Cool, comfortable lightweight helmet with great airflow. The Oz version seems better though.
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Met Stradivarius HES helmet
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
The Stradivarius HES is a professional level race helmet that is comfortable, cool and adjustable.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
CONSTRUCTION - IN-MOULDING, HOMOTHETIC EMBEDDED SKELETON
SIZE ADJUSTER - SAFE-T ADVANCED, AIR LITE STRAPS, AIR LITE LATERAL DIVIDERS
PADDING - FULL GEL O2 PADDING
REFLECTIVES - STICKERS & LOGOS
SIZING - M (54-58CM) L (59-62CM)
COLOURS - 6 COLOUR OPTIONS
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Nicely, an all round package of comfort, weight and build quality
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Shame the UK version doesn't seem capable of passing the AS/NZ testing.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
The MET is a very comfortable helmet and is backed up by performance and quality while looking pretty good too. The gel padding is brilliant and while price wise it reflects a lot of its competitors its worth shopping round for a deal.
About the tester
Age: 36 Height: 180cm Weight: 76kg
I usually ride: Kinesis T2 My best bike is: Kinesis Aithien
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.