Smith Overtake MIPS ReviewAugust 11, 2017
- Koroyd impact protection
- Snug fit
- Poor venting
The Smith Overtake MIPS provides good extended rear and side coverage. Adjustability is quick and the straps are very lightweight. The addition of Koroyd technology enhances safety on impact however the internal helmet padding is thin and sparse.
The perforated padding inside the Smith Forefront consists of two thin and narrow strips that run front to back and half way along the sides. Though minimal in both weight and breadth, it provides enough of a barrier between the scalp and the abrasive edges of the Koroyd tubes. It also does a fine job of preventing sweat from dripping onto the face. Strap webbing is thin and lightweight and lays comfortably flat along the side of the face. However due to the lightweight glossy nature of the straps, they require frequent adjustment.
While the Smith Overtake MIPS has twenty-one air vents it did not translate to optimal ventilation on high-exertion rides. Between each vent and the cyclist’s scalp is the honeycomb-like sheet of Koroyd tubes that protect the wearer’s head upon impact.
The larger front vents, which exist to intake larger amounts of air for cooling, are “blocked” by the Koroyd tubes. This reduced ventilation was most noticeable on hot and humid days while riding at slower speeds. However, ventilation was slightly improved on road rides with increased speed and the cyclist’s head in the down position, which allowed air to flow through the individual Koroyd tubes.
What did help ventilation slightly was the strategic placement and thickness of the pads, which created substantial air channels to allow airflow.
The Smith Overtake MIPS provides excellent coverage on the sides and back of the head. The size small that our tester reviewed measures seventeen inches in length from front to back and fourteen inches wide from ear to ear.
What makes the helmet stand out from the others is the Koroyd technology. Koroyd is a thick honeycomb-looking sheet between the helmet and the head that consists of a series of thousands of thermally-welded miniature tubes that absorbs impacts by elastically deforming. According to Smith, Koroyd absorbs thirty percent more impact energy. Other than reducing ventilation, the other downside to the Koroyd technology is that the cyclist can’t reach through a vent to scratch an itch on his or her head. Instead, the must remove the helmet altogether.
Additional head protection comes from MIPS, a thin liner that protects against rotational forces by separating the shell from the liner, allowing it to slide relative to the skull in the event of an angular crash.
Cyclists with longer hair will find the Smith Overtake MIPS very ponytail-friendly.
Fit is outstanding with the Smith Overtake MIPS. The Smith VaporFit dial-operated 360º fit system is simple and fast to adjust. However the dial is on the small size and becomes increasingly challenging to adjust on the fly when hands and fingers are sweaty.
Out-of-the-box adjustment was quick. When fully adjusted the helmet had a secure and snug fit with no wobble. However, the lightweight straps have a glossy finish and required frequent re-adjusting due to loosening.
Minimal finger strength is required to adjust the fore and aft straps, thanks to the durable flip-style clips. Once adjusted, the helmet sat well centered on our tester’s head with plenty of forehead coverage.
With the generous head coverage, thin strap webbing, minimal padding and the Koroyd sheet safety feature, the Smith Forefront is the heaviest helmet in the test at 291 grams.
Marie Malinowski is a Minneapolis-based mountain biker, bike commuter, backpacker, and trail runner who covers our cycling accessories categories.