Bontrager's Rally MIPS helmet ticks all the boxes that a top-drawer half-shell all-mountain helmet needs. Its EPS-foam shell incorporates a strength-boosting molded-in skeleton that allows for more and larger vents. The visor ("peak" to our UK friends) slides high enough to stow your goggles or glasses according to current fashion, and fixed ear webs ensure that you'll be wearing your lid at the approved angle. Weight is around 380 grams and it looks.... pretty good.
Inside, the Rally MIPS features, as you may have guessed, the now-famous plastic brain-saver-beanie, lined with a well-designed anti-microbial pad system. The one-handed headband adjustment utilizes Boa string-winder technology. The head-form shape is a rounded oval, similar to Troy Lee's and Bell's half shells, and the sizing feels similar too. Sizes are small, medium. large and X-large.
Bontrager Rally MIPS Helmet
• Purpose: trail / all-mountain • MIPS Brain Protection System • Boa System headband adjustment • Blendr magnetic lighting / POV camera mount • In-mold composite skeleton • Crash replacement guarantee within the first year of ownership • Weight: 380 grams (medium, reviewed) • Colors: Black, blue, green, pink/grey, orange • Sizes: Small, medium, large, X-large • MSRP: $139.99 USD • Contact: Bontrager/Trek
Smooth-acting slots also limit the visor's angular travel.
Wide buckles guide the webbing around the ears.
The underside has a nice wrap-around shell.
Boa mono-filament retention system.
Room to stash goggles.
Magnetic-latching Blendr light / camera mount.
Up top, night riders will like Bontrager's "Blendr" magnetic-latching accessory mount. The well-built, hinged pad has a tongue that slips inside one edge of the helmet's central vent, while a powerful magnet fixes the opposite end. The idea is that the Blendr and helmet will part company during an impact to reduce the likelihood of rotational head trauma. Blendr mounts have a friction adjustment dial and fit GoPro cameras, as well as Bontrager's LED lights. The Blendr is included in the Rally MIPS' $140 USD MSRP.
Fussing with thin webbing, clips and buckles ranks low on my list of riding chores, so I was happy that the Bontrager lid was as fuss free as any half-shell helmet I can remember wearing in the past couple of years. The only real adjustment is the chin strap buckle. because the ear-straps are spread wide by a special buckle that eliminates interference. The Boa headband adjustment was equally simple and effective.
Most visors use a simple friction washer at the pivot location to fix its position. Bontrager's lid pivots an inch behind a radiused slot that limits the angular travel of the visor and provides a more consistent friction adjustment. As mentioned earlier, the visor tilts high enough to stash your goggles on the helmet below it, which would have come in handy during transfer stages of the enduro races I never did during testing. At its lowest angle, the visor stops where the sculpted lines of the helmet and visor pair up, but not a degree below, so it couldn't drop low enough to effectively ward off the sun when it was low in the sky - which was the Rally MIP's only disappointment.
Record temperatures in the Southwestern USA provided ample opportunity to evaluate the Rally helmet's ventilation and sweat-directing features. I'd place its cooling well above a Troy Lee Designs A2, but below the Leatt DBX that I use most often for hot weather riding. In its favor, Bontrager's MIPS bonnet is filled with cut-outs that line up with deep ventilation channels inside the shell. Breezy? I could feel air moving around, but nothing feels great upwards of 40C, and I found the Bontrager's cooling to be sufficient - which speaks well for the design.
Thin as it may have been, the padding that lines the clear plastic MIPS dome provided just enough separation to eliminate the toaster-effect that shiny plastic has when it comes in direct contact with hot flesh. The shape and distribution of the padding directed most sweat away from my glasses, which was a major plus. I could blast into a tricky descent after a prolonged climb without blurred vision.
I did not try a GoPro on the Blendr accessory mount, but I did spend a little time with a Bontrager light attached. There were no wiggles and no unplanned ejects , so I call that a win. The magnetic latch is far more secure than I imagined it could be. I'd wager the chances that you'd arrive at the bottom
Generous cutouts in the clear-plastic MIPS skull-cap encourage ventilation. The removable padding is thin, but comfortable.
of a crazy descent with your $350 camera attached to your helmet would be 99.73 percent. You'd have to crash or smash through stiff branches to dislodge it. If you did hit something hard enough to knock it off, you'd definitely remember exactly where to look for it.
Bontrager's Rally MIPS is a top quality extended coverage half-shell that is durable, fits well, and beats most of the prestige-brand lids for ventilation and comfort. Stylistically, however, its rounded corners and utilitarian profile are like a Volvo wagon - it has enough appeal to make its owner proud, but it's unlikely that you'll see one in the front row of a valet parking lot.—RC