Specialized S-Works Evade 3 review – the best yet: aero and comfortable
Third gen Evade aero helmet gets a makeover in favor of airflow and comfort
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Specialized’s third gen Evade is surprisingly cool for an aero lid and provides all-day comfort, turning this staff-favorite into the fastest choice for even more rides.
Great ventilation for such few vents
Highly ranked for safety
Not especially lightweight
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At the Grand Départ of this year’s Tour, American bicycle brand Specialized launched the newest iterations of its three flagship helmets. The airy Prevail, the aero Evade road and the TT5 time trial lid all received makeovers with safety and airflow at the center of focus.
We reviewed the breezy S-Works Prevail 3 road helmet here, but don't move away too fast. Even if tucking low and getting aero, finishing sprints or chasing KOMs aren't your top priority, the Evade with its improved airflow and comfort deserves another look for a potential all-rounder and as one of the best helmets for cycling.
Specialized S-Works Evade 3: the Updates
The Evade has been a firm favorite of Cycling Weekly staff for a while now, and I personally have spent quite a few races wearing the OG Evade back in the day. This third generation S-Works Evade promises to be better ventilated and more comfortable than ever before while not losing its existing aero benefits.
In fact, Specialized states that the S-Works Evade 3 has 10% better airflow and ventilation compared to the last version while holding on to its rank as the ‘most aero road helmet’ in the peloton.
To generate a better airflow, Specialized engineers spent a lot of time behind computers playing with Computational Fluid Dynamics and subsequently, testing designs inside the windtunnel.
In the end, the ventilation benefits were gained from larger vents in the front and re-designing the helmet’s entire rear end, building a ‘diffuser’ to minimize drag while the diffuser’s four sizeable vents draw and release air through the helmet.
The previous iteration of the Evade was faulted for the lack of MIPS — a Multi-directional Impact Protection System has become a bit of a standard in the best cycling, snow sports and equestrian sports alike. It also got critiqued for its large, hardly adjustable straps and use if a magnetic closure.
This third version has improved in all fronts: it’s for a standard buckle, adjustable straps with thinner 10mm webbing to minimise strap noise. and a proprietary MIPS safety feature called “Air Node.” MIPS is a system designed to reduce the rotational forces transferred to the head in the event of a crash, and this usually takes the shape of visible —often yellow— thin plastic cradle inside the helmet. Yet in case of the Air Node, the system is integrated directly into the helmet padding to negate the addition of another layer and allow the air to flow freely.
Finally, the Evade III is also compatible with Specialized's ANGi Crash Sensor, which fits on the adjustable rear strap and will detect a crash and notify your emergency contact through an app.
Now it’s important to note that the Evade III is not necessarily faster than the previous edition, so it’s not an upgrade in that regard but with its increases in comfort, it’s meant to be the best —fastest— choice, more often.
Specialized S-Works Evade 3: Fit and ride feel
We received the all white S-Work Evade 3 for testing but luckily there are a variety of colors available to match your kit or bike.
The Evade 3 looks as sleek as ever but now with a shorter and rather square end. It may not look quite as aero as before, but the huge vents do suggest a cooler head.
I wore it through the unusually dry and often stifling summer and was impressed with the all-around comfort of the third gen Evade.
I tested a size small and did find it to be a tad narrow on the sides, so I would suggest trying one on before purchasing or perhaps sizing up.
The adjustable webbing and rear-end mechanism is certainly improved from previous versions for easier use and a better fit. I definitely prefer these thinner straps as well.
At 290 grams for the Evade 3 is no featherweight. It’s a fair bit heavier than the Rudy Project Nytron at 250g, but not too far off from aero lids like the Giro Eclipse Spherical or the POC Ventral Spin, which weigh in at 277g and 280g respectively.
With that said, I didn’t find those extra grams distracting from my ride by any means. In fact, when it comes to the new S-Works Prevail 3 or this S-Works Evade 3, despite their differences in intended use, I’d say that any average cyclist, who may not have a quiver of helmets to their disposal, would be very happy with either helmet.
Specialized S-Works Evade 3: value and conclusion
Of course, as with anything in the top-end “S-Works” line, you’ll find the Evade III at the higher end of the price scale.
However, if you’re looking for a MIPS-equipped helmet that has aero benefits while also being comfortable in a variety of weather conditions, the Evade III ticks all the boxes.
It’s certainly the best Evade yet, and impressive in its combining of aero benefits with all-day wear comfort.
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Cycling Weekly's North American Editor, Anne-Marije Rook is old school. She holds a degree in journalism and started out as a newspaper reporter — in print! She can even be seen bringing a pen and notepad to the press conference.
Originally from The Netherlands, she grew up a bike commuter and didn't find bike racing until her early twenties when living in Seattle, Washington. Strengthened by the many miles spent darting around Seattle's hilly streets on a steel single speed, Rook's progression in the sport was a quick one. As she competed at the elite level, her journalism career followed, and soon she became a full-time cycling journalist. She's now been a cycling journalist for 11 years.
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