Specialized S-Works Prevail II review

Aero-influenced, highly ventilated, sub-250-gram helmet

Helmets
Specialized Prevail II

Seen on the heads of countless pro cyclists, Specialized’s Prevail II delivers incredible performance thanks to low weight and superb ventilation.

What is it

Specialized’s latest incarnation of its lightweight aero racing helmet. The Prevail II builds upon the success of the its predecessor with improved ventilation and lower weight.

Pros
  • Exceptionally light at 238 grams (size medium)
  • Great ventilation and a reduced overall size
  • Wide range of adjustment despite fixed under-ear straps
Cons
  • Straps can contact ears and cannot be adjusted
  • Seems strange to wear helmet straps over sunglasses
  • $225 no cheap, but solid value compared to other brands with same feature set
RoadBikeReview’s Take

The Prevail II is among the lightest helmets on the market at 238 grams, but it doesn’t sacrifice fantastic cooling in the process. Specialized used a proprietary EPS construction with multi-density foam and an Aramid-reinforced skeleton to reduce the overall size of the helmet and save weight. That reduced mass was greatly appreciated on some exceptionally long rides I’ve done where my neck was less strained.

Specialized Prevail II

Deep internal channels funnel air from the “Mega Mouthport” front vent through the helmet and out exhaust ports.

The new Gutter Action System padding works well, wicking perspiration away from your brow and to the sides. Anecdotally my glasses did seem a bit a bit cleaner after rides, having fewer sweat spots.

Because of where the straps are anchored, near the outer edge of the shell, it’s best to wear your sunglasses under the straps. This took some adjustment on my part, but I quickly became accustomed to it.

Specialized Prevail II

The widely anchored straps on the Prevail II mean that it’s usually best to wear your eyewear under them.

The beef I have with the straps though lies elsewhere. The straps are fixed where they join under the ear. This means you can’t reposition them fore/aft. So in many cases the rear strap would sit on the outside of my ear instead of behind it. While mildly annoying, this may not be an issue for many riders. If you’re interested in the Prevail II, be sure to try it on, both bareheaded and with a cycling cap. It was with a cap that I experienced the ear rub.

Specialized Prevail II

The front of the Prevail II has Specialized’s iconic mouth vent. The widest vents hold a variety of eyewear nicely.

If you’ve liked Specialized’s past helmets, the Prevail II will certainly impress. It brings excellent ventilation, light weight, and a low-profile shape together in an attractive package. While the fixed, widely set straps may be a bit problematic for some, others won’t even notice.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 4.5 stars
Price: $225
More Info: www.specialized.com

Photo Thumbnails (click to enlarge)
About the author: Nick Legan

Nick Legan is happiest with some grease under his nails and a long dirt climb ahead. As a former WorldTour team mechanic, Legan plied his trade at all the Grand Tours, Spring Classics, World Championships and even the 2008 Beijing Olympics. In recent years, gravel and ultra-distance racing has a firm grip on Legan’s attention, but his love of mountain biking and long road rides hasn’t diminished. Originally a Hoosier, Legan settled in Boulder, Colorado, 14 years ago after finishing his time at Indiana University studying French and journalism. He served as the technical editor at VeloNews for two years and now contributes to Adventure Cyclist, Mtbr and RoadBikeReview.


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  • Conscience of a Conservative says:

    it’s a helmet. why no discussion about how well it protects the cyclist versus the competition? isn’t that the most important thing

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