Mavic’s Syncro SL MIPS lid is a stripped-back, lightweight helmet but still features plenty of safety tech for riders who don’t need deeper skull coverage that can be seeping in from the trail market.
If you are in the market for the best XC and marathon helmet or want something that can cross between XC and gravel then the Syncro SL is a good option and gets better if you are willing to make a little DIY modification.
Design and specifications
While the current helmet vogue is for boxier ‘enduro’ styles with fewer, bigger vents, Mavic’s Syncro SL MIPS helmet definitely has an old-school, lots of small vents (26 to be exact) vibe. It doesn’t go full deep dish at the back either and together with the low weight that makes it more suitable for XC/Gravel riders. The short peak also goes better with lycra than a DH jersey and it can even be totally removed if you’re hitting the road for training.
You still get a full MIPS slip-plane liner to reduce the chance of rotational brain damage though and this sits on what Mavic calls “patented Live Fit technology” with XRD foam. The low profile padding is all molded into a single sheet for easy removal and washing and the ’37.5 technology’ material “uses active particles to absorb heat from your head and wick sweat away five times faster than traditional fabric.” The front and center pad sheet also have bug mesh to keep insects out. The Autofit side straps change from flat webbing into a thick cord as they leave the lid too.
With a weight under 300g the Syncro SL MIPS was noticeably lighter than the trail helmets I’m used to wearing and the stripped-back ‘Autofit’ cradle is easy to tighten up and can be set at three different heights. While there’s no fore/aft adjustment on the ‘Autofit’ straps they fitted me fine and the cord design means there’s no flap or flutter at speed. ‘Live Fit’ seems to basically be a rectangular strip of thin ‘memory foam’ around the brow and we’re not sure how effective that really is at “molding to your head shape with a precise, personalized fit”.
Cynicism aside though the Syncro SL sat securely on my head even when descents got rowdier than standard XC or I forgot my gravel bike wasn’t an MTB. The general helmet form definitely suits rounder rather than squarer heads, so expect some free tilt if your forehead has corners.
The multiple vents and internal channeling feed plenty of air through to the big, expanding taper exhaust ports at the back for a pleasantly breezy feel at mid to higher speeds. It also radiates heat well when you’re grinding up steep climbs so slow your GPS keeps pausing to really make you feel bad. While bug phobes will be glad of the frontal mesh, cutting it out of the pads on one side, proved we were right in thinking it noticeably affected air con. So if insects aren’t generally an issue where you ride then we’d suggest getting the scissors out.
Despite being stumpy and nonadjustable, the visor actually creates some upper eyeline protection from sun/rain and you get blanking plugs to fit in the holes if you take it off for road use. The hardshell layer also wraps around the lower lip of the lid just enough to stop it from getting damaged from accidental drops/kit bag trauma etc.
There are six colors with reflective details, the cradle is ponytail compatible, and it’s covered with the ‘Mavic Care’ 3-year warranty and crash replacement program.
Mavic’s Syncro SL MIPS helmet strips back cradling and padding to give a really lightweight but it’s still a secure, safety-boosted helmet with some neat fit tweaks that I really appreciated. It vents well at all speeds too - especially if you cut out the insect mesh - and the removable but still useful peak makes it versatile on-road and off.
Tech Specs: Mavic’s Syncro SL MIPS helmet
- Price: £130 €130 $
- Sizes: S, M (tested), L
- Weight: 284g
- Colors: Black, White, Neon yellow, Grey, Purple haze and Duck egg blue