The Traze Amp MIPS Helmet is a collaboration between ION and MET - it’s aimed at the Enduro and All-mountain rider and features MIPS, clean looks and claims of effective air channels, plus a magnetic chin strap clip. It looks to hit the spot for a helmet offering a little more coverage and protection, and while the protection is good, it fails to deliver what the price tag indicates.
- When should you replace your helmet?
- Your buying guide to mountain bike helmets.
- Choosing the right MTB helmet for your child.
ION Traze Amp Helmet - Technical details
Built around a standard expanded foam shell with a plastic cover, the Traze Amp has a chunky, purposeful shape. It has 14 vents, with a decent-sized peak that's held in place by two Allen bolts and rotates on two pop type attachments. These rotate the peak up, creating space for goggles or glasses, but at times, I would have liked to have ducked the peak further down for shade or rain protection.
Internally, the Traze Amp has a MIPS system that reduces rotational forces on the head caused by impact and combined with the chunkier feel of the lid, it adds more protection. There is an adjustable fit system - the usual band style with a twist dial to pull in or loosen off the helmet. It was simple to use with gloves on, and gave a decent fit, even with the chin strap undone.
There is a small amount of padding, of the more low profile type, rather than large foam, which sits on the brow and the centre of the head. There is none to the sides and back, which seems intended to help with airflow perhaps.
The chin strap is a magnetic style slide clip, which is really simple to use and is a touch larger than standard closure clips, but not noticeable after a ride or two. The webbing is soft and fairly thin and has two sliding buckles to refine the fit.
ION Traze Amp Helmet - out riding
The fit of the Traze Amp was good for me, it sat well, and I didn’t have any tight areas. The lid feels out of the way and feels pretty light considering it looks quite solid and purposeful. It definitely feels biased towards more Enduro or All Mountain riding, as whilst it vents ok on the downhills or undulating trails, on slower, more demanding sections and especially climbs it felt pretty warm at times.
The airflow was minimal, and after taking it off, I found a noticeable build-up of condensation (sweat!) on the inside. The shape and size of the MIPS system are pretty large and the cradle in the Traze Amp has larger patches of plastic with fewer cut aways (see picture above for comparison)- I’ve been riding the helmet in the UK winter, and have short hair, which makes me think hotter weather would increase the issue.
The padding helps keep the sweat away from your eyes, but at points, it was running down the side of my head. I didn’t feel like the air vents channelled air that well. It’s a shame as airflow is pretty handy for any type of riding where there's exertion.
I feel that the lower back of the head area is well protected, partly owing to the smaller vents which offer more coverage. The Traze feels like a good level of protection, but thankfully, I didn’t confirm that with an actual impact. It’s kept in good condition from being stuffed in the van or carried in packs and so on.
ION Traze Amp Helmet - summing up
Despite the fit being good, and the styling looking up to date, the ION Traze Amp lacks the level of detail and refinement I’d expect at this price. Yes, it does have MIPS, and the chin strap clip is handy being magnetic, but that's an alternative solution rather than an improvement.
With other helmets at nearly half the price, for example, the Smith Engage MIPS reviewed recently, being a lot better in air flow, and equally good in looks and fit, the Traze Amp feels overpriced for what it delivers. There isn’t any technical qualities in the build, like anti-bacterial silver in the padding or a branded style webbing that is a new step. It is also about 20g heavier than the Smith Engage.
Unless you are utterly set on the look of the Traze Amp, I would struggle to recommend it when there are plenty of other helmets, with MIPS, and in style that are a lot cheaper. It’s absolutely perfectly ok as a helmet, but the lack of air flow leads to heat build-up, coupled with the high price lets it down.