On paper, Specialized’s newest Tactic 4 mountain bike helmet is nothing short of a superb buy.
It has a full MIPS liner, sharp looks and a top-notch safety rating, all for £100. That can’t be bad, and all from a company that has been manufacturing helmets since cycling legend John Tomac was in short trousers. The Big S knows a thing or two about mountain bike helmets.
As well as meeting and exceeding all the usual standards for Europe, the USA and beyond, the Tactic also complies with the recent Dutch NTA8776 standard for the higher impacts potentially associated with electric bikes.
With super-low coverage around the back of the head and temples, it’s easy to see this is a very protective bit of headwear, and we felt nothing other than cosseted within its shell.
The integrated dial fit adjustment is housed neatly within the shell of the helmet, but I found it a little on the coarse side compared to more micro-adjusting models, requiring more force to adjust.
The height adjustment is nothing more than a pair of indexed rods that push in and out of the helmet body and have little in the way of height adjustability, so are a pain to reconnect if they’re pulled too far out, which is all too easy to do.
Specialized Tactic 4 mountain bike helmet performance
Once on and cinched up, however, the Tactic was very comfortable, if a little lacking in the ventilation department – partly a result of that all-over coverage as much as anything else.
From a practical point of view, I loved the lower vents’ purpose-built shaping, making them ideal to store a pair of mountain bike sunglasses in. It makes a refreshing change from some helmets that just aren’t compatible with this frequently used stowage system.
The same went for goggles – the high position of the peak allowed our goggles to be tucked underneath neatly when not in use. That same high peak position, and the fact it’s absolutely fixed in place with no adjustment, did cause us some concern however.
In the summer months, with the sun high in the sky for most of the day, the problem wouldn’t really be apparent, but as we were testing largely in the autumn and winter, and as such had to deal with a fair bit of low sun in our eyes, it was.
The visor did nothing to shade me and was not visible beyond the rim of the helmet, above the eyes.
Call me old-fashioned, but I really prefer my kit to be functional first, hopefully carrying a bit of style at the same time. The peak on the Tactic 4 is pure form over function.
My only other gripe was the fixed nature of the under-ear strap splitters. They couldn’t be adjusted forward or back, so it comes down to whether your head shape and ear position will cause you problems or not.
Specialized Tactic 4 mountain bike helmet bottom line
When £100 buys you top-rated safety from a legacy helmet brand – it’s even compatible with Specialized’s ANGi crash sensor – you can forgive some lumpy adjustment controls and an ornamental peak.
To boot, Specialized offers a tiered discount of up to 35 per cent (if the helmet is less than two years old), dropping in stages to 20 per cent (up to five years old).
The Tactic 4 is still a bargain with its top-level safety rating, protective fit and attractive looks. Despite concerns over the ventilation, lack of fit adjustment and the fixed-position peak, it does the job it’s designed for solidly, and is well worth consideration.
|Price||br_price, 5, 3, Price, AUD $180.00EUR €130.00GBP £100.00USD $100.00|
|Weight||br_weight, 5, 6, Weight, 452g, Array, g|
|Brand||br_brand, 5, 10, Brand, Specialized|
|Features||br_Features, 11, 0, Features, Sizes Available: S, M, L - 51-62cm
Colours: Doppio (bronze), blue/light blue, grey/maroon, green, white, black
Crash Replacement: Tiered discount, max 35% if helmet under 2 years old. Dropping in stages to 20% if helmet up to 5 years
|MIPS||br_MIPS, 11, 0, MIPS, Yes|
|Helmet type||br_helmetType, 11, 0, Helmet type, Mountain bike open face|