The Bontrager Blaze helmet is their range-topping mountain bike helmet, aimed at the trail/all-mountain/enduro crowd. With a range-topping price tag it certainly should have all of the bells and whistles, especially compared to its lower-priced sibling the Rally. Incorporating their wonder-material WaveCel, this helmet is said to be a game-changer in terms of brain injury prevention, but how well does it do everything else?
Wavecel is described as a “collapsible cellular structure” and it is designed to be more effective than other helmet materials at reducing impact forces, in particular rotational forces. Similar in look to Koroyd used in Smith and other helmets, but functionally very different, Wavecel acts as both a crumple zone to help protect your head from direct impact, and it’s also claimed that it provides better rotational protection than a slip-liner such as MIPS. I wasn’t able to test these claims, but on paper, this all sounds good.
The Blaze helmet comes with a whole bunch of other features that make it a nice helmet to wear and add a little extra functionality. First on the list is the Fidlock magnetic buckle. For anybody who hasn’t used one before, it’s a buckle that snaps together when you hold the two ends next to each other. This means it’s super easy to fasten and unfasten, and it can be easily done with a single gloved hand. This is one of my favorite features on any helmet, particularly when it replaces D-rings on a full face, but it’s also useful on a half-shell as it’s super simple and robust.
Some other third-party tech includes the Boa dial to adjust the fit, which works great and makes the helmet comfy since it’s so low-profile. The “no-sweat pad with silicone channel” also adds to the comfort factor. I’m not too sure where the silicone channel is to be found, but the pad itself is really plush and probably one of the most comfortable around. It does do a pretty good job of keeping the sweat out of the rider’s eyes.
Last but not least is the Blendr mount. Blendr is Bontrager’s proprietary system which allows you to mount any of their light systems to the helmet, but more importantly, it means you can easily mount a GoPro camera or anything that happens to use a GoPro mount. The mount snaps onto the top of the helmet using a magnet, so there’s no need to stick unsightly GoPro mounts to the top of the helmet. It’s also surprisingly sturdy, staying exactly where it should every time I used it and keeping the helmet clean-looking when not in use.
Fit and comfort
The Blaze is probably one of the most comfortable helmets around. Despite not being particularly light weight, with size medium weighing around 420g, it’s easy to forget that you’re wearing it. The liner is well padded on the front making it really snug and comfy on the forehead, while the padding tapers off at the back. Flexibility afforded by the Boa retention system means that it really hugs the contours of the back of the head and fits really well. Coverage on the back of the helmet is good, sitting in line with many other enduro-type half shells.
On the trail
On the trail, the Blaze is a great-feeling helmet and I’m happy to wear it all day long. The fit and efficacy of the “no-sweat pad” means that it stays comfy, and it also does a great job of keeping the sweat above the forehead and out of the eyes. The WaveCel construction allows the helmet to breathe well and does not feel hot on the head, but the helmet doesn’t vent quite as well as some others that have clearer air channels near the scalp. Heat can radiate out well, but there’s less airflow when moving than with other helmets, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing as I find that those helmets can actually be overly cool on colder days and early mornings when riding down a fast descent.
The only real fault I could find with the Blaze is the peak (visor). While it can be moved upward slightly, it’s not what I’d call adjustable as it doesn’t really want to be moved and sort of snaps into place in its most downward position. I also find the peak to be a little too short for my liking. While it sounds like a minor gripe, one of my favorite features on the Smith Forefront 2 helmet is the length of the peak and the adjustability. When riding in the early morning or twilight the peak can be moved down to keep the sun from my eyes, but can also easily be moved up to keep my view clear or to store goggles. The peak on the Blaze helmet doesn’t really do either of those things and might as well just be there to look good because it doesn’t do a whole lot else.
The Blaze is undoubtedly a great helmet. It’s extremely comfy, has some great integrated features, and it boasts some impressive protection credentials, but there’s still an elephant in the room. The price. The Bontrager Blaze helmet retails for a whopping $300. That’s twice the price of its sibling the Rally, and I just can’t figure out why. The Rally uses the same WaveCel technology, the same Boa fit system, looks very similar, and actually has an adjustable peak. So what are customers paying an extra $150 for here, other than a GoPro mount and a magnetic buckle? I’m not so sure, but if I was spending my own money and wanted something with the protection of WaveCel, I’d probably buy the cheaper helmet and stick a GoPro mount on top.
It’s worth knowing that the Blaze helmet has a crash replacement guarantee, as do all of Bontrager’s helmets. If you crash and damage the helmet within the first year of ownership, they will give you a new helmet for free.
- Neat features
- Bold protection claims
Pros and the cons of the
- Expensive compared to the competition
- Peak (visor) is not super useful
⭐️ The Bontrager Blaze mountain bike helmet is available for purchase at the Trek website.