The Bell Stratus MIPs is simply excellent: it's comfortable, cool and most importantly not a bank breaker!
Straps and retention dial aren't as finessed as other helmets
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The cycle helmet market is full to the brim, bristling with spectacular lids that offer neat design features or aero benefits that'll save you however many watts, or weigh this many grams – so full that you might easily overlook a helmet like the Bell Stratus MIPS with its understated design and lower price point. But to do so would be an enormous mistake.
Beneath that subtle surface is a helmet ready to perform. For starters it's jammed full of holes, featuring 18 vents for excellent airflow. Having been worn for a full British summer, there hasn't been a time where the Bell Stratus MIPS has been stifling or overwhelming.
No doubt it's because it takes its design cues from its pro-level sibling, the Bell Zephyr, and despite its lower status, Bell still claims it to be an aerodynamic helmet.
While we can't judge this outside of the wind tunnel, we can say it's a great fit. It isn't too bulky but neither does it feel simply perched on top of your head, instead sitting snugly.
I opted for a size medium, which Bell says is suitable for people with a size 55-59cm head, and happily it fit like a glove.
Watch: Helmet buyer's guide
The fit can be dialled in with the retention dial on the back, which isn't as finessed as the Giro Roc-Loc system on the Giro Cinder MIPS or the Bontrager Velocis Boa Dial, but it gets the job done. Similarly, the straps are rougher than offerings on other helmets, but this is a minor gripe.
You also get MIPS for added protection, but for a fraction of the price it costs on other helmets, offering great value.
At 279g it's no featherweight, but once again it holds its own against models that sit far above it in terms of price.
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