'Aero finally got cool'
by Colin Henrys
As part of the inexorable march of progress, 2015 was the year the aero road helmet practically became a requirement in the professional peloton.
Brands who previously had clung doggedly to conventional, sensible-looking helmets (if any bike helmet could be called sensible-looking, that is) came up with their own wind-cheating designs with the aim of saving riders valuable seconds.
One of the big brands to launch their first aero road helmet was Bontrager. Trek’s de facto components and apparel brand have really positioned themselves strongly in the market over the last few years, making great wheels, apparel, saddles and more, and the Ballista is a really striking helmet – and not just because it looks, well, rather wild.
On their website, Bontrager use the phrase ‘aero finally got cool’ to describe the Ballista ... and there’s no denying you’ll turn a few heads if you’re out in one of these.
On their website, Bontrager use the phrase ‘aero finally got cool’ to describe the Ballista, and although we’re not entirely convinced by the new, streamlined look everyone’s suddenly sporting, there’s no denying you’ll turn a few heads if you’re out in one of these.
Incidentally, it’s named after an ancient Greek weapon used to launch projectiles (usually arrows). It has the same origin as the ‘ballistic’ in ballistic missile, which gives you an idea of just how highly Bontrager rate their helmet.
If you’re a sucker for numbers you’ll probably be a little disappointed to know Bontrager haven’t release the wind tunnel data from the Ballista’s testing though.
They do claim it outperformed Specialised’s Evade, Giro’s Air Attack and Louis Garneau’s Course lids, but you’ll have to take their word for it, even if it does look particularly fast.
- Price: £129.99
- Website: Bontrager
They’ve also taken ventilation very seriously. The three large vents on the front and two on the top channel air through the helmet toward outputs that look more like the back of a super car than a bike helmet, so even if you’re not riding fast you’re sure as anything going to look it.
Also included is the same Headmaster II retention system as their standard road helmets which is a tried and tested way to keep your lid comfortable and in place.
The final question, of course, is weight. You could be forgiven for looking at the Ballista and thinking it looks a little heavy, but you’d be wrong.
At 260g for a medium it’s certainly not challenging for the title of lightest helmet on the market, but it’s very competitive in the aero road category and if you ride faster wearing it, what’s not to like?