Once I had ordered my Canyon Spectral mountain bike, I immediately began the hunt for a helmet.
I found this to be one of the most agonising MTB items to shop for. How many of you feel like you don’t have a normal shaped head? Well, me for one. I’ve never been a “hat person“, I think I have an oddly shaped head because they never seem to sit right on me. When it came to researching for a helmet, I knew I wanted something which looked good and had a decent amount of coverage… I’ve seen enough MTB fail videos online to know that more protection is better.
After careful consideration of shape, price, colour and online reviews I went for a MET Parabellum helmet. I ordered a size medium which is 54-58cm in circumference which best suited my head measurements, and to my relief, the helmet fits really well!
There are strips of soft padding inside the helmet which can be detached and moved to whichever position is most comfortable to the rider. The front head strap of the helmet has a soft gel lining to not only divert sweat away from your eyes but also to provide additional grip without any pinching pain.
The dial adjuster at the back of the helmet makes it simple to adjust the size… with gloves on… in the rain… covered in mud. Tried and tested. The circumference can be altered in small increments which is brilliant for getting the fit just right. MET’s super lightweight technology weighs the Parabellum in at 284g which doesn’t burden the head whilst riding and because it’s so adjustable, you can ensure there are no wobbles when you’re really shredding it up.
I love the engineering that has gone into this helmet. A normal helmet usually has a single piece outer shell with padded impact-absorbing EPS foam on the inside, all around a skeleton frame which has been a standard construction for years. With the increased participation in extreme sports, and riders taking it to the “next level” of riding, manufacturers have been experimenting with different ways of adding extra head protection to helmets, without adding the weight or compromising the streamlined shape.
MET’s answer to this is to create a two-piece outer shell, this is identified by the two colours of the helmet. This construction has overlapping segments to reinforce the outer shell, meaning that weight can be kept down by not needing to add a lot of additional foam and bulk. MET claims that this construction also boasts a larger surface area for impact, distributing the energy from a collision more evenly across the helmet surface.
I’ve worn this helmet in all kinds of weather and the angled 28 vents around the helmet make it really breathable as it allows air to circulate around your head, and there is nothing worse than a full head of long hair getting all matted and sweaty under a helmet! On colder rides, I tend to extend the size of the adjuster slightly to be able to wear a thin beanie hat underneath. This keeps my ears warm (as I’m prone to an occasional earache) and adds a little more comfort for the noggin.
The Parabellum has a Head Contact Surface (HCS) of 55% which means it comes down lower in the back, so ladies (and lads) there isn’t a ponytail gap on this one. Just means you’ll have to wear your ponytail a little lower, which is a small cost for the extra head protection.
The MET Parabellum comes with a flat mount suitable for fixing a camera bracket to. The good thing about this is that it’s a screw fixture which adds a little more stability, rather than the common Velcro design many other helmet manufacturers use. The downside is that it isn’t as quick as Velcro if you wanted to whip it off suddenly. The flat mount sits atop of the helmet in a way that doesn’t become a hindrance to the rider.
Overall, I love this helmet! The style has a sleek sci-fi shape to it with the rear end looking like a jet engine on an alien spacecraft. It fits really well to the head with its adjustable dial and chin straps, without any irritating rubbing or pinching at the temples. The 55% HCS is great for protection and the well-ventilated design compensates the coverage.
A small niggle for me was the narrow visor which could do with being a little more stretched out so that it offers better sun protection, but I tend to wear sunglasses a lot of the time for sun and debris. I discovered that the name Parabellum is Latin for “Prepare for War” and I feel that this is a truly apt name for a helmet that makes you feel armoured and gnarly.
Having a good helmet is essential and I cannot stress enough the importance of wearing a helmet when you’re on the bike. It angers me to see some riders on trails tearing it up without a helmet on when it can just take an awkward knock to take you out of the game. Even if your helmet makes you feel goofy, it doesn’t matter because everyone is wearing one and nobody cares! And even if your helmet gives you horrendous helmet hair, it doesn’t matter! Just keep a beanie hat or hair-tie in your pocket for the post-ride. Ride safe!