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Bontrager's Jet WaveCel Children's Bike Helmet comes with Bonty's collapsible structure fitted, which is designed to absorb the force of an impact. It's well proven, which gives plenty of peace of mind, but it does add weight, reduces airflow and whacks the price up.
Bontrager describes WaveCel as a collapsible cellular structure which is designed to be more effective than traditional foam helmets in protecting your head from injury. It's a crumple zone, basically, which absorbs the force of an impact before it reaches your head.
Virginia Tech, one of the world's most trusted independent impact testers, has given it the thumbs up, and the Jet is ASTM certified rather than just EN-1078, the European standard. The ATSM standard uses a headform with a smaller mass in its impact testing, giving results that are more relevant to the size of a child's head.
WaveCel is quite a bulky product, though, which adds a fair amount of depth to the Jet's overall size. With that comes weight: the Jet tips the scales at 487g, which is heavy for a little neck.
A very similar helmet design from Met that my daughter normally wears is over 100g lighter without the WaveCel.
The other issue is that the Jet doesn't have a huge number of ventilation holes, so it isn't massively breathable, exacerbated by the fact that the WaveCel affects airflow. All these types tend to, though – it was something I found noticeable on the Koroyd-equipped Endura Pro SL. That said, Simon was quite pleased with the ventilation on the Bontrager Starvos WaveCel helmet.
The Jet is a very well made helmet, and it's adjustable too.
The base of the EPS (expanded polystyrene) inner layer is covered in a soft-touch material which takes away any sharp edges and also protects the helmet from being damaged. The ABS polymer outer is tough, too, and will stand up to plenty of knocks and scuffs.
The added bonus of this bright green finish is a little extra visibility if your child is riding on the road. You also get a pack of stickers in the box to personalise the Jet.
A small cradle inside adjusts from 48 to 52cm diameter on this child's version, or 50-55cm on the Youth model also available. It's tweaked easily by way of the rear thumbwheel, and the back can be adjusted for height as well, which also gives clearance for a ponytail.
Rather than using a traditional clip for the Jet, which can often lead to pinched skin, the Jet uses a magnetic Fidlock buckle which is easy to connect and separate but remains very secure when in use.
At £69.99, it's a bit pricey, especially when the child is continuously growing. The Met helmet I mentioned earlier, the Yoyo, has a list price of just £30. Admittedly it doesn't come with the size adjustment, using just pads instead of any dials, and the Jet is arguably safer too.
Decathlon's B'Twin 520 Teen Cycling helmet is similar in shape, and costs just £14.99.
Okay, you can't put a price on your child's safety and protection, so if you want what is probably one of the safest helmets out there then the price tag isn't going to be an issue. For me personally, my six-year-old found it really heavy to wear compared to her EN-1078 certified Met, which meant the Jet was rarely the helmet she went for without being prompted.
Well made, cool looks and approved safety data, but it's pretty heavy for a kid's lid
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Bontrager Jet WaveCel Children's Bike Helmet
Size tested: 48-52
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Bontrager says, "Safety has never looked so cool. Jet is a kids' bike helmet with skater-inspired style, proven WaveCel protection and a parent-approved price.
'WaveCel is a collapsible cellular structure that lines the inside of the helmet. This Bontrager-exclusive technology disrupts the safety standards that the industry has accepted for over 30 years."
It is well made and the safety claims have been backed up by independent tests, but it is quite heavy.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
WaveCel advanced helmet technology
Meets ASTM standards, whose tests use a smaller mass headform more realistic to younger riders
Fidlock magnetic buckle fastens easily for a quick, secure, kid-friendly fit
Comes with a free sticker kit
Dialled fit system provides a secure and comfortable fit
Soft and thick helmet pads are removable for easy cleaning
The Crash Replacement Guarantee provides a free helmet replacement if involved in a crash within the first year of ownership
I do appreciate that you are paying for the added benefits of the WaveCel design, but it is a big chunk of cash for a kid's helmet.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It has very good safety credentials.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The stickers add a bit of fun.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Heavy and not very breathable.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's pricier than many children's helmet on the market, like the two I mention in the review, but it's not that badly priced when you compare it to the adult WaveCel helmet options.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes and no; Isla liked the way it looked but found it heavy and quite warm.
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, if safey was paramount.
Use this box to explain your overall score
Focusing on safety, this is probably one of the best helmets a parent can choose for their child. It does come at a a cost, though, both financially and in weight.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
As part of the Tech Hub here at F-At Digital, our senior product reviewer Stu uses the knowledge gained from putting well over a 1,000 products through their paces (including hundreds of bikes) to write in-depth reviews of a huge range of kit. After first throwing his leg over a race bike back in 2000, Stu's ridden more than 160,000 miles on road, time-trial, track, and gravel bikes, and while he's put his racing days behind him he still likes to smash the pedals rather than take things easy. Although, as he spends a fair bit of his time reviewing ebikes these days he's becoming an expert in letting the motor take the strain. He's also waiting for 23mm race tyres to make a comeback!