MET has given its best-selling Rivale a makeover for 2021, upping the style, comfort and safety features to deliver a competitive mid-priced helmet that, if you choose the right colour option, will have you standing out from the crowd.
Italian brand MET provides the helmets for 2020 Tour de France winner Tadej Pogacar's UAE Team Emirates squad, and the knowhow gained from years of servicing the professional peloton shows in this redesign of its stalwart Rivale lid.
MET has worked outside and in on this 2021 iteration of the Rivale, and while the really radical stuff takes place inside, what it has done on the outside certainly adds comfort and bags of style.
To start with the important stuff(!), the Rivale MIPS comes in several colourways and, while the matt black option exists for those looking to stay under the radar, it is the metallic red finish and this holographic white that steal the show in my opinion.
The shell retains its aerodynamic styling but now features 18 vents, with the front vents longer and wider than in the past to assist with airflow and mitigate some of the extra insulation provided by the MIPS-C2 inner shell. They also function as a sunglasses dock and accepted my Koo and Carrera shades without complaint. Working in tandem with MET's tweaked NACA exhaust vent, these front vents provided ample cooling throughout the test period, but I was testing in autumn and it will be interesting to see how the Rivale fares in hotter weather when we eventually see some again.
For the cooler months, the extra heat retention is a handy byproduct of the MIPS safety feature, and it helped compensate for the fact that with a 56cm head I found my medium helmet wouldn't quite expand enough to cope with a casquette worn underneath. My head is at the upper limit for a medium, so it will probably be fine for most, but it's worth bearing in mind if you are on the cusp between sizes.
On my bare head the Rivale was an excellent fit, and the 360-degree head belt works like a charm, allowing one twist of a dial at the back of the helmet to bring the belt into contact with the whole of the head with no points of excess pressure. I wore this helmet on rides of four hours without so much as a hint of discomfort. The Air Mesh comfort pads do their job, and while these are always fiddly things to wash, mine stood up to a very gentle hand wash without losing shape.
Safety-wise the Rivale features a very neat in-mould polycarbonate shell, meaning that the outer shell is bonded to the inner foam as the foam expands in the mould. This can produce a stronger helmet, though MET does not make that claim, but it certainly produces a better- and more expensive-looking one!
Internally, the addition of MIPS has become pretty standard at this price point, for those who want the extra protection the system promises against rotational forces in certain types of crash. Whether it is worth the slight weight penalty and interruption to airflow depends on your priorities, but I'd take the extra protection over a few grams you'll never notice, every time.
On the issue of price, the £140 Rivale MIPS is £40 more than MET's own Vinci MIPS. You get more vents, including that NACA rear exhaust, an in-moulded shell and serious extra style points for the money. You also save around 30g. Bontrager's XXX Wavecel helmet features rival technology to MIPS but costs £60 more and weighs an extra 100g. The Specialized Propero costs just £100, but again there is a weight penalty.
The Rivale MIPS is a very stylish helmet that appears to offer all the protection you should expect at this price point in a package that will help you stand out from the crowd. Oh, and it has that sprinkling of Tour-winning fairy dust as well – UAE even wore Rivale helmets instead of their range-topping Trentas on stage 16.
Great-looking helmet that delivers all the performance and safety features you would want at this price
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Met Rivale MIPS 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?
Met says: 'The all-new Rivale is an evolutionary design on the outside and a revolutionary shape inside. It's a helmet which gives you superior performance and an aggressive presence on the road, leaving you with a lasting impression.' And it certainly looks the part...
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
In-mould polycarbonate shell with EPS liner
Safe-T Upsilon fit system
Hand washable comfort pads
Air Lite straps
Adjustable cam divider
Reflective rear stickers
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
This is a comfortable and stylish mid-range helmet with the added safety of MIPS and good ventilation.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Stunning looks, good retention system, MIPS, glasses ports work well.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The addition of the MIPS shell does make this a warmer helmet than one without.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
At £140 the MET Rivale MIPS is £40 more expensive than the brand's own Vinci MIPS. You get more vents, including that NACA rear exhaust, an in-moulded shell and serious extra style points for the money. You also save around 30g. Bontrager's XXX Wavecell helmet features rival technology to MIPS but costs £60 more and weighs an extra 100g. The Specialized Propero III is an attractive option at £100, but again there is a sizeable weight penalty over the Rivale if that matters to you.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
This is an excellent mid-priced helmet that has the look and feel of something more expensive, and with the addition of MIPS the safety features live up to expectations at this price point as well.
About the tester
I usually ride: Genesis Equilibrium My best bike is: Look 585
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, The nursery run!