When Bontrager launched its XXX WaveCel helmet last year it sat at the premium end of its range with a hefty price tag of £200. But this year the tech has trickled down to the highly competitive sub-£100 range and this Starvos Wavecel helmet.
The WaveCel material is a collapsible cellular structure that’s 15mm deep and the outer hardshell is lined with 15mm of EPS foam. Between the two there is a separation of around 4mm on the enclosed sections, which has a marked effect on how cool your head feels when riding.
When combined with the open construction, the free-flowing air from the five forward-facing vents and nine rearward vents makes it one of the best helmets I’ve worn on hot rides. The downside is that the WaveCel adds around 50g to the helmet weight, putting the Starvos at 375.4g in a size large.
By comparison, my current favourite sub-£100 helmet, Bell’s Avenue MIPS, tips the scales at 310g while Bontrager’s own Circuit MIPS weighs in at sub 300g. While I appreciate that some riders prefer lighter lids, in the real world the weight difference isn’t really that noticeable, being only the equivalent of one and a half Snickers bars.
While the internal padding is minimal, the Starvos nevertheless feels comfortable because the WaveCel material has a bit more give than EPS foam, so you don’t feel any elements of the helmet pressing against your head. Plus, the moisture-wicking pads are easily removable for washing.
Bontrager’s Headmaster cradle offers 15mm of vertical adjustment at the rear plus a generous range of circumference adjustment via a dial for easy one-handed tuning while riding.
The nylon on the straps is middleweight but soft-feeling so it doesn’t irritate, and adjusting the Y-shaped lockdown dividers is easy.
It’s also worth mentioning that Bontrager now offers the Starvos in XL sizing, which will fit head circumferences of 60 to 66cm, which is far beyond most manufacturers’ usual size range.
In addition, Bontrager backs up the Starvos with a crash guarantee – replacing the helmet for free in the event of crash damage within the first year of ownership. Plus it offers a 30-day, no-questions-asked return policy so you won’t lose out if you don’t get on with it.
It’s also available in black or white as well as green.