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Limbo dancing beneath the £30 barrier, the B'Twin 700 road bike helmet is ridiculously good value for money.
It's available in either black or white, and shows an attention to detail that exceeds many helmets at twice the price.
CE1078 compliance and in-mould construction barely merit mention these days. The construction is flawless throughout and unusually for this end of the market, the shell extends under the helmet, comprehensively protecting the EPS liner against everyday accidental damage.
Slightly off white is an excellent choice year round, subtle enough by day, though refreshingly obvious under the glare of street/vehicle lighting, a particular plus on winter nights.
Talking of which, while the rear ventilation cluster wouldn't accommodate even the most elastic blinky brackets, two in one systems such as Light& Motion Viz360 work just fine, as do Go Pro and similar camera mounts. Said detailing may also account for some additional grams but judging by the past few lids I've reviewed, 300g isn't unusual on better equipped race helmets.
There also appears to be a trend for fewer, more efficient vents. The 700 sports 17 in total, working on the inlet/exhaust principle: the vents at the front scoop a flow of cooling air inside, while the rear vents expel rider-generated heat so our brains don't cook on hot, hazy climbs when it's 110 in the shade.
Buying helmets on line has become much easier since sizing has become increasingly universal between manufacturers. However, achieving a good fit with our 57-62cm sample necessitated some rummaging in my spare pads stash coupled with trial and error.
Such bodging was partially attributed to the sliding rear closure. Medium (52-56cm) would've been optimal for me, so try a friend's or err on the smaller side if teetering between sizes. Similarly, the chin-strap quick release lacks the finesse of more expensive helmets but was perfectly intuitive.
Minor niggles aside, I've been hard pressed to tell the difference between this and helmets commanding £100 plus; it's genuinely that good. Cruising along at a steady 18mph, ventilation is seamless and sustained. Fast descending hasn't induced painful ice cream headaches, or irksome whistling, so the B'Twin 700 is highly conducive to maintaining conversation.
My past, professional experience with head and acquired brain injuries suggests roll cage or similar technologies such as MIPS may have some positive effect in defending the wearer against twisting injuries but otherwise, the 700 is everything I could want from a race/training lid and see little reason to fork out more.
Great value road helmet with excellent attention to detail but try for size first
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Make and model: BTwin Bike Helmet 700
Size tested: Black/White/Blue
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?
"Protecting active cyclists during intense cycling. Lightweight; precise adjustment". Inexpensive, though very high quality helmet for most types of road biased riding-good enough for a main/best lid but winter/training friendly too.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
In-mould construction, CE1078 compliance, 17 vents, 300g (large) micro adjust thumb wheel closures two year guarantee.
Finish is delightful, especially at this price point.
Difficult to say without access to laboratory style crash tests but should shrug off everyday carelessness and two-year guarantee offers further peace of mind.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Sizing niggles aside, the 700 is a fantastic helmet for general road riding and particularly good value for those seeking a second i.e. everyday/winter/training lid.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Pretty much everything.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
I prefer thumb-wheel over micro adjust sliding closures, though that's about it.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Definitely.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Definitely.
Age: 40 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb 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, mtb,
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)