‘How much is your head worth’ is an easy upselling one-liner for bike shop salespeople, but it’s entirely possible to find a helmet that offers everything you need at a reasonable price. After several weeks of riding in it, I’d say Sweet Protection’s Dissenter MIPS is one of the best values I’ve seen yet.
It may not have a fancy magnetic chin buckle or an adjustable visor, but the Dissenter MIPS provides rotational crash protection, great ventilation and weighs in as the lightest MIPS-equipped lid I’ve yet ridden.
Dissenter MIPS Construction and Features:
The Dissenter MIPS features a one-piece polycarbonate shell that follows a geometrical design to add rigidity in key areas. Back-of-head coverage is right in line with today’s expectations, with the lowest part of the shell sitting halfway down my ears. Inside the shell is an EPS liner and a MIPS system to reduce rotational impact forces.
This helmet is impressively lightweight at 325g. Compared to the MIPS-equipped Oakley and Bell helmets in my closet, the Dissenter is by far the lightest and also boasts the slimmest profile.
Ventilation is handled by eight large vents in the front/top of the shell, and three more in the back. The Dissenter’s visor is fixed in place, but its cut-outs match up to the shell’s vents to encourage air to flow through. The visor is attached with two proper clips that make it easily removable/replaceable, it’s not just pinned into the shell like a cheap department store helmet.
Sweet’s Occigrip Turn Dial makes it easy to adjust the retention system’s fit, and offers three positions for vertical adjustment. The chin buckle is a traditional type, and the minimal interior padding is just enough to keep your head from sitting against the MIPS layer.
The Dissenter MIPS’s graphics were kept to an almost subliminal level. There’s just a few small logos on the shell, visor and straps, the model name, and two side patches of Gloss Black over the Matte Black shell.
Fit and Ride Impressions:
The Dissenter has the narrowest head form of any helmet I’ve tried, which was almost perfect for my small head. My skull measures exactly 56cm’s around, and the size S/M Dissenter I’m testing covers a range of 53-56cm’s. I do find it a bit tight front-to-back; Even with the retention system dialled out, the shell puts a tiny bit of pressure on the sides of my forehead and back of my head.
On the plus side, the side-to-side fit of the helmet is perfect for me. I hate when helmets look overly bulky, so I was happy to find the Dissenter’s shell looks pretty streamlined on my head. My only caveat regarding fit is if your head is bang-on 56cm’s like mine (which falls right on the dividing line between a lot of companies’ Small and Medium helmets), I’d recommend trying on the S/M to make sure the snug-fitting head form is the right shape for your skull.
One thing to note is the narrow side-to-side fit of the Dissenter looks great, but makes it harder to pair the helmet with sunglasses. My Rudy Project sunglasses would not work with it, as the arms extend too far behind my ears and contact the edges of the shell. I tried my slim-fit Oakley sunglasses, and with their shorter arms they were OK. Now, if your head isn’t right on the upper cusp of the size range like mine, this may not be an issue.
The Occigrip Turn Dial retention system was easy to operate with gloved hands. I wound up riding with the adjuster in its lowest position, which nestled nicely under the back of my skull. Interior padding is slim but sufficient. While riding, I never felt anything poking or uncomfortably rubbing on my scalp (and I don’t have much hair left up there!).
The Dissenter’s side straps were easy to adjust, and haven’t moved since being set up. The Y-shaped side buckles aren’t the slickest looking type but they work well and keep the straps widely spread over your ears. One nice finishing detail is the embossed ‘SWEET’ logo on the rubber retainer that bundles up your extra chin strap.
The Dissenter’s large vents allow plenty of air to flow over your head as you ride. Sweet Protection uses digital simulations to ensure their vents are positioned for good airflow, and it seems to be working. Even on hot sunny days the Black colored lid I tested kept me pretty cool.
As a huge fan of night riding, I always think about how a helmet might carry a light. Unfortunately, this is one point against the Dissenter. Due to its vent layout, there is a solid patch of shell where you’d normally be looking to attach a head light. It would be possible to put a light between the front or top vents, but it definitely won’t be centered on your head like it should be.
If your head is on the narrow side, I’d definitely recommend trying on one of Sweet Protection’s helmets. The closer the fit the better the helmet looks, and Sweet’s lids are pretty slim. If you can live without an adjustable visor, the Dissenter MIPS offers everything else you’d want from a helmet at a high-value price point: Light weight, great ventilation and rotational impact protection in a simple but good-looking package.
The Dissenter MIPS sells for $149.95 in SM, ML and LXL sizes. Color choices are Black, White, Red, Blue or Green (all Matte finish).