'Form follows function' is the mantra of any well designed product, but when the form is truly beautiful then this is when you have a winner. The Sweet Protection Bushwhacker Carbon MIPS Helmet combines both cutting edge safety and design with only the best materials to provide you with a product that's functional, safe, comfortable and good looking. Bravo Sweet Protection!
The Backcountry Skiing Canada Team.
Unlike backcountry skiing, there are a lot of objects to hit while mountain biking and most of them are considerably harder than your head. This past winter we reviewed the Sweet Protection Grimnir TE Helmet which incorporated MIPS technology and carbon reinforcement for increased safety. Today we’re going to talk about the Sweet Protection Bushwhacker Carbon MIPS Helmet which also incorporates these features. The Bushwhacker Helmet is an enduro/all-mountain helmet that integrates safety, ventilation and weight savings into one sweet looking package. Weighing in at 375 grams the Bushwhacker Helmet isn’t the lightest helmet on the market, but it’s definitely one of the safest. If you are willing to forego some safety features such as the carbon reinforcement and MIPS integration you can save 40 grams (and some cash) but it seems silly not to go for the additional peace of mind. This is your brain we are talking about after all.
The Carbon fibre reinforcement in the Bushwhacker Helmet is said to provide an additional 15% protection for your head. The helmet features the MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System) which is a revolutionary technology developed to reduce brain injuries. MIPS is simply a low friction layer inside the helmet which allows the helmet to rotate slightly when it encounters an angled impact. This allows the helmet to absorb more rotational forces, mimicking the way cerebrospinal fluid protects your brain inside your skull. MIPS has set a new standard of safety for biking and ski helmets. This technology was developed by scientists at the Karolinska Hospital and the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden.
Lets look at the front, side and back of the Bushwhacker Carbon MIPS Helmet, shall we?
5-Piece Shell Technology
Variable polycarbonate shell thicknesses and geometrical shapes are used to strengthen the outer shell of the Bushwhacker Helmet. These variances reinforce key impact areas on the helmet. By making some areas as much as 30% thicker, the helmet compensates for the inherent weakness of your skull, optimizing protection and performance.
This is a manufacturing technique whereby the shock absorbing EPS foam interior of the helmet is blown in while the hard Polycarbonate exterior shell is still in the manufacturing mold. This allows for the advanced venting and interesting shapes that Sweet Protection has incorporated into the Bushwhacker Helmet. The multi-piece outer polycarbonate shell encapsulates the EPS foam into the interior of the helmet, protecting it from exterior damage. This will provide better longevity for the Bushwhacker, protecting it from day-to-day abuses like shoving it inside your pack and knocking it against hard objects.
Digitally Optimized Ventilation (D.O.V.)
Sweet Protection utilized Digitally Optimized Ventilation (D.O.V.) along with extensive digital simulations and field testing to ensure maximum airflow and heat extraction. There are 17 direct air vents in the Bushwhacker Helmet: 5 deep internal airflow inlets, 8 direct outlets and 4 vertical extract vents to optimize cooling. Most helmets simply use air vents, whereas Sweet Protection configures air vent inlets, internal airflow channels and the exhaust outlets to improve the airflow throughout the helmet. Each vent and channel has been strategically placed in order to optimize ventilation without compromising safety. The shatter-resistant visor also aids in airflow. It can be removed if desired. While the visor is not adjustable, and is visible in your upper peripheral, it doesn’t interfere with your field of vision, and does a good job of blocking out mid-day sun and deflecting any errand tree branches that jump out at you along your rides.
The Digitally Optimized Ventilation really helps keep you cool when riding and just look at all that carbon.
The shatter-resistant visor helps keep the sun out of your eyes and also aids in ventilation.
- In-Mold Construction
- 5-Piece Shell Technology
- Digitally Optimized Ventilation (D.O.V.)
- Reinforced In-Moulded Strap Anchors
- Removable visor
- Supplied with two complete sets of comfort pads, a soft helmet bag and an extra set of visor mounting plugs
- 4-Way Adjustable Turn-Dial Occigrip
- Simple chin strap clip
- MIPS Brain Protection System
Reviewing a mountain bike helmet (or any helmet for that matter) is like writing a review for an avalanche airbag: It’s a difficult product to review unless you purposely want to put yourself in harms way, which I do not. So how do I know for sure that MIPS and carbon reinforcement will keep my noggin safer? I have to rely on the scientific geeks in the white coats that tell me so. I’m comfortable taking their word for it, as they know far more about brain science and structural engineering than I ever will. Those two technologies aside, I can comment on how the Bushwhacker performs in the field, how I found the fit, and most importantly how it made me feel.
While I have yet to take a header off my new Rocky Mountain 750 Altitude (fingers crossed that won’t happen any time soon), I have had several low hanging, aggressive branches strike the removable ABS visor. It stayed put and the braches only blemished the matt white metallic finish—easily fixed.
Having ridden in the Sweet Protection Bushwhacker MIPS Helmet for more than two dozen rides already, I can safely say that it provides a very secure fit. It’s snug, but not tight. The rear of the helmet extends down low, so you almost get the feel of a full face without all that extra claustrophobic weight. The Bushwhacker has a rather deep moulding that encloses your head nicely and makes you feel protected and fully covered. The Occigrip system on the back is easily adjusted with one hand should you need to fine tune things on the fly.
This is a premium helmet, there is no doubt about that—just look at the $349 sticker price. The build quality reflects this, and it’s a very well designed and put together helmet with no detail left un-touched. For example, the chin straps are embedded in the shell of the helmet, instead of inside the helmet where they become loose, tangled and essentially a mess to manage. This provides not only added security and improved fit, but also the ability to put on the helmet quickly, as there is no fussing around with the straps.
The MIPS technology is easily seen on the inside of the Bushwhacker Helmet, unlike the Sweet Protection Grimnir TE Helmet where it’s hidden under the liner. Thanks to the Digitally Optimized Ventilation with its 5 deep internal airflow inlets, the MIPS system does not impede cooling at all. The MIPS layer sits close to your head but between the padding and the ventilation channels, so the vents aren’t obstructed in any way. It’s a beautifully simple design that works. Overall, the Sweet Protection Bushwhacker MIPS Helmet performed flawlessly on all my rides, and kept me relatively cool on hotter days. It inspired confidence and made me feel safe and secure. Sure it’s expensive, but I always say “safety first”. Besides, we all know that protection and a good fit are well worth the investment and one that pays dividends over time.
Price: $349 CAN
Size: sm, ml, lxl
Colours: Black, Matt White Metallic
Weight: 375 grams / 13.2oz
Certification: Meets and exceeds CE EN 1078, CPSC 1203
Did we miss something? Are we totally out to lunch? Let us know what you think. People like/dislike gear for different reasons so chime in below and we'll get a well-rounded evaluation.