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review

Smith Dispatch Helmet

9
£159.99

VERDICT:

9
10
Splash the cash and you'll be rewarded with one of the best commuter helmets around
Good looking
Enhanced protection
Rear LED
Magnetic buckle
Expensive
Weight: 
357g
road.cc Recommends

This product has been selected to feature in road.cc recommends. That means it's not just scored well, but we think it stands out as special. Go to road.cc recommends

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The Smith Dispatch Helmet is a pricey but high-end, feature-packed commuter lid, featuring a relatively low weight, decent ventilation and a handy rear light. It also includes some enhancements to protection too, with both Mips for rotational force reduction and energy-absorbing Koroyd in key areas.

Our best cycling helmets buyer's guide not only lists our favourite helmets, it also has advice on how to choose the right helmet.

> Buy now: Smith Dispatch Helmet for £159.99 from Smith Optics

At £160 the Dispatch MIPS is one of the most expensive commuter-style helmets we've seen, let alone reviewed on road.cc.

While it is pricey, it's also brimming with top tech. And it's a high-quality lid that feels substantial without being too heavy: 357g for a medium isn't that light up against a road helmet, but it's very decent for a commuter-specific lid, especially when you factor in the extra safety features that inevitably add weight.

It looks the part too, in a futuristic but understated way, and is available in three sizes and a wide range of colours, taking in Matte Poppy, Matte Amethyst, Matte White, Matte Black, and – as tested – Matte Slate.

A helmet's primary purpose is, of course, to protect your head, and this helmet scores very highly for its safety credentials, featuring both Mips and Koroyd. Mips is a layer inside the helmet designed to reduce rotational forces that affect your brain in the event of a crash. If you want to know more about Mips, check out our guide.

2023 Smith Dispatch Helmet - rear detail.jpg

Koroyd is a breathable layer of welded tubes in key areas of the helmet that are designed to 'crumple instantly and consistently on impact, absorbing maximum force in a controlled manner, minimizing energy transferred to your head'.

It's fair to say the Dispatch MIPS is the kind of helmet that might give you a little more peace of mind on busy commutes. Indeed, the helmet has been well certified, meeting the European NTA-8776 e-bike certification and CE EN 1078 standard, the American CPSC and AS/NZS263 covering Australia and New Zealand.

When I checked the Virginia Tech Helmet Ratings site the Dispatch MIPS wasn't listed, probably because it's so new and hasn't yet been tested. Notably, the Smith Route MIPS helmet, which also features both Mips and Koroyd, achieved a five-star rating, so there's a fairly good chance the Dispatch MIPS would score highly too.

2023 Smith Dispatch Helmet - padding.jpg

The shell features eight vents which, although not designed to channel air through it like a road lid's vents, is enough for commutes – even my fast-paced and sweaty 16-mile effort. The Koroyd layer doesn't seem to inhibit airflow in any way that I can discern.

The upper rear vents allow you to easily attach the included rear LED, which adds about 25g to the helmet's weight.

2023 Smith Dispatch Helmet - light 3.jpg

The light is very wide, and its six LEDs do a good job of increasing your visibility from behind. You can choose from constant, slow flash and fast flash modes and while not the brightest light, it would make a good addition to your overall illumination. It's rechargeable, though it's a little surprising to see a decidedly old-school Micro USB cable.

2023 Smith Dispatch Helmet - light 1.jpg

The Microbrim Visor gives you a small amount of protection from sun and rain. Its underside features two small vents that are part of Smith's AirEvac system, which is designed to reduce how much your glasses fog up. And I think it's effective too, as I noticed less moisture build-up on my specs, even on colder days.

2023 Smith Dispatch Helmet - peak detail.jpg

In terms of fit, the Dispatch MIPS features VaporFit, a simple dial adjustment that allows you to easily tighten or loosen the helmet at the back.

2023 Smith Dispatch Helmet - tension system.jpg

At the front, the magnetic Fidlock strap buckle makes it quick and easy to connect and disconnect using just one hand. My only gripe is that the strap has a habit of resetting itself when not in use, so you have to adjust the fit when you next wear it.

2023 Smith Dispatch Helmet - Fidlock strap.jpg

Looking at the inside of the helmet, you can tell Smith has aimed this at those with more oval head shapes. I have a long, oval-shaped head and the helmet fitted me comfortably without any obvious hot spots. Our medium-size test helmet was a perfect fit, requiring very little adjustment to get it just right. With some brands I'm at the lower end of medium, which can require more adjusting to achieve a snug fit. While the helmet does initially feel bulky when you start off, when you're riding you soon forget it's there – which is exactly what you want from a helmet

Value

The lid's £160 cost is a pretty decent investment – though you could argue that you can't put a price on safety, and the Smith Dispatch MIPS has a lot of safety tech built in. The rear light is a bonus, the Fidlock strap buckle is a nice-to-have and it's a high-quality, good-looking helmet too.

The Kask Moebius is over £70 cheaper than the Dispatch MIPS and also features a rear LED. It doesn't have the high-end safety enhancements such as Mips or Koroyd, and Tom found it pretty heavy and the ventilation limited.

The Met Mobilite MIPS Helmet that Matt reviewed does feature MIPS, and is £60 cheaper. It also features a rear LED, though unlike the Smith's it's not rechargeable. Also unlike the Smith, it doesn't pass the NTA 87767 e-bike standard – and I personally think it's quite a plain-looking lid.

Conclusion

A high-quality lid with lots of added safety tech and some neat touches. Yes, it's expensive, but year-round commuters will appreciate all the benefits the price tag brings.

Verdict

Splash the cash and you'll be rewarded with one of the best commuter helmets around

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Smith Dispatch Helmet

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: "Made for the daily commute and urban E-bike rides, the Smith Dispatch Bike Helmet sets you up for comfort and increased visibility as you negotiate traffic. The Dispatch is E-bike certified and pairs zonal KOROYD® with Mips® for enhanced impact protection. Our VaporFit system lets you fine-tune the fit with the turn of dial. An integrated and rechargeable rear LED light boosts visibility day and night. A Fidlock® strap buckle makes for easy one-hand buckle operation as you manage your pack or panniers with the other hand."

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

Protection

Mips® Brain Protection System reduces rotational forces caused by angled impacts to the head

Zonal KOROYD® coverage for lightweight, energy-absorbing and ventilated impact protection.

Removable and rechargeable integrated rear light with red LED's

NTA-8776, CPSC, CE EN 1078 and AS/NZS263 certified

Fit / Integration

VaporFit dial adjustment system offers 270-degree fit adjustment with the turn of a dial

Fidlock® strap buckle offers easy one-hand operation

AirEvac ventilation system integrates with Smith eyewear for fog-free lenses

Features

8 fixed vents for consistent airflow

Ionic+® antimicrobial lining offers sweat-activated odor control

Fixed Microbrim Visor

Lightweight, low-bulk single layer webbing

Weight: (Size M, Mips®): 16oz / 453g

What's Included

Rechargable/detachable rear light

Micro USB charging cable

Helmet bag

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

High-quality lid with a plush lining.

Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

Safety is enhanced with Mips and Koroyd, it's comfortable to wear and the ventilation is decent.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

The matte finish has picked up a few small scratches already, but that's not uncommon with commuter helmets

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
8/10

Pretty decent for a commuter lid.

Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
8/10

A good fit, it doesn't size up too big, and I found it comfortable.

Rate the product for value:
 
5/10

Yes, it's expensive, but you are getting a lot of safety for your money.

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

It's designed to protect your head, with Mips and Koroyd giving you added peace of mind. Thankfully I haven't needed to test this yet, but it should perform well.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

I think it's a great-looking lid.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

Though it's expensive compared to most other commuter helmets, premium road lids often cost significantly more. The Kask Moebius is significantly cheaper, but lacks the safety features, is heavy and doesn't vent well. The Met Mobility MIPS helmet is also much cheaper and features MIPS, though it isn't certified for e-bike use. It's not terribly attractive either.

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 overall score

The Smith Dispatch MIPS is a very high-end helmet, though it seems that if you want all the bells and whistles you have to pay for it - it certainly isn't cheap. Still, you can't put a price on protection, and thankfully the Dispatch MIPS does everything really well - it looks great, fits really well and ventilation is good, too. I really recommend this lid, if you can afford it.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 39  Height: 6'4  Weight: 175lbs

I usually ride: Condor Italia RC custom build  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, mtb,

Add new comment

4 comments

Avatar
hapaxlegomenon | 1 month ago
0 likes

I live in New York City and have managed to get laid several times riding my bike home late at night. On the very same night. With a strange woman. Good looking ones too. I'll tell you one thing for sure: that would never have happened if I was wearing this helmet.

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to hapaxlegomenon | 1 month ago
3 likes
hapaxlegomenon wrote:

I live in New York City and have managed to get laid several times riding my bike home late at night. On the very same night. With a strange woman. Good looking ones too. I'll tell you one thing for sure: that would never have happened if I was wearing this helmet.

What about if she was wearing one?

Avatar
Rendel Harris | 4 months ago
1 like

Pretty high price but about what one expects these days (actually my Scott was more RRP but I got it with 60% off!); it would be fantastic if all manufacturers followed this lead and supplied custom-fitting lights. I have an improvised rear light on my helmet, LED strip held on with cable ties, and I'm convinced it's often more of a safety aid than a below-saddle light, being higher up and also moving with the head. Be great if every lid came with one designed for itself, or even two, front and rear.

(No need for helmet debate, if you don't wear one that's cool, but if one does be nice to be able to add extra visibility features)

Avatar
Cugel replied to Rendel Harris | 4 months ago
2 likes
Rendel Harris wrote:

 Be great if every lid came with .......

(No need for helmet debate, if you don't wear one that's cool, but if one does be nice to be able to add extra visibility features)

Oh alright then but ..... you must cease calling the polystyrene hats "lids" as this causes my uncontrollable inner iconoclast to derive all sorts of mental pictures concerning what the potted stuff underneath probably consists of. You wouldn't want to have to read any of that, even accidently!

PS If you don't wear one its certainly "cooler" than if you do. Could there be a better material for cyclist head-boiling than a chunk of polystyrene wrapped in the plasticky? I know they have "vents" in some o' them but these are the ones that encourage pointy branches and iron railings to enter, to spear your thinker, perhaps with detrimental effects on its abilty to distinguish, oh, all sorts of nonsense from its opposite.

But I digress.

£160!?  Is this some sort of accountant's joke? I know there's a cycling-gubbins price rule that says the less of it there is, the more it should cost but a rule stating that the more useles it is, the more it should cost has priobably given rise to items like that Absolute Black jockey wheel thingy and "aero" bikes with concealed cables that cost £100 in bike shop labour to change (badly).

Opps - that's nearly "helmet debate" innit.   1

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