I’ve always lusted over the Smith (usually known as Smith Optics) helmet range as I really like the styling. Well known in the Ski/Snowboard scene for their helmets and sunglasses would they transfer to bicycle riding or be all style and no substance? Luckily the people at Smith UK sent me a helmet to try out, I guess they are confident in their own product so that’s a good start!
The helmet on the outside looks like the standard hard shell with an expanded foam interior but look more closely and you can see what look like straws on end through the vents. This is a material call Koroyd which gives and extra level of protection while not stopping airflow. Smith has been using this material in their helmets for a while. The helmet also comes equipped with the M.I.P.S. system which claims to reduce rotational forces caused by angled impacts to the head (details on the science of the system can be found here).
The helmet has an internal plastic cradle for fitting with a rotary knob at the back to fine tune the fit. I usually wear a medium helmet and the medium Network fitted well with plenty of adjustment to fit a cap underneath should you choose to. the helmet does come with a removeable fabric peak that velcros in round the brow. The straps have plenty of adjustment and are comfortable when riding.
I received the Nerwork Helmet at the beginning of March and so (it now being almost June) have had plenty of rides wearing it in all conditions, from hot sun, rain and even snow! My one fear about the helmet was the MIPS system, I’ve tried a lot of helmets with it but found most of them fitted with the system all creaked horribly, even some when just moving your jaw to eat and drink. The Network though didn’t in normal use. If you take it off and twist the cradle with force it will creak slightly but that never happens while riding so that made me very happy, I’ve given away other noisy helmets after one ride because of it as it really irritates me…can you tell?
In fact once it’s on your head you forget it’s there, usually there’s an adjustment period while you get used to a new lid but the Network was fine out of the box. As you’d expect the helmet works perfectly with Smith sunglasses (separate review coming) but I found they work equally as well with other brand glasses too. Theres even a suglasses port at the front for those relaxed pro rider moments! The helmet isn’t especially super light but it’s also not exactly heavy either and for the price I think it’s pretty good. There’s also a bewildering range of colours too including some special editions. check out the Smith network range here
the Smith Network helmet is perfect for gravel as it has the extra level of protection for the thrills and spills of off road riding without it looking like a full on MTB helmet. It will also not look out of place on your local road club run either. I’d definitely have another one, I’m just terrible at choosing colours!