Specialized S-Works 2D helmet – £109.99
Since the UCI made it compulsory in 2003 for pro cyclists to wear helmets when racing, helmet manufacturers have been working hard to reduce weight and increase ventilation while still meeting required safety standards. It’s a tough measure but one that most are responding to with ever more impressive impressive results.
One of the very lightest helmets currently available is the 2D, Specialized’s newest helmet, boasting several significant developments in the pursuit of a safe, light and highly ventilated lid. Most notable of all when removing the helmet from its packaging is the low weight. This is highly impressive: Specialized quotes a weight of 180g (6.3oz) for the small size, with all sizes quoted at or under 200g. This makes it a good 50g lighter than the previous top-ranking Decibel, but to put this 25% weight saving into perspective, hold a 2D in one hand and a Decibel in the other and the Decibel feels like a bowling ball.
This low weight is achieved in a number of ways. First is the pioneering use of dual density foam. The side sections of the helmet are fairly conventional stuff, while the centre/top bit is a lower density foam. Then there are the substantial ventilation ports, which Specialized has designed in a wind tunnel, with the amusingly named Mega Mouthport scooping air in at the front and tall vertical exhaust ports at the rear, linked together with In-Line Vents running the length of the helmet.
All these ventilation ports means Specialized have had to think carefully about how to hold the remaining material together and make sure that the helmet is strong enough to actually be of any use. Inside the helmet resides the InnerMatrix, a hand-laid uni-directional Kevlar fibre internal reinforcement ‘skeleton’, which holds everything together. The helmet retains the distinctive Specialized style, though the 2D sits lower on the head than previous designs, so it doesn’t ‘perch’ on top quite as much.
Another lightening addition is the DryLite webbing used in the straps, and something which contributes to the comfort too. These straps are noticeably thinner and softer than other manufacturers use, meaning they go unnoticed on the side of the head and around the ears. And, as the material doesn’t soak up sweat means an end to variable-helmet-fit misery as straps stretch and shrink, not to mention freedom from salt encrustation and a reduction in pongs. The straps attach directly to the InnerMatrix and is routed out through the sides, rather than from inside the helmet, meaning less interference so you don’t get the annoying strap-on-your-face that can irritate. Changed too are the buckles, which are small and easy to adjust.
Specialized’s Pro Fit 360 Fit system provides a snug fit between helmet and head, with the retention device wrapping entirely around the head. The helmet stays in place well, better than many other helmets, and the fit is easy to adjust on the move. Despite all these weight saving measures, the helmet still meets necessary safety standards (CSPC, SNELL, B90A and CE).
Available in three sizes (S, M and L) and various colours, including Gerolsteiner, Lampre-Fondital, Silence-Lotto and Milram replica editions.