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Verdict: 
Comfortable helmet for fitness riding which offers a great fit, if a little heavy
Weight: 
338g
Specialized Align helmet
8 10

Specialized's Align helmet may look cheap in price but it's far from it in performance. The fit is absolutely spot on, with simple adjustment, and it looks way more expensive than it is. The only thing standing in the way of a higher score is that it is quite weighty.

  • Pros: Great fit, loads of reflective detailing, simple to adjust
  • Cons: Noticeably heavy

The Align is part of Specialized's Urban lineup, which makes it ideal for all types of riding from pootling to the shops, to a bit of off-road work or fitness-level road cycling.

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The reason I say fitness level is because the Align isn't that airy, even with all of those vents (22 in all if you count that front scoop as one rather than three). If you ride hard with this helmet on you will find it warm: great for this time of the year but not so much on a humid summer's day. It just doesn't feel like the breeze gets dragged through.

Specialized Align Helmet Gloss Red Fade - front.jpg

Specialized Align Helmet Gloss Red Fade - front.jpg

It's a good looking helmet, though, and very comfortable to wear. I know how well a helmet fits is very user-specific, but while I wear loads without issue there are only a few that really fit like a glove and the Align is one of them. The cradle touches all of the way round with no pressure points and the simple adjustment wheel gets everything sitting just right.

Specialized Align Helmet Gloss Red Fade - ratchet system.jpg

Specialized Align Helmet Gloss Red Fade - ratchet system.jpg

The pads are a decent thickness for comfort and sweat-soaking abilities, plus they are removable for washing, as you'd expect.

Specialized Align Helmet Gloss Red Fade - inside.jpg

Specialized Align Helmet Gloss Red Fade - inside.jpg

The Tri-Fix web splitter deserves a special mention. Where most helmets have a simple clamp that sits below the ear to swap from two straps to one, this design of Specialized's is really comfortable as it feels like it removes any pressure points and adjustment is really easy.

Specialized Align Helmet Gloss Red Fade - front 2.jpg

Specialized Align Helmet Gloss Red Fade - front 2.jpg

A good thing to see is how many reflective details have been added to the Align, suiting its urban designation. You get a couple on the cradle and three strips on the rear which are black until hit by light. There is even reflective stitching running through the straps.

Specialized Align Helmet Gloss Red Fade - back.jpg

Specialized Align Helmet Gloss Red Fade - back.jpg

Included in the package is a clip-on visor, which is great for more upright/urban riding and off-road use. It's simple to fit and remove by way of a small pip just in front of the central front vent. It's a secure attachment, and no matter how rough the terrain, it stays in place.

Specialized Align Helmet Gloss Red Fade - with peak.jpg

Specialized Align Helmet Gloss Red Fade - with peak.jpg

The Align is a bit of a tubster, though, at 338g, and that extra 100g or so is actually quite noticeable compared to, say, the Oxford Raven helmet.

For cruising around the streets it's probably not a massive issue, but the Oxford Raven shows what you can achieve in terms of weight and ventilation for just a tenner more than the Align's £30 rrp.

> Buyer's Guide: 8 of the best cheap cycling helmets

At the end of the day, though, if you want a comfortable helmet that'll do the job if something unfortunate happens (it's EN-1078 certified) then the Align is a really good deal.

Verdict

Comfortable helmet for fitness riding which offers a great fit, if a little heavy

road.cc test report

Make and model: Specialized Align Red Fade helmet

Size tested: 54-62cm

Tell us what the product is for

Specialized says, "If certified protection at an amazing value isn't reason enough, this feature-rich Align helmet also includes the Headset SX dial fit system for easy fit adjustment and our 4th Dimension Cooling System for incredible ventilation."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

One-size system, designed for easy and accurate fit to a wide range of head sizes.

Headset SX fit system with micro-adjustable dial for easy, secure, and accurate fit

4th Dimension Cooling System optimizes ventilation.

In-moulded shell improves strength and reduces weight.

Tri-Fix web splitter for improved comfort and ease of strap adjustments.

Reflective webbing and decals for increased visibility in low-light conditions.

Patented clip-on visor included.

Light and easy to use U-Turn strap adjusters

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
6/10
Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
8/10
Rate the product for value:
 
8/10

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

A good all-rounder for general riding and fitness.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The fit.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Bit weighty.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

The Align is a smart looking lid that looks much more expensive than it actually is. Ventilation is okay, and it fits very well.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 38  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: This month's test bike  My best bike is: Kinesis Aithein

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed

Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.

2 comments

Avatar
LastBoyScout [448 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes

"The Tri-Fix web splitter deserves a special mention." Yes, for being a stupid idea!

I've been looking for a new MTB helmet for me and I found that great lump of plastic sitting right across my jaw bone was quite uncomfortable and it can't be moved.

Also been looking for a new helmet for my daughter (don't start!) and, as she's at the bottom end of the helmet size range, those bits practically meet under her chin.

Avatar
Welsh boy [535 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes
LastBoyScout wrote:

"The Tri-Fix web splitter deserves a special mention." Yes, for being a stupid idea!

Funny, the reason I use Specialized helmets is only because of the tri splitter, I find it makes the straps sit much more comfortably on my head, it sits just under my ear and neither it nor the straps touch my ear or jaw bone (and I dont have a very big head or a jaw like Desperate Dan).