MT Atom SV – MT’s flip-up helmet aimed at long-distance riders
The Atom is MT’s touring flip-up helmet, designed to give all-day riding comfort for folks who love to spend the entire day crossing continents or dawdling along mountain passes.
Which means that MT is really playing on the big boy’s turf now, because that’s one hell of a demanding rider right there…
MT are known for making helmets at the more budget end of the price range of course. But long-distance types are more demanding of their helmets: they expect all-day comfort; They want great noise suppression; and they positively insist on quality aero that lets them cruise around without getting buffeted around like they’re in a Metallica mosh-pit (then again, don’t we all?).
MT really has their work cut out with the Atom, so here’s our first look around what the new MT Atom offers:
- Polycarbonate modular helmet
- Aimed at touring riders
- SHARP 3 star safety rated
- 2 shell sizes
- Pinlock Max Vision anti-fog insert included
- Optically-correct quick-release visor
- Drop down sun visor
- Sizes XS – XXL
- Weight 1.7Kg
- Expect to pay £130-£150
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There’s a load of safety features adorning the Atom that shows MT are serious about safety.
First off, that visor. It’s an optically correct visor that’s Pinlock anti-fog ready and comes with a Pinlock Max Vision insert in the box. It’s also nice and thick at 2.2mm. Which covers most of the safety features you want to see on a visor – namely there should be little to no vision distortion and, with a Pinlock fitted, it’s not going to fog up either.
And of course the Atom comes with an integrated drop down sun visor so you can quickly protect yourself from any dazzling when riding and means you won’t get caught out when the sun gets low.
Of course, key to having a helmet that’s going to work well for you day-in, day-out, is having it comfortable (see the comfort and sizing section below). If it’s not comfy, then it either you’re not going to wear it or you’ll be riding around distracted by it. The Atom weighs about 1.7 Kg (3.75lbs) which is about bang-on average weight for a modular and so, as long as you get the right fit in the first place, it shouldn’t feel too heavy when you’re wearing it.
The shell on the MT Atom is polycarbonate (see our Polycarbonate section for whitterings on why polycarbonate helmets are just fine) and it’s produced in 2 shell sizes – which should make it fine in terms of safety and looks (again, see the link for more info. on what all this means).
And underneath the shell, there’s a multi-density polystyrene shock-absorbing liner to soak up the impact. That’s pretty much the same type of EPS liner you find in all but the most cutting-edge helmets these days – including several SHARP 5 star helmets (and including MT’s own five star rated MT Revenge polycarbonate helmet).
So, onto SHARP testing. Well, the Atom was SHARP tested in Oct 19 where it scored 3/5 stars for safety. That means the last 3 MT helmets have scored 3 stars with an average of 3.9/5 across all their tested helmets.
3 stars is an OK score. But what isn’t OK is that the chin bar became unlocked in 50% of the helmet tests. That doesn’t necessarily mean the chin bar flipped up (SHARP doesn’t go further than saying it became unlocked) but if it was me, I wouldn’t buy a flip up helmet that scored so badly.
Once it’s unlocked you don’t know what’ll happen and there’s modular helmets out there that score 100% for chin bar safety. You’ll find some of them in our top 10 modular helmets list and you can find more if you go to our smart(ish) filters page and choose flip-up/modular and safest boxes.
MT has designed the Atom to be a quiet helmet. That’s not going to be easy though because modulars are notoriously noisier than full face helmets.
According to their bumf, there’s a four-way neck curtain system and lower liner flaps, all designed to reduce the amount of noise that gets into the helmet from below.
Of course, there’s more to noise-ingress than just what gets in from around your neck, and good aero, clever vent design as well as a noise-suppressing interior lining all play a role in making a quiet helmet. So we’ll have to wait until our full review to find out if MT’s managed to make that rarest of beasts – a quiet modular helmet!
In the meantime, if you really want a quiet helmet – check out our quietest helmets page.
Onto the vents and the MTs vents look fine and fit for purpose.
There’s a single chin vent in the chin guard, operated by a toggle plate (push the bottom to open the top) and that directs air onto the back of the visor. See the gallery below for a close-up of the vents.
Up top, there’s a single crown vent, opened by a large, glove-friendly, slider. And at the back, there’s a large exhaust vent to help get all that fetid, stinky air to escape (or is that just me?), again, opened/closed by a large slider on top of the vent.
The air from the crown vent is pushed through the helmet shell and channelled through the EPS lining inside the helmet and onto the scalp via the comfort lining.
It’s a method used in most helmets these days and should give decent ventilation around the top of the head.
Visor & Sun Visor
The visor on the MT Atom really ticks all the boxes. Quick Release – tick. Optically correct – tick. Pinlock ready – tick. Pinlock Max Vision insert in the box – tick. Drop down sun visor – tick.
In fact it does everything except perhaps have a super large visor opening – but then you only really get those (or arguably need those) on sportsbike helmets.
Nope, the visor mechanism – on paper at least – offers you pretty well everything you could want from a visor.
It operates on a ratchet, has the opening tab on the left and has a quick release mechanism on it so you can easily whip it off to give it a clean. It also comes with a Pinlock Max Vision anti-fog insert in the box. Fit that to the visor and you’ll never steam up again (OK, it’ll steam up if you go mountain climbing in it – but for most of us, it solves the problem).
Behind the main visor is a drop down sun visor. It’s a binary affair – meaning it’s either fully up or fully down – but that’s OK for most of us because that’s how we tend to use them.
Interestingly, it’s operated by a red/black switch on the bottom left hand side of the helmet; push the red switch forward to lower the visor, press back on the black one and the spring-loaded visor will pop back up, out of the way.
The chin guard on the MT Atom is operated, unusually, by a single button on the inside of the chin guard. Press it in and that releases the lock, allowing the chin guard (and visor) to swing up.
There’s a chin curtain ready installed on the Atom, but MT has cunningly made it in two pieces so you can easily slip your fingers in between them to reach the button. Good design MT.
Opening the chin guard is all very easy to do in one single action and with one hand, unlike some modulars I could mention. Once it’s fully open, there’s actually a small switch, almost hidden, that’ll lock the chin guard in place.
Which is not to say you can legally ride with the chin guard up on the Atom – you can’t. It’s not P/J approved (or dual homologated) so it’s only designed to protect you with the chin guard down.
Try one of these if you want a flip-up helmet that’s legal to ride in open-face mode.
The only fly in the ointment with the MT Atom is that they’ve a shaky record in producing chin guards that stay locked under impact testing – at least as far as SHARP’s concerned. SHARP has only tested two modular helmets to date, but they do record the percentage of impacts that the chin guard remains fully locked – and MT modulars have so far scored a 70% and a 40%.
Of course, this may not reflect how the Atom will do – hopefully MT has learned some lessons since the last MT modular was tested in 2015 – but it might not fill you full of confidence either!
Comfort & Sizing
The MT Atom is available in sizes XS – XXL.
I’ve no information about the fabrics used on the internals, but they seem fairly basic but comfortable. There’s a moisture-wicking fabric covering most of the inside, a waterproof section to the bottom to stop the helmet absorbing rain from below (and a reflective part to give a bit of added visibility); and there’s a ventilated fabric to the front to help bring air through the cheek pads.
There’s a generous neck roll and chin curtain to the bottom too to help reduce sound getting in the helmet, and there’s a decent length of padding over the chin straps so they don’t dig in.
Looks & Graphics
For a mid-priced modular, the MT Atom is something of a looker. It’s available in just two graphics at the time of writing – a solid matt black and the Tarmac graphics (in black fluo yellow or black/white) – though word has it there’s a white and full hi viz version coming soon.
To see the latest graphics available – and find deals on the MT Atom – please click our recommended retailer links below. Nice one!
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MT Atom Video
In this 10m video, I take you around some of the Atom’s main features.
Other stuff – fasteners, weight, communicator, build quality, chin curtain, warranty
The MT Atom comes with a micrometric fastener. It weighs in at around 1.7Kgs (3.75lbs) – that’s a rough figure – we weighed a size large at about 1.76Kg which is totally fine and just a tad over average weight for a modular.
If you’re looking to fit a bluetooth headset to your next helemt, there’s room for some shallow speakers inside the Atom and they’re held in place by some nice firm plastic-rimmed speaker pockets so they should stay put.
Build quality seems to be very good – with paint and finishing particularly great.
The MT Atom comes with a chin curtain and breath guard built in.
Finally, all MT helmets come with a basic one year warranty. Many (granted, more pricey) helmets come with a five year warranty (click the link to find helmets with a 5 year warranty).
When you first look over the MT Atom, it looks like a well thought-out helmet and the build quality looks (and feels) great. It’s been designed to work well for touring types – and we’ll see in a few months time whether MT’s design goals of making a quiet helmet that’s all day comfortable – has worked (if you own an Atom, please let us know what you think in the comments section below).
In October 2019 the testing boys at SHARP put the Atom SV through its paces in the lab. And while it scored an OK 3 stars overall (out of a max 5), that chin bar only stayed locked during 50% of the tests – which is a big concern.
Other than that, it’s got a visor system that delivers most of what’s on offer today – including Pinlock insert and optically correct-ness – along with a simple to use chin guard mechanism and decent quality internals, not to mention sleek, modern looks.
I wouldn’t buy one because of that chin bar test result. If that’s not a deal-breaker for you, then the MT Atom might well be shaping up to be a bit of bargain modular.
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.
Good Alternatives to the MT Atom?
OK so you’re after a modular helmet with all the bells and whistles but that’ll give you change from £200? That’s not an impossible ask…
First off, there’s the ever popular Caberg Duke. 5 Star SHARP rating, decent price, reasonably light (for a modular) plus it comes with a Pinlock in the box. What’s not to love?
The HJC IS-Max II can be had for around the same money as the MT, it’s SHARP 4 star tested, weighs in around the same as the Atom and has a glasses groove for folks who wear glasses (or shades).
The AGV Compact has that AGV brand mark on it – but it’s also got a sun visor, SHARP 4 star rating and is comfy and well ventilated.
And finally, if you can stretch to a bit more, there’s the dual homologated Shark Evoline 3. That’s 5 star safety rated, has a drop down sun visor, and is great for riding round legally with a truly open-face helmet vibe going on. It’s a nice looking helmet too.
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Other Modular Helmets
If you're after a new modular/flip-up helmet, they've never been more popular and there's a ton of choice out there. You can find our latest top 10 modular helmets list here or check out all our modular helmet reviews here. You can also visit our smart filters page where you can click the flip-up/modular check box then choose a few other features to find the best flip-up helmet for you.