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Bontrager WaveCel Review: Testing World’s ‘Safest’ Bike Helmet

Bontrager WaveCel helmet

Large claims of security that exponentially outperform different helmets have raised controversy within the bike business. We examined Bontrager’s WaveCel helmet by means of metropolis commutes and mountain path rides to see the way it seems to be, feels, and performs.

With their translucent-green, wavy honeycomb shell, the brand new line of WaveCel helmets by Bontrager instantly stands out as one thing totally different. And the helmets additionally include very daring security claims — a lot in order that business security chief MIPS publicly took concern.

Bontrager Unveils Safer Bike Helmet: 48x Extra Efficient Concussion Prevention

Flex. Crumple. Glide. Trek and Bontrager tout WaveCel helmet know-how as the brand new normal in stopping concussions. Learn extra…

On the core of the controversy (and every WaveCel helmet) is a curving community of slime-green pleats. In line with Trek, Bontrager’s father or mother firm, these “waves” bear a brain-saving transformation throughout influence. By successively flexing, crumpling, and gliding, WaveCel proves 48 occasions simpler at stopping concussions than normal EPS foam-only helmets, in line with the model.

However whereas noggin safety is a helmet’s main perform, riders additionally want one thing snug and, ideally, cool-looking (in as a lot as any bike helmet is cool-looking). So we took out two WaveCel helmets, the commuter-focused Cost and mountain bike-friendly Blaze, to see how they match, really feel, and look. We’ll peek on the security claims and why some within the business took exception, too.

Briefly: Bontrager’s WaveCel helmets present critical peace of thoughts. The model’s daring claims, backed up by an ideal security score from Virginia Tech specialists, add a measure of confidence when driving in visitors or over some gnarly path. And whereas the WaveCel honeycomb offers noticeably improved venting — it’s truly breathable — it additionally leads to a extra dome-like helmet that docks some type factors.

Bontrager WaveCel Helmet Controversy


Whereas Bontrager makes some hefty claims, one other helmet security model has raised considerations concerning the Trek-owned firm’s testing. MIPS, a model that builds a shear-reducing insert for bike, snow, and motor helmets, launched a press release that it was unable to duplicate Bontrager’s claims in its personal testing.

“MIPS subjected the brand new WaveCel helmet know-how to their battery of checks, with outcomes far under WaveCel’s substantial claims of damage prevention,” the report started.

Outdoors Journal’s Joe Lindsey did a strong report concerning the controversy and the science behind it should you’d wish to study extra. We’re not going to leap into security testing on this article however will nod to the truth that Virginia Tech’s helmet assessment establishment awarded the whole WaveCel line an ideal five-star security score.

Bontrager Cost Commuter Bike Helmet Evaluate


The primary run of WaveCel helmets includes 4 fashions: two for street, one for mountain biking, and one for commuting. I’ve been sporting the Cost commuter choice just about day by day for the final month.

My morning/night commute takes me proper via the guts of downtown Denver and alongside a paved bike path. About four miles lengthy, it’s a reasonably consultant sampling of the space and terrain of every day commutes.

I’ve additionally taken it on a couple of longer rides — greater than 10 miles — to check out how the Cost feels for an hour within the saddle or extra.

Fashion (Or Lack Thereof)

First, the draw back: This helmet appears dome-y. Notably within the entrance, over the forehead, this helmet protrudes over the top noticeably greater than different trendy helmets. Its styling and colours are sharp, however the outer measurement leaves somewhat to be desired.

That stated, I’d put on a beer cooler on my head if it offered unequalled safety towards concussions.

However whereas it seems to be cumbersome, the Bontrager Cost WaveCel feels surprisingly mild. The model claims the WaveCel liner provides about 53 g (slightly below 2 ounces) to its helmets, and I hardly observed it.

Air flow & Match

What’s extra, the helmet undoubtedly feels extra breathable than my EPS helmets. Regardless of the Cost’s understated vent ports, I by no means sweat closely sporting it. Even on 75-degree days in relentless Colorado solar, I by no means moist out the helmet’s gentle liner pads. For air flow, WaveCel undoubtedly delivers.

The helmet match was additionally nice and had zero play. And the Boa closure system was mild and simply accessible. As for nighttime visibility, the Cost has a few 2-inch-wide reflective patch on the again of the helmet.

BlendR Mount


Bontrager additionally added a magnetic slot for its BlendR mild mount on the rear of the helmet. This can be a nifty, modular system Bontrager developed that permits customers to swap quite a lot of peripherals (pc, lights, motion digital camera) on a magnetic base with interchangeable mounts.

Nevertheless, the Cost comes with a BlendR mild mount that solely works with Bontrager’s BlendR-compatible lights — which I don’t have. So I took it off (merely pulled it off the magnetic slot), and wouldn’t ya realize it? I misplaced it.

For me, this accent isn’t value no matter it provides to the price of the helmet as a result of I don’t have Bontrager lights and the factor is straightforward to misplace. However for many who do have Bontrager equipment, I think about this can be a strong promoting level.


At $150, the WaveCel Cost is definitely not the most cost effective commuter helmet available on the market. You would nab a primary Bontrager helmet for as little as $25. However anybody who’s critical about biking is aware of that $150 isn’t exorbitant within the bike world.

And for the peace of thoughts the newest in concussion-prevention know-how brings, it looks like a good worth to me. What’s extra, Bontrager makes a one-year assure on all WaveCel helmets. When you crash within the first yr, the model will ship you a brand new one at no cost. So principally, you get two helmets for the worth of 1. That’s necessary as a result of these helmets are one and carried out — for those who crash, the WaveCel tech will take in a variety of the influence, however may also be irreparable. In fact, it is best to substitute any helmet after critical impacts.

General, I discover the Cost a strong purchase. The assure is stellar, it’s very snug and breathable, and WaveCel provides a good quantity of driving confidence. All that greater than makes up for a helmet that lacks within the style division.

Bontrager Blaze Mountain Bike Helmet Evaluation


I’ve used the Blaze on each path rides round Denver and some commutes to the workplace simply to get extra acquainted with it. Rides vary round 10 miles on hilly foothills. Provided that it’s been principally cool and dry throughout my rides to date this spring, I don’t have a lot expertise at hotter temps simply but. I’ll replace as time goes on.

Blaze Fashion (Or Lack Thereof)

The Blaze additionally seems to be, nicely, distinctive. The check mannequin the model despatched us is seafoam inexperienced, which is a really fashionable, emotion-triggering colour for some. It additionally clashes with a variety of different colours, so I’d in all probability select a special one given the choice.

And just like the Cost, it’s very cumbersome. There’s simply lots of helmet right here. However should you’re like me and never too fearful about what different individuals assume, added security is value a pair dings on the type meter.

Air flow & Match


The Blaze matches extremely nicely. It’s the primary helmet I might actually tighten round my head, flip the wrong way up, and never shake it off — even with out fastening it. And even hugging my head tight sufficient to remain on with no strap, it nonetheless feels snug.

The helmet additionally ventilates a minimum of in addition to others I’ve worn in the previous few years. Once more, it’s been cool on most of my rides to date this yr. However I foresee a well-ventilated head when driving in hotter climate this summer time.

Magnetic Motion Digital camera Mount

This can be a slick function. A small magnetic mount holds an motion digital camera on the prime of the helmet. The great thing about the mount is that it’s instant-on, instant-off. So for many who need to seize some footy on the descent however don’t need to have an enormous digital camera on their head all day through the climbs and slower parts of a experience, simply clip it on or off and stow it in a bag.

The mount appears safe. However whacking a stick would virtually certainly knock it unfastened, so watch your clearance driving by way of forests.

Blaze General Conclusions

The Blaze is far more costly than the Cost commuter helmet at $300. And that vital price ticket places it head-to-head with some actually wonderful helmets.

So that is one I’d put within the “contemplate” class. A couple of plusses are that, when you injury the helmet in a fall inside one yr of buy, Bontrager will exchange it at no cost. That could possibly be a great deal should you experience arduous and crash typically.

So when you just like the type, or can merely get previous the marginally bubble-headed look it brings, this is a wonderful helmet that excels when consolation and air flow are paramount.

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