MDS MD200 – a great performing budget modular crash helmet
For those not in the know, MDS is AGVs budget/entry level crash helmet brand and the MDS MD200 is their flip-up/modular helmet. But given that it’s a budget model, does it offer the same protection and performance as some of the higher priced alternatives?
Well worth a look. It’s made by AGV who have tried to keep the build-quality high and have produced a budget flip-up helmet that really performs. OK it’s a bit noisy (most modulars are) but it’s well rated for safety, has some great features and owners find it really comfortable. If you’re after a flip-up on a budget, then the MDS MD200 might be just the helmet for you.
- SHARP 4 star safety rated (out of 5)
- Integral sun visor
- Thermoplastic shell
- Made by AGV
- Sizes XS-XL
- Micrometric fastener
- Expect to pay between £70-99
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First off, the MD200 is ECE tested and approved for sale in the Eurozone, which means it’s passed the minimum levels of safety testing required in the EU. But it’s also been tested by SHARP, the UK government’s crash helmet testing bods, who scored it a great 4/5 for safety. That’s a solid score with the MD-200 only dropping a point for side impact results (if a helmet drops a star, it’s usually from the side impact tests).
However, when testing modular helmets, SHARP also note what percentage of times the chin guard stays closed and locked during impact testing. You might be alarmed to hear that most modulars don’t stay closed 100% of the time during these tests. Some brands do perform strongly though (you’ll find more information on which ones in this article on crash helmet safety) – but I’m delighted to say that the MDS MD200’s chin guard stayed closed and locked 100% of the time!
All in all, MDS/AGV have got the basics bang on with the MD200 then. It’s scored strongly in the SHARP tests so you should be pretty confident that it’ll give you good levels of protection in an accident.
Of course, there’s other dimensions to safety: shell sizes, chin strap, visors all play their role. The MD200 is manufactured in two shell sizes which is pretty good for a budget lid (read more about why here) and it comes with a micrometric chin strap. They’re easy to use and safe. As usual, there’s a clear, anti-scratch visor (though no Pinlock anti-fog so you’ll have to buy another anti-fog insert or try a spray) but it does have a drop down sun visor – almost essential these days for when you’re riding into low sunlight.
The MDS MD200 is a flip up helmet, and that means there’s a good chance it’ll be a pretty noisy helmet. Modular helmets are known for being noisier than full face lids so if you’re coming to a modular for the first time, be prepared. The MD200 is no exception so you’ll need to wear ear plugs at anything over 50 MPH if you want to keep your long-term hearing intact.
That said, it’s no worse than many other modulars so if you know what to expect, you should be OK.
If having a quiet helmet is important to you, check out our quietest helmets page.
The MDS MD200 is available in two shell sizes and XS-XL fitment sizes. Because it’s made in two shell sizes, the helmet shouldn’t look too large on your head and should also contribute to safety (as the internal shock-absorbing polystyrene line will be closer to the optimum level).
No problems have been reported by owners about the ventilation. AGV helmets are usually pretty well ventilated and the MD200 has their usual array of dual chin vents and dual head vents, both closeable with a nice, large slider (that’s easy to find and use in gloves). Hot air exits to the rear of the helmet through the rear exhaust vents.
Of course, there’s an internal sun visor in the MD200 which has meant MDS has had to position the top vents further back on the helmet because, when retracted, the sun visor covers the area on the helmet where the vents would normally be. However, the vents work well.
There’s both a clear external visor and integral drop down sun visor and apart from a few niggles, owners are broadly happy with the way it all works.
As usual, the helmet will come out of the box with a clear main visor. Of course, it’s anti scratch (though sometimes AGVs anti scratch visors seem to be a bit less anti scratch than others: one owner reported that it can scratch pretty easily and I’ve had that problem myself with an AGV). It’s also quick release (AGVs XQRS system), which works well so you can remove the visor in just a few seconds without tools; and it has its opening tab nicely to the bottom left which is good for easy of opening.
There’s no problems reported with the sun visor too – owners say it works well and is easy to use.
As you can see by the photos, the chin guard opens to a three-quarters position (rather than swinging around to the back of the head like the Roof Desmo or Shark Evoline) and it’s only been tested/approved (or homologated as it’s called) for use in the closed position. This doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily get nicked for riding with it up, but it hasn’t been ECE approved for use as an open faced and full face helmet in the same way dual-homologated helmets are.
However, a major thumbs up for the MD200’s is that the chin guard locks closed and didn’t open in any of SHARPs impact tests. It’s always nice to know with a modular that the chin guard will stay closed if you have an accident – and you can be as sure as you can be with the MD 200.
Even though it’s a budget helmet, it still has a removable and washable lining with what MDS call a dry-comfort, hygienic lining. Owners are mostly amazed at how comfortable the helmet is too – again, a feeling probably heightened as they were expecting less from a budget lid. So, as long as you get the right fitting/size in the first place, you shouldn’t have any problems.
There’s a very limited range of colours with the MDS MD200 so if you’re after a race rep or something to match your bike, then you’re probably best looking elsewhere. Colours are gloss white/black and matt black only (though I have to say it looks pretty fetching in them all!)
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Other stuff – fasteners, weight, glasses, build quality
Like many modulars, it’s great for glasses wearers. If you’re not used to a modular, you open the chin guard to put the helmet on which means you can easily slide your glasses on at the same time without any of the usual struggle. Also, in our review of SHARP data and various crash helmet average weights we found the average weight of a modular helmet is about 1.7 Kg, and the MD 200 comes in at 1.78 Kg. That’s not a massive amount but slightly above average (though the average figure does of course include carbon and composite helmets, not just thermoplastic!). With the MD200 you also get a micrometric chin strap. They’re very easy to use and nice and secure so all great there.
One final thing to note is that even though it’s a budget helmet, owners are surprised about the build-quality. AGV are a more premium brand so are obviously not wanting to sully the AGV brand by knocking out any old rubbish. Which is great for us consumers as, in the case of MDS, you can get a great quality helmet at a much lower price point. Nice.
Crash Helmet Buying Guides
For (hopefully!) other useful information to help you when buying your next helmet, check our various guides - or have a look at our top helmet lists where we've got the top 10 rated helmets overall and best budget/safest/full face/flip-up helmets.
For a budget modular helmet, the MDS MD200 represents an excellent buy. But you might also want to check out the Caberg Duke – a 5 star SHARP rated modular, though it does retail for a few quid more than the MDS. Similarly, the Lazer Paname is a bit more expensive but a great performer and 4 star rated too. Finally, check out the MT Flux that’s 4 star rated and around about the same price point as the MD200.