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Hi guys, 

got Bontrager Ballista MIPS aero helmet. Nice and light lid with BOA tightening system that adds to the overall comfort.

One issue I noticed is strap system. Regardnless adjustments I try at Y connection of both straps,  in riding position front strap never stays flat. At speed 30-35 kmh this causes wind turbulnences arout strap, gets pretty noisy and annoying. I believe (howeve can't measure it) it also influences aero. 

In the review of bikeradar below, it was also mentioned. 

https://www.bikeradar.com/features/best-aero-road-helmets-8-tested-and-r...

"Where I’ve struggled with the new and the older version of the Ballista is with the helmet straps. Adjusted for my head and ears, they never seem to lay flat, instead rotating and presenting broadside to the wind. It’s a small complaint, but one that I don’t have with other aero helmets in this round up."

It is pity that the manufacturer spent so much effort in R&D of the helmet itself byt such important thing as strap system left without much of improvement.   

I like the helmet and would like to keep it however need a solution. 

Do anyone has an idea how to fix the issue with DIY?

Was considering an additional harder layer of fabric over front strap to stabilize it.  

Any thoughts? 

 

 

16 comments

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Vovis [24 posts] 4 weeks ago
0 likes

Picture how it looks like

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BehindTheBikesheds [3059 posts] 4 weeks ago
3 likes

Easy solution, stop wearing a helmetyes

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Welsh boy [629 posts] 4 weeks ago
1 like

That’s easy enough to sort. If you are so good that the aero drag of a helmet strap sitting slightly off your head is a worry to you I am sure that the manufacturer will be more than happy to make you a custom strap. What is your real name vovis so we can look out for you in the grand tours and world championships? Get over yourself. 

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fenix [1180 posts] 4 weeks ago
1 like
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Linkan [13 posts] 4 weeks ago
0 likes

This is true for the Bontrager Circuit helmet as well and it is a bit annoying (still use it because the lid itself fits well). Try Kask or Poc, they do have better straps.

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ktache [1488 posts] 4 weeks ago
0 likes
fenix wrote:

https://www.cat-ears.com

Nice

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Tinbob49 [5 posts] 4 weeks ago
4 likes
Welsh boy wrote:

That’s easy enough to sort. If you are so good that the aero drag of a helmet strap sitting slightly off your head is a worry to you I am sure that the manufacturer will be more than happy to make you a custom strap. What is your real name vovis so we can look out for you in the grand tours and world championships? Get over yourself. 

Unless I can’t read your sarcasm, I’m not sure that comment is warranted. You can be at any level and just enjoying your cycling and still care that the aero helmet straps are annoying. 

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Vovis [24 posts] 4 weeks ago
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fenix wrote:

https://www.cat-ears.com

That is very nice idea. Will be looking into it.

However, issue is that strap itself gets loose and doesn't stay flat.

According to some user review on Amazon, in such case, Car-Ears aren't as effective.

"You will need to make sure that the straps in front of your ears are tight enough to keep the screen in contact with your sideburns to effectively shield your ears, but once that is done, they are surprising effective. On my first use, my straps had loosened some over time so they weren’t tight enough to be effective and I had to tighten up the front straps to experience the benefits".

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Vovis [24 posts] 4 weeks ago
0 likes
Welsh boy wrote:

That’s easy enough to sort. If you are so good that the aero drag of a helmet strap sitting slightly off your head is a worry to you I am sure that the manufacturer will be more than happy to make you a custom strap. What is your real name vovis so we can look out for you in the grand tours and world championships? Get over yourself. 

My main consern is not wind drag but increased noise level compared to my previous helmet caused by straps.  I mentioned drag because, I believe,  for some it can be important. 

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Welsh boy [629 posts] 4 weeks ago
1 like

Cats ears are very effective (or at least the ones I made were). I made a triangular piece to cover my ears which fitted over both straps which acted as ear warmers and sound attenuators, the effect was unbelievable but I looked like a real dick (maybe that wasn’t the fault of my ear warmers though), it was just about acceptable for winter rides in the dark but they had to come off when it warmed up in the spring.

Have a look at Specialized helmets with their tri-fix strap splitter, it is the reason I wear one of their helmets, it is the most comfortable strap system I have used. 

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Vovis [24 posts] 4 weeks ago
1 like
Linkan wrote:

This is true for the Bontrager Circuit helmet as well and it is a bit annoying (still use it because the lid itself fits well). Try Kask or Poc, they do have better straps.

So it seems to be general issue for Bontrager strap system.  Didn't know it. Ordered online without having possibility to check in any store. 

My previous Specialized helmet has different and much simpler solution, similar to that one can find on POC helmets. Straps always stay flat. There are different opinions saying that this is neither perfect because of limited adjustability but never had issue because of that.

The most important and decisive factor for Ballista was safety. Currently it is second best helmet on the market according to Virginia Tech test

https://www.helmet.beam.vt.edu/bicycle-helmet-ratings.html

I was looking for aero lid as well. Since I need biggest L size, most of aero options are pretty heavy and Ballista offers very good ballance between weight (300g), ventilation, comfort  and price.  

Kask doesn't use MIPS (yet ?)

As you can see from results of Virginia Tech above, Giro Synthe improved by 4 points (17 --> 13) after MIPS implementation.  

From POC aero helmet POC Ventral Spin is a nice option. However I am not sure how their SPIN padding compares against proven MIPS. It's also rather on expensive side.

  

 

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Vovis [24 posts] 4 weeks ago
1 like
Welsh boy wrote:

Cats ears are very effective (or at least the ones I made were). I made a triangular piece to cover my ears which fitted over both straps which acted as ear warmers and sound attenuators, the effect was unbelievable but I looked like a real dick (maybe that wasn’t the fault of my ear warmers though), it was just about acceptable for winter rides in the dark but they had to come off when it warmed up in the spring.

Have a look at Specialized helmets with their tri-fix strap splitter, it is the reason I wear one of their helmets, it is the most comfortable strap system I have used. 

I  am affraid of that look and will need to grow Pushkin's beard to hide cats ears or maybe with beard issue is solved anyhow  1

Fully agree on Specialized, own one and love it, simply clever solution. 

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Simon E [3695 posts] 4 weeks ago
2 likes
Vovis wrote:

The most important and decisive factor for Ballista was safety. Currently it is second best helmet on the market according to Virginia Tech test

https://www.helmet.beam.vt.edu/bicycle-helmet-ratings.html

If you're that bothered about safety then just buy a car, they're much safer.

But seriously, while impartial advice and independent tests are very useful, the differences between all those holey polystyrene hats is going to be pretty small in a real world impact.

And when a website shouts

"Wearing a helmet is most important and can be the difference between life and death in the event of a crash" [their emphasis]

then that is a big warning sign that they already have an agenda. Not exactly impartial, if you ask me.

Since the fit and comfort of a helmet is really important - a poor fit can seriously compromise its intended purpose - it would surely be wise to try it on before you buy.

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Vovis [24 posts] 4 weeks ago
0 likes

You can see the effect of Bontrager strap system on different helmet  Velocis.

It't clearly visible on the video below at 2:15-2:18

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smnrbG0ljAg

I like Bontrager tech, it't more superior and advanced compared to other brands but strap system still needs improvment.

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Vovis [24 posts] 4 weeks ago
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Simon E wrote:

But seriously, while impartial advice and independent tests are very useful, the differences between all those holey polystyrene hats is going to be pretty small in a real world impact.

I trust numbers of independent institutions like Virgina Tech and I wish we had more of those.  Amount of not dissipated or residual  force that leads to concussion is known and can be easily measured. There are helmets with 50% (std.) risk reduction, 35% (MIPS) and Bontrager claims much better numbers with WaveCel concept.

Of course wearing of helmet is a key message,  no question about that.

Price of helmet is nothing compared to set of good wheels but much more important when it is needed. 

Therefore I see no reason or logic to close eyes on the numbers. I believe there might be minor differences between 5* and 4* helmets in this test and 3* should be avoided as it is recommended elsewhere.   

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Simon E [3695 posts] 4 weeks ago
1 like
Vovis wrote:

Of course wearing of helmet is a key message,  no question about that.

Many helmet sceptics will disagree most strongly with that statement.  Including the great voice of reason, Chris Boardman (link).

But if you personally feel that wearing one is a good idea then I agree, you should be informed and buy the one that most closely fits your criteria.