Bontrager have been making helmets for years, but they’ve gone under the radar here at Dirt. Then this Rally lid arrived and left us wondering why we hadn’t taken a look a lot earlier.
There’s been a load of updated trail helmets roll onto the market in the last twelve months with the new Fox Metah being the latest that we’ve taken a look at recently.
So, what’s new in the helmet world? What are we looking for in a helmet that will cope with anything from a evening out in the woods on the trail bike through to harder hitting enduro riding with goggles?
Does this Bontrager Rally helmet hit the spot? It’s been around for over a year now and we have a feeling they’ve made a winner.
The Rally is one of two trail/all-mountain helmets in the Bontrager range (with the more expensive Lithos starting from £99.99) and comes in a standard or MIPS version. The helmets are priced well, starting at £69.99, making them under half the price of a lid from one of the premium brands. Are the features, finish and fit up to scratch and how do they compare to the likes of Troy Lee, Smith and Giro?
For more aggressive trail riding (and any riding where a full face helmet is not used) there will always be a compromise to how much of your head is covered. Improved protection is important and with riders wearing goggles to keep eyes clear, these need to sit well with helmet’s shape. A deeper all-round coverage is the key here with added protection on the lower rear part of the head a real essential. These helmets tend to weigh a touch more than an XC lid but the extra heft is reassuring both from a safety and longevity point of view.
The Rally scores well here, and although the weight at 461g (for a size large with MIPS) is on the higher side of things, there is a full in-molded shell that fully covers the external shell and under the rim/base. This is a lid that will take plenty of light scrapes (and knocks in the back of the van…) and still come back for more. The deep shape has no goggle retention clip but a silicone backed strap sits well with no problems. The peak adjusts over a huge range and when tilted fully up leaves a great area to park your goggles. A great detail that has won us over.
Trail helmets like the Rally have often been a hot beast to ride in, especially in the summer months. Along with the additional weight helmets such as the much loved Giro Feature (which was launched back in 2011) really struggle with ventilation for riders who ‘run hot’. The Bontrager Rally bucks this trend with 22 vents along with a peak that doesn’t interfere with airflow. Padding is slim and quick drying rather than the bulky, spongy pads that many helmets use to aid fit and comfort.
FIT AND ADJUSTMENT
A helmet can be a great design and spec but it needs to fit well and this will be a very personal thing. All of us here at Dirt HQ have found the shape to be a winner. We have both the MIPS and the standard Rally lid on test and as with many helmets the MIPS equipped version can feel a touch different on the sizing, sometimes coming up a little smaller. The deeper fit of the Rally is great, and yes it does feel a touch heavier than some but the single-handed retention adjuster locks things into place and stays put. There are three sizes for the Rally covering head sizes from 51cm to 64cm.
The straps are fixed under the ear with a lightweight non-adjustable Y-strap, which seems to be the way things are going with many helmets. The straps sit flat to the face and stay adjusted.
The Rally is a pleasing package, especially considering the keen pricing and the fact that Bontrager offer a 30 day comfort guarantee. But it’s the small details that add up for us; the very adjustable peak (with plenty of goggle parking space), the large number of deep vents and the fully covered shell giving good long term durability really are up there with the helmets at the top of the price bracket such as the Bell Super 2. We’ve had a few cheaper helmets sent to Dirt recently but for a saving of £20 you really do get a much more basic helmet with a cheaper finish and less attention to detail.
For the money, we feel the Bontrager Rally may be hard to beat.
PRICE: £69.99, £99.99 (with MIPS)
SIZES: S (51-57cm), M (54-60 cm), L (58-64cm)
COLOURS: Black, Green, Grey, Orange, White (Standard) or Green, Blue, Black (MIPS)
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