First Look: Smith Overtake road/XC helmet

Design cliamed to yield better ventilation, protection and aerodynamics

Bike Press Camp Helmets

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The new Smith Overtake helmet comes in 12 colors and will be available starting in November.

Less than a year after lifting the lid on a new trail-oriented mountain bike helmet, Smith is trying to push its way to the front of the XC race and road peloton with the Overtake, which will be available starting in November.

Like the Forefront, this undeniably unique looking brain bucket uses what the Sun Valley, Idaho-based company calls aerocore construction, or what the laymen might mistake for hundreds of short straws banded together to form the helmet’s main inner skeleton.

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Smith claims the design yields both exemplary ventilation, greatly improved protection, and measurably improved aerodynamics. In fact they go so far as to trot out wind tunnel data that ranks the Overtake just a smidge below Specialized’s much-ballyhooed Evade aero road helmet, and above the Giro Air Attack and Giro Aeon.

The aero PR story goes like this: using a methodology known as WAD or wind average measure of drag, Smith found that it’s non-aero helmet was actually quite aero when looking at aggregate drag measurements from several discrete yaw angles. As the results show, Smith trumpets, the Overtake is nearly identical in aero efficiency to the $250 Evade, but with better ventilation, protection and a lower weight. But unless you’re truly a disciple of the #aeroiseverything cult (we’re not), these differences will likely be secondary to the buying decision.

More important is how well the thing protects your most valuable of assets, if it keeps you cool — and yes, how it looks. The later criteria is certainly an eye-of-the-beholder judgment. Our personal jury is still in deliberation, but we are definitely fans of the large number of available colors. While most helmets avail 3-4 options, tops, the Overtake comes in a dozen varietals including Neon Pink and Matte Mustard. We’ll pass on that yellow’ish shade, but like the stealthy look of the Matte Black and the subdued Matte Navy that you can see in the photo gallery below.

aero dataThese are Smith’s numbers and have not been verified. Take them for what you will.

The Black, White, Matte Black and Matte Orange color options are all available with multi-directional impact protection system (MIPS) that’s claimed to better disperse and absorb impact energy. MSRP on standard Overtake helmets is $250, with the MIPS tech bumping the bottom line to $290. Claimed weight of a size Medium is 270 grams. Our test model returned a 272-gram reading. For comparison sake, the Giro Aeon we reviewed last summed weighed 225 grams and also retailed for $250.

The Overtake’s ventilation is enhanced by 21 vents (we counted), and while we haven’t had the chance to do any hot weather riding yet, there is certainly plenty of opportunity for the breeze to blow through your hair. The eyeball test does raise a few questions, though. For one, the “straws” exposed by the two vents at the top of the helmet point skyward (not down the road), which leaves us to wonder exactly how well air will flow on those truly sweltering days in the saddle. Test results to come.

smith-overtake-inside smith-overtake-close-upA closer look at the aerocore material that makes up the protective skeleton of the Overtake helmet and enhances ventilation.

While we’re on the subject of the “straws”, it’s worth noting that they’re actually a patented material called Koroyd that’s the building block for the aerocore construction that’s designed to work in unison with traditional EPS material seen in most bicycle helmets. The idea is to ramp up the helmet’s impact resistance but not compromise it’s cooling ability. More aerocore means bigger vents because less EPS material is required.

Smith also points out that its “360-degree fit system and minimal padding effectively suspend the helmet off of the rider’s head allowing each Koroyd tube to evacuate hot air. The result is that instead of building up pools of sweat that then come in contact with air as it passes under the vent giving the traditional ‘cooling effect’, heat is constantly escaping to keep the rider cooler, longer.” It certainly sounds good on paper, but again no legitimate testing has been done yet, outside of confirming that when you spin the “fit” wheel on the helmet’s backside, it secures your whole head, and doesn’t just tighten from the back.

Other notable features include temple cut-outs on the sides of the helmet that are specifically designed as a place to stow your sunglasses (preferably Smiths, of course). Smith has also launched several new pairs of shades with shortened temple arms to better interface with the new helmet (the Arena for men, Asana for women). We don’t have a pair of the short-armed shades yet, but tried stashing a pair of last year’s longer temple Smith PivLock shades with mixed results.

For more on the new Smith Overtake road helmet scroll through the gallery below.

First Look: Smith Overtake road/XC helmet Gallery
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Nice glasses integration.
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12 color options.
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The inner workings.
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A flow chart
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Top view
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Those are not straws
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Neon Pink
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The aero data.
About the author: Jason Sumner

An avid cyclist, Jason Sumner has been writing about two-wheeled pursuits of all kinds since 1999. He’s covered the Tour de France, the Olympic Games, and dozens of other international cycling events. He also likes to throw himself into the fray, penning first-person accounts of cycling adventures in British Columbia, Belgium, Brazil, Costa Rica, France, and Peru among many others. Sumner, who joined the RoadBikeReview.com / Mtbr.com staff in January, 2013, has also done extensive gear testing and edited a book on cycling tips. When not writing or riding, the native Coloradoan can be found enjoying the great outdoors with his wife Lisa.


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