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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…

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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.

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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.

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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.


  1. Pretty sure every Smith sponsored road rider will be wearing these as soon as they are available. I’ve been riding a forefront for a year and a half and it is great so long as the temperature is below 10 C, but it has no airflow to speak of. I pity those UHC riders every time I see them on a hot day.I

  2. ive an overtake and a forefront mips, the latter is a little warmer (i suspect because of mips) but both regulate temperature very well.
    the main reason i have them though is comfort. they fit my head way better than any other helmet and are the sole reason i bought them.

    as for mips vs non mips the fact that they produce non-mips helmets and charge such a premium is ridiculous. adding mips cost very little material or assembly time past engineering it (its a plastic layer sliding on a pin that’s IT)

    i suspect smith are expensive just because they decided they should be, not because of koroyd, mips, or what not.

    • 1. Because not everyone wants to look like a goober with a Styrofoam lid on.

      2. Because premium helmets are made from better materials that breathe better, fit better, and look better.

      3. Because they don’t get dinged up as quickly since the material is more resilient to simple things like getting tossed into a car or dropped on the ground.

      4. (deleted)

  3. Why buy these so called premium helmets when they’re not any better than cheaper helmets with the same certification?
    Waste of money and they’ll get dinged up quickly.

  4. I purchased a Forefront MIPS version on closeout from backcountry last winter for $99 delivered (yeah, the msrp of the original Smith helmets was ridiculous). Great fit and well constructed, but it is indeed a very hot helmet for warm days and slower speeds. Ended up giving to friend who doesn’t spend hours climbing and lives in cooler climate.

    • To be fair, the finish on mine is very nice and the visor is one of the best I have ever seen. Not sold on the mips thing, but from a safety perspective I like how round and smooth the outer shell is. That is just a much better design. My experience matches yours (and every other person I know who has actually worn one) with respect to the venting. I wear it on cooler days and through the winter.

      One other weird thing about the Forefront, it doesn’t play nice at all with the my V2 sunglasses. The helmet presses down on the temples of the glasses. Hopefully they fix that too.

  5. I wish these things weren’t so d*mn heavy, even the higher end helmets. I’m pretty jacked up from excessive concussions(on and off the bike) but also have really bad neck problems from a car accident. If I ride with a helmet over 250g, my neck gets very tired, very quickly, then it starts to hurt a lot. So its a weird catch 22…ride much less due to a painful neck, or ride longer and have what may be a less safe helmet. The closer it is to 200g the better. If anyone could swing it, I’d pay $500 for a lightweight helmet with MIPS or something like this.

  6. …I’ve been riding the Smith Overtake for a year now and have raced 50+ races in it. Wish we had another option on helmets because it is the worst thing I have ever worn. First off it sits really high on your head. It lets absolutely no air through, be prepared to have sweat in your eyes. It can’t hold glasses, they say they do but they will fall off on a smooth road ride and will ruin your ‘nice’ smith glasses. It is super heavy. Looks ugly. They couldn’t even make the straps long enough on the small so I have to wear a medium…how do you mess that up!? I’m sorry smith but it’s just not there. Please start over and make something worth while.

What do you think?