Bontrager Rally MIPS Helmet
REVIEW

Bontrager Rally MIPS Helmet

Words Andrew Major
Photos Dave Smith
Date Nov 3, 2017

Design

This Bontrager Rally MIPS helmet sits at the convergence of two trends in cycling gear. The first is the rapid proliferation of options for aggressive half-lids, an era that began with Bell-Giro having to share the category with a few friends. So many brands and models are now available for this application that accounting for them would require its own article.

The second is the trend to use Boa adjustment dials in more applications. Shoes, knee pads, medical braces, waist bands for shorts, packs, seat bags, tool rolls, gloves (!?) and yes helmets. 

The Rally meets its competitors with extended head coverage, a well engineered strap system and an in-mold composite skeleton that allows a variety of large passive vents and an internal channel system to manage air flow.

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Excellent venting even for us less efficient engines. 

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Well engineered strap system is very easy to adjust and comfortable to wear. 

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Extended coverage without causing any issues with pack interference. 


Basic Fit

For their Bontrager Rally MIPS lid, Trek has attempted to go Full Goldilocks with a fit I can best describe as splitting the difference between the Bell Super 3 MIPS and the Giro Montaro MIPS. 

With the adjusters wide open the Montaro is the slight winner of the three helmets in terms of a natural fit for my head. Boa is the difference maker. The even pressure through the system provides a helmet that sits securely in place and is very comfortable to wear.

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The Rally helmet is cooler than competing products but not as breezy as many XC lids I have worn. 

Due to the shape of my skull, many of the long-drop Enduro style half lids are uncomfortable where they contact the back of my head or, worse yet, they pop open from certain motions or pack contact. This is not an issue with the Rally. 

Boa

The Boa System's micro-adjust ratchets are so tuneable that they pour cold water on tiny infinite-adjust friction clutch helmet daydreams. The system is composed of a micro-adjustable dial, super strong lightweight laces, and low friction lace guides.

In my experience with Boa adjusters on shoes, customer service is superior, the product quality is excellent and function has always been great. One added benefit for companies working with Boa is how heavily they are involved in the design process for any products using their system.


All the solutions that we have brought to the market with a Boa System have not been “off the shelf”. They work with us to help prove out our concepts and give us guidelines that will allow their technology to provide the best functionality for the specified use" - Sam Foos @ Bontrager
Bontrager Rally MIPS Helmet AndrewM

Oh, I'm being eaten by a Boa adjuster,

Bontrager Rally MIPS Helmet AndrewM

A Boa adjuster, a Boa adjuster,

Bontrager Rally MIPS Helmet AndrewM

I'm being eaten by a Boa adjuster, and I really like the fit. Photos: Andrew Major

 (apologies to Shel Silverstein

My advice for other high performance helmet manufacturers is to call Boa. I hadn't previously noticed the new 661 EVO AM helmet, but after riding the Rally, anything with a Boa adjuster would be on my list to check out. 

Night & Day

I've tried lots of helmets that fit comfortably during the day but transition to medieval torture devices once a light is strapped on top because the adjuster has to be tightened a couple of bonus clicks.

I've ridden the Rally MIPS with both a Bontrager Ion 800 R light and my personal NiteRider Pro system and unsurprisingly, in both cases I had to increase Boa tension. What was surprising was how comfortable the helmet remained because of how the Bontrager-Boa harness spreads load, even when overtightened. Most helmets that are fine for normal riding can get a little headachey with a light on them.

Bontrager Rally MIPS Helmet AndrewM

The Rally MIPS comes with a magnetic accessory mount that is quick and easy to use one handed. 

Bontrager Rally MIPS Helmet AndrewM

The mount uses the GoPro standard interface and then magnetically attaches to the Rally. 

Bontrager Rally MIPS Helmet AndrewM

The $100 (USD) Bontrager Ion 800 R is quite capable for light single track use**. Photos: Andrew Major

**YMMV. I find it makes an excellent backup lamp for dark, dank and primeval North Shore night rides but I wouldn't use it as my only or even primary lamp in those conditions. 

Choice(s)

The Rally MIPS comes with an interesting crash replacement guarantee.  Smoke your helmet in the first year of ownership and Trek will replace it for free. I have known riders who wore crash-damaged helmets for months because they were "basically new" so this is a prudent way to back up your product. 

The Rally comes in three sizes across four colours: Black, California Sky Blue, Olive Green and Heather Grey with Pink accents. The Grey & Pink is awesome in person - and not the same as the Black/Pink helmet shown on the website. 

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The best compliment I can pay any helmet is to say I didn't notice it riding. The  fit of the shell and straps is excellent. 

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I also appreciate the look. Its function-first while keeping an understated appearance. It has become my go-to lid. 

This is a choice lid. It's doesn't sacrifice looks in favour of protection or venting or vice versa and all the elements combine nicely. 

The Bontrager Rally MIPS sells for $140 (USD). For more information on the MIPS version check here


Comments

kos
0
Kos  - Nov. 3, 2017, 9:10 p.m.

Got it (last year's non-MIPS version).

Love it!

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Nov. 3, 2017, 10:14 p.m.

With the Boa adjuster or the previous adjuster system?

Reply

kos
0
Kos  - Nov. 5, 2017, 4:50 p.m.

No BOA.  Would probably like that even more, but the neon yellow-green color option is gone, and I'm a visibility nut.

Reply

JBV
0
James Vasilyev  - Nov. 4, 2017, 10:37 a.m.

i've heard it's a heavy lid. did you notice that at all?

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Nov. 4, 2017, 1:39 p.m.

I didn't notice it to be heavy at all and that's a great question.

Here's some real weights (my scale / all measured today) on helmets I have. All are size medium:

Bontrager Rally MIPS : 380 grams

Giro Montaro MIPS : 381 grams

Smith Rover MIPS : 373 grams

Giro Fathom (w/ visor) : 276 grams

The Fathom is notably lighter but it is basically a road lid with a visor. The Rover has less coverage - and a less 'in the helmet' feel - than the Montaro or Rally.

Reply

kos
0
Kos  - Nov. 5, 2017, 4:51 p.m.

Not heavy at all.  The next helmet "up" in their line is the Lithos, and is a bit heavier.  You might be thinking of that model.

Reply

kesa
0
Kesa  - Nov. 5, 2017, 1:15 a.m.

I'm a bit worried about the structural integrity with the light attached. I don't want brain damage like Mike Shoemacker

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Nov. 5, 2017, 1:36 a.m.

It pops off with limited force in any direction - I'd say it's certainly potentially safer than strapping on a light system - and I'd argue compared to similar light/camera mounts it's one of the easiest to dislodge (though it is silent and never fell off riding).

I do know a couple of people who don't night ride at all due to the concern that attaching a light to their helmet prevents it from doing its job. 

Maybe I'm ignorant but I don't see how hitting my helmet into my light into a rock is any different than hitting my helmet into a rock. In either case I'd expect the helmet to do its job by failing at the site of impact. For rotating forces all the mounts I use are designed to fail. 

Anyways, if you're concerned about riding with this light system attached I'd assume you'd be at least equally concerned about riding with any light system attached (particularly those that are strapped in place or hard mounted)? That's legit. It's also a great helmet with no light system attached, via the magnetic mount or strapped in place.

Reply

kesa
0
Kesa  - Nov. 5, 2017, 3:24 a.m.

Thanks!

Where i live it's illegal to put attachments onto helmets because of what happened to Micheal. I got pulled over by the police for having a camera on top when i was riding my motorbike to work.

You are right in that i don't like attaching permanent stuff to my helmets. I have been using a Black Diamond headlamp using zip ties to attach it temporarily to my helmet combined with the same light you are using on my handlebars. It works well. I am buying a new bike in the next couple of weeks so might buy this helmet too so i can use the bontrager light on my helmet. Did you use any handlebar lights with your setup?

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Nov. 5, 2017, 7:47 a.m.

Anytime!

On a crisp clear night the Ion is very rideable on its own.

Historically in North Van the majority of my night rides are overcast with saturated ground and often it is raining. In those cases the Ion is usable on tame trails and very decent in combination with a good bar light. 

I night ride a lot just due to my work/family/need-to-RIDE!!!!! situation and there’s just no substitute for good 1200+ lumen light systems on a dark, dank and greasy North Shore evening.

Cheers!

Reply

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