Smith is expanding its range of cycling kit with the launch in November of the Route, a mid-priced helmet at £130 with MIPS impact protection technology and £110 without MIPS.
Smith says that the new helmet is designed for the everyday rider and weights 300g. The Route has 18 vents and X-Static pads, as well as Smith’s VaporFit adjustment system, as used in the top-end Overtake helmet. It’s sold in nine colour options, including a cammo version and all are available with or without MIPS.
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MIPS adds a thin plastic insert between the helmet’s shell and its internal padding. The liner is loosely connected to the inside of the helmet and designed so that if your head receives a glancing blow in a fall, the insert rotates within the shell. This potentially reduces sheering forces on the brain, which MIPS says is a major factor in concussion.
Smith has had the Overtake in its range for a while. It’s a high-end helmet, coming in at £199 with MIPS impact protection tech built in and £185 in the non-MIPS version and available in ten different colours. With 21 vents, Smith says it combines maximum ventilation with excellent aerodynamics.
It’s backed these claims up with wind tunnel testing against competitors. It looked at drag in a 25mph airstream at different yaw angles, concluding that the Overtake has very similar aerodynamics to Specialized’s Evade and better than Giro’s Air Attack and Aeon.
It also looked at cooling, heating up the dummy’s head to 40C, then measuring temperature drop in the wind tunnel using 32 temperature gauges. Again, the Overtake performed similarly to the Specialized Evade, less well than the Giro Aeon and considerably better than the Air Attack.
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Both the Route and the Overtake helmets use Smith’s patented Koroyd layer. This is a heat-absorbing tubular layer under the helmet’s shell which helps dissipate thermal energy, allows air circulation and crushes in an impact to provide additional head protection, whilst reducing the depth of the expanded polystyrene layer found in most helmets.
Smith is also introducing new sunglass tech. Called ChromaPop, it filters out two specific wavelengths of light from the spectrum, which Smith says increases differentiation of detail and colour and allows the lenses to work effectively over a greater range of ambient light conditions.
The new ChromaPop lenses will be available in Smith’s lightweight Pivlock Arena, Arena Max and Asana glasses. Availability is expected from February.