Smith Trace Helmet

 

The Smith Trace helmet incorporates the very highest level of protection in a stunning design that leaves us wanting for nothing.  It is comfortable, beautiful and functional beyond our expectations and we feel quite privileged to have had the opportunity to put it through its paces.

 

Smith helmet construction

 

The Smith brand promises cutting edge technology, with stylish designs and an attention to detail which makes using their products a joy.  So imagine how pleased we were to be offered a Smith Trace helmet and some Smith Attack optics to test and review – no need to think too long on that one, it was an immediate yes please!

 

The Smith Trace helmet is a stunning bit of kit that appears to have been developed from first principles by cyclists for cyclists.  It includes features we have never seen before and, true to any cyclist’s demands, it is as beautiful as it is functional.

 

Let’s start with (in our opinion) the most important stuff first – the protection the Smith Trace helmet offers is second to none, thanks to the use of Koroyd and MIPS.  We could fill the entire review explaining just how clever these materials and systems are, but for now we will give just the short version. 

 

Koroyd has been used by Smith in addition to the tradition foam material used for cycling helmets, EPS, because the combination offers even greater protection in the event of a crash.  Crucially, the additional protection offered by the honeycomb like Koroyd does not come at the cost of ventilation, overall helmet size, or design.  Smith has used this wonderful material to create crumple zone cylinders that crush uniformly on impact, in a design that overall offers outstanding airflow and is wonderfully light.

 

Smith Helmets MIPS

 

In addition to Koroyd, the Smith Trace helmet, in common with a number of the best helmets available today, also features the MIPS brain protection system which offers a further level of protection.  Our recommendation would be to look for MIPS in any helmet you wear because it offers a serious upgrade to your safety.  We don’t have time to do it justice here but in short the MIPS system is built into the helmet and sits between the padding and the Koroyd material.  The development of MIPS was born from research which showed that when cyclists fall, they most commonly hit the ground at an angle.  The resulting rotational forces are particularly harmful to the brain and it is this rotational motion which MIPS reduces, with the effect that any damage to the brain is also lessened.  It does this by allowing the head to move inside the helmet in the event of a crash – clever, eh?

 

If you are interested, it is worth a quick peek at this one minute You Tube video which introduces the all the main features of the Smith Trace helmet and shows the multiple layers of protection that all add up to what is an outstanding and rather beautiful piece of protective head gear.  Here you can see the materials that have been combined to create the Trace.  Interestingly, you can actually move the inner layer, just behind the antibacterial and odour resistant padding, within the protective shell – that is MIPS at work and it is a truly fabulous safety feature that we would never want to be without.

 

Moving onto the more expected features of any cycling helmet, the Trace helmet is very well ventilated thanks to a small number (18) of very large air intakes and exhausts which work together to move air through the helmet.  In our experience we found the overall effect to be excellent, with air flowing over and around the head and we found it kept us as cool as we could have hoped on some wonderfully hot summer rides. 

 

Incorporated into this, Smith has included a means of storing glasses within the design of the Trace helmet and we particularly loved this feature.  After years of tucking our glasses into the top of our jersey when we did not want to wear them, we have found them notoriously hard to secure and inevitably they became fogged up when we wanted to put them back on again.  So we fully embraced the Smith system which allowed us to store temporarily unwanted glasses on the helmet itself.  And perhaps more important than that, the design of the AirEvac system in the Smith Trace helmet actively reduces any hot air that might otherwise build up behind your glasses when you are wearing them and thus prevents fogging – yes, it seems they really have thought of everything and more!

 

The Smith Trace is relatively lightweight (280 grams claimed for a medium), low volume and very comfortable to wear.  Our tester is on the small side of a medium at 55cm but the simple dial on the back of the helmet allows quick and simple adjustment of Smith’s VaporFit system.  This allows for a full 5cm of rotary adjustability and in addition it allows for the retention system to be moved up/down or even forward/backward at the attachment points.  It is system which provides for a genuinely personalised and very secure fit.

 

Perhaps we should not be so surprised that the Smith Trace helmet is such a triumph of design because the brand has been at the cutting edge of technical product development since 1965.  The brand ethos is nicely captured in this statement: “SMITH has pioneered advanced products to fuel fun beyond walls, creating innovations that amplify awesome”.  We particularly like anything which amplifies awesome!

 

The Smith Trace helmet is as beautiful as it is functional and we did not hesitate to award it a perfect 10 out of 10 for performance.  We have not come across a helmet that offers the multiple layers of protection which have been built into the Trace helmet and we salute Smith for doing so, in a design which both looks and feels quite beautiful.  With a choice of nine colours you really do not need to look any further when choosing a cycling helmet.

 

Sizes: Small 51-55, medium 55-59, large 59-62

Colour: nine options available

Certification: CPSC

Weight: Size M = 10 oz / 280 grams

RRP £200

Weblink: www.smithoptics.com Trace Helmet

 

Performance: 10/10

Price: 9/10

 

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