With all the hullabaloo about helmet aerodynamics these days, you’d think no one was making regular lids these days. Fortunately, they are, and the Bontrager Velocis is a fantastic example of a “normal” helmet.
Prior to the Velocis, Bontrager’s top of the line helmet was the Oracle, which is also very comfortable and very good looking if a little on the heavy side. The Velocis manages to drop about 80g while keeping a ton of safety features and adding in a nifty integrated (and removable) roadie-style visor that provides sun protection without trapping heat.
The Velocis’ claim to fame is it’s oversized vents and heavily designed air channeling, which headlines the dual-material interior cage for protection and various fit features for comfort. So, did it breeze through our tests in the hot, humid southeast?
First up, I’m really happy to see Bontrager bring the weight of their helmets down. The Oracle was pushing 300g, which could be felt on longer riders. The Velocis in size Medium tipped in at just 222g, which is not only a big improvement for Bontrager, but a darn light helmet compared to anything else out there. Few CPSC helmets we’ve seen actually come in this light once they’re on the scale. Well done.
Their Headmaster II retention mechanism uses a large diameter bezel to cinch it around your occipital bump (or ponytail).
The entire retention cage is height adjustable, too.
The pads have a solid front section that cushions the entire forehead to improve comfort. The pads use AgION material to prevent bacterial build up and its subsequent funk. The straps are thin and soft, too, but they are a bit too easy to pull through the buckle. Not so easy that the helmet comes loose while riding, but easy enough to pull it tighter without undoing the buckle. Rough handling could undo your carefully adjusted set up is all. Not a safety concern, though. Note the interior channeling.
Inside the EPS are both Aramid and composite skeletons. These combine to hold the helmet together in a crash and provide the structural integrity required for such large vents.
I usually wear a medium in most helmet brands and the Bontrager’s no different. Fit is very good with a wide range of adjustment.
Fit is fairly low profile, which theoretically helps it cheat the wind a bit. There are no specific aerodynamic claims about the Velocis on their website or in the materials we received, but anytime you can reduce your frontal footprint, it helps decrease drag. And it looks better when it’s not bulbous.
Front vents are big, which help bring air in. It then runs through the channels over your head and out the equally large exit ports on the back. Bontrager does make a big deal about its cooling, and all I can say is it’s not a hot helmet. Oddly, even with a day-old short summer hair cut, I didn’t notice the wind blowing over my skull like I usually do after a fresh clip. Still, my head never felt like it was overheating, even in 90º+ (F) temps and drenching humidity. I may not have felt the breeze blowing through my locks, but the heat certainly wasn’t sticking around.
Five colors are offered: Black/Gray, White/Silver, White/Red, Factory Team (Black/Red/White) and this day-glow yellow and black. The yellow isn’t as obnoxiously bright as some others, but it comes with a note saying they avoided chemical UV protectors for it that would otherwise brighten and prolong it’s color life. Why? Because those chemicals are bad for the planet. So, it may fade a bit over time, but I can live with that. Nice to see they’re thinking of such things.
The NeoVisor is the final trick feature that really sets the Velocis apart. It’s a removable visor that simply Velcros in between the pads and helmet using existing Velcro panels. It weighs next to nothing, works just like a regular visor to block sun/rain/whatever, but doesn’t put a barrier between you and the vents. Where a traditional cycling cap would trap heat and sweat against your head, the NeoVisor keeps things open and flowing. Brilliant. Best part? It’ll probably work in a number of other helmets, too.
It even flips up for “the look”.
There’s a lot that I like about this helmet, nothing I don’t – great fit, doesn’t overheat, looks good and, of course, the NeoVisor. At $249.99, it’s not cheap, but if you’re looking for a top end helmet with great features and superb comfort, it’s worth a test run. It even comes with a one-year crash replacement guarantee! It’s become my go-to helmet for road and XC.