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Bought 6 mid and high level helmets to try on. Anyone use the Abus Stormchaser?

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Bought 6 mid and high level helmets to try on. Anyone use the Abus Stormchaser?

Old 03-11-21, 09:32 AM
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Bought 6 mid and high level helmets to try on. Anyone use the Abus Stormchaser?

2020 and now 2021 is the year(s) of the helmet for me. I hate helmet buying- oval helmets make me think my head is round and round helmets make me think me head is oval. I want good ventilation, I want to keep my skull together if I hit the ground, and I want nice quality materials. Oh, and if I can keep from looking like Toad, thatd be great.
Head is 58.5mm with 60mm exact when wearing a cycling cap(which is most always).

After looking around last summer I bought a Kali Phenom. Dumb move. So then in my search of something better(almost anything), I went full nuclear and bought a bunch of helmets from Merlin, WesternBikeWorks, and Amazon so I could return what I dislike.

Kali Phenom in size M/L- The helmet I bought was made in 2014. Thats how old some new inventory is for the helmet. For some reason I let that slide even though it set off an alarm. I bought it because I wanted to try something different from the major few brands and they seem to be very well respected in MTB where crashing is common.
- The fit dial is horrific. It is difficult to turn and one side tightens more than the other.
- The style is that of a spiky haired Anime character and is very dated.
- There are a few massive vents in the front and they work.
- I like the chin buckle having a lock on it to keep the strap from loosening.
- The ear strap guides also lock which is neat, but that makes for bulky straps on my cheeks.
- The straps connect in the middle back of the helmet and they arent routed to stay apart which makes for a clumsy process of putting the helmet on.
- The horrific fit dial cant be overstated.
- The website is woefully short of useful information. I bought the helmet because it was in a local store and would have never taken a chance to order based on their website.
- They dont have enough helmet sizes, so I used a M/L which makes for a really big helmet for many.
- The shell wraps fully around the underside of the helmet which is great for reducing gashing to the foam.
- They use their own rotational safety design.
TOSSED AWAY

KASK Mojito 3(cubed) in both sizes M and L
- Fully wrapped shell to reduce marks to the foam.
- The faux leather chin strap felt nice.
- Sunglasses fit in front upside down. They sit high, but stay in place.
- Great materials all around.
- Disliked the buckle being all the way over on one side instead of in the middle of my neck/chin.
- Sits low.
- The medium made me look like Fat Guy in a Little Helmet and I looked like Toad in the Large size.
- The rear vertical adjustment slides up and down too easily so it doesnt stay on the size you want from use to use.
- No rotational safety design.
RETURNED BOTH

POC Ventral Air Spin in size L
- The chin strap band that holds extra strap is really slick. Its simple and effective.
- The sunglass grippers are great and super easy to use.
- The fixed ear guides on the straps are nice.
- Fantastic fit&finish with full wrap around the helmet lip and comfortable padding.
- Easy to use dial.
- Sits low for a lot more coverage, especially in the rear.
- I look like Toad for sure. Bulbous would be another way to describe the look.
- SPIN tech for rotational safety
NOT SURE IF KEEP OR RETURN

Giro Syntax MIPS in size M
- My old helmet that I used for years is Giro and I fit a size M for some reason even though I shouldnt.
- No good place for sunglasses. They fit upside down in front, but slide forward. This is 2 different style of glasses.
- Comfortable padding.
- The ROC dial is perfect and easy to use.
- Narrowest profile helmet for sure. It also has the least coverage in back.
- Ear guides are nice, but will move a bit for sure.
- Chin strap is at full extension- like I have 1mm of strap remaining. Super lame because other Giro helmets Ive used have excess strap.
- Chin strap retention is a thin rubberband that is underwhelming compared to the other helmets I am trying.
- MIPS tech for rotational safety.
RETURNED

ABUS Stormchaser in size L
- The L has a ton of adjustment and would probably fit a giant melon of 64cm even. I am right in the middle of L sizing when I have a cap on.
- Sunglasses fit up front flipped upside down and they stay put. They fit in back too, if thats your style.
- The ear guides are fantastic- its just the straps sewn together which makes for straps that sit flat and are very light.
- Soft strap material.
- Super lightweight. Like 60g lighter than the other size L helmets.
- Minimal padding. Skeleton like wouldnt be an inaccurate description. But with a cycling cap I dont really care.
- The padding isnt velcro'd in, its all one piece and is fixed in with a plastic screw. Interesting design.
- Tons of vertical adjustment too.
- The straps can be removed for cleaning. Interesting design.
- The shell does not wrap all the way around the lip, which is lame. It wraps around a lot of the lip, but not all.
- I dont look like Toad, which is good. Sits low for more coverage and the back coverage is good too.
- No rotational technology used.
KEEPING




Ends up I am way too picky about helmets. I like a few things from each helmet and there is no perfect helmet that has all that I like, not even for a goofy high price.
Ill keep the ABUS because I like the fit and it was relatively inexpensive($130). I think I might keep the POC too, but still not sure.
I really wish ABUS was readily available stateside to try out their Airbreaker. Add MET to what I wish were stateside.
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Old 03-11-21, 09:32 AM
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wow that was long.
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Old 03-11-21, 01:34 PM
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I enjoyed it. Thorough.

I have a Kask (middle one canít think of the name) and like it. Iíve only owned ones other (a bell) so I donít know what Iím missing.
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Old 03-11-21, 02:18 PM
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What's the takeaway here? That most people should go somewhere and try on helmets before they buy? Or, only buy the model and brand helmet you already have experience with from online vendors? ...unless they also have a generous return policy.
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Old 03-11-21, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post

Ends up I am way too picky about helmets. I like a few things from each helmet and there is no perfect helmet that has all that I like, not even for a goofy high price.
Ill keep the ABUS because I like the fit and it was relatively inexpensive($130). I think I might keep the POC too, but still not sure.
I really wish ABUS was readily available stateside to try out their Airbreaker. Add MET to what I wish were stateside.
I have the Airbreaker, and honestly it's a great helmet and has many of the same attributes you listed for the Stormchaser. Doesn't sound like you're missing much aside from perhaps a bit better ventilation?

Not sure where they went, but the Airbreaker was for a while the Canyon brand helmet for a while.. came in lots of colorways. Now.. just down to one other model (link below). Maybe the lack of US buying options (for MET as well) is somehow due to these companies never bothering to seek CPSC certification and only has the CEN certification.? FWIW CEN is less rigorous in the drop-testing than CPSC, but evidently requires a lower profile (ie. more head coverage). Most big brands I assume have both certifications though.

https://www.canyon.com/en-us/gear/ap...31_pv_farbe=BK
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Old 03-11-21, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
What's the takeaway here? That most people should go somewhere and try on helmets before they buy? Or, only buy the model and brand helmet you already have experience with from online vendors? ...unless they also have a generous return policy.
Ha, no idea what the takeaway is. I figured after spending $1100 on helmets with some being ones that arent readily available in the US, I would post up some comments on each to add to whatever is available online. BF comes up a lot on bike related questions I google so maybe this will help someone get an idea of what may work with regard to features.

Oh- I just thought of a good takeaway- dont by a Kali Phenom. If this keeps someone from buying that junk, its worth typing up.
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Old 03-11-21, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
What's the takeaway here? That most people should go somewhere and try on helmets before they buy? Or, only buy the model and brand helmet you already have experience with from online vendors? ...unless they also have a generous return policy.
Both, for me.

I've long lived in semi-rural areas, so trying on anything is a problem. My last several helmets have been Specialized, b/c they fit my noggin, and the company gives a 30-day return privilege for such items - even after they've been used.

Currently wearing the Prevail MIPS. Expensive, but very nice.
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Old 03-11-21, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
Both, for me.

I've long lived in semi-rural areas, so trying on anything is a problem. My last several helmets have been Specialized, b/c they fit my noggin, and the company gives a 30-day return privilege for such items - even after they've been used.

Currently wearing the Prevail MIPS. Expensive, but very nice.
I've got the Prevail II MIPS. Had it for about a year. it's nice and airy in the heat. My only complaint is the forward vision while aero is adequate, but I'd like more so I don't have to crane my neck so far.

So to replace it and solve that minor issue, I'm going to have to try many helmets on again. I don't think online is the way to go for me.

Specialized/S-Works has come out with some others that look worth trying.
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Old 03-11-21, 03:14 PM
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I normally prefer to buy helmets in person, but the shops around here have a pretty limited range, so I gambled on a Giro Helios MIPS online. Very happy with it - it's low profile, fits like a glove and is featherlike compared to my previous Cannondale lid. Only coming into warm weather now, so time will tell re ventilation, but this gamble paid off.
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Old 03-11-21, 03:34 PM
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Great write up, super helpful thank you!

My, mostly empty, dome piece is 58.5cm. It seems a lot of helmet makers have 58 as their cut for large/medium sizes. When I go large it's looks stupid. When I go medium I'm straining at the limits of the retention...and looks stupid. I have a specialized helmet right now...a cheaper one but it has MIPS and ANGI, got it super cheap from a bike shop in the UK when I lived there.

I had a POC, but way to bulbous for me. Had a Limar which was pretty nice, it had a little bug netting and was not too bulbous. Wrecked and broke that one. I also had an Evade and an Evade II which I really like but the only way to get it to fit was to buy the large and the more I saw myself in the mirror the more I was disgusted by the look.

I'm always searching for a new helmet so I appreciate your detail write up.

Here's a website from the Virginia Tech where they do some pretty decent testing on helmets, pretty interesting;

https://helmet.beam.vt.edu/bicycle-helmet-ratings.html

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Old 03-11-21, 06:05 PM
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I share your frustrations with helmet buying! I have a 56 narrowish oval head which puts me in between a SM (too narrow) or MD (fits but I look like the Great Gazoo from the Flintstones) for most brands. So far Giro in size M has worked ok, but I still think they look a little more mushroom head than I'd prefer. I'm liking the looks of the new Specialized Align II or Lazer Sphere MIPs - both got very high VA Tech ratings too may give them a shot if I can try on somewhere without ordering / returning 12 helmets lol.
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Old 03-11-21, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
Ha, no idea what the takeaway is. I figured after spending $1100 on helmets with some being ones that arent readily available in the US, I would post up some comments on each to add to whatever is available online. BF comes up a lot on bike related questions I google so maybe this will help someone get an idea of what may work with regard to features.

Oh- I just thought of a good takeaway- dont by a Kali Phenom. If this keeps someone from buying that junk, its worth typing up.
No, in general it was good to see your thoughts for each. If I seemed a tad snarky it was the slight mismatch of my expectations based on the thread title and the content within. Though I can see what your thought was with the title.
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Old 03-11-21, 07:22 PM
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I have a giant round Asian Fit noggin and since I resumed cycling in 2016, only two helmets have fit:

(1) Giro Savant XL: Slightly wide and way too long, so I look like Toad from every angle. I have tried this and several other Giro helmets in L and they are just too narrow.
(2) Kask Mojito XL. Much better fit, but plastic plates of rear retention mechanism bump into the ends of the straight temples of my Oakley glasses.

After Giro released the newer Syntax MIPS, I wanted one but expected the same issues so I ultimately decided against it. Kask USA told me that it has no plans for a Mojito 3 (or any other helmet) in XL. So I have just ordered another Kask Mojito XL in pink on final sale. It will also be a few years old but hopefully not as old as 2014.
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Old 03-11-21, 11:12 PM
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Surprised you didn't try Bell, their high end helmets like the Z20 seem to fit all head shapes -- including mine -- because I can easily find positive reviews from people saying it fit their oval head, then just as easily find reviews from others saying it fit their round head. Lazer seems to be pretty neutral fitting too, though I only have limited experience with them. I know I don't get on with Specialized at all because they are much more ovalized and definitely give me the mushroom look.
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Old 03-12-21, 12:03 AM
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To follow up a bit...

- 3 shops in my metro I will go to have been hard up for varied inventory that I want over the last 8 months.
I want a white helmet in my size(obviously) and the color alone eliminated a lot of options.
Below are helmets I tried in store.

- I tried 2 Lazer helmets, one for $100 and the other for $150. The dial fit being up on top of the helmet was odd. Not bad,, but odd. The padding on both was not appealing.

- I tried a Bontrager Specter Wavecell was $150 and had a couple of awesome features. The straps are soft and light, the buckle is a really slick magnet system, and retention is a Boa system which was very nice. Oh, and the shell wrapping around the helmet lip was good.
It felt like it weighed half a pound more than comparable helmets. It's probably 4oz in reality. And based on reviews of ventilation, I passed that is the closest I have come to buying a Bontrager branded item.

- Oakley Aro3 was discounted to $120. It uses Boa for fitment which is nice. The helmet sat too high and they they have the next size up in white. I was intrigued with the helmet.

- A store showed having POC in stock, but the liars lied. I was there so I tried on Specialized Propero and Pevail helmets. I haven't bought a Specialized product and admit this is a cutting off my nose to spite my face moment, but I didn't heavily consider either due to name. They were both nice fitting, but I didn't consider them hard. Shallow, I know.
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Old 03-12-21, 06:33 AM
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And weight/construction and likely some amount of safety is the tradeoff IMO. The Wavecell helmets are solidly constructed protection gear. But you're spot on, one of those weighs about 4.5 ozs more than the helmet you kept. Doesn't sound like a lot, but as a percentage it's almost 60% heavier.
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Old 03-12-21, 06:44 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
wow that was long.
But informative for like riders/heads.
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Old 03-20-21, 10:56 PM
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Update time for anyone that may stumble upon this.
Added a couple to the mix.

MET Rivale MIPS size L - ordered from across the pond. Should be here mid-week. If it fits and I like it- perfect. If I dislike it, I'll toss it on ebay. I'm sure it'll sell as MET isn't sold in the US so someone will be curious.


Bought a Giro Helios Sperical in size M - this helmet is really nice with cool tech. It is light, the roc loc air retention is just so good, and the dual shell design is super cool. It'll be neat to see if MIPS goes this direction in the coming years as the tech being designed into the helmet instead of being a liner that's added is really slick. It's seamless and the two shells really do slide independently of one another.
I returned it because at $250 it didn't fit better than the ABUS I'm keeping which is $100 cheaper. Also a downside is that sunglasses don't easily fit in the helmet either right side up or upside down. They can fit upside down, but you need to pull the helmet up while docking the glasses to wiggle them in. Lame oversight there.
Really cool integration of MIPS though.
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Old 03-21-21, 05:54 PM
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Good luck on the helmet hunt. Spotted this on IG last week - looks like MET will be selling in the US in near future.



Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
Update time for anyone that may stumble upon this.
I'm sure it'll sell as MET isn't sold in the US so someone will be curious.
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Old 03-25-21, 03:17 PM
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Another update-

MET Rivale Mips is a really nice helmet. Bought it from Lordgun for $155 shipped and it arrived in 2 business days.
- The fit and finish is quality, as it should be.
- The size dial feels good and is easy to set. There are rubber grippers on the back part of the fitment skeleton that are soft against the back of your head.
- Straps are a simple yet really easy thing to screw up from a design perspective. MET uses adjustible cheekbone guides to allow the straps to move forward/backward and up/down with ease. The strap itself is soft.
- The chin strap is soft, which is nice. It has a really cool tightening feature that makes it easy to cinch the strap tight each time you put the helmet on. Other straps just stay locked in place which is an obviously good design as well. These are meant to be able to tighten easily and that gives a good fit each time without having to fuss over it.
- The shell curves under the brim a little, but not all the way. Wish it extended all the way.
- Glasses fit easily upside down. in side front vents.

The MET Revale is a middle ground in terms of shape. The ABUS Stormchaser and the Giro helmets ive tried have been the smallest in terms of how bulbous they look. Kask Mojito 3 and POC Ventral air Spin have been the most bulbous and mushroom looking. The MET Rivale is right between.
And keep in mind- all these are in white, which I am convinced makes em look bigger than they actually are. If you get black or something, maybe itll appear less bulbous.

The POC will go back. I really wanted to like it, but dang its like I am what happens when a Stormtrooper hooks up with Toad from Mario.
+

=
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Old 03-26-21, 03:44 AM
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Based on your post, which has been very helpful by the way, I started looking at Abus helmets. I have a tiny head and face that nothing looks good on. Hats, glasses, especially cycling helmets, are a frustrating adventure. I was a mushroom up until finding the Specialized Echelon which fit pretty well and looked good compared to Giro, Rudy, and some others I had in the past. I've worn the Echelon for 5 years now. It's worth noting that I do not buy high end helmets normally because of past experiences, and the very few local LBS do not carry much stock (and they all sell the same brands!).

I bought a lower end white Abus Viantor, which won't arrive until it returns to stock, I have high hopes for the fit and look of this Viantor, based on the few reviews and Google images I could find. I waffled between the Viantor and a Specialized Propero 3 for a solid week, but the Propero 3 looks like it might have grown in width with the 3rd version and the addition of MIPS. Can anyone confirm that? I know fit is personal but some of the Google images I could find of the Propero 3 made it look very wide and extended off the back of some heads.
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Old 03-29-21, 07:23 PM
  #22  
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Definitely haven't read all of the replies, but I will say that I have always loved my specialized helmets. I just buy the S works level road helmet (prevail last time) and use it for road and mtb.
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Old 03-30-21, 07:01 AM
  #23  
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Absolutely loving my 2021 Met Manta, fits even better than the previous version, and now has MIPS. Light, comfortable, mag buckle works great. It's starting to warm up, so we'll see how it feels in the heat, but no issues so far. I use a Kask Mojito for when it's hotter, but might check out the Rivale since I'm liking the Manta so much.

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Old 03-30-21, 08:40 AM
  #24  
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Good thread! I appreciate the time you put into it. We don't get a lot of quality content like that here. I suspect in a lot of ways helmets are like saddles because heads are like butts. After typing that, I realize I need to beg readers to hang in there while I splain. Heads, just as it is with butts, are all shaped very differently and as we all have different fit preferences. What works for one person won't necessarily work for another. I spent $200 on a Giro Synthe after going through a plethora of lower priced helmets that had fit or hot spot issues. Overall, I was pretty happy with it and would have willingly spent the same money to replace it.

When I bought my wife a new bike, I also bought her a new helmet. A Giro Isode for less than $50. It weighs only fractionally more than the high dollar Synthe. I liked hers well enough that I bought one for myself. It is more comfortable over the course of a long ride than the Synthe. Afraid Giro would discontinue the model, I bought another. Why do manufacturers always phase out products I fall in love with (Think Conti GP4000)?
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Old 03-30-21, 10:40 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by Paul Barnard View Post
Good thread! I appreciate the time you put into it. We don't get a lot of quality content like that here. I suspect in a lot of ways helmets are like saddles because heads are like butts
For sure helmets are like butts. 100%.
I tried to limit my ramblings for each helmet to the features, build, finish, etc since whether it fits me well or not is of no help to most others.

If I were flush with Scrooge McDuck level wealth, I would 100% start a helmet company and use the best of all the different brands Ive tried.
- POC and Kask's full wrap around shell for the exposed underside to reduce gouged foam.
- Giro's Spherical MIPS tech that totally eliminates the plastic liner everyone else is using and integrates MIPS into the helmet. Or POC's SPIN tech. Who knows which is better in reality.
- ABUS' design where you can remove the straps for cleaning.
- ABUS' strap design which results in them laying flat while being very light.
- Integrated ports for easy sunglass storage like on POC, KASK, ABUS, and MET.
- A fit dial that is simple to turn and stays put. Same with vertical adjustment- easy to set and stays put.
- A front overhang that isnt super deep. When in the drops, the deep overhang will reduce vision.
- Good ventilation with not just a lot of vents, but placement that makes sense.

Whats funny is that besides GIRO's Spherical tech, pretty much everything I want could easily be designed into an $80 helmet. It cant be expensive to sew the straps together instead of using a plastic clip to connect them, for example. Wrapping the plastic shell around what would otherwise be exposed foam on the underside brim would be more expensive for manufacturing, Im sure, but Im not sure if that means the helmet needs to be $200-300 in price. Oh, and good a chin strap retention band that holds the excess strap just isnt expensive, but boy Giro skimped on it with their midpriced Syntax.



What I am surprised most out of all this is that I chose 2 relatively mid-priced helmets that cost $140-155 delivered to me from overseas and arent available domestically.
Before doing this, I figured I would end up with a POC and Kask since they are so trendy and seem to use nice materials. The fit and finish of both is top notch. The look on me was just too much though. They are both 'deep' helmets too in that they fit lower onto my head and while the design is neat, it just isnt for me.
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