MET TERRANOVA HELMET REVIEW
Words by Robert Johnston | Photos by Adam Lievesley
MET helmets have an extensive line of head protection to suit all from ultra-aero road time trial helmets through to their Parachute MCR convertible enduro full-face model. Within this extensive range are models at a multitude of price points, with both the deep-pocketed premium end and the budget end of the spectrum catered for. Instead of testing one of their all singing all dancing top-end models, we were given one of their more budget conscious mountain bike helmets – the MET Terranova – to put to the test in the summer heat of the UK.
MET’s Terranova helmet is designed for trail and eMTB riding, featuring increased head coverage compared to its more XC-oriented siblings. Taking some styling and performance cues from their top-end Roam lid, the Terranova should offer many riders with a solid no-frills offering to keep their head safe without breaking the bank too much. The main construction utilizes an in-mold polycarbonate shell that covers all of the EPS liner on the outside, which should help to keep the helmet from becoming damaged so easily over time. This liner has air channeling optimized by MET to keep the air flowing through and the head cool. The all-important fit on the head is handled by the SAFE-T DUO system, which uses a belt that offers a 360° fit, keeping the helmet firmly in place without any pressure spots. This belt is adjusted by a ratchet, which is compatible with their DUO LED light to increase rider visibility in the dark and can be adjusted between 4 vertical positions as well as accommodating a ponytail. The comfort padding is removable for washing but foregoes the antimicrobial treatments of a more premium helmet. The straps are connected to the liner with embedded anchors to keep the looks extra clean; feature adjustable cam dividers to fine tune the fit around the ears; and make use of a standard snap buckle for fastening. The visor is flex-injected to allow it to give way in a crash and prevent any snagging that may contribute to the rotational forces in an impact and can be adjusted tool-free to stow glasses or goggles beneath. Speaking of which, the front ports are designed to accept the legs of glasses for such times. MET offers a DUAL GEL padding upgrade for the front padding strip, which should increase comfort and provide some sweat-channeling properties to keep the vision clearer. The MET Terranova is available in 3 sizes to suit 52-61cm heads with 7 current color options, and retails for £90 /€100.
Opening the MET Terranova box, I was expecting to be somewhat uninspired, thanks to a recent run of high-end helmets. Thankfully this didn’t turn out to be the case – it’s clear that MET know how to make even a reasonably budget helmet look good. The lack of exposed foam and the premium-looking styling make a good first impression, though there are giveaways that this is not a top tier product, from the snap buckle through to the slightly rough finish on the strap and lack of rotational impact protection. Nevertheless, the Terranova feels good on the head, with the SAFE-T DUO fit system doing a good job of cinching the helmet up evenly, and on my relatively average shaped head that falls on the lower end of the Medium’s 56-58cm size range. The ratchets on this system are spaced closely enough that finding the optimum setting was easy, and once this is found the helmet is reassuringly secure. It has the coverage to support this too, with a good extension down the back of the head and plenty of meat around the temples.
The adjusters around the ear make getting the right position for the straps easy, but in my helmet the chinstrap had a tendency to loosen if it was allowed to become slightly loose. When under tension it held firmly, indicating it would be safe when tugged in a crash, but it would need a tug or two each ride to re-tension it below the jaw. The standard buckle works as you’d expect, but it would be nice to see a Fidlock style system for easier fastening when gloved (or bearded). MET (and Bluegrass) has a great little touch of fitting a stopper at the end of their straps, preventing the strap from coming completely out of the tidying clip, which means it’s easier to manage the excess strap and keep things tidy below the chin. The visor adjustment is basic, relying on the friction of the two mounting bolts to keep it in place, and eventually these did loosen off to the point that the visor would move a little too freely, but a quick finger cinch up had it good to go again. Though it’s not something I tend to do often, storing both glasses and goggles below this peak (not together) was relatively trouble free, with the straight legs of my Melon Alleycat glasses sitting neatly in the front vents and making use of the ventilation channels to avoid too much head stabbing. The peak is quite short and so even at the very lowest it’ll go it doesn’t offer a huge amount of sun protection, but the flipside is you can slam it down without restricting the vision of the trail ahead.
The Terranova flies under the radar out on the trail, with a generally comfortable and well-ventilated performance and no shaking or creaking on the head. Once you’ve started wetting out the padding, it does saturate quite quickly due to its low volume, which can lead it to dripping into the eyes before you might expect. In this regard it’s a shame that MET doesn’t equip the Terranova with their Dual Gel padding as standard, which they claim to act as a sweat guide, and would lessen this issue massively if so. At €9 it sounds like a worthy investment for sweatier riders or those often riding in hotter climates. Overall, the Terranova is a solid lid, though I’d have a hard time settling for the standard version instead of adding a little extra cash to have the reassurance of a MIPS liner in a crash. But for those not fully sold on the MIPS benefits, it could well be the ticket.
It’s a bit of a worry to be suggesting a €100 is somewhat “budget”, but ignoring the rising prices across the industry, the MET Terranova provides a good compromise of budget and premium performance, with good ventilation and comfort and a quality finish.
Price: £90 /€100
Weight: 335g (actual, M).