The modestly priced Bontrager Circuit gave us quite a surprise here at BikeRadar. Priced in the middle of the range, this helmet has received a massive makeover since we last strapped one on.
First and foremost the overall aesthetic has been greatly improved. While there is some visible EPS foam, the Circuit’s polycarbonate shell comes around the base of the helmet to protect from the abuse of race bags and careless storage.
A total of 26 vents appear to follow a similar radial venting pattern to the top of the range Oracle and Velocis. An in-moulded composite skeleton increases structural integrity while allowing for a greater variation of vent shape and size. Aided by deep internal channels, the plethora of vents provide plenty of airflow through the helmets – though most aren’t big enough for a finger chasing that pesky itch.
Lots of exhaust vents help the circuit dispel hot air:David Rome / Immediate Media
Lots of exhaust vents help the Circuit dispel hot air
Weighing in at 291g in a size medium, the Circuit unsurprisingly falls short of its more expensive counterparts where heft is concerned. But despite the big numbers on the scale, the helmet feels quite airy on the head. (It’s worth noting though that the Circuit is quite a large lid and made a few of our testers look like mushrooms.)
In the BikeRadar Australia office we are fans of fixed temple strap dividers, because adjustable temple straps are usually fiddly and occasionally uncomfortable. Fixed straps streamline the fitting process and more often than not leave more space for the ears than adjustable counterparts. Here the two-tone black and white straps are lightweight, and use sturdy flatlock stitching.
Fixed temple strap dividers streamline the fitting process:
Fixed temple strap dividers speed the fitting process and in many cases do a better job than their adjustable counterparts
Bontrager’s Headmaster retention system provides three points of height adjustability; the head basket uses a nylon band, which connects to the Form Fit brow band. Together they fully encase the wearer’s head and evenly distribute pressure, while also creating a gap between the padding and front of the helmet for improved airflow. The Headmaster is easily operated with one hand, although a rubberised edge would greatly help operation with sweaty or gloved hands.
Bontrager uses their proven headmaster retention system on the circuit:
Bontrager uses their proven Headmaster retention system on the Circuit
A nice touch comes with the Circuit’s suitability for Bontrager’s NeoVisor – a removable visor meant to replace a cycling cap. It’s rare that lower end helmets are compatible with optional extras, so this is a welcome feature.
With the Circuit, Bontrager has used a host of trickle down technology from its higher-end offerings and in doing so created an awesome helmet that carries a pretty light price tag. The Circuit comes in three designs and three sizes, and is covered by Bontrager’s crash replacement policy.