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Verdict: 
Nice enough for general riding but faces stiff competition from store brands
Weight: 
291g
Oxford Metro-V Helmet
6 10

Oxford Products' Metro-V helmet is a nicely thought out, genre-blurring design that is comfortable for longer rides at road typical pace. However, for all its pluses, it's hard to recommend it over some store branded models, which offer more pizzazz for quite a few pounds less.

Tipping the scales at a genre typical 291g and available in four contemporary colours, we have the standard in-mould construction (where shell and liner are formed together, trimming weight and production costs). In this instance, the rim is left bare, leaving it vulnerable to everyday damage, although this hasn't been an issue in several weeks' constant use.

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The matt blue outer shell of our test model is attractive and well finished, while a subtle peak offers some protection from sun, wind and rain without looking too mountain bikey. Damp cloth wipe-overs keep it looking sharp.

Round the back, we have an integrated three-function LED fuelled by a CR2032 button battery. The switch is easily located in gloved hands and the modes are quite distinctive. It's not retina tickling but offers some useful tertiary illumination. Suffice to say, our factory fitted cell is still going strong despite a fair bit of night riding.

Oxford Metro-V Helmet Matt Blue - back light on.jpg

Oxford Metro-V Helmet Matt Blue - back light on.jpg

Unfortunately, the triangular design sits extremely close to the thumbwheel, which makes split second tweaks (say, to accommodate a cap or buff) trickier and, though not a deal-breaker, merits redesign.

Y and chin straps are functional but feel a little low rent compared with those on the BTwin 500. Achieving a good fit isn't difficult, though, and I was less conscious of its angular profile. It sits slightly higher than many commuter models at the back, but still offers ample support to the occipital region.

Oxford Metro-V Helmet Matt Blue.jpg

Oxford Metro-V Helmet Matt Blue.jpg

Ventilation doesn't follow the inlet and exhaust principle of more sophisticated road models, yet still keeps pace with skinny tyre speeds. Due in part to a thick shock of hair, high humidity can leave me feeling a little soggy after 25 miles at 20-25mph, even wearing a really feathery, airy race lid.

Oxford Metro-V Helmet Matt Blue - inside.jpg

Oxford Metro-V Helmet Matt Blue - inside.jpg

Nonetheless, the Oxford copes well enough, although I was beginning to drip on some long, slow, 1-in-7 ascents, with the mercury in the mid-20s, humidity at 60-70% and scant breeze. At the other extreme, haring along the other side, there's less wind noise at 30-35mph, so doesn't overly impair conversation, or awareness round town. Their arrangement also lends it nicely to mounting lighting and some lighter action cameras.

> Check out our guide to the best budget helmets

When all's said and done, I've got along just dandy with the Metro-V. It's by no means a bad helmet, but stiff competition leaves the spec below that we've come to expect. This makes it very difficult to recommend over a host of similar and, ultimately, cheaper designs.

Verdict

Nice enough for general riding but faces stiff competition from store brands

road.cc test report

Make and model: Oxford Metro-V Helmet

Size tested: 58-61cm

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?

A lightweight, well-ventilated everyday/commuter helmet with some nice touches.

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

19 Air Vents

Integrated Sun Visor

Lightweight Micro Shell

Integrated rear LED Light

CR 2032 replaceable battery

Dial Fit retention System

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
6/10

Generally well made but exposed EPS liner leaves it vulnerable to knocks and is becoming increasingly rare, even on budget helmets.

Rate the product for performance:
 
7/10

Meets the commuter/everyday helmet design brief rather well. Not as airy as sportier road lids but ventilation is still pretty good at higher speeds and comfortable over longer distances.

Rate the product for durability:
 
6/10

Faring well to date but exposed liner potentially vulnerable to knocks.

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

At 291g it's pretty reasonable by genre standards and unobtrusive even on long, hot rides.

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

Chin strap less refined than some competitors but otherwise very pleasant to use. Peak offers good defence against strong sunlight, wind, low hanging foliage etc without looking too trail-orientated.

Rate the product for value:
 
5/10

Good but competition has forced standards very high. I've tested several store branded equivalents offering better specification for quite a bit less.

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

Overall, the Metro-V has proven a very capable helmet for commuting and general riding. The shape doesn't feel genre specific, thus goes well with technical road kit, or smarts. The matt blue finish continues this theme and seems durable. Ventilation is good enough for more spirited riding and in hot weather, and wind noise is nominal – even at 35mph – so holding conversations with riding companions is easy too.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Reasonable weight, decent ventilation, shape and integral LED are definite pluses.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

By no means a bad helmet but fiercely competitive market means it feels reasonable rather than good value for money.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes but not at full RRP – there are better equipped models for quite a bit less these days.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, but with the above in mind...

Use this box to explain your score

Well-thought-out helmet that fits its design brief pretty well but lags behind cheaper competition in some respects.

Overall rating: 6/10

About the tester

Age: 42  Height: 1m 81cm  Weight: 70kg

I usually ride: Rough Stuff tourer based around 4130 Univega mountain bike frameset  My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking

Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)