Smith bolsters its helmet range with the Smith Engage, a price-conscious helmet with high-end features and protection.
The Smith Engage, by eyewear and helmet brand Smith, was launched as a cheaper alternative to their top-end open face helmet – the Forefront 2 – which I’ve previously tested and really got on with. The Engage does away with some of the bells and whistles of it’s more expensive sibling, but still offers loads of protection and features found on more expensive lids, but at only £94.99.
Smith Engage Helmet – Construction
The Engage uses an in-mould construction for low weight and has good, deep, extended coverage. The in-mould construction wraps right round the expanded foam adding protection from knocks and scrapes. Inside you’ll find a MIPS liner for added protection from rotational forces and the helmet is CPSC and CE EN 1078 certified, and there is a good amount of extended rear coverage.
The Engage features a total of 21 vents for consistent airflow and keeping you cool while working hard, along with their AirEvac ventilation system which is designed to promote airflow and integrate with their glasses to help keep them fog-free.
The retention system is Smith’s own VaporFit system which uses a rear dial to offer 270° fit adjustment for dialling in the perfect fit, and also features multiple rear positions for adjusting the height of the cradle. Inside you’ll find a Performance Comfort Lining which consists of a couple of pads and the straps are a single layer webbing with buckle adjustment and a standard closure.
The visor offers three fixed positions and underneath you’ll find channels for eyewear storage, and is also designed to go far enough back for goggle storage. The Engage is available in sizes S to XL, for heads measuring 51cm up to 65cm, and is available in three colours – Matte Cinder, Matte Black and Matte White & Cement, with our medium test sample weighing in at 355g.
Smith Engage Helmet – Fit
After having got on really well with the Forefront 2 in the past I had high hopes for the Engage, and I wasn’t disappointed. My head measures 57cm and the size and shape of the medium Engage fits my head well. I’d say I’ve got more of an oval, rather than round head, and the Engage didn’t cause any undue tightness or hotspots.
The retention dial allowed me to get a nice snug and comfortable fit, without having to have to go overly tight and the dial was easy to access and use on the go, even with gloved hands. The single layer webbing is also easy to adjust with the uncomplicated buckle system allowing you adjust the length to suit quickly and easily for getting a comfortable fit around the ears and under the chin.
Smith Engage Helmet – On The Trail
Slip the Engage on, adjust the dial and forget about it. That’s pretty much been my experience. After the first ride I adjusted the rear cradle into the highest position as I could feel it on the back of my head when looking ahead down the trail and this sorted the issue. The shell sits reasonably low over the ears which increases coverage and protection, although I have occasionally felt it brushing the top of my ear but hasn’t been a problem or a distraction.
It’s been my go-to helmet, and has been used pretty much daily, since the beginning of August and has seen use in a variety of conditions from baking sunshine, to sideways rain. During hotter weather, or when working head, the combination of numerous, and good-sized, vents do a good job of getting rid of heat and keeping you cool no matter the temperature.
One of my bugbears with helmets is having the peak in my line of sight all the time. The visor on the Engage offers three fixed positions, with the top position offering enough room for getting glasses under. I ran the visor on the middle position which got it out of my view but is still functional.
The Engage has stayed stable and comfortable, even without the dial done up super tight, with no unwanted bouncing or moving around even on the roughest terrain. The pads add a good amount of comfort to the helmet and have done a good job of soaking up excess sweat and stopping it running into my eyes.
As you’d expect from a brand that also makes various eye protection, the Engage also plays well with glasses. I’ve used various sets from different manufacturers including Smith, Sweet Protection and Julbo, and they’ve all worked well. The shell has enough room at the sides to allow the arms to fit comfortably, and all the glasses I’ve used have worked with the retention system, with no hotspots and have remained comfortable to wear for extended periods.
Things I Liked:
- Great fit
- Well priced for MIPS
- Looks great
Things That Could Be Improved:
- Not a lot!
While I’ve not tested the Engage to destruction, I’m happy enough knowing that it has been lab tested and has a MIPS liner that I rate. On the parts of the Engage that I can comment on – fit, performance, cost – then I can’t really fault it. It looks great, performs well and is well priced for a MIPS equipped helmet, and I’d happily spend my own money on it.
|From:||Ultra Sport Europe|
|Tested:||by Ross for 3 Months|
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