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review

Liv Relay MIPS Helmet

9
£44.99

VERDICT:

9
10
If the profile appeals, this is an excellent buy – quality, considered features and Mips for less than £50
Mips
Clean design
Well made
Good value
Weight: 
305g

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Liv's Relay MIPS Helmet more than meets its aims of offering 'incredible value for road riders and bike commuters who also want great protection and style'. It goes well with technical and casual clothing, and offers a snug and secure fit. I'd say it's one of the best cycling helmets you can get for the money, and highly recommended.

The Relay's list of specifications is impressive for the price point and includes a durable in-mould construction (where liner and shell are fused together simultaneously), Mips technology, and a deeper-than-average rear profile, for additional protection at the back of the head. Inside you get moisture-wicking and anti-odour TransTextura padding, and 17 vents to stop you overheating.

There is also a docking point for a (Liv-specific) light, though you'll need to buy it separately, for £17.99, if you want one.

2021 Liv Relay MIPS Helmet - light cover removing.jpg

Shape and fit

It's not a profile I would normally go for in a helmet, certainly not for training rides anyway, and I was concious of the wide profile initially, though after a few wears it just felt normal.

> All you need to know about Mips

The fit is one of the things I like best about it: an easy-to-use dial lets you micro-adjust the 360-degree, full-surround basket. The basket depth is fixed, but it has a raised profile at the rear to accommodate a ponytail.

2021 Liv Relay MIPS Helmet - tension system.jpg

It's one of the better fitting helmets I've tested in recent years, with no pressure points to note, and I really sensed a snug, secure fit round the entirety of my head. I'd normally complain about a lack of vertical adjustment, but the S/M fitted me perfectly (I have a 54cm head circumference).

> How to set up your helmet – 10 easy steps to a perfect fit

The dial is the only part of the helmet that, I think, perhaps hints at its price point. It does exactly what it needs to, it's just not smooth or particularly subtle, and doesn't feel as refined as, for example, the dial on Specialized's Sierra.

The straps are quick and easy to adjust. The front and rear strap come together in a clamping slider. Once you've set them in a position to suit you, the clamp holds them securely in place. I much prefer this kind of adjustment to both a fixed setup, like you get on the Sierra, or a buckle without a clamp, which can be prone to slipping out of position.

2021 Liv Relay MIPS Helmet - clip.jpg

Inside, the padding is generous and well placed. I felt like they offered more cushioning than those in Raleigh's Mission Evo. The pads also peel out easily if you like to wash them occasionally.

2021 Liv Relay MIPS Helmet - inside 1.jpg

Colours, size & weight

The helmet is available in three colours – Gloss White, Gloss Panther Black and Gloss Metal – and two sizes, S/M and M/L.

It's not superlight – the S/M I'm testing tips our scales at 305g – though I didn't sense it as being weightier than my sub-300g, race-orientated lids.

In use

I've been testing the Relay in some pretty cold weather, frequently wearing it with a Buff (which fits under it just fine).

I can't comment on airflow in warm or even hot conditions, but using it in temperatures close to 10°C, I've noted a decent flow and never sensed heat building up under it.

2021 Liv Relay MIPS Helmet - back.jpg

With a decent head of hair, I do tend to get quite warm under a helmet, even in winter. I've certainly not got any hotter in the Relay than in any of my more performance-orientated, well-vented helmets. Without doubt, there's sufficient ventilation for urban-focused riding.

Value and conclusion

Mips technology is certainly trickling down to helmets falling into 'leisure riding' categories, and so the Liv isn't alone at including it for less then £50 – Specialized's Align II is a good example, with the same £45 rrp.

2021 Liv Relay MIPS Helmet - MIPS.jpg

That said, you can still pay a premium for helmets with this technology: Abus's Urban I 3.0 is more than twice the price of the Liv at £109.99 – up £5 since Lara tested it last year – and Smith's Persist is £99.99.

Overall, if the shaping and fit suit you, the Relay is undoubtedly a good buy for the money, and will serve you well for a range of riding.

Verdict

If the profile appeals, this is an excellent buy – quality, considered features and Mips for less than £50

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website

road.cc test report

Make and model: Liv Relay MIPS Helmet

Size tested: S/M 49-57cm

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?

From Liv: 'The ultra-safe and durable in-mold shell is available with MIPS crash protection and is now designed with a deeper rear profile for additional protection at the back of the head. Whether you're finding your pace uphill or pushing on the flats, the Direct Flow Cooling channels are designed to pull in air to keep you cool at any speed. Plus you get antimicrobial padding that wicks moisture and prevents odours. Focus on descents with zero distractions, thanks to our CINCH Pro™ fit system with a one-handed dial adjustment for a secure fit every time.'

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

Liv lists:

-Simple, clean and compact helmet shape

-Optimized vent design for enhanced breathability

-MIPS brain protection system and lower rear coverage

-New 360° full surround fit-belt

-Intuitive one-handed dial adjustment (Cinch ONE fit system)

-Compatible with Alumbra taillight: Liv proprietary taillight docking station

-In-molded construction for added strength

-TransTextura moisture-wicking, anti-odor inner padding

-Pony-tail friendly rear fit system

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Very clean and tidy.

Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
8/10

Good for a helmet at this price point.

Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
9/10

Genuinely one of the most comfortable helmets I have used.

Rate the product for value:
 
8/10

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

Meets all standards and does what it should, with a good fit.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The fit.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Nothing really.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

It's more expensive than the Raleigh Mission Evo helmet I tested recently, which costs £27.99, but that has no Mips.

It's the same price as Specialized's Align II, but many Mips-featured helmets cost more: Abus's Urban I 3.0 is £109.99 and Smith's Persist is £99.99.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? For urban riding, yes.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

Its excellent: advanced protection in an affordable helmet that is comfortable and quick and easy to adjust.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 42  Height: 173cm  Weight: 64kg

I usually ride: Road  My best bike is: Carbon road.

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

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, general fitness riding, Getting to grips with off roading too!

Emma’s first encounters with a road bike were in between swimming and running. Soon after competing for GB in the World Age Group Triathlon Championships in Edmonton in 2001 she saw the light and decided to focus on cycling. 

After a couple of half decent UK road seasons racing for Leisure Lakes, she went out to Belgium to sample the racing there and spent two years with Lotto-Belisol Ladies team, racing alongside the likes of Sara Carrigan, Grace Verbeke, Rochelle Gilmore and Lizzie Deignan. Emma moved from Lotto-Belisol to Dutch team Redsun, then a new Belgian team of primarily developing riders, where there was less pressure, an opportunity to share her experience and help build a whole new team; a nice way to spend her final years of professional racing. 

Since retiring Emma has returned to teaching. When not coercing kids to do maths, she is invariably out on two wheels. In addition to the daily commute, Emma still enjoys getting out on her road bike and having her legs ripped off on the local club rides and chain gangs. She has also developed an addiction to touring, with destinations including Iceland, Georgia and Albania, to mention just a few. There have also been rare sightings of Emma off-road on a mountain bike…

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