The Bontrager Rally MIPS (Multi directional Protection System) is Bontrager’s new mid-level trail lid. It really is great to see MIPS, which was once reserved for only higher-end ‘Enduro’ helmets, now trickling down to units such as the Rally and at $229, its one of the best value MIPS featured brain boxes available.
As you’d expect from a brand such as Bontrager, it comes with numerous features such as their ‘Headmaster’, single handed adjustment system which adjusts both height and circumference and an in-mould composite skeleton. Bontrager say this allows greater variation in shape and vent shape and size. There is also an adjustable peak and the dropped coverage we’ve come to expect from this modern breed of trail / enduro lids.
How does it perform in the real world? Pretty good actually! We fortunately can’t comment on its ability to fend off a high speed, head first rag doll of a crash, but its seen the floor once and a tree twice which it shrugged off with ease. The Rally is also a very, very comfortable helmet and the Headmaster system works great and allows a tonne of adjustment to give a genuine feeling of cocooning your skull in a safety blanket! Not hot spots or pressure points after a long day riding and it is lightweight and vents adequately. It works well with goggles, should you wish to go ‘full ‘duro’ and the visor lifts high enough to allow goggs to be stored back-to-front for the climbs.
We only had some minor gripes, which really are small in reality. The way the straps are connected to the helmet itself – rather than attaching to the outer shell like many others, attach to an anchor point under your head. Whilst functionally that’s fine, it does make adjusting strap lengths slightly more awkward and a more regular affair as the straps can glide through the anchor point from side to side (not when wearing we should add, only when fitting). The only other thing is the density of the pads – whilst the thin feel does aid comfort, their ability to absorb sweat on a typically warm Kiwi climb is somewhat questionable. What this means in use is that you need to squeeze them out at the top or there’s a regular drip to the underside of your glasses as you descend. Not a deal breaker by any stretch but somewhat of a distraction at a sub-optimal time!
All in all though, we’d spend our hard-earned on a Rally. Lots of ergonomically thought out features at a price point that’s very hard to beat. Well done Bontrager!