Smith Overtake road helmet review

Looks cool, but it isn't

BikeRadar score2.5/5

The Overtake is Smith's very first road helmet, bringing in Koroyd technology from its snowsports helmets via the mountain-bike Forefront all-mountain helmet that launched in 2013. While the honeycomb Koroyd structures are visually striking — especially in the flouro green in our test sample — they are orientated in such a way that zero air gets through while riding. 

The Koroyd tubes are primarily orientated up from the head, so – theoretically – heat can dissipate upwards. But when riding, so much of your cooling depends upon airflow. There are three little vents at the lower front of the helmet, but those are blocked by the helmet's internal pads.

We experimented with the pad position, spreading the pads apart. This resulted in a little air flow, but also sweat running right down the nose on hot days. Finally, there is only one internal air channel for moving air, and again, the intake for that channel is blocked by the stock pad position.

Unfortunatately, the pads and the vents don't play nice. In the lower stock configuration, the pads completely block out the airflow. In the upper configuration that we toyed around with, you can get some air through, but splitting the pads means you have sweat running right down your nose on hot days. Neither configuration is good
Unfortunatately, the pads and the vents don't play nice. In the lower stock configuration, the pads completely block out the airflow. In the upper configuration that we toyed around with, you can get some air through, but splitting the pads means you have sweat running right down your nose on hot days. Neither configuration is good

The Overtake is very comfortable though. Thoughtful touches like recessed anchors for the straps and multiple anchor positions for the retention system make a difference. The helmet is competitively light. Our Large sample weighed 282g.

Since there are no actual vents in the helmet, air isn't the only thing prevented from getting in; you can't pop your sunglass arms in, either. So, Smith designers created a little external perch where the sunglass arms sit in a groove. We found this to work relatively well with glasses that have straight, preferably tall arms, but not so well for those with thin, curved arms. Ironically, the Smith Pivlock V90 sunglasses, with curved arms, were the most precarious on the helmet, occasionally rattling loose over rough roads.

We found that glasses with straight arms fit fairly snugly
We found that glasses with straight arms fit fairly snugly

While it may not affect the structural integrity, three of the four main Koroyd panels in our sample Overtake can be moved a little with the push of a finger.

Smith bills the Overtake as an aero lid, claiming it can beat the Giro Air Attack at a particular angle in the wind tunnel. Smith says the Specialized Evade proved faster, but at a relative weight penalty. Part of the aero advantage, Smith claims, comes from the somewhat reduced overall size that's enabled by mixing Koroyd with the traditional EPS foam. The idea that a smaller helmet would be faster makes sense to us, as does the idea that a helmet with minimal at best venting would be fast, too. While you may get more evaporative cooling in the Overtake than the Air Attack just standing in place, we can definitely feel more air moving through the Air Attack when riding. Take a look at the internal structure of the Air Attack, with deep channeling and a suspended forehead band.

With road gear these days, there is always going to be a compromise of sorts when chasing aero gains, be that in helmets, wheels or frames. It's just a matter of determining priorities. For us, fast road helmets have their place, but we'd rather have a little air with our aero.

The Overtake comes in a variety of styles for $250, with a number of MIPS helmets for $310 (UK/Australia pricing TBC).

The koroyd is certainly visually striking. but while it looks cool — and you can look throught the koroyd tubes — it doesn't allow any airflow as the tubes are not aligned with the flow of air while riding
The koroyd is certainly visually striking. but while it looks cool — and you can look throught the koroyd tubes — it doesn't allow any airflow as the tubes are not aligned with the flow of air while riding

Ben Delaney

US Editor-in-Chief
Ben has been writing about bikes since 2000, covering everything from the Tour de France to Asian manufacturing to kids' bikes. The former editor-in-chief of VeloNews, he began racing in college while getting a journalism degree at the University of New Mexico. Based in the cycling-crazed city of Boulder, Colorado, with his wife and two kids, Ben enjoys riding most every day.
  • Age: 40
  • Height: 183cm / 6'
  • Weight: 82kg / 180lb
  • Waist: 84cm / 33in
  • Chest: 99cm / 39in
  • Discipline: Road (paved or otherwise), cyclocross and sometimes mountain. His tri-curious phase seems to have passed, thankfully
  • Preferred Terrain: Quiet mountain roads leading to places unknown
  • Current Bikes: Scott Foil Team Issue, Specialized S-Works Tarmac, Priority Eight city bike... and a constant rotation of test bikes
  • Dream Bike: A BMC Teammachine SLR01 with disc brakes and clearance for 30mm tires (doesn't yet exist)
  • Beer of Choice: Saison Dupont
  • Location: Boulder, CO, USA

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