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Verdict: 
Decent basic level helmet, better for upright riding positions than down in the drops
Weight: 
284g

The Madison Freewheel is a great starter helmet for those on a budget. Coming in at £34.99, it's certainly not expensive, but then add in features such as a detachable peak, reflective rear strips, and a wheel-based 'Pro-Fit' securing system, and it's positively good value.

Despite the securing system being a touch basic, it's functional, and the quality of the overall product is very good – as you might hope from a device that is fundamentally designed to keep your head safe.

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The quality extends to the straps and clips, which sit under your chin comfortably and securely. However, it's worth bearing in mind that the helmet is a narrow shape, so if you have a wide head you're best off looking elsewhere. It comes up a touch narrow on me; not a problem I've encountered before.

Madison Freewheel Matt White Helmet - side.jpg

You'll find 15 holes for ventilation, which work well together to keep you cool in warm conditions, and the small/medium size I had on test (which measures between 50-57cm around the crown) weighs in at a claimed 275g, which is impressively light.

Madison Freewheel Matt White Helmet - inside.jpg

The construction is solid, and it worked suitably well for my short road commutes – especially as the reflective strips are particularly effective, yet subtle in normal light. And, because it's fairly cheap, I didn't need to worry about it taking a scratch or small knock while I wasn't wearing it. Ideal on that front.

> Read our buyer's guide to the best cheap helmets

It's available in black, grey and yellow, in case the white on test isn't up your street. As a first or cheaper helmet that ticks all the major boxes, it's a winner – as long as it suits your head shape.

Verdict

Decent basic level helmet, better for upright riding positions than down in the drops

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Madison Freewheel Matt White Helmet

Size tested: Small/Medium, Matt White

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?

Madison says: "This great value helmet has plenty of features to keep you cool and comfortable allowing you to enjoy your bike ride"

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Features:

- In-moulded polycarbonate impact shell maximizes strength, while keeping weight to a minimum

- Pro fit system is simple and easy to adjust, to give you the perfect fit

- Rear reflective panels makes sure you're seen day or night

- Pro-Blade visor system helps protect you from the elements

- 15 air ventilation ports to keep you cool

- Brushed internal padding for increased comfort

- Size: Small/Medium 50-57cm, Medium/Large 54-61 cm

- Weight: 275g (claimed); 284g (weighed)

- Full CE certification

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10

Seems well built, with decent quality straps.

Rate the product for performance:
 
6/10

It's a solid shell that performs reasonably well.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

Nothing to suggest it won't last the test of time, at least until it's done its ultimate job...

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
7/10

It's very light considering the price – 284g is impressive.

Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
4/10

It's very much for people with narrow heads. I could only just squeeze into it, regardless of how I adjusted it.

Rate the product for value:
 
7/10

It's a cheap helmet, but you get quite a lot for that low cost. Good value.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Decently, as long as you have a narrow head.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Its light weight, usability on and off road, reflective x-pattern.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Too narrow for my head, limited adjustability from the clasp to compensate.

Did you enjoy using the product? Moderately

Would you consider buying the product? No

Would you recommend the product to a friend? As a cheap starter, perhaps.

Use this box to explain your score

It works, but you need a narrow head to make it fit properly.

Overall rating: 6/10

About the tester

Age: 26  Height: 188cm  Weight: 83kg

I usually ride: Specialized Allez Sport  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: Under 5 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding