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It’s lower-profile, lighter, and sleeker: The new S-Works Prevail helmet has gotten a makeover, and sharp eyes saw the Prevail II on Tour de France riders in 2016.
The new lid retains some of the calling-card design features of the old Prevail, like the front air-scoop vent and oversized, fin-like rear vents. But the overall profile of the helmet has gotten lower and sleeker, addressing one of the major complaints customers had about the bulkier versions of years past.
Aside from being incredibly light at only 203 grams, the new Prevail has a redesigned forehead pad that’s designed to channel sweat to the sides of the helmet so it doesn’t drip down your forehead or leave streaks on your sunglasses. It appears to be thinner at the front of the forehead and thicker at the sides. There’s also a gap between the pad and the helmet’s foam, which means your forehead won’t press against the helmet and empty all that sweat down into your eyes or onto your glasses.
The Mindset fit system has also been tweaked: the five-position height adjustment system has been strengthened so you’re less likely to pull it out of the helmet. It’s definitely still possible to yank the plastic pieces out of the helmet, but the clicks feel more positive so you know when to stop tugging.
I’ve got about 10 rides on the Prevail so far, and this helmet is immediately impressive. Let’s start with the aesthetics: It’s low-profile, which is an about-face from previous generations that sat high on the head. But you lose none of the sleek aesthetic, nor do you sacrifice any venting. The Prevail is an exceptionally cool helmet, both in the literal and figurative sense. Thirty-five vents, which are larger than the previous Prevail’s, make for a pretty airy experience; in winter months, you might want to consider wearing a cycling cap beneath.
And it’s lighter than just about any helmet I’ve worn. Despite the feathery feel, the Prevail feels well-constructed and rugged; give it a squeeze and it feels like any other helmet. Put it on and it basically disappears.
The fit is snug and holds comfortably tight throughout the ride. The helmet’s shape is somewhat long and narrow, so if you’ve got a wide head at the temples, you might notice some pinching, but it wasn’t a problem for me. (Full disclosure: I have a big dome and have a hard time finding helmets that fit properly. Giro helmets tend to fit me best, and the Synthe is a comparable feel, though the Prevail is slightly narrower.)
A few nitpicks: Like previous Prevails, the straps meet below your ear at a plastic piece, which is not adjustable. It wasn’t a problem for me, but everyone’s face is different, so that could end up being uncomfortable for some riders.
The helmet’s sizing also runs big: I generally ride a large helmet, but I wore a size medium Prevail comfortably. The only issue I had with running a medium rather than a large was adjusting the chin strap, which was a bit short. I ran it at the end of its adjustment length.
It is perhaps not surprising, given the popularity of previous Prevails, that the new iteration is quite a beauty. A Prevail update was long overdue, and Specialized hit the nail on the head with this exceptionally light, comfortable, and sleek lid. Just be sure to measure your head and pay close attention to sizing charts.