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US brand brings new technology to the road in aero and highly vented lid

Smith are introducing a new Overtake helmet that they say is “the most comprehensive road helmet on the market” because of its ventilation, aerodynamics and level of protection.

The Smith brand is best known for its eyewear – the full name is Smith Optics – although they already do a mountain bike and an urban helmet. The Overtake is their first road helmet.

“The Overtake offers best-in-class protection and maximum ventilation through its Aerocore construction featuring Koroyd – a series of polymer cores that absorbs 30% more energy than traditional EPS [expanded polystyrene] foam,” say Smith.

“Unlike traditional helmet designs, the use of Koroyd provides a significantly increased venting surface for better managed, highly focused airflow. Its use also helps reduce the profile of the helmet, providing unique aerodynamic benefits.”

The Koroyd is the material that sits inside the shell – white in the main picture, coloured in other options. It’s a series of tubular holes – it looks a little like a honeycomb – the idea being to allow air through without compromising safety. The helmet  looks like it has some huge ports in the shell, although we’ve not used it yet so we can’t say how effectively that venting works.

The Overtake’s aerodynamics began with design using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and finished with wind tunnel validation, according to Smith.

“Through a partnership with the Faster wind tunnel [in Scottsdale, Arizona, USA] and world-renowned aerodynamicist Len Brownlie, Smith tested the new Overtake against the current best-in-class helmets using the Wind Averaged Drag (WAD) methodology,” say Smith.

“The result: in real-world conditions, the Overtake is nearly identical in aerodynamics to the industry-leading aero road helmet yet boasts superior ventilation, lower weight, and overall protection.”

That current-best-in-class helmet they refer to is the Specialized Evade. Statistical claim alert! Smith say that if the Evade was used to do 25 miles (40km) at 25mph (40kph), using the Overtake would cost you just 1.06secs for the same power output.

They reckon that’s over 3secs quicker than the Giro Air Attack and over 25secs faster than the Giro Aeon, a non-aero helmet.

The Overtake uses lightweight webbing straps and weighs 250g, which is reasonably light, especially for an aero helmet.

“You may find a lighter helmet but you won’t find one that aids your overall comfort, safety and performance better than ours,” say Smith.

Fit adjustment is via a dial-operated system Smith call VaporFit, and Smith have incorporated an ‘“eyewear dock” that allows you to store your specs when you don’t want to wear them.

Certain colours of the Overtake also feature multi-directional impact protection system (MIPS) liners that Smith say reduce the rotational forces to the brain during impacts. Essentially, the MIPS liner is designed to allow the helmet’s outer shell to slide relative to the head when hitting the ground, lessening the rotational force and reducing the potential damage to your brain.

Smith claim that this, combined with the existing features of the Aerocore construction, results in the most complete protective helmet available.

Overtake Helmet from smith optics on Vimeo.

 

The Overtake will be available this autumn. It’ll be priced £250, or £310 with MIPS. Smith’s UK distributor is Saddleback

Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over the past 20 years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for seven years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.

14 comments

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s_lim [180 posts] 2 years ago
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£250 for a helmet??? That's just mental, especially as they're new to market.

On a similar note, Giro are releasing a new aero helmet that looks better than the Air Attack, priced approx. £200. Still high, but a much better option.

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EarsoftheWolf [75 posts] 2 years ago
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I'm always astounded that anyone would spend this much on a helmet.

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The _Kaner [837 posts] 2 years ago
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Initially looking at the static picture I thought, it's a bit of a duffer....but after having seen the video I convinced myself that it DEFINITELY is a duffer...and that price....  37 24

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Gkam84 [9088 posts] 2 years ago
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Think I have just made it worth every penny

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anarchy [100 posts] 2 years ago
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Gkam84 wrote:

Think I have just made it worth every penny

Ha ha. Rapha is for poseurs

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GrahamSt [167 posts] 2 years ago
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The honeycomb bits (sorry... "Koroyd Panels") looks like they'd at least keep off the May Flies and Bees that seem to be drawn to my helmet vents.

I'm interested what sort of tan line they produce though!

And that price... ouch!

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gummo [19 posts] 2 years ago
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And @s_lim--you've worn neither.

Appreciate the recommendations, mate.

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midschool [51 posts] 2 years ago
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GrahamSt wrote:

The honeycomb bits (sorry... "Koroyd Panels") looks like they'd at least keep off the May Flies and Bees that seem to be drawn to my helmet vents.

I'm interested what sort of tan line they produce though!

And that price... ouch!

Im interested to know what kind of mark they would leave on your head after an impact. The term "core sample" comes to mind.  21

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s_lim [180 posts] 2 years ago
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gummo wrote:

And @s_lim--you've worn neither.

Appreciate the recommendations, mate.

Wut? Have you?

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Leviathan [2126 posts] 2 years ago
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s_lim wrote:

On a similar note, Giro are releasing a new aero helmet that looks better than the Air Attack, priced approx. £200. Still high, but a much better option.

Just seen the Synthe but at Attack has the built in visor option, much more aero (looking.) Frankly some of these 'new' aero helmets are starting to look like plain old 1980s bowl helmets.

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Tjuice [209 posts] 2 years ago
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I like it, but they would need to cut the price in half (at least) before I would even start thinking about it.

Having said that, given all the criticism that helmets receive, I think it is good that there is a company trying to think about what can be done to improve the safety delivered by a helmet.

Good on them, I say. I hope this is only the start of on-going industry research into new/improved methods to protect the head in typical cycle crash situations.

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fenix [443 posts] 2 years ago
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bikeboy76 wrote:
s_lim wrote:

On a similar note, Giro are releasing a new aero helmet that looks better than the Air Attack, priced approx. £200. Still high, but a much better option.

Just seen the Synthe but at Attack has the built in visor option, much more aero (looking.) Frankly some of these 'new' aero helmets are starting to look like plain old 1980s bowl helmets.

I think the visor is just aero looking - in tests its meant to be slower.

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Leviathan [2126 posts] 2 years ago
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fenix wrote:

I think the visor is just aero looking - in tests its meant to be slower.

Don't care. Wantone.

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PhilRuss [390 posts] 2 years ago
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Gkam84 wrote:

Think I have just made it worth every penny

[[[[[[ But strangely, not every pound.
P.R.