There’s a million ways to make a helmet, as evident by the seemingly near-million that are on the market.
However, one that combines supreme fit and comfort with a quality aesthetic is the Holy Grail to engineers in the mountain bike world. Bontrager is on the quest and the Lithos MIPS Mountain seems to be closing in. Upon initially trying on the Bontrager Lithos helmet, I was impressed with the fit and coverage. Solid protection around the ears and back of the head makes this half-shell worthy of high-speed and heavy duty trail riding. The Lithos does well fitting the ever growing niche of all-mountain—dare we say, Enduro?—style of riding. Through it’s burly-ness, the Lithos Mountain is still reasonably light, adjustable and comfortable, even on long rides.
The helmet is about 100 grams heavier than its competitors, but the breathability and secure fit made it comfortable in a way that the weight wasn’t an issue, and often not even noticeable. The Lithos Mountain has an inner skeleton that that allows for more variation in the venting, which is definitely noticeable on the large side vents. The engineers were on point in designing the vent layout and, as the whole temple area has maximum. Channels above the brow keep air moving to the top of the head and simultaneously manage sweat well, keeping it from dripping on your face or glasses. I sure do love clean glasses.
Getting the fit dialed was easy with the use of the indexed retention cradle, dubbed the HeadMaster. Loosen the dial after a descent and there’s room to throw your shades through the back venting. Then tighten the dial once things start to get a little more intense, even if you’re already in it, as all adjustments can be done on the fly with only one hand. I was slightly surprised the helmet did not sport an adjustable strap system, but the FlatLock straps happened to fit pretty well, sitting just below the ears, however, it is something to be weary about.
MIPS technology has become a go-to for engineers in the helmet department, thanks to proven benefits and ease of integration. On the simplest of levels, MIPS is a thin layer of plastic that acts as a slip-plane inside the helmet to addresses rotational impacts. The traditional style of EPS foam was originally designed for linear impacts, which aren’t always the case in bike crashes.
An additional (and maybe unintended) bonus of the MIPS technology was the added comfort when carrying glasses. I like to slide my glasses thought the vents in the back of my helmet and this layer of MIPS plastic kept pressure points associated with eye protection at bay. It might not be recommended; it’s just how I like to ride.
The Lithos also has a few features that make it stand out in the integration department. There’s a clip in camera mount for a GoPro, which also serves as a mount for Bontrager’s Ion light. I’m not much one for stacking POV footage, but the attachment goes to show that the engineers didn’t want to simply make a helmet, they wanted to make a piece of protection that does exactly what you need it to.
So on that nearly endless list of helmets out there, where does the Bontrager Lithos Mountain stand? It hold’s its own and then some. The helmet was clearly designed with an ergonomic focus. The only knock I could find are the few extra grams it has on the competition, but I figure better to have the added weight protecting your head than anywhere else. It may not provide the eternal youth the true Holy Grail is said to, but it does deliver next level safety and comfort—and thus happiness—on every ride.
Bontrager Lithos MIPS Mountain
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