If you’re a believer in the aero helmet, you also probably know that the first generation of lids could get pretty hot. It turns out that all those vents that help keep you cool, aren’t that aerodynamic – at least not in certain forms. In the end you want an aero helmet to be as slippery as possible, but not at the expense of overheating. After two years of prototyping and testing, Bontrager thinks they finally have the answer.
Named after ancient weaponry designed to hurl projectiles a great distance, the Bontrager Ballista is meant to help launch one of Trek’s racers out in front of the peloton. Placing great emphasis on cooling as much as aerodynamics, the Ballista has been proven both in the lab and in big events like the Tour Down Under…
Like most aero projects, the Ballista started with a large scale CFD project to the most aerodynamic basic shape and then test each shape with multiple vent configurations. Doing all of this on the computer allowed Bontrager’s designers to rapidly cycle through a number of designs and eventually settle on the mid-length shape with three centralized vents to move forward.
Once the basic design was settled on, Bontrager took to the wind tunnel in San Diego to test aerodynamics, as well as the Marquette University wind tunnel where they used a thermal head form to dial in the venting. Since the head form is heated to simulate a human head, engineers were able to actually measure the resulting temperature based on the vent shape and location to ensure the Ballista would be as cool as possible. The final shape uses a large center channel that draws in large amounts of air that is then funneled through the internal recessed channels and AgION pads. Out back you’ll find the Headmaster II retention system with LockDown adjustable straps.
Offered in black, white, Hi Viz, and Trek Factory Racing replica, the helmet has a claimed weight of 262g and will be available this month for $174.99 with a Crash Replacement guarantee.
Along with the Ballista helmet, Bontrager is launching a complete Ballista kit for both men and women. The pro- fit clothing is meant to be high end, race worthy kit though no mention is made of any aero specific features. Instead, the men’s jersey uses Profila Dry fabric with Coldblack technology and mesh inserts for cooling. The full zip jersey offers three rear pockets and a drop tail with a retail price of $199.99. The Ballista bib shorts make use of a Nimbus inForm BioDynamic Italian chamois that uses an OverEasy pad with Aicell Lite foam. Again making use of Profila fabrics, the Power material is combined with a cool mesh back panel. No-sew bib straps keep the shorts from falling down and smooth compression grippers finish the legs. Built with a 9.5″ inseam, the bibs include an internal radio pocket and sell for $249.99. Specifics aren’t given for the women’s Ballista collection, though clearly they include shorts rather than bibs. More details when we have it.