Bontrager Rally MIPS review

Affordable trail helmet that doesn’t scrimp on safety or features

Helmets
Bontrager Rally MIPS Review

The redesigned Bontrager Rally MIPS mountain bike helmet loses weight while adding features.

What is it

The Bontrager Rally MIPS is redesigned for 2018 using a Boa closure and a magnetic Blendr mount, while still managing to drop 30-50 grams depending on size. With a MIPS liner and extended coverage at the back of the helmet, it’s ready for rowdy riding.

Bontrager Rally MIPS Review

The adjustable visor is also appreciated.

Pros
  • Increased safety thanks to Multi-directional Impact Protection System
  • Great fit, ventilation, and looks
  • Bargain price for full-featured helmet
  • Great crash replacement guarantee
Cons
  • Boa dial protrudes out of back of helmet
  • Like most extended coverage helmets, not all sunglasses play nicely
Mtbr’s Take

The Bontrager Rally MIPS mountain bike helmet is my new go-to for trail riding. With a comfortable fit, great ventilation, and good looks, the Rally delivers everything you need, plus extra protection with its MIPS liner and extended coverage at the back. That it retails for less than $150 and comes with a 1-year crash replacement program and a clever magnetic GoPro/light mount is simply icing on the cake.

Bontrager Rally MIPS Review

Plenty of coverage and ventilation.

Bontrager Rally MIPS Fit

I tested a medium and it ran true to size but this is no surprise as I’ve worn a medium in virtually every helmet I’ve encountered. I would say that Bontrager’s medium runs on the smaller end of the size spectrum, something my slender head appreciates. If you have a wider head you might look to other brands such as Giro.

Bontrager Rally MIPS Review

The under-ear junction of the helmet straps is fixed but its placement is dialed and our reviewer never saw a need for an adjustment there.

Despite the fixed under-ear strap junctions, the Bontrager Rally MIPS fit me nicely after I cinched up the under-chin strap. I ran the rear Boa closure system at its highest setting and wished that it would tuck inside the helmet a bit more. This is, in fact, my only complaint about the Rally and it’s a minor one.

Bontrager Rally MIPS Review

Extended coverage and a MIPS liner add extra protection for trail riding.

Like most extended coverage mountain bike helmets, the Rally also doesn’t play nicely with a lot of eyewear intended for cycling. Glasses with shorter ear stems and narrower lenses seem to work best.

Staying Cool
Bontrager Rally MIPS Review

Color choices include the Waterloo Blue and Olive Green seen in this review, plus black, Radioactive Orange, and a Heather Grey/Pink combo.

Ventilation is great, though this is hard to quantify. I rode in the Bontrager Rally MIPS during some toasty climbs and it performed nicely. On descents you can certainly feel wind cooling your noggin through the Rally’s internal channels and large vents. The Bontrager Rally MIPS doesn’t keep you as cool as a more ventilated cross-country or road helmets, but considering the increased coverage, it performed exceptionally well.

Weighing In
Bontrager Rally MIPS Review

The Boa closure system is easy to use, even on the fly. But it sits fairly low and we wished that it could have nested higher on the helmet.

At 383 grams, the Bontrager Rally MIPS isn’t a featherweight lid, but it’s great that they were able to get it under 400 grams with this redesign. All that said, this helmet never felt heavy on the head. For comparison, the Bontrager Rally MIPS beats the Bell Sixer MIPS by $10 and weighs 20 grams less.

Bontrager Rally MIPS Review

Bontrager’s Blendr mount is compatible with GoPros and Bontrager’s own lights. A tab at the front of the mount locates it inside the vent while a set of magnets at the rear of the mount and behind the vent hold it in place.

Bontrager also sets the Rally MIPS apart thanks to its clever magnetic Blendr mount. The accessory mount uses a GoPro interface and also works with Bontrager’s various headlights. What I especially love about the mount is how easily it can be installed or taken off, even while riding. A small tab at the front of the mount locates under a lip at the front of the intended vent and a magnet at the rear keeps it in place. I’ve used the mount with lights and a camera and it always felt secure.

Bontrager Rally MIPS Review

The MIPS liner offers increased rotational protection while internal channels funnel air over a rider’s head.

So, should you buy a Bontrager Rally MIPS? I say, yes as long as you like the colors on offer. I certainly dig the low-key Olive Green and the Rally fits you like it fit me, you’ll be happy. It’s a great trail helmet that will keep you comfortable and safe while rallying your local trails. And it’s hard to beat the Bontrager Crash Replacement Guarantee, which gets you a free replacement if you crash within the first year of ownership.

Bontrager Rally MIPS Review

While not quite on par with more ventilated XC or road helmets, the Rally does a good job of keeping you cool on hot climbs. Photo courtesy Santa Cruz/Forrest Arakawa

Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Price: $140
More Info: www.trekbikes.com


About the author: Nick Legan

Nick Legan is happiest with some grease under his nails and a long dirt climb ahead. As a former WorldTour team mechanic, Legan plied his trade at all the Grand Tours, Spring Classics, World Championships and even the 2008 Beijing Olympics. In recent years, gravel and ultra-distance racing has a firm grip on Legan’s attention, but his love of mountain biking and long road rides hasn’t diminished. Originally a Hoosier, Legan settled in Boulder, Colorado, 14 years ago after finishing his time at Indiana University studying French and journalism. He served as the technical editor at VeloNews for two years and now contributes to Adventure Cyclist, Mtbr and RoadBikeReview. To follow along on Legan’s cycling adventures, find him on Instagram at @nlegan and be sure to check out his new book Gravel Cycling: The Complete Guide to Gravel Racing and Adventure Bikepacking.


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