Like this site? Help us to make it better.


Specialized Prevail S-Works 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.

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

What the scores mean

Good scores are more common than bad, because fortunately good products are more common than bad.

  • Exceptional
  • Excellent
  • Very Good
  • Good
  • Quite good
  • Average
  • Not so good
  • Poor
  • Bad
  • Appalling

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. 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:
Rate the product for performance:

Fit is fantastic as is the ventilation

Rate the product for durability:
Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
Rate the product for value:

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,


David worked on the tech team from 2012-2020. Previously he was editor of 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, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes

Add new comment


Peter from Brisbane | 7 years ago

Specialised SWorks Prevail Helmet strap position for large size is so loose at front that it vibrates loudly once at speed, especially on fast descents.  The noise is so loud and distracting that it is dangerous.  Otherwise comfortable and cool. 

ragtag | 11 years ago

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

russyparkin | 11 years ago

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.  1

zzgavin | 11 years ago

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?

downfader replied to zzgavin | 11 years ago
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

notfastenough | 11 years ago

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

pjt201 | 11 years ago

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

Coodsta | 11 years ago

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!

pedalpowerDC | 11 years ago

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.

notfastenough | 11 years ago

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)

Latest Comments