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Specialized goes speedier, breezier, and more sock-like with updates to its Evade, Prevail, and TT helmets

Just in time for the Tour, Specialized says its new helmets magic up a few extra free watts or ditch a few degrees

Joseph Delves
30 Jun 2022

Having prodded and poked at pros from QuickStep Alpha Vinyl in its Californian wind-tunnel, Specialized claims it has ironed out a few more knobbles from its already slippery collection of racing helmets.

Released just in time for the Tour, its general-purpose aero Evade, hot-weather specific Previal, and chrono-only TT all get a makeover.

Specialized Evade – the aero-road one

Having long claimed its egg-like Evade is the fastest helmet in the peloton, this third iteration of the design aims to ensure the rider’s head remains unpoached even as temperatures reach boiling point.

The Evade may be visually similar to its predecessors from the outside, but most of its remodelling has taken place inside the helmet’s shell.

With a supposed 10% increase in ventilation, this has been achieved thanks to larger front ports paired with a diffuser at the back that supposedly helps both vent the helmet and smooth airflow over the lid’s rear quarter. The weight for a medium-sized CE-spec helmet is a claimed 270g.

The Evade comes as standard with Mips (Multi-directional Impact Protection), the slip-plane liner inside the helmet that aims to reduce the effect of glancing impacts by allowing a degree of movement between the helmet and its wearer’s head.

Using the firm’s Air Node design, this minimalist version aims to provide the system’s benefits alongside a minimum of additional weight and maximum through-flow of air.

Always a popular choice with sprinters and breakaway artists, Specialized claims this latest version of the Evade is equal to its predecessor in terms of aerodynamic efficiency.

With small boosts in slipperiness in some areas being used to offset the drag of its larger vents, the firm hopes the lid’s increased cooling will now make it a viable choice for more stages.

Specialized Prevail – the cool one

Of course, sometimes you just want maximum ventilation. For the most baking days, Specialized’s Prevail has also had a radical overhaul.

The overhaul is more obvious than that given to the Evade, with great swathes of the helmet having been cut away in search of better cooling.

Chopping out the horizontal bridges that previously held the helmet together, the result is five uninterrupted channels running from the front of the helmet right to the back.

In the past these bridges added more of the same polystyrene as the rest of the helmet, but now in their place is a net of woven aramid cables that traverse the helmet.

Not only allowing air to pass unimpeded, in the event of a crash this structure supposedly helps distribute impact forces throughout the helmet.

Dubbed AirCage by Specialized, it’s the latest version of a system the company has intermittently experimented with over the last decade or so.

One upshot is that the firm claims the new Prevail offers a 24.5% increase in the surface area of its vents, making it the most breezy of any helmet it has ever produced. At a claimed 260g for a medium in CE-spec, it’s light, but not ridiculously so.

However, like the Evade, it features Mips Air Node concussion protection, a mount for Specialized’s ANGi crash-detection pod, and comes with a Virginia Tech 5-Star safety rating.

Specialized TT – the one with a head sock 

With pics of Kasper Asgreen adorning its marketing material, it appears QuickStep Alpha Vinyl has been using Specialized’s in-house wind-tunnel to hone their time-trialling setups.

At the same time, its riders have been collaborating on the firm’s updated TT helmet.

Slicing away at the previous version to create a profile that more closely follows the shape of the rider’s shoulders, this new design also looks nice, which is a bonus given that some aero helmets can be pretty dreadful to behold. Apparently it also makes Remco Evenopoel 26 seconds faster over a 40km time-trial, which is handy too.

The TT also apparently features a new head sock. Although it may be my job to know about such things, I have no idea what this could be, and neither does Google.

Maybe it’s like a reprise of the 1980s trend for TT riders to wear tights on their head to make their ears more aero? Frankly, I hope it is.

More conventionally, riders will also get an integrated optical shield with a hydrophobic coating so they can see where they’re going.

Pricing and availability

Just in time for the Tour de France or your local Cat 4 summer series, the Evade and Previal are available now, with the TT following soon. The prices are identical for all three at £275.

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