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Bontrager Ballista aero road helmet officially launched

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Bontrager has finally entered the aero road helmet market with the new Ballista

Bontrager has finally entered the aero road helmet market with the new Ballista (Image credit: James Huang/BikeRadar)
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As is common with aero road helmets these days, the new Bontrager Ballista features a tapered tail instead of the kicked-up rear ends that were more commonly used several years ago

As is common with aero road helmets these days, the new Bontrager Ballista features a tapered tail instead of the kicked-up rear ends that were more commonly used several years ago (Image credit: Jamie Forrest)
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The Headmaster II retention system is easy to operate with one hand and is adjustable in height

The Headmaster II retention system is easy to operate with one hand and is adjustable in height (Image credit: James Huang/BikeRadar)
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Two louvered vents up top apparently have little impact on the Bontrager Ballista's aerodynamic performance while giving hot air another outlet to escape when you're moving more slowly

Two louvered vents up top apparently have little impact on the Bontrager Ballista's aerodynamic performance while giving hot air another outlet to escape when you're moving more slowly (Image credit: James Huang/BikeRadar)
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One of the keys to a well ventilated helmet is lots of open space around the brow, which the Bontrager Ballista has in spades

One of the keys to a well ventilated helmet is lots of open space around the brow, which the Bontrager Ballista has in spades (Image credit: James Huang/BikeRadar)
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Two longitudinal ribs hold the interior of the Bontrager Ballista off the surface of your head, leaving plenty of open space for air to flow around

Two longitudinal ribs hold the interior of the Bontrager Ballista off the surface of your head, leaving plenty of open space for air to flow around (Image credit: James Huang/BikeRadar)
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We can't say with certainty whether the new Bontrager Ballista aero road helmet resembles the Specialized S-Works helmet by intention or happenstance but that's no matter as long as it works. Plus, it's supposedly faster while offering better ventilation, too

We can't say with certainty whether the new Bontrager Ballista aero road helmet resembles the Specialized S-Works helmet by intention or happenstance but that's no matter as long as it works. Plus, it's supposedly faster while offering better ventilation, too (Image credit: James Huang/BikeRadar)
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Six exhaust ports out back help air flow freely through the interior of the Bontrager Ballista

Six exhaust ports out back help air flow freely through the interior of the Bontrager Ballista (Image credit: James Huang/BikeRadar)
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One of the keys to the Bontrager Ballista's surprisingly good ventilation is the trio of ports situated right up front

One of the keys to the Bontrager Ballista's surprisingly good ventilation is the trio of ports situated right up front (Image credit: James Huang/BikeRadar)
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The new Bontrager Ballista sports a noticeably trim and compact profile, which likely helps it generate low drag in the wind tunnel

The new Bontrager Ballista sports a noticeably trim and compact profile, which likely helps it generate low drag in the wind tunnel (Image credit: Jamie Forrest)

This article originally appeared on BikeRadar

After months of teasing and testing with its Trek Factory Racing road team, Bontrager has officially tossed its hat into the aero road helmet arena with the new Ballista. Some might feel that the shape is somewhat derivative but Bontrager says it works, offering wind tunnel-proven aerodynamic benefits plus excellent ventilation.

As with many other aero road helmets, the Ballista sports a trim and tightly fitting profile that tapers down dramatically out back. According to Bontrager, testing at the Low Speed Wind Tunnel in San Diego, California has shown the Ballista to be faster than key competitors such as the Specialized S-Works Evade, Giro Air Attack, and Louis Garneau Course.

Bontrager says its new Ballista is the fastest aero road helmet around

Aero road helmets aren't solely about going fast, though. If they were, we'd all be racing in full-blown TT lids.

Bontrager says the Ballista is also very well ventilated with three centrally placed vents up front to suck in air plus deep internal channeling and generously sized exhaust ports to help that air pass through unencumbered. There's plenty of space in between the browpad and forehead as well – an area BikeRadar has found to be critically important not only for keeping your head cool but minimizing the amount of sweat that drips down into your eyes.

Low-speed ventilation looks to be quite reasonable, too, with louvered upper vents that apparently have minimal effect on drag at higher speeds but let hot air escape upward when laboring on slower and steeper climbs.

There's actually quite a lot of room for air to move around inside the new Bontrager Ballista aero road helmet

Other features include Bontrager's Headmaster II retention system with easy one-handed operation and adjustable height, standard antibacterial pads plus an alternative (included) 'NoSweat' set that incorporates a strip of silicone rubber designed to help channel sweat off to the sides of your forehead, lightweight webbing, and compatibility with the company's rather neat NeoVisor add-on brim.

Bontrager will offer the Ballista in small, medium, and large sizes in its standard ovoid shape plus three 'Asian fit' sizes for riders with rounder heads. Actual weight for a standard, CPSC-approved Ballista in size small is 253g.

Lots of room between the forehead and helmet bodes well for airflow, too

Retail price is US$175 / £160 / €240 / AU$200 and Bontrager says the standard-fit Ballistas will be available in stores beginning in July in four styles: black, white/silver, hi-vis yellow and Trek Factory Racing. Asian-fit models will follow in October in black and Trek Factory Racing. BikeRadar has already been testing one for the past few weeks, however, as part of a wider-reaching aero road helmet shootout. Stay tuned for the results shortly.