Completely new for 2013, Specialized’s revised Tactic is aimed at trail riders on a budget. With more coverage than lighter XC-style lids, it still weighs in at a reasonable 367g (size large, with visor) – that's within 2g of a Giro Xar in the same size, which costs almost twice as much.
Fit-wise, the new Tactic is on the slightly rounder side of the spectrum, and comes with Specialized’s Headset retention system. This offers four height adjustment positions in addition to a micro-adjustable tension dial on the back. The dial itself is nicely detented, making each click obvious, and is easily operated with one hand.
Trifix straps don’t offer any adjustability around the ears, and are in fixed anchor positions on the helmet as well. Neither point posed an issue, but the inability to dial in ear straps does reveal a bit more about how Specialized have kept the price down. The one cool thing about the straps, though, is the strip of reflective material sewn in for increased visibility.
Ventilation on the Tactic is somewhat standard, and keeps air flowing across most of the head, save two bilateral side spots. It’s not a real issue, merely a minimal compromise for a helmet at this price.
Specialized’s Headset dial
A removable, adjustable, and ventilated visor lines up perfectly with the front vents of the helmet in its lowest position, but this angle interfered with our line of sight – more often than not the visor was tilted into its higher positions. This didn’t seem to affect airflow at all, it just didn’t look quite as clean as when all the vent holes were perfectly aligned.
As a loss of style points more than anything else, it was disappointing that none of the vent holes were spaced to hold sunglasses. It might not sound like a big deal if you aren’t used to stashing glasses in vents on a regular basis, but if you are it’s downright frustrating when a helmet doesn’t support the habit.