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review

Met Manta Mips Aero Road helmet

9
£220.00

VERDICT:

9
10
Aero is the name of the game, but the Manta Mips also impresses with nicely integrated Mips protection and decent cooling
Aero gains (claimed)
Mips tech
Decent ventilation
Quite light
Helmet brow quite visible
Weight: 
248g

At road.cc every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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The Met Manta Mips Aero Road helmet offers a good blend of aero performance and ventilation while integrating Mips protection nicely. It's a good all-round helmet with a strong leaning towards fast club riders and racers interested in aero performance, but it's an expensive option.

Although practically every helmet brand and its cousin has an aero lid in its arsenal, the Met Manta has always rated highly. Stu reviewed the original back in 2016, when the Manta was born – if the marketing is to be believed – out of a request from the then-called MTN Qhubeka team to have a competitive lightweight aero helmet for the Tour de France. It achieved 9/10 by Stu's reckoning – he thought it was excellent.

> Find your nearest dealer here

Of course, time waits for no brand, so in March this year Met launched a new version of the Manta. This one integrates reprofiled aerodynamics, a revised ventilation system and – perhaps most importantly – Mips protection.

I can't verify the aero claims, but they are: up to 4W improvement thanks to testing at 33, 55 and 80km/h in a wind tunnel. Interestingly, it seems that Met only tested it at zero degrees yaw, which equates to a block headwind (it might feel like it sometimes, but wind rarely blows in just that direction!), but it did simulate riding both on the hoods and in the drops – using the position of a fairly racy rider as a reference point (77 and 65 degrees head angle, respectively).

> Should you buy an aero helmet?

Met also says that the ventilation has been improved. No specific figures are given on that, but it's a reassuring statement given the inclusion of a Mips cranial protection system. Our pictures show the yellow webbing inside the helmet, which lines up nicely with the 15 ventilation ports and leaves some gapping for air behind it to be channelled around the head to the rearward 'exhaust' vents.

2021 Met Manta Mips Aero Road helmet - inside.jpg

We don't have access to a wind tunnel at road.cc Towers, nor a sophisticated air convection test, but out on the road I've found the new Manta Mips to be fast (well, fast-feeling) compared to my usual airy and lightweight climber's helmet – a Kask Valegro at the moment – and surprisingly airy too. The front six channels in combination with the seventh top vent provide just enough ventilation to regulate the temperature around your head on a warm British summer's day. It's only overwhelmed by a particularly humid warmth or when temperatures on the road start edging towards the high 20s.

2021 Met Manta Mips Aero Road helmet - top vent.jpg

The rear exhaust vents seem to help to pull the air through a little, while the channelling inside meant that I didn't notice any hotspots. In a helmet of this type, it's pretty good.

2021 Met Manta Mips Aero Road helmet - rear vents.jpg

Mips technology has been nicely integrated, as I already mentioned, and the safety benefit of that – which no one hopes to ever have to test – puts you in the best position possible if you do have a spill. You can read more about Mips here.

While the Manta has a narrow profile on the head, the frontal area does protrude somewhat. When you dip your head and look up and forward in the usual way, you do notice it in your upper peripheral vision. If the helmet sits slightly lower on your head, it can tap the top of your sunglasses frame.

2021 Met Manta Mips Aero Road helmet - side.jpg

I tested a medium size version, which equates to a 56-58cm size noggin, which is about perfect for me. But if you can try it on in a bike shop, or get free returns with your purchase, I recommend that you try it with your favourite sunnies on, too, to make sure you can live with it.

A click wheel cranial fit system ensures a secure fit. One of the aspects of the fit for me is a slightly tight feeling around the lower circumference of the head compared to most helmets I've worn. It's no deal-breaker, and in fact encourages the front padding to create a kind of seal, which in turn does a solid job of absorbing sweat on the move.

2021 Met Manta Mips Aero Road helmet - tension system.jpg

Eventually it does run out of capacity, and once or twice I found a stream of sweat rolling down my sunglasses or face, but I do run relatively hot when riding and find this happens in pretty much any helmet I use, let alone an aero lid like this.

Met has also fitted its 'Fidlock' clasp under the chin. Benefits include a magnetic clasp that snaps together strongly, while the design semi-locks it into place, reducing the chances of accidental release yet making it easy to detach, using a sliding action with one hand. Supposedly it reduces the risk of skin pinching too.

2021 Met Manta Mips Aero Road helmet - clip.jpg

Met claims a weight of 250g in this size medium, and the road.cc scales actually undercut this at 248g. The old Manta (without Mips tech) came in at 215g in a medium size, showing that Mips – in this form, at least – still has its drawbacks. A sub-250g weight isn't too shabby though, if not the lightest around, and in fact probably won't be the highest priority for the key market of riders it's aimed at.

> Buyer’s Guide: 19 of the best  lightweight high-performance helmets

Its £220 rrp is a fair wedge of cash, but you can pay more: a Limar Pro Aero helmet costs £229.99, and although it's arguably more comprehensively ventilated, it doesn't come with Mips. The Abus AirBreaker is also £229.99, and lighter at 214g, but also doesn't come with Mips.

The Bell Z20 Mips is £11 less than the Manta Mips at £209, but is a touch heavier.

Conclusion

The Met Manta Mips impresses with seemingly good aero performance married to good levels of cooling, weight and comfort. It costs a fair amount of money, but in exchange you get a very accomplished helmet well-attuned to fast riding and racing.

Verdict

Aero is the name of the game, but the Manta Mips also impresses with nicely integrated Mips protection and decent cooling

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Met Manta Mips Aero Road helmet

Size tested: Medium, 56/58

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?

Met says: "The all new MET Manta Mips is an excellent example of MET's aesthetic and contemporary design. Led by the insight of pros and the demands of cyclists, the helmet takes on four areas of focus: safety, aerodynamics, fit and style. With these elements in mind, the design of the new Manta Mips draws on the natural geometry of its predecessor as a guide. It's as brilliant as the original, but with sharper looks and cutting-edge performance."

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

AERODYNAMICS

The Manta Mips is more aerodynamic that its predecessor thanks to its lower and tube-shaped profile at the rear, which we developed with specific wind-tunnel testing in the NEWTON laboratory of Milan.

Sharper and more cutting-edge. The bright launch colourway is a liquid metallic red that comes from our 2021 palette, inspired by the UAE Team Emirates livery that appeared at the first World Tour races of the year.

Mips protection included.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

As you would hope, it's a very well made helmet and the magnetic clasp seems like it will stand the test of time too.

Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

Seemingly good aero performance, though it's not something I can verify, and relatively impressive cooling with Mips integrated.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

No complaints here.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
8/10

Its 248g (on our scales) in a medium is competitive in a helmet of this type, especially with Mips included.

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

Fits nicely, with a click wheel retention system. I felt a sense of a slightly constricting band around the head, but you get a 'safe' fit in return.

Rate the product for value:
 
5/10

Of our relatively recent reviews, the Bell Z20 Mips is similar at £209, but it is a touch heavier than the Manta.

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

Really well for an aero helmet that might appeal to an all-rounder rider.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Aero, Mips tech, decent ventilation, quite light.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Price, helmet brow quite visible, can get warm on hot days.

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

A Limar Pro Aero helmet costs a tenner more, and although it's arguably more comprehensively ventilated, it doesn't come with Mips.

The Bell Z20 Mips is £11 less than the Manta Mips at £209, but is a touch heavier.

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

The Met Manta Mips is a very good all-round helmet, and if you need an aero lid that also has an eye on cooling and Mips-fortified safety, it's excellent, and keeps the 9/10 score the original Manta first earned.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 30  Height: 188cm  Weight: 80kg

I usually ride:   My best bike is:

I've been riding for:   I ride:   I would class myself as:

I regularly do the following types of riding:

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