Sweet Protection's new Bushwhacker 2Vi carries on the Swedish brand's history of creating stylish feature-packed helmets and uses innovative technologies previously seen on the original version and Trailblazer helmets as well as some updated tech. With tech like its 2Vi tech, MIPS Air, STACC ventilation, and the updated 360 Occigrip fit system, should this helmet should be considered amongst our best mountain bike helmets?
Design and specification
As the top of the range helmet, the Bushwhacker is packed full of features designed to improve safety, comfort and usability. Sweet Protection uses the acronym 2Vi to describe the combination of three different technologies designed to work together. The shell is a four-piece EPS body with different densities depending on likely impact profiles for each area molded into the full coverage hardshell and is combined with the brand's own 360 Occigrip fit system, which uses a simple dial at the back of the helmet that tightens around the head with an adjustable cradle. The final part of the 2Vi puzzle is the latest MIPS Air impact rotational management system, and you can see some of the best MIPS helmets in our guide. The revised Air version is designed to address the issue of overheating that can affect earlier designs whilst still offering improved protection from rotational forces in crashes.
The shell has 13 large vents that are part of the STACC system (Superficial Temporal Arteries Cooling Channel… quite the acronym). Although it sounds like a mouthful, the general gist is that it has medium-sized front and large rear ports designed to pull air through the helmet to increase ventilation and comfort.
The Y-buckles on the straps are a lightweight butterfly design that uses a Fidlock magnetic closure, and the mid-sized shatterproof peak has a three-position click system to make room for goggles. There's also room for glasses, with the two outside front vents having a small section of rubber to keep your specs in place.
It comes in three different shell sizes (S/M, M/L, L/XL) that cover head circumferences from 53cm to 61cm and six matte finish colors. Weight is 430g for the M/L size and is triple-certified to meet and exceed CPSC 1203, EN 1078, and NTA 8776 (e-bike) standards.
My test helmet was an M/L (56-59cm) and came in a great matte yellow color that Sweet Protection calls Dusk. The quality is clear to see as it's a very well-finished product and certainly lives up to its high price aesthetically. I found the initial setup pretty simple. The 360 system's simple dial and adjustable cradle made it very straightforward, and I got a good fit immediately, although I found the rear cradle dial on the small side. Fine when initially setting up, but it was a touch fiddly when wearing gloves.
The Mips Air system feels like a definite improvement on earlier versions in terms of ventilation. It can feel hot on prolonged climbs compared to more XC-style helmets but is comparable to similar trail and enduro helmets. I found that the STACC ventilation system works well. Not only can you feel the air pass through when moving at a reasonable speed, but any stray insects that get caught in the front vents pop out the back at speed, handy when riding through springtime swarms.
The three-position peak setup works well and is easy to adjust while riding, which made storing goggles when climbing simple and secure, and I also found the glasses storage surprisingly useful to prevent getting them covered in sweat on long climbs. Sweet Protection says it designed it to work best with its own glasses, but I found it worked well with a variety of the best mountain bike sunglasses.
Overall I found the Bushwhacker to be a great lid that was well-finished with some clever usable features. As is often the case, it's worth trying before you buy as helmet fit can be a very personal experience, but I found this one fitted well and was easy to adjust and set up. Although warm on long ascents, it wasn't unbearably so. The MIPS Air felt like a definite improvement over previous versions, and the vents offer a noticeable amount of ventilation when moving. It's an expensive helmet but is comparable to similar offerings, such as the A3 from Troy Lee Designs and Giro's Merit, and the high-quality finish is immediately apparent.
Tech specs: Sweet Protection Bushwhacker 2Vi helmet
- Price: $250.00 / £209.99
- Weight: 430 grams size M/L
- Sizes: S/M, M/L, L/XL
- Colors: Dusk, Matte Black, Matte White, Nani, Nomad, Woodland