Visually, the new Specialized Tactic 4 mountain bike helmet is quite different to its predecessor. The differences don’t end there, though, as this new lid should also be safer, thanks to a number of structural design changes.
Specialized claims that the Tactic “delivers the confidence you need to progress in your trail riding”.
So how has the Tactic changed, what features are now on offer and has this dramatically bumped up the pricing?
Specialized Tactic 4 helmet details and features
Aside from the dramatic change in aesthetics (more on that later), a big part of the story here is the focus on the Tactic 4’s safety.
Specialized has designed the new Tactic to pass the rigorous electric bike safety standard (NTA-8776), which covers the higher impact speeds you’d expect to encounter when riding an e-MTB.
The two-piece pads in the helmet fix directly to the MIPS Evolve Low Friction Layer. This is designed to help protect your head during an angular impact and is said to offer better comfort, ventilation and fit, with neater integration than the cheaper MIPS Essential liner used in the Tactic III.
These features, combined with the deep-dish fit – the rear of the helmet drops down low for improved coverage at the back of the head – and solid construction, earn the new Tactic 4 the highest score possible in the widely-recognised Virginia Tech Helmet Ratings.
The safety doesn’t end there, though. If you have an extra £45 to spend you can buy one of Specialized’s ANGi crash sensors and fit it to the ANGi-ready Tactic 4. This sensor tracks your ride and can detect crashes, sending out a safety beacon so you can be located.
The fit adjustment of the Tactic 4 comes courtesy of the SBC integrated fit system. As the name suggests, the cradle that clamps around the head features an adjuster dial that’s built into the rear of the helmet itself, rather than sitting directly onto the retention cradle as most do.
The indexed dial sits proud enough to be reached easily and is indexed (it’s really quite loud), which should help when making adjustments. There doesn’t appear to be any way in which to alter the height of the retention cradle, though.
One of the standout elements of the Tactic 4’s new looks has to be the peak. Specialized has opted for a fixed rather than moveable peak this time, stating that it helps to provide a more integrated, cleaner design, as well as better sun and branch protection.
It also says it should prevent accidental peak loss. Thankfully, though, Specialized has designed the peak to break away from the helmet in the event of a crash.
There are 17 sizeable vents and some deep internal channels in a bid to help cool down your head when you’re working hard.
A standard buckle is used on the Tactic 4, with fixed strap dividers that are designed to sit flat on your face.
If you’re a rider who likes to whip off your glasses when climbing, but struggle to find a safe place to stow them when pedalling, fear not, Specialized has your back.
The two widest brow ports will happily accept your glasses, though the fit is best suited to glasses with straighter arms.
Specialized Tactic 4 helmet prices, sizing and colour options
Specialized offers the Tactic 4 in one model only, which will set you back a very reasonable £100 (up from £90 for the Tactic III) – not bad considering the boost in safety.
There are three sizes on offer (S, M, L) and six colour options to choose from. Our medium sample weighed in at 383g.
We’ll have a full review of the Tactic 4 in the coming months, so be sure to stay tuned for that.