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Smith Forefront 2 Mips helmet review

13 Nov 2020
Verdict:

The second generation of the Smith Forefront blends impeccable styling, great fit with a claimed high level of protection

Cyclist Rating: 
Price: 
£189.99
For 
Great fit • Safety and protection • Awesome styling
Against 
No second set of padding • Airflow isn’t the best • Not the cheapest helmet in its category

The Smith Forefront 2 Mips is Smith’s second iteration of a helmet that caused quite a stir when it first moved away from the sole use of EPS foam to a part-EPS, part-Koroyd construction. Koroyd panels look like groups of short plastic straws (remember them?) glued together.

Smith clams it is lighter and absorbs more energy than using just standard EPS. Since Smith moved to Koroyd construction other top-level brands have moved to similar technologies. Bontrager deploying its ‘WaveCel’ material in a raft of its latest designs is one notable example.

 

Let’s start with the question I’ve been asked most: how well does it regulate temperature? Koroyd claims that it is cooler than a regular EPS but visually it looks like ventilation could be tricky to achieve.

Indeed I found that the cooling claim is true only if airflow is going directly into the Koroyd tubes. I found the Forefront to feel slightly warmer than a conventional EPS helmet most of the time, because typically most of the Koroyd tubes are not directly angled into the wind.

 

Adding to that is the fact that the Koroyd material fills voids where there might otherwise be free space for air to circulate in a conventional helmet.

Buy the Smith Forefront 2 Mips helmet now from AlpineTrek

During my time testing the helmet this was not to the point of any discomfort but I would imagine on the hottest summer days the reduced ventilation might be an issue. On the other hand, I think the Forefront would particularly suit use in colder weather.

 

While fit is one of a helmet’s more subjective traits, I found the fit of the Forefront 2 to be exceptional. I personally have an oval-shaped head and in the past have struggled to find helmets that fit comfortably.

I actually believe the inclusion of the Mips system has helped this problem a bit. I've consistently found a side-effect of the inclusion of Mips on helmets is a more accommodating fit, but again that could just be me.

Equally, I would attribute the helmet’s comfortable hold to the Smith ‘VaporFit’ system. I believe it made the helmet feel even lighter than its 410g, which is already a reasonable weight for the level of protection it offers.

 

Most helmets tend to leave imprints on my head and hotspots to one degree or another, but the Smith Forefront 2 was a comfortable fit all over and left me with no marks on my head after I took it off.

Now even though helmets are all about safety we all still want to look stylish in them if possible. The aesthetic design of the Smith Forefront 2 stands itself head and shoulders – if you’ll pardon the pun – above the rest of the crop of trail helmets on the market right now.

The styling, colours and finish of this helmet are among the best around right now. The grey and black on test is one of the more reserved options but it is the attention to detail that truly stands out – for example the brassy washer under the visor bolt that compliments the brassy Smith logo.

 

You can also get this helmet in a very exuberant ‘zebra and fluoro pink’ finish if that’s your thing, but there are plenty of great colour combinations and finishes in between.

With Smith being predominantly known as an optics brand the Forefront 2 obviously needs to nail the sunglasses storage, and it fully delivers in that regard. It has a channel for putting glasses in that runs from the front to the back of the helmet, so you can either mount the glasses on the front under the peak or at the back.

Having broken two pairs of glasses using my last helmet this aspect of the Forefront 2’s design gets a big thumbs up from me. It holds the glasses firm and I’ve not dropped a pair yet.

Buy the Smith Forefront 2 Mips helmet now from AlpineTrek

My only sticking point about the Forefront 2 is a more general one about the accessories Smith has opted to supply the helmet with.

For example, the brand provides a fabric bag, which in my experience is pretty pointless. I would have much preferred to see a second set of padding, which would mean you could swap pad sets between rides and never have to put on a moist helmet.

Plus it would prolong the life of both pad sets, and therefore improve the already decent comfort and performance of the Forefront 2.

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