In the realm of cycling helmets, few innovations of the past couple of years have caused as much of a stir as Multi-Directional Impact System (MIPS) and Smith's impact-absorbing Koroyd structure. For 2016, the two technologies return as the protective heart of the Smith Overtake MIPS Helmet, which has been left largely unchanged except for some aesthetic tinkering. In addition to MIPS and Koroyd, the aerodynamic benefits, weight savings, and heat evacuation of the new Overtake Helmet are the exact same as its predecessor.
MIPS addresses the specific pressures of an oblique, or non-direct impact, by separating the outer shell from the inner, MIPS layer. In the event of an angled impact, the outer layer slides across the MIPS layer, dissipating rotational force to reduce brain deformation, which is often responsible for concussions and long term damage. Since the impact of cycling crashes tends to happen at angles other than 90 degrees, this added element of protection will likely come into play if you take an unfortunate tumble.
The rest of the features are the same as those of the non-MIPS Overtake, including the distinctive Koroyd layer. Koroyd is what Smith is calling the funny looking layer of honeycomb tubes that runs beneath the outer shell and more traditional EPS foam. It's made of thousands of tiny, extruded co-polymer tubes that absorb impact but have a fenestrated surface that allows for a level of breathability impossible to achieve with solid EPS foam while absorbing a claimed 30% more energy. Plus, it's pretty cool looking, especially in Smith's mix of contrasting and complementary color schemes.
Now for aerodynamics, which has become the buzz word in cycling helmets of late. Smith is aware that the Overtake would have to stack up against the industry's best in this department or it would be received as just another novelty act, so it brought in Len Brownlie, an aerodynamics guru whose CV includes helping time trial medalists dial their position, contributing to Canada's OwnthePodium project, and — oh yeah — presenting a paper titled "The wind-averaged aerodynamic drag of competitive time trial cycling helmets" at the 2010 conference of the International Sports Engineering Association in Vienna. Brownlie adapted an automobile industry test for cycling specific applications, and the Overtake was tossed into the wind tunnel for a test.
Apparently the Overtake studied, because it passed. At a simulated 25 miles per hour over 40 kilometers, the Overtake surrendered a mere 1.06 seconds of advantage to the Specialized Evade and actually gained 4.15 and 26.8 seconds over Giro's Air Attack and Aeon, respectively. And at 250 grams, there's no weight penalty, putting it in the company of peloton-grade helmets from the likes of POC and Giro, and it's actually 10 to 20 grams lighter than helmets from Catlike and Kask. So it's aerodynamic, lightweight, and it features some welcome design elements like sunglass channels to stow your shades just above the temples for coffee shop raids.
- MIPS protection
- AEROCORE construction
- 21 vents
- Optics perch
- Cooling X-Static lining
- VaporFit Adjustable Fit System
- Carbon fiber structural reinforcements