Smith helmets have a lot of things going for them, but they’re probably best known at this point for their use Aerocore. That’s the green material above from Koroyd that sort of looks like a bunch of drinking straws glued together. Made from thousands of extruded co-polymer tubes that are thermally welded together, the Koroyd material crushes upon impact and is said to absorb the energy in a better and more controlled manner.
The only issue? The Koroyd material itself is pretty expensive. That’s a large part of why the Forefront and Overtake helmets are so expensive. In order to offer similar levels of protection to more riders, Smith set out to create a new helmet platform that still offered excellent protection – just at a more attainable price…
While the Forefront and the Overtake will remain in their line as Smith’s premium helmet options, the new Route and Rover are firmly aimed at the “everyday cyclist.” This includes everyone from commuters who ride daily to work, to weekend warriors who take off for the mountains when they get a chance. These are the riders who are still very interested in the Koroyd protection story, but may find the $250/260 price tag of the Overtake or Forefront.
Smith’s answer – the Route road and Rover MTB helmet. Using two different shell shapes, Smith labels them as road and mountain but technically they could be used for either. The Rover offers a bit more protection at the back of the helmet which allows them to add two more vents (18 vs 20). These vents are all tied to the AirEvac channeling system that funnels air under the brow, through the helmet, and out the back. The Rover also adds the removable but non-adjustable visor.
Otherwise, the helmets are very similar with a VaporFit adjustable fit system with a single handed dial, single layer webbing straps with adjustable ear straps, and X-Static padding with reactive cooling. Both helmets are offered in MIPS (multi-directional impact protection system) and non MIPS versions, the MIPS helmets using Smith’s custom liner which has additional holes in the MIPS liner itself to aid in ventilation.
The most obvious difference between the Rover and Forefront or Route and Overtake is the reduction in the amount of Koroyd material. Smith says they researched the most common areas of impact of helmets and placed the Koroyd in these key ‘Zonal Impact Areas’. In this case that means the temple to the upper side of your head. To Smith’s credit, this area is exactly where I hit my head when I crashed wearing my Forefront last year.
We’re curious to see what effect this has on the helmet’s ventilation since the center vents are now completely open. I love the protection and fit of the Forefront but I will admit that it runs warmer on my head than other helmets. In this case, the Rover looks really intriguing. Full report coming soon on that note.
Available in 9 colors for the Route and 8 colors for the Rover, every color is available in MIPS and non MIPS, and all helmets will retail for $150, or $180 for MIPS. In addition to the helmet colors, Smith will have new sunglass and goggle colors for 2017 that will match the various Route and Rover colors for extra style points. The helmet vents are still designed with sunglass storage in mind, and while there aren’t any specific light/camera mounts, the helmet is mount compatible thanks to the open vents. Sold in small, medium, and large, the helmets are available now.