June 16, 2011, 6:10 am / Categories: Biking
By T.C. WORLEY
Sweat was forming all over my body and I hadn’t even thrown a leg over my bike. The thermometer read 104 degrees, but I was going to roll single-track no matter the temp. Luckily, I was wearing the Specialized S-Works Prevail helmet, the coolest, most ventilated helmet I’ve ever put on.
The $230 noggin-saver is also one of the lightest on the market at 8 ounces (226 grams). My size medium weighs exactly the same as three empty bike water bottles. Partial credit goes to the Kevlar reinforced internal structure said to “minimize weight and maximize vent size.”
Lightest in the mainstream bike market still goes to Giro and its ProLight model, weighing 6.8 ounces. But on the Specialized, deep channels carved into the foam create abundant air movement through the lid. On winter days, I actually need to wear a head layer in temps that I typically would not. Even on the hottest days, I’ve had no problem with sweat dripping into my eyes — an issue with my other helmets.
This latest version of the S-Works helmet is said to be the most aerodynamic non-aero helmet on the market. Company literature boasts that “wearing the Prevail and riding at a consistent 250 watts for one hour will put you 250 meters ahead of competitor helmets like the Giro Ionos.” True exactly or not, the helmet does cut nicely through the wind.
A notable upgrade is seen in the strap system. The barely-there straps and small tightening knob make fit adjustments an easy, one-handed task. So long bulky, scratchy, uncomfortable straps! Overall, I’ve found the fit of this helmet nothing short of superb.
As any top-dollar item should be, the Prevail is an awesome piece of equipment. The slightly boxy shape isn’t my favorite, but the rest of the helmet is so near perfect I easily excuse the aesthetics. Cyclists in hot climates and racers looking to keep a cool head and shave away some aerodynamic drag should consider this helmet — it’s the closest thing to not wearing a helmet at all.
—T.C. Worley lives in Minneapolis. He competes in mountain bike and cyclocross races.
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