Though Smith Optics’ new Forefront 2 helmet shares its name and aesthetics with the previous iteration of this lid, it is, in fact, a complete re-design from the ground up. This time around, the Forefront is a little more refined both in terms of looks and construction and has a couple of new features.
Smith broke the mold a little with the first Forefront when they released their Aerocore construction. Aerocore uses traditional EPS and Koroyd together to create an extremely strong, lightweight helmet with great ventilation and excellent crash protection. For the Forefront 2, the Koroyd now extends all the way around the back of the helmet, further aiding ventilation and protection.
Koroyd is a honeycomb-like structure created from hollow plastic tubes. It’s very light as it uses minimal material, and has the ability to absorb impact from any direction
is designed to be strong in only a specific direction, as opposed to all directions as with EPS. The bonus with Koroyd in terms of cycling helmets is that it also creates ventilation as you move. This means that the Forefront 2 helmet is extremely cool on the head.
As for the other features, the Forefront 2 has some smart ones. The integration with their eyewear is excellent. A channel around the top of the helmet allows you to store glasses from either the back or the front side. The visor has three indexed positions, allowing goggles to be stowed underneath. Though it no longer has a goggle retention strap at the back, the helmet still has a solid groove that stops goggle straps from slipping. Also worth noting, there is an integrated accessory mount on the top of the shell, and the helmet is available with MIPS or without, though not every color can be had without.
In use, the Forefront 2 is an excellent helmet. Though not the lightest helmet ever (380g in size M), it’s still pretty damn light and feels great in use. This combined with the snug fit means that it is easy to forget that you’re wearing it. The Vaporfit retention system is great and snugs down nicely — the helmet stays put on your head without being too tight. Nothing is more annoying than a helmet that moves around.
The ventilation is a key point with the Forefront 2. The large vent holes combined with the Koroyd construction means that this is a very cool helmet, particularly when moving. I have worn cooler helmets and found that a helmet with larger vents cools better when moving slowly or not at all. However, the directional nature of the Koroyd means that the airflow is awesome when on the move. Sometimes it can actually be a little too cool when moving particularly fast on a chilly morning.
The visor on the Forefront 2 is larger than the previous generation and is handy for blocking out the sun, however, if I’m being picky, it could be a little longer. The visor has a quality feel to it though when moving it upwards, and it sits in a nice position for clear vision.
Smith offers the Forefront 2 helmet in a range of stylish colors, with or without MIPS for $230 and $200 USD respectively. It’s an excellent quality helmet with great fit, construction, and ventilation, good looks, and it is a serious contender at its price point. As always though, the best helmet is the one that fits, and I certainly wouldn’t complain if it happened to be a Forefront 2.
Check out our mountain bike helmet buyers guide and our picks for the best mountain bike helmets.