Style over safety is one of those things that shouldn’t be debatable, but even as an adult you can still hear your parents voices ringing in your ears asking you to “put that helmet on” or “fasten that strap up” knowing that obeying the order was going to seriously downgrade that level of cool you so meticulously as a teenager try to uphold. So does the new Bontrager Velocis MIPS road helmet help protect both your head and style credentials?
When the helmet landed in GRAN FONDO HQ there was a chorus of “nice” accompanied by head nodding approval. It looks slick and is obviously sympathetic to rider street cred coming in 4 different colours: black, white, red and fluoro yellow. Sorry, and fuchsia pink, because they didn’t want to leave the girls out! But is it worth the €199.99 price tag?
Aesthetically it has a big tick but what about safety? This is where MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System) comes in. Which involves using a secondary MIPS cradle inside the helmet meaning the helmet is free to rotate slightly in an oblique impact, dissipating forces and reducing rotational forces on the brain in a crash situation.
Bontrager are the official helmet provider to WorldTour team Trek-Segafredo so it’s understandable they ensure this model is fully accredited with MIPS. This year, especially, has seen some horrendous crashes within the pro-peloton of riders staggering around with blatant cases of head injuries and concussion. It’s a topic that has been brought to the forefront of cycling authorities by team doctors and rightly so.
So with style and safety firmly achieved we move onto feel, adjustability and what it feels like to wear on the bike. The internal cradle looks a little flimsy and minimal for a start, but when placing it on your head and with the help of the Boa rear closure system it seems to hold in position well, so well in fact you don’t feel like you have to over-tighten to keep it in place. Their sleek foam pad system is comfortable, and make the helmet feel fitted to your head without feeling cumbersome. This padding combined with the air vents mean that any moisture is drawn away from the head incredibly efficiently.
A clip-on visor they call the NeoVisor is also a part of the setup, Bontrager claim you have the benefit of a cap visor for sun protection but without the bulkiness of a cap. We’re not sure about this from the style point of view but get that in hot weather wearing a cap would be counterintuitive to a helmets airflow design.
The chin straps though did feel excessively long, there was a lot of adjustment needed, but the rubber band around the chin strap is flexible enough to be able to double back the straps and neatly hold in place.
How aero can you go?
Bontrager say that the Velocis MIPS has an increased airflow of 18% versus the Giro Synthe MIPS. And whilst on the road the airflow over the head was really surprising, the constant flow of air through the helmet can be felt and is extremely cooling. From the size of the vents and the way they are positioned the numbers below definitely make sense.
They also give comparison to the Giro Synthe regarding aerodynamics stating that after wind tunnel testing the Bontrager Velocis MIPS had a 10.8 g advantage over the Synthe.
Bontrager Velocis MIPS Specification
Pricing wise, at €199.99 it’s around the mid-range for helmets with the MIPS certification, so is reasonable value for money for Bontrager’s top of the range model; especially when compared to other brands on the market, where you can be paying €100 more and they have a similar specification to the Velocis.
As mentioned before it comes in five different colours: black, white, red and fluoro yellow as well as “vice” pink. Team stickers are also included if you want to ‘pro’ your look.
Bontrager Velocis MIPS Sizing & Weights
For this review the test rider was wearing the black medium sized model that actually weighed in at 278 g, so slightly heavier than the 266 g in the specification.
Bontrager Velocis MIPS Specifications
|Small (51-57 cm)||CE||Black, White, Red, Fluoro Yellow, Pink||245 g||€ 199.99|
|Medium (54-60 cm)||CE||Black, White, Red, Fluoro Yellow, Pink||266 g||€ 199.99|
|Large (58-63 cm)||CE||Black, White, Red, Fluoro Yellow, Pink||300 g||€ 199.99|
Apart from the initial battle with the strap length the Bontrager Velocis MIPS surprised on a few levels, but the main being the airflow through the helmet is superb, this was by far the most impressive part of the model and could almost justify the €199.99 price tag on its own it’s that good. The MIPS technology gives you that piece of mind, which with the whole hot topic of concussion is greatly needed. They also offer, as many brands do, free crash replacement for the first year. Then when it comes to aesthetic–someone at Bontrager was definitely having a good day at work when they designed it.
For more info: bontrager.com
Words: Hannah Troop Photos: Robin Schmitt, Bontrager Photography