Specialized Prevail S-Works helmet  £159.99

8/10

If you're after a seriously light, well ventilated and comfortable helmet with easy adjustment, you won't go far wrong with the Prevail.

Weight 185g   Contact  www.specialized.com

by David Arthur   July 19, 2012  

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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.

Verdict

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

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10

Fit is fantastic as is the ventilation

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
9/10
Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
 
9/10
Rate the product for value:
 
6/10

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

Overall rating: 8/10

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,

 

12 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

After reading some of the impact testing research on helmets, I noted a recommendation to buy a snell-certified lid rather than a merely EN1078-certified one. Can I assume that a US-marketed helmet will therefore be snell B90-compliant?

(For the record, I'm not interested in a debate about whether to wear a helmet or not - I would rather debate with a 12-year-old over which games console is 'better' - or just stick pins in my eyes)

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3108 posts]
19th July 2012 - 16:24

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I loved my Bell Volt's fit, but was plenty happy with the fit when I switched to the S-Works. Now when I put the Volt on, it's no where near as comfortable as the S-Works.

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posted by pedalpowerDC [217 posts]
19th July 2012 - 16:35

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If it hasn't got a Snell sticker in it, then it's not Snell-certified.

John Stevenson's picture

posted by John Stevenson [1024 posts]
19th July 2012 - 16:44

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John Stevenson wrote:
If it hasn't got a Snell sticker in it, then it's not Snell-certified.

That's a good point John, but I'm not so sure it isn't SNELL certified.

I've spoken to Specialized in the past about the wording on their packaging which gives a list of standards and says their helmet is compliant with one or more. I assumed that although SNELL were namechecked their lids in most cases would not be SNELL compliant - in fact, they told me that there lids are SNELL compliant. Certainly the S Works helmet we tested a while back is certified to SNELL B90a, B90C and B95. What puzzles me is why Specialized don't make more of a song and dance about having SNELL certification when they've got it.

Best thing we can do in this case is ask, and make a point of asking about any other Spesh lids we test in future.

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4136 posts]
19th July 2012 - 19:07

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Not having the funds to buy this helmet when I had to replace mine I ended up with the propero, essentially the s-works lid from a few years back, half the price 90% of the features. Weighs bugger all and had enough vents to not over heat when I was in the alps. Let's hope I won't have to test its safety rating!

Carpe Diem ab absentis: seize the day off

Coodsta's picture

posted by Coodsta [95 posts]
19th July 2012 - 20:09

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this is by a long way the best fitting and most comfortable helmet i've ever owned.

posted by pjt201 [97 posts]
19th July 2012 - 20:11

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Well I suppose what I mean is, I thought they had to comply with B90 to be sold in the US?

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3108 posts]
20th July 2012 - 6:35

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tony_farrelly wrote:
John Stevenson wrote:
If it hasn't got a Snell sticker in it, then it's not Snell-certified.

That's a good point John, but I'm not so sure it isn't SNELL certified.

I've spoken to Specialized in the past about the wording on their packaging which gives a list of standards and says their helmet is compliant with one or more. I assumed that although SNELL were namechecked their lids in most cases would not be SNELL compliant - in fact, they told me that there lids are SNELL compliant. Certainly the S Works helmet we tested a while back is certified to SNELL B90a, B90C and B95. What puzzles me is why Specialized don't make more of a song and dance about having SNELL certification when they've got it.

Best thing we can do in this case is ask, and make a point of asking about any other Spesh lids we test in future.

I did read (internet rumour sadly) that it was something to do with different standards not being allowed, regulated or recognised in different countries..?

I have this helmet. There were only a couple I tried that I felt cool enough in (my head gets really hot when I ride). It would be nice if the helmet manufacturers made more information available as to how they physically test these things, limits of their capabilities, videos etc.

downfader's picture

posted by downfader [201 posts]
20th July 2012 - 9:14

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I agree about the looks, the huge vent at the front looks silly to me. I wonder if Tony or Dave or anyone else can comment on this vs the Bell Gage?

Cannondale CAAD10, Condor Terra-X and an orange Brompton.
Ride for East London Velo

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posted by zzgavin [208 posts]
20th July 2012 - 11:06

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zzgavin wrote:
I agree about the looks, the huge vent at the front looks silly to me. I wonder if Tony or Dave or anyone else can comment on this vs the Bell Gage?

I gather there are two reasons for the big vent (although it is 3 or 4 actual channels set back) one is to channel the air from the front up and over the head, the other is to provide some forehead protection I think.

Its mostly about air flow in my experience

downfader's picture

posted by downfader [201 posts]
20th July 2012 - 11:57

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just got rid of one of these for a Kask Vertigo. the specialized felt far lighter but almost to light and lots of exposed foam. also found the straps buffeted at anything above 30 mph so i couldnt hear anything.

the kask feels much more robust (although im sure they are as strong as each other)

agreed what coodsta said though the propero is very very similar, perhaps to similar.

but anyway its kask all the way for me now. feels and looks really really classy and well built. Smile

posted by russyparkin [579 posts]
21st July 2012 - 15:34

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I was given one as a Christmas present and it fits perfectly. It's so light you forget you have it on.

jaunty angle: bikes and communications
http://ragtag.wordpress.com

ragtag's picture

posted by ragtag [154 posts]
30th July 2012 - 14:32

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