Time for a rally cap in cycling? Well, it’s hard to wear one backwards or inside out, but the Bontrager Rally WaveCel Helmet is a good one to keep the singletrack vibes going well past the 9th inning.
Rally WaveCel Helmet Features:
- WaveCel, a collapsible cellular structure reduces rotational motion to the brain during impact
- Awarded 5 stars by Virginia Tech for safety standards
- Extended back-of-helmet shell offers additional rear protection
- BOA® Fit System to dial in your fit
- Washable helmet pads
- LockDown yoke dividers provide added fit adjustments
- Adjustable visor
- Complies with U.S. CPSC Safety Standards
- 1-year Crash Replacement Guarantee
- Weight: 395 grams (medium, actual)
- MSRP: $150
Ride the WaveCel, but on dirt
At this point, trail-focused mountain bike helmets have all morphed into a very similar form factor. Integrated visors and added coverage on the back of the head are all part of the game. But, each helmet differentiates itself with other safety features or niceties that make one helmet stand out above another. When Bontrager released their WaveCel system, it was on a few helmets, but it’s now expanding further. I have tested the Bontrager Starvos WaveCel, XXX WaveCel and Specter WaveCel helmets so far, but this is the first mountain bike flavor I’ve had a chance to wear.
Again, the core of the Rally WaveCel helmet is the proprietary cellular structure that’s aimed to perform like a shearing crumple zone inside the helmet. Rotational impacts compress the material and then a built-in shear zone will also allow the system to move to reduce rotational impact. Virginia Tech has given the Rally WaveCel 5-stars, so it definitely has the chops (thankfully, I haven’t tested this one first-hand).
For $150, the Rally WaveCel has a lot to offer, in addition to the inherent safety features. For starters, the BOA adjustment dial makes for reliable and quick fit adjustments. The knob is easy to turn with or without gloves and all adjustments are quick and accurate. Also important are the helmet straps. These are fairly pedestrian as they attach on the interior of the helmet instead of at integrated mount points on the shell. That’s all fine and dandy until it comes time to put it on since the straps (particularly the rear ones) tend to twist around themselves and require extra care to be in the proper position every time. Once situated, the helmet offers fuss-free comfort — with enough adjustments to satisfy most riders needs.
One of the negatives of WaveCel is breathability and I’m not going to say otherwise here. On the hottest of days, the Rally WaveCel is warmer than other similar helmets because you just don’t get as much free-flowing air. It’s a safety trade-off that I’m willing to make, but if you regularly ride in hot weather, be forewarned. Related to that, it does an adequate job of sweat management, but not anything outstanding. You’ll get some drips onto your sunglasses, but it’s not a river.
Because the helmet is a touch warmer than others, I’ve appreciated wearing it during cooler weather. And, in fact, I can wear the Rally WaveCel without a cap down into the low-40’s just fine. So, it’s kind of a give-and-take kind of thing. For early mornings or cold mountain starts (like SBT GRVL), WaveCel is a great option. In addition, those little waves provide further sun protection, which is important to those of us with shaved heads.
As with all Bontrager helmets, the Rally does sit farther down my noggin than some other brands and does impact the top of my largest sunglasses. The POC Aspire, Koo Demos and Tifosi Sledge all work with it, but the Tifosi’s do tend to tap, tap, tap the crown of the helmet on the roughest terrain.
- WaveCel adds confidence and safety
- Great design with added coverage
- Visor adjusts easily and stays out of view
- Durable construction with little exposed EVA foam
- BOA dial adjusts easily
- WaveCel adds warmth; reduces airflow
- A bit heavier than the competition
- Straps can get tangled when putting it on
The Bottom Line: Bontrager Rally WaveCel Helmet
On the search for a safe and stylish all-mountain helmet? The Bontrager Rally WaveCel looks great and offers the added safety of WaveCel to keep all that you’ve learned since kindergarten safely stored in your head. With that protection, you do lose some airflow, but gain a trusty cold-weather helmet. It’s really not a bad trade-off, all things considered.
Buy Now: Available from TrekBikes.com