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Bontrager Launches the Ballista Aero Helmet Along with Matching Kit

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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…

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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.

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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.

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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.

bontrager.com

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19 Comments
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Ventruck
Ventruck
9 years ago

The Ballista is easily the best looking of the aero helmets along with the Protone imo. Price is surprisingly not above $200.

Vengista
Vengista
9 years ago

The inferiority complex these guy have towards Specialized is some Freud material…

Vengista
Vengista
9 years ago

Uh,ballista in italian means ” liar”, Trek not making a score on the italian market with this helmet..

maz-o
maz-o
9 years ago

it looks EXACTLY like the Specialized Evade, it’s insane.

specialized
9 years ago

looks EXACTLY like the Specialized Evade? really? I have Evade Helmet and is very different to this helmet. Where do you see Evade helmet? In china??

Elliot
Elliot
9 years ago

@maz-o, well if they are both running extensive aerodynamic testing and sculpting based on the data, you would expect them to come up with a very similar product.

bikeslangslayer
bikeslangslayer
9 years ago

Oh cool some more stuff made in the same factories as everything else with no real cool stories to it other than everyone else is doing it so let’s put a bontrager logo on it….also the big pink back of the women’s bibshorts is going to look like a big bare butt from a hundered feet away…way to go guys…..”let’s take it to the wind tunnel guys” says no one ever…

James
James
9 years ago

Really maz-o? Do a side by side comparison of the two helmets. The vents are completely different, it’s $75 cheaper, and Bontrager isn’t trying to convince you it will save 46 seconds over 40km. True, they may have similar designs, but the concept of aero helmets has evolved/regressed to the designs of the 80’s.

Turner92
Turner92
9 years ago

@james – maybe the engineers in the ’80’s were right? ;P

cowtownclyclist
cowtownclyclist
9 years ago

Mario Cipollini’s Briko when he won worlds in 2002. Or my old Troxel Vector. More things change…

Vengista
Vengista
9 years ago

@specialized : stop bitching you guys,you should be flattered about this. And the China comment…cmon,should we talk about your frames? Save it..

SomeYoungGuy
SomeYoungGuy
9 years ago

I’m by no means an engineer, but don’t physics at least in part, drive similarities between aero products – tube shapes, helmet shapes, etc? Obviously, the one at the keyboard plays a large part, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find out Specialize and Trek are using the same modeling/CFD software. On second thought, there’s so much propriety bullsh*t with Specialized designs, maybe their software is homegrown too?! *gasp* — Phrrpt.

Psi Squared
Psi Squared
9 years ago

Then there’s that old line of thinking that goes, “Well, there made in the same factory so they must be the same.” Yeah, I guess that means that factories only make one thing one way. Wait, that’s not true?

DonJ
DonJ
9 years ago

In typical Trek fashion: don’t innovate on your own; just wait and copy Specialized (just like Samsung copying Apple).

djbutcher13
djbutcher13
9 years ago

The negativity on this site is unbelievable. Competitive competition like this allows you scrubs to have this type of amazing technology at incredibly low prices. What is complaining about similar yet minimally different designs going to get you? Please tell me.

Psi Squared
Psi Squared
9 years ago

Of course lazy thinking can easily lead one to think that one product is exactly the same as another. Of course in reality they aren’t the same. They may look quasi-similar, but the fact is that aero concerns quite often lead to similar solutions and thus similar look products.

Did all these complainers whine about steel bikes “all looking the same” back in the days when steel was the go-to frame material?

anonymoose
anonymoose
9 years ago

@Vengista obviously you have no idea what a ballista is.
@specialized everything looks like the evade to you people. they look nothing alike. aero is aero.

bazookasean
bazookasean
9 years ago

Kids! Kids! You’re BOTH my favorite! Let’s go get icecream!

Mike
8 years ago

This is a great review of the Bontrager Ballista helmet. We’re sold out already! Several of the shop guys have the helmet and are totally impressed with it. They can actually feel the air coming out of the back of the helmets down their necks.

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