Smith's Overtake MIPS aero helmet offers lots of adjustability and looks distinctive, and although you don't get as much air flowing to your head as you do with many other helmets out there, it's comfortable too.
The Overtake looks so unusual – the white version has a certain stormtrooper chic about it – because of what Smith calls its Aerocore construction. As well as the usual EPS (expanded polystyrene), the helmet is made from Koroyd – co-polymer extruded tubes thermally welded together.
Imagine peering down into the top of a box of drinking straws; it looks a lot like that. The idea is that Koroyd offers consistent energy absorption in the event of impact while offering plenty of breathability.
Breathability is an interesting one. Not many of the individual Koroyd tubes are forward facing, so you don't get a whole lot of air flowing straight in as you ride like you do on a helmet with big, open vents. There's only one internal channel too, and that's partly covered by the internal MIPS system (I'll come to MIPS in a mo).
I thought that would mean I'd end up feeling uncomfortably sweaty at the first sign of a climb on a hot day. In fact, although my head has felt a little warmer than usual in this lid, I've been happily using it for weeks over the heart of a British summer. If you're susceptible to getting a hot head when you wear a helmet you might want to steer clear, but I've not had to give temperature much thought.
A side benefit of the Koroyd material is that it stops insects getting inside. Any creepy crawly would have to be very small and very determined to get down the full length of one of those tubes. I've certainly not had any worries on that front while wearing the Overtake.
Smith claims that the Overtake helmet scores very well in terms of aerodynamic efficiency. Using wind averaged drag to determine results (the calculations cover a whole range of yaw directions), it says the Overtake is slightly more aero than Giro's Air Attack and nearly as aero as the Specialized Evade. We can't check things out in the wind tunnel for you so head over to Smith's website and see if you're convinced.
Earlier I mentioned MIPS, which stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection System and is becoming a feature of ever more helmets from various manufacturers, particularly higher end helmets. MIPS is a slip plane system for absorbing certain rotational forces in the event of a crash. Here it sits as a layer underneath the EPS and Koroyd, between the helmet and your head, with X-Static antibacterial padding stuck to the inside.
The padding extends over the top of the head and right across the forehead and temples, and it's comfortable. The same is true of Smith's VaporFit fit system that relies on a dial at the back to alter the tension. You can choose from three different height settings (covering 20mm) for the harness at the rear and another three fixing points at the temples. You really shouldn't struggle to get a good fit here.
One other feature that's worth noting is the eyewear dock. You can't stick the arms of your glasses through the vents because of the Koroyd material so Smith has added a channel to the outside of the helmet that does a similar job. Smith's own PivLock Arena glasses that I've been using recently fit perfectly, as you might expect, as do many from other brands, but you won't be so lucky with some, particularly those with a vertical bend in the arms.
Our medium sized Overtake hit the scales at 284g. That's not superlight but it's not especially heavy for an aero helmet either, and bear in mind that MIPS always adds a little. I certainly didn't notice the weight in use.
All in all, the Overtake is a good helmet offering comfort, plenty of adjustment and a MIPS protection system, plus – if Smith's figures are to be believed – an aero advantage over most of the opposition.
Distinctive aero helmet that offers plenty of comfort along with a MIPS protection system
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Smith Overtake Mips helmet 2017
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Smith says, "Providing maximum ventilation, superior aerodynamics and improved protection, the Overtake is the ultimate racing helmet and a must have for any cyclist, in any event. Integrating proprietary technologies with best-in-class protection options, the Aerocore construction featuring Koroyd and MIPS optional linings make the Overtake your ticket to ride."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Smith says, "Smith's objective and design philosophy behind Aerocore construction is to increase airflow, improve temperature regulation resulting in fog-free vision, and improve impact resistance. The objective was achieved through the combination of materials such as EPS and Koroyd, a revolutionary new material that absorbs more energy upon impact when compared to international standards, while increasing airflow. Aerocore construction through the use of Koroyd and EPS allows more vents to be placed throughout the helmet without sacrificing protection."
If you want to know about MIPS, that's an entire article in itself. The MIPS FAQs are a great place to start. http://www.mipsprotection.com/mips-faq/
There are lighter aero helmets out there but the Overtake isn't far off the pace, especially considering that it has MIPS.
MIPS helmets tend to be more expensive than non-MIPS. This is Smith's top-level helmet and you're partly paying for the Koroyd technology which hadn't been included in a bike helmet before this.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It performs well. You get plenty of fit adjustment and I didn't find it uncomfortably hot during British summer rides.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
I like the fit and the eyewear dock. I like the looks too, although I know others aren't so keen.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
You don't get the airflow of some open-vented helmets, and £220 is a lot to pay.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Possibly
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
The Overtake is a good helmet and although the price is high the MIPS technology and the Aerocore construction go some way to explaining that.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding
Mat has in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now pushing 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.