DSC06661-denizmerdano cooper gravel wheels bontrager crankbrothers 7mesh sweet protection

Just a taste of Sweet Protection

Photos Deniz Merdano
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There's a fair number of things in life you buy and hope to never use: First aid kits, insurance, avalanche transceivers, gym memberships.

Bike helmets fall on this list - along with all protective gear, really. I'd advocate not skimping dollars in this category; while the science of concussion, TBI, and how to dissipate rotational motion seems to generally be a bit of a confusing mess,* what is clear is that you should wear a helmet.

What is also clear is that you're safer with a helmet on, and that a comfortable helmet is important. Not all helmets are created equal. They're designed (and yes, tested) for different impact levels and road helmets are clearly different than DH lids.

The Sweet Protection Bushwhacker 2Vi MIPS falls on the beefier end of this spectrum, "Built for the speed of modern riders - whether that means e-bikes or long travel 29ers, the Bushwhacker 2Vi® Mips packs the tech for increased protection... Complex multi-density EPS shock absorbing structure with four impact shields (one in each corner of the head), increased coverage, and variable elasticity shell give the Bushwhacker helmet increased protection performance at both low- and high impact speeds without compromising on weight or volume."

At 430 grams it's approximately 60 grams heavier than my daily driver Smith Forefront 2 MIPS, around 350 grams lighter than a Smith Mainline MIPS, and 110 grams heavier than my gravel-appropriate S-Works Prevail 3 MIPS.

*someone is going to post one peer review article in the comments, and say it's gospel. There's a lot of variation in findings, methodologies, and varying results. Although helmet laws for cycling-as-transportation are generally bad, helmets are good for mountain biking.

Feature wise, the Bushwhacker comes with most of what you'd expect - a multi-position visor, lots of venting, holes to hold your glasses (more on that later), and a dial on the back to cinch things down. Oh, and if you're someone who has strong opinions about buckles, it's got a Fidlock.

And lets be clear - I'm not dismissing all of the various certifications, five star Virginia Tech rating, and other pieces of paper ensuring your brain is as safe as it can be in a half lid. That part is important, because as a reviewer, my thoughts on helmets are the same as you, the consumer; praying I never actually test it at any impact or rotational angle. Let the people in laboratories smash helmets, I'll just tell you about riding in it.

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The Bushwhacker is right at home on the new Trek Slash. Unfortunately, that review has become elongated due to a crash on my end... we'll be back to regular programming soon.

I spent a few months in the Bushwhacker - if the plan was to pedal up for some ugly, steep, nasty trails, I'd reach for it. The Bushwhacker's additional coverage, especially on the back of my head, felt welcome. While I have no actual evidence its any safer than something like a Forefront 2, it feels like a helmet that means business. This secure feeling isn't at the expense of wearability; its very comfortable (I fall on the smaller end of the M/L size provided for review) adjusted to fit me snugly, and was comfortable in both hot and cold conditions. There's a remarkable amount of airflow for a meaty helmet, which is always appreciated slogging uphill in the summer. And despite being equipped with MIPS, it was squeak free through the review period; a welcome surprise.

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The Memento RIG Reflect are good looking, and very light, set of shades. They're also too shady for me.

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Sweet includes three nose pieces so you can dial in fit. Don't mind the thumbnail.

I only have one real gripe with this helmet; but before we get to that, let's talk about the Memento RIG Reflect (RIG is Sweet's proprietary lens tech) glasses that came paired with this lid. They fit my face well, I like the modern big lens styling, and the reflective coating has held up remarkably well. They're light, and I've had no retention issues. The arms also fit well into ports under the visor of the Bushwhacker.

The particular 'Topaz' lens in the Mementos I have come with a 12% VLT rating - which here in the woods is basically too dark even at noon in July. So while they're nice glasses I used frequently while riding gravel bikes, they were somewhat useless otherwise. Obviously, your mileage may vary, and that could be a perfect lens for you. And, in some crazy scheme to make money just like Samsonite, Sweet makes more than one lens with muliple lighter and darker options.

This is where my gripe appears - while the Memento fits wonderfully into the Bushwhacker, my particularly riding glasses of choice (100% Speedcraft) absolutely do not fit; they get stuck. This relegates my glasses to the back neck area of my jersey, which is not a big deal climbing and somewhere I'll hang glasses occasionally anyway. It doesn't work for descending.

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The Mementos fit well here; other glasses, not so much.

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If you like Fidlock, you're happy. If you hate it, you're shopping elsewhere. I have no strong feelings either way.

Overall, I'm pleased with the Bushwhacker. It's comfortable, adjustable, feels secure, looks good, and provides lots of coverage. My glasses don't fit, but there's lots of options from Sweet that certainly will, and other brands probably fit as well. I'd just recommend to try before you buy if it's a requirement.

Sweet Protection Bushwhacker 2Vi MIPS - 310 CAD / 250 USD

Memento RIG Reflect glasses - on sale for 140 CAD right now if you like yellow / 130 USD

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I'm looking forward to getting back out on bikes with friends, once I can get my shoulder fully operational again. Big shoutout to Aaron Dobie - having a good physio in your life should be a goal if you don't have one already. Dobie rides hard, has worked with multiple Downhill World Cup and EDR athletes, and understands how to put a hack like me back together. He's great in person, but also does extensive online programs, if you're based abroad.

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+6 BarryW Cooper Quinn Chad K Andrew Major Niels van Kampenhout vunugu

I hope you feel better soon and can get back to riding MTBs.


+3 Vik Banerjee Andrew Major BarryW


Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.  

Ive been able to log miles on my gravel bike, and I'm now cleared to do anything that's not too painful. Which definitely isn't mountain biking yet, but another week or so and we'll probably be back on light duty


+1 vunugu

I really really wish they could figure out a good way to make glasses like these available in prescription lenses. I love the functionality of these pseudo goggle style glasses. I think some of them you can get with Rx lenses in front of the actual glasses but that kind of defeats the purpose and is clunky. Obviously you could go contact lenses, but I can’t stand contacts.



Best I've figured out is to pair them with contacts if contacts work for you.

I'm currently rocking a pair of these prescription Champion frames, they work well:


+1 BarryW

Yeah - I went the laser route but it's pretty imperfect as well. 

I've seen some options that are... similar to how they do it with ski goggles, with what amounts to separate glasses inside the glasses.


+1 Cooper Quinn

I’ve had a few pair of Oakley frames with prescription lenses. Not the separate lenses that hang behind the normal lens. I had a pair of adidas too. They cants make a highly curved lens if the prescription is too staring though so you have to find a frame and lens shoe that is suitable for your prescription. These were fine for commuting or easy rides where I wasn’t churning out heat which causes fogging. My eyes have improved as I age, at least for distance and I can go without contacts for some activities. But fogging or muddy lenses that require removing glasses doesn’t work if your prescription is strong. Contact lenses or corrective eye surgery are the best solutions.



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I’m really keen on a helmet with a good solution for holding glasses, anyone with an opinion of the best options? 

I really dig the look of Sweets helmets, but their fit does not work for my head. Bell, Met and TLD have been a better fit for me in the past.



I like the the Forefront 2 - it holds glasses on the back, and in a lot of years I've only had one pair fall off. 

I do think it depends a lot on 1) your preference for where they go, front or back, and 2) what glasses you're trying to fit. lots of stuff is cross compatible between brands, lots isn't. no real way to know w/o trying in the shop.


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