- Uvex Supersonic RS helmet
Look around on the trails and you’ll notice that the helmet market is dominated by three or four brands. Look beyond the obvious, though, and there’s some tidy offerings from less well-known manufacturers. Uvex made its name with eyewear and ski helmets, but it’s been doing bike helmets for years. The Supersonic RS is actually the cheapest of its MTBish helmets, although the range is bizarrely compressed into a fairly small price range – the next one up costs £2 more.
The price point puts it kind of between the mid- and high-end offerings from the obvious rivals, but it stacks up well in terms of features. Construction is the usual in-moulded foam and outer shell, although in this case the shell is Uvex’s Makrolon material as used in its impressively impact-resistant eyewear lenses. There are 20 vents for cooling, with the big ones at the front featuring mesh panels to stop bugs getting sucked on to your head.
Styling-wise it’s a perfectly agreeable-looking helmet, if not quite as sleek as some. The stubby visor isn’t adjustable and the way it mounts to the shell seems a little crude, although the visor itself is suitably flexible and appears to pop off under impacts without damaging anything. The straps come through the shell and are secured by toggles on the outside. A neat feature is the ability to swap the toggles for special ones that let you mount Uvex LEDs to the helmet – rear-facing red centrally at the back and a forward-facing white one on either side at the front.
Rather than the usual quick-release buckle fastening, the Supersonic uses a ratcheting fastener with a release button. This works really well, letting you compensate for those strange variations in head size without fiddling about with the straps. Just click it down or let it out another notch. A soft pad stops chin chafing and keeps the dangly ends of the strap out of the way. There’s a choice of two sizes, with fit being fine-tuned by the IAS2 system – an adjustable headband with a clicky wheel at the back. Again, it works well and is comfortable. A full-width brow pad runs right round from one temple to the other and there are further pads in the top and at the back.
In use, we found it to be comfortable but the long brow pad tends to gather sweat and then release it at inopportune moments. Then again, the alternative is continuous dripping from an interrupted pad so if you tend to be sweaty then you’re generally out of luck anyway. Cooling is adequate, we didn’t get any insects in it and it seems robust. The details aren’t as tidy as some of the competition – the chunky pads and black visor seem a little low-rent – but it’s a perfectly good lid.
Positives: Robust, comfortable, some neat features
Negatives: Looks a little pricey, looks not to all tastes
Verdict: As with all wearables, you really need to try helmets on before deciding what to buy. Uvex’s adjustment system seems quite accommodating of different head shapes, though. Well worth a look.