The Sweet Protection Outrider is a good looking, comfortable and relatively well-ventilated helmet for the money.
- Pros: Looks, ventilation, strap design
- Cons: Could be more adjustable for those with smaller heads/bigger ears
The Outrider sits below the Falconer in Sweet Protection's two-model range of road helmets, with four variations on offer: with and without Mips for men, and with and without Mips for women.
Sweet Protection has worked across many different sports for the past 30 years and has built a really effective retention system with its Occigrip dial. This controls bands that run from the back of your head to the temples, meaning that tightening runs around most of the head rather than just at the back. It is pretty small compared to many other helmets, so less likely to be annoying on the back of your head. The dial also allows small increments of adjustment, so it's easier to find the right fit.
Helping with comfort are the pads, which have a medium depth but more density than many others I have used. This combination means the helmet can sit closer to the head to improve fit, while still providing a decent level of comfort.
Another nice touch is the way the straps have been built, with two different elements, a bit like Specialized's 'Tri-Fix splitters', but adjustable. I found this worked really well as it basically nullified any twisting, but because you can only adjust the clips by a couple of inches, it might not be quite so good for those with smaller heads or bigger ears.
Ventilation is fairly good, although this is one area where you can really notice the difference between a mid-price helmet and a really high-end one. It is slightly better than others I have used in this price bracket, though; I used it on some of the hottest days of the year and didn't ever find myself wishing I was wearing something with more ventilation.
It's around the same price as both those (the same as the Salice and a fiver more than the Smith), comparable in most respects and better in some, such as head retention and – subjectively – looks. (It's available in four other colours if this doesn't do it for you.)
Overall, I was impressed with this helmet. It looks really good, is well priced, has decent ventilation and is very comfortable. There's little not to like, although those with larger ears or smaller heads might not get on so well with the straps.
Looks good and performs well, being comfortable, a good weight for the money, and with decent ventilation
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Sweet Protection Outrider 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?
Sweet Protection says, "A sleek, do-it-all road helmet, the Outrider uses impact technology inherited from the high-end models. This means low weight and great ventilation all in a compact shaped value-for-money package."
Performed really well; decent ventilation and fit help to keep it comfortable.
Seems well made and likely to last.
Good weight for a helmet in this price bracket, with similarly priced helmets coming in heavier.
Good comfort thanks to well-designed pads and decent ventilation.
Pretty good value for a fairly lightweight and comfortable helmet.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It performed well, offering relatively good ventilation, decent fit, and good looks.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
I really liked its looks combined with the performance. You could happily wear this without looking like a faux-pro while still getting the benefits of its performance elements.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
It would be good to have a little more adjustability in the straps for people with smaller heads/bigger ears.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The Salice Ghibli comes in at the same price and the Smith Portal is £5 cheaper, both of which offer roughly the same kind of performance.
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
It's a decent weight for the money and ventilation is pretty good. It would perhaps be nice to have more adjustability in the straps for those with smaller heads or larger ears, but really that's nitpicking what is otherwise a very good helmet.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cinelli Gazzetta My best bike is: Cannondale Supersix Evo
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
George spends his days flitting between writing about data, running business magazines and writing about sports technology. The latter gave him the impetus (excuse) to get even further into the cycling world before taking the dive and starting his own cycling sites and writing for Road.cc.
When he is not writing about cycling, he is either out on his bike cursing not living in the countryside or boring anybody who will listen about the latest pro peloton/cycling tech/cycling infrastructure projects.