A comfortable helmet that fits well without breaking the bank, even if it looks less refined than competitors.
Good fit with no pressure points
More comfortable than many helmets at a higher price point
Headmaster fit system could be more refined
The Bontrager Starvos helmet slots in neatly between the more expensive Velocis and Circuit helmets and above the Bontrager Solstice range. In terms of price point, it doesn't break the £100 mark, making it relatively affordable and a good performer.
It is noticeably different from its bigger sibling, though. There's considerably less venting on the Starvos compared to the Velocis, and it does have a less refined look, too.
No doubt, the day-glo yellow tested here doesn't help matters, but beneath the looks lies a really solid performer that's very comfortable to ride in.
The Bontrager Starvos helmet sits well on the head, feeling comfortable and secure and never precariously perched. The slightly extended back allows it to cradle the skull, giving good support around the back of the head.
In terms of fitting, the Starvos comes with Bontrager's own retention dial that's a little inelegant, especially when compared to the likes of Giro's RocLoc 5 retention system which is found on helmets at a similar price point.
While it does make the Starvos a little less accurate when dialling in the fit, I still found it more comfortable than the likes of the Giro Cinder MIPs, but of course this can be subjective as it depends on the shape of your head.
Watch: Helmet's buyer's guide
Unlike the likes of the Giro Cinder, I never suffered any pressure points on the back of my head and found the Starvos helmet far more comfortable to ride in, despite it sitting at a lower price point.
It's also worth noting that the Bontrager Starvos is actually lighter than the Giro Cinder, too, despite the difference in price. Still, it's no featherweight but it doesn't negatively impact on the ride.
Likewise, the Headmaster fit system allows the support at the back to be extended up or down the skull making it nice and easy to a get a comfortable fit. I opted for full retention, finding it to give better support and sit more comfortably.
While Bontrager reckons this is easy enough to do one handed, I'm less sure. Pulling it down is fine but pushing it back up is a task. Happily, the fit is comfortable enough to not warrant messing with it mid-ride.
The addition of MIPS is good to see, although thankfully I never needed to use it. Despite this, it remained comfortable to wear with no catching – something can be an issue with aftermarket MIPS.
Ultimately, though, the Bontrager Starvos MIPS has a level of comfort that belies its mid-range price point, and happily there are plenty of colour options outside of fluorescent yellow.
Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1