- Clever peak allows for hassle free goggle parking
- Well-priced considering all the features
- Offers plenty of head coverage for increased protection
- Retention system might not suit all heads
- Be nice to have a little more height adjustment at the rear
Bontrager's Rally MIPS is a top-end trail lid with some neat features, such as the high pivoting peak that can park goggles underneath it and coverage that extends well down your temples and back of your head. The only fly in the ointment is a retention system that some may find uncomfortable.
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The helmet uses a fully in-moulded shell to protect the EPS foam core from bumps and bashes and you get 20 vents peppered across the helmet, with the three large vents at the front working well to channel air into the helmet and over your head. Along with some internal channelling, that makes it a pleasantly cool place to be, despite the lid giving good low coverage at the back of your head and also being dipped to help protect your temples.
Up front, there's a very on-trend peak design that lifts up high enough to place a pair of goggles under it, should you wish to go full enduro. It's a feature that really works and I used it almost constantly through the soggy months, style be damned. Although there's no clip at the back, the shape of the back of the helmet meant the straps didn't move about too badly and when the peak is in a more normal position, it looks pretty normal, unlike some designs out there.
The helmet also uses Bontrager's extremely neat Blendr mounts for GoPro and lights on the top of the helmet. The mount locks into place using a magnet rather than any clips and I found it to be a very tidy solution as you aren't left with any ungainly bits on the lid when you don't want to run either.
This version of the Rally uses a MIPS liner inside the helmet shell, which is claimed to offer improved protection in a crash as it reduces the amount of rotational acceleration transmitted to your brain. There's not a huge amount of independent research done into how effective it is - though MIPS own research claims it is, obviously - and the regular, non-MIPS Rally is £35 cheaper, so it's very much a personal call on whether you think it's worth it. Personally, I'd cough up the extra cash for no other reason than taking any perceived advantage I can when it comes to safety.
Either way, the MIPS liner is nicely integrated, with plenty of removable padding that keeps the liner (and the often sharp edges) away from your head - important if you're follically challenged. The pads are about spot on in terms of thickness - there's enough there to be comfy but they don't act as giant sponges for your sweat either.
The retention system uses a Boa wheel adjuster to tighten around the circumference of your head, with the cradle attaching just forward of your temples. It's a neat and secure design that's easy to adjust on the fly but I had issues with the thin Boa cable and plastic cradle that it secures to cutting into the tops of my ears - it wasn't too bad when using with glasses, but it got into quite uncomfortable territory when using goggles as they squished the whole load down further and harder. Having passed the helmet around to a number of other people to try on, it seemed I was the only person in the office to suffer from this, but it's worth being aware of anyway.
Elsewhere you get non-adjustable ear straps - which is fine by me - and a simple but secure clip to hold the whole lot in place. There are three levels of height adjustment at the rear but I'd have preferred to be able to lift the brim of the helmet a little higher at the front if I'm being picky. You can also select from five different colour patterns, so there's plenty of potential for getting all matchy-matchy should you desire.
All in all, the Bontrager Rally MIPS is a really well-featured helmet at a respectable price. It's well ventilated for a high coverage helmet, respectably lightweight and comfy - my mild strap woes notwithstanding. If it fits you, then it's a worthy choice - just make sure you try before you buy.