Specialized Propero Helmet £79.99
There has been a lot of talk about the 2D, the first Specialized S-Works helmet, mainly due to its sub-200g weight. However, sitting slightly below the 2D is the Propero, which for the weight weenies out there weighs 256g in the medium size tested. That’s £2.85 per gram difference between the two helmets. Incidentally, the Propero is lighter than last year’s Decibel!
The fit of a helmet is probably the most important thing to consider when buying a helmet. Their shape tends to fall into one of three camps: the ‘oval’ (think Giro and Specialized), the ’round’ (Bell is the best example) and the ‘in-between’ (Catlike and Met). Once happy with the fit, it is important to be aware of what safety standards a helmet meets (in this case CPSC, SNELL B90A, CE and AS/NZS). It is difficult to make a case for the importance of fit over safety, as both are crucial in your purchasing decisions.
I like to have both a good fit and for the said helmet to have passed the highest standards across the world; thankfully, the Propero does this with ease. Fitting-wise there are a few other brands on the market that meet the global recognized standards for helmet safety and would offer different head shapes. Normally a person who buys a helmet at this price will be taking part in some sort of organised riding, be it racing, sportives or the weekend club run, and so the speeds and potential hazards are more numerous (and I am not trying to open up the helmet debate again!).
The Pro Fit 2 retention system has continued from last year’s helmet, but now seems to feel much more positive in use compared to previous versions. The retention system itself works in a very similar way to Giro’s Roc Loc system, even down to offering height adjustment. The Specialized helmet opts for a simple “press stud” arrangement on the side of the helmet compared to the three position adjustment in the roof of the Giro system. I have found this to be very positive in use, and surprisingly the few millimetres adjustment offered does make a whole world of difference to how the helmet sits on your head. So, on a fit front, I am very happy, and for me this new mould provides a much more comfortable fit than last year’s Decibel.
Okay, onto ventilation; how well does it work? Without a wind tunnel it is impossible to measure how much airflow is being directed over the head. So I will use a comparison between two helmets I own to draw a conclusion to how it felt. [Nah – book some time in a tunnel and do the job properly – ed.] If I said that the helmet sat right in-between the Giro Pneumo and Atmos ventilation-wise, this would best describe how well the venting worked. Now onto styling, which for most people will be the first draw to a helmet, but really should be an added bonus after the fit.
The shape of the helmet has been influenced by the fact that Specialized do not demarcate between road and mtb. As this is the case, all their helmets have an additional peak, which comes in the box. But don’t be too hasty in lobbing it into the bin, as it could come in useful on days when it is raining. Because the helmet needs to operate in both disciplines the venting shapes lie between a sleek vent, which would be used to draw air across the head and what I call a “chimney stack” shape that is a little shorter and wider, commonly used on mtb helmets. For non-racing applications this combination seems to provide an excellent compromise. Coupled with a large (but slightly ugly) exhaust port style rear end the helmet offers good levels of cooling.
All in all, I really liked this helmet and it offers another option when time for renewing a helmet comes round. You lose a little bit in the weight department compared to the flashier 2D sibling, and as the cost difference is minimal between the two the fit of the helmet will probably be the deciding factor as the £20 difference, although not small, is not a massive gulf to breach once you are already mentally committed to spending £90.