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Smith Forefront

- published June 2016

80

2016

RATINGS

Comfort
5
Ventilation
4
Features
7
Fit
7
Weight
7
GEAR INSTITUTE RATING
80

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MSRP
LOW PRICE
$220.00
Support Gear Institute. If you make a purchase after clicking on the links above, a portion of the sale helps support this site.

THE GOOD

  • Good coverage
  • Goggle-friendly
  • Dialed fit
  • Comfortable and lightweight

THE BAD

  • Small visor
  • Venting

THE VERDICT

The Smith Forefront provides good extended rear and side coverage. Adjustability is quick and easy and the straps are very lightweight. The addition of Koroyd technology enhances safety on impact but the internal helmet padding is thin and sparse.  

FULL REVIEW

COMFORT
The perforated padding inside the Smith Forefront consists of two thin and narrow strips that run front to back. Though minimal in both weight and breadth, it provides enough of a barrier between the scalp and the abrasive edges of the Koroyd tubes, as well as preventing sweat from dripping onto the face. Strap webbing is thin and lightweight and lays comfortably flat but our tester found that the side straps are placed to close together at the point they come out of the helmet. As a result, front strap always touched our tester’s ears. 

VENTILATION
While the Smith Forefront has twenty-one air vents it did not translate to optimal ventilation on high-exertion rides. Between each air vent and the cyclist’s scalp is the honeycomb-like sheet of Koroyd tubes that protect the cyclist’s head upon impact. 

The reduced ventilation was most noticeable on seventy-degree days on hilly mountain bike trails in which greater exertion was required while riding slower speeds. However ventilation worked better on road rides with increased speed and did not involve steep technical climbs.

FEATURES
What makes the Smith Forefront stand out is the Koroyd technology. Koroyd is a thick honeycomb-looking sheet between the helmet and the head that is a series of thousands of thermally-welded miniature tubes that absorbs impacts by elastically deforming. According to Smith, Koroyd absorbs thirty percent more impact energy. 

The Smith Forefront provides good coverage on the sides and back of the head. The size small that our tester reviewed measures seventeen inches in length from front to back and fourteen inches wide from ear to ear. 

Though the visor is short (only 1.5 inches at the longest point) with very minimal adjustment and offers minimal sun shading, it is removable and is goggle-friendly.

FIT
The Smith VaporFit™ dial-operated 360 adjustable fit system is simple and fast to adjust and can be done one-handed while riding. Out-of-the-box adjustment was relatively fast and when fully-adjusted, the helmet had a secure and snug fit with very minimal wobble.

WEIGHT
With the generous head coverage, thin strap webbing, minimal padding and the Koroyd sheet safety feature, the Smith Forefront is the second lightest helmet in the test at 310 grams.

How We Tested It

The Smith Forefront was tested for two weeks on asphalt, gravel, singletrack in and around Minnesota on days with temperatures ranging from the low forties to the mid-seventies and on distances that ranged from six miles to fifty-six.

For more reviews beyond this Spring 2016 test, check out other bike helmet tests and bike shoe tests, along with other related cycling gear tests

The products featured in this test have been loaned to the Gear Institute. For more on our policies regarding editorial objectivity and sample returns, see here.

About the Author

Marie Malinowski

Marie Malinowski

Marie Malinowski is a Minneapolis-based mountain biker, bike commuter, backpacker, and trail runner. She is inspired by all things outdoors and has searched (unsuccessfully) for life's answers in the fjords of Norway, Roatan's coral reefs, Moab’s singletrack, the Swiss alps and while wandering aimlessly through Amsterdam with only a messenger bag, twenty Euro's and a dog-eared copy of In a Sunburned Country. When not researching and testing gear, she can be found snuggling up with her husband, cat and the newest addition to her family: A Moots MootoX RSL. 

Shop for the Smith Forefront

MSRP
LOW PRICE

$220.00
Support Gear Institute. If you make a purchase after clicking on the links above, a portion of the sale helps support this site.

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MSRP
LOW PRICE
$220.00
Support Gear Institute. If you make a purchase after clicking on the links above, a portion of the sale helps support this site.

RATINGS

Comfort
5
Ventilation
4
Features
7
Fit
7
Weight
7
GEAR INSTITUTE RATING
80

Weight

10.9 oz

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