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Tested: Specialized S-Works Prevail Helmet

The new Prevail helmet from Specialized. Lighter, faster and more comfortable. Photo: Nick Legan
The new Prevail helmet from Specialized. Lighter, faster and more comfortable. Photo: Nick Legan

Specialized’s new 230-gram Prevail helmet (size medium) costs $1 for every gram of its weight ($230). Funny how expensive so little material can be. It is worth it though? Yes.

Fit
If you’re currently using a Specialized helmet and you like the fit, there will be no surprises with the Prevail. Specialized has stayed true to its shape and fit. The new Mindset internal-fit system is fantastic. I really like the one-handed adjustability of it. You can also adjust how far down the back of your head the Mindset sits. (Or conversely, how far down your brow the front of the helmet reaches). This is especially handy for fall and winter when you’ll have a hat on underneath your helmet.

The other improvement over past Specialized lids is the abbreviate nature of the Mindset. In the past, they wrapped all the way around the head. The forehead part always dug in to my head. This is now a thing of the past. Well done, Specialized.

SPECIALIZED S-WORKS PREVAIL
MSRP: $230
Sizes: S/M/L
Pros: Light weight, great fit with the Mindset internal-fit system, vents well, one-handed adjustment
Cons: Expensive, sunglasses may not fit well, lack of strap adjustability
Available: Now
www.specialized.com

To save weight, the straps are thinner and there is no adjustability on their junction under the ears. Specialized calls it its Tri-Fix strap arrangement. I was initially worried about the lack of strap adjustability. I’m picky about how straps fall around my ears. But the Prevail was extremely comfortable and the Tri-Fix places them well below the ear.

One small item I didn’t like was how sunglasses fit with the helmet. I’m sure that Specialized glasses will fit without any problem, but my Giro and Oakley glasses didn’t work as well. Part of this is due to the wide, away-from-the-face position of the front straps. Specialized has done this for years. Your glasses need to go on inside the straps. The other half of the problem is how far down the side of the head the helmet comes. The helmet front wraps your face on the sides and some glasses interfere here. Not a big issue, but bring your riding shades if you go to try on a Prevail.

Price
For many of us $230 is a lot for a helmet, but the Prevail fits well (just bring your sunglasses with you when you try one on) and the 4th Dimension ventilation is excellent. Its price puts it $5 less than a Giro Ionos but $30 more than a Giro Pro Light. If you want a top-of-the-line helmet, this is the price range you’re looking at.