The Bontrager Ballista is a pro level aero helmet that performs brilliantly. Although expensive, it is half the price of many other leading brands rival products and we highly recommend it. The only issue is the lack of sunglasses holes.
No holes for sunglasses
The Ballista was famously worn by Jens Voigt during his successful tilt at the Hour Record and is worn by the Trek-Segafredo racing team. Bontrager has refined the design in the wind tunnel and having undertaken competitive testing Bontrager claims that the Ballista is more aerodynamic than other leading helmets, such as the Giro Air Attack and Specialized Evade. To date, I haven't had time to carry out my own quantitative testing to back up the claim, but will aim to do this in future.
What I can confirm, is the Bontrager Ballista feels fast and noticeably faster than a non-aero helmet such as a Specialized Propero. I have worn the Ballista to wins in a road race and a time trial and for racing it is my go to helmet. However, for longer rides and training, I will often opt for something else. My biggest gripe with the Ballista is the lack of holes for sunglasses. While this is not a deal breaker for all riders, those who like to slot their glasses into their helmet (myself included) should perhaps look else-ware.
Visually the Ballista looks similar to the Specialized Evade, but with fewer vents. The side on profiles are very similar.
The internal AgION padding is antimicrobial, meaning the helmet doesn’t get as smelly. The padding is removable too. The Ballista feels cool for an aero helmet, but is still warmer than a conventional lid. By comparison, it is cooler than the Giro Air Attack, but warmer than the Bollé One (with the vents exposed). The fit is good and I find the Ballista comfortable.
The Bontrager Ballista scores high marks for value. £129.99 is a lot of money, but for a wind-tunnel designed helmet used by top professionals, it is significantly cheaper than equivalent products from Specialized and Giro. What's more, the quality is right up there and it's pretty light too.
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Oliver Bridgewood - no, Doctor Oliver Bridgewood - is a PhD Chemist who discovered a love of cycling. He enjoys racing time trials, hill climbs, road races and criteriums. During his time at Cycling Weekly, he worked predominantly within the tech team, also utilising his science background to produce insightful fitness articles, before moving to an entirely video-focused role heading up the Cycling Weekly YouTube channel, where his feature-length documentary 'Project 49' was his crowning glory.
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