Skip to main content

Cannondale Junction helmet review – an impressive, good value debut

Cannondale’s new range of affordable MIPS helmets includes this Junction XC/Gravel helmet. How does it compare to other bargain brands?

Cannondale Junction
(Image: © GuyKesTV)

Bike Perfect Verdict

Cannondale’s Junction isn’t as breezy as premium helmets but it cools okay, fits well and provides stylish off/on road MIPS protection at a great price

Pros

  • +

    Very mobile MIPS liner

  • +

    Acceptable venting at all speeds

  • +

    Full microshell coverage

  • +

    Comfortable, adjustable fit

  • +

    Great price

Cons

  • -

    Extra long straps need trimming

  • -

    Only two sizes

Cannondale are new to the helmet game, but are now offering options from Enduro, through Trail, Gravel and XC to aero road. Judging by the Junction they’re well worth a look, particularly if you’re on a limited budget but still want proper protection and sharp styling.

Cannondale Junction helmet inside

Full microshell wrap, MIPS liner and edge insert straps boost the Junction performance above it's price point in terms of features and looks (Image credit: GuyKesTV)

Design

The super short peak/beak puts the Junction in the every broadening/deepening XC-All Road category but the angular styling looks smart and purposeful, not ‘pottering to the shops’. The peak is removable too if you want a racier look.

The styling includes 24 mid-to-small vents with tapered or full-volume entrances depending on their position on the helmet. Unlike a lot of cost conscious helmets there’s a full set of internal channels running right over the scalp. Even the rear exhaust ports are profiled to pull air out, although the MIPS liner shuts down internal airflow across the back of the lid. The MIPS liner is very mobile though so it’ll definitely do it’s job in terms of limiting rotational forces being translated from crash to cranium. The rear of the helmet drops down further at the back than most gravel helmets, too.

Our testing explained

For information on Bike Perfect's testing procedures and how our scoring system works, see our how we test page.

The Junction gets a full microshell covering that wraps under the lower edges for cosmetic protection. It has a subtle matt upper, gloss lower colour split too, and together this makes the whole helmet look much more expensive than it is. While UK riders only get a choice of three colors the rest of the world gets a pick of five, although there are only two sizes wherever you’re shopping.

Cannondale Junction helmet rear

(Image credit: GuyKesTV)

Performance

As well as looking good the Junction test started very positively. The front strap is anchored in the helmet edge which means easier putting on and no temple slap/sweat when riding. The internal cradle only has two unpop/repop height adjustments but the rounded shape fitted all our test team comfortably once we’d dialled in the diameter via the rear ratchet wheel. The strap splitters are really wide too, so the straps don’t get in the way of your ears. Adjusting them takes a bit of tugging around, though, and most riders will need to trim the very long strap ends.

While we’ve been disappointed by the lack of actual cooling performance in tests of some far more expensive helmets recently, the Junction was a very pleasant surprise. Even in the uncharacteristically hot weather we had in UK this summer there’s palpable airflow over the head at mid to higher speeds. There’s good radiation through the wide open top vents at lower speeds on climbs as well. We got some sweat build up around the back of the head where the MIPS liner makes direct contact but that’s a common complaint with MIPS helmets at all prices.

The pads around the front of the helmet are comfortable and the Velcro tabs are stuck on well, so we’ve had no issues with peeling either.

Cannondale Junction helmet top

(Image credit: GuyKesTV)

Verdict

There are loads of  budget helmet options now, but Cannondale have certainly made a great job of launching themselves towards the top of the rankings with the Junction. It’s light, vents well, is stylish for its intended use and adds extended depth as well as MIPS protection. It certainly doesn’t look or feel cheap, either, and probably the biggest recommendation is the fact I’ve ended up using it a lot more than I needed to for testing.

Tech specs: Cannondale Junction

  • Price: £65 / €98 / $95
  • Sizes: S/M, L/XL
  • Colors: Abyss blue (tested), Black, Grey (in UK); Black Cherry and Quicksand are also available globally
  • Weight: 266g (S/M)
(opens in new tab)

Guy Kesteven is Bike Perfect and Cyclingnews’ contributing tech editor. Hatched in Yorkshire he's been hardened by riding round it in all weathers since he was a kid. He spent a few years working in bike shops and warehouses before starting writing and testing for bike mags in 1996. Since then he’s written several million words about several thousand test bikes and a ridiculous amount of riding gear. To make sure he rarely sleeps and to fund his custom tandem habit, he’s also penned a handful of bike-related books and talks to a GoPro for YouTube, too.


Rides: Pace RC295, Cotic FlareMax, Specialized Chisel, Vielo V+1 gravel bike, Nicolai FS Enduro, Landescape custom gravel tandem

Height: 180cm

Weight: 69kg