Bell’s Metropolis is a smartly designed, commuter lid with some nice detailing made better still by a comprehensive accessory kit adding £20 to the basic asking price.
Weighing a very reasonable 320g, the dove grey livery of the outer shell comes complete with an integral peak to shield the eyes from sun; rain and sleet while offering some defence from aggressive foliage should you take in some forest or towpath on your commute.
The round profile feels very alien coming after wearing the latest generation of road and mountain bike helmets but stops short of being frumpy. Closer inspection reveals clever protective rubber skirting safeguarding the vulnerable expanded polystyrene from the rough and tumble of daily riding. Complying with CE1078 it feels extremely robust and thoughtfully a clean ponytail vent goes a long way to preventing the discomfort and helmet hair remembered from my hirsute past and something often complained about by women riders with longer hair, although 16 vents can leave heads feeling a little warm on faster paced mid summer rides. The universal fitting system lacks the refinement of more expensive models but only takes a second or so longer to achieve perfect fit.
So, to the goodies transforming the Metropolis from a capable to comprehensive package. While sixteen vents might feel slightly restrictive in warmer weather, they offer greater protection from the elements and the breathable “Rain Shield” cover takes some persuading to stretch over the top but seals the deal when the heavens open.
Helmet mirrors have never really fired my imagination, they take some adapting to and though they might be a useful aid in traffic when towing trailer or tag-along are no substitute for periodic over the shoulder observation. More impressive is the dedicated LED strap accommodating the super bright Mars LED better than any other in my experience. In a nutshell, the Metropolis is a great commuter package, saving the race or best lid from the rigors of daily riding.
A good commuter helmet made better thanks to comprehensive accessory kit.
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Make and model: Bell Metro helmet + accessory kit
Size tested: M
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?
As the name suggests, the Metropolis is a competent, dedicated commuter lid transformed into an even more attractive package with generally well chosen accessories.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Made in China it conforms with CE1078 standards, includes a clever rubberised bumper system to protect the underside from damage. 16 vents, pony tail exit, breathable rain cover, helmet mirror, LED mount and Blackburn Mars LED-what more could you ask for at this price?
Generally seems well made.
Should stand up to a good few season's rough and tumble.
320g isn't unreasonable.
Generally very good but can feel very warm in milder weather.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The Metropolis fits the design brief perfectly, it's comfortable, understated without looking frumpy and so long as you're happy to ride at a moderate 15mph it shouldn't fry your brains. Well chosen accessories make for a very, very clever package.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Good build quality, pricing, well chosden accessories and some genuinely orginal detail.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing particularly, although helmet mirror a bit hit and miss and gets a little warm riding quickly in milder weather.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Possibly
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, for commuting/utility riding
Age: 35 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)