Mountain Gear

Smith Forefront 2 helmet: What I love; what bugs me

The Smith Forefront 2 is an excellent mountain bike helmet that I keep reaching for despite this one thing that really bugs me . . .

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At first, I thought it was the Forefront’s color that would bug me.

However, in a short amount of time I’ve grown to love the ‘Get Wild’ design of my Smith Forefront 2 mountain bike helmet. In a world full of so much sorrow and pain, why not combine neon pink and turquoise with zebra stripes on a bike helmet?

And from a practical standpoint, there are plenty of other things that make this a versatile mountain bike helmet.

What I love: The original Forefront was my first dedicated mountain bike helmet, and the newer model Forefront 2 includes everything that was great about that helmet, and more. In terms of protection, the Forefront 2 features two industry-standard technologies to keep your brain safe: MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System) and Koroyd.

Mountain bike helmets can feel heavy and overbuilt. The Forefront 2 offers all the protection at a reasonable size and weight.

The helmet is very well-ventilated, in part thanks to the honey-comb Koroyd construction but also because of two large fixed vents. Air flows easily through the helmet, which also means that sunnies and goggles don’t get foggy.

Speaking of sunnies and goggles: The Forefront 2 is designed for integration with Smith sunglasses and goggles, but it also works fine with my collection of oversized sunnies from Oakley and 100%. As someone with a small face and nose, big helmets can tend to push my sunglasses uncomfortably low on my nose. The Forefront 2 stays put on my head where it should.

The three-position visor is another nice touch that I actually use; when I’m riding technical trails and need to keep my eyes focused ahead, I keep the visor cranked all the way up, but when I am just cruising in the sun, it stays down.

smith forefront 2
The Forefront 2 pairs nicely with almost any shape of sunglasses.

As with any bike helmet, it took a couple of wears to tweak the fit. The most obvious way to to it is by using the rear dial adjustment system. In addition to the easy-to-use on the go dial, you can also adjust the snugness of the helmet by adjusting the plastic arms that are attached to the dial adjuster.

However, on the underside of the helmet lies a very small yet very consequential issue.

MIPS is cool. Those little yellow tabs are not.

What bugs me: The little yellow tabs that hold the MIPS liner in place rip my hair out every single time I take the helmet off.

This is an interesting thing to be bugged by because it has nothing to do with the quality, construction, fit, or finish of the helmet. However, it’s pretty much a deal-breaker. Not only does it hurt and I lose about 20 strands of hair every time I take it off, it also prevents me from taking the helmet off whenever I feel like it. As in, it’s not even worth it to take the helmet off when we’re sitting around eating a snack.

smith forefront 2
So, this is a problem.

I tried to brainstorm ways around this issue, but anything I came up with (like putting a little piece of electrical tape on the tabs) would have only exacerbated the problem.

Love the helmet, hate the hair ripping.