The Specialized Prevail S-Works helmet is a common sight in the professional peloton. It's absolute pinnacle of Specialized's helmet design: the lightest and best ventilated helmet they've ever put on sale. And in use it is indeed, cool, light and very comfortable, though to these eyes it does look a bit odd.
Helmets have really dropped in weight in the past couple of years, and the Prevail is right in the hunt with a weight of just 185g. It achieves this with a hand-woven Kevlar inner matrix, which acts as the supporting structure for the helmet, which means a decreased in the quantity of dual density EPS foam. All while still ticking the same safety targets as every other helmet.
With this inner matrix, Specialized was able to scale up the size of the vents, with 25 vents arranged carefully in what they call '4th dimensional cooling'. These vents work together to manage the airflow as it hits the front, where you find a 'Mega Mouthport', a wide vent across the front of the helmet which has become a Specialized trademark. In use we really noticed an airy feeling compared to other top-end helmets. For sweaty mountain riding, we'd pick the Prevail in a heartbeat.
What really makes the Prevail a great choice, and it's something that is far more important than how light the thing is, is fit and comfort. It's the helmets new Pro Fit 360 system that makes it so comfortable on long rides.
The previous 2D helmet had a horrible head band across the front. This has been banished to the bin of bad ideas, and a large and slim section of soft padding now sits in its place. At the back the new micro-dial makes adjustment of the helmet really easy even on the move. The 'Mindset' retention system can be vertically adjusted, with five positions, to tailor the fit to perfection.
My only concern, and it's a purely personal one, is the styling. It's clearly a helmet that has been designed with function at the top of the list, and looks some way towards the bottom. From the back the helmet looks great, but spin it around and the ramped front gives it an ugly appearance. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and besides, when wearing it you can't see it. A deal breaker for some though. I thought at first it might grow on me, but I'm still waiting.
The changes to the Prevail make it Specialized's best ever helmet. If you're after a seriously light, well ventilated and comfortable helmet with easy adjustment, you won't go far wrong with the Prevail.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Specialized Prevail
Size tested: M, White
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
S-Works Prevail is the ultimate lightweight racing helmet, combining great ventilation, aerodynamic design, and ultra-light construction for the best all-around performance.
Complies with one or more of the following safety standards for bicycle helmets: CPSC, SNELL B90A, CE and AS/NZS
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Patent-pending Dual Density EPS optimises impact performance
Patented Kevlar-reinforced Inner Matrix for ultra-light construction and energy management
Mega Mouthport optimises cooling and sweat evaporation
4th Dimension Cooling System with deep internal channels, massive vents and aligned exhaust ports
Ultralight Mindset micro-dial fit system with height adjustability for perfect fit and comfort
Tri-Fix web splitter for improved comfort and ease of strap adjustments
Instrap webbing attachment for ultra light construction and security
Thin, soft and lightweight 4X DryLite webbing won't stretch out with sweat or water
Fit is fantastic as is the ventilation
It's on a par with helmets in this weight range
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Ticked all the boxes I look for in a helmet
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The fit and incredible comfort was the most appealing aspect, with the micro-dial making adjustment on the move easy, handy on long rides. And the vertical adjustment makes getting a good fit in the first place a doddle
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
It's a bit ugly, isn't it?
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
About the tester
Age: 31 Height: 180 Weight: 67
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, mtb,
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.