Specialized’s S-Works category denotes the lightest, fastest, most premium of its product lines, ranging from bikes through to apparel and accessories. If it says S-Works, it’s pretty much what the pro’s use. Far from simply white labeling a generic product with its logo, Specialized is known for taking time to redesign and improve from its perspective, usually with athlete input, on any given product. “Innovate or die” as it’s saying goes. The Prevail isn’t listed as a mountain bike helmet, but if you’re serious about performance, it’s the one…
Claimed weight is 185g, which is probably for a Small, ours was a Medium and weighed in at 202g. There are a lot of sculpted vents, which would certainly contribute to the light weight. We counted 29 large vents, technically more if you take into account the split channels. A major contributing factor though is the dual density foam and aramid Kevlar skeleton, so this negates the sacrifice of safety for low weight.
The unique Prevail styling has always been a love/hate affair with riders, evident with our testers who were pretty split down the middle on this. Without doubt though, the venting on the Prevail is some of the best we’ve encountered. Great for the hot climate generally found in South Africa; for winter, a buff or scull cap underneath would definitely be essential. Despite the appearance that it sits high on the head (a styling thing and largely due to the venting design), the Prevail is also incredibly comfortable. The micro adjuster on the back also has an integrated five-step adjustable cranium cradle to customise your fit.
The helmet straps are ultra thin and soft, so you don’t have the discomfort of any chafing and they dry out quickly. We were pretty perplexed though that there’s no adjustment on the jaw section of the straps, other than the chin strap, which we needed to readjust before each ride. Whilst riding though this was never an issue and actually felt completely comfortable. We would probably put tape or a Velcro loop round the chin strap to keep it from loosening. To be fair, this is something we’ve found with most lightweight helmets or thin strap systems.
Overall, the Prevail is a lightweight, comfortable and well-vented race helmet with some exceptional safety construction. It doesn’t come with a visor, but it is S-Works, which focuses only on the essentials. It’s a serious helmet for those serious about performance.
PRICE: R2 899
SIZES: S, M (tested), L
WEIGHT: 202g (medium)
COLOURS: Black, Black/Neon Blue, Red/White/Black, White,
CONTACT: www.specialized.com; 021 808 7333
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*Originally published in TREAD Issue 29, 2014 – All rights reserved