Wearing a mountain bike helmet isn’t the coolest thing to do. But if you go biking on dangerous terrains, this step is essential for your survival. Without a bike helmet, you might not even survive a deadly accident. Choosing a decent looking mountain bike helmet is the main problem, but Smith have you covered.
Smith have a strong heritage in innovation and design dating back to 1965, when Bob Smith developed the first seal foam goggles for skiing. Over the years Smith Optics progressed to mountain bike goggles, sunglasses, sports Helmets and apparel. Today they sponsor some of the biggest names in mountain bike riding.
In this article we review some of the best Smith mountain bike helmets to buy this season.
Smith Forefront 2 MIPS Helmet
What makes the Smith Forefront helmet unique is the full coverage that it provides to the rider, even if you’re riding in the mountains or racing. Using Aerocore construction and Koroyd, Smith makes this helmet to be low volume and easy on your neck.
It’s made to integrate with your sunglasses, goggles, light, and camera, and to protect you even from angled impacts with MIPS technology. Those goggle retention straps will be included with 21 vents to keep you cool.
- The shape of it is meant to protect you from angled impacts
- The straps are easily adjustable for many people
- Sleek look with comfortable foam
- More expensive than other options out there
Smith Venture Helmet
Designed specifically for mountain bikers, the Smith Venture helmet is made to fit you well and cradle your head to keep you safe. There’s extended coverage on the back of your head with this helmet, which adds protection, while the 20 vents and internal air channels keep you cool on hot days. The VaporFit system keeps you secure and comfortable without compromising your protection.
- Very light, stylish, and comfortable
- The design is minimalist but effective for safety
- Made with a retention system to handle large impacts
- The sizes run a bit large
Smith Session MIPS Helmet
Ride along in the mountains with Smith’s Session helmet. This helmet is designed for all-mountain riders that want a stylish helmet without giving up superior protection and ventilation. The Koroyd is placed in strategic, zonal impact areas to increase the amount of protection.
The top of the helmet is made to keep you cool with the massive airports, while the channels on the front make it so you can easily store your eyewear. It even includes XT2 anti-bacterial performance lining for when you sweat. Has the amazing MIPS technology similar to Smith Rover.
- Very well-vented and cool
- Fits well with high-quality materials
- Streamlined to feel comfortable while you’re riding
- It is slightly heavier than expected
- Not much padding to suck up sweat
Smith Route Helmet 2017
You’ll have the latest shape and protection technology in Smith’s Route helmet. Its sleek Aerocore construction sealed in a hard shell means it can handle maximum impact. It’s designed for protection, comfort, and ventilation. Thanks to the AirEvac and VaoporFit systems, you’ll get lots of air flow even on hot days without compromising your safe and comfortable fit.
- Looks great, with a comfortable fit and lightweight
- Very easy to adjust for people of different sizes
- The tightening dial does not feel flimsy
- Not made to put sunglasses on top when you break, since it’s bulky in the front
Important reasons to wear mountain bike helmets
The first and foremost reason is that bike helmets help to protect your head and brain in case of trauma. Head trauma is often the leading cause of death for cyclists. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, wearing a bike helmet will make you 85 to 88 percent more resistant to head injuries.
Wearing bike helmets will also help to improve your visibility in case the weather is bad. Snow, rain, and fog are just some of the factors that will severely reduce your visibility and threaten your safety.
By wearing helmets, especially the variants with a visor, you will significantly enhance your visibility. Furthermore, if the visor is equipped with anti-glare technology, direct sunlight won’t be much of an issue anymore.
The benefits of wearing bike helmets don’t just stop there. By wearing brightly-colored helmets and adding reflective tapes to them, you will help other drivers, cyclists, and even pedestrian notice you much quicker. This is crucial in averting disasters.
Finally, wearing bike helmets help to keep your hair warm and dry if you ride a bike in cold and chilly weather. It can also allow some heat to be trapped in your head, warming it up in case the weather gets too cold.
Various Types of MTB Helmets
To know which kind of bike helmet is the perfect one for you, you have to first understand how many kinds of MTB helmets there are on the market. Here are some of the most prominent ones.
Half-shell Open MTB Helmets
This helmet type is very similar to the road cycling helmets you use on an everyday basis. However, there are fundamental differences which make it more durable and more effective in protecting you.
The lid of half-shell mountain bike helmets is much bulkier than road cycling helmets, especially in the back area. This allows the helmets to protect you whenever you face a backward fall. The second difference lies in the visor.
Half-shell mountain bike helmets are usually equipped with a visor to prevent mud, rain, and the sun from harming you, while road cycling helmets typically have no visor. Finally, half-shell mountain bike helmets have a rougher texture to help it catch the pavement instead of letting it slide away like road cycling helmets.
Open Face MTB Helmets
This type of helmet offers more protection and durability than half-shell open MTB helmets. It keeps your head more securely in place and offers very little ventilation so that the chance of rocks or sharp objects hitting your head is minimalized. This kind of helmet is perfectly suited for more extreme rides with real risks.
Full Face MTB Helmets
Full face helmets offer the best protection there is, but there’s a catch: your ventilation will suffer, a lot. Although the modern design is constantly improving on this kind of helmet, it can make you feel hot and uncomfortable as you pedal uphill. When riding downhill, it should feel much better.
Convertible MTB Helmets
Why choose between comfort and protection when you can have both? Convertible mountain bike helmets combine the protection of full-face mountain bike helmets with the comfort of a half face mountain bike helmets. All you have to do is to remove the chin guard when going uphill and put it on again when going downhill to gain full protection and comfort.
All Around MTB Helmets
This is the most fashionable choice out there, but admittedly, it doesn’t offer much protection. Shaped like a skateboard helmet, it does not provide you with adequate ventilation for a mountain trip, but should at least be able to cover minor fall injuries.
What Features to Look For when buying a Smith MTB Helmet
Mountain trips often last for a while. So ideally, you’d want as much comfort as possible. Having a comfortable mountain bike helmet will vastly improve your cycling experience. If a helmet is making you feel uncomfortable, you could opt to change it for a larger one.
Mountain bike helmets are typically very lightweight because they are made of Expanded Polystyrene covered by an outer shell. Higher-quality helmets might even include two layers bonded together. Even though they don’t weight much, you should not choose the ones that are too light as it could be a sign that they are counterfeits.
Safety always comes first when you choose your mountain bike helmet. All helmets must pass strict safety requirements before they are sold commercially, so it’s on you to choose the kind of helmet for you.
Do you usually do extreme sports? Then maybe full face helmets are the right option for you.
Do you usually ride cross country? Open face options will be the one for you. In overall, your choice of helmets should depend on your cycling styles.
When to Replace Your Bike Helmet
Your bicycle helmet should be replaced every 3 years if you wear it regularly. This is because, over time, the foam inside will degrade due to sun, heat, sweat, or other environmental factors.
When you add in the usual bumps your helmet will receive through usual cycling, it’s best to buy a new helmet in order to ensure that it can take the impact should you fall and knock your head. It’s better to have a good helmet than to accidentally get a head injury.
Of course, if your helmet is damaged in some way, it should be replaced right away. You also might want to replace your helmet every 3 years for practical reasons. Newer models will have better ventilation, fit, and shapes that cradle your head to keep the helmet more stable when you’re riding.
It’s up to you though. If your helmet still works fine, you don’t necessarily need to replace it. On the other hand, if the straps are fraying or you’ve got a big impact in your helmet, it’s best to get a replacement right away.
Safety is your top priority when you’re out biking. A helmet goes a long way when it comes to safety, although you don’t want something uncomfortable or that you just don’t like wearing. If you’re looking for a proper helmet to replace your old one, these Smith helmets are certainly the top of the line. Choose yours depending on what you need to both stay safe and have a great time out biking too.