I had forgotten that the Smith Overtake was an aero road helmet. It’s looks don’t immediately give it away as such, but as I reviewed our story about its launch last summer, it all came back to me. Considering it looks somewhat normal and has gaping vents, it’s performance in the wind tunnel becomes all the more impressive.
Even so, If I’m completely honest, I wasn’t all that excited to test this helmet. Aesthetically, it’s OK, but the colors didn’t really match much of anything I ever wear. But, the real reason is it looked like it’d be hot. After all, how in the world could air really flow through a bunch of tiny straws pointed perpendicular to the way wind moved over my head?
Turns out it can, and it does…
Smith pioneered the use of Koroyd in their helmets as the primary impact protection material. There’s still some EPS, but most of the helmet’s shell is made up of the tiny plastic tubes. Upon impact, they deform to absorb the force before it all reaches your brain. Zach’s tested it out on their Forefront mountain bike helmets and lived to tell the tale. Fortunately, I haven’t ended up testing that part of the helmet (yet, anyway).
There are a few small front vents that are wide open, situated just above the brow, and one massive exhaust port at the back. Otherwise, all openings are covered with Koroyd, and most of those openings are larger than what’s found on traditional helmets. And much, much larger than anything found on “aero” road bike helmets.
Padding is minimal but well placed. The Overtake is honestly one of the most comfortable and best fitting helmets I’ve tried.
To test my preconceived notions of poor ventilation, I took it to the open road and the mountain bike trails on a few very hot summer days. Yes, it’s a bit warmer than traditional helmets with wide open holes, but not that much warmer. But, to convince myself, I rode along and held my hand over the front vents. Immediately my head got hot. Then I removed my hand, and immediately it cooled right back down. On again, off again. And each time I’d feel the cool, refreshing breeze sweep through as soon as my hand left the helmet. OK, it does breathe well. Surprisingly well, and almost certainly better than any other aero helmet on the market. If there’s a helmet with no compromises, perhaps this is it.
Being a sunglasses company first, Smith had the foresight to make it easily hold their Pivlock shades. The arms snap into place and hold steady.
My size medium came in at 271g, on par with claimed weights. This is for the non-MIPS version, which retails for $250. A MIPS version going to be a bit heavier and is available in five of the 12 color options for $290. All are available in Small, Medium and Large sizes. (I normally wear a medium in Kali, Giro, Specialized, Bontrager, Bell, etc., and this one fit similarly)
The Smith Overtake pleasantly surprised me. It’s very comfortable, fits snugly without any pressure points, and the ventilation does indeed work despite appearances. As for the aero properties, I’ll trust their measurements and stats because at my speeds, it’s maybe saving me half a second. Maybe. My only regret is waiting a few months to start wearing it. That, and I would have preferred just about any other color combo they offer.