A month ago we brought you news that Smith's head-turning Forefront helmet was arriving on our shores shortly. Well the courier showed up this morning with a box containing not one but two of the new 2015 Forefront helmets for us to test as well as Smith's latest piece of MTB eyewear, the Pivlock Overdrive.
Despite being relative newcomers to the cycling helmet game, Smith have years of experience making head protection for the snow sports industry and the Forefront, although not everyone's cup of tea, is one resolved and well thought-out helmet with features to make almost everyone happy.
The biggest and most head-turning aspect of the Forefront is the Aerocore construction, which is designed to have huge improvements over standard EPS impact properties, crushing in a controlled manner during impact. The patented tubular core structure of the Koroyd material combines with EPS to create a system designed to surpass current standards at low and high speeds. The Koroyd tubes are also designed to funnel air into the internal channels and push hot air out the rear.
Like all good helmets there is an adjustable visor, and Smith have made the Forefront's one ultra light so you don't even know it's there. It features 15º of movement, which on top of blocking the sun also gets it out of the way of goggles should you be that way inclined.
Now, Brett and I have two quite different noggins and the Forefront fits both our heads pretty darn well. There are three sizes available; Brett's head fit the medium with the VapourFit plugged into its lowest position, with the large I was in the same boat, having to move the attachment point into the lowest setting to get the dial low enough on the back of my head. Once in the correct position the helmet fit snuggly for both of us. The side anchor points for the VapourFit system also move forward and backward for a fully customisable fit.
And it just wouldn't be right if a company that was built on eyewear didn't have good sunglasses interaction. Well the Forefront has it in spades, especially when you're rocking their own brand, but they do match up with most others.
Damn that side profile is growing on me... and nice touches like colour-matched buckles add to the overall appeal. The Fire Insomniac colour might not be everyone's choice but seeing as all the colours below (except Camo) will be coming in to New Zealand there should be one to make everyone happy. RRP on the Forefront will be $359. A selection of last year's colourways will be available in a few weeks time and this lot should be here in early December.
Luckily for us, the Smith distributor thought it would be silly to review a helmet and not a pair of the sunnies that are designed to go with it as well. So we've managed to snag ourselves a pair of perhaps the coolest looking MTB sunnies around at the moment, the Pivlock Overdrive. Trying to channel Mike Hopkins and Joey Schusler at the same time, we opted for the matte black/white with the green Sol-X lens. It's a true-colour grey lens base with a multi-layer green mirror that cuts glare and reduces eye fatigue in bright, sunny conditions. They even feature a hydroleophobic coating that repels water, dirt, and grease. And as you'd expect from Smith they provide 100% protection from harmful UVA/B/C rays.
Out of the box...
It's the first time I've seen and actually played with Smith's Pivlock setup and it is seriously one simple and dialed system for changing lenses. Unfortunately I look like a complete tool in these as my brother threw a rock at me when we were kids and my nose is kinda whack now. A bit bummed really, but I'll make one of our reviewers' day tomorrow.