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Smith Overtake helmet – review

Already a big player in the eyewear world, Smith have had their first crack at a road helmet with the Overtake and it’s a striking looking beast.

But they’re not entirely newbies in the helmet world, as Smith have been making snow sports helmets for a little while, and this is where the immediately noticeable Koroyd material that fills the large vents comes from.

Buyer’s guide: how to choose a cycling helmet

The idea behind the Koroyd structure is that, in conjunction with a fitting system that suspends the helmet slightly off the rider’s head, it allows for each Koroyd tube to constantly release the hot air generated by exertion. Smith claim that instead of building pools of sweat that provide a cooling effect when they come into contact with the air as it passes under the vent, the Overtake allows heat to constantly escape, theoretically keeping the rider cooler for longer. The bonus of the Koyrod material itself is that it’s designed to crush on impact, protecting the head. As a result, Smith can afford to make the helmet with seemingly so many places without protection – because the Koroyd tubes do two jobs.

But the thing is, when you’re riding, the majority of the cooling effect comes from air flowing through the helmet, not just effective heat dissipation. That’s why, traditionally, helmets have gone for lots of large vents all over, because it allows air to move through and cool you down. And as smart as the system on the Overtake may be in theory, in practice the lid was noticeably warmer than our usual Lazer Z1. In fact, it was noticeably warm full stop. To get an effective air flow into the helmet, you have to look down at the toptube so that the air flows straight into the Koroyd tubes, but then you’re obviously not looking where you’re going, which is far from ideal. It means that on hot summer days, the Overtake wouldn’t be our preferred option but, of course, in the winter it might actually be a bonus on very cold days when staying a little warmer is paramount.Otherwise, structurally the only issue is the front of the helmet. It sticks out far enough to be constantly in the top of your vision, which is quite irritating.

Elsewhere, though, the helmet performs rather well. Fit is comfortable, and the padding inside is more than adequate and could reasonably be described as ‘generous’ by the standards of modern lids. The retention system is ratchet-based, and has four options for height adjustment which you change by pulling out and re-inserting a small plastic pin into one of four sockets. The straps are fabric, and similar to those you’ll find on plenty of other helmets, easy to adjust and you can cut off any excess to stop any annoying flapping in the breeze.

One of the interesting features of the helmet is the integration for sunglasses. Obviously you can’t hook the arms of your eyewear through the vents, as they’re filled with the Koroyd tubes, so there are two channels designed to hold your glasses on the front and back. The catch is that whether or not your particular eyewear fits depends on the curvature and width of the arms. For example, I used a set of Smith’s Pivloc V90s and they fitted wonderfully. The hold was secure and even bumpy roads couldn’t knock them loose. On the other hand, the fit with my Oakley Radarlock XLs was only okay, and they moved about a bit when riding over rough surfaces. On the other hand, if you don’t very often take your glasses off when riding and put them in your helmet, then that doesn’t matter at all!

Weight-wise, the 269g for the Overtake isn’t too bad, especially considering that the extra Koroyd material in the helmet was always going to add a few extra grams over the really light lids like Giro’s Aeon or Kask’s Mojito. But a few grams here or there can more than made up for by comfort, which the Overtake doesn’t lack for at all.

Conclusion

Overall, Smith’s Overtake is a slightly mixed bag. Style-wise, (we think) Smith have got it sorted as it looks great, and comes in 12 different colour combinations so you can match it with almost anything. It’s comfortable, too, which is a massive part of helmet selection and should be one of the key factors when you’re choosing which lid to buy. However, the ventilation on the lid is just not as good as a lot of other choices out there. It’s not boil-in-the-bag hot, but if you’re riding in warm temperatures you’ll definitely notice that it’s warmer than whatever you switched from. Smith have tried to do something different and that’s definitely a good thing, but hopefully they’ll learn from this one and version two of the Overtake will be the helmet that the £200 price tag deserves.

Pros

– Progressive, sleek, modern look
– Eyewear integration is smart, if difficult with some glasses
– Comfortable, with a solid retention system

Cons

– Cooling isn’t as effective as many other helmets
– Forehead section protrudes a little too far
– It’s definitely not cheap

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