Specialized Evade III & Prevail III first ride review

Cooler; safer, still a great fit.

Specialized Evade III & Prevail III helmets
(Image credit: Anne-Marije Rook)
Cycling Weekly Verdict

Specialized’s latest update to the Evade and Prevail helmets has further improved what were already great lids. Although not knocking on the door of any of the lightest helmets, with their comfortable fit and considerable improvements to the ventilation, the Evade and Prevail have still proved hardly noticeable on hot rides.

For
  • +

    Better ventilation

  • +

    Highly ranked for safety

Against
  • -

    Neither are especially lightweight

Specialized always sets out to better its previous product lines. But when it comes to the third iteration of the Evade and Prevail helmets, the “better” means airier – not necessarily faster – and, for the Prevail, safer.

Performance is still at the heart of everything Specialized does, however, and when it comes to helmets, the brand is taking an “n+1” stance. “It takes a quiver to win” is their slogan with the launch of three new helmets all at once at the Copenhagen Grand Départ. Just like a team has a quiver of wheels for different purposes, Specialized believes that competitive riders need different helmet benefits to suit various stages based on conditions for optimal performance. 

While the TT5 is mostly limited to pro-team use and won’t be readily available for consumers, the Prevail III and Evade III are available at retailers starting today. We were sent samples in advance to give these all-new, stark white lids a try.

Specialized Evade III & Prevail III helmets

Specialized Evade III

(Image credit: Anne-Marije Rook)

Now, the Evade has been a firm favourite as one of the best helmets by Cycling Weekly for a while now and we’re no strangers to the Prevail either. I personally have spent quite a few races wearing the OG Evade, and the Prevail was in heavy rotation for a while as well. 

These days, the Giro Synthe MIPS is my absolute go-to in part because of aesthetics but also because I no longer race and don’t really need a quiver of helmets beyond a road, mountain and full face helmet.

With that said, I was keen to reacquaint myself with a new-and-improved old favourite. 

Both the Prevail III and Evade III arrived in their solid, stark white versions, which straight out of the box is, I think, a bit of a tough sell. The mental jump to mushrooms just comes too easily. Some graphics, a few simple lines or even solid black goes a long way when it comes to first impressions. With that said, I got a sneak peek at what the team helmets will look like and they do look good with a spot of colour.

Specialized Evade III & Prevail III helmets

Specialized Prevail III 

(Image credit: Anne-Marije Rook)

 

I think what stood out to me most when first trying on the Prevail III especially, was how tall it seemed — measuring nearly 14 centimetres tall at its highest point. With that said, the Prevail is almost all vent these days with the thin carbon rails clearly showing. Even before putting it on, you know it’s going to be nice and breezy.

The Evade as well looks breezier than ever before thanks to the all-new tail end “diffuser.” Comfort often comes secondary in aero helmets but a cooler helmet will certainly allow for more use.

I tested a size small in both helmets and the fit, on the sides especially, is rather narrow. For me that works just fine but if you’ve got a rounder-shaped head, you may want to consider sizing up or trying on the helmet before buying.

At 290 grams for the Evade III and 280 grams for Prevail III, the helmets aren’t exactly featherweights like the new Kask Protone (230 grams) or Lazer Genesis (205 grams), but still light enough to go virtually unnoticed. 

Specialized Evade III & Prevail III helmets

(Image credit: Anne-Marije Rook)

In fact, ‘unnoticed’ is how I’d describe the feel of both helmets, even in 32°C degree weather. They’re so unobtrusive when worn that they seem to disappear, which is exactly what you’d want out of a helmet — something that is there when you need it but stays out of your way so you can focus on your ride. 

The previous iteration of the Evade was faulted for the lack of MIPS and adjustable straps, and its use of a magnetic closure. This third version has all three: a proprietary MIPS collaboration called “Air Node”, a standard buckle and straps that can be adjusted in length and position. Same goes for the Prevail.

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. It is, however, said to be 10% more ventilated and therefore more comfortable and usable for more weather conditions. While my first ride wasn’t long, I found the Evade plenty comfortable on a windless and rather stifling summer day. 

The Prevail III, already Specialized’s most-vented helmet, gets even more vents this time around. Built around a visible carbon cage, this helmet truly is about as airy as it gets while still being considered safe. So safe in fact, that it’s currently the highest-ranked road helmet by Virginia Tech, a leader in third-party helmet safety testing. This is, of course, not something you can physically feel or even see, but it does offer a piece of mind. 

As mentioned before, when worn this helmet practically disappears. It’s a great helmet for those hot summer days, long gravel adventures or mountain stages. The vents impressed  — you can actually feel the wind tussle your hair. Just be prepared for some awesomely bad helmet hair. 

While the Prevail is considered the all-rounder, 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. 

If you want to find out more about the tech specs check out our launch story on Specialized's aero Evade and airy Prevail helmets over here.

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Anne-Marije Rook
Anne-Marije Rook

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.