This month’s customer review was written by Jonathan McNamara on the Specialized S-Works Prevail 2011 Helmet, and as usual, he is entitled to the £250 voucher.
I have a real issue with helmets – I am not a fan of how I look in one and above and beyond everything else, I have what I can only assume is a very hot head. So hot does my head get when I ride that unless the temperature is below freezing I sweat like mad.
11 months ago I bought what I thought was a good helmet (name not important) – it look good but I found myself unable to wear it due to heat build-up unless it was -5 c I was not enjoying the experience. I bought it during the cold snap last year and as soon as the temperature went above +5c I found myself unable to wear it for any length of time – I found myself tilting it backwards to get more air to my forehead. So by March I had totally given up on wearing it.
Fast forward to December this year and the cold and wet are starting to close in and I know I need a new helmet for my daily commute. So I investigated the situation and decided on this helmet. I have used it in + 10c in hard rides and although I still sweat a little it is nowhere to the level I used to get. This is, so far, the only helmet I have experienced that gives me enough ventilation.
The weight of this helmet has to be felt to be believed – hold it in your hand and then hold another £100 helmet and you can easily feel how much lighter it is – this makes a real difference when you are riding for more than 20 minutes, it is so light that if you support the weight of the chin strap in your hand it makes a noticeable difference to the overall helmet weight – so small are the margins. Also I have noticed that it suffers less in crosswinds the other helmets I have used – with some you can feel the extra force on your neck.
Most importantly if you are going to buy a helmet you are buying to protect your head (duh obvious) – so take a little time to look at the safety approval – this helmet has the Snell safety approval, a higher level that the required EN1078 European safety level – why if you are going to look like a mushroom cycling down the road don’t you a least make worth your while in extra safety? Especially if like me you end up not wearing it at all when it gets slightly hot?
Apparently because the more expensive helmets are better and lighter construction they have less of a profile – I have no idea about this and I am not going to go and take a tape measure to the shop to find out – but it makes sense and I do “feel” this helmet is slightly less mushroom like.
Final thing is style – I went for the Ion Yellow (as per the main picture) – mostly because it is an extra bit of bright colour to help you get noticed – also because it stands out against other helmets – let’s be honest if you are going to spend this large amount of cash on a helmet, you might as well stand out. The only downside is that I soon discovered that it is the same colour scheme as my bike and now I feel a bit nerdy-overly colour co-ordinated.
Summary – save up and buy it if you can.
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