The design goal for the all-new 2018 S-Works Evade was to produce the fastest and coolest road helmet on the market. If that sounds familiar, those were the same objectives Specialized set out to achieve with the first generation Evade. They hit the mark then and it appears they did so again.
Although the general shape of the original has been largely retained, both the outer shell and inner features received a significant redesign. Gone are the large scoop vents atop the peak and the ten forward-facing vents have been reduced in size creating a smoother and more aerodynamic exterior.
The most subtle change was to the overall length which was trimmed by 11mm. According to Chris Yu, Specialized’s aerodynamics expert, the shorter tail helps maintain optimal efficiency in a wider range of head positions. Airflow is not adversely disrupted with the rider’s chin dropped or turned slightly to one side. In a 40K time trial Specialized claims the new shape saves 1.6 seconds over the previous Evade. That earns it a drag coefficient on par with a bare (bald) head.
To ensure the shape yields real-world aerodynamic results, the design team tested the new shape extensively in their in-house Win Tunnel. They paired the Evade with different styles of sunglasses and face shields. All of them demonstrated minimal impact on air drag. Yu said their team went so far as to evaluate how the helmet performed when worn by a rider with long hair. It has been officially quantified, braids are faster than a ponytail or bun.
Another advantage of the new Evade is the aerodynamic efficiency at slower speeds. Testing indicated no minimum velocity threshold, which will appeal to cyclocross and cross-country mountain bike racers looking for every available edge.
With the speed metrics attained, redesigning the internal air channels proved the bigger challenge and forced the engineers to create new testing methods. So they developed a 12-zone thermal measuring system to accurately detect temperature differences throughout the inner shell. Using a series of wood and clay models they were able to quickly modify the inner air channels to fine-tune airflow for maximum cooling effect. They discovered the intake vents could be drastically reduced in size if the inner air channels and exhaust ports were enlarged.
The deep channels within the shell are made possible by utilizing the same Aramid-Reinforced Skeleton molded into the previous Evade. Impact protection is provided by Specialized’s patented Energy Optimized Multi-Density EPS in-molded foam construction. The Mindset micro-dial is still height adjustable and the 4X DryLite Webbing is now joined with a magnetic buckle for one-handed operation. Despite the radical changes, the weight was maintained with our size medium sample weighing in at 291 grams. Available in five colors and three sizes, the Evade II begins shipping in early spring with an MSRP of $
And yes, after testing all of the competing helmets on the market in their wind tunnel, Specialized says the 2018 S-Works Evade is the fastest and coolest road helmet on the market.