As well as being one of the world’s biggest bike brands, Specialized offers a vast array of components and accessories, including a full range of helmets suitable for all types of cycling. Here’s everything you need to know about the ones designed for riding on the road, plus a quick look at what's on offer for children.
The purpose of a helmet is to protect you if you are unlucky enough to come off and hit your head. Of course, all helmets comply with the relevant safety standards, and every Specialized helmet is now available with MIPS (see below), which is an additional safety feature. You can even get helmets with an ANGi sensor (see below) that detects a crash and alerts your emergency contacts.
On top of keeping you safe, a helmet needs to provide plenty of comfort, and Specialized's performance-focused models are designed with large vents, deep internal channels and aligned exhaust ports to keep cool air flowing over your head and prevent overheating. They’re also lightweight and come with micro-adjustable dials that allow you to get the fit just right, even when you’re on the move.
MIPS – which stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection System – is a safety feature that’s available in every model in the Specialized lineup. MIPS takes various forms, each of them including a low friction layer that allows 10-15mm of relative motion between the helmet and the head in all directions. This reduces the rotational motion transferred to the brain in the event of certain angled impacts, lessening the chance of brain injury.
With ANGi, Specialized says that it has transformed the bike helmet into a live tracking device, crash detector and safety beacon.
ANGi is a system that will alert selected contacts to the fact that you’re going for a ride and, if you chose, you can allow those contacts to live track you.
When connected to a smartphone running the Specialized Ride app, ANGi will send a countdown alert to your phone in the event of a crash. Should you be too badly hurt to stop the countdown, the app will text your emergency contacts with a crash notification and your most recently uploaded GPS coordinates.
ANGi can now be paired with a Wahoo Elemnt bike computer for even simpler connectivity.
The S-Works Evade II is the second generation of Specialized’s aero road race helmet. It features a semi-vented design and is aimed at riders who want those all-important marginal gains. This latest design offers more breathability while also saving you a claimed 50 seconds over a regular helmet at 40km/h. Specialized worked hard on the vents and interior channels and claims that this is the coolest aero helmet on the market today – just as cool as riding with no helmet.
Colours Black, Cool Grey/Acid Pink/Golden Yellow, Rocket Red/Crimson/Black, Team Red/Black, White, Satin Chameleon/Gloss Black
Sizes S, M, L
Buy if… You’re looking for an aero road helmet with both MIPS and ANGi
With a focus on fit, ventilation and comfort, the Prevail II is a great choice for road, cyclocross and mountain bike riders that are looking for all-day comfort. Specialized includes the MIPS SL watchband system inside the helmet which provides 10-15mm of movement of the shell relative to the liner in the event of a crash. This makes the helmet one of the safest on the market having been awarded a 5-star rating from Virginia Tech.
When we reviewed this helmet we said that it was light and superbly well-ventilated, and we liked the 'Gutter Action brow pad' that extends right across your forehead, sized slightly smaller than the EPS (expanded polystyrene) liner and fixed firmly in place only at the temples. This means that while the pad touches your forehead, the small gap between the pad and the EPS allows air to circulate, allowing sweat to evaporate more quickly than it otherwise would.
Colours Acid Lava/Acid Purple, Ion/Charcoal, Black, White
Sizes S, M, L
Buy if… You want a comfortable performance helmet that scores well on safety too.
New for 2021 is the Vent version of the Prevail (above). Specialized redesigned the structure of the helmet, removing some of the bridges and increasing airflow. A carbon fibre and aramid-reinforced skeleton within the helmet allow the use of large ports and deep internal channels without affecting safety, and a perforated pad kit keeps moisture moving away from your head. The important bits, like the fit, have stayed the same, so you’re still looking at a comfortable, lightweight helmet for long days on the bike.
Colours White, Matte Sand/Gloss Dopio, Matte Maroon/Matte Black, Black
Sizes S, M, L
Buy if… You want to maximise ventilation on the hottest of days
Taking a host of design cues and features from the S-Works Prevail (above), the Propero III offers what Specialized calls Tri-Flex webbing straps and 4th Dimension Cooling – with a large vent running across your forehead – for comfort on those sunny summer days. The Propero III also gets ANGi and MIPS for added safety while the Hairport FSL II fit system makes wearing the helmet with long hair easy. You get four height positions which you can set before tightening the micro-adjustable dial.
Colours Black, Cast Berry/Dusty Lilac, Cool Grey/Acid Pink/Golden Yellow, White, Flo Red/Tarmac Black, Blue
Sizes S, M, L
Buy if… You’re looking for loads of features at a lower price
Specialized says that the Echelon II features “composite matrix internal reinforcement” which is a rather fancy way of saying that they strengthened the internal structure. This allows them to make the vents bigger, sucking more air into the helmet and over your head to keep you cool. While the price is aimed at enthusiasts, the helmet sill comes with the safety tech that we saw on the pro-level lids above. You get an easy-adjust Headset SL II fit system with six height positions and a micro-adjustable dial around the back.
Colours Storm Grey, Green, Green/Black, Black, White, Red
Sizes S, M, L
Buy if… You’re looking for a highly vented lid for weekend rides
The S-Works TT is all about speed and is aimed squarely at time trial riders – so it’s a specialist option designed to cut right through the air. The important info here is that the S-Works TT is claimed to save you more than a minute over 40km, compared with a standard road helmet. Although you might assume that this helmet is hot, the Gill Vents draw air in to ensure that you won’t overheat. MIPS and ANGi technology are included.
Sizes XS/S, M/L
Buy if... You want a super-fast time trial helmet that’ll keep you cool
The Chamonix packs in loads of features that have trickled down from the more expensive road helmets – and it won’t break the bank. You get very good ventilation courtesy of Specialized’s 4th Dimension Cooling System, a micro-adjustable fit system, plus MIPS, all for 70 quid! Designed to easily fit a wide range of heads, the Chamonix comes with reflective detailing to help add visibility when commuting or riding in low light. There’s even a clip-on visor included in the box.
Colours White, Green, Black, Satin Clay/Black, Red/Black
Sizes S/M, M/L
Buy if... You want a lightweight lid for general riding and commuting
One of the best places that you can put a rear light as a cycle commuter is on the back of your helmet. This raised position offers additional visibility over the standard seatpost-mounted rear light and while having a rear light fixed to the bike is required by law for rides after dark, a helmet light is an excellent addition. Specialized’s Centro LED has an integrated tail light which makes it ideal for town and city riders. That also means that you can’t forget your rear light when you’re in a rush. Add in ANGi and MIPS tech for added crash protection and you’re looking at a very nifty helmet for £65.
Colours Red, Black
Sizes One size
Buy if... You want a helmet with MIPS that also adds visibility
The fact that the Align II comes with a 5-star safety rating from Virginia Tech at a cost of just £45 makes it an attractive option for riders who are looking to get on their bike for a bit of fitness or the ride to work. Aside from the impressive safety and price, the Align II gets Specialized’s 4th Dimension Cooling System for optimised ventilation, a low weight for comfort, and reflective decals that add a little extra visibility when riding around town.
Colours Black, Blue/Black, Red, Yellow/Black, Purple, Grey, White
Sizes S/M, M/L, XL
Buy if... You want a budget-friendly helmet with MIPS and a great safety rating
Prices range from £30 to £50 depending on the model and whether or not it offers features like MIPS, an LED light or a magnetic buckle. The Mio is aimed at toddlers up to the age of three, while the Shuffle models are designed for older kids.
All of these helmets are designed to encourage children to wear them, so the buckles are simple to use, as are the retention systems. They also look cool and are available in a range of different colours/graphics so your child can choose their favourite.
Get more info over at www.specialized.com