You might ask why I’m reviewing a youth helmet.
Simple answer: there are no good reviews out there.
My precious 4 year old was previously sporting a generic Giro youth helmet. We selected it because it had all of the appropriate certifications, and had cute bunnies on it. Pretty standard fare, for $30.
She used it last summer and this spring, both on her “big girl bike” and when riding on the back of the Big Dummy, which she frequently does. Imagine my surprise when I went to put it on her, and the strap pulled completely out of the helmet.
This happened with regular, good weather (never been wet), very light use. It’s never fallen, never been dropped, never had any kind of adverse incident. I was really, really upset–thinking what could have happened had she fallen and the strap broken at a time when we really needed it. I resolved to get her a new, better helmet. I did some online research and really couldn’t find much. So I talked to the peeps at North Central Cyclery and asked for some recommendations.
Since this is a helmet and has to fit properly, I wanted to make the purchase at a physical store with many models to try on, to check fit. NCC had what I needed. The Bontrager we ended up going with retails for around $46…not much more than the Giro. They also had other options, ranging up to some pretty darn nice Lazer helmets in the $70 price range (if I recall correctly). Maybe for our next size up…
Anyhow, the Bontrager Solstice has proven to be very nice. It’s much lighter than the Giro (even though it is larger). It has a nice visor that both provides shade and deflects branches–crucial for 4 year olds that like to explore. There is absolutely no comparison between the venting…the Bontrager is a modern design with modern venting.
It is far more comfortable, according to our helmet model. The straps are also far easier to adjust, and the helmet sizing band adjustment is far easier to use (and stays in place better once adjusted). I’ve found the helmet to also easily accommodate pig-tails or other hairstyles that 4 year olds like.
After seeing it on her, I was a bit worried about the sizing…but it fits perfectly, and the way the straps are designed, if she ever did fall while wearing it, the straps provide some initial cushion until your head hits the foam.
Here’s a comparison of the interior and padding. Giro:
Which one would you rather wear? Me too.
Because we love our new helmet and want to keep it nice, Lulu and I decided to store it in the box when it’s not on her head…that way, there will be no unintended drops or scratches, and it will be nice and clean when we need it.
There is a huge difference in the weight, performance, functionality, aesthetics and comfort of the two helmets. I haven’t done any destructive testing, but the foam in the Bontrager feels to have more give than the Giro…it feels cushier. For a ~$15 price difference, the Bontrager is a clear winner. In this case, I’m very happy with the purchase, as is Lulu. She gives it two thumbs and four fingers up. (I’m pretty sure that’s a high score). So if you’re in the market for a toddler bike helmet, the Bontrager Solstice Youth is a good model to look at.