- Aero design cuts through the wind
- MIPS – Multi-directional Impact Protection System
- Well ventilated
- Comfortable and light weight
- Rear Boa® System dial allows for one handed adjustments on the go
- AgiON antimicrobial pads wick moisture and eliminates odors
- Crash Replacement Guarantee
- Travel bag is not ventilated
- No holes for sunglasses
Price: $199.99 MSRP
Colors: Viper Red, White, Black, Dark Blue, Purple Lotus,
Sizes: Small (51-57 cm), Medium (54-60 cm), Large (58-63 cm)
Available: Online or retail
How obtained: Company sample
RBR Advertiser: No
Weight: 260g (Small), 285g (Medium), 320g (Large)
Tested: 30+ hours
Aero Can Be Cool
As a Trek Women’s Advocate, I’m required to take a lot of online Trek University courses. One module was on Bontrager helmets. I was already familiar with the Circuit helmet since I reviewed it for RBR a while back. But I wasn’t familiar with the Ballista aero helmet. After taking the course and watching the video, I thought “aero and cool,” this would be a good product to review for our readers.
Bontrager touts that Jens Voigt wore the Ballista helmet during his Hour Record ride and they have since gone to the wind tunnel to further refine the design. The Trek-Segafredo racing team also wears the Ballista helmet. This helmet has a lot going for it.
Yes, aero can be cool. The Ballista helmet keeps your head cool and you will also look cool. With 3 large vents in the front, 6 in the back and two streamlined vents on the top, there’s plenty of air flow. There’s a center channel on the inside of the helmet that draws the air in the front and allow it to flow out the back. This circulates air through the helmet, keeping your head cool. I tested the Ballista in temperatures in the mid to high 80s and was quite comfortable.
As for airflow around the helmet, from my very first ride, I could feel the wind going around the helmet and not pushing against it. There was definitely a difference in resistance from a typical road helmet.
Dial In The Fit And Comfort
Out of the box, this helmet was easy to fit. The side straps use a LockDown divider for quick adjustments. In the rear, a Boa System uses a single dial for one handed adjustments even while on the bike. As far as sizing, I always wear a small and the Ballista was true to size.
The AgION antimicrobial pads wick moisture and eliminate odors naturally. If needed, you can remove the pads and wash in a solution of mild soap and water by hand or in the machine on the gentle cycle. I’d recommend putting them inside a mesh laundry bag. There are replacement pads available from Trek should you need them.
The Ballista is light weight at 260g for size small (the size I tested). Once you put it on, you don’t notice it. Just enjoy the ride.
Safety With MIPS
This helmet comes standard with MIPS which gives you added piece of mind in the event of a crash. If you are not familiar with MIPS, see below.
MIPS – MIPS is a patented concept developed by a A Swedish company called. The acronym stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection System. It is a slip plane concept using two layers in the helmet to reduce impact by allowing the helmet to rotate slightly on impact.
Should you happen to crash within the first year of owning the helmet, it comes with a Crash Replacement Guarantee. Bontrager will provide a free helmet replacement. Let’s hope you don’t need to use this.
Two Minor Misses
There are two minor areas this helmet misses the mark. First, the travel bag that’s included in the box is made of solid material. The last thing I want to do after a ride is stick a sweaty helmet in a non-ventilated bag. Other manufacturers provide a bag that has mesh on one side and solid fabric on the other. This protects your helmet but allows for airflow for drying the pads post-ride.
The second issue would only be for those riders that like to store their sunglasses on their helmet. It’s not a deal breaker for me as I rarely do this, but the one time I went to stick my sunglasses in the helmet at a rest stop, I couldn’t.
Bontrager’s Ballista aero helmet with MIPS provides performance, comfort and safety. The aero design gives you an advantage over the competition, while the venting system keeps you cool, all for about half the price of most aero helmets. As with all Bontrager helmets, it comes with a Crash Replacement Guarantee…let’s hope you wont need it.
Sheri Rosenbaum regularly contributes articles and reviews products for RBR. She’s an avid recreational roadie who lives in the Chicago area and a major advocate for women's cycling, serving on the board of directors and volunteering with the Dare2tri Paratriathlon Club. Click to read Sheri's full bio or visit her web site sunflowersandpedals.com.