If the Junction is anything to go by, Cannondale's first forray into the helmet market doesn't disappoint. It's stylishly shaped, well finished and relatively lightweight. Considering this and its $95 / £65 price tag, it certainly places very well in the 'budget helmet' category. It's only negative is that the MIPS shell masks the effectiveness of the interior ariflow channels somewhat.
Only 2 sizes
Ventilation channels inhibited by MIPS
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Cannondale hasn’t been in the helmet game for long, but its modest range covers several disciplines - with many helmets boasting MIPS protection. I've been lucky enough to test the Junction, intended to appeal to anyone dabbling in both on and off-road riding and one of the best commuter bike helmets.
Price-wise it's pitched as a budget option, I was keen to see how it compared to other similarly priced options among the best budget cycling helmets that are well suited to casual riders and commuters.
Cannondale Junction MIPS: Construction
The Junction’s short front end is offset with some stylish profiling and a removable peak; Cannondale has done a good job of avoiding a ‘casual commuter look’.
23 vents of varying sizes, shapes and profiles are positioned to promote air intake. Interior channels, arguably above the Junction’s price point, encourage airflow along the length of the helmet to the rear ‘outlet ports’.
The MIPS insert has a reassuring amount of play; it should effectively dampen rotational forces in the case of an impact.
The helmet is finished off with a microshell, again, a tidy affair for the price point. The upper element has a classy matt appearance, the lower level is a gloss one.
The helmet is available in two sizes, S/M and L/XL, and comes in three different colours: black, grey and blue (the US market have two further options, ‘quicksand’ and ‘black cherry’).
Cannondale Junction Adult Helmet: the ride
Getting the helmet set up size-wise is worth the effort. There’s potentially three different height ‘settings’ thanks to a row of pop-out nipples incorporated into the basket. I say ‘potentially’ as Cannondale don’t mention (on their website) whether having just one of the nipples engaged is sufficient. At worst you have two height options.
A rear dial, sufficiently profiled to work effectively with gloved fingers, winds in the cradle's circumference. While I’ve found the S/M (claimed to fit a 54-58cm head) to be a perfect fit, some might struggle with just two size options though so trying before you buy might be advisable.
There’s loads of length to the straps and once adjusted you’ll likely want to cut off the excess. They are far from easy to feed through the v-shaped splitters but effort is rewarded with straps that can sit clear of your ears, plush to your face and don’t slip through the splitters. This secure hold is helped by the serrated rear side which creates plenty of friction.
On the bike, the helmet feels comfy and stable. At 280g (S/M) it’s pretty light for a helmet (with MIPS) at this price point. That said, its target market might not all be concerned with saving grams anyway.
The visor isn't as substantial as some, Cannondale even refer to it as a 'mini-visor'. It’s stable and good to have as an option; removal/reattachment is a breeze.
Ventilation is, in my opinion, average. MIPS inserts can often work against any interior airflow channels and the Junction is a classic case; I find I get a build-up of heat (which leads to condensation) at the rear end of the helmet if I'm really working up a sweat. For casual riding, this simply isn't an issue. Intense efforts are more problematic, you can see the after effects of an interval ride in the photo below. This will also depend on how well-endowed your head is already; I have a good layer insulating hair in situ which makes things even worse!
Cannondale junction Adult Helmet: value and conclusion
There is an increasing number of budget helmets available featuring MIPS; comparable options include Smith Optic’s Signal MIPS for $85.00 / £64.99 and the much pricier Met Vinci MIPS ($129.00 /£100.00.
Cannondale's Junction surely launches them to the fore of the budget-helmet-with-MIPS category; being two-way adjustable, relatively lightweight and stylish, it boasts more than many.
Cannondale Junction Adult Helmet: specs
- Weight: 280g (S/M)
- Vents: 23
- Sizes: S/M, L/XL
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