Sweet Protection Bushwhacker II MIPS Helmet - Review
DetailsThe Bushwhacker II has a 5-piece shell construction Why five pieces? That's how Sweet Protection was able to create a shell with varying thicknesses, which in turn makes the helmet stiffer or more flexible in key areas. The height of the EPS liner also varies in different parts of the helmet in order to provide increased protection where it's needed most. Sweet also incorporated a MIPS liner into the Bushwhacker in order to help better protect against rotational impacts. For ventilation, Sweet has a system they call STACC which stands for "Superficial Temporal Artery Cooling Channel." It consists of front vents that move air into an internal channel, which is designed to bring air down on to the temporal artery to keep your head cool. This allows the helmet to theoretically keep the temple, one of the most easily injured parts of the head, better protected. Other details include a tri-fixed webbing that's securely anchored into the helmet and a shatter resistant visor that helps channel air into the helmet. The visor is removable, but there's no logical reason to do that outside of a cleaning.
PerformanceAs always, helmet fit is somewhat personal and fairly dependent on the shape of your head, so what is good for one person may not be the best fit for someone else. The Bushwhacker II fits me extremely well, better than most. Its fit and where it sat on my head felt similar to the Specialized Ambush, which has been my "go-to" on most rides for some time now. The Bushwhacker II doesn't sit quite as low as the POC Tectal, but there's still more than ample coverage for this style of helmet. A $240 half-shell helmet should be outstanding, as there are many great $100 helmets out there that will likely protect you just as well. To that end, the Bushwacker II looks and feels like it's a quality piece of equipment; the construction and design give it a unique aesthetic compared to a lot of other trail helmets on the market. For something that protects your brain, the robustness and overbuilt feeling of the Bushwhacker II does a lot to inspire confidence. The retention system is easy to adjust for fit, and the helmet always stayed securely in place on my medium-sized head. The webbing and buckle are solid and work as they should, nothing special but also no complaints. With spring heating up and the rainforest starting to fill in, humid days have been increasingly frequent in the North Carolina mountains where I live. The Bushwhacker II has an ample amount of ventilation and kept the air moving well; I don't find myself reaching to pull the helmet off at stops to let extra heat escape as I have with some others. A detail I like is that I can easily stash glasses in the back of the helmet. More and more helmets are being designed with this in mind, but for some reason there are still a lot out there that aren't, or worse, those that say they do and then don't do a good job of it. To me, it's important. I would compare it to the importance of a trail bike frame being able to fit a water bottle. Being able to get those glasses off of my face on longer climbs, especially wide open fire roads on hot days keeps me cooler and prevents the glasses from fogging up, and with the Bushwacker II I was able to stash them without any fit issues or needing to worry about them flying off behind me.
|The Bushwhacker II is eye-catching. I think it looks great and it has garnered quite a few comments and questions of, "Hey, what helmet is that?" on the trail. The design and construction are excellent, as they should be given the top tier price. It's by no means the most affordable option on the market, but if you want to splurge and have a sweet lid (no pun intended) that's a little different than the standard fare, you won't be disappointed.— Daniel Sapp|